Tag Archives: anti-smoking

VIEWPOINT: Ads remain a powerful anti-smoking tool

CHICAGO — The harm and destruction caused from tobacco continues to be the leading cause of premature death and disease in our country. It is with that in mind that we take seriously efforts to reduce this tremendous toll across North Dakota and assure that resources are used wisely based on the decades of science-proving effective strategies.

We know that by reducing the number of smokers and future smokers, we can make huge impacts in the harm and destruction caused by tobacco which includes health care costs that we all pay.

In a recent letter regarding tobacco prevention programs in North Dakota, the author criticizes current media messaging around the cost of tobacco to all residents and offers solutions that are not based on science (“Anti-smoking ads insult intelligence,” Page A4, Aug. 30).

ADS REMAIN A POWERFUL ANTI-SMOKING TOOL

ADS REMAIN A POWERFUL ANTI-SMOKING TOOL

Best Practices in Tobacco Control provided by the Centers for Disease Control include a strong media campaign that educates the public about the health hazards of exposure to secondhand smoke, the real cost of the use of tobacco for all citizens and counter marketing.

The current commercial did the job in getting the attention of the viewer by using theatrical exaggeration to inform about the real cost of tobacco.

We know that increasing the price of tobacco is the most effective strategy in reducing tobacco use both for current smokers and youth initiation. Educating everyone about the true cost is important to understanding why North Dakota, having one of the lowest cigarette taxes in the country, should be addressing this important strategy.

The research is based on literally decades of work around the country, which provides the science that lets the coalitions, local district public health units, Center for Tobacco Prevention and Control Policy and the state Health Department in North Dakota focus their resources to truly assure that they are used wisely and effectively.

Ironically, the suggestion given by the author of turning the dollars over to educate children about the dangers of smoking has been proven time and time again as not effective. Some of us remember the call to action by the Surgeon General for a Smoke-free Class 2000, the “Just Say ‘No’” campaign along with many others whose education efforts failed to make needed change.

The smoking rate among the Class of 2000 was one of the highest we have experienced in the country with more than 30 percent of high school students reporting current cigarette use.

Ask any K-12 student if they think smoking is bad. It’s not about them not knowing: it’s about changing what has been made “normal” around smoking. Consider smoke-free airplanes, now the “norm” to the point where few can imagine how smoking on airplanes ever was allowed.

On the other hand, smoke-free laws, increasing the price of tobacco and educating the public on the costs and harms of tobacco have proven highly effective in reducing both the number of people who smoke and how much they smoke and in preventing youth from initiating tobacco use.

The tobacco industry would like nothing better than to waste the tobacco settlement monies on feel-good strategies and ignore Best Practices. The American Lung Association has recognized North Dakota as a shining star in the country for its efforts to put those resources to use in Best Practices based on science, promoting health and wellness for our future.

95% Smokers Can Quit Smoking During Ramadan

A study found that 95 percent of Muslim smokers say it is easier to quit smoking during Ramadan, said Director-General of Health Datuk Dr Hasan Abdul Rahman.

He said the 14-hour fasting indirectly help smokers quit smoking more easily as they could control the urge to smoke.

A crescent moon over palm trees at sunset in Manama, Bahrain, marking the beginning of the Muslim month of Ramadan

A crescent moon over palm trees at sunset in Manama, Bahrain, marking the beginning of the Muslim month of Ramadan

As such, the ministry annually intensify the anti-smoking campaign with the slogan ‘Ramadan the starting point towards quitting smoking.’

Ramadan is an excellent time for smokers to quit the smoking habit,” he said at a ‘Fatwa-Merokok Adalah Haram’ seminar here recently.

Dr Hasan said it will indirectly help reduce government spending of RM3bil annually to treat heart ailments, lung cancer and chronic lung disease.

A World Health Organisation (WHO) report said that over 5mil people worldwide will die from smoking related diseases this year.

Istiqlal mosque in Djakarta

Istiqlal mosque in Djakarta

“This does not include 600,000 non-smokers including 150,000 children who will die from exposure to cigarette smoke,” he said.

By 2030, it is expected that 10mil people will die from smoking with 27,400 death daily or 2,280 deaths hourly or one death every three seconds.

Meanwhile, the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2006 found that 21.5 percent adults or 3mil of the 28mil population are smokers.

“Teenagers aged 13 to 15 years made up 18.2 percent of smokers,” he said adding the ministry strives to help smokers quit via advice, guidance and counseling at health clinics and hospitals.

Hawaii getting used to strict smoking ban

Hawaii, known for its fresh ocean air and pristine beauty, has implemented one of the nation’s strictest no-smoking laws.

State officials say the new law will protect people from secondhand smoke, but some fear it may deter cigarette-puffing tourists from coming to the islands, especially high-spending visitors from Japan.

Barbara McCain smokes a cigarette at the beach bar of the Sheraton Moana Surfrider, in Waikiki.

Barbara McCain smokes a cigarette at the beach bar of the Sheraton Moana Surfrider, in Waikiki.

The Smoke-Free Hawaii Law went into effect Nov. 16, banning smoking in all public places such as restaurants, bowling alleys, and malls, as well as airports.

Many of the islands already had county laws limiting smoking, but lighting up now in partially enclosed areas, bars and less than 20 feet from doorways and windows is illegal.

State officials say comprehensive no-smoking laws in 13 other states and hundreds of cities have helped Americans get used to similar policies.

But some worry international visitors, especially from Japan, the largest group of foreign tourists to Hawaii, won’t immediately adjust or understand the new policies that could result in fines.

Hawaii is selling the law as a clean environment policy, not as a smoking ban, said Marsha Wienert, the state’s tourism liaison. The new rules aren’t needed to protect employees and customers from secondhand smoke.

The outdoor International Marketplace in Waikiki, featuring more than 100 souvenir stands, already posted “no smoking” signs, along with many beachside bars and outdoor hotel sitting areas. Honolulu International Airport has eliminated a designated area in the airport and will now direct all smokers to a few uncovered areas away from the building.

With the ban, Hawaii hotels can only designate 20 percent of their rooms to smokers, but a few chains, including Marriott and Westin, have already eliminated smoking rooms nationwide.

FDA stops short of menthol cigarette ban

Taking menthol cigarettes off the market would benefit public health, the Food and Drug Administration’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee concluded after a year of reviewing the issue.

Panel members stopped short of recommending specific regulatory action by the FDA, such as banning menthol cigarettes, which are preferred by about 30% of smokers overall and 80% of African-American smokers. Minty menthol has been the only cigarette flavor on the market since Congress gave the FDA regulatory authority over tobacco products in 2009.

Newport menthol cigarettes

Newport menthol cigarettes

Although scientific evidence doesn’t suggest menthol cigarettes are more likely to cause smoking-related illnesses than regular cigarettes, their availability probably increases the number of smokers in thegeneral population, particularly African Americans and youths, the committee said in its final report. One contributing factor is manufacturers’ marketing of menthol cigarettes, the report said.

In addition, the report said, African Americans find it more difficult to quit smoking menthol cigarettes than non-menthol cigarettes, the committee said.

“None of us know what the FDA will do,” committee Chairman Jonathan Samet, a preventive medicine professor at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, said after the panel met at the agency’s headquarters.

The FDA has no deadline for taking action related to menthol cigarettes, said Lawrence Deyton, director of the agency’s Center for Tobacco Products.

“We reached a very important milestone today,” Deyton said. “But I need to be very clear that … the report does not set FDA policy.”

Deyton said the agency will conduct its own review of the science related to menthol cigarettes and issue its first “progress report” in about 90 days. The tobacco advisory committee’s findings, he said, won’t have any immediate impact on the availability of menthol cigarettes.

Murray Kessler, president and CEO of Lorillard, which makes top-selling menthol brand Newport, called the advisory panel’s conclusion about menthol cigarettes’ impact on the public health “unsubstantiated.” Kessler predicted that after a lengthy review of the evidence, the FDA won’t ban menthol cigarettes.

Cheryl Healton, president and CEO of Legacy, urged the FDA to act promptly. Legacy, an anti-tobacco advocacy organization, was created as a result of a 1998 settlement in which the tobacco industry agreed to change the way cigarettes are marketed and pay the states about $206 billion.

“Many menthol smokers will likely use a ban on menthol as an opportunity to quit, and it will save their lives,” Healton said. “Without the minty lure of menthol cigarettes, fewer youth will be enticed to take up this deadly addiction.”

Dan Heck, one of three non-voting industry representatives on the advisory committee, questioned the committee’s conclusion that fewer youths will start smoking if menthol cigarettes are banned.

Some countries in which menthols represent less than 1% of the market have higher youth smoking rates than the USA, said Heck, a scientist at Lorillard.

The tobacco industry has long argued that a menthol ban would spur an illegal market. Thursday, Jim Tozzi of the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness, a lobbying organization, told advisory committee members that China produces 400 billion cigarettes a year and would be a likely supplier of contraband menthols.

Samet acknowledged that the issue of contraband menthol cigarettes “needs attention” but was beyond the scope of the advisory committee’s charge.

Most Smoking Fines in Ohio Are Going Unpaid

From May 2007 till April 2011, 2,353 fines were levied by state and local health departments. These fines comprise $2.2 million and were taken from those who have violated the smoking ban. But the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Attorney General’s office have managed to gather only a third of that, a Dayton Daily News analysis of state data found.

The percentage of fines has reduced each year. It was 81 % in 2007 and 26 % in 2010.

no smoking fine

no smoking fine

Consequently, some bar owners have decided not to keep within the law.

It was reported that the majority of bar owners observe the smoking ban by means of not allowing smoking cigarettes indoors. And according to them it is the best way to keep the law effective. But it is easy to find such establishments – they usually violate the ban openly.

Local health officials do not agree with the state’s enforcement efforts because 90 % of the fines collected are directed to investigations. As on April 30, $1.5 million in fines were unpaid.

“I think for an enforcement program to be effective, there has to be a hammer,” said Jim Gross, Montgomery County Health Commissioner. “And it’s pretty clear right now this program does not have an effective penalty system to change that behavior.”

Gross said that the county public health department has levied 158 fines totaling $220,000, but has received only $15,800 in collections from the state. Meanwhile, Gross said, the health district has to use Human Services Levy money to cover the $30,000 a year it costs to investigate complaints.

While Gross and other observers agree that the vast majority of establishments are complying, they admit that some continue to flout the law. When the state starts aggressively collecting those fines, they say, you’ll see the holdouts change their behavior.

Gross said that it is frustrating for many of the local health departments, including ours, to put the time and effort into it and then not be able to bring the enforcement process to a conclusion.

Indeed, violators of the smoking ban are easy to find.

Jacobs who spoke on condition that his bar would not be identified said that approximately 80 percent of the people in the bar smoke. “Some people do not smoke, but they still come in because they like the atmosphere.”

State records demonstrate that the bar has got seven complaints since 2007, although the last one was almost a year ago. It was fined $100 in February 2009.

Jacobs said the bar used to charge customers a quarter for each Altoids mint can offer as an ashtray but quit after collecting $900 in quarters. The tins are now offered free.

Casino Smoking Ban Threatens State Tax Revenues

Tom Swoik of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association considers that the state taxes revenues have decreased $771 million over three years. He added that casinos would accept the smoking on the gambling floor, but restaurants and bars would be the areas where smoking is banned.

However, it was revealed that one Illinois casino earned a profit by another factor. It was in advance of its competitor across the Mississippi River in Iowa. This happened because that casino allowed smoking in its building.

smoking ban sign in casino

smoking ban sign in casino

In January 2008, the Rhythm City casino in Davenport had twice the casino revenues of Jumer’s Casino and Hotel in Rock Island, and the Isle of Capri had more than three times. But the Rock Island site passed ahead of its Iowa neighbor by opening a new casino at the end of 2008 and just barely trailed the Isle of Capri. In March, the Illinois casino announced revenues of $7.65 million in comparison with $4.76 million in the Rhythm City casino and $7 million in the Isle of Capri.

Wes Ehrecke, president of the Iowa Gaming Association, said that people want to go to the new places and that is why they go to the new casinos.

President John Cullerton financed the statewide ban on smoking and is against implementation of exemptions. However, according to his spokesman John Patterson, Cullerton promised to take steps “due consideration”.
Gov. Pat Quinn does not accede with it. He said that to go backwards is not the variant.

South Dakota losses

The smoking ban in Iowa does not include its state-regulated gaming floors and tribal casinos. Wes Ehrecke said that profit would reduce by 20 to 30 percent. It would cost the state $60 to $90 million in tax revenue, if the state were to put into effect smoking ban on the gaming floors.

Last November the statewide smoking ban was approved in South Dakota. Casino operators inform against the fact that this ban has reduced the demand for video lottery in North Sioux City. The video lottery is one of the state’s main sources of revenue and smoking ban forces consumers to go to Sioux City, Iowa, where they can smoke tobacco products and play it.

Sherry LaFleur, owner of Sherry’s Casino in North Sioux City, said that her business has fallen 33 % since the smoking ban in casinos was put into effect.

According to the South Dakota Lottery, video lottery revenues from the time the ban took effect through mid-April were $78.9 million, down 17 percent during the same period a year earlier.

In the St. Louis, six casinos strive for business, including the Casino Queen in East St. Louis and another in Alton.

The operators of Casino Queen reported that they had lost 20 percent of profit since the Illinois smoking ban came into force.

State Anti-Smoking Funds May Soon Be Cut

In 2006 voters in Ohio spoke loudly and clearly that they supported a smoking ban.

The smoking ban came into force in 2007. Since then, in accordance with the Ohio Department of Health , 6,711 citations have been issued, including warnings.

Now some worry state budget cuts may prevent efforts to efficaciously carry out that ban.

smoking cessation sign

smoking cessation sign

In Governor John Kasich’s suggested budget, by fiscal year 2013, anti-tobacco funding will be eliminated. That is unless the Ohio Department of Health comes up with another methods to pay for it.

During the past few years, the state has spent $1.16 million yearly from the Tobacco Settlement Fund to maintain local health departments to examine and carry out the state’s smoking ban.

In Governor Kasich’s suggested budget, come July 1, money won’t be given to health departments. In July 2012, unless other ways are found, all state anti-tobacco funds will be removed.

Dr. Rob Crane, M.D., who was co-establisher of Smokefree Columbus, said that this smoking ban is more popular than ever. Crane added that 75 percent of people maintain this law and it is striking that the governor does not.

Connie Wehrkamp is a spokesperson for Governor Kasich. Wehrkamp told that Ohio is confronted with an unexampled $8 billion budget hole. This means that state government must spend less money on programs. It is not a reflection on the advantages of these programs, but rather the reality of the budget shortage.

Jose Rodriguez, Columbus Public Health Spokesperson, told that there is no clarity about how this will affect health departments such as CPH because a majority of their financing for enforcement comes from fines that they tax.

Meanwhile, the problem as well is with several smaller health departments.

Shelly Kiser, Director of Advocacy for the American Lung Association of Ohio said that several smaller health departments are not able to put it into operation without some of the financing they receive from the state. Kiser underlined that some smaller health departments do not want to enforce it without the funding arriving from the state.

Now Jen House with the Ohio Department of Health are finding methods to keep financing alive.

The first variant is to work cooperatively with the attorney general to get some of the $1.5 million they are owed from businesses who have broken the smoking ban. Jen House says ODH has only got $551,000 since the ban became operative in 2007.

ODH says next fiscal year will start this July. Approximately a million dollars in state funding will go to the Tobacco Quit Line. None of it will go enforcement.

Unless the state founds financing elsewhere, there will be no state anti-tobacco funding starting July 2012.

Honduras Adopted a Law that Allows Family Members to Call the Police When Someone Smokes at Home

Currently in Honduras was adopted a new law that allows family members call in the police on those people who smoke at home.

This new measure prohibits smoking in the majority of public and private places and requires smokers to light up at least six feet away from nonsmokers.

call-Honduras-police

Also the law clearly bans smoking in cultural centers, schools, stadiums, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, buses and taxis but it doesn’t evidently prohibit smoking at home. However a clause clearly underlines that relatives or visitors can call in police in order to deal with smokers at home: “Families may make complains to law enforcement agencies when someone expose them to secondhand smoke in private places and homes.”

Those who will infringe the law will first obtain a verbal warning and if the infringement will repeat again, they could be arrested. In order to be released they would have to pay a $311 fine, an equivalent of a monthly minimum wage in Honduras, according to David Portillo, director of the Institute to Prevent Alcoholism and Drug Addiction.

“I think that this law is evident and we will observe it. Law enforcement authorities will arrive when someone makes complaints,” Portillo declared.

Many declare that it will be impossible to implement this law in a nation of 8 million people with such a dangerous crime problem and only 12,000 police officers.

“It is evident that police officers won’t be able to enforce this law, because they hardly manage with the crime, not to mention to go for those who smoke at home,” stated Pedro Martinez, a computer engineer who has smoked for 20 years.

A representative of the World Health Organization’s Tobacco-Free Initiative, exalted Honduras for its anti-smoking law, stating that it is only the 29th nation to implement such a law out of WHO’s 193 member states.

But he also declared that the clause permitting family members to call in the police officials on their smoker relatives is confusing. “I think that this clause does have any sense, because the given law doesn’t ban smoking at homes,” he said.

The given law also prohibits all advertising of tobacco products and requires to place photos of lungs affected by cancer on cigarette packages. From today onward all tobacco manufacturers have 60 days in order to comply with both requirements.

It was found out that 30% of Hondurans smoke and nine out of ten are suffering bronchitis and live in homes where there is at least one smoker.

Also legislators declared that such establishments as bars and restaurants, which permit smoking could be fined between $1,000 and $6,000.

Chinese Tobacco Industry is Hampering Anti-smoking Activities

Loss in productivity from smoking related illnesses will impede the China’s economic growth, and direct costs incurred by smoking greatly exceed the tobacco industry’s contribution what concerns returns and workplaces it assures.

Chinese Anti-smoking Activities

China’s dependence on big profits from the State-owned tobacco monopoly is hampering anti-smoking activities, implicitly affecting millions of lives in the country known for the largest number of smokers in the world. These findings were published in a report prepared by a group of public health experts, which came despite growing appeals for the government to provide stronger support to anti-smoking programs.

“As the health effects of smoking, including growing heart diseases and cases of lung cancer, progressively arise, unless there is an efficient government intervention, it will influence China’s overall economic growth because of the loss in productivity,” stated Yang Gonghuan, deputy director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Yang is also a chief author of the report, Tobacco Control and the Future of China, which was created by common efforts of 60 experts.

Last year, China spent about 61.8 billion yuan ($9.3 billion) more to cure people from smoking-related diseases and handle tobacco related issues, as for example pollution, than tobacco manufacturers gained in revenues and offered workplaces,” Yang stated.

According to statistics, China is the world’s largest tobacco manufacturing and consuming country, with more than 300 million smokers.

Annually, approximately 1.2 million people die from smoking-related illnesses and this figure will continue to increase to 3.5 million by 2030, according to data presented by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The given report underlines growing concern that the country’s economic potential will be put at risk due to increasing medical costs and loss in productivity if the government refuses to undertake serious actions in order to eradicate smoking.

Xu Guihua, deputy director of the Chinese Association on Tobacco Control declared that the report was published days ahead of a deadline that China won’t meet being a member of WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

Action to be taken before the deadline:

  • Prohibiting smoking in all public venues
  • A complete ban on tobacco-related advertising
  • and tobacco sponsorship

The FCTC was implemented in China on January 9, 2006 as a mandatory provision after being endorsed by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. But a quite big gap exists between China’s tobacco control measures and the FCTC’s requirements.

The number of smokers fell by 0.45 % annually between 2003 and 2010, in comparison to 0.9% between 1996 and 2002, according to the report.

“The Chinese government should apply many efforts in order to prevent smoking-related deaths. I think that it is the most important economic and health issue for the nation,” stated Jeffrey Koplan, vice-president for global health.

Smoking on Sydney Beaches is Prohibited!

Waverley Council, which implemented the no-smoking rule on Bondi Beach in 2004, stated that it didn’t issued a fine since the ban was implemented, because it didn’t know if its rangers had the authority to ask someone’s identification.

no-smoking-beach

However special signs where placed at Bondi Beach which inform about the ban and that smokers can risk a fine of $110 fine in case they will be caught smoking.

“It was not so easy for our rangers to implement the ban because they do not have power to ask for identification,” a Waverley Council spokeswoman stated.

“Council rangers could not only ask a person’s name and address, but also detain them if they didn’t comply. Under the Act, rangers have broader powers than simply a citizen’s arrest. They have the express authority to detain them,” stated Local Government Minister Barbara Perry.

However, usually a ranger would more than likely call the police in case the situation became aggravated, but they had the power to compulsorily demand a person’s name and address and penalize for $550 in case they refused. “If the person refuses, they have the right to call police which can detain that person,” she said.

For instance at Manly and The Corso, where smoking is prohibited on the beach, the council has issued three $110 penalizations within 12 months for people smoking on the beach.

According to representative of the Manly Council, its rangers preferred to explain people about the ban than fine them and had never detained those who rejected to give their name and address to rangers.

“The ranger would introduce themselves and ask for person’s identification, and in case they rejected or situation became aggravated, they would call the police,” he stated.

Rangers may also use their power to enforce other council regulation as for instance littering. They also have the right to confiscate recreational equipment as skating or water-based equipment, and in case the commissioner of police gives written authorization, local council rangers may validate alcohol-related provisions.

Smokers in Mosman have been prohibited to light up since 2004 in all dining areas and within 10m of council buildings. Later, in 2007, the Mosman ban was extended and already prohibited smoking in parks, public squares, bus stations and beaches.

Ms’ Perry colleague stated that rangers played a very important enforcement role.

“But if a person breaks the public peace, it is the role of the police officers to deal with this situation and not of rangers,” Ms. Perry said.