четверг, 31 марта 2011 г.

What is holding Up Passage of the Tobacco Control Bill?

The number of tobacco users in Ghana increases by the day, despite the health implications associated with it. Compared to the western countries, where most people smoke tobacco due to the excessive cold weather, smokers in Ghana have other reasons for smoking – either for pleasure or to get rid of an excessive nasty smell – which they later get addicted to.

The number of tobacco smokers in Ghana, definitely, cannot be compared to smokers in the west, however, the adverse effects of smoking, unfortunately, does not affect users only, but people who find themselves present during the moment of smokers' activity.

This, in the long run, increases drastically, the number of people in danger of tobacco-related diseases.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), passive or non-smokers are at a greater risk of getting lung cancer, coronary heart diseases, and even cardiac death.

Over 600 studies undertaken by experts link passive smoking to ill health, and conclude that passive smoking, or the inhalation of tobacco smoke by non smokers, increases the risk of lung cancer, heart diseases, and respiratory disease.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates also show that 200,000 workers die as a result of exposure to passive smoking in the workplace.

According to WHO, at least one person dies every eight seconds due to tobacco-related diseases. About 13,400 people die each day, and 560 people die each hour globally.

By the year 2030, tobacco is expected to be the leading cause of death in the whole world. According to the World Health Organisation, smoking is a greater cause of death and disability than any single disease, as it is responsible for approximately five million deaths worldwide, every year. Tobacco smoking is a known, or probable cause, of approximately 25 diseases.

The danger tobacco users are putting on non-tobacco users, makes it evident that the probability of the nation losing its labour force and future leaders in the future is high. On the other hand, if the government will think it through, and concentrate on passing the Tobacco Control Bill into a law, then the citizen's fate of getting tobacco-related diseases would be minimised.

Provision of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) makes it mandatory for all signatory countries to formulate legislations that will protect the citizenry from the numerous health hazards associated with tobacco use. Ghana was the 39th country in the world to sign the convention, and the first country in West Africa sub-region to ratify it in 2004.

Despite this, all attempts since then to enact a law to regulate tobacco use in the country, has witnessed several challenges, causing many to doubt the government's commitment to achieving the set the goals spelt out in the convention.

According to the First Vice Chairman of the Media Alliance in Tobacco Control (MATCO), Jorge Wilson Kingson, by signing on to the Framework Convention On Tobacco Control (FCTC), Ghana had committed itself to, among others, 'adopt and implement effective legislative, executive, administration, and other measures, and cooperate, as appropriate, with other parties in developing appropriate policies for preventing and reducing tobacco consumption, nicotine addiction, and exposure to smoke.'

In doing so, the country would be achieving the overall objective of the convention, which is 'to protect the present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environment, and economic consequences of tobacco consumption, and exposure to tobacco smoke.

Illinois' tobacco QUITLINE has expanded hours to help smokers; last year almost 34,000 called

Public health officials are trying to make it easier for Illinois smokers to quit.

Public Health Director Dr. Damon Arnold has announced the Illinois Tobacco QUITLINE has added weekend hours for the first time and expanded its daily hours.

That means it will be open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week, thanks to a $1 million increase in Tobacco Settlement funding from the General Assembly.
The QUITLINE is operated by the American Lung Association and staffed by medical professionals and counselors. Services include customizing a quit program for each caller; and mailed quit-kits that include self-help materials.

Fight with tobacco company ends, years after cancer victim's death

THE family of lung cancer victim Rolah McCabe has spent a decade battling British American Tobacco through the Australian courts. Yesterday, at a hearing that lasted a mere five minutes and 10 seconds, the bitter fight finally came to an end.

A confidential agreement has been struck between British American Tobacco Australia Services, the local offshoot of the world's second-largest cigarette company, and the family of Mrs McCabe, who died of lung cancer in 2002 at the age of 51.

No details of the agreement were divulged yesterday, but there is little doubt it came at a substantial cost to British American Tobacco.

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The tobacco company's extraordinary legal costs for the landmark case are estimated at more than $10 million.

Arnold Bloch Liebler, the blue-blood Melbourne law firm that has acted pro bono for the McCabes since 2006, racked up more than $3.5 million of its own costs just in responding to BATAS's lawyers. As part of the agreement legal documents obtained by Mrs McCabe's original law firm, Slater & Gordon, will be destroyed. The documents include internal reports compiled by BATAS's former solicitors, Clayton Utz, into the professional conduct of two of the firm's partners.

In 2007 Victoria's Director of Public Prosecutions, Paul Coghlan, referred allegations of criminal behaviour to the Australian Crime Commission after reviewing the internal Clayton Utz reports. The ACC decided not to investigate.

Due to confidentiality clauses no one was claiming a victory or a loss as they left the Victorian Supreme Court after yesterday's brief mention hearing.

A BAT statement said all parties had simply ''walked away''.

''The settlement does not include any payment whatsoever by or on behalf of British American Tobacco (or any company related to it) or the McCabe Estate,'' read the tobacco giant's statement.

The reactions told a different story. Rolah's son, Jamie McCabe, smiled and hugged his legal team outside court, while lawyers for British American Tobacco departed with glum faces.


According to the Boston Herald, Red Sox manager Terry Francona may finally get the help he needs with kicking his chewing tobacco habit, as local health officials look to have all tobacco products banned from Major League Baseball games and ballparks.

While Fenway has already banned smoking within the park, the Boston Public Health Comission and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids are looking to ban chew as well.

“I understand this issue as a former smoker, but I also feel like we all have roles to play as we’re adults, and making sure that we’re not modeling unhealthy behaviors is something we can all do and do easily,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of the Boston Public Health Commission. “This would be another opportunity for our sports heroes to be heroes and really put out that very important image.”

Ferrer is looking to raise awareness of the issue and have it addressed during contract negotiations for the 2012 collective bargaining agreement.

Currently tobacco has already been outlawed in baseball’s minor leagues, the NCAA and the National Hockey League.

Nebraska Tobacco Tax Increase Proposal Harmful, Says Cigar Shop Association

A 225 percent increase in Nebraska excise taxes on certain tobacco products would be harmful to businesses throughout the state, according to the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association.
Legislative Bill 436 calls for higher cigarette and smokeless tobacco tax increases and an increase in the excise tax on other tobacco products including all cigars. The bill would raise taxes from 20 percent to 65 percent of the wholesale price.
“Tax increases of this magnitude backfire in this or any other economy. They never produce what they are expected to produce and they always lead to damaged businesses, lost jobs and lower tax revenues overall,” said Christ McCalla, legislative director of the IPCPR.
In addition, higher taxes on tobacco products inevitably lead to lost revenues to the state's cigar stores because customers either purchase less or they migrate to the Internet and purchase their products online where they are not taxed, McCalla pointed out. He also cited that higher prices lead to contraband product, brought in illegally and sold without generating state tax revenues.
“Nobody wins when that happens,” he said.
Earlier this year, the results of a poll of 500 Nebraskans were touted by anti-smoking forces as justification for tobacco tax increases statewide. At that time, the IPCPR branded the poll as ‘phony.'
The poll was paid for by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, an $8.4 billion organization that gets its funds from Johnson & Johnson which makes the leading brand of anti-smoking medication.
“The conclusions drawn from the poll results are phony for many reasons,” said Chris McCalla, legislative director of the IPCPR. “First of all, the poll's funding source has a vested interest in forcing people to give up the pleasure of smoking which will result from higher tobacco taxes,” said Chris McCalla, legislative director of the IPCPR. “Second, they are saying that 365 people should dictate higher taxes on those tobacco products by the citizens of Nebraska. Ridiculous!”
The IPCPR is an association of independent cigar store owners and manufacturers, most of whom are small, mom-and-pop tobacconists who primarily sell premium cigars, pipes and tobacco.

Noble students get a lesson in consequences of tobacco

Noble High School administrators recently pumped the consequences of tobacco use into the minds of roughly 1,500 students, allowing kids to get up close and personal with an inflatable, smoke-stricken pig lung as a part of Kick Butts Day.

Kick Butts Day is an national initiative to raise awareness about tobacco use, and as part of Noble's annual display a pig lung simulating 20 years of heavy cigarette use sat on a table March 22 near the main entrance next to a healthy lung so students could actually see the impact smoking can have on tissue health and overall organ function.

The lungs were eye-catching, and many students stopped between classes to check out the table run by district Health Coordinator Rebecca Hayes and Caitlin Littlefield, a representative from York Hospital who is also the tobacco prevention coordinator for the Maine Choose To Be Healthy Partnership.

Many students said they found the lungs "gross," and while a few muttered they weren't impressed as they passed by, most students said the display definitely had an effect on the way they view smoking.

"I never wanted to smoke anyway," said Tyler Howarth, a 17-year-old senior from Berwick. "This definitely shows me not to."

Tyler Anderson, a 17-year-old junior from Berwick, said he doesn't smoke but does use chewing tobacco. He said the lungs strengthened his decision not to smoke but didn't have much of an influence on his "dip" habits — that is, until he noticed an artificial mouth simulating the effects of using the product.

"I'm trying to quit, and that just makes me want to," said Anderson. "I'm a little bit sick to my stomach."

The students weren't the only ones who took notice of the display, which also featured a variety of antismoking information and cessation options, as staff members who presently smoke or used to do so also said it helped change the way they look at tobacco.

Bill, a custodian at the school who declined to give his last name, said the lungs might be "the final kick" he needs to help him quit smoking, as he has been trying to ditch his 30-year habit because of his family.

"I won't know until I try," he said. "I know my lungs are black. If I quit, it won't help that because the damage done has been done. There's no fixing it, but I am trying to not smoke as much."

Hayes said she hoped students learned a little about the dangers of smoking in order to "do some outreach to some of the kids who might be involved in some of these at-risk behaviors."

She said often messages about the risks are brushed aside, which is why the school tries to make a stronger statement with the decidedly graphic pig lungs.

"It's great," said Hayes. "When they actually see it and how smoking plays a role with how their bodies function, it takes it to a different level."

School Resource Officer Rick Varney, a 20-year-smoker who kicked his smoking habit 20 years ago, agreed.

"It has a good influence," he said. "It's good for the kids to see it."

Hayes said smoking among Maine youths has been rising over the years, and Kick Butts Day is among a variety of measures the district is taking to buck that trend. Other efforts include cessation programs, as well as adult programs through the district's adult education program in order to effect change in Noble's households as well.

понедельник, 21 марта 2011 г.

More awareness needed on Tobacco Decree

As work continues on the enforcement of the Tobacco Decree, the Health Ministry said more awareness needs to be carried out in schools.

Spokesperson Peni Namotu said this, as they currently enter the third phase of the enforcement of the Decree.

Last month, five secondary school children were taken in for questioning in Nausori after they were found to be smoking in amusement centres in the town.

He added that when they were questioned, they revealed that they did not know that the sale of cigarettes was banned and that a section of the Decree does not allow smoking in public areas.

Namotu said that this has shown that more awareness is needed in schools and added that vendors need to realize that they face a spot fine if found to be breaching the decree through selling it to people below the age of 18 years.

At the moment, registration of people selling cigarettes is underway while other sections such as the enforcement and the penalties are being looked at.

Fall River City Council could approve tobacco sales ban on Tuesday

Two weeks after it won initial approval, a sharply debated ordinance prohibiting tobacco sales at pharmacies returns to the council agenda Tuesday for a second reading and possibly ratification.

Councilors voted 5-4 on March 8 to approve the ordinance, which bans retail outlets with pharmacies from selling cigarettes and other tobacco products.

The issue returns for a second reading at Tuesday night’s council meeting, with a lighter agenda than two weeks ago.

Councilors heard support from teens and adults of the BOLD Coalition that following the lead of a minority of communities to ban cigarettes and related products at the city’s chain retailers would make the products less available and send the right message.

Fall River's independent pharmacies have not sold cigarettes for at least a decade.

The four councilors in the minority, the Greater Fall River Chamber of Commerce and others suggested such a ban infringed upon free trade of an industry that is already heavily regulated and highly taxed.

In a related matter, the council referred to its Committee on Ordinances & Legislation a resolution they support restricting access to “cheap, flavored tobacco products that have been targeted to young people."

The council also referred to the ordinance committee a resolution to increase public awareness of non-emergency phone calls and another to increase the standard fines for littering, which some residents say is becoming a bigger problem.

An ordinance on revamping street vendor fees was not acted upon and referred back to the ordinance committee for revisions after Councilor Joseph Camara raised issues about street peddlers.

First reading of a revised fee schedule was adopted for boat mooring fees, which would increase the $10 fee to $50 for transient moorings and $25 this year and $35 next year for remaining moorings. An exception would be the Battleship Cove sailing program, which would be exempted.

Two resolutions proposed for this week’s meeting include one that the Committee on Regulations meet to discuss the reopening of the Kennedy Park Healy Pool, and that the water division consider purchase of meter calibrating machines to flag certain accounts.

Among communications the council listed for discussion included one from the state Department of Environmental Protection on conditional approval of a “major modification permit” for the Allied Waste landfill.
The council meeting is scheduled at 7 p.m. in the Government Center council chambers.

The Committee on Finance has no agenda listed with a 6:45 p.m. starting time. Two committees will meet prior to those meetings: the Committee on Regulations at 4:30 p.m. and the Committee on Ordinances & Legislation at 5:30 p.m.

Len Tawn of the Hereford Tobacconist fears for future of shop

A HEREFORD shopkeeper fears his business could be stubbed out due to a ban on displaying tobacco.

The government confirmed last week that retailers will be forced to conceal cigarettes from customers from April 2015.

But it’s “ludicrous”

according to Len Tawn of the Hereford Tobacconist, who faces trading from an empty shop in St Owen’s Street.

The independent retailer – and non-smoker – will be forced to hide his niche range of loose tobacco in four years because of the new ruling.

Anti-smoking groups have welcomed the ban and a consultation on the feasibility of selling cigarettes in plain packaging.

But Mr Tawn fears the move will only hurt him and the government’s coffers by pushing sales to the black market.

“If you’re going to put everything into a white packet then people don’t really know what they’re buying,” said Mr Tawn.

“You’re not going to have a distinction between the man in the back street selling knock-offs and the proper stuff.

“I sell loose tobacco and everyone comes to see what I’m selling.

“I can’t go into a back room, empty it into a bag and say ‘here it is’ because you need to know what you’re buying.”

Staff at the Chocolate Box in Ledbury, which also stocks tobacco, said they were against the changes but insisted that regular customers would still buy their favourite cigarettes if they were under the counter.

Alison Merry, public health consultant for NHS Herefordshire, said the ban was a step forward and could deter future smokers.

“Around two-thirds of smokers want to give up and by removing a visible display you’re encouraging that,” she said.

“It’s also very welcome because the costs of treating smoking-related diseases is very high.”

Nicotine Effects – Smokers Warned Against Dissolvable Tobacco Products

The first study to analyze the complex ingredients in the new genre of dissolvable tobacco products has concluded that these pop-into-the-mouth replacements for cigarettes in places where smoking is banned have the potential to cause mouth diseases and other problems. The report appears in ACS’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

John V. Goodpaster and colleagues point out that the first dissolvable tobacco products went on sale in 2009 in test markets in Indianapolis, Ind., Columbus, Ohio, and Portland, Ore. The products contain finely-ground tobacco and other ingredients processed into pellet, stick, and strip forms that are advertised as smoke and spit-free. Health officials are concerned about whether the products, which dissolve inside the mouth near the lips and gums, are in fact a safer alternative to cigarette smoking. Goodpaster and colleagues note the possibility that children may be accidentally poisoned by the nicotine in these products. “The packaging and design of the dissolvables may also appeal to children, and some dissolvables, such as Orbs, may be mistaken for candy,” the report states.

The researchers’ analysis found that the products contain mainly nicotine and a variety of flavoring ingredients, sweeteners, and binders. They note abundant scientific evidence about the potential adverse health effects of nicotine, including those involving the teeth and gums. Other ingredients in dissolvables have the potential to increase the risk of tooth decay and one, coumarin, has been banned as a flavoring agent in food because of its link to a risk of liver damage.
“The results presented here are the first to reveal the complexity of dissolvable tobacco products and may be used to assess potential health effects,” said Goodpaster, noting that it is “therefore important to understand some of the potential toxicological effects of some of the ingredients of these products.” Nicotine in particular, he noted, is a toxic substance linked to the development of oral cancers and gum disease.

Tobacco funds to boost MaineCare

As hearings on Gov. Paul LePage’s biennial budget proposal continue through the end of this month and lawmakers search for ways to save the state money, no stone is being left unturned and nothing is off limits.

One part of LePage’s budget proposal is stirring the ire of some in Maine’s public health community. In an effort to generate new revenue sources and breathe life into the state’s faltering Medicaid program, MaineCare, the administration has included $18.1 million in cuts to the Fund for a Healthy Maine as part of its proposed budget.

LePage’s proposal would also make it easier in the future to redirect money from the Healthy Maine reserve for use in the state’s general fund by eliminating certain provisions.

The Fund for a Healthy Maine has long been revered as a source of stability to young parents, the elderly and low-income students. Each year it receives an infusion of around $50 million from a 1998 multi-state settlement with tobacco companies. Maine, unlike other states, has gone to great lengths to ensure that money goes to the fund for public health initiatives, including tobacco prevention and cessation programs.

But now, after the Affordable Care Act of 2009 passed by the federal government, the state government cannot meaningfully reduce enrollment or coverage in MaineCare and must find money to pay for the program as it exists, which means unprecedented reductions to the Healthy Maine reserve.

Cuts to the Fund for a Healthy Maine include an elimination of funding for family planning, which provides assistance to young adults in both the prevention and preparation for pregnancy.

The proposal would eliminate the forgivable loan program for dental students and a scholarship program for low-income students studying health professions at Maine’s community colleges.

Furthermore, it carves out $15 million from the Drugs for the Elderly and Disabled program, as well as a statewide wellness program intended to help first-time parents with at-home visits from healthcare professionals.

Though approximate numbers were not provided, a substantial portion of the youth population in the Bangor area alone is served by Planned Parenthood. It provides birth control, educational and gynecological services to a number of area youths under the age of 21 who provide payment through MaineCare, according to officials at Penquis Cap in Bangor.

Without such a service, officials say, the kind of care Planned Parenthood provides may otherwise be unaffordable to many of those it serves.

“Maine’s economy depends on bringing down the cost of health care for the state and for business,” said Becky Smith, a lobbyist with a group of more than 150 public health and social service agencies. “This is what the fund for a Healthy Maine is designed to do.”

Social services and health care are proving problematic for lawmakers as they search for ways to balance the budget and reduce red ink. Though unrelated to the proposal from the LePage administration, it was revealed Friday that the Department of Health and Human Services faces an audit from the federal government for Medicaid payments from 2006 to 2008.

The amount in question is $138.9 million. If the findings of such an audit are finalized, it could leave the state scrambling to pay the bill, according to Maine Sen. Richard Rosen, R-Bucksport, who serves on the Appropriations Committee.

Rosen said lawmakers are also worried about the need to find $29.7 million to pay for mistakes in Medicaid programs for improper case management claims. Moreover, he said, the budget for Medicaid this year underestimated the increased use of its programs as a result of the recession.

Work on the budget is expected to continue through the end of this month. A two-thirds majority vote is needed for the budget to immediately take effect. If a simple majority vote is achieved then it will take 90 days after the legislature adjourns to take effect.

четверг, 17 марта 2011 г.

Electronic Cigarettes: A Healthier Way of Smoking

Electronic cigarettes are an innovative easy way to feed a nasty little habit while improving your health. Electronic cigarettes by E-Lites are also a money saving option that take into consideration the physical and calming need a smoker gets from holding and ‘vaping.’ Since the vaping from an electronic cigarette produces no unhealthy by product into the air, E-Lites are more welcomed by the non-smoking community and are, by far, more healthier than conventional fire-driven cigarettes.

E-Lites are an innovative way to curb unsavory health complications brought on by conventional cigarettes. They are sophisticated replicates and feel just like the real thing. The E-Lite electronic cigarette produce a neutral vapor while eliminating the carcinogenic smoke and offensive smell that so many people find unpleasant.
The electronic cigarette contains nicotine in a pure liquid form.

When this liquid is inhaled, it is drawn into an atomizer that is heated and in turn changed into an inoffensive vapor. E-lites are tobacco-, tar- and carcinogenic-free making E-Lites a healthier alternative smoking. What more, E-Lite will save nearly 5 pounds sterling per pack and is legal to take with you anywhere in any restaurant, pub or place of worship.

This latest generation in electronic cigarettes comes with a starter kit that is simple, reliable and enjoyable to use. The nicotine-containing device that is replaceable and contains enough of the addictive compound for up to 20 cigarettes before needing to be recharged. E-Lite is a leader in the field of alternative smoking and is expanding at a fast pace to meet national and international demand.

U.S. Presses Tobacco Firms to Admit to Falsehoods About Light Cigarettes and Nicotine Addiction

A federal judge on Wednesday unsealed a government proposal that outlines what it wants tobacco companies to say in national advertising and on cigarette packages — that they lied to the American public about so-called light cigarettes and the addictiveness of nicotine.

Judge Gladys Kessler of the United States District Court in Washington denied a request by the tobacco companies that the recommendations, by the Justice Department, be kept secret until they submitted a response.

The so-called corrective statements were ordered as part of a civil racketeering judgment in 2006 in which Judge Kessler ruled against the tobacco companies, saying they had lied for 50 years. The statements are to appear in newspaper and magazine advertising and in attachments to cigarette packages.

Judge Kessler is also deciding how the advertisements should be displayed at retail outlets. She is expected to set a schedule Thursday for the response from the companies and her decision.

The Justice Department’s proposed statement are blunt, and are being met with stiff resistance from the tobacco companies.

One would have the tobacco companies buy ads saying in part: “We falsely marketed low tar and light cigarettes as less harmful than regular cigarettes to keep people smoking and sustain our profits. We knew that many smokers switch to low tar and light cigarettes rather than quitting because they believe low tar and lights are less harmful. They are NOT.”

Another would say in part: “We told Congress under oath that we believed nicotine is not addictive. We told you that smoking is not an addiction and all it takes to quit is willpower. Here’s the truth: Smoking is very addictive. And it’s not easy to quit. We manipulated cigarettes to make them more addictive.”

Philip Morris USA, the largest United States tobacco company, said on Wednesday that the government’s proposals “go beyond factual and scientific information.” The company, which makes Marlboro cigarettes and is owned by the Altria Group, signaled it would appeal to higher courts if necessary.

“The Department of Justice proposal would compel the companies to admit wrongdoing under threat of contempt,” Murray Garnick, Altria associate general counsel, said in a statement. “Such a proposal is unprecedented in our legal system and would violate basic constitutional and statutory standards.”

The tobacco companies will be proposing their own versions for the judge to consider.

Cigarettes, Air Freshener Fail to Hide Scent of Marijuana

Poor driving and a failed attempt to mask the odor of marijuana ended in the arrest of two North Carolina men on drug charges last week.

On March 8, a Gwinnett County Police officer traveling southbound on I-85 near Hamilton Mill Road noticed a black GMC Yukon weave across the fog line seven times within a one mile distance. The officer initiated a traffic stop and, upon approaching the vehicle, noticed the driver, Griffin Wilt of Boone, N.C., and his passenger, John Templeton III of Gastonia, N.C., both had freshly lit cigarettes. The officer also noticed three “Black Ice” air fresheners hanging on the rearview mirror.

The officer asked if Wilt had been drinking and Wilt said he had not. The officer asked Wilt to exit the vehicle in order to interview him further. According to the police report, once Wilt discarded his cigarette, an odor of marijuana became evident.

When asked, Wilt initially denied having any marijuana in the vehicle. Upon further questioning, Wilt confessed he had smoked some earlier in the day. Eventually, Wilt admitted having drugs in the Yukon. When the officer asked where the drugs were located, Wilt said Templeton had concealed the marijuana under the seat.

Once backup arrived, the officer returned to the vehicle and confronted Templeton with Wilt’s admission regarding the marijuana. When asked where the drugs were concealed, Templeton allegedly reached under the seat and pulled out a glass jar containing marijuana.

Both men were placed in handcuffs at that time. During a subsequent search of the vehicle, the officer found a black book bag containing a sunglass case in which a marijuana pipe was concealed. The officer also found a first aid kit containing marijuana and a grinder that also contained marijuana.

Both men were transported to the Gwinnett County Detention Center and charged with possession of less than one ounce of marijuana.