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.


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