Archive for December, 2009|Monthly archive page

Smoking Endangers Your Pets

In Local News on December 30, 2009 at 9:29 am

Dogs in smoking households have a 60% greater risk of lung cancer.

Secondhand smoke exposure is linked to cancer, allergies, and respiratory problems in dogs and lymphoma in cats.

The ASPCA lists tobacco smoke as a toxin to pets.

Particles from the more than 4,000 toxic chemicals and gases in secondhand smoke gt trapped in pets’ coats and ingested when they groom themselves.

Nicotine from secondhand smoke can have a detrimental effect on the nervous systems of cats and dogs.

Protect your pets. Get free help to quit smoking by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW. There’s never been a better time to quit.


Bar Owner Wants Smoke-Free Law

In State News on December 17, 2009 at 9:20 am

This letter addressed to Indianapolis Mayor Ballard was published on

Dear Mayor Ballard,

My name is Michael Quarto. I’m a Cathedral graduate and the proud owner of The Mousetrap. As I’m sure you know, we are one of Indianapolis’ older establishments, having opened in 1957. I bought the place in 2002 and have revamped it quite a bit. I hope you’ll stop by for a bowl of our famous Hot Stew sometime.

The reason for my letter is our absolute need for a smoking ban. If you were in The Mousetrap on a weekend night, you might think I was crazy to want this, as 70-80% of our customers smoke at some point through the night. Through conversations with some of our regular customers, I’ve been told “I’ll never come in here if we can’t smoke” and “we’ll all go to private clubs or each others’ houses”. They are all bluffing.

The fact of the matter is a few of them will stay away for a week or two, even a month. They will come back! Not only will they come back, but also dozens of new customers will join them. For every customer who swears he’ll boycott the bars there are 3 who just will not enter a bar strictly because of the smoke. Most bar owners would prefer to be smoke free right now, but with a very few exceptions, it would be a financial disaster to be the lone non-smoking place. It needs to be all of us. I have read the studies from many of the other cities that have implemented a ban, and they all show relative growth after a minor initial lull, if any lull at all. I’m sure Indianapolis would follow suit.

I, like many others, do have reservations about some of the restrictions though. We have to give reasonable consideration to smokers, because it is still legal and they do have the right to smoke. I believe there are many ways to make these concessions, but we must remove the “25 foot” rule. I cannot imagine the problems that it could cause Downtown or in Broad Ripple, as well as many of our other public venues and facilities. The Convention Center also comes to mind when thinking about a ban.

Losing out on a major convention because a few CEO’s want a place to smoke a good cigar would be a big problem. Most places have more than one entrance. I see no reason why we couldn’t designate “smoke-free entrances”. Also, taking a patron 25 feet from a business provides little options in comfort. Not many places can provide seating, heat and ashtrays that far from their establishment. We need to allow for a reasonably comfortable and convenient area for smokers.

Another issue that obviously concerns business owners on the border of our city is the potential loss of business to a place right down the street, but outside the county line. We must put pressure on these counties to join Marion County’s effort to better serve its constituents. In many other senses, our surrounding counties are very much a part of the Indianapolis community, and they should be required, or at least persuaded to be a part of this necessary endeavor.

This is the right thing to do for our workers, our citizens and the future of our city. Indianapolis has been left behind in the past. We have overcome it to become a major city with ambitious goals and in order to keep it that way we must progress with the rest of the country. A few short years ago I joined many others in denouncing a smoking ban. I was wrong, and if you look around, I’m not alone. Many of us have come to our senses. Our city needs this immediately, and the vast majority of your constituents, including “small business owners” would agree.

Thank you very much for your time and concern.


Michael Quarto, owner Mousetrap Music, Sports Pub and Game Room

Fact for Life #262

In State News on December 11, 2009 at 9:36 am

Indiana currently spends $11.8 million annually ($10.8 million in state funds and a $1 million federal grant) on tobacco prevention and cessation programs. This is only 15% of the CDC’s funding recommendation of $78.8 million.

Source: Tobacco-Free Kids annual report on states’ funding of tobacco prevention programs: A Broken Promise To Our Children: The 1998 State Settlement 11 Years Later.

“Facts for Life,” brief e-mail messages that provide statistics on the toll of tobacco on Hoosiers and the State of Indiana, are presented by Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation.

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

National Report: Indiana Ranks 29th in Protecting Kids from Tobacco

In State News on December 9, 2009 at 10:42 am

Indiana has cut state funding for tobacco prevention programs by 28 percent in the past year and currently ranks 29th in the nation in funding programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit, according to a national report released today by a coalition of public health organizations.

Indiana currently spends $11.8 million a year on tobacco prevention and cessation programs, including $10.8 million in state funds and a $1 million federal grant. This total is just 15 percent of the $78.8 million recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Last year, Indiana ranked 28th, spending $16 million on tobacco prevention.

Other key findings for Indiana include:

  • In the past year, Indiana has cut state funding for its tobacco prevention program by 28 percent, from $15.1 million to $10.8 million.
  • Indiana this year will collect $622 million from the 1998 tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend less than two percent of it on tobacco prevention programs.
  • The tobacco companies spend $426.2 million a year to market their products in Indiana. This is 36 times what the state spends on tobacco prevention.

The annual report on states’ funding of tobacco prevention programs, titled “A Broken Promise to Our Children: The 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 11 Years Later,” was released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation program has contributed to significant declines in tobacco use. Between 2000 and 2008, smoking declined by 42 percent among Indiana high school students (from 31.6 percent to 18.3 percent) and by 58 percent among middle school students (from 9.8 percent to 4.1 percent). However, Indiana still has one of the highest adult smoking rates in the nation at 26.1 percent. Every year, another 8,600 Indiana kids become regular smokers, and tobacco use claims 9,700 lives and costs the state $2.1 billion in health care bills.

“Indiana has made significant progress in the fight against tobacco, but Indiana this year has taken a step backward and cut state funding for tobacco prevention by more than a quarter,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “Indiana’s progress in reducing tobacco use is at risk unless state leaders restore funding for tobacco prevention. Even in these difficult budget times, tobacco prevention is a smart investment that reduces smoking, saves lives and saves money by reducing tobacco-related health care costs.”

Eleven years after the 1998 state tobacco settlement, the new report finds that the states this year are collecting record amounts of revenue from the tobacco industry, but are spending less of it on tobacco prevention. Key national findings of the report include:

  • The states this year will collect $25.1 billion from the tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend just 2.3 percent of it – $567.5 million – on tobacco prevention programs. It would take less than 15 percent of their tobacco revenue to fund tobacco prevention programs in every state at CDC-recommended levels.
  • In the past year, states have cut funding for tobacco prevention programs by more than 15 percent, or $103.4 million.
  • Only one state – North Dakota – currently funds a tobacco prevention program at the CDC-recommended level.
  • Only nine other states fund prevention programs at even half the CDC-recommended amount, while 31 states and DC are providing less than a quarter of the recommended funding.

The report warns that the nation’s progress in reducing smoking is at risk unless states increase funding for programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit. The United States has significantly reduced smoking among both youth and adults, but the CDC’s most recent survey showed that smoking declines among adults have stalled.

Currently 20 percent of high school students and 20.6 percent of adults smoke. Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S., killing more than 400,000 people and costing $96 billion in health care bills each year. Every day, another 1,000 kids become regular smokers – one-third of them will die prematurely as a result.

More information, including the full report and state-specific information, can be obtained at

RJ Reynolds Uses Direct Mail Promotion for Tobacco Product Samples

In Local News on December 7, 2009 at 12:46 pm

This letter to the editor was written by Dave Newgent of Owen County Family YMCA.

It seems that RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company has started using allegedly unsolicited direct mailing to promote their untested, unhealthy tobacco products to homes throughout Indiana.   Due to Indiana’s high use of tobacco products, the manufacturer has targeted our state as a “test market” area for their products.

On Friday, the YMCA was notified that a lady in Terre Haute found product samples in her mailbox addressed to her daughter.   On Wednesday, a similar sample was found in the YMCA with some of the product missing.   Could it be that minors had found a mail sample and tried it with their friends at the YMCA?   And after an alert about this new onslaught was sent to our Spencer-Owen Schools, a teacher living in Bloomington emailed that she had received tobacco samples at her residence.

Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the United States; surpassing traffic accidents and murder combined.   And now, it seems, that RJ Reynolds is mailing their deadly free samples right to your mailbox.   If you do receive these products, please make sure they are out of the reach of children.   The Poison Control Center has already released a bulletin on some of these products because they resemble candy and overuse can cause poisoning, especially in children.

Could this be yet another perfect example of the concern the tobacco companies have for the health of you and your family?

Moms-to-be Smoke Less After Workplace Smoking Ban

In National News on December 4, 2009 at 8:42 am

Ireland’s implementation of a workplace smoking ban in 2004 appears tied to a decline in maternal smoking rates as well as lower risk for preterm births, study findings hint.

Compared with the year prior to the smoking ban, 12 percent fewer women reported smoking during pregnancy in the year after the ban, Dr. Zubair Kabir, of the Tobacco Free Research Institute in Dublin, Ireland, and colleagues report.

Their study, in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, also revealed “a welcome sign,” Kabir’s team notes. They observed 25 percent lower risk for preterm births in the year after the smoking ban compared with the year prior to the ban.

Kabir and colleagues analyzed records at Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital to assess whether Ireland’s workplace smoking ban altered smoking during pregnancy, a known risk factor for preterm birth and having a low birth weight infant.

Their comparison included 7,593 births in 2003 and 7,648 births in 2005, and allowed for other maternal factors tied to birth risks such as the mother’s age, number of previous births, alcohol intake, blood pressure, and complications during pregnancy.

Overall, babies with the highest birth weights on average were born to former smokers. By contrast, babies with the lowest birth weights had mothers who smoked during pregnancy.

However, in addition to the noted declines in maternal smoking and preterm birth risk, the investigators also identified 43 percent greater risk for low birth weight in the year after the smoking ban compared with the year prior to the ban.

This finding “is intriguing and needs further exploration,” Kabir and colleagues say, particularly in light of evidence that exposures to secondhand smoke during pregnancy may play a role in having babies with low birth weight.

They also call for further exploration of their observed increase in Caesarean delivery rates – from 15.4 in 2003 to 19.5 percent in 2005.

Source: Low birthweight and preterm birth rates 1 year before and after the Irish workplace smoking ban, BJOG. 2009 Oct 13. [Epub ahead of print], Kabir Z, Clarke V, Conroy R, McNamee E, Daly S, Clancy L., Reuters