Posts Tagged ‘secondhand smoke’

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


Smoke-free Air Law Had No Economic Effect On Off-Track Betting Facility

In State News on March 23, 2011 at 7:27 am

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — An Indiana University study found that a smoke-free air law implemented in an Indiana community did not hurt business at the off-track betting facility in that community. The findings, the researchers said, suggest there is “no economic reason for policymakers to exclude OTB facilities from smoke-free legislation.”

Indiana legislators are currently debating a statewide smoke-free air law. Exceptions could include casinos and other gaming venues. Jon Macy, assistant professor in IU’s School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation and lead author of the study, said past research has shown that smoke-free laws do not negatively affect businesses, but the findings concerning gambling facilities have been mixed.

“Prior research has very clearly demonstrated that laws prohibiting smoking in public places and workplaces have no negative economic consequences in multiple industries,” Macy said. “Our study is one of the first to find that this holds true for gaming facilities as well.”

The study, published online on Tuesday by the journal Tobacco Control, compared per capita “handle,” or the amount gamblers spent per number of people living in the county, for three Indiana OTBs from 2002 to 2009. The OTBs were located in Fort Wayne, which in 2007 implemented a smoke-free air law in all workplaces, including gambling facilities, and in Indianapolis and Merrillville, where smoking is permitted at the facilities.

The study found that the per capita handle in all three facilities declined at a similar rate during this period, with unemployment rates proving to be a significant predictor of the per capita handle. As unemployment rates increased, per capita handle decreased. There was no change in the trend in per capita handle after the Fort Wayne location went smoke-free or in the two control locations that continued to allow smoking.

“Given the well-established negative health consequences of secondhand smoke exposure, strong policies should be enacted to protect workers and patrons at gaming facilities from exposure to secondhand smoke,” the authors wrote in their study, ‘The impact of a local smoke-free law on wagering at an off-track betting facility in Indiana.’ “These strong public health policies can be implemented without fear of negative economic consequences.”

Co-author of the study was Ericka L. Hernandez, Department of Statistics in IU’s College of Arts and Sciences.

The article is available online at

Daviess County Residents Call For Statewide Smoke-Free Air Law

In Local News on March 18, 2011 at 10:59 am

WASHINGTON, Ind. (March 16, 2011) – Daviess County residents are calling for Indiana legislators to pass a law that would make all workplaces in Indiana smoke-free, including restaurants, bars, and casinos. It makes sense medically and economically – and it’s just the right thing to do, agreed a panel of expert speakers at last night’s Smoke-Free Air Forum in the Washington High School Library.

“We cannot in all good conscious allow (secondhand smoke) to hurt our community,” said Rev. Lennie Lawrence of Christ United Methodist Church, pointing out that lower income families, African Americans, and women suffer most of the health effects of secondhand smoke exposure and smoking.

The panel discussion started with Marilyn McCullough of Thompson Insurance talking about the economic costs of secondhand smoke to businesses. Not only does going smoke-free lower health insurance costs, it increases productivity.

“If you allow your smoking employees four 10-minutes breaks every day, they actually work three weeks less per year than your nonsmoking employees,” said McCullough.

Also, businesses can save $190 per 1,000 square feet per year in maintenance costs if they are smoke-free, she said.

Many bar owners are concerned that a smoke-free law would cause them to lose business. But bars and restaurants are already under many safety and health regulations regarding sanitation and cleanliness, and smoke-free regulations fall in that same category, said McCullough.

Bars and restaurants in Hoosier cities that have enacted local smoke-free ordinances and in the 28 states with smoke-free laws have not lost business, and some have actually gained because non-smokers are the majority, she continued. Those studies that may contradict this information are closely tied to the tobacco industry and are not as trustworthy as the independent studies that show no negative economic impact from a smoke-free law, she said.

Speaking next on the panel was Jane Norton, RN, with the Daviess County Health Department. She said that secondhand smoke is actually more toxic than the smoke breathed by the smoker, and chemicals from cigarette smoke persist well beyond the time the smoker is in the room. Secondhand smoke cannot be contained in separated rooms or removed with ventilation systems, and no amount of secondhand smoke is safe, she said.

“Secondhand smoke laws need to be 100% to be effective,” she said.

Next to speak was Valerie Roark, a respiratory therapist who manages the cardiopulmonary, neurodiagnostics, and sleep diagnostics department at Daviess Community Hospital. She said that secondhand smoke causes many diseases in nonsmokers, including heart disease, lung disease, and cancer. A smoke-free law that covers all workplaces drastically reduces heart attacks, she said.

“That’s huge! Smoking bans can have a substantial impact on public health,” she said, “and it’s measured in human lives.”

Rev. Lawrence finished the panel discussion by talking about his own experience with secondhand smoke. Both of his parents died from smoking, and he quit smoking when his children were young. But because of exposure to secondhand smoke during childhood and his own smoking, Lawrence now suffers from multiple health problems including COPD and asthma.

Lawrence also talked about ministering to and consoling families who have lost children, parents, and siblings too early because of the devastating effects of secondhand smoke and smoking.

“Smoking is more than statistics, more than laws; it’s about lives turned inside out,” said Lawrence. “The question was asked, should the business owner be able to make the decision (whether to allow smoking). Let them talk to someone who has felt the effects. It destroys the bottom line of families.”

Lawrence encouraged the audience to tell restaurant owners when they decide to leave an establishment because of the secondhand smoke and to talk to friends and family members about the effects of secondhand smoke.

The evening concluded with presentations of awards to Washington Community Schools and Four Seasons Entertainment Hall.

Sally Petty, coordinator of the Daviess County Tobacco Prevention Coalition, presented the Gary Sandifur Award to Superintendent Bruce Hatton and Assistant Superintendent Becky Dayton in honor of the school’s new policy which prohibits tobacco use by all students, staff, and visitors at all times on all school property. Petty said the policy protects students and school employees from secondhand smoke and helps reduce youth smoking rates by setting a positive example.

Petty also presented the Smoke-Free Business Award to Four Seasons Entertainment Hall in honor of their smoke-free policy. Petty said their policy does a good job of protecting their employees and patrons from secondhand smoke. Dave Crooks of DLC Media accepted the award on behalf of business owner Jason Chapman, who could not be present due to a family emergency. Crooks remarked that Four Seasons’ smoke-free policy did not hinder a crowd of 1,000 people from enjoying a live concert there recently.

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: Don’t you think we need these same benefits in Indiana?

New Surgeon General’s Report Shows Immediate Need for Strong Tobacco Control Programs

In Local News on December 10, 2010 at 12:04 pm

WASHINGTON, Ind. – Local health advocates say a new U.S. Surgeon General’s Report released Thursday provides a stark reminder of how lethal and addictive smoking is for everyone. This report underscores the importance of actions to prevent kids from starting to smoke, help smokers quit and protect everyone’s right to breathe clean air-free.

“Exposure to tobacco smoke causes immediate damage to your body.  The next cigarette you smoke can be the cigarette that is the trigger for a deadly heart or asthma attack, or damage your DNA which can lead to cancer,” says Sally Petty, coordinator of the Tobacco Prevention and Cessation coalitions in Daviess and Pike counties.

The local tobacco prevention coalitions in Daviess and Pike counties have been working hard over the past several years to protect children and adults from the hazards of tobacco smoke. Their accomplishments include:

  • Working with North Daviess, Washington Community and Pike Central schools to strengthen their tobacco policies and make their entire campuses tobacco-free.
  • Providing Tobacco Education Group, an evidence-based intervention program with a high success rate in helping teens quit using tobacco, as a positive alternative to fines and school suspension for juveniles caught using tobacco in Daviess and Pike counties.
  • Assisting major employers, community organizations, and more than a dozen healthcare clinics in providing cessation support for their employees, clients, and patients.
  • Supporting several local employers in enacting smoke-free workplace policies.
  • Educating adults about available cessation resources, and children about why they should not start using tobacco.

The new report shows biological evidence that suggests each cigarette is doing immediate damage and the sooner the smoker quits, the better. The message is clear; it is important to act now to reduce adult smoking in Indiana.

The report also finds that today’s cigarettes are designed to deliver nicotine more efficiently to the brain, addicting children more quickly and making it harder for smokers to quit. Today’s tobacco products are designed for addiction.

“This report stresses the need for a strong tobacco prevention and cessation program like we have had for the last 10 years in Indiana. Reducing tobacco use is one of the most effective ways to protect our state’s health and prevent deadly and costly diseases such as cancer and heart attacks by preventing kids from starting and helping adults quit,” added Petty.

The Surgeon General’s report details the serious health effects of even brief exposure to tobacco smoke. It concludes that:

  • Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds that are toxic and at least 70 that cause cancer.
  • Every exposure to the cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco smoke can damage DNA in a way that leads to cancer.
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke has an immediate adverse impact on the cardiovascular system, damaging blood vessels, making blood more likely to clot and increasing risks for heart attack and stroke.
  • Smoking makes it harder for women to get pregnant and can cause miscarriage, premature birth and low birth weight.  It also harms male fertility.

According to Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, “There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke.  Every inhalation of tobacco smoke exposes our children, our families, and our loved ones to dangerous chemicals that can damage their bodies and result in life-threatening diseases such as cancer and heart disease.”

It is imperative for Indiana to continue its progress; in 2009, smoking rates declined to an historic low rate of 23.1 percent representing a highly significant downward trend in adult smoking between 2001-2009 (down from 27.4% in 2001 to 23.1% in 2009). Indiana now has 208,000 fewer smokers than just 10 years ago, but nevertheless Indiana still ranks below nearly every other state in the country (Indiana ranks 45 in smoking rate). There are still more than one million smokers in Indiana and the costs continue to mount up.

  • Each year there are 9,700 deaths in Indiana due to tobacco use.
  • There are over 194,000 Hoosiers living with serious tobacco-related illness.
  • The tobacco use burden to the Indiana economy is $7.7 billion in annual costs.
  • Indiana spends a total of $487 million each year on Medicaid payments caused by tobacco use.

The report and related materials can be found at

The Daviess and Pike tobacco prevention coalitions are funded by tobacco master settlement funds through Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation. Their mission is to reduce tobacco-related death and disease by preventing youth from starting, helping tobacco users quit, and reducing public exposure to secondhand smoke. For more information about tobacco-free policies, contact Petty at 812-698-0232 or

Pike Co. Health Fest And Smoke-Free Air Forum A Success

In Local News on November 22, 2010 at 12:20 pm

The Pike Co. Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Coalition hosted the Pike Co. Health Fest at Winslow Community Center Saturday. The Patoka Township Fire Department served a chili lunch, the Pike Co. Health Department gave flu shots, and several groups had informational booths, including Golden Living Center, Pike Co. Dept. of Child Services, Purdue Extension, and the Pike Co. Sheriff’s Department. About 40 people attended the event.

Three speakers talked about secondhand smoke in the workplace and the need for a smoke-free workplace state law. The first speaker was Dr. Fenol with Petersburg Medical Clinic. He talked about how secondhand smoke can cause lung cancer, respiratory disease, heart disease, breast cancer, asthma, and other health problems.

The second speaker was Marilyn McCullough with Thompson Insurance. She talked about how secondhand smoke raises health and building insurance costs and building maintenance costs. She also mentioned studies showing restaurants and bars that go smoke-free do not lose profits and sometimes even become more profitable.

Lastly, Buffy McKinney spoke about her mother, Cheryl Rose, who never smoked but died this spring of lung cancer caused by working in a smoky casino. Buffy also talked about the need for a state law that protects all workers from secondhand smoke.

All three speakers agreed that we should protect workers and the public from secondhand smoke in the same way we protect them from contaminated food and hazardous working conditions.

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:

New Study Finds That Smoking Costs Indiana $7.7 billion Annually

In State News on September 15, 2010 at 12:02 pm

 Here is a news release from the American Lung Association about recently-released study data.

New Study Finds That Smoking Costs Indiana $7.7 billion Annually

For every pack of cigerettes purchased at $5.13 it costs Indiana $15.90.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN — A new study released today by the American Lung Association, and conducted by researchers at Penn State University, finds that helping smokers quit not only saves lives but also offers favorable economic benefits to states.  The study, titled Smoking Cessation: the Economic Benefits, provides a nationwide cost-benefit analysis that compares the costs to society of smoking with the economic benefits of states providing cessation (quit-smoking) coverage.  The study comes at an important time, as important cessation benefit provisions are being implemented at the federal and state levels as a result of healthcare reform legislation.

Each year, tobacco use kills 9,700 people in Indiana, and this new study identifies significant and staggering costs directly attributable to death and disease caused by smoking.  For example, the study finds that smoking results in costs to the Indiana economy of more than $7.7 billion. This includes workplace productivity losses of $2 billion, costs of premature death at $3 billion, and direct medical expenditures of $2.6 billion.

The study also calculates the combined medical and premature death costs and workplace productivity losses per pack of cigarettes.  In Indiana, the retail pack of cigarettes is $5.13.  The costs and workplace productivity losses nationwide equal $15.90.

Smoking is the number one preventable cause of illness and death in Indiana and surveys show that 80 percent of tobacco users want to quit.  Quitting can often take several attempts before a smoker is successful.  Using evidence-based treatments increases smokers’ chances of quitting – but many smokers don’t have access to or don’t know about what kind of treatments are available to them.

“Given this demand, the ALA is redoubling its efforts to work closely with state leaders, health care organizations, educational institutions, and other partners in developing policies and programs to help smokers quit.” Says Bill Stephan, Chairman of the Board for The American Lung Association in Indiana.

In addition to identifying the staggering costs of smoking to the U.S. economy, this new study now provides state governments with compelling economic reasons to help smokers quit.  For example, the study finds that if Indiana were to invest in comprehensive smoking cessation benefits, each would receive, on average, a 19 percent return on investment.  In other words, for every dollar spent on helping smokers quit, states will see on average a return of $1.19. 

“The results of this study are staggering.  Smoking imposes a heavy financial burden on Indiana and in this time of economic crisis, we can no longer afford to supplement this dangerous habit. As a state we need to do better to help our citizens quit smoking,” State Representative Peggy Welch.  Welch is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the State Budget Committee.  She is also a practicing cancer nurse at Bloomington Hospital.

About the Study

Researchers at Penn State University with expertise in health economics and administration performed this cost-benefit analysis using government and other published data.  The analysis compares the costs of providing smoking cessation treatments (including price of medications and counseling and lost tax revenue) to the savings possible if smokers quit (including savings in health care expenditures, premature death costs, and productivity losses).

Funding for the study was provided through an unrestricted research grant from Pfizer Inc.

About the American Lung Association
Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is “Fighting for Air” through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit

Decline In US Adult Smoking Rate Stalled

In National News on September 8, 2010 at 8:53 am

Despite the known dangers of tobacco use, 1 in 5 American adults continues to smoke cigarettes, and 4 in 10 nonsmokers were exposed to cigarette smoke during 2007-2008, according to reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Among children between the ages of 3 and 11 years old, 54 percent were exposed to secondhand smoke. Nearly all (98 percent) children who live with a smoker are exposed and have measureable levels of toxic chemicals from cigarette smoke.

According to the report, the number of adult smokers dropped between 2000 and 2005, but smoking has remained at about 20-21 percent since 2005. In 2009, more men (nearly 24 percent) than women (about 18 percent) smoked and about 31 percent of those living below poverty level smoked. Less than 6 percent of adults with a graduate degree smoke compared to more than 25 percent of adults with no high school diploma.

Further, nearly 90 million non-smoking Americans are exposed to secondhand smoke and have measurable levels of toxic chemicals from cigarette smoke. Black non-smokers are one-third more likely than white smokers, and twice as likely as Mexican-American smokers, to have measurable exposure to tobacco.

“Smoking is still the leading preventable cause of death in this country,” said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “But progress is possible. Strong state laws that protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke, higher cigarette prices, aggressive ad campaigns that show the human impact of smoking and well-funded tobacco control programs decrease the number of adult smokers and save lives.”

In 2009, smoking among adults was lowest in Utah, followed by California. California has had a long-running comprehensive tobacco control program. Adult smoking in California declined by about 40 percent during 1998–2006, and as a result lung cancer in California has been declining four times faster than in the rest of the nation. Maine, New York, and Washington have seen 45–60 percent reductions in youth smoking with sustained statewide efforts. If each state supported comprehensive tobacco control programs for 5 years with CDC recommended levels of funding, an estimated 5 million fewer persons in the country would smoke, resulting in prevention of premature tobacco-related deaths.

The federal government is intensifying its efforts to reduce tobacco use in order to achieve the tobacco use targets in Healthy People 2010 and Healthy People 2020. The 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act gives the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate the manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products and has provided new opportunities to reduce tobacco use.

In addition, the Communities Putting Prevention to Work program provides guidance and funding for states and communities to change policies to prevent tobacco use and protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke. The latter is especially important given that more than half of young children are exposed to secondhand smoke. Children whose parents smoke are twice as likely to smoke themselves, but children who grow up in communities with comprehensive smoke-free laws are much less likely to become smokers.

Smoking cases cancers of the lung, mouth, stomach, pancreas, kidney, colon, cervix, bladder and leukemia, as well as heart attacks, stroke, blindness, pneumonia, emphysema and other lung diseases, and many other health problems. Exposure to secondhand smoke causes sudden infant death syndrome and low birth weight, acute respiratory infections, middle ear disease, exacerbated asthma, respiratory symptoms, and decreased lung function in children. It also causes heart disease and lung cancer in nonsmoking adults.

For more information on tobacco control, visit or Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit for quitting assistance. For state-specific tobacco data, visit CDC’s State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation System at