Fewer Students Smoking Cigarettes in North Carolina

Latest Youth Tobacco Survey conducted in North Carolina found that fewer middle and high school students in the state are smoking cheapest cigarettes. The bad news is that more students use other More »

Chinese Passengers Smoked in Airplane Despite Ban

Recently a group of passengers told that they were on-lookers of a case when a budget airline did not stop passengers from smoking their cigarettes during a flight. The talk is about More »

Illinois May Prohibit Smoking in Beer Gardens

According to Illinois Register,  Illinois Department of Public Health proposed to expand existing smoking ban and prohibit smoking in beer gardens, patios and other outdoor seating zones in the next months after More »

University of Delaware Banned Smoking on Its Campus

The University of Delaware, located in Newark (state of Delaware), told that all its campuses are going to become tobacco-free starting from this month. The initiative came from students who want to More »

Smoking Hookah Still Popular Among Youth

A new study found that a great number of young people think that using hookah will not damage their health. However, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that using hookah has More »

 

Seattle Commissioners to Ban Smoking in Parks

Seattle Park

Park commissioners in Seattle, Washington state, want to prohibit use of cigarettes in all city parks. In case the law would be adopted, smoking is going to be banned in all public zones under the city’s parks’ jurisdiction. However, the law would not make part of the Seattle Municipal Code.

On April 16 there would be organized public hearing in order to give the possibility to speak to all interested parties.

Superintendent Christopher Williams told that they adressed the smoke-free proposal to the Board of Park Commissioners because tobacco use has nothing to do with healthy people and healthy environments. People coming to a park want to relax and enjoy beauty of nature. They want to inhale fresh and clean air, free of tobacco smoke.

If the city passes the smoke-free ordinance, people violating it would receive a warning. In case of repeated violations, they would be banned from visiting the park.

The new smoke-free initiative expands the existing smoking ban adopted back in 2010. The existing law prohibits use of tobacco within 25 feet of other park visitors on playgrounds, beaches.

After public hearing, the Park Board will discuss the issue on May 14, and after that will make a recommendation to the superintendent. The superintendent will have to analyze the recommendation and say his final decision till the end of May.

Another reason which influenced anti-smoker activists to promote the law is the big number of butts on the ground in parks.

According to Matt DeGooyer, executive director of the American Lung Association in Washington, there is no safe level of secondhand smoke and they welcome the new smoke-free initiative in Seattle.

Experts believe that such anti-smoking actions would help to de-normalize smoking in the society. At the same time this will help to create healthy environments for non-smokers, kids and elderly people. Ecologists are especially worried with litter in parks saying that the biggest part of it is butts from cigarettes. For example, during  the 2013 International Coastal Cleanup number one item found on beaches in Washington state was butts.

The list of Washington major cities banning smoking in parks includes Boston, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago.

Smoking Ban in Rock Hill Parks Failed

Smoker in Park

Smokers in Rock Hill city, South Carolina, are delighted that smoking will be allowed in city parks, because City Council rejected proposed smoking ban on Monday.

Totally there are 21 parks and recreation zones in Rock Hill city and the Council was discussing better ways to regulate tobacco use in public places of the city. When came time for voting, 3 council members supported smoking ban in parks while other 3 opposed. As a result, the final decision was not taken and the proposal was sent to further considerations.

The final approval needs the support of majority of City Council, therefore things remain the same and smokers may still light up inRock Hill parks.

Jim Reno, Kathy Pender,  Mayor Doug Echols are those who showed their support for the ban and they welcomed the staff proposals regaring the outdoors ban including the ideas of creating designated areas for smoking. Echols told that they want to make the city smoke-free for everyone and smoking should not be allowed in parks.

Kevin Sutton, John Black, Ann Williamson opposed the ban and voted against it, saying that this measure is too restrictive. Sutton dislikes tobacco smoke, but says that there is enough space in parks for both smokers and non-smokers. The ban goes to extrimes when imposes that policemen should partol trails, she added. The idea to ban smoking on Novant Health BMX Supercross Track and Giordana Velodrome seems a non-sense as smokers would have to walk a mile to light up.

The proposal to prohibit smoking in parks comes from parks and recreation commission. Bev Carroll, the representative of the comission, says that the ban is needed to prevent fires in wooded areas, protect kids from secondhand smoke and reduce litter in parks. Such a bans already are adopted in cities of  Clover and  Charlotte.

According to  Echols, the proposal may be put on agenda in the nearest future in case Council members ask him for that.

Oregon Discusses Benefits of Tobacco Tax Hike

Smoker

Oregon’s State Legislature discusses cigarettes tax increase which is expected to help cover state’s budget deficit and encourage smokers quit.

The bill under the name HB 2555 raises cigarette tax in Oregon by $1.00 per pack, and 20% of revenues from the tax will be used on quit smoking programs. Besides this, transportation programs for senior citizens and Oregon Health Plan will receive the new funding. 40% of money will be directed to counties and cities across Oregon.

On the bill hearing Rep. Alyssa Keny-Guyer showed her support for it and gave the answeres to questions from people presented on the hearing. For example, Rep. Cliff Bentz was curious to know how to deal with smokers who would like to give up their habit but cannot do it due to strong addiction.

He says that those people get no benefit from cigarettes tax hike because existing quit smoking programs have proven to be ineffective for them. In her turn, Keny-Guyer pointed out that namely smokers are those who make their contribution to funding of cessation programs. For example,  the Oregon Health Plan gets cigarette tax funding.

Generally speaking, higher taxes on cigarettes would be beneficial, especially for those wanting to quit. It works just like gas taxes where revenues are used in building roads.

The State law has no provisions which demand funding directed to the Oregon Health Plan by cigarette taxes be used for the health care of ex- and current smokers. There are low chanes that a smoker will ever benefit from a senior transportation program, but everyone will benefit from money sent to fund cities.

As to quitting, experts came to the conclusion that smokers must use several programs to sucessfully quit.

Should Smoking Age be 21?

Young Smoker

Data demonstrates that in 2014 the number of retailers who sold tobacco products to teenagers had increased, not singnificantly but anyway these numbers are alarming. Researchers talk about the necessity to reduce tobacco sales to teens and this will lead to lowering of number of teens who start smoking.

Bob Ferguson,  Attorney General from the US state of Washington, came with a proposal to adopt a law which increases the legal smoking age to 21. A number of state lawmakers showed their support for the proposal.

Increase of legal smoking age will make it more difficult for teens to obtain tobacco products from shops. At the age of 18 many young people still study in high school and it will never do to use tobacco at this age. Also many teens under 18 who look mature go to shops and buy cigarettes without any problem. The new legislation will prevent all those teens from purchasing tobacco.

However, the issue stirred up disputes in the society. When the adulthood begins and when the adolescence ends? People try to find the answers before legislation is officially passed.

Major argument of opposers is that 18-years-old people may join military service and die in a war, they are allowed to vote but cannot make personal choices about their health. Those 18-years-olds are already banned from buying alcohol and now may be banned from buying cigarettes. Opposers say that it means we doubt that young people under 21 are capable to make important personal decisions about their health.

In the USA many cities already increased legal smoking age to 21 and this tendency is growing. Meanwhile, some states in past years have considered lowering their drinking age.  Opposers demand data which proves that raising smoking age would really prevent teens from starting smoking.

E-cigarettes also rise concerns. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention presented recently a report which shows that 10% of high school students use electronic cigarettes and his rate is two times higher than a year before. Therefore anti-smoking activists call to fight their use too.

North Dakota Rejected Tobacco Tax Increase

Smoking Woman

House of Representatives in US state of North Dakota rejected an ordinance to raise taxes on tobacco products from $0.44 to $1.54 per package.

Republican Vicky Steiner voted against the tax increase and explains that she did not support the bill because it affects vulnerable layers of society much more than layers with higher income.

She told that tax increase cannot be justified when a great part of society is so much affected. She also considers that legislation should not dictate people what choices to make and what lifestyle to lead.

Today North Dakota has lowest taxes in the USA and the officials take pride in it.  According to Steiner, increasing a tax is a quite heavy lift in North Dakota.

Michael LaFaive, head of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, told that anti-smoking activists normally provude next reasons for cigarettes tax increase:
1. improvement of public health by making people refuse from an expensive product;
2. new tax will bring more money to state budget.

However, despite those benefits mentioned above, there are some important disadvantages. LaFaive claims that tax increase on tobacco would result in more illegal tobacco products in state. A research showed that for each hundred cigarettes used in North Dakota, additionally are smulgged three ones. The raise of the tax will result in significant increase of use of illegal production.

In order to prevent such consequences of tax increase, more officials voted against it.

One more change accepted in North Dakota is the refusal to treat e-cigarettes same way as regular cigarettes. It means that increase of taxes would not touch these electronic devices.

Nottingham’s Old Market Square May Become Smoke-free

Nottingham's Old Market Square

In English city of Nottingham there was proposed to prohibit smoking on Old Market Square, and if the idea gets necessary support it will be adopted in form of an ordinance. The proposal also includes smoking ban in city’s hospitals and playgrounds.

In the UK, the first city to prohibit tobacco use on its two largest squares is Bristol. Now Nottingham just follws its example. The City Council will take into consideration resident’s opinions on where smoking should be permitted and where not. A representative of Public Health in Nottinghamshire told that before passing any new smoking ban, there is a need to organize public hearings to let residents speak for or against it.

Professor John Britton is a smoking expert, and he says that smoking is not good, and should be reduced in the city. Citizen’s health is a priority and therefore it is necessary to fight smoking in public places. Families with kids would especially enjoy smoke-free environments.

Chris Leslie, the representative of Nottingham East, told that it an absolutely British style to ask someone politely to stop doing something, therefore there is no need to introduce fines for violations.

In Nottingham there are 24.4% of smokers while in the entire country there are 19.5% smokers.

Jane Hunt, Conservative candidate for Nottingham South, does not welcome the initiative as considers that smoking bans on the square would not prevent kids from meeting smokers, because people will be allowed to light up in other public places in the city.

The proposal to make Old Market Square smoke-free would be passed by the  Nottingham City Council if it will be supported by residents. Currently in the city are in place smoking bans at playgrounds.

However, the proposal has some opposers, who consider that it would never do to ban smoking outdoors. Student Carys Thomas says that there is enought space for smokers and non-smokers on Old Market Square.

Authorities say that ban in Nottingham would be similar to ban in Bristol and there would be installed no-smoking signs on the square.

Fewer Smoking Scenes in Movies Nominated for Oscar 2015

Di Caprio Smoking

Would you like to know how much smokier are films nominated for Oscar this year in comparison with past years?

Movies nominated for Oscar in 2014 are a kind of departure from past years when films nominated for Oscar awards normally had more smoking scenes than films as a whole. Generally, the persentage of Oscar-nominated smoking movies remains the same, but the persentage of smoking scenes in films is lower.

Films nominated for Oscar awards make a small part of annual 140-160 best movies. Specialists give an R-rate to movies which have smoking scenes. This helps studio campaigns to protect nominations for less “prestige” movies in hopes of increasing their income.

You may note that past years most among nominated movies were biographical ones. However, in 2014 a small number of movies contained smoking. It was estimated that in 2011-2013, 100 percent of nominated biographical movies had smoking scenes while in 2014 it was only 75 percent.

Among 20 actors nominated for Oscar, 16 have used cigarettes in other movie roles. In 2015 only 5 actors smoked in nominated films, and among them only one role was based on real personality (American Sniper, R), and only one is youth-rated (Boyhood, PG-13).

Smoke Free Movies will continue to R-rate movies with smoking, except biographical movies showing real personages.

Growing Number of Smoke-Free Public Housing

Smoker

Resident Carol Chatham moved in to her apartment in Vestal, New York, in spring 2009 and says that when she was opening her window she usually felt the smell of tobacco smoke.

Carol, aged 71, was a regular smoker in her past. When she moved in her new apartment in a new building, she coulndn’t imagine that she would inhale tobacco smoke again.

She says that all neighbours around her are smokers and it is impossible to escape ftom cigarette smoke.

At his age, after years of smoking and working in a smoking environment, she is concerened about her health. Thus she became anti-smoking activist and adressed the problem of smoking in her housing to Sharon Fischer, Broome County Health Department’s Tobacco Free Broome and Tioga program and its coordinator. The main tasks of the program are educating of housing managers about benefits of smoke-free policies.

As a result, in 2014 the Binghamton Housing Authority banned use of tobacco within 25 feet of next apartment buildings: Saratoga Heights, Saratoga Terrace, Carlisle Apartments. The S.E.P.P. Group’s senior apartments go 100% smoke-free because they are managed by several independent landlords.  Fischer says it is great that these days people are changing their attitude towards tobacco use. She believes that in several years all public housing will become free of smoke.

According to  Liz Williams, who is project manager with Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, nowadays more and more rental units are becoming totally smoke-free. She added that more than 500 public housing authorities have implemented smoke-free policies, which includes both multi-state apartment management companies and individual unit owners. Multifamily housing also joins the trend.

Raise of Awarness about Secondhand Smoke in Kent County

Smoking in Car

Kent County Council in England   said it supports the campaign launched by Pubic Health England to inform people about the hidden negative effects which secondhand smoke may cause to kid’s health. It comes right after the Government prohibited tobacco use in cars where children are present.

Experts claim that secondhand smoke is especially bad to kids and teens, because they do inhale tobacco smoke more rapidly. Due to the fact that their airways are only developing, kids should be expecially prevented from tobacco smoke.

It was extimated that anually around 300,000 kids exposed to secondhand smoke do address to GP consultations and 9,500 are even hospitalized.

In Kent there is registered high smoking rate and data shows that it is even highter than the average across England. Moreover, it is high among pregnant women, particular ethnic groups, routine and manual workers.  Totally there are 240,000 smoing people in Kent.

It was found that smoking habit costs to Kent almost £406million every year, which includes £49million in direct costs to the NHS and £19.5million in social care costs.

Data shows that in England, totally three million kids are exposed to secondhand smoke in cars where their parents smoke. Namely this increases risks of getting  meningitis, asthma and respiratory infections.

British Lung Foundation conducted a survey which showed that 86% of kids who are exposed to smoking in cars would like to ask the smoker to butt out. However, only 31% of them do really ask it.

Graham Gibbens from  Kent County Council isupports the campaign to raise awarness  among people about effects of secondhand smoke on kids. This will help to pretect young people from tobacco smoke.

Portland City Council May Expand Smoking Ban to All Parks

Woman Smoking in Park

City Council in Portland, Oregon, considers the idea of extending tobacco and smoking ban, which exists at Portland Parks & Recreation, to all city parks.

In case the proposal gets the majority of votes, then starting from July 1, 2015, in Portland all natural areas, golf courses, city parks, recreation areas, community centers, trails, and other places belonging to Portland Parks & Recreation would become 100% tobacco and smoke-free.

Portland Parks & Recreation representatives say that today more than 500 cities and towns across the USA have adopted similar laws. It was estimated that among them 64 cities and counties are in Oregon.

In Portland the existing bill bans tobacco use at Pioneer Courthouse Square, Director Park, part of the South Park Blocks on the campus of Portland State University. Besides this people are not allowed to light up at the distance of 25 feet of any picnic table and designated play areas for kids and adults.

According to Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz, the expansion of the tobacco-free plocy would allow to expand anti-smoking message in the city. Not to say, it will help to create a healthy and safe environment for non-smokers, older people, pregnant women and kids.

The proposed law will be applied not only to cigarettes but also to cigars, smokeless tobacco, pipes, e-cigarettes, snuff and even marijuana.

In case City Council adoptes the change, then immediately will begin an information campaign to make people aware about the smoke-free policy.