Archive for October, 2009|Monthly archive page

Tobacco Will Kill 6 Million People Next Year

In National News on October 30, 2009 at 8:44 am

Fact for Life #261: Tobacco use will kill 6 million people next year from cancer, heart disease, emphysema and a range of other illnesses, and will cost the global economy $500 billion a year in direct medical expenses.

Source: The Tobacco Atlas, Third Edition:

“Facts for Life,” providing statistics on the toll of tobacco on Hoosiers and the State of Indiana, is presented by Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation.

For more information on Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation, visit,, or


Arguments against ban go up in smoke

In State News on October 26, 2009 at 8:20 am

This editorial was published in the Indianapolis Star recently.

It’s time for the City-County Council to hammer home the coffin nails for some long-dead arguments that keep being propped up against the movement to clear the air in public places.

No, bars and restaurants don’t sign their death warrant when they go smoke free.

No, smoking wherever you want is not a constitutional right; and when it harms other people, as secondhand smoke has been proven to do, it is a wrong.

No, property rights are not absolute for public accommodations; hence, we have fire codes and food-handling restrictions.

The council can enact a logical extension of those health and safety measures on Monday when it votes on a proposal to remove virtually all exceptions from the current anti-smoking ordinance for workplaces. Bars, bowling alleys and private clubs would cease to be exempt.

The case for going smoke free is airtight based on the facts. That does not mean there won’t be heated debate, as there was in a public hearing Oct. 14 that ended with a 4-2 committee vote in favor of the ban. It would be a shame if heat were to overcome light.

“Save Indianapolis Bars,” some of the opposition proclaimed on clothing tags. Yet the experience in this city, and in the 11 Indiana communities and 26 states that have outlawed smoking comprehensively, contradicts the notion that the policy hurts business. Quite the contrary, many bars and eateries report.

Only a certain special interest stands to lose under the proposed law. Sadly, it already has compromised one council member, Dane Mahern, an opponent whose father is a tobacco lobbyist. Mahern says he’ll abstain from voting.

If the business objection doesn’t hold up, how about liberty? Even if we apply this bedrock American principle to cigarette consumption, liberty stops where another person’s well-being begins. Secondhand smoke is no mere annoyance. As medical experts have testified, it causes cancer in nonsmokers and costs Hoosiers hundreds of millions of dollars annually — $47.5 million in Indianapolis alone, according to an Indiana University study released Wednesday. No one is more vulnerable, at least among adults, than an employee who spends eight hours a day wreathed in toxic fumes.

Economics and personal rights, far from being abridged by a smoke-free environment, have been enhanced in cities bold enough to go all out for public health. A city that takes pride in being a hub of the medical and life-sciences industries should be a leader in tobacco cessation. That moment may have passed; but the trend Indianapolis can follow has become clear as cigarette-free air.

As doctors tell smokers, it’s never too late to quit.

Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects

In National News on October 19, 2009 at 12:47 pm

The Institute of Medicine report, “Secondhand-Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects:  Making Sense of the Evidence,” was released Thursday.  The report confirms that secondhand smoke could cause heart attacks and that smoke-free laws prevent heart attacks and save lives.

The three major conclusions of the report are:

  • Exposure to secondhand smoke could cause acute coronary events, such as a heart attack
  • Evidence suggests that even brief secondhand smoke exposure might trigger a heart attack
  • Smoke-free air workplace laws prevent and decrease heart attacks

Smoking Causes Brain Damage

In National News on October 9, 2009 at 8:47 am

Fact for Life #260: Research suggests there is a direct link between smoking and brain damage. NNK, a compound in tobacco, changes to a cancer-causing chemical once it has been metabolized, triggering white blood cells in the brain’s immune system to attack healthy brain cells.

Source: Ghosh, D et al. Tobacco carcinogen induces microglial activation and subsequent neuronal damage. Journal of Neurochemistry 2009, 110(3); 1070-1081.

“Facts for Life,” which provides statistics on the toll of tobacco on Hoosiers and the State of Indiana, is presented by Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation. For more information on Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation, visit,, or

Chewing Tobacco Does Not Help Smokers Quit

In State News on October 8, 2009 at 9:17 am

Fact_258Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free coaching and support to quit using tobacco.

CDC Finds Poisons In Dissolvable Tobacco Products

In Local News, State News on October 5, 2009 at 7:34 am

Since the beginning of this year, Indianapolis has been a test market for new dissolvable tobacco products, mostly from Camel. These are smokeless, spit-free, made from finely milled tobacco, and held together by food-grade 41887-Camel_Dissolvablesbinders. They look like breath mints, breath strips, or toothpicks, and are designed to be placed in the mouth, on the tongue or between the cheek and gum, where they dissolve to release tobacco.

Dissolvable tobacco products are now available in Daviess County in the form of Stonewall dissolvable tablets. The manufacturer, Star Scientific, states that Stonewalls are designed for heavy smokers and spit tobacco users. This company also makes Ariva brand dissolvable tablets.

Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation agency feels the tobacco companies are illegally using Hoosiers as unwitting participants in a potentially dangerous clinical trial of these products since they were not tested for safety before being sold to the public, as food products, drugs, and cosmetics would be.

StonewallsDissolvable tobacco products may contain up to three times the amount of nicotine found in one cigarette. A cigarette smoker typically takes in about 1 milligram of nicotine. Camel dissolvable products are said to deliver about 0.6 to 3.1 milligrams of nicotine each, Ariva tablets have about 1.5 millgrams of nicotine each, and Stonewall tablets have about 4 milligrams of nicotine each.

People who use these products may get a higher dose of nicotine than they are used to, possibly resulting in nicotine poisoning, which manifests through adverse reactions such as tremors, nausea, vomiting, agitation, and in more extreme cases, seizures, coma, and death. The high nicotine content combined with the nature of the products and the ease of use is a potentially deadly combination for both adults and children. For example, users may be tempted to ingest multiple tablets at one time, like they would breath mints.

Less than a milligram of nicotine is enough to kill a child, depending on age and weight. Indiana Poison Control has already received calls regarding nicotine poisoning associated with dissolvable tobacco use.

Dissolvable tobacco is not a safe alternate to cigarettes, even though tobacco companies are marketing them as a safer alternative with fewer toxins. People who use spit tobacco are at risk of many health problems including cancers and mouth diseases, and we have no reason to believe dissolvable products are any safer.mouth_cancer2

Collaboration between ITPC and Dr. Jeffery Wigand, a former tobacco company researcher who achieved national prominence when he became the tobacco industry’s highest ranking former executive to address public health and smoking issues, has resulted in a preliminary CDC study of Camel Orbs dissolvable products.

The study found two questionable ingredients in Orbs: cinnamaldehyde, a toxic insecticide, fungicide, corrosion inhibitor, and severe skin irritant; and coumarin, which the FDA banned as a food additive in 1978 and as a cigarette additive in 1997. Since this was only a preliminary study, we don’t know what other chemicals and toxins may be present in Camel, Stonewall, or Ariva dissolvable tobacco products.

In a presentation to ITPC representatives recently, Dr. Wigand said the tobacco companies are doing clinical testing on people without their consent by selling dissolvable tobacco products that have not undergone safety testing. He said that formulas of Camel dissolvable products vary by test market; the Camel dissolvable products being sold in Indianapolis and surrounding counties have the highest levels of nicotine.

I’d like to ask each of you to take action by writing to the attorney general and the FDA. Ask them to remove dissolvable products from our stores and test them for safety.

Write to the attorney general at Consumer Protection Division, 302 West Washington Street, 5th Floor, Indianapolis, IN 46204 or call 317-232-6330.

Submit comments online to the FDA through or by mail to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

Star Supports Smoke-Free Indy Movement

In State News on October 5, 2009 at 7:27 am

The Indianapolis Star published this editorial this weekend supporting policy change that would ban smoking in all businesses in Indianapolis, including bars and private clubs. A change for the better in Indianapolis would support changes in other cities in town throughout the state that could result in healthier workplaces for thousands of people and reduce healthcare costs as well.