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Archive for the ‘National News’ Category

Smoke-free Laws Don’t Harm Business

In National News on August 8, 2011 at 9:23 am

The June edition of the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research found that smoke-free laws did not harm business in both rural and urban areas of Kentucky and Ohio. Here is the abstract from the study:

Introduction: Numerous empirical studies have examined the influence of smoke-free legislation on economic activity, with most finding a null effect. The influence could possibly differ
in rural areas relative to urban areas due to differing rates of smoking prevalence and access to prevention and treatment programs. Furthermore, the discussion of the effectiveness of smoke-free laws has been extended to consider local ordinances relative to statewide laws. This study examines these issues using
21 local laws in Kentucky and the Ohio statewide smoke-free law.

Methods: The number of employees, total wages paid, and number of reporting establishments in all hospitality and accommodation services in Kentucky and Ohio counties were documented, beginning the first quarter 2001 and ending the last quarter of 2009. A generalized estimating equation timeseries design is used to estimate the impact of local and state smoke-free laws in Kentucky and Ohio rural and urban
counties.

Results: There is no evidence that the economies in Kentucky counties were affected in any way from the implementation of local smoke-free laws. There was also no evidence that total employment or the number of establishments was influenced by the statewide law in Ohio, but wages increased following the implementation of the law. Furthermore, there is no evidence that either rural or urban counties experienced a loss of economic activity following smoke-free legislation.

Conclusions: The study finds no evidence that local or state smoke-free legislation negatively influences local economies in either rural or urban communities.

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CDC MMWR Report Shows Decrease Of Smoking In Movies

In National News on July 15, 2011 at 8:38 am

The CDC Office on Smoking and Health recently released a data relating to a new study, which is the first to compare major motion picture companies that have adopted a tobacco reduction policy to those without such a policy. Reducing smoking incidents in movies is important because studies have found that 44% of youth smoking initiation can be attributed to viewing tobacco incidents in movies.

MMWR Highlights Changes in Onscreen Smoking Incidents in Youth-Rated Movies (2005 – 2010)
  • Total number of onscreen tobacco incidents in youth-rated movies: 595 in 2010 versus 2093 in 2005
  • Total incidents decreased 71.6% from 2005 to 2010
  • Average number of incidents per youth-rated movie: 6.8 in 2010 versus 20.1 in 2005
  • Average incidents per movie decreased 66.2% from 2005 to 2010
Smoking-Reduction Policies
  • Only three of the six major studios have a published, written smoking reduction policy in place.
  • Those studios had reductions in tobacco use depictions in youth-rated movies between 2005 –2010 ranging from 91.5% to 98.9%.
  • The three major studios and Independent studios with no published, written smoking reduction policy had reductions ranging from 26.4% to 62.7% in the same time period.

Read it for yourself here: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/

 

Report Finds Smokers Consider Quitting Due To Graphic Health Warnings On Packages

In National News on June 1, 2011 at 7:31 am

Health warnings on cigarette packages prompt smokers to think about quitting, according to a 14-nation study. Effective warning labels as a component of comprehensive tobacco control can help save lives by reducing tobacco use, said a report released by CDC.

The study, published in yesterday’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, finds adult usage of manufactured cigarettes varied widely in the 14 countries surveyed: Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Mexico, Philippines, Poland, the Russian Federation, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay and Vietnam.

Among men, prevalence ranged from 9.6 percent (India) to 59.3 percent (Russian Federation). Among women, prevalence was highest in Poland (22.9 percent) and less than 2 percent in Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) was conducted once in each of the 14 countries between 2008-2010 by national governments, ministries of health, survey implementing agencies and international partners through face-to-face personal interviews using electronic data collection.

“Tobacco kills more than 5 million people a year – more than HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria combined – and will kill more than 1 billion people in this century unless urgent action is taken,” said CDC director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Warning labels motivate smokers to quit and discourage nonsmokers from starting, are well accepted by the public, and can be effectively implemented at virtually no cost to governments.”

According to the report, the vast majority of men that use manufactured cigarettes noticed package warning labels-more than 90 percent of men in all countries except India (78.4 percent) and Mexico (83.5 percent). Among women, more than 90 percent in seven of the 14 countries reported noticing package warnings, and at least 75 percent in 12 of 14 countries reported noticing a package warning.

Among those who noticed package warnings, data suggest there was substantial interest in quitting because of the warnings. Prominent, pictorial warnings are most effective in communicating the harms of smoking, and use of such warnings is strongly encouraged by CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO).

At the time the surveys were conducted, five of the 14 countries participating in the survey had adopted pictorial warnings already. Since that time, four additional countries have passed legislation requiring pictorial warnings.

The World Health Organization has developed MPOWER, a package of strategies to reduce global tobacco use. Among the six elements outlined in the MPOWER package, the WHO has identified the following strategies as “best buys,” or high impact cost-effective initiatives, due to the impact these strategies can have to prevent tobacco initiation, increase cessation, and reduce public acceptance of tobacco use: price increases; smoke-free policies; bans or comprehensive restrictions on tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship, and provision of tobacco-related health information via mass media campaigns and graphic health warnings to the public.

On May 31, many countries observed World No Tobacco Day – an annual event sponsored by WHO – to help raise public awareness of the dangers of tobacco use. This year′s theme is “The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).”

The FCTC is an international global public health treaty adopted by the World Health Assembly in 2003 to address the global burden of tobacco. Article 11 of the FCTC requires health warnings on tobacco product packages sold in countries that have ratified the treaty.

Launched in February 2007, GATS is a nationally representative household survey of all non-institutionalized, men and women ages 15 years old and older. The GATS is intended to enhance the capacity of countries to design, implement, and evaluate tobacco control and prevention programs. Funding for GATS is provided by the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use and is conducted in partnership with the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, CDC Foundation, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, World Health Organization, and the World Lung Foundation.

For an online version of the MMWR report, visit http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr. For information on World No Tobacco Day, visit http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco, and for additional information and materials, including posters, visit WHO’s Tobacco Free Initiative at http://www.who.int/tobacco/en/.

Smoke-Free Environments Linked to Less Breast Cancer

In National News on April 19, 2011 at 8:13 am

States with more workplace bans, non-smoking homes have fewer cases of the disease

FRIDAY, March 18 (HealthDay News) — Women in smoke-free homes and workplaces are less likely to develop or die from breast cancer, new research shows. U.S. researchers compared rates of non-smoking homes and workplaces with state-specific rates of breast cancer incidence and death. States with higher numbers of smoke-free homes and workplaces had significantly fewer breast cancer deaths, particularly among younger premenopausal women.

Researchers estimate that about 20 percent of the change in breast-cancer death rates is due to changes in smoke-free home and workplace policies. The study by researchers in the department of health behavior at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., was released online March 12 in advance of publication in an upcoming print issue of the journal Tobacco Control.

” While the evidence for secondhand smoke and breast cancer risk remains controversial, this study demonstrates a very strong inverse correlation. States with higher percentages of women working and living in smoke-free spaces have lower breast cancer rates. This study provides yet another reason for people to stop smoking and avoid secondhand smoke exposure,” said K. Michael Cummings.

More information: The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about secondhand smoke and cancer.– Robert Preidt SOURCE: Roswell Park Cancer Institute, news release, March 16, 2011

U.S. Military Takes Tough Line Against Tobacco

In National News on January 31, 2011 at 9:53 am

Check out this article written that was published by The Sacramento Bee. 

Three improvised bombs exploded last Easter outside a Baghdad government building, and Sgt. 1st Class Malcolm Russell, an Elk Grove Army reservist deployed in Iraq, was on high alert, his adrenaline pumping.

When calm finally arrived, Russell reached for a pack of smokes, lit up and inhaled. “I’ll never forget that drag, with the hair-raising moments we had. It brought down the stress,” he said.

Russell, 34, has lived the horrors of war, but it is his addiction to cigarettes, he said, that has been the toughest battle of all.

When it comes to quitting, “I’m trying to win the war. Sometimes it feels like I’m losing the battle,” said Russell, who is back home and, two weeks ago, began a smoking cessation class at Mercy General Hospital, where he oversees security.

The U.S. military vowed to join the national fight against smoking, saying it is stepping up its efforts to help military personnel kick their tobacco habits.

Earlier this month, the Navy banned smoking inside submarines. It was the latest sign of a cultural sea change within the U.S. armed services after years of condoning the cigarette addictions of generations of enlisted men and women.

Until the Vietnam War, cigarettes were part of military meal rations: a few smokes served with green tins containing breakfast, lunch or dinner.

These days, the anti-smoking message is plastered across bases and websites that urge the country’s 2.2 million warriors to battle their cravings for tobacco, even offering online poker and video games to help soldiers ward off cravings for cigarettes.

Last June, the government’s health plan for military families, TRICARE, launched a telephone help line to dispense anti-smoking advice and counseling.

Under pressure from public health officials and anti-tobacco forces, who say smoking drains military budgets and undermines combat readiness, the Department of Defense has vowed it will eventually go tobacco-free. But the Pentagon has yet to say when.

“There’s been a long history of the tobacco industry integrating itself in the culture of the military,” said Dr. Darryl Hunter, a radiation oncologist who treated military personnel, many of them smokers, for nine years at Travis Air Force Base before going to work for Kaiser Permanente in Roseville.

“Tobacco is the single largest cause of loss of life and health-related expenditures,” said Hunter, who is also an Air Force reservist.

In 2006, military hospitals provided $564 million in services for tobacco-related conditions. The Department of Veterans Affairs spent more than $5 billion in 2008 to treat pulmonary disease, much of it traced to smoking.

While the smoking rate among military personnel has plunged over the years, from 51 percent in 1980 to 30 percent today, it remains at least 10 percent higher than that of civilians.

The proportion of smokers is even higher among military personnel deployed overseas, particularly to such volatile regions as Iraq and Afghanistan, where cigarettes help relieve the stresses of combat and the tedium of duty.

In 2007, the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs asked the national Institute of Medicine to suggest ways to reduce tobacco use among the enlisted and veterans.

The result was a 2009 report that urged the U.S. military to take the war on tobacco more seriously and produce a comprehensive strategy to curb the use of cigarettes, chew and other tobacco products.

The Navy responded in April by announcing a ban on smoking in submarines.

“Despite our atmosphere purification technology, there are unacceptable levels of secondhand smoke in the atmosphere of a submerged submarine,” Vice Admiral John Donnelly said last year.

Dr. Michael Fiore, a former major in the U.S. Army and director of the Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention at the University of Wisconsin, acknowledged the military’s progress but said it needs to do more.

“Veterans who smoke survive the battlefield,” he said, “only to come back home and die from disease, such as lung cancer, heart attacks, strokes, emphysema – the list goes on.”

FDA To Require Substantial Equivalence Reviews For New Tobacco Products

In National News on January 7, 2011 at 12:24 pm

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced this week that certain tobacco products introduced or changed after Feb. 15, 2007 must be reviewed by the agency. In FDA guidance, the agency outlines a pathway for marketing a product whereby the company marketing the product must prove that it is “substantially equivalent” to products commercially available on Feb. 15, 2007.  

“Substantially equivalent” means the products must be the same in terms of ingredients, design, composition, heating source and other characteristics to an existing, single predicate product or have different characteristics, but not raise different questions of public health. This specific part of the law is meant to ensure that new tobacco products are evaluated by the FDA before they are cleared to enter the marketplace. The law requires FDA to carefully examine the impact those products may have on the public health,” said Lawrence R. Deyton, M.S.P.H., M.D., director of the agency’s Center for Tobacco Products. “Products that are equivalent to those which were on the market on February 15, 2007, may be cleared to go to market; those that are not may be prohibited from the market, or withdrawn if they are already available, if the changes raise different questions of public health.”

“This piece of the Tobacco Control Act protects the health of all Americans,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “It does this by setting a clear deadline for tobacco companies to provide important product information to the FDA so the agency can then begin evaluating tobacco products for any potential new risks to public health.”

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which became law June 22, 2009, granted the FDA regulatory authority over tobacco products. Generally, the law allows the FDA to deny applications for new products if marketing the product poses a harm to public health.

FDA may deny applications for substantial equivalence if the marketing of that modified product would raise different questions of public health. An example would be a product that poses an increased health risk to users of the product or to nonusers by causing more of them to start smoking.

In general, in order to continue to market these products, manufacturers of tobacco products that were introduced or changed after Feb. 15, 2007, which include cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco and all smokeless products must apply for equivalency by Mar. 22, 2011. Manufacturers intending to introduce new products into the market after that date must submit an application for the new product and obtain a marketing order from the FDA before introducing the product to market.

“No known existing tobacco product is safe, and a market order issued by the FDA for these products should never be interpreted as such” said Deyton. “One of the FDA’s missions required by this new law is to ensure new products do not pose an increased threat to the American public. These products will not be safer, but we are required by this law to not allow even more dangerous products to cause further harm to those Americans who use tobacco products.”

FDA also intends to issue guidance on materials the agency believes would show that a tobacco product was on the market on Feb. 15, 2007, as well as hold a Webinar Series in order to provide more assistance to manufacturers.
Information on the Webinar Series (available soon) and application process details and answers to questions can be found here.

The FDA welcomes public comment on this issue. Go to www.regulations.gov and insert docket number FDA-2010-N-0646 into the “search” box and follow the prompts.

Air Quality Improves With Smoking Ban

In National News on December 17, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Air quality in Wisconsin has improved dramatically since their smoke-free workplace law went into effect: http://www.jsonline.com/features/health/111974549.html. Don’t you think we need these same benefits in Indiana?

South Dakota Voters Approve Smoke-Free Law

In National News on November 4, 2010 at 11:40 am

Check out this statement from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:

The people of South Dakota delivered a historic victory for health and the right to breathe clean air by overwhelmingly approving Referred Question 12 that makes almost all workplaces, including restaurants, bars and gaming facilities, smoke-free. With bipartisan support, South Dakota is the 29th state to pass a strong smoke-free law that includes all restaurants and bars.

We applaud the leadership and persistence of the many individuals and organizations who have championed the ballot measure, which clears the way to implement a law approved by the Legislature and Governor Mike Rounds in March 2009. The voters have done the right thing to protect workers and the public from the serious health hazards of secondhand smoke.

The South Dakota vote underscores the strong public support for action to reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke. It adds to the growing momentum across the country and around the world to protect everyone’s right to breathe smoke-free air. With the addition of South Dakota, more than 63 percent of Americans will be protected by strong smoke-free laws that include restaurants and bars. No one should have to put their health at risk in order to earn a paycheck or enjoy a night out.

South Dakota joins 28 other states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico in passing smoke-free legislation that covers restaurants and bars. The states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.

Background on Secondhand Smoke and Smoke-Free Laws

The need for protection from secondhand smoke in all workplaces and public places has never been clearer. In issuing a groundbreaking report on secondhand smoke in June 2006, U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona stated, “The debate is over. The science is clear: Secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance, but a serious health hazard that causes premature death and disease in children and nonsmoking adults.”

Secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including at least 69 carcinogens. The Surgeon General found that secondhand smoke is a proven cause of lung cancer, heart disease, respiratory illnesses, low birth weight and sudden infant death syndrome.  The Surgeon General also found that secondhand smoke is responsible for tens of thousands of deaths in the United States each year, there is no safe level of exposure, and only smoke-free laws provide effective protection.

The evidence is also clear that smoke-free laws protect health without harming business. As the Surgeon General concluded, “Evidence from peer-reviewed studies shows that smoke-free policies and regulations do not have an adverse impact on the hospitality industry.”

It’s time for every state and community to protect everyone’s right to breathe clean air.

U.S. Needs To Learn From Scotland’s Smoke-Free Air Law

In National News on September 21, 2010 at 9:38 am

The New England Journal of Medicine recently published information from a study in Scotland showing the impact of that country’s smoke-free law on reducing hospital admissions for childhood asthma. This new study shows yet another benefit of smoke-free laws — reducing emergency hospitalizations for childhood asthma, thus saving lives and healthcare dollars. Here are a few of the key lessons we can learn from Scotland:

  • With more than half of American kids aged 3-11 still exposed to secondhand smoke, this added benefit of smoke-free laws is especially important.
  • Studies in the U.S. have shown similar effects, which are not surprising given the impact of secondhand smoke on asthma and the success of smoke-free laws in reducing exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Aside from reducing kids’ exposure to secondhand smoke in public places, smoke-free laws appear to prompt more people, including smokers, to make their homes smoke-free — thereby even further reducing kids’ exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Strong smoke-free laws protect everybody’s right to breathe clean air and protect workers and patrons from the 4,000 chemicals, including more than 60 carcinogens, in secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke is a proven cause of cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses, including the exacerbation of childhood asthma. 

Here are links to AP and USA Today stories on this study:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/15/AR2010091505209.html

http://www.usatoday.com/yourlife/health/medical/pediatrics/2010-09-16-asthma16_st_N.htm

FDA Warns E-Cigarette Makers, Moves To Regulate Products

In National News on September 10, 2010 at 10:18 am

Yesterday, the FDA sent warning letters to five electronic cigarette distributors for various violations of the FDCA, including unsubstantiated health claims and poor manufacturing practices.  The FDA also stated that it has determined that electronic cigarette products are subject to FDA regulation as drugs, which means they would have to comply with the FDA’s drug approval process and meet the same safety, efficacy and manufacturing standards as other drugs.

Here is a statement that was released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

FDA Takes Appropriate Action to Regulate Electronic Cigarettes And Protect Public Health

WASHINGTON, DC (September 9, 2010) – We applaud the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for taking appropriate enforcement action today against five distributors of electronic cigarettes for various violations of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), including unsubstantiated claims and poor manufacturing practices.

The FDA appropriately has asserted authority under the FDCA to regulate electronic cigarettes, which deliver the powerfully addictive drug nicotine and have been marketed with unsubstantiated claims that they can help smokers quit or are less harmful than regular cigarettes. The FDA also issued warnings about shoddy and dangerous manufacturing practices and the use of electronic cigarettes as delivery devices for an erectile dysfunction drug and a weight loss drug that has not been approved for use in the United States.

As the FDA noted today, for a drug product to gain FDA approval, a company must demonstrate to the agency that the product is safe and effective for its intended use and adheres to good manufacturing practices. To protect public health, the FDA must hold electronic cigarettes to the same safety, efficacy and manufacturing standards as other drugs, including nicotine replacement products.

No one is suggesting that these products should never be allowed on the market if they meet appropriate safety and efficacy standards. Rather, like other drugs and delivery devices, electronic cigarettes should be regulated to protect public health before they are permitted to be sold to consumers.

More information on the FDA’s enforcement action can be found at: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/PublicHealthFocus/ucm172906.htm.