Monthly Archives: October 2013

Smoking Long or Ultralong Cigarettes Increases Risk of Lung Cancer

Smokers of Long or Ultralong Cigarettes Are at Greater Risk for Lung and Oral Cancer Than Smokers of Regular and King-Size Cigarettes, According to Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, Center for Global Tobacco Control

“We found that smokers of long or ultralong cigarettes have higher concentrations of tobacco specific carcinogens in their urine than smokers of regular or king size cigarettes,” said Constantine Vardavas, MD, senior research scientist, Harvard School of Public Health.

Vardavas and colleagues compared urine tests among 3,699 smokers of regular, king-sized and long or ultralong cigarettes using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) from 2007-2010. Smokers of king-sized cigarettes accounted for 53% of total smokers, smokers of long or ultralong cigarettes constituted 31.5%, and smokers of regular-sized cigarettes made up the remaining 15.4% of the smoker population. They found that smokers of long or ultralong cigarettes had significantly higher levels of NNAL — an indicator of tobacco-specific carcinogen — in their urine. In addition, researchers found that older smokers, non-Hispanic blacks, and females had a greater tendency to smoke long or ultralong cigarettes.

“While the significant risks of smoking are well known and accepted, very little information exists on the health risks of different sizes of cigarettes,” said Darcy Marciniuk, MD, FCCP and President of the ACCP. “This study indicates that there is an added risk to those smoking long and ultralong cigarettes.”

CHEST 2013 is the 79th annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians, held October 26-31 in Chicago, Illinois. The ACCP is the global leader in clinical chest medicine, representing 18,700 members who provide patient care in the areas of pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine in the United States and throughout the world. The mission of the ACCP is to promote the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of chest diseases through education, communication, and research. For information about the ACCP, visit the ACCP website or follow the ACCP on Facebook and Twitter and the meeting hashtag, #CHEST2013.

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Posted by on October 29, 2013 in Tobacco News


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Oklahoma veterans centers to be smoke-free by Jan. 1, 2018

The state’s veterans centers are expected to be smoke-free by Jan. 1, 2018, according to an agreement announced last week. Fewer than 250 of the more than 1,400 veterans in the centers are smokers. Gov. Mary Fallin had called for making the centers smoke-free, something some had balked at — pointing out that some veterans were given cigarettes as rations.

Fallin in April signed Senate Bill 501, which bans smoking effective Nov. 1 on property owned and operated by the state. The measure put into law an executive order she had signed Feb. 6, 2012, that banned smoking on state property. The agreement will grandfather in the veterans at the centers who smoke. Indoor smoking will end Jan. 1, 2015. After that time, smoking cigarettes will be allowed in designated outside areas.

The Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs is expected to offer counseling and smoking-cessation programs. “The governor supports moving to a smoke-free environment because she knows it will save lives and improve the health of both residents and employees at veterans centers,” said Alex Weintz, a spokesman for Fallin.

“At the same time, she recognizes the unique position that veterans at these facilities are in. She also has tremendous respect for their service,” he said. “The governor believes that giving these facilities until 2018 to go smoke-free is a compromise that honors both her commitment to health and to Oklahoma veterans.”

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Rita Aragon said the issue got blown out of proportion. “Former administrators at the veterans homes made it a bigger issue and more controversial than it should have been,” she said. Sen. Frank Simpson, chairman of the Senate Veterans Committee, called the agreement a compromise.

“My choice was to allow those to smoke as long as they wanted,” said Simpson, R-Ardmore. “The governor would not agree to that.” He said some veterans consider the centers their residence. “I agree with them,” Simpson said. “I would not go into someone’s living room and tell them not to smoke.”

He said the solution is not a perfect one, but solutions are rarely perfect. Blanche Robertson lives in Claremore and visits her husband every day in the Claremore Veterans Center. Her husband no longer smokes, she said. “My thoughts on it are these old guys smoked all their lives,” Robertson said. “They gave them cigarettes in World War II. Why not let them smoke at their age?”

David Smith, 68, lives in the Norman Veterans Center. He served during the Vietnam War and quit smoking. He said the issue has been controversial among some residents.”They have special rooms here in the Norman facility for smokers,” Smith said. “So that is why it never bothers me.”

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Posted by on October 22, 2013 in Tobacco Articles


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New York: Smoking Ban at Playgrounds Takes Effect

The next time you take your kids to the park, you will not have to worry about smoke filling the air where they are playing. A new statewide law prohibiting smoking at playgrounds between took effect last week. It applies at all parks between sunrise and sunset when children under the age of 12 are there.

The law aims to protect children from secondhand smoke. “Children should be able to run around and play at playgrounds without being exposed to smoke that harms their health,” said Jackie Shostack, coordinator for Tobacco Free Onondaga County. “This law is a common sense measure that should help keep playgrounds safe, clean, and free of cigarette butts.”

The new law does not prevent local municipalities from adopting anti-smoking policies that are more rigorous than the new statewide law.

On Monday, a State Supreme Court Justice ordered New York parks officials to tear down their ‘No Smoking’ signs posted earlier this year. By siding with a smoker’s rights group, the judge ruled the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation exceeded its authority when it prohibited smoking at various parks, including popular beaches and all state parks within New York City. Even though the judge acknowledged that secondhand smoke is ‘deleterious to the health of non-smokers and especially children, it doesn’t mean a state agency is empowered to regulate the conduct of park patrons.’

State Parks and Recreation officials issued a statement saying they believe they do have the authority to regulate outdoor smoking and they were considering an appeal of the court’s decision.

Tobacco use remains the number one cause of preventable disease and death in the United States. Secondhand smoke is responsible for the deaths of more than 3,000 New Yorkers every year.

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Posted by on October 15, 2013 in Tobacco News


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King County health department tries to snuff out Seattle hookah bars

King County health officials are trying to snuff out Seattle-area hookah lounges, sending notices ordering six of them to stop allowing customers to smoke the water pipes at their businesses.

“Over the last year or so there’s been quite an increase in the number of hookah lounges opening, so we’ve had to ramp up our investigations,” says Scott Neal, tobacco prevention manager for the King County Department of Health.

Neal says the action comes after multiple investigations determined the businesses were violating the state’s indoor-smoking ban. While many hookah bars have skirted the ban passed in 2005 by claiming they operate as private clubs, officials say the six were open to the public and operating more like nightclubs that simply charge a cover fee.

It’s a particular concern because the water pipes and flavored tobacco have become increasingly popular with young people.

“It’s unfortunate that we see a rise in any type of smoking and with youth. The latest survey showed that King County high school seniors actually smoke hookah at a higher percentage, 15 percent, than traditional cigarettes at 12 percent,” he says.

Each of the businesses have been ordered to comply immediately and pay a fine of $100 per violation. The health department says it could take additional action, including taking them to court if they continue to allow smoking.

The businesses sent letters by the health department, include Casablanca Shisha Lounge; Da Spot Hookah Lounge; Medina Hookah Lounge; The Night Owl; Sahara Hookah Lounge; and Seattle Hookah Lounge.

Smoking hookah is an age-old past time popular in middle eastern and Indian cultures.

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Posted by on October 8, 2013 in Tobacco Facts


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Wider smoking ban in Toronto gains support

Toronto has one of Canada’s worst rates of exposure to second-hand smoke in public places, according to a report released Monday, as the city’s Board of Health threw its support behind tightening rules on lighting up cheap cigarettes in public. Ontario’s health minister said she is open to the board’s recommendations, which include banning smoking in a number of outdoor locations, including sports fields, hospital grounds and restaurant patios. “Population Health in Canada’s Largest Cities,” published by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, ranked the city of Toronto second-worst when it comes to breathing in others’ smoke in public places.

The 2010-11 numbers show that while less than 6 per cent of residents of top-ranking Saskatoon, are exposed to second-hand smoke in public, that percentage is 16.5 in Toronto. Only Ottawa fared worse, at 17.8 per cent. A plan outlined by chief medical officer Dr. David McKeown to extend Toronto’s no-puff zones gained unanimous approval at the health board Monday.

Before the vote, Health Minister Deb Matthews told reporters at Queen’s Park that the recommendations are “something we’re looking at.” “We really do have to look very seriously at how we further protect people from second-hand smoke and actually reduce smoking levels,” she said. “Of course, anything we do would be province-wide,” said Matthews, ruling out any all-out ban on smoking because “we know prohibition doesn’t work.”

McKeown is calling on city council to prohibit smoking in a number of public places. But rather than tackle the handful of bylaws that govern smoking on uncovered patios (a holdover from amalgamation), the health board will ask the province to implement an Ontario-wide ban. “The province has been hearing from a lot of people across Ontario that this is a logical next step in terms of protecting people from second-hand smoke and reducing social exposure for families,” McKeown said.

The health board will also ask the province to ban smoking on hospital grounds. Premier Kathleen Wynne said she thinks it’s a “reasonable question to ask” whether measures should be province-wide. Ottawa (in 2012) and Kingston (in 2003) are among Ontario municipalities that have already banned smoking on restaurant patios, which is prohibited province-wide in Alberta, Nova Scotia and the Yukon. Joe Mihevc, chair of the health board, said he believes broadening smoke-free zones in Toronto could be a tipping point in Ontario.

“Very often, the way change happens at the province is when brave municipalities take stands,” he said. “We’re the biggest beast in the Ontario family of municipalities. When we do it, other municipalities will follow and the province will fall in line.”

But the proposal to ban smoking on patios faces fierce opposition from the restaurant industry, which claims it will erode profits and simply push smokers onto the sidewalk. Tony Elenis, president and CEO of the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association, said current regulations on patios, which allow operators to choose whether to allow smoking, “are adequate and serve the public.” Mayor Rob Ford was also quick to express his discontent.

“I’m not a smoker, I don’t like it,” he told reporters. “But I just don’t like government getting involved and telling people where they can smoke, where they can’t.”

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Posted by on October 1, 2013 in Tobacco News


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