Monthly Archives: April 2015

Hawaii To Raise Smoking Age To 21


A bill that would make Hawaii the first state to raise the legal smoking age to 21 cleared the Legislature on Friday and is headed to the governor. The bill would prevent adolescents from smoking, buying or possessing both traditional and electronic cigarettes.

“It’s definitely groundbreaking legislation,” said Jessica Yamauchi, executive director of the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii, which pushed for the bill. “It’s amazing to be the first state in something. That’s very exciting for us.” Gov. David Ige hasn’t yet decided whether he will sign the bill, and his staff has to vet all bills for legal issues, he said.

“The departments will be doing their review and then we’ll have the opportunity to look at it,” Ige said. Those caught breaking the rules would be fined $10 for the first offense, and subsequent violations would lead to a $50 fine or mandatory community service. Dozens of local governments have similar bans, including Hawaii County and New York City.

According to the state Department of Heath, 5,600 kids in Hawaii try smoking each year, and 90 percent of daily smokers begin the habit before age 19.Most teens prefer to buy online cigarettes with flavour. “Today we have the opportunity to change the paradigm,” said Democratic state Sen. Rosalyn Baker, who introduced the bill.

Smoking prevalence would fall an estimated 12 percent if the minimum smoking age was raised to 21, according to a report by the Institute of Medicine, which is part of the National Academy of Sciences. The favorite flavors among teens who use electronic cigarettes are sweet tart and “unicorn puke, which is described as a combination of every flavor of Skittle in one,” Baker said.

“While the industry is not allowed to directly market to children, it is still developing packaging and advertising products in ways that appeal to children,” she said. Sabrina Olaes, 17, got involved in promoting the legislation after finding herself in restrooms full of electronic cigarette fumes when her classmates vaped at her high school.

“You feel like you want to hold your breath because you don’t want to smell what they’re smoking,” Olaes said. “It’s pretty sad to know that they’ve fallen under the addiction.” Opponents say it’s unfair that a military veteran returning from service could be prevented from smoking.

“It is not right because you are deemed an adult when you turn 18,” said Michelle Johnston, owner of Sub Ohm Vapes in Kailua-Kona, on Hawaii’s Big Island. “You can sign up and be in the military and basically give your life for your country. You can vote,” she said. “Why shouldn’t you be able to choose if you want to buy tobacco products or vaping products, when you’re considered a legal adult?” Democratic Sen. Gil Riviere, who voted against the bill in the 19-4 vote, said if the state wants to eliminate smoking, it should ban it for everyone.

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Posted by on April 29, 2015 in Tobacco News


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1,543 Smoke-Free Campuses in the USA

Smoking Student

According to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation (ANRF) website, there are at least 1,543 smoke-free campuses in the U.S. This number includes 1,043 tobacco-free schools, which explicitly ban all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco.

George Washington University (GW) in Washington, D.C. is a smoke-free campus.

The University of Maryland and Towson University are also smoke-free campuses. American University is a tobacco-free campus.

At Towson and American, violators of the universities’ smoke-free policies are subject to disciplinary action. Additionally, Towson faculty and staff are subject to a $75 fine, which they can contest.

Yun stressed that whatever policy is put in place would have to accommodate all members of the Hopkins community.

“This is a process where we have to make sure that all our constituencies are cared for and supported as we go through this,” Yun said.

Alain Joffe, director of the Student Health & Wellness Center, believes that the University should go smoke-free for health reasons.

“If we follow the lead of the hospital and the School of Medicine in making buildings and the campus a smoke-free campus,” Joffe said. “I think hopefully that will be an incentive for people, who are still smoking, to quit.”

He believes there are more student smokers than faculty and staff smokers who know where to buy discount cigarettes online.

“I don’t have any hard data,” Joffe said. “My guess would be that it’s probably a higher percentage of students if you include students who label themselves as casual smokers or social smokers — ‘I don’t smoke regularly, but if I’m out with friends I might have a cigarette, or at exam times I smoke, but I don’t smoke a lot other times.’”

He said that the center is equipped with resources to help students quit.

“I would say the majority of students who do smoke either… say they consider themselves just social smokers and… don’t foresee themselves smoking beyond college,” Joffe said. “Or you have students who say, ‘Yeah, I know I should quit, but this is a very stressful time for me. School’s really hard.’”

Joffe said health care workers at the center can provide students with alternative options for handling stress.

“For people who say smoking helps them relax, the question is whether they could achieve the same end by using a nicotine replacement product where you’re still getting the nicotine, so you don’t go through withdrawal, but at least you’re not getting all the smoke into your lungs,” Joffe said. “Everybody’s a little bit different, and there isn’t a single method that works for everyone, so we try to meet the smoker where he or she is, in terms of how they think they can best accomplish it.”

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Posted by on April 24, 2015 in Tobacco Articles



Anti-Smoking Efforts in California

Smoking Man

In the 1990s, California had the nation’s most wide-ranging anti-smoking laws. When the state funded a tobacco control and prevention program, the percentage of adult smokers in California fell by half, from 24.9% in 1984 to 12.5% today, according to the state Department of Public Health.

California’s smoking rate is second-lowest in the nation, right behind Utah’s and most popular cigarette brand here is Davidoff But health officials say anti-smoking efforts have suffered, in large part, because the state has not increased its 87-cent tax on a pack of cigarettes since 1998.

Thirty-two other states have higher tobacco taxes and spend more on anti-smoking programs, said California Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento). He wants to raise California’s tobacco tax by $2 a pack, to bring in $1.5 billion a year for smoking prevention and smoking-related medical costs now borne by taxpayers through Medi-Cal, the state’s healthcare program for the poor.

“The toll that tobacco continues to exact on people is staggering,” Pan said, noting that 40,000 Californians die from tobacco-related diseases each year.

Last week, Pan’s proposal and several others were backed by a coalition of groups including the California Medical Assn., American Heart Assn., American Lung Assn. and American Cancer Society Action Network.

On the other side, David Sutton, spokesman for tobacco giant Altria, called the bill a “very excessive tax increase proposal” that would be unfair to consumers.

The bill needs a two-thirds vote to pass, requiring some Republican support. GOP leaders have opposed similar taxes in the past. They say they have not determined a position on the new measure.

Another potentially tough sell is a proposed ban on sales of cigarettes with single-use filters, to reduce the litter of butts on beaches and sidewalks. A similar effort went nowhere last year after its author, Mark Stone (D-Scotts Valley), failed to persuade legislators that the filters, used on the vast majority of cigarettes sold in California, do not make cigarettes safer.

Other bills have broad support from lawmakers and appear to have a good chance of reaching the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown, who is noncommittal.

The bid to raise the smoking age has strong momentum, having unanimously passed the Senate Health Committee last week with bipartisan support.

Nobody testified against the bill at the hearing, although smokers’-rights advocates, noting that 18-year-olds can vote and serve in the military, say they should be allowed to smoke.

The Senate Health Committee also approved a measure that would ban e-cigarettes from workplaces, bars, restaurants and other public venues where smoking is now off-limits.

Vaping devices heat and disperse as an aerosol a liquid that may contain nicotine and is inhaled by users. E-cigarette use among adults 18 to 29 grew from 2.3% in 2012 to 7.6% in 2013, according to state data.

“This is a really serious potential health crisis,” the bill’s author, Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), told the panel. “Middle and high school students who have never smoked a traditional cigarette are now using e-cigarettes.”

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Posted by on April 17, 2015 in Tobacco News


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‘Beedi’ Baron Gupta Absent at Meeting of Parliamentary Panel on Tobacco

'Beedi' Baron Gupta

‘Beedi’ baron Shyama Charan Gupta, whose membership of a parliamentary committee on tobacco has kicked up a row over conflict of interest, was not present at a meeting of the panel today during which members raised concerns over the issue. Although there was no official word on what transpired in the meeting of the Committee of Subordinate Legislation, it is understood that the contentious issue of increasing the size of pictorial warnings on tobacco products was among the things discussed.

The committee has already recommended to the government to hold its proposal to increase the size of pictorial warnings on tobacco products from its present 40 per cent to 85 per cent. One of the senior members of the panel, Congress MP S P Muddahanumegowda said having conflict of interest and attending the meeting “reflect” on the proceedings and also make people suspect “bona fide” of other members.

“If I were to be in his (Gupta) position having conflict of interest, I would not have attended the meeting or resigned from that committee. Because conflict of interest and attending the meeting, it reflects on the proceedings of the meeting and also makes the people to suspect the bona fide of other members also.

“Whatever decision we take, that will not be free from any bias. The people will suspect that. We may not be influenced by any such request or pressure, but it gives room for others to think like that. We talk much about ethics. According to me, the ethics demand we should refrain ourselves from attending any proceedings where you have got selfish interest,” the MP said.

Gupta’s presence in the committee was criticised by the Opposition parties which sought his removal from the panel, saying there was a clear “conflict of interest”. Asserting that he has not received any instructions to step down from the panel from his party, Gupta, however, said he was ready to accept it if it came through.

Gupta had made controversial remarks that beedis have “nil” harmful effect and also suggested that the government should make a distinction between smoked and chewed tobacco as he believes that the former was not as harmful. It a well known fact that Indians smoke cheapest cigarettes such as Astra

“I can produce a lot of people in front of you who are chain smokers of beedi and till date they have had no disease, no cancer… You get diabetes due to eating sugar, rice, potatoes. Why don’t you write warnings for all these things as well,” Gupta had questioned.

Significantly, his remarks were made barely days after the panel head Dilip Gandhi’s statement that there was no Indian study to confirm that tobacco use leads to cancer, leaving the government embarrassed and rival parties and the medical fraternity gunning for him. The government has said it will take a “measured and responsible” decision on the issue of increasing the size of pictorial warnings on tobacco.

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Posted by on April 7, 2015 in Tobacco Facts


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