Monthly Archives: July 2014

End military’s discount on tobacco products

The Pentagon has carved out a new front – one that pits it against Big Tobacco and those in Congress who do its bidding.

Many military leaders recognize that smoking negatively affects military members’ health and finances, and they hope to slash tobacco use by 2020. The Navy has been the most aggressive of the branches, having already ended discounted prices that undercut civilian sales by about 25 percent. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus wants to go even further by banning tobacco sales at the service’s retail stores and aboard vessels.

The Pentagon’s concern about the effect of cheap tobacco products is justified. The discounted prices likely contribute to the fact that service members use tobacco at higher rates than civilians; 24 percent of troops smoke compared to 20 percent of civilians of the same age. Soldiers prefer to smoke strong cigarettes and most poluar brand among them is Camel.

But Big Tobacco has a long reach in Congress, which has blocked the military’s efforts to get tough on smoking. Apparently tobacco profits are more important than service members’ health or mission readiness; the House defense-authorization bill currently includes language that would require all branches of the military to continue selling cheap smokes.

It’s one thing for service members and retirees to be able to buy discounted food and products at military stores, undercutting nearby civilian merchants. But cigarettes and other tobacco products should be in a different category because of the serious damaging they can have on users’ health. The price for that damage is paid not only by smokers but by nonsmokers as well, who have to subsidize their health care when they develop lung and heart problems.

The military leaders who want to kick tobacco to the curb need help from health advocates, who have been hesitant to strongly support anti-tobacco efforts that affect service members. Perhaps they think that would come off as being anti-troops. In the long run, however, that advocacy would be very pro-troops.

Groups including the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association should offer strong support for military leaders’ anti-tobacco efforts. And the Senate should block the House’s attempt to carry water for tobacco companies.

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Posted by on July 29, 2014 in Tobacco Articles


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Healthy islands are tobacco free islands

Tobacco use is a major cause of preventable, premature death in many Pacific islands.  To combat this scourge, WHO’s Regional Director for the Western Pacific Region Dr Shin Young-soo, SPC ‘s Direct General Dr Colin Tukuitonga and the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Tuiloma Neroni Slade, and Chairperson of the Forum Economic Ministers Meeting launched the Tobacco Free Pacific campaign today.

The campaign will drive action to meet the goal the Pacific Ministers of Health adopted of a Tobacco Free Pacific (<5% adult tobacco use) for each Pacific Island country and territory by 2025.

Tobacco use fuels the NCD crisis globally, and the Pacific is no exception. In the Pacific, the adult daily tobacco use prevalence is as high as 54.8%. Exposure to second hand smoke is also high in the Pacific. For example, data from the Global Youth Tobacco Survey indicate that rates of youth exposure in the home range from 56.8% in one country to as high as 76% in another.

The Tobacco Free Pacific 2025 campaign has a truly ambitious goal. It links up with Tobacco Free campaigns currently in progress in some Pacific islands. The regional campaign slogan “It can be done,” is a testament to the determination and confidence of Pacific islands to reduce smoking cheapest cigarettes to 5% or less by the year 2025.

“Failure to control the tobacco epidemic would leave an entire generation exposed to a product known to kill its users and would continue to be a significant drain on the health systems in countries that can ill-afford it,” commented Dr Shin at the launch.

The Tobacco Free Pacific campaign launched today is comprised of six main action areas. Based on evidence and recommendations of the WHO Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (WHO FCFC), the actions are:

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Posted by on July 22, 2014 in Tobacco News


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Mad Magazine’s Glorious Anti-Smoking Campaign

When Al Feldstein, the long-time editor of Mad magazine, died, in April, no one mentioned one of his major accomplishments: warning millions of impressionable boys and girls of the perils of smoking. Had the tobacco industry paid more attention, he might also have saved it billions of dollars a few decades down the road.

In the early to mid-nineteen-sixties, both before and after the Surgeon General issued his famous report on the dangers of tobacco, Mad took on the industry more than any “respectable” magazine. Free from any dependency on advertising, Mad could be fearless, and it was. Its campaign of ridicule was unrelenting.

The magazine attacked not just the tobacco giants but the folks on Madison Avenue who hawked the poisonous products—many of whom, it noted, were too smart to smoke themselves. Smokers weren’t spared either. (Who can forget Mad regular David Berg’s feature “Lighter Side of Smoking,” whose first panel showed a man looking out a window at night as a blizzard rages. “Gad, look at the miserable weather!” he declares. “Boy, nothing could make me go outdoors!” In the second panel, the man, eyes popping out, rummages frantically through a drawer in search of a smoke. In the third, he’s huddled grimly over the steering wheel driving to the store, his wipers and headlights fighting through the snow.)

Fifty years later, many who read Mad devotedly still remember the anti-smoking crusade. The ads closely resembled the real ones that ran on television and in magazines. There was the one for “Marble Row” funeral directors, showing horses grazing in a graveyard. “You Get a Plot You Like,” it declared. Or the ad promising that “Likely Strife separates the men from the boys … but not from the doctors.” (“Smoking is a habit we’d like to get all you kids hooked on,” it continued. “Smoke Likely Strife—and you’ll discover one other thing: You’ll also be separated from your health!”)

There were the ads that ever-adaptable advertisers had prepared in light of health warnings. One featured “Chesterfoggies” (for people already hooked); another suggested that the perils of smoking only made it sexier—“Winsom impresses good…Like smoking a cigarette should.” A third ad featured Adolf Hitler, another favorite Mad target (and, oddly enough, a virulent enemy of tobacco himself). “In the 30s and 40s we knocked off millions of people and filled countless cemeteries,” he declared. “That’s nothing! I want to talk about a really fantastic cemetery filler!” Another, featuring a man with a Tareyton-like black eye, read, “Us Cigarette-Makers will rather fight than quit.”

Robert says that despite the anti-smoking campaign he will continue to buy Marlboro Red cigarettes.

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Posted by on July 1, 2014 in Tobacco Facts


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