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A Less Defiant Tack in a Campaign to Curb Smoking by Teenagers

SMOKING had long been a hallmark of teenage rebellion when “Truth,” a campaign from Legacy, introduced its first antismoking commercial in 2000. In the commercial, young people gather at the New York headquarters of the Philip Morris tobacco company and dump 1,200 body bags, representing the number of daily deaths attributed to smoking. The spot sought to shift a perception of cigarettes as a symbol of rebellion to one of the tobacco industry as the real enemy to rebel against.

The continuing “Truth” effort has been widely viewed as a success. A 2009 study in The American Journal of Preventive Medicine, for example, found that from 2000 through 2004, the effort was directly responsible for preventing 450,000 teenagers from starting to smoke. Now Legacy is about to introduce a new effort on behalf of the “Truth” campaign, “Finish It,” which takes a decidedly less rebellious tone.

A new commercial opens with “Revolusion,” a song by the Swedish performer Elliphant, and white text against an orange background. “In 2000, 23 percent of teens smoked,” it reads. “Today, only 9 percent of teens smoke. That’s less than the number of VHS tapes sold in 2013. It’s less than the number of landlines still in use. But the fight isn’t over.”

The spot shows photographs that teenage users of Facebook and Instagram have posted of themselves trying to look tough or sexy while smoking, which have garnered hundreds of “likes” from their friends on the social networks. Similar to the Human Rights Campaign, which last year asked social media users to change their profile pictures to a version of its logo, an equal sign, to show support for marriage equality, the campaign urges teenagers to change their profile pictures, too.

As detailed in the spot, on thetruth.com website users can superimpose a logo for the campaign, an “X” in an orange square, onto a profile picture, meaning their faces are still visible.

“We have the power,” text in the spot concludes. “We have the creativity. We will be the generation that ends smoking. Finish it.”

The commercial, which will be introduced on Monday, is part of a campaign that includes cinema advertising and digital advertising, and is being pitched to consumers ages 15 to 21. It is the first campaign for Legacy (formerly known as the American Legacy Foundation) by 72andSunny in Los Angeles, which is owned by MDC Partners. The foundation will spend an estimated $130 million on advertising over the next three years on all its antismoking campaigns, which include efforts that focus on older smokers.

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Posted by on August 12, 2014 in Tobacco News

 

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Enhanced taxes can reduce number of tobacco users

Journalists and development activists at a participatory discussion here today demanded enhancement of taxes on tobacco products for the sake of saving many people from various non-contagious diseases caused by tobacco consumption.

They viewed more than 45.9 million people use tobacco products, both smoke and smokeless, and 1.2 million of them are infected with various diseases like lung cancer, brain haemorrhage, heart and respiratory tract infections and around 57,000 of the infected patients die every year. Moreover, around Taka 51 billion are being spent for treatment purposes of the infected patients yearly.

Anti Tobacco Media Alliance (ATMA) and Tobacco Control Coalition jointly organised the ATMA’s regional meeting at the conference hall of Association for Community Development (ACD) demanding enhanced taxes on all tobacco products including bidi and cigarettes.

Ehsanul Amin Emon, Project Coordinator of ACD, who spoke on the occasion as focal person, said proper execution of the tobacco control law has become an urgent need to protect many non-smokers from passive smoking. He said Bangladesh is one of the highest tobacco using countries that has now become a matter of grave concern.

Social movement is also needed to ensure hundred percent smoke-free public places and transports for freeing millions of second hand and passive smocking from various harmful effects, he added.

He defined that the frequent and indiscriminate smoking in the public places and transports affected the non-smokers more than direct smokers.

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Posted by on May 27, 2014 in Tobacco News

 

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Smoking in a public place? Your pic may appear on FB

Police commissioner Raghavendra Auradkar has appealed to the public to upload photos of smokers on the Bangalore city police Facebook page for immediate action. The public can also call 100 and inform them about smokers in public places, so that the nearest patrol police can reach the spot and nab them. The identity of the informant would be kept confidential.

The measures are part of an intensified drive against smoking in public places under the Cigarettes & Other Tobacco Products (prohibition of advertisement and regulation of trade of commerce, production, supply and distribution) Act (COTPA), 2003.

Auradkar told Bangalore Mirror, “We have started looking for those who smoke cheapest cigarettes in public places and booking cases against such smokers under the COPTA Act.”

Smoking in public places like bus stands, railway station, metro, malls and eateries causes inconvenience to the public, he pointed out. “It leads to passive smoking. Young girls and women will suffer because of the smokers. Sometimes women have to walk away from those places because of these mischievous smokers,” he contended.

A senior officer said, the plan of appealing to people to upload the photos in Facebook will work because many youths smoke without the knowledge of their parents, family members and relatives.

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2014 in Tobacco Articles

 

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Bill bans smoking at all times in home day cares

The Assembly approved a bill Monday that would ban smoking inside home day care centers even after the children have left, a regulation that targets lingering “third-hand smoke” and has been adopted by 12 other states. The chamber passed the measure by Assemblyman Isadore Hall, D-Compton, on a 55-8 vote, with some Republican lawmakers opposed.

Smoking already is banned in homes that function as day care centers during their operating hours to prevent kids from being exposed to secondhand smoke. But Hall says recent research shows even off-hour smoking places children at risk.

“Exposure to second- and third-hand smoke is a real danger to the health of these young, developing individuals,” he said. Hall also was behind a law to require smoke-free environments for foster homes. Assembly GOP spokeswoman Amanda Fulkerson said members of her party were concerned about the government imposing regulations on business owners in their off-hours and the structure of the bill.

Supporters of the ban say the danger comes from smoke and cancer-causing compounds penetrating furniture, toys and other objects, which children can touch with their mouths. Researchers recently have started focusing on the effects of third-hand smoke, including a 2013 study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, an U.S. Department of Energy lab managed by the University of California system. The study found the lingering smoke damages DNA in human cells and is especially dangerous for children and difficult to eradicate from clothes and carpets.

If the bill passes the Senate and is signed into law by the governor, California would join 12 other states that already ban smoking in home day cares at all times — while 25 others only forbid smoking when children are inside, according to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention database. The CDC says local law enforcement and health departments enforce California’s existing law, and state regulators say they enforce it based on complaints and during inspections.

Hall says day care providers can still smoke cigarettes outside their homes if children have left their care. The bill doesn’t specify penalties for smoking inside during off-hours at the state’s 36,000 facilities, but existing rules call for an infraction and a $100 penalty for lighting up in the presence of children attending day care.

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2014 in Tobacco Facts

 

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Smoking, Plain Packaging, and Public Health

Smoking is one of the leading preventable causes of death in the world. In most wealthy countries, smoking has been declining for decades. Public health experts and anti-smoking groups have for many years advocated for restrictions on the marketing of tobacco products in general and cheap cigarettes in particular. In response, governments in wealthy countries have banned most or all advertising, and many have banned sponsorship and other explicit forms of marketing of cigarettes.

Many public health advocates say these restrictions do not go far enough and have called for the elimination of brand identifiers such as logos and colours on cigarette packs. Some experimental evidence suggested that such plain packs would encourage smokers to perceive cigarettes less favorably, which might lead them to quit.

However, this optimism was tempered by evidence that even restrictions on advertising have had at best a small influence on the decline in smoking (most of the decline can be traced to a better understanding of the risks of smoking, in large part a result of public information campaigns, and taxes on cigarettes).

In 2011, Australia’s government introduced legislation mandating that cigarettes be sold in “plain packages” (i.e., without brand logos and colours). The legislation came into effect in late 2012. (Australia had already banned practically all tobacco advertising and other forms of marketing. In 2006, it had introduced a requirement that cigarette packs display graphic health warnings on a substantial proportion of their surface area.)

Some studies (such as a survey carried out when plain packaging was being introduced, an analysis of calls to a smoking cessation hotline, and a survey of outdoor smoking habits) suggest that plain packaging has indeed, made cigarettes less desirable to smokers and has increased thoughts of quitting.

However, an online survey of smokers carried out in two phases, the first a month before and the second six to eight weeks after the introduction of the plain packaging rules, suggest that the impact of the rules on quitting tendencies is probably small. Moreover, many smokers engaged in defensive behaviors such as covering up health warnings, and did not report changing brands or a significant increased tendency to quit. This finding was corroborated by another survey that found that in the year to July 2013 the proportion of smokers in Australia had not declined since the introduction of plain packaging.

A study looking at discarded packs and other data suggests that consumption of cigarettes in the year to July 2013 remained at the same level as in 2012, but found that the proportion of illicit cigarettes had increased substantially. This is corroborated by the most recent Annual Report of Australia’s Customs and Border Protection Service, which indicates that the number of illicit cigarettes entering Australia has indeed risen dramatically in the past three years.

The discarded pack study concluded that contraband—much of which is in the form of finished cigarettes that are not legally sold anywhere in the world, known as “illicit whites”—now accounts for more than half of illegal sales and about 7.5% of all sales. Part of the blame for the increased availability of illicit whites lies with a 25% increase in excise tax on tobacco introduced in 2010. But, since most of the increase in their market share occurred in the past 18 months, part of the blame almost certainly rests with the plain packaging rules.

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2014 in Tobacco Facts

 

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Hong Kong fights smoking

The most drastic tobacco-tax increase in Hong Kong’s history came in 1983, when duty went up 300 per cent. The proportion of smokers fell from 23.3 per cent of Hongkongers aged 15 or over the year before, to 19.9 per cent afterwards. When the tax was doubled in 1991, the proportion fell from 15.7 per cent to 14.9 per cent.

“The two major tax increases in the past were important factors in reaching our low smoking population today,” he said. About 10.7 per cent of adult Hongkongers smoke, some 650,000 people, one of the lowest rates in the developed world. The rate on the mainland is more than three times as high.

The success is such that the city’s Tobacco Control Centre was appointed by the WHO to train professionals from around the region in fighting smoking. But Lam sees no grounds for complacency. “We’re worried that if the scope of the tax increase is not enough, people will look at the outcome and say the effects are not big,” he said.

The charity Lok Sin Tong interviewed 100 smokers who refused to accept its smoking cessation services when offered in an outreach programme. Some 15 per cent said a rise of 24 per cent would make them quit, while 20 per cent would not quit no matter how high taxes went. Lam said the findings were in line with his experience. Audera-Lopez says a tax increase would have the biggest effect on young smokers.

“Children and adolescents are also more sensitive to price increases than adults,” she said. Some 2 per cent of Hongkongers aged 15 to 19 smoked in 2012, a household survey by the Census and Statistics Department found, down from 2.4 per cent in 2007.

But even a modest tax increase is expected to face opposition in the Legislative Council. The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong has already come out against it, and the League of Social Democrats’ “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung cast doubt on the government’s claims of success against smoking.

“When you’re asking about something that’s taboo in society, people won’t tell you they’re doing it,” said Leung, a smoker for 40 years. He believes a tax increase will push smokers towards illicit cigarettes. The number of smuggled cigarettes seized by customs was up 41 per cent year on year in 2013, to more than 38 million.

The Coalition on Tobacco Affairs, an industry-funded lobby group, urged the government to tackle the illicit trade before raising tax, and to keep duty increases moderate to avoid a “shock effect” that drove smokers to the black market.

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2014 in Tobacco Articles

 

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Impact of the Plain Packaging Reforms on Tobacco Use

The November 2013 study Mr Argent referred to was conducted by London Economics, a UK economic and policy consultancy firm, and commissioned by Philip Morris International, which sells branded cigarettes in 180 markets. London Economics surveyed Australian adults three times: between July and October 2012, before the new regulations began; in March 2013, three months after their full implementation; and in July 2013. The November report was “an interim assessment” of the firm’s analysis of the impact of plain packaging on smoking prevalence.

The study did not directly address the impact of plain packaging on potential new smokers, despite this being the government’s stated policy priority. It found that the largest group of tobacco consumers, those who smoke daily, fell from 20.4 per cent of the adult population before plain packs became mandatory to 19.5 per cent three months afterwards. The number of daily smokers then rose to 20 per cent in July 2013. Respondents who said they were weekly but not daily smokers initially fell, then returned to the pre-implementation level of 2.1 per cent. “Less than weekly” smoking fell from 2.3 per cent to 1.9 per cent and then rose to 2.2 per cent.

The study also found the number of people who claimed never to have smoked increased from 45.6 per cent in the second half of 2012 to 46.6 per cent in July 2013. Those numbers represent a reduction of 0.4 per cent in the number of Australian adults smoking daily and a 1 per cent increase in the number of adults who had never smoked (suggesting more of those turning 18 do not smoke). The report’s authors said that “from a statistical perspective, none of these changes were different from zero”.

They conclude that “over the timeframe of the analysis, the data does not demonstrate that there has been a change in smoking prevalence following the introduction of plain packaging and larger health warnings…” The second report Mr Argent referred to was a study of the sale of illicit tobacco in Australia. It was conducted by accounting firm KPMG and commissioned by Imperial Tobacco, British American Tobacco and Philip Morris.

The report estimated that the overall level of tobacco consumption in Australia was 17.4 million kilograms in the year to June 2013, the same level as the year before. It said consumption of legal products fell from 15.3 million kilograms to 15.1, while consumption of illicit products increased correspondingly. The KPMG report did not evaluate the impact of the plain packaging reforms on consumption.

Imperial Tobacco, which produces cheap Davidoff cigarettes, recently argued against the introduction of plain packaging in Britain, stating “following the introduction of standardised packaging in Australia, smoking prevalence has not been affected”.

It cited the KPMG report’s finding that overall consumption had remained stable. However, Imperial Tobacco’s submission, dated January 10, urged the UK government to postpone deciding on plain packaging legislation because there was insufficient evidence about the impact of the Australian reforms. It noted that the latest national statistics from Australia covering smoking prevalence were for the end of 2012 and there had been no data or anecdotal evidence on youth smoking rates in Australia after 2011.

“We are not aware of any national statistics from Australia… covering the period since standardised packaging was mandated,” the submission said. “We consider this to be an essential requirement for a proper assessment of the policy’s impact.” The Australian Government was planning a review on the plain packaging measures in December 2014 “and we would expect other governments to wait until this review has been conducted before making any decisions,” it said.

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2014 in Tobacco News

 

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