среда, 28 сентября 2011 г.

Anyone fancy a bowl of cigarette soup for lunch?

toxins in cigar

PARENTS will be given lessons in making cigarette soup in a bid to encourage them to smoke away from their children.

Smokefree North West has joined forces with Barnardo’s to carry out training sessions with staff in Bolton’s children’s centres to highlight the harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke, including arsenic, formaldehyde and cadmium.

A kit, complete with cooking pot and fake hazardous liquids, will show parents some of the harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke. Of more than 4,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke, 60 are known to cause cancer as well as other avoidable childhood illnesses.

Parents will then be shown the “cigarette soup”.

Debbie Mellor, deputy head of Oxford Grove Children’s Centre, said: “I was really surprised by the amount of chemicals in cigarettes.

“We all want to protect our children so it's helpful to have all the right facts about how harmful secondhand smoke can really be.” The initiative is the next stage of the Take 7 Steps Out campaign, which asks smokers to take a few steps out of the house when smoking to reduce the dangers of children being exposed to secondhand smoke.

Jan Hutchinson, director of public health at NHS Bolton, said: “It’s important people are aware of the full facts about the amount of harmful toxins in cigar e t t e s. Th e dangers to children are very clear.

“By taking a few short steps outside of the home, parents can take the smoke away from children and protect them from the dangerous substances found in cigarettes.”

Deirdre Lewis, children’s services manager for Barnardo’s in the North West, said: “Using the chemical soup kit helps us equip parents with knowledge in our communities so they can make a positive step to protecting their children’s health.

“We want them now to pass on these messages and get the community talking so that we can prevent many children from suffering unnecessarily.”

Cigarette machines set to be stubbed out

STRICT laws to ban cigarette machines within easy access to members of the public are now being prepared by St Helens Trading Standards Officers.

The law, which comes into force on Saturday, October 1, bans cigarette vending machines from being sited anywhere that they can be accessed by the public.

It was passed following strong lobbying by various groups and the Department of Health, which prompted Trading Standards to conduct checks to see how easy it was for under 18s to obtain tobacco from the machines.

A coordinated Trading Standards North West regional survey found that in more than 60 per cent of cases children were able to buy cigarettes from vending machines without being challenged.

In the most recent checks, St Helens Council’s Trading Standards Officers found that volunteer youngsters were able to purchase tobacco in six out of the ten premises checked.

Councillor Alison Bacon, Cabinet Member for Environmental Protection, said: “It’s well documented that people who start smoking in their early teens are more likely to continue to smoke throughout their adult life.”

Trading Standards Officers will be out checking all public cigarette vending machines are removed once the new law is in force.

Any business requiring any further information on the legal requirements of the law should contact St Helens Trading Standards on 676353.

понедельник, 19 сентября 2011 г.

Virginia's Slim Pickings for Smokes

Xu Bing, one of China's best-known contemporary artists, didn't think it would be hard to get materials for an exhibit about tobacco in a city whose ties to the leaf run long and deep.

His installation opened over the weekend at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. It explores the history, culture, and links between the tobacco industries in the U.S. and China. Mr. Xu was optimistic about finding 500,000 cigarettes for a 40-by-15 foot "Tiger Carpet"; a 40-foot-long uncut cigarette to be stretched—and burned—across the length of a reproduction of an ancient Chinese scroll; and 440 pounds of tobacco leaves compressed into a cube, with raised letters reading, "Light as Smoke."

But getting materials wasn't easy, even in a city so steeped in tobacco it once had an annual festival and Tobacco Bowl. Mr. Xu says the complications he faced reflect the very point of his Tobacco Project: to explore the entangled, contradictory relationship people have with one of the world's most widely cultivated nonfood crops, an economic engine that the World Health Organization links to the deaths of more than five million people a year.

"There's both a closeness and a distance," says Mr. Xu, a 1999 recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant who has lived and worked both in the U.S. and China and who currently has an installation in New York made from 9/11 dust.

Altria Group Inc., Richmond-based parent company of Philip Morris USA and a major corporate donor to the VMFA, declined to donate cigarettes or other tobacco materials, according to Mr. Xu and museum staff. Altria has committed more than $1 million through 2013 to sponsor museum exhibits, including a recent successful Picasso show, but "we don't support every exhibit that comes to the museum," an Altria spokesman says.

Tickets Issued For Discarded Cigarettes

cigarette starts

A crackdown was under way Thursday for those who carelessly discard their cigarettes.
Deputies in Harris County Precinct 4 in Spring are issuing tickets for those who throw a cigarette out of a window.
"You would be surprised how many people out in this area do not realize there is a burn ban that's on," said Mark Herman with Harris County Precinct 4.
The 300 deputy constables in Precinct 4 have been directed to educate violators and issue citations.
"It's not an option. If they see someone flick a cigarette out, they will take action. That is a requirement of state law. They flick a cigarette out, that's considered littering. However, if that cigarette sparks a fire, then it's considered a violation of our burn ban and the consequences for that are more severe," Herman said.
A citation for throwing a cigarette out of a window has a $200 fine. If the cigarette starts a fire, the fine goes up to $500.
Officials said they are hoping to prevent fires with the crackdown.

Fewer people smoking cigarettes

curb smoking

Fewer people in the U.S. are smoking cigarettes now.

And because of that, the Centers for Disease Control says the number of people getting lung cancer is down too.

A report by the CDC shows new lung cancer diagnoses among men fell in 35 states between 1999 and 2008.

And, after years of increasing, the rate among women went down nationwide between 2006 and 2008.

The CDC credits states' efforts to curb smoking such as higher cigarette prices and anti-smoking media campaigns for the drop.

University tobacco advisory committee membership set

tobacco advisory

The transition to a smoke-free campus progressed Friday when OU President David Boren announced the students, faculty and staff who will serve on the school’s tobacco advisory committee.

Boren selected five students, three faculty members, three staff members and three administrators to the committee, according to a press release. Committee selections were based on faculty and staff recommendations and elected student leaders.

The committee will decide the guidelines and regulations to submit to the OU Board of Regents to make OU a smoke-free campus.

“They will examine all issues including enforcement mechanisms, phase-in procedures and timing, additional resources to help those seeking to stop smoking and many other issues,” Boren said in a press release.

The committee is tasked with making recommendations by the December regents meeting, but if the committee needs to take longer, there is no definite time-limit, according to the press release.

Smoke Signals: How intense should Philly's war on tobacco be?

occasional smoke

People who spew tobacco smoke into the air without regard for how what they are doing might affect your health?
Or: Prissy busybodies who give you tedious lectures about the evils of that cherished pleasure in your life, the occasional smoke?
Either way, you might be interested in Smoke Signals. It's a community forum series we at WHYY are launching this week.
It will be a series of dialogues, in four corners of the city, about what you might or might not be willing to support in terms of tobacco policies in Philadelphia.
We're gathering this input on behalf of the city Department of Public Health, which has given us a list of nine possible approaches to tobacco control. The department wants to know which of those measures you might be inclined to support, which oppose - and how fervently.
Some, such as the idea of mandating warning signs about tobacco's health effects at every point of sale, are actively on the table. A hearing on that one was held in the city on Sept. 8.
Some, such as banning smoking in public parks or banning the sale of tobacco near schools, have been tried in other cities and are being studied here.
Some, such as banning smoking in all public housing, are not within the department's purview, but have been discussed in other cities.

понедельник, 12 сентября 2011 г.

PHA calls for plain tobacco packaging

remove tobacco

The Public Health Association (PHA) has written to the Prime Minister and Cabinet urging them to follow Australia and legislate for plain packaging on tobacco as soon as possible. The PHA believes the tobacco industry will quickly refocus its marketing efforts on the branding on cigarette packs, now the public display of tobacco products is to be banned.

Dr Keating said delegates to last week's PHA annual conference applauded the government's leadership in legislating to remove tobacco products from retail display.

But Dr Keating said there was also disquiet that the tobacco industry will waste no time in redirecting its investment toward 'in-home' marketing, probably even before the deadline for the dismantling of tobacco displays in retail outlets.

"We don't want the government to lose momentum - plain packaging will help prevent the uptake of smoking particularly by young New Zealanders - avoiding the premature deaths of 5000 of them, reducing unnecessary hospital admissions and saving taxpayers millions.

"It is inevitable New Zealand will introduce the same legislation as Australia at some stage, so there is little point in delay, and much to be gained by acting now.

"Recent New Zealand research1 clearly indicates young people relate very strongly to cigarette packaging.

"There is no doubt branding functions as advertising, and tobacco executives have admitted as much in their internal documents," says the PHA's National Executive Officer Dr Gay Keating.

"Once bought and left lying around people's homes, branded packets colourfully encourage young people to pick up the habit and make it harder for ex-smokers to stay smokefree."

Celebration to recognize faiths united against tobacco in Conway

Smoke Free Horry will sponsor a celebration on Saturday to recognize faith communities who have partnered with the organization for their Faith’s United Against Tobacco (FUAT) campaign.

A press release said the event will be held Saturday, September 10 at 10:45 a.m. at Mason Temple Church of God in Christ, which is located at 1501 7th Avenue in Conway, S.C.

The event will feature nationally acclaimed speaker, anti-tobacco activist and former big tobacco manager, La Tanisha Wright, who will present insider knowledge about big tobacco contracts and their practices in minority and low-income communities. Music will be provided by Rejoice 1200’s “Reggie D,” and musical group, Cinseer, will perform during the event.

Wright, along with representatives from Smoke Free Horry, will be available for media interviews beginning at 10 a.m.

In addition, a free health fair will be offered, also beginning at 10:00 a.m. that day.

The FUAT campaign was created to encourage area churches to go smoke free and provides an outline of ways to educate church congregations about the dangers of smoking and secondhand smoke. As part of the FUAT campaign, participants are asked to engage in various activities that help educate members about secondhand smoke exposure and smoking. Currently, 34 area worship centers have joined the campaign.

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Tobacco addiction kills Indian 'Superman'

tobacco powder

But with cruel irony his death at the age of 25 this week from tongue cancer -- an apparent result of a heavy chewing tobacco habit since childhood -- just a week after the premiere of his new film, has brought him posthumous fame.

In "Ye Hai Malegaon Ka Superman" (This is Malegaon Superman), Sheikh plays a spoof version of the superhero, fighting an evil "gutkha king" who wants to flood the town with the highly addictive chewing tobacco.

"In the movie he's fighting against smokeless tobacco as Superman but in real life he himself has succumbed to the habit," his doctor Pankaj Chaturvedi, a head and neck cancer surgeon at Mumbai's Tata Memorial Hospital, said.

"He was supposed to be there at the premiere but he could not go. He was very, very sick," he added.

Sheikh's story is depressingly familiar for Indian cancer specialists, increasingly alarmed at a rise in tobacco use in the south Asian country and oral cancer rates among young people.

The slightly built former textile worker first started using gutkha tobacco mix at the age of eight and was consuming between 30 and 40 packets a day until at 18 he was diagnosed with oral sub-mucous fibrosis, which affects the jaw.

The condition later developed into cancer, leading to him having most of his tongue and the glands from both sides of his neck removed.

He also had radiotherapy to stop the disease spreading.
"These patients (with stage four cancer) have almost a 50 percent chance of the disease coming back," said Chaturvedi, an internationally renowned specialist on tobacco-related diseases.

"It happened to Sheikh within six months. His disease came back in his lungs and spread to the rest of his body. Nothing could be done. He was just on pain-relieving drugs."

Tobacco has been chewed for centuries in India, most commonly as "paan" -- betel leaf with tobacco powder, areca nut, slaked lime and catechu (Acacia tree extract) -- or "paan masala", a flavoured variety with or without tobacco.

Ready-made packets of gutkha have become popular in recent years, with sachets selling for as little as two rupees (less than 0.5 US cents) each.

Doctors' concern about gutkha use comes because of its use by people of all ages, particularly children, and from all walks of life and its being advertised as tobacco-free or as a breath freshener.

Gutkha, paan and beedis -- cheap, hand-rolled tobacco leaves -- account for 85 percent of India's tobacco market, with the remainder taken up by packaged cigarettes.

Chaturvedi said India -- the world's second largest consumer of tobacco behind China, with more than 240 million users -- is seeing a rise in oral cancers, whereas in the West rates are declining.

The World Health Organization has said the dramatic increase in oral sub-mucous fibrosis is "a new epidemic, especially among the youth... (that) has been attributed to chewing gutkha and paan masala".

"We're seeing a real surge in various oral cancers among young people, who are getting addicted," said Chaturvedi. "Normally we wouldn't have such cancers in youth. About 30 percent are below 35 years of age.

"It's shocking. That means they're starting at the age of 12 and developing cancers after 10 years' consumption."

"Sheikh was so frustrated with the whole gutkha issue," Chaturvedi said. "He didn't want his children to suffer the same fate.... But through his movie, he wants the message to be spread."

четверг, 1 сентября 2011 г.

Opium poppies rare in North Coast marijuana gardens

marijuana garden

If the poppies found growing at a forested Fort Bragg slaying scene prove to be the opium variety, it will be a rare find on the North Coast and California.

“It's pretty much an anomaly,” said Michelle Gregory, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Justice.

So far this year, the state Campaign Against Marijuana Production has found and eradicated more than 1.7 million marijuana plants. They've reported zero opium poppies, she said.

About 100 poppies suspected of being opium producers were found Saturday in a rugged, forested area near the Skunk Train line east of Fort Bragg. Fort Bragg City Councilman Jere Melo, a forest manager, was shot at least twice by a man suspected of growing the poppies, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office said. Melo and a companion stumbled onto the poppy garden while searching for a marijuana garden. The companion escaped the gunfire.

The suspect, Aaron Bassler, 35, a native of Fort Bragg with a history of mental illness, remains at large.

The poppies have been sent to a lab for testing.

If they are the opium variety, Papaver somniferum, it will be just the second time a garden of any size has been found in Mendocino County in almost three decades, officials said.

“I've seen two in my history,” said Sheriff's Capt. Kurt Smallcomb, who's been on the force 28 years.

A few opium poppies occasionally crop up here or there, sometimes around marijuana gardens, he said.

Smallcomb said he is unaware of a rise in opium poppy production in the county.

“If it's a trend, it's something new,” he said.

Cigarette labels go too far

cigarette advertising

Reading this newspaper might cause paper cuts. Or, for Web users -- WARNING: Reading this page might cause eye strain. We doubt those warnings would cause many readers to stop using Star Press products.

If this sounds silly, then one has to question the efficacy of the government forcing cigarette makers to slap graphic photos on their packages starting in 2012. The Food and Drug Administration has approved nine new warnings to rotate on cigarette packs. They will be printed on the entire top half, front and back, of the packaging. The new warnings also must constitute 20 percent of any cigarette advertising, and will include a number for a stop-smoking hotline.

One warning label is a picture of a corpse with its chest sewed up and the words: "Smoking can kill you." Another label has a picture of a healthy pair of lungs beside a yellow and black pair with a warning that smoking causes fatal lung disease.

Four of the five largest cigarette makers filed a suit last week in federal court, saying the warnings violate their free speech rights.

The companies say the warnings no longer simply convey facts to allow people to make a decision on whether to smoke. Instead, they force companies to advocate for the government to stop smoking -- on a legal product -- more prominently than they display their own brands.

We're not sure corporations have free speech rights like you and me, but we do know the new labeling is silly, smacks of hypocrisy and is a perfect example of the overreach of government regulation.

Man robbed of cash, cigarettes after attack in east Bellingham

A 24-year-old man was beaten and robbed Friday morning, Aug. 26, after another man approached him asking for a cigarette, but then started throwing punches, police said.
The victim, a Whatcom County man who was visiting a friend in the 2100 block of Electric Avenue, stepped outside at about 9 a.m. to smoke a dunhill cigarette, said Bellingham Police spokesman Mark Young. A man then approached him and asked for one of his cigarettes and a light.
When the man got close enough, he started punching the victim, Young said. He then took cash and a pack of cigarettes from the victim.