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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 http://www.cigarettesplace.net/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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UAE Losing Fight Against Smoking

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While the number of smokers in Europe and the US continues to fall, health experts claimed on Tuesday that smoking is on the increase in the UAE and across the Middle East.

At the World Conference on Tobacco or Health at Adnec, it was revealed the growing popularity of shisha in the region was a major reason for the increase.

Dr Wael Al Mahmeed, conference president, said: “The prevalence of tobacco smoking in UAE is about 25-30 per cent among the men. It’s quite a large number of people. In Europe and US, we have seen the numbers going down. Right now, the numbers in the Middle East are rising.”

He said unless measures were taken, the country was unlikely to see a fall in the number of smokers. Modern young people know where to buy lucky strike cigarettes online and easily do it.

Dr Farida Al Hosani, director of public health for Health Authority Abu Dhabi, said the widespread use of shisha was a major problem.

“There are many misconceptions about shisha here and people think it may be less harmful to use,” she said. “There is a multi-disciplinary effort to inform people about different kinds of smoking.”

The conference heard that other countries in the Middle East were also finding it challenging to curb tobacco use.

Princess Dina Mired of Jordan, director general of the King Hussein Cancer Foundation, said 32 per cent in her country were smokers and that “shisha has invaded our shores”.

“In general, I find that the conversation about smoking is not even there,” she said. “We have seen a massive attack from the tobacco industry. Now that they have been ousted from Europe and the US, they are coming to our shores.”

Another challenge the authority was facing was the emirates’ multinational population.

Dr Al Hosani said: “We are influenced by different nationalities coming here. We need a unified and consistent message. We cannot stop and ask, so we have a continuous campaign.”

Edouard d’Espaignet, a coordinator for tobacco control at the World Health Organisation, said: “Six million people are dying every year because of tobacco use. That is one person every six seconds.

“It is a number that if you do not do anything to change, I project we will be looking at 8 million people dying due to this by 2030 and 1 billion people this century.”

Dr Al Mahmeed called for proper research into tobacco use as well as more effective warning campaigns.

“Other countries have done research and have the data, but we don’t have that data here in UAE.

“People are desensitised to the fact that smoking causes cancer and heart disease. Young people feel this does not affect them.

“The scaremongering has not worked well for smokers or non-smokers. We have to find new ways to increase awareness in a way that people listen to us.”

He believed increasing the price of cigarettes, plain packaging and outright bans on smoking in public places would also be effective.

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2015 in Tobacco News

 

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Most support non-smoking campus

Smoking Student

Students, faculty and staff at Oregon State University have largely embraced a new policy that prohibits smoking on the Corvallis campus, but the policy change hasn’t completely eliminated secondhand smoke exposure, new research out Monday shows.

A campus-wide study of the first year of the university’s smoke-free policy showed that 72 percent of students and 77 percent of faculty were in support of the new policy, which took effect in September 2012.

That number is expected to rise as people become accustomed to the policy, said Marc Braverman, a professor and Extension specialist in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU and the study’s lead author.

“The more people live with the change, the more supportive they tend to become,” Braverman said. “We’re not trying to force smokers to quit. We’re trying to address the health concerns brought on by secondhand smoke. This is a clean air policy.”

However, about 77 percent of students and 55 percent of faculty and staff who responded to a survey on the policy reported that they had encountered secondhand smoke near the periphery of the campus within the previous two weeks.

In addition, 29 percent of students and 18 percent of faculty and staff said they had been exposed to secondhand smoke near a building entrance on campus in that same time period. To be noted that on the campus area cigarettes are not sold. On the question can you buy cigarettes online, students say Yes.

The shift of smoking to campus boundaries is to be expected if people are following the policy, and other universities have experienced the same problem, Braverman said.

One of the next steps is figuring out how to reduce the impact of that shift, both in terms of secondhand smoke exposure and other issues, including an increase in cigarette butts and other trash in common smoking locations just off campus.

Findings from the study were published in the February issue of the journal, “Preventive Medicine.” Co-authors are Lisa Hoogesteger, director of OSU’s Healthy Campus Initiatives, and Jessica Johnson, who was a graduate student in public health when the research was conducted. The study was supported by OSU and a grant from PacificSource Health Plans.

Researchers wanted to evaluate the policy implementation because more and more colleges and universities are adopting smoke-free or tobacco-free campus policies, Braverman said.

When the idea was initially proposed at OSU in 2008, only 130 campuses nationwide were smoke-free or tobacco-free. As of last month, that number has jumped to 1,500 campuses, according to Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, an advocacy group that tracks tobacco policies nationwide.

“It’s gotten to be quite a popular movement, but there is not a lot of information about the best ways to implement a policy like this or what a campus should expect when it does,” Braverman said.

In the spring of 2013, after almost a full academic year with the policy in place, the researchers invited all students, staff and faculty at OSU’s Corvallis campus to take a Web-based survey. More than 5,600 students and 2,000 faculty and staff members responded.

The research team found that there was widespread awareness of the policy change: 89 percent of nonsmoking students and 90 percent of smoking students knew OSU was a nonsmoking campus, while 92 percent of nonsmoking faculty and staff and 99 percent of smoking faculty and staff knew about the policy.

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2015 in Tobacco News

 

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Smoke-Free Smithfield in the UK

Smoking Man

A council report states: “The TCA will undertake work to consider the establishment of a smoke-free Smithfield, smoke-free playgrounds and parks and a smoke-free city centre bus station. “The move to smoke-free status of these important settings will contribute to the broader tobacco control programme which aims to reduce the harm and health inequalities caused by tobacco use in the city.”

Public transport group Aces has backed the council’s move – if the ban can be enforced. Co-ordinator Selwyn Brown said: “People aren’t allowed to smoke inside the bus station as it is, but does that mean nobody smokes there? I think the council needs to look at enforcing the existing rules properly, before it expands the no-smoking area.

“There are other towns around the country, such as Chorley, where they do strictly enforce smoking bans in bus stations.” Smoking remains the biggest single preventable cause of disease and premature death in Stoke-on-Trent.

Councillor Adrian Knapper, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “We are looking at increasingly innovative ways of reducing the damage caused by smoking, and smoke-free zones are just one possibility. Although the idea is in the very early stages it has been tried in other authorities across the country and proved successful.

“Any decision would be subject to intensive consultation.” Blackpool Council has already implemented voluntary smoking bans in outdoor areas.

But Gary Pennington, chairman of the Friends of Highfield Road Park in Blackpool, which became a smoke-free zone three years ago, does not believe the measure has made any difference.

The 58-year-old smoker of cheapest kebt cigarettes http://www.buycigarettes.eu/kent said: “People say they don’t want children to see people smoking, but don’t they ever walk past pubs or clubs where there will be loads of people outside smoking? Parks aren’t just for children, they’re for all ages, including those seniors who have spent all their life smoking. If they want to smoke in the park, it won’t harm anyone else. “I don’t think it’s made any difference. I’m not aware of anyone being prosecuted.”

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2015 in Tobacco News

 

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The correlation between smoking and income

Smoking

“We’ve won the war on cigarette smoking” is a mantra among health-conscious middle- and upper-class Americans. But within the remarkable half-century-long public health success story of declining overall rates of smoking is a disturbing subplot: Those still puffing away are a substantially more disadvantaged group than ever before.

In a 2008 Gallup poll of over 75,000 Americans, the rate of smoking among people making less than $24,000 a year was more than double that of those making $90,000 or more. In the era portrayed in TV’s “Mad Men,” smoking cheapest cigarettes http://www.mydiscountcigarette.net/buy/zimbru was a normative behavior that was not associated with poverty. Indeed, because they had less money and were more religious, the poor if anything were somewhat less likely to smoke than middle-class people.

But once the health risks of smoking became widely known, the better-off began kicking the habit: High-income families decreased their smoking by 62 percent from 1965 to 1999, versus only 9 percent for low-income families.

Smoking became analogous to a bad neighborhood that kept getting worse because everyone who had the resources to move out did so, leaving a progressively beaten-down group behind. Poorer smokers simply have a hard time quitting, for at least three reasons:

• Lower-income smokers take longer and deeper drags on each cigarette than their remaining better-off counterparts. This strengthens their addiction (e.g., craving) and makes it more difficult to turn a resolution to quit into an enduring change.

• Because income tends to segregate where people work and live, poor smokers often have to make quit-attempts alongside people who are continuing to smoke, but wealthier smokers usually do not. The last physician in a hospital who still smokes will face social disapproval from colleagues for smoking and receive social approval from those same individuals for quitting; the first worker on a roadside cleanup crew who tries to quit may face precisely the reverse social incentives from his smoking coworkers.

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2015 in Tobacco News

 

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Smoking on campus continues despite smoking ban

Last spring San Diego State adopted a smoke and tobacco-free policy across campus in an effort to create a healthy environment. Although the policy is into its second semester, many students and faculty still feel it’s presence on campus.

“I’ve seen it a lot by the transit station, and a few when walking from the bridge from the dorms,” nursing sophomore Ariana Chaney said. “I’ve definitely seen them, and it’s smelly.”

Other common smoking areas include parking lots, the koi pond, and former smoking areas.

Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies Administrative Coordinator Bertha Hernandez sees them on a regular basis.

“I see them in Parking Structure 8 quite frequently, hiding behind the elevator,” Hernandez said. “They’re trying to hide, let me put it that way.”

To enforce the policy, SDSU decided upon “Social Enforcement,” a method described on the policy’s website as members of the SDSU community opening communication.

The policy page provides sample scripts about how to approach someone who is smoking on campus. However, like business management sophomore Priya Dave, not all are comfortable with confronting someone they don’t know.

“I don’t think it’s any of my business,”  Dave said. “That’s not something I think any student is comfortable with.”

Some aren’t too concerned as the smoking isn’t directly affecting them.

Engineering senior Jonathon Uriu said he has seen smokers huddled in groups but didn’t feel compelled to say anything.

“When I (saw people smoking) I was like ‘Eh, there’s a sign over there. I’m not going to ruin their day,’” Uriu said. “Some people are really dependent on them and if it helps them get through their day … it’s not bothering me that much.”

But for those that chose to inform smokers of the policy, reactions vary.

“Some feign ignorance, some ignore me, and some are rude,” Hernandez said. “One student told me to get a life, and I said ‘Get a healthier life.’”

Although smoking is still present on campus, the amount has decreased since the policy’s implementation.

“When some of my colleagues called our peer institutions, like San Francisco State, what we’re told is that it’s typically a four-five year process,” Associate Vice President of Operations and University Architect Robert Schulz said. “You’re trying to change a culture.”

Schulz chairs an implementation committee that he said meets monthly to examine the policy’s progress.

According to the website about the smoking police, if social enforcement doesn’t work, complaints can filed to either the Office of Human Resources for employee violations or the Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities for student violations. Most popular cigarette brand among students is Winston http://www.mydiscountcigarette.net/buy/winston

“As a student you are obligated to follow the university’s code of conduct. And if you don’t, that’s subject to student discipline,” Schulz said.

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2014 in Tobacco News

 

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Tobacco opponents: Keep cars smoke free

Recently, Vermont became the seventh state in the United States to not allow smoking in a vehicle when children are present.Children are attracted by beautiful packs of Kiss cigaretts http://www.cigarettesplace.net/kiss-cigarettes-page

Most Nebraska residents voluntarily have smoke-free vehicles, especially when children are present, said George Haws, the coordinator of the Community Connections program — Tobacco Free Lincoln County.

In the most recent Nebraska Adult Tobacco Survey, 50 percent of those who smoke said their vehicles are smoke-free at all times. Another 41% prohibit smoking when children are present. Of non-smoking residents, the corresponding numbers were 96% and just 3%, Haws said. The survey is conducted periodically by Nebraska Health & Human Services, he said.

Haws said Stanford University research shows smoking in a vehicle can result in pollution that far exceeds the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency safety standards. That is true even when the car windows were open, he said. “Ironically, although people in a city may stay indoors when prompted by EPA warnings, they may smoke regularly in their vehicles without realizing that this can expose them, and their passengers, to an even greater risk,” he said.

Haws said secondhand smoke is hazardous to anyone. Children are especially vulnerable. Children breathe more air for their body sizes than adults.

Haws said particles from smoke can remain in the air for an extended period; and even after they settle onto surfaces, occupants can inhale them.

“The best policy is not to smoke in a vehicle at any time,” he said. States that prohibit smoking in vehicles when children are present are: Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Maine, Oregon, Utah and Vermont as well as the territory of Puerto Rico. Haws said most of Canada is covered by similar laws.

Haws said people can proclaim their car’s smoke-free status with an image that clings to car windows and says, “This is a smoke-free vehicle.” The free images can be ordered by calling 696-3356, or through the CommunityConnectionsLC page on facebook. Tobacco Free Lincoln County is funded by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services/Tobacco Free Nebraska Program, as a result of the Tobacco master settlement agreement of 1998.

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2014 in Tobacco News

 

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