Archive for January, 2009|Monthly archive page

Selling Death

In National News on January 30, 2009 at 1:50 pm


Sounds obvious, right? But it’s good proof of the damage tobacco does to users. If any other product — gum, shaving cream, peanut butter, or baby formula — caused as many deaths and disease as tobacco, the companies selling them would be shut down, and the people who allowed them to hit the shelves would be jailed. Why not with tobacco?


New Data Released

In National News, State News on January 29, 2009 at 10:10 am

Below is some interesting and timely information from scholarly research studies published in the last couple months.

One study found that smokeless tobacco users might have a higher chance for a fatal stroke. These tobacco products include snuff and the newly market snus products from RJ Reynolds and Philip Morris.

Harm reduction cigarettes (think light cigarettes) were found to be as harmful or more harmful that regular cigarettes on developing embryos. Tobacco companies try to make people think light cigarettes reduce people’s exposure to toxins, but this study proves this marketing strategy is a lie.

A study from 2002 to 2006 found that hospital admission for heart attacks in Pueblo, Colo., dropped sharply after a law began making workplaces and public places smokefree in July 2003. In fact, the rate of heart attacks dropped 41 percent. Think how many lives and hospital bills could be saved if Indiana passed a smokefree bill currently in the House!

Philip Morris launched a website in 1999 purporting to give “responsible” health information related to tobacco use. A close examination of this site reveals many contradictions and omissions — such as information about mortality rates from tobacco use and motivation to quit smoking. Philip Morris is using this website as a marketing ploy. They appear to be concerned about keeping people healthy, but in reality, they are trying to make people feel more comfortable with using tobacco products.

Smoking during pregnancy may be linked to childhood obesity.

Racial minorities are less likely to receive cessation counseling from their healthcare providers. We need to encourage our doctors, nurses, and nurse practitioners to talk to EVERY patient about the dangers of tobacco and how to quit.

Exposure to secondhand smoke, whether as a child or as an adult, can result in difficulties for women trying to get pregnant. For example, allowing a teenage girl (or any woman) to work in a restaurant where smoking is allowed, could make it more difficult for her to have a healthy pregnancy later in life. One more reason we must pass comprehensive smokefree workplace legislation in the statehouse.

New evidence is showing that thirdhand smoke can be dangerous to children. Thirdhand smoke is the toxins left on surfaces and clothing once smoke has dissipated. For example, an adult who smokes or goes into a smoky establishment could bring tobacco toxins with them whereever they go — on their clothing.

According to The Journal of Pediatrics, a child exposed to smoking before birth is more likely to experience trouble sleeping. Adequate sleep is critical for brain development, so this disruption of sleep patterns could cause physical and long-term neuro-cognitive disorders. These children also showed greater need for handling, worse self-regulation, and greater excitability, symptoms which could indicate further long-term adverse effects from secondhand smoke exposure.

The Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics reported that boys with asthma exposed to secondhand smoke showed increased behavioral problems, including hyperactivity, aggression, and depression. While exposure to secondhand smoke is known to aggravate asthma symptoms, it may also aggravated behavioral problems.

Teen cigarette use has continued to decline, according to this year’s Monitoring the Future (MTF) Survey, a school-based national survey of 46,348 eighth, tenth, and twelfth graders. MTF is a research project carried out by the University of Michigan with support from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Cigarette smoking is at its lowest since at least 1991; this year, 7% of eighth graders, 12% of tenth graders, and 20% of twelfth graders reported having smoked during the past 30 days. In all three grades, the monthly smoking prevalence declined, and overall, there was a statistically significant reduction in smoking compared to last year. Along with changes in behavioral indicators, social attitudes toward smoking have become less favorable over the years; however, disapproval of smoking has leveled off this year, and in fact, twelfth graders expressed less disapproval of smoking. Although fewer youths report that they can obtain cigarettes “fairly easily,” 57% of eighth graders still have fairly easy access to cigarettes.

Are You Through With Chew?

In Local News on January 28, 2009 at 11:59 am


February 16 to 20 is Through With Chew Week. It’s a great time to teach your students about the dangers of smokeless tobacco.

According to the CDC, smokeless tobacco contains 28 cancer-causing agents and is a known cause of human cancer. Smokeless tobacco also causes nicotine addiction, lesions in soft oral tissue, and gum recession. Adolescents who use smokeless tobacco are more likely to become cigarette smokers. For more statistics about smokeless tobacco use in children, see Tobacco Free Kids.

Daviess and Pike counties’ tobacco prevention and cessation coalitions are offering several educational options for middle and high school students. Project Coordinator Sally Petty has an interactive booth available during Through With Chew Week. This booth can be set up for students to view during lunch time or study hall. Contact Petty at 812-698-0232.

The coalitions are also inviting students to participate in a letter-writing contest about the dangers of tobacco. Students can write the letters to Big Tobacco or to the coalitions and send them to Petty at or 2003 Grand Ave., Washington, IN 47501. The coalitions will judge the letters from students in their respective counties, and the winning letter writer from each school will receive a basketball. Winning letters may also be published in local newspapers.

Here are some other activity ideas for Through With Chew Week. If you decide to do one of these activities, contact Petty for help with planning and materials.

1. Wear green ribbons or T-shirts.

2. Tear down tobacco advertising in your community.

3. Write a class letter to the editor of the newspaper in your community.

4. Hold a mock town hall meeting about the dangers of smokeless tobacco.

5. Create public service announcements for radio stations.

It’s Here!

In Local News on January 27, 2009 at 9:17 am

Daviess Community Hospital has announced the dates for its next stop smoking class, taught by a nurse from their award-winning respiratory department. This class is free, and DCH has a great record of success helping people quit and stay quit. We are also planning to provide stop-smoking medications to those attending.

The four-week series will start Feb. 18 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the hospital’s education center. To sign up, call 254-8620 x532.

CDC Releases Updates In MMWR

In National News, State News on January 23, 2009 at 10:29 am

Today, Jan 22, the CDC released in its MMWR (morbidity and mortality weekly report) an update to the smoking attributable death and years of potential life lost calculations.


  • CDC’s Smoking-Attributable Mortality, Morbidity and Economic Costs (SAMMEC) system shows that tobacco results in 443,000 deaths annually in the U.S.
  • There are 5.1 million years of potential life lost annually in the U.S.
  • The median smoking-attributable mortality rate is 263 per 100,000 (2000-2004).  This is a decline of 24.8 deaths per 100,000 from 1996–1999 and reflects progress made in lowering smoking prevalence over the past 40 years.

Indiana specific highlights:

  • Annually 9,731 deaths are due to cigarette smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.  The smoking attributable mortality rate is now 308.9 per 100,000 (2000-2004) compared to 323.3 per 100,000 (1996-1999). This is a 14% decline overall.
  • Compared to 1999-1999 rates, smoking attributable mortality rates (2000-2004) for men in Indiana are down 43.7% compared to an increase of 1.7% for women. However, smoking attributable mortality rates for men are twice that of women. (Men 457 per 100,000 vs. Women 207 per 100,000)
  • 138,915 years of potential life lost happen annually in Indiana.
  • Smoking attributable mortality rates are 17% higher in Indiana that the U.S. median.

Local Help To Quit

In Local News on January 22, 2009 at 11:36 am

The Pike County Health Department will soon be providing free nicotine patches to help residents quit smoking. Daviess Community Hospital will also be starting a cessation class in February, and we’re working on providing free medications for people who take that class as well.

There’s plenty of help out there, whether from your doctor, hospital, health department, the Indiana Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or any other source. If you really want to quit, you should have no trouble finding help that suits your style.

Daviess County TPC Names McCullough Tobacco Free Citizen

In Local News on January 20, 2009 at 8:19 am


Quitting for Micki McCullough was a matter of trusting in God’s power. It was the only way she could ever quit, she said, because tobacco had control of her life.

The Daviess County Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Coalition has named McCullough its Tobacco Free Citizen for the first quarter of 2009 for her success in quitting smoking and for her work at Washington’s Pregnancy Care Center, which includes helping young pregnant women quit smoking.

McCullough started smoking when she was 15 by sneaking her stepfather’s Chesterfields from the China cabinet. Smoking was a family tradition; her mother smoked for 50 years and died of lung cancer at 82.

At age 35, after 20 years of smoking, McCullough began serving the Lord after a period away from the church. During a revival, she said, she felt the Lord speaking to her very clearly, telling her she needed to give up her cigarettes.

“‘How’s this possible?'” she said she asked God. “He said, ‘I’ll help you.’ You pray, and you’ll know when God says, ‘Here’s the grace.’ His grace is sufficient, and it’s always available.”

Two years after McCullough quit cold turkey, the pressures of life seemed so overwhelming that she bought a pack and smoked half of it while driving around trying to figure things out. She felt so guilty, she threw the rest of the pack out the window. For the next five years, she would slip up once a year and smoke a pack. But on that fifth year, she couldn’t throw the pack away.

“It had ahold of me. The desire had overtaken me, and I couldn’t lay them down for six weeks,” she said. “When you go back dabbling in things you’ve been delivered from – you ought not to go there again.”

During this period, McCullough struggled because she knew she shouldn’t smoke, but she just couldn’t quit. Then one day, she felt moved to sing the hymn “Satan, You’re A Liar And I’m A Testifier.” She began to realize that she didn’t have to let the cigarettes control her life, and she didn’t have to rely on them to get through tough times. She decided to rely on God instead and has been free from cigarettes ever since.

“Every day is a choice,” she said. “God gives the peace, not the cigarettes. God will come when you invite Him to be part of the process. He’ll take you where you need to go.”

If you want to quit smoking but feel like it’s hopeless because you’ve relapsed during previous quit attempts, you can get back on track, just like McCullough did. Talk to your pastor and your doctor. You can get additional help from the Indiana Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free professional counseling and nicotine replacement therapy.

Turn The Tables On Big Tobacco

In State News on January 19, 2009 at 9:16 am

Philip  Morris is at it again. They have created a hotline that will connect you with your state senators. Philip Morris wants you to tell them that you don’t want a higher tobacco tax to provide healthcare for children.

They say taxing cigarettes places an unfair burden on adult smokers, but smoking places an unfair burden on all taxpayers in healthcare costs, and an unfair burden on the smokers themselves in terms of disease and early death. Hmm… taxes or life… which is more important to you?Philip Morris logo

The great thing about this hotline? After sitting through a minute of Philip Morris telling you that tobacco taxes are bad (Ummm, nope, they aren’t! Smoking rates drop when tobacco taxes go up!), you can be connected to your Senator and tell them you WANT tobacco products to be taxed more!

How do you do it?

1) Call 866-527-4494

2) Input your zip code, then press 1 to confirm your zip code

3) Press 6

4) Press 2 or 5

5) Sit through a recorded voice of a Big Tobacco spokesperson telling you how bad and unfair tobacco taxes are. Try not to sprain your eyes as you’re rolling them.

6) Get connected to your State Senator and let them know that a deadly, addictive product that is marketed to kids should be taxed more. The tax will fund healthcare, and tobacco costs our nation billions in healthcare each year.

To find out more, visit Philip Morris’ Say No site, and use Big Tobacco’s system against them!

ALA Annual Report Card

In State News on January 16, 2009 at 8:12 am

The American Lung Association has released its 2008 report card, The State Of Tobacco Control, assessing state-level tobacco control policies for each state. Indiana received an F for spending level on comprehensive tobacco prevention and control programs, an F for smokefree air, a D for cigarette taxes, and a C for overall state cessation coverage.

On the bright side, Indiana’s increase in the cigarette tax in 2007 from 55.5 cents to 99.5 cents caused a 20.5 percent reduction in cigarette use in 2008. This year, the General Assembly is considering a bill that would raise taxes on other tobacco products to keep people from switching to them as a cheaper alternative.

The General Assembly is also considering two bills that would cause all workplaces to be smokefree, including restaurants, bars and casinos. Another bill would require insurance to cover cessation medications.

So, we are making great strides in this state, but we still have a lot of room to improve.

Health Department Board Signs Resolution

In Local News, State News on January 15, 2009 at 8:21 am

The board of the Daviess County Health Department has signed a resolution supporting stateside smokefree workplace legislation, which is being introduced in the House this session. Support from the local level, whether in the form of a resolution, smokefree policy, or a local ordinance, all takes us one step closer to a statewide ban on smoking in public places. It’s the right thing to do to improve public health.