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Archive for December, 2008|Monthly archive page

Vanderburgh County Letting Exemptions Expire

In Local News on December 30, 2008 at 1:46 pm

Nearby Vanderburgy County will soon ban smoking from all workplaces. In 2006, the county and the city of Evansville passed ordinances banning smoking in public places, but those ordinances had exemptions allowing smoking in hotels, private rooms in nursing homes, bars and clubs. The exemptions in the county ordinance are set to expire on Jan. 2, meaning that in 2009, smoking will be banned in Vanderburgh County bars, restaurants, and clubs.

We feel the city of Evansville and neighboring counties, including Daviess and Pike, should consider following suit. Secondhand smoke is deadly to the employees and customers who have to breath it. Plus, studies show that businesses actually see an increase in patrons after comprehensive smoking bans are passed.

Effects Of Secondhand Smoke On Children

In Local News on December 29, 2008 at 8:37 am

Children are affected more by secondhand smoke than adults because their bodies are still developing and secondhand smoke can hinder the growth and function of their lungs. If you smoke in the house or in the car while your children are present, you could cause them to suffer many ill effects to their health.

Hundreds of thousands of lung and bronchial infections are caused by secondhand smoke each year. Children and infants exposed to secondhand smoke in the home have dramatically higher levels of respiratory symptoms, respiratory tract infections, and slower lung development. Secondhand smoke exposure increases the number of new asthma cases and worsens asthmatic symptoms.

Every day more than 15 million children in the U.S. are exposed to secondhand smoke in the home. Millions of doctor visits and thousands of hospitalizations occur due to children’s exposure to secondhand smoke.

Seventy-two percent of Indiana youth (grades 6-12) reported being in the same room or car as someone who was smoking cigarettes in the past 7 days. Thirty percent of Hoosier youth are exposed to secondhand smoke daily.

To get help quitting and protect your children, call the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

New Tobacco Products

In National News on December 26, 2008 at 9:14 am

RJ Reynolds has introduced several new products this fall to retain tobacco consumers in the face of increasing opposition to smoking. Since more and more state and cities are banning smoking in public places, the smokeless snustobacco products provide a replacement for smokers. The problem is, these products also contain carcinogins. The exact contents and consequences of these products are still not fully known.

Snus is a pasturized tobacco product in a small tea bag-like pouch that users can place between the cheek and gum to get nicotine without spitting. Other dissolvable tobacco products include a pellet (Camel Orbs), a toothpick-like stick (Camel Sticks), and a dissolvable film strip (Camel Strips).

Check out this news story: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27888789/from/ET/.

Make A Difference In Your Community

In Local News on December 23, 2008 at 10:49 am

If you don’t use tobacco, you can make it your New Year’s resolution to make a difference in your community when it comes to tobacco use and secondhand smoke.kissingsmoking

Vote with your pocketbook. Support businesses that don’t sell tobacco to kids. Frequent restaurants and other places that are tobacco-free.

Be sure your schools and all schools events (i.e.: parties, sporting events, etc.) are tobacco-free.

Partner with your local tobacco prevention programs. You can call the Daviess County Health Department at 254-8667 or your local ITPC coordinator at 698-0232.

PARENTS — Help Keep Your Kids Tobacco-Free

In Uncategorized on December 23, 2008 at 10:45 am

Know the facts about youth and tobacco use. Kids who use tobacco may:

  • Cough and have asthma attacks more often and develop respiratory problems leading to more sick days, more doctor bills, and poorer athletic performance.
  • Be more likely to use alcohol and other drugs such as cocaine and marijuana.
  • Become addicted to tobacco and find it extremely hard to quit.

Spit tobacco and cigars are NOT safe alternatives to cigarettes; low tar and additive-free cigarettes are not safe either.

Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death in the United States, causing heart disease, cancers and strokes. Take a stand at home, early and often. It could be the best Christmas present you give your children to talk to them about the dangers of tobacco.

Despite the impact of movies, music and TV, parents can be the greatest influence in their kids’ lives. Talk directly to children about the risks of tobacco use. If friends or relatives died from tobacco-related illnesses, let your kids know. If you use tobacco, you can still make a difference. Your best move, of course, is to try to quit. Meanwhile, don’t use tobacco in your children’s presence, don’t offer it to them, and don’t leave it where they can easily get it.

Start the dialog about tobacco use at age 5 or 6 and continue through their high school years. Many kids start using tobacco by age 11, and many are addicted by age 14. Know if your kids’ friends use tobacco. Talk about ways to refuse tobacco. Dicuss with kids the false glamorization of tobacco on billboards, and other media, such as movies, TV and magazines.

Make It Your New Year’s Resolution To Quit Smoking For Your Kids

In State News on December 23, 2008 at 10:36 am

Did you know that kids whose parents smoke in the home are drastically more likely to experience respiratory symptoms, respiratory tract infections and slower lung development? Here are several other effects of secondhand smoke on children:

  • Children are affected more by secondhand smoke than adults because their bodies are still developing and secondhand smoke can hinder the growth and function of their lungs.
  • Hundreds of thousands of lung and bronchial infections are caused by secondhand smoke each year.
  • Secondhand smoke exposure increases the number of new asthma cases and worsens asthmatic symptoms.
  • Every day more than 15 million children in the U.S. are exposed to secondhand smoke in the home. Millions of doctor visits and thousands of hospitalizations occur due to children’s exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Seventy-two percent of Indiana youth (grades 6-12) reported being in the same room or car as someone who was smoking cigarettes in the past 7 days. Thirty percent of Hoosier youth are exposed to secondhand smoke daily.

It’s not enough to just go smoke outside because you’re setting a bad example for your kids. Plus, kids whose parents smoke are more likely to smoke themselves because you make it seem OK, and they have easy access to your cigarettes.

Don’t worry if you’ve tried to quit before and relapsed. Most people have to try numerous times before they can quit for good. Just think of those past attempts as practice for really quitting this time. If you need help to quit, the state of Indiana provides a free hotline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW. You can speak for free with a professionally-trained counselor and get two weeks of nicotine replacement therapy for free.

State Rep. Mark Messmer

In Local News on December 22, 2008 at 12:28 pm

Chrissy Abel (who works in Lawrence and Martin coutneis) and I sat down with Mark Messmer Friday afternoon to talk about smoke-free workplace legislation that Rep. Charlie Brown plans to introduce in the upcoming House session. The legislation prohibits smoking in all workplaces, including restaurants, bars and casinos, therefore protecting both customers and employees. Studies have shown that smoke-free legislation in both cities and states reduce healthcare and insurance costs and can actually improve business.

Messmer was very much in favor of this legislation, and we greatly appreciate his support. We hope the legislation makes it out of committee this time so the process to get it passed can really get rolling. After all, 75% of Hoosiers don’t smoke, and the vast majority of voters support this type of legislation.

Getting Ready For The New Year

In Local News on December 22, 2008 at 12:14 pm

Saturday, the Griffith Elementary SADD club helped me pass out can koozies at the Hatchet House with the Quitline phone number on them. We have some left over still and may pass them out again at another game.

I have also been spending time giving Quitline posters to area business from restaurants to factories to retail outlets. They have been very well received; only 1 or 2 places out of the about 75 I have visited in Washington have refused the posters. A few people have even commented that the Quitline is really needed or have told me about their companies’ smoke-free policies. I was really encouraged to learn today that Schwann’s will go to a smoke-free campus after the first of the year.

I have also been encouraging businesses and healtcare providers to sign resolutions supporting upcoming legislation for smoke-free workplaces, including restaurants, bars and casinos. Studies have shown that smoke-free legislation can actually improve business. It definitely saves money in healthcare, insurance and downtime.

Tobacco-Free Citizen

In Local News on December 18, 2008 at 11:09 am

WASHINGTON, Ind. – Washington resident Curtis Jones has been named the Daviess and Pike County Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Tobacco-Free Citizen for 2008. Jones, who works for Washington’s wastewater department, has been free from cigarettes for 10 years.

Jones started smoking as a freshman in high school due to peer pressure during lunch break. Over time, he says, tobacco took over his life. He wouldn’t go places like movies where he knew he couldn’t smoke for a period of time. He sat in the back row at church so he could slip out and have a smoke. He avoided taking jobs with strict smoking policies. And he felt guilty because he knew smoking was unhealthy, but he just couldn’t quit.

After years of smoking, he reached a point in his life when he had to decide whether to smoke or buy lunch for his kids. Cigarettes were costing him $63 per week, plus the numerous doctor bills from sore throats and bronchitis exacerbated by his smoking. He chose to put his children first and quit smoking.

Quitting was one of the hardest things Jones has ever done. When he decided to quit, he was smoking three packs of cigarettes a day and couldn’t go for a day without them. Before actually quitting, Jones had to wean himself down to fewer cigarettes per day. On his quit date, Jones told God if He got him through the first day, he would stick it out to the end.

“Unbelievably I prayed,” he said. “It’s something I wasn’t able to do on my own. I said, ‘Lord, just get me through the first day.’”

Besides leaning on his faith, Jones also enlisted the help of his doctor, who was leading a support group for people who wanted to quit smoking. He said it was worth every bit of the $150 he paid to talk to his doctor and join the group because it taught him to change habits and avoid triggers that prompted his smoking, such as drinking caffeine and alcohol. He began eating a better diet and exercising to deal with the stress and anger that he had been using nicotine to combat.

“I had to quit drinking to quit smoking. I had to have extra patience with my kids and go for walks to calm my anger,” he said.

He also used the prescription Welbutrin, a nicotine inhaler, and a plastic cigarette to overcome his cravings for nicotine and the actions associated with smoking.

After quitting, Jones began to realize just how tight a hold tobacco had over his life.

“I didn’t realize how bad I stank until I quit,” he said.

Ten years after quitting, Jones still experiences occasional cravings, but he knows now they will pass with a drink of water. He is glad he quit and never looked back not just for the money he saved, gaining back the support group fee in only a few weeks, but also for the health he gained – he rarely has to go to the doctor anymore – and the good example he is giving his children.

“I hate to see young people imprisoning themselves,” he said. “I hate to see people get addicted because it controls their life.”

“I am so proud of what Curtis has accomplished and the example he has set for his children and friends. His story shows that if a person really wants to quit tobacco and finds the right resources, they can do it, no matter how tough it may seem,” said Sally Petty, Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Project Coordinator for Daviess and Pike counties.

If you decide to make it your New Year’s resolution to quit using tobacco this year, schedule an appointment with your doctor and call the Indiana Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free professional counseling and two weeks of free nicotine replacement therapy.

Victory In The Supreme Court

In National News on December 16, 2008 at 1:38 pm

Welcome to this new blog about tobacco issues — local, state and national. ITPC in Daviess and Pike counties is working to fight the deceptive marketing techniques of Big Tobacco, which uses this state (Indiana) as a guinea pig for new tobacco products. Just recently, Phillip Morris began marketing their Virginia Slims Purse Packs here. These skinny little cigarettes are packaged in a box that looks like something lipstick would come in, targeting both women and teenage girls.

But anyway, on to this victory. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that smokers can use state consumer protection laws to sue Philip Morris and other tobacco companies for deceptive marketing of “light” and “low-tar” cigarettes. Light cigarettes are not a safe alternative to full flavor cigarettes, as Big Tobacco would have us believe. In fact, smokers using them may breathe in more deeply or block ventiliation to get the amount of nicotine their body needs, drawing the tar and other toxins even deeper in to their lungs.

The “light” determination was made through a machine test that the FTC recently stated is flawed. In fact, the FTC recently ruled that tobacco companies cannot claim that tar and nicotine ratings on cigarettes packs are government approved.