Archive for April, 2009|Monthly archive page

Study Documents Economic Burden Of Secondhand Smoke On Indiana

In State News on April 30, 2009 at 8:31 am

According to a study by Bowen Research Center — Indiana University School of Medicne, secondhand smoke costs Indiana $390.3 million in excess medical expenses, or about $62 per person each year. The burden of these expenses is assumed by businesses, government, and individual citizens. As daunting as the amount appears, it does not include costs of health care and loss of life of Indiana residents that smoke, which alone is estimated to be over $2 billion.

  • Total health care costs attributable to secondhand smoke = $282.5 million
  • Total loss of life costs attributable to secondhand smoke = $107.8 million
  • Overall cost of health care and premature loss of life attributed to secondhand smoke for Indiana residents in 2007 = $390.3 million

Exposure to secondhand smoke causes many medical conditions in adults, including lung cancer, nasal sinus cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, ischemic heart disease, stroke, eye and nasal irritation, spontaneous abortions and asthma. In addition, other studies have suggested that exposure to secondhand smoke may be causally associated with adult leukemia, angina pectoris (severe chest pain), hearing loss, allergies, periodontal disease, dysmenorrhea (severe pelvic pain during menstruation), colds, pneumonia, meningitis, macular degeneration, congestive heart failure and cardiac arrhythmia.

Scientific evidence confirms that there is no safe, risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Exposure of children to secondhand smoke has been linked to low birth weight, sudden infant death syndrome, respiratory syncytial virus bronchiolitis (RSV), asthma exacerbations, otitis media (middle ear infections), chronic respiratory symptoms, cystic fibrosis exacerbation, allergies, meningitis, loss of hearing and cognitive behavioral impairment. In addition, many adults and children are injured in fires started by smoking.

At least 1,194 adults, children and infants in Indiana died in 2007 from diseases definitively tied to secondhand smoke by the U.S. Surgeon General (not including approximately 49 spontaneous abortions). These lives lost are entirely preventable.

The full report is accessible here:


Family Smoking Prevention And Tobacco Control Act Is Necessary Federal Legislation

In National News on April 29, 2009 at 8:13 am

The legislation in the U.S. Congress that would give the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco products will be seeing action in the United States Senate very soon. The time is now to contact Indiana’s two U.S. Senators — Senator Richard G. Lugar and Senator Evan Bayh — and thank them for their previous support of this legislation and to ask them to continue to use their leadership roles in their parties and in the Senate to ensure that this legislation is adopted this year.

Known as the “Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act,” this bipartisan legislation would grant the U.S. FDA authority to regulate tobacco products. This legislation passed the House last July 30th by an overwhelming and bipartisan vote of 326 to 102. Similar legislation passed the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and had 60 sponsors/cosponsors in the 110th Congress.

Why This Bill Is Needed

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, killing more than 400,000 Americans every year and resulting in $96 billion in health care costs every year. Every day, approximately 3,500 kids will try a cigarette for the first time, and another 1,000 will become new, regular daily smokers. One-third of these kids will eventually die prematurely as a result of their addiction.

Despite tobacco’s huge societal costs, tobacco products are the most unregulated consumer products on the market today; they are exempt from important and basic consumer protections, such as ingredient disclosure, product testing and restrictions on marketing to children.

What This Bill Will Do

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to grant the FDA the authority to regulate the sale, marketing and manufacturing of tobacco products. The bill adds a new chapter to the FFDCA to regulate tobacco products. Tobacco products would not be regulated under the “safe and effective” standard currently used for other products under the agency’s purview, but under a new standard — “appropriate for the protection of the public health.”

The key features of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act are outlined below:

  1. Reinstate FDA’s 1996 Rule — This legislation would require that the FDA’s 1996 Rule, which restricted tobacco marketing and sales to youth, take effect within one year of enactment of the legislation. These regulations:
         – Ban all outdoor tobacco advertising within 1,000 feet of schools and playgrounds
         – Ban all remaining tobacco-brand sponsorships of sports and entertainment events
         – Ban free giveaways of any non-tobacco items with the purchase of a tobacco product or in exchange for coupons or proof of purchase
         – Limit advertising in publications with significant teen readership as well as outdoor and point-of-sale advertising, except in adult-only facilities, to black-and-white text only
         – Restrict vending machines and self-service displays to adult-only facilities
         – Require retailers to verify age for all over-the-counter sales and provide for federal enforcement and penalties against retailers who sell to minors
  2. Grant FDA specific authority to restrict tobacco marketing — The Secretary of Health and Human Services would be given authority to develop regulations that impose restrictions on the advertising and promotion of a tobacco product consistent with and to the full extent permitted by the first amendment to the Constitution. These regulations would be based on whether they would be appropriate for the protection of the public health. This authority gives the agency the flexibility to respond to inevitable tobacco industry attempts to circumvent restrictions.
  3. Require detailed disclosure of ingredients, nicotine and harmful smoke constituents — Tobacco companies would be required to provide the FDA with information about their products. This information would allow the agency to determine how best to reduce the harm they cause and to better educate the public about the health effects of tobacco use and the dozens of toxic substances in tobacco products. For example, tobacco companies would be required to disclose to the FDA the ingredients in each existing tobacco product by brand and by quantity in each brand, including all smoke constituents. They must also inform the FDA of any changes to the product.
  4. Allow FDA to require changes to tobacco products to protect the public health — FDA would be granted authority to require changes in current and future tobacco products, such as the reduction or elimination of harmful ingredients, additives and constituents, if it decided that these changes would protect public health. FDA would be granted authority to change nicotine yields; only Congress could ban nicotine from the product.
  5. Strictly regulate “reduced harm” products — This legislation would prohibit the use of descriptors, such as “light,” “mild” and “low” to characterize a product on labels or in advertising. In addition, a manufacturer must first file an application and receive an order before they market any tobacco product as presenting a “modified risk.” FDA would have authority to review the marketing of such products and determine if the applicant demonstrates that the product, as actually used by consumers, will significantly reduce harm and the risk of tobacco-related disease to individual tobacco users and benefit the health of the population as a whole – taking into account both users of tobacco products and persons who do not currently use tobacco
  6. Require bigger, better health warnings — This legislation would require stronger, more specific health warnings. The House passed bill would require health warnings to cover the top 30% of the front and rear panels of the package and would give FDA the authority to issue regulations to require graphic warning labels and to increase the size of warning labels to cover 50% of the front and rear panels of the package. The Senate Committee passed bill would require warning labels to cover the top 50% of the front and rear panels of the package and require FDA to issue regulations two years after enactment to create graphic warning labels. Under the legislation, warnings must bear the word “warning” in capital letters and 17-point type, the FDA would be empowered to revise labeling requirements including text and format size, and the same warning labels would be required in advertising and must comprise at least 20% of the advertisement’s area. The authority to revise the labels would allow the agency to require labels based on the best available evidence of effectiveness without new action by Congress.
  7. Fund FDA activity through a user fee on manufacturers of cigarettes, cigarette tobacco and smokeless tobacco, allocated by market share — The legislation allocates payment of all tobacco product-related FDA costs among the manufacturers of cigarettes, cigarette tobacco and smokeless tobacco products sold in the United States, based on the manufacturers’ respective shares of the entire U.S. tobacco product market.

Interesting Facts About Tobacco

In National News on April 27, 2009 at 7:41 am

Here are some interesting facts about tobacco from recent research:

  • One study suggests that smoking makes cell ages more rapidly and reduces healing in damaged lungs, which may be a factor in emphysema.
  • Smoking during pregnancy may effect the thyroid function of both mother and baby.
  • Smoking is a significant risk factor for developing rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Tobacco has become part of prison culture, serving as both currency and stress release. Prisons need to incorporate cessation programs that address the way tobacco is interwoven in inmates’ culture.
  • Patients with bipolar disorder are 5 times more likely to be current smokers than people in the general population and 2.6 times more likely to have ever smoked. The prevalence rates of current daily smoking among patients with major depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia were 57%, 66%, and 74%, respectively. Again, cessation interventions need to target these people.

No Smoking Ban This Year

In State News on April 24, 2009 at 7:53 am

It appears we will not get comprehensive smokefree workplace legislation in place this year. HB 1213 did not make it past the Senate. There was a “strip and insert” attempt to put smokefree air language into HB 1208. There was about 15 minutes of discussion among the conferees.

Senator Simpson mentioned she would not support any language which included preemption. Senator Lawson said discussions in the Senate had centered around home rule and that they felt watered down version that the House passed had too many exemptions.

The current word is that the Senate Republican caucus will not sign and agree to consider a conference committee report with smokefree air language this year. They feel that the issue was considered by Sen. Alting as chair of the Commerce, Public Policy, and Interstate Cooperation Committee and they will not usurp the committee process.

Of course, everything is not final until the General Assembly is completely done at the end of the session so please stay tuned.

For more about this issue, read this Post-Tribune article.

Secondhand Smoke Dangerous For Pets

In National News on April 23, 2009 at 7:13 am


You’ve got to check out this article: Tails of the City.

Secondhand smoke is proven to be dangerous for humans at any level, and the same goes for pets. It’s almost shocking how many pets get cancer and other diseases from exposure to secondhand smoke. Even the ASPCA lists secondhand smoke as a toxin for pets.

You can get free help to quit smoking and protect your pets, children, and family members, by calling the Indiana Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

Tobacco Is Not A Luxury

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


I’ve heard many people say they want to quit smoking now that the price of cigarettes has gone up. A few have commented that the government is trying to tax “all the luxuries” so that common folks have no chance of enjoying them. What they don’t realize is that cigarettes are not really a luxury. Most people who smoke are in the lowest income brackets.

What we see on TV and in movies is very misleading in this respect. There, smoking is portrayed as a luxury. But very few well-to-do people smoke any more because they know the dangers to their health. Many are also ticked that the tobacco companies are using an addictive product to take advantage of people.

Another person told me last week that everyone they know smokes. They almost didn’t believe me when I told them that only 24% of Hoosiers smoke. But, the number of smokers you know depends on the circles in which you run.

Hoosier Uplands Hosting Cessation Training

In Local News on April 17, 2009 at 2:29 pm

On May 29, Hoosier Uplands will host a cessation systems training in the Lakeview Room at Spring Mill State Park  Inn in Mitchell.

This complimentary training scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. will be targeting physicians, nurses, medical assistants, mental health providers and all other healthcare professionals including administrative staff. It will be a good opportunity for those working in the health care field to increase their knowledge of cessation systems and tobacco treatment.

This training will provide intensive information about tobacco and ways that practitioners can intervene treatments. A breakout session is planned at the end of the training to focus information regarding substance abuse towards mental health providers.

Objectives include:

  • Review of clinical practice guidelines
  • Demonstrate successful cessation systems
  • Discuss how to assess your patients tobacco use
  • Discuss treatment options and motivations to quit
  • Discuss treatment referral opportunities

To register, please contact me at for a registration form.

Booth At Pike Co. Children’s Safety Fair

In Local News on April 16, 2009 at 9:51 am

Did you know that children exposed to secondhand smoke in homes and in cars are more likely to have severe asthma, ear infections, and lung problems? To learn more, visit our booth at the Pike County Children’s Safety Fair from 2 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 21, at the Old Petersburg Gym.

Here is some more valuable information about how secondhand smoke harms 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.
  • 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.
  • Children whose parents smoke are more likely to start smoking.
  • Children whose parents smoke are more likely to be undernourished and have higher rates of food insecurity, resulting in emotional and behavioral problems.

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

BR Kicks Butts

In Local News on April 14, 2009 at 7:51 am

Here are some pictures from the informational booth and smokefree lifestyle pledge drive held at Barr-Reeve Junior-Senior High School on March 25:





There’s Never Been A Better Time To Quit

In Local News, State News on April 13, 2009 at 8:55 am


In the week when the federal tax on cigarettes was increased by 62 cents a pack, calls to the free Indiana Tobacco Quitline – 1-800-QUIT-NOW – increased by nearly 400 percent.

“The federal tax increase on tobacco products went into effect on April 1st and we received more than 1,100 calls this week. It demonstrates to us – as never before – just how many people really want to quit and they are taking the steps to a healthier life and, in the process, saving themselves a great deal of money,” said Karla Sneegas, executive director, Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation.

Sneegas said the call volume has been surging dramatically in recent weeks, hitting a previous high of 952 calls in mid-March after the tobacco industry increased its prices on a pack of cigarettes by as much as 70 cents in anticipation of the federal tax hike. 

The focus on smoking cessation in Indiana is also gaining ground among health care providers.

State Health Commissioner Calls on Providers to Make a Difference

In conjunction with the federal tobacco tax increase taking effect, State Health Commissioner Judy Monroe, M.D. called on Indiana’s licensed health care providers to be prepared to help their patients quit. Earlier this week, she sent a letter along with resource materials to all physicians, dentists, advanced practice nurses, and pharmacists encouraging them to use their influence as health care providers to help their patients quit smoking.

“The increase in the federal cigarette tax makes it an ideal time for us to remind Hoosiers that there’s never been a better time to quit,” said Dr. Monroe. “Health care providers should take advantage of this opportunity and talk to their patients about the benefits of quitting and educate them about resources they can use to overcome their addiction. We can’t afford to miss this chance to help those who want to quit.” 

Health care providers are encouraged to “ask and advise” their patients to quit. Indiana’s health care providers can become part of the QUITNOW Referral Network to the Indiana Tobacco Quitline, a free confidential phone counseling service staffed by trained quit coaches who are ready to provide help for tobacco users who are ready to try to quit.   The Quitline can be reached by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

The call for assistance from health care providers was addressed this week in Indianapolis, as public health professionals from across the Hoosier state gathered for the Indiana Joint National Public Health Week Conference.   During a special workshop on increasing statewide collaboration on tobacco cessation, Dr. Judy Monroe was joined by tobacco cessation advocates to develop plans for a statewide summit to be held later in 2009.

Diane M. Canova, managing senior fellow and senior program officer for the Washington, D.C.-based Partnership for Prevention, provided a national “lay of the land” perspective on tobacco cessation issues and reviewing recommendations developed by the Partnership in 2008.

“The overarching goal of the Call for A.C.T.T.I.O.N. (Access to Cessation Treatment for Tobacco In Our Nation) is to increase the number of smokers in the U.S., who are able to gain access to comprehensive tobacco dependence treatment to 50 percent by 2015 and 100 percent by 2020. The Partnership for Prevention is committed to advancing policies and practices to prevent disease and improve the health of all Americans. As health professionals, we have a tremendous opportunity to come together and dramatically reduce the number of smokers and share with them the fact that help is available for them to quit,” said Canova.  “Indiana can become a model for other states who are interested in collaborative models to stretch our public health resources.”

“The sudden increase in calls to the Indiana Tobacco Quitline in March and now continuing in April is one of the most significant spikes in calls we have experienced”,  said Sneegas.  “Over 90 percent of Indiana smokers want to quit, and this recent price increase provides even more incentive during these tough economic times.”

Open from 8 a.m. until 3 a.m. seven days a week, the free Indiana Tobacco Quitline is available for any Hoosier adult who is ready to quit.  To access the service, tobacco users can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

The Indiana Tobacco Quitline also assists tobacco users who are quitting cigar and spit tobacco use as well as cigarettes.

According to documented research, when the price of cigarettes goes up, more adults quit and more youth don’t start smoking. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids estimates that in Indiana, the federal tobacco tax increase will prompt 27,600 adults to quit smoking and prevent thousands more kids from becoming adults who smoke. That expected decrease will save the state millions in future healthcare and Medicaid costs.

In addition to reducing smoking among adults and youth, the new federal tobacco tax will help fund the expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), covering nearly 4 million more children nationwide.