пятница, 26 октября 2012 г.
Texarkana, Texas police are searching for the gunmen in the robbery of a tobacco store Wednesday night. Officers were called to the Tobacco Store in the 2800 block of New Boston Road just before 9 p.m., where they were told that two armed, masked gunmen had just robbed the store.
The employees say they were approached inside the store by the two men, who demanded money. One was wearing a black ski mask, black hat and a light-colored jacket. The other was wearing a black hat, black mask and a blue shirt. After taking the clerks to a back room, the gunmen fled on foot. No one was injured.
Public health officials say tobacco companies are circumventing a worldwide ban on youth-targeted advertising by marketing smartphone applications, or "apps," designed to entice young people to smoke. Armando Peruga is program manager for the World Health Organization’s Tobacco-Free Initiative. He says there is a popular new type of software that's proliferating in Internet app stores and being downloaded to young peoples' mobile devices and smartphones. These mobile apps glorify smoking and encourage children to use tobacco products. Peruga describes one such app he recently discovered online.
“I was taken aback by a game that’s called “Puff, Puff, Pass,” which is an application that’s a cartoon came where the user must click on game characters to order them to smoke and pass the cigarette to the other characters. And the user collects points if he or she continues passing cigarettes in the same sequence at a fast pace. Obviously, that can only be directed at younger kids," said Peruga. Billions of people now have smartphones, and a large percentage of them are children. In a study conducted by Australian researchers, who searched application stores using key words such as “smoke,” “cigarette,” and “cigar,” investigators found more than 100 related applications.
The apps included not just games and social utilities, but more direct pitches promoting specific brands of tobacco products and providing information about where those products could be purchased. Peruga notes that often, the names of the apps are misleading. “These apps, the study identified about 107, of these pro-smoking apps are classified under names such as health and fitness and just games which can be very misleading, and anyone can access [them] - especially young kids," he said. The authors believe the distribution of pro-smoking smartphone applications violates the World Health Organization Convention on Tobacco Control, which bans all advertising and promotion of tobacco products in the media in countries that are signatories to the treaty. An article on the proliferation of pro-tobacco smartphone apps is published in the journal Tobacco Control.
People exposed to heavy concentrations of secondhand smoke in confined spaces, such as bars and cars, experience impaired breathing and airway restriction within 20 minutes, according to a small new study. "Bars and cars are places where high concentrations of fine particles usually occur because of smoking," said Dr. Panagiotis Behrakis, of the University of Athens, in Greece, in a news release from the American College of Chest Physicians.
"Nonsmokers are then forced to inhale extreme amounts of particulates directly into their lungs. The observed short-term effects of secondhand smoke tell us that even a short exposure is indeed harmful for normal airways." In conducting the study, researchers from the University of Athens, the Hellenic Cancer Society in Greece and the Harvard School of Public Health exposed 15 healthy people to high concentrations of secondhand smoke for 20 minutes.
The participants were exposed to the smoke in a chamber to mimic exposure to secondhand smoke in confined spaces. During the exposure, the researchers assessed the participants' total respiratory impedance, resistance and reactance. They found the effects of short-term exposure to concentrated secondhand smoke are immediate and significant.
The study was presented recently at the American College of Chest Physicians' annual meeting in Atlanta. Data and conclusions presented at meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution No more puffing away in DeKalb County parks. A year after snuffing out an effort at a ban in all public places, the County Commission Tuesday approved banning smoking from playgrounds, parks and service lines such as for ATMs, effective Wednesday. But smokers still will be able to light up in bars and strip clubs — the source of last year’s controversy. “The best action at this point is to move in gradual steps,” said the health board director, Dr. Elizabeth Ford, who pushed for the ban.
“Having our playgrounds and parks safe is at least a first step in protecting in our entire community.” The move sees DeKalb following much smaller communities such as Alpharetta, Roswell and Marietta that have banned outdoor smoking in their jurisdictions. DeKalb had been a leader in the quest to limit where people can smoke. In 2003, the county adopted an ordinance that bans smoking in all enclosed workplaces but exempts bars and restaurants where people under 18 cannot work or enter.
Georgia adopted a statewide version of that law, the Smokefree Air Act, two years later. Last year, though, supporters and opponents battled for five months about whether to expand that ban. Supporters argued that second-hand smoke costs every DeKalb household $548 in direct health care costs each year. Opponents, including owners of eight adult clubs and 20 other nightclubs, worried they would lose business if customers couldn’t smoke. Some clubs sit just a few miles from Fulton and Gwinnett counties, which do not ban smoking in bars.
No one spoke against this year’s effort, which focused on the less-controversial effort of stopping smoking in parks. In the wake of that move, some commissioners said they may revisit a ban in clubs. “We are still not protecting the employees and servers in clubs and bars,” said Commissioner Jeff Rader, who tried unsuccessfully last year to give club owners two years before a ban would take effect so there would be time to convince neighboring communities to adopt similar bans. Other leaders said they want to focus on the success of finally expanding the ban to an area they believe most of the community supports. “I want us to focus on the gradual steps it takes,” Commissioner Larry Johnson said. “We are moving in the right direction.”
As a high school teacher for more than 30 years, mostly spent as a health teacher, I have some insight as to how the teen brain works when it comes to taking risks. I would like to explain why I strongly believe that passing Question 3, the medical marijuana law, would lead to more teen marijuana use.
The onset of risky behavior is usually accompanied by some form of justification. It is hard for kids to be self-destructive without it. “I may try drugs,” one might say, “but I’ll never do as many as she does.” In 2008, when Massachusetts decriminalized marijuana, the intent may have been to unclog the courts. But the byproduct was more teen acceptance and use.
I got this feedback from almost every health teacher I spoke with. Medical marijuana may have uses. Our problem with the drug isn’t the patients who seek it out on the black market for treatment, but the increasing number of teens who use it to deal with their emotional lives at a time when they should be developing coping skills.
When the drinking age in this state was lowered to 18, statistics showed that virtually everything bad about alcohol and teens went up, from dropouts to accidents. I know that a medical marijuana bill does not make the drug “legal,” but every voter should think about the message it would send to teenagers.
Police are looking for multiple suspects who shot an employee at a medical marijuana dispensary in Tempe on Thursday night. Tempe Police say a group ranging from three to six men entered the AzGoGreen Co-op near Southern Avenue and College Avenue around 7 p.m. and confronted an employee.
The suspects hit and then shot the employee and fled on foot. Officials say the victim, described as a male in his 30s, has been hospitalized with life-threatening injuries. Lt. Mike Horn says police are still investigating the suspects' motives and it does not appear they removed any property.
Horn says the business opened recently and is the subject of a police and Drug Enforcement Administration investigation. Horn says police believe the business is operating outside of Arizona's voter-approved medical marijuana law.
четверг, 18 октября 2012 г.
The Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) Montana Tobacco Quit Line has expanded its cessation benefits to help Montanans quit using tobacco. For a limited time only, DPHHS has added a second choice to its Nicotine Replacement Therapy to include a two-week supply of nicotine gum or lozenges.
This offer will complement the four-week supply of nicotine patches already provided to Quit Line clients. This is important because research has found that combining the nicotine patch with nicotine gum/lozenges increases success rates by 15 percent. “We’ve increased the offering because evidence shows that this improves outcomes,” said DPHHS Director Anna Whiting Sorrell.
“Using both patches and gum offers relief to people who experience particularly strong cravings when quitting tobacco.” The Quit Line has helped 62,000 people to date, and according to the American Lung Association, is in the top 10 of all state quit lines based on services offered.
The Montana Quit Line phone lines are available Monday to Thursday 7 am. to 9 pm., Friday 7 am. to 7 pm., and Saturday and Sunday 8 am. to 4:30 pm. Stacy Campbell, of the Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program, urges Montanans who want to quit using tobacco products to make that call today. “There’s no time like the present,” Campbell said. “Montana is fortunate to have this type of support to help people quit smoking.”
Tempers flared at Tuesday’s Student Government Association meeting as tobacco users and tobacco free students, faculty and staff gathered at an open forum meeting to discuss a campus wide tobacco ban. After two hours of debate from both sides of the issue, the SGA voted 11 - 7 to pass a resolution supporting a campus-wide ban on all tobacco products. The proposal will now go to the Faculty Senate, where it may be revised, and then it will go to the Board of Governors who will make the final decision on its passage. Student Body President Ray Harrell Jr. said he wanted senators to set aside their own opinions on this controversial issue, and consider their constituents. “The executive branch, as well as the Senate, is voted upon and represents the student body,” Harrell said.
“We are there to represent their voice. This isn’t a movement from my organization. This is a grassroots movement that has been developing since before I got here.” The Assessment Day Tobacco Survey Report data from April 2012 showed Marshall students resoundingly favored a change in Marshall’s tobacco policies. Three hundred and sixty four students responded to the survey, 71 percent of which supported all of Marshall’s campus grounds and parking to be smoke-free. Seventy four percent of the faculty members who filled out a similar survey supported a smoke-free campus. Harrell said these results have a 95 percent level of confidence, and have a margin of A joint committee involving representatives of the President’s Office, Student Affairs, Housing and Residence life, Student Health and the student body president, drafted the proposal now supported by the Senate.
The proposal involved a campus wide ban of tobacco products including cigarettes, e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco, dip, pipes, cigars, cigarillos, hookah or water pipe smoking, snus and snuff both indoors and outdoors. Student Health Education Specialist Amy Saunders and Piyali Dasgupta, associate professor of pharmacology, physiology and toxicology at the Joan C. Edward School of Medicine, were the first people to speak, and subsequently field questions from concerned students. Saunders said the ban is supposed to promote a healthy environment for both tobacco and non-tobacco users alike on Marshall’s campus. Saunders also said the campus would save money and time because clean up crews would no longer have to spend an average of four hours a day cleaning tobacco products off of campus.
“We have to keep this place beautiful,” Saunders said. “We’re not trying to tell people how to live, we’re trying to promote a safe environment for everyone.” Dasgupta said emerging research shows that all forms of nicotine can be harmful to the user, and many times those around the user, which was why a ban of all tobacco use should be supported. A student gallery then posed questions on how the ban was to be implemented, enforced, and the effects that would follow its passage. During this period, Dasgupta, Saunders, Harrell and several senators explained that, according to the American Nonsmoker’s Rights Foundation, Marshall would follow 814 other universities in banning tobacco if this proposal passes the Board of Governors. Harrell said enforcement would be carried out through the Office of Student Health, but that eventually the culture of the university would reflect that smoking on campus just is not acceptable and self regulation would occur. Several attendees were not happy with the proposal, and expressed their frustration during a round of speeches from members of the gallery.
Wittlee Retton, junior public communications major, said a total ban on campus was unnecessary, and the senate should opt for designated smoking areas on campus before moving toward the full ban. “The senate should take baby steps here, not just jump to the total ban,” Retton said. “You have to boil the water slowly.” Nick Chancey, senate parliamentarian, said he was torn on the issue. “I hate smoking,” Chancey said “I don’t think it’s the university’s place to ban it.” The issue is now out of the SGA’s hands, and moves to the Faculty Senate where it may undergo changes before reaching the Board of Governors. The Board of Governors will then have the final decision as to whether a change to Marshall’s tobacco policy is enacted.
In an open forum hosted by the Student Government Association Tuesday afternoon, academic college senators voted 11-7 in support of a campus-wide ban on the use of tobacco products. A committee comprised of representatives from the President’s Office, Student Affairs, Residence Life, Student Health and the student body president, drafted a proposal of the ban. The proposal took into account multiple surveys involving students and faculty and the opinions represented pointed overwhelming to the approval of a smoke-free campus.
The survey results are undeniable with regard to the preference of a “smoke-free” campus—in the student surveys presented on the 2011 and 2012 on-campus assessment days, students supported the idea of having a smoke-free campus, with 73 percent support among 398 students who responded in 2011 and 71 percent support among 364 students who responded this year. Further, 74 percent of 370 faculty members sampled prefer a smoke-free campus.
Additionally, responses confirmed that both student and faculty are bothered by the smell of smoke, are bothered to see the remains of used tobacco products on campus, are bothered by cigarette-smoking on campus and are for the most part, tobacco-free themselves. So it seems as though the students and faculty who have offered a view would prefer a “smoke-free” campus. But the resolution passed by the SGA prohibits the use of all varieties of tobacco products, not limited to those that produce smoke.
Looking at just the facts, the use of dip and snuff is not explicitly mentioned in the surveys, aside from the negative reaction to remains left by dip. This aspect leaves some room to question whether or not the all-encompassing ban on tobacco products outlined in the proposal is representative of faculty and student opinion. Subsequent decisions on behalf of the Faculty Senate and the Board of Governors will determine the outcome of the ban, but as it stands there are, perhaps, some smoke and mirrors at work.
It is a smokeless form of oral tobacco very popular in Sweden but snus has been banned under EU law since 1992. The product is a mixture of ground tobacco leaves, salt and water that is normally packed in small sachets, which are placed behind the upper lip. Snus can also contain flavouring. The product is banned under the EU’s Tobacco Product Regulation Directive that defines tobacco for oral use as “all products for oral use, except those intended to be smoked or chewed”.
Snus is not chewed. Sweden negotiated an exemption from the sales ban on snus when it joined the EU in 1995. The exemption was granted on condition that the product would not be sold in other EU markets. The Swedish Government has tried to get the export ban lifted claiming it went contrary to the free trade principle for a product that was less problematic health-wise than smoked tobacco. In 2004, Swedish-based international manufacturer Swedish Match – the company that triggered the John Dalli investigation – had challenged the export ban but the European Court of Justice turned down its case.
Swedish Match is one of the world’s leading companies in the area of niche tobacco products and last year made an operating profit of more than €400 million. This context is important to understand the seriousness of the allegations made in the John Dalli case, as the EU Commission was in the process of reviewing its tobacco legislation this year.
Two years ago the EU Commission started a consultation process to review the tobacco directive and the Swedish Government used the occasion to argue against the snus ban. It would have been up to Mr Dalli, as EU Health and Consumer Commissioner, to propose lifting the ban or confirming it. Until today, snus remains a Swedish peculiarity with big political implications.
Medical marijuana can now be sold legally in New Jersey’s first-ever state-sanctioned dispensary. Garden State regulators granted the Greenleaf Compassion Center a permit to begin selling pot Monday, ending a long political battle that forced terminally ill patients to wait years for a drug available legally in 17 other states.
"This permit marks a significant step forward in the implementation of New Jersey's Medicinal Marijuana Program,” New Jersey Health Commissioner Mary O’Dowd said Monday, following a final state inspection of the facility in Montclair. That facility — and the larger movement to legalize medical marijuana dispensaries — has faced a number of obstacles since then-Gov. Jon Corzine signed a medical marijuana bill into law in January 2010.
The law was originally intended to go into effect that summer, but the election of Gov. Chris Christie brought delays as the Republican and state Health Department took steps to limit federal prosecution and craft a set of strict regulations. The Greenleaf site — granted permission to start growing in April — was issued an occupancy certificate late because of issues with an air conditioner, according to reports.
If you’re concerned about the tyranny of the majority—and cigar smokers should be since we are the minority—then there is no greater danger than the referendum, that popularity contest that bypasses the legislative process for a quick “yea” or “nay” headcount. We don’t have anything like it at the national level (be thankful for that), but state and local governments often employ referendums to enact policies. California is a national leader in policy-by-referendum (and also a leader in individual liberty abuses).
Some of you will recall when, in early June, Californians headed to the polls to vote on Prop. 29, a measure that would have increased already-high cigar taxes in the Golden State by a whopping 73%, crushed cigar shops statewide, and paved the way for similar tax hikes in other states. While that measure was ultimately defeated by a razor-thin margin, the referendum threat looms large for cigar smokers in California and beyond.
That threat is very real right now in North Dakota and Missouri, two states that are taking advantage of the upcoming election to enable their citizens to vote away cigar rights. In North Dakota, a statewide smoking ban with no exemption for cigar shops is at stake. The outlook is bleak, according to the NBC affiliate in Bismarck, which is projecting a solid 62% to 35% split in favor of the law that would criminalize indoor smoking in virtually all “public” places.
“CRA will be spreading the word through shop owners like Todd Pryor of Great Plains Smoke Shop that this referendum is an affront to small business, property rights, and the patrons his shop serves,” said J. Glynn Loope, executive director of Cigar Rights of America. Meanwhile, in Missouri, Prop. B will increase the state tax on cigars by 15% if passed. We’re told the increased revenue will be earmarked for education and smoking cessation programs, but critics point to the ability of politicians to re-appropriate the funds.
“CRA stands with state legislators like Missouri State Senator Jim Lembke of St. Louis, who opposes the tobacco tax increase,” said Loope. In an “Action Alert” email, Loope re-emphasizes the threat of tyranny of the majority: “If you’re in Missouri or North Dakota, rally your cigar brethren for the November 6 election to defeat these measures…Both referendums need to be soundly defeated, but it is a very challenging task. It’s simple math, which is why our opponents like referendums. There are more of them than us.”
понедельник, 8 октября 2012 г.
Starting in January, employees at Henry Ford Health System and Beaumont Health System won't be allowed to smoke offsite during their shifts, not even during the lunch hour. The two giant health care systems will be the first in southeast Michigan to implement a tobacco-free workday policy. The new rule also applies to volunteers, contractors and vendors. The two major employers unveiled this tougher anti-smoking policy on Friday along with plans to ban the hiring of people who use tobacco products, starting Jan. 1. Henry Ford executives said in an e-mail Friday that even the smell of smoke on employees can be harmful to patients.
"First, second and even thirdhand smoke can lead to harmful health reactions and outcomes," three of Henry Ford's top executives told employees. Henry Ford and Beaumont join a growing list of hospital systems that have taken an aggressive stance against smoking. In June, the Detroit Medical Center said it would no longer hire people who use tobacco products. Others that have adopted this policy in Michigan include Oakwood Healthcare System in Dearborn, Crittenton Hospital Medical Center in Rochester and the Lansing-based Sparrow Health System.
But most employers do not forbid employees from lighting up a cigarette offsite during their workday. One exception: Grand Rapids-based Spectrum Health, the largest employer in west Michigan with more than 18,000 employees, has had a tobacco-free workday policy since 2007. Eric Bacigal, director of employee health, safety and wellness for Henry Ford, said it was contradictory for the hospital system to tell its patients not to smoke while its employees smelled of smoke. He acknowledged smokers do have rights but described the new policies as a "responsibility and obligation."
Employees can smoke before and after their shifts but cannot come into work smelling of smoke from tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, snuff, chewing tobacco and e-cigarettes. "We are not trying to dictate behaviors outside of the workplace," Bacigal said. Employees caught violating the policy will face disciplinary action, including firing, if they continue to ignore the rule, Bacigal said. In 2007, Henry Ford and Beaumont banned smoking by employees inside and outside of their facilities. To implement the hiring ban, job applicants at Henry Ford and Beaumont will be screened for signs of nicotine.
The new policy does not apply to contract workers, only people hired directly by the health care systems. Henry Ford, based in Detroit, employs about 24,000 workers at six hospitals and numerous health care centers. Royal Oak-based Beaumont has more than 14,000 employees and is Oakland County's largest employer. Both hospital systems will provide free smoking-cessation classes, counseling and anti-smoking medications to their employees. They also plan to offer local residents free smoking-cessation classes and counseling and discounted anti-smoking medications. Hospitals are not the only employers taking aim at smokers. At the start of this month, Oakland Community College banned smoking on its five campuses.
It’s Sunday morning in midtown Charlotte, and the Little Sugar Creek Greenway is filling up. Runners run, bikers bike. In a grassy stretch along Kings Drive, an outdoor yoga class planks and downward dogs. “Make friends with your neighbors,” a greenway sign beckons. Ten minutes down the trail, however, that message becomes a trickier task. Here, under a small bridge near the main entrance to Carolinas Medical Center, smokers smoke. A lot. For about 20 paces of shade beneath Medical Center Drive, Charlotte’s health-conscious and not-so-muches squeeze into the same county-owned space.
Neither is particularly happy with the arrangement. “Generally, I hold my breath when I come through there,” says Collette Nagy, a Charlotte writer who biked under the bridge late Sunday morning, her dog Pepper riding in a knapsack on her back. “But I feel sorry for them. I wish they’d get unhooked. I don’t think verbal abuse will help.” The smokers gather on the greenway due to a policy by CMC, which towers over Little Sugar Creek as it trickles toward Freedom Park. Smoking is banned everywhere on the sprawling hospital campus. Workers can’t smoke in their cars. Hospital visitors must leave the property to light up.
“We’re a health care provider,” says Kevin McCarthy, CMC’s manager of media relations. “We do not encourage patently unhealthy activity.” So the smokers gather along the creek throughout the day and well into the night. The hospital posts a “smoke patrol” to make sure they stay under the bridge while they puff. “Trolls of the 21st century,” says one of them, Kendrick Archie of Charlotte, as he pulls on his Pall Mall. The faces in the shade change quickly. One cigarette, maybe two, a little visiting with the other smokers, then it’s back up a walkway to the hospital waiting rooms and bedside chairs. Cigarette butts and discarded packs mark the passage.
CMC sends clean-up crews throughout the day, says Anthony Jennings, who was policing the area Sunday morning. Smokers have devised their own ashtray, dumping the cigarette butts in a trough where the concrete slope beneath the bridge meets the border of the greenway. But that accounts for only part of the refuse. “Where are the butts going? They’re going in the water,” says Donnie Beatty of Charlotte, who believes another area should be set aside for him and other smokers. “You don’t have to worry about beavers building dams. You’ve got cigarette butts.” At times, there’s very little room for all the humanity to squeeze through. Around noon, about 10 smokers and their children were sitting or standing around the bridge, as a surge of greenway users – many with their children – dodged and weaved around them.
There were near collisions and some frowns. Even in the open air, the smoke under the bridge can be thick. Mecklenburg Parks and Recreation Director Jim Harges says the county is considering a smoking ban for all its parks and greenways, including Little Sugar Creek. The bridge, and its occasional gauntlet of smokers, is a reason why. “We try to have as many of our places where people can have a healthy experience,” Harges says. “If you run or bike through a cloud of smoke, it’s not a good thing.” What makes this more than a saga of good lungs vs. bad are some of the stories of the smokers themselves. Sheila Miller, still in her hospital patient togs as she toked upstream of the bridge, said she spent Saturday night at the hospital after being beaten up. Michelle Girvin of Fort Lawn, S.C., looked exhausted after catching a few hours of sleep each night in her father’s hospital room. She sat alone under the bridge and said she doesn’t feel safe coming there in the dark for her final smoke of the day.
Eric Furr of Mount Pleasant, S.C., has been in Charlotte for weeks with his wife, whom he says was airlifted to CMC after a car accident and is not doing well. He estimates he makes five trips to the bridge each day. On Sunday, looking drawn and tired, he came twice in an hour. “It’s not ideal,” says Tressy McLean-Hickey, a Charlotte social worker who walked by Furr and the others while pushing a stroller carrying her 9-month-old son, Wyatt. “You can see the looks on their faces and know that they’re not going through the best of times.” Marion Lockley of Laurinburg and his family were at CMC to visit his injured brother.
He and wife Shelly sat under the bridge and smoked as his two kids danced between them and the creek. Smoke swirled around them. Two mallards paddled close by. Bikes and strollers and pounding feet entered the shade then disappeared into the sunlight pushing against both sides of the bridge. “I’m not one of those people who’s going to smoke in somebody’s face,” he says. “But I don’t like to be in this situation because you’ve got all these folks, running and biking through here. “This is a very strange place to smoke.”
Smoking and second-hand smoke have been identified by the Surgeon General to be a significant cause of preventable disease and premature death. As part of its comprehensive approach to health and wellness, the Altoona Regional Health System Board of Directors has approved a tobacco free policy that will take effect Jan. 1. There are two components of the policy that have been designed to create a safer environment for patients and a healthier overall workforce: First, there will no longer be designated areas on hospital property for smoke or smokeless tobacco use, including electronic cigarettes, by employees, physicians, volunteers, contractors, vendors, patients or visitors.
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Hospital property means all owned or leased hospital buildings and services, including those away from the main hospital campus, including but not limited to parking lots, hospital equipment and buildings owned or leased by Altoona Regional. Secondly, Altoona Regional will no longer hire people who use tobacco products. All applicants for employment will be informed of the tobacco-free standard and advised that as condition of employment Altoona Regional will complete a pre-employment screening for the presence of tobacco use.
If potential employees fail the tobacco-use portion of the screening, they will be notified that they will not be hired and told they may reapply in 90 days. By implementing this policy, Altoona Regional joins a nationwide trend that includes almost 70 Pennsylvania hospitals with tobacco-free medical campuses. “We recognize and understand this will be a challenging transition, but strongly believe it is the right thing to do for our community,” said President/Chief Executive officer Jerry Murray.
Altoona Regional will support employees wishing to quit or reduce their tobacco use by offering cessation courses through a trained specialist. Patients who smoke will be invited to speak with their physician or nurse about options that are available while they are in the hospital. “Research has proven that tobacco use is hazardous to a person’s health, and as a health care system our goal is to model healthy behaviors because we care about the health of our employees and the health of our community,” Murray said.
CIGARETTE maker British American Tobacco Zimbabwe is offering about 21 percent of its shares to its employees and indigenous people in part fulfilment of indigenisation and empowerment requirements, the company said last Friday. BAT, one of the most capitalised companies on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, has proposed to offer a 10 percent stake to its almost 200 employees to be held by an Employee Share Ownership Trust and about 11 percent to a corporate social investment trust.
BAT International Holdings, according to the proposal, will give its shares equivalent to 5 percent in BATZ to ESOT, a trust of all full-time employees as at October 1 2012. BAT UK is a 57 percent controlling shareholder in the local company. Another major shareholder is Old Mutual, with 17 percent equity. BAT further proposed that 1 031 676 of the issued share capital be acquired by the ESOT, by way of subscription, representing 5 percent of its issued share capital. The ESOT shall subscribe for shares at the ruling price on the ZSE. The community trust will also acquire 2 220 324 shares in BATZ by way of subscription, representing 10,76 percent of the company's issued share capital. The trust will include parties involved in tobacco-related developmental programmes, the company said.
BATZ has further proposed to provide loan facilities to the trusts. The loan amount will be determined by the value of transaction at the applicable selling price plus registration and administration costs at an interest rate of 8 percent per annum. Using BATZ's share price of US$4,47 on Thursday last week, the company will require at least US$14,5 million to fund the proposed indigenisation transaction. On Friday, the company was bid and offered at US$4,33 and US$5,00 respectively. The loan tenor is indefinite and there are no fixed payment terms. A notice of the extraordinary general meeting to be held on October 26 this year has been published.
The new shares in terms of the transaction will be allotted on October 31 and listed on the same day. Conditions precedent include passing of the resolutions at the EGM, approval by the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board, and approval by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's Exchange Control Division in respect to a donation of 1 031 676 BATZ shares by BAT UK. If approved, BATZ will be in compliance with the country's indigenisation requirements for the first year. The proposed transfer of 21 percent stake of the company will result in indigenous Zimbabweans controlling 26 percent of the company.
Locals currently hold 6,2 percent of the firm. This is part of the company's plan to meet the country's indigenisation and empowerment requirements which require foreign-owned firms to turn over majority stakes to black Zimbabweans by 2015. BAT Zimbabwe managing director Mr Lovemore Manatsa said: "Having been in operation in Zimbabwe for over 100 years, we are proud to be able to continue playing a significant role in the empowerment and economic upliftment of indigenous Zimbabweans." Other foreign-owned companies that have offered shares to workers include Old Mutual. Old Mutual staff now own 10 percent of the country's oldest insurance firm.
The results, reported in the journal Addiction, suggest that more people may enroll in smoking cessation programs if their governments or insurance companies offer to pay for the therapies and medications, according to the study's authors. "We can only speculate about what this means for individual smokers. But I believe that many smokers really appreciate smoking cessation support being reimbursed," said Marc Willemsen, the study's lead author and a professor at Maastricht University in The Netherlands, in an email.
He added that smokers may see cost as a barrier to getting the help they need, and removing that barrier gives them the incentive or motivation to make that call. "I would go as far as saying that this signals to smokers who have a hard time quitting their habit, that the government cares and that the fact that they are fighting a serious addiction, is taken seriously," Willemsen said. Starting in January 2011, the Dutch government agreed to reimburse its citizens for their smoking cessation treatments, which included group, face-to-face or telephone counseling. Providers of the therapies were encouraged to incorporate medications, such as nicotine replacement products or the antidepressant buproprion, into the treatment program.
The initiative was promoted through a large-scale media campaign, which Willemsen and his colleagues say reached 80 percent of the country's smokers. But the government ended the program after only one year, when the researchers say it was stopped for political and economic reasons. The program's short lifespan gave the researchers the opportunity to see what impact - if any - it had on the number of people calling the cessation hotline and enrolling in programs in 2011 compared to 2010 and the first half of 2012.
In 2010, when there was no reimbursement system, 848 smokers enrolled in the hotline's smoking-cessation programs, which are run by STIVORO, the Dutch expert center for tobacco control that employs Willemsen and one of his co-authors. In contrast, 9,091 smokers enrolled in the hotline's programs during 2011, the year the reimbursement offer was in effect - a more than 10-fold rise over the previous year. During the first four and a half months of 2012, however, 151 smokers enrolled in the program - a decline even from 2010 rates. By mid-May in 2010, 323 people had enrolled.
The researchers cannot say how many people who enrolled in the smoking cessation program actually quit smoking successfully, but they point to national statistics for 2006 through 2010 showing the proportion of the population who smoked remained fairly steady at around 27 percent. The figure for 2011 was 24.7 percent. That does not prove the reimbursement system influenced smoking rates. But, the evidence seemed clear to others. Willemsen told Reuters Health that members of parliament and health organizations protested, and the reimbursement system is being reinstated. "So Dutch smokers can now be reassured that they will receive full reimbursement for smoking cessation in 2013," said Willemsen, who expects to see another large surge in quitters next year.
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E cigarettes are known to save smokers over 50% on the cost of smoking tobacco, but if they choose a bad company or inferior product, that cost savings is of none effect. Smokers Utopia is known as the most brutal review site on the internet today, sifting the wheat from the chaff. After reading several reviews on the site, it's easy to see that they hold no punches and even the highest rated companies and products have their deficiencies exposed so that buyers can make a real informed buying decision.
"It's only fair that people know what they are buying and who they are buying them from," states Teresa Peach of Smokers Utopia. "They need to know if the product is quality, that they are not paying too much and that the company will back their products up, and that's why we do what we do."
The health of the citizens of Glendale has been sold out to private retail tobacco interests and the business owners who are eager to profit at the expense of our children, families and senior citizens who are susceptible to the toxins and poisons in secondhand tobacco smoke.
Glendale's outdoor dining ordinance allowed smoking in up to 25% of the total outdoor dining area, regardless of size of the dining area, as long as there is sufficient space for a 10-foot buffer. At the Glendale City Council meeting on Oct. 2, the comprehensive smoke-free outdoor air ordinance that was introduced by Councilman Dave Weaver at the previous week’s meeting was replaced by one offered by Councilman Ara Najarian, who introduced a three-tier ordinance:
1. Outdoor dining areas under 2,000 square feet, up to 25% of the total outdoor dining area may be designated for smoking;
2. Outdoor dining areas of 2,000 square feet to less than 5,000 square feet, up to 50% of the total outdoor dining area may be designated for smoking;
3. Outdoor dining areas of 5,000 square feet or more, up to 66% of the outdoor area may be designated for smoking. The substitute ordinance was adopted with a 3-2 vote with Najarian, Laura Friedman and Rafi Manoukian approving, and Frank Quintero and Weaver dissenting. Citizens and visitors to Glendale are now going to be subjected to breathing tobacco smoke at every popular outdoor dining patio in the city.
Even from a 25% smoking area, the tobacco smoke drifts and will affect 100% of the people. That smoke containing 70 known cancer-causing agents will end up in your lungs and in your body. I hope voters will remember this action next spring when Friedman and Najarian are both up for reelection to the City Council.
вторник, 2 октября 2012 г.
Richmond County sheriff’s investigators are searching for the person who broke into a Washington Road pharmacy Sunday morning and stole cigarettes. According to an incident report, deputies responded to an alarm activation at CVS Pharmacy, 2702 Washington Road, around 2:30 a.m. and discovered the front glass door had been broken with a rock. A manager told investigators the only items missing were several packs of cigarettes. Investigators are reviewing surveillance video to get a description of the bandit.
The study, presented at the Canadian Stroke Congress, tested mental abilities of 76 patients, including 12 smokers, with an average age of 67.5 years, using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) tool. The MoCA exam tests patients with memory and problem solving questions and gives them a score out of 30. Smokers had a median MoCA score two points lower than non-smokers -- 22 out of 30 compared to 24 out of 30.
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Patients who had previously quit smoking achieved the same scores as lifetime non-smokers, Gail MacKenzie, a clinical nurse specialist at Hamilton General Hospital, said. "This research emphasizes the importance of smoking cessation for people with stroke or TIA," MacKenzie said. TIA, or transient ischemic attack, is a mini stroke and often serves as a warning sign that a bigger stroke is imminent.
"Smoking is a risk factor for cognitive impairment for people who continue to smoke and this ability to problem-solve and make decisions has implications for patients' health and self-management of care," she said. Low MoCA scores can reflect problems in memory, language, attention, visual-spatial or problem-solving skills. The 10-minute MoCA test was administered to patients attending stroke prevention clinics in Barrie, Oshawa and Hamilton.
Following a public participation meeting that generated little actual participation, the inflammatory comments of Ward 9 Councillor Dale Henderson overshadowed the debate around smoking in outdoor public spaces. During its meeting on Monday (Oct. 1), Community Services Committee members voted to support a nine-metre (30-feet) restriction of smoking around playgrounds and from the front of municipal buildings. Henderson supported acceptance of the nine-metre ban, which was moved by Ward 2 Councillor Bill Armstrong, but only after attacking the research techniques of the Canadian Cancer Society, which was represented by volunteer and Western University student Stephanie Dorman.
Henderson said it was important to hear “the whole story” and not just what sounds “politically correct” around the issue of second-hand smoke and cancer. “The lady from the cancer (society) will read out a few things, but I will put out some things. When I hear some information coming from the cancer society, I want real research coming at me, not just what I have read in the paper 800 times,” Henderson said. “Sure smoke has an effect on people, but there are a lot of things, our buses, the cars in town in one minute will give off more pollution than everyone in London smoking for a year.
Pollution is going to kill people, but that is not a reason to take people’s rights away from them.” Committee chair and Ward 7 Councillor Matt Brown would ask Henderson twice to stick to the topic of the bylaw while Ward 12 Councillor Harold Usher called a point of order to ask the councillor to not directly address members of the public. Henderson agreed to both requests, but continued with his off-topic thoughts. “We have other issues to do with health care, we should be looking at our food service, our sugars, our stress,” Henderson said.
“Twenty per cent of London residents smoke to basically have some kind of calming effect. Now suicide is number one in the U.S. So let’s try to keep people living, we are living in the second happiest city in Ontario.” Among the statistics Dorman pointed to were that tobacco use is “directly responsible” for 30 per cent of all cancer deaths and 85 per cent of lung cancer deaths. “The need for increased tobacco control is still great,” Dorman said. “Today over two million Ontarians smoke, thousands start every day, and every year approximately 13,000 Ontarians will die from tobacco use.”
After the meeting, a seemingly shaken Dorman said she stands behind the research that is done by the Canadian Cancer Society. Although she understands why some people might question what they hear, Dorman steadfastly reinforced her belief that cancer research can’t be denied. “I think people sometimes are hesitant to believe statistics because they are thrown at you a lot. But if you go to the primary research articles that are in peer-reviewed, published journals, the evidence proves that smoking cigarettes does cause cancer,” Dorman said. “Individuals will die from second-hand smoke, from cancer.” Other people speaking in support of the ban were Jonathon Bullick, from Scent-Free London and Linda Stobo, manager of chronic disease prevention and tobacco control with Middlesex-London Health Unit, both of whom spoke out clearly as to the harming effects of second-hand smoke.
Brown said the recommendation for a nine-metre distance “strikes the right balance” between protecting individuals from second-hand smoke and upholding the rights of smokers. “Our conversations throughout this process have been focused on protecting children,” Brown said. “Making sure our young people aren’t exposed to second-hand smoke and that families enjoying play equipment, and park amenities, also aren’t subjected to it. I think these two motions address exactly that.” The public participation portion of the meeting included six previously scheduled presentations and two more from individuals who came forward during the meeting.
The dozen or so people who sat in the public gallery, only a few of whom spoke on the smoking issue, is something that Brown said is a concern. However, he also says the “modest” turnout might stem from the fact most people who smoke already refrain from doing so around playgrounds and other recreational amenities. “When it comes to decisions such as this, they need to be community decisions, which is why we have public participation meetings,” Brown said. “I can’t think of a time in the last two years I have seen a person smoking near the play equipment or the sports amenities. I think it is understood. This bylaw will codify that understanding.” The issue will come back to the full council at its Oct. 9 meeting.
People opposed to Bessemer's new comprehensive ban on smoking in businesses spoke their mind to the Bessemer City Council. tonight, but a majority of the council still favors the ban, one councilman said. About 50-60 people showed up for tonight's public hearing at Bessemer City Hall, most of them opposing the city's new smoking ban, but just as many people spoke in favor of the ban at a previous public hearing held in June, prior to the council's vote on the matter, Councilman David Vance said.
Some opponents of the city's new smoking ordinance, which goes into effect Nov. 1, say they want the council to rescind the ordinance it passed on Aug. 14 and revert back to a 2007 ordinance that allowed businesses such as bars, lounges, restaurants and hotels to establish designated smoking areas.
The new ordinance eliminates that option. Opponents said they didn't know the council was considering the ban until after it passed and they wanted a chance to be heard. That prompted the council to delay implementation of the ordinance from Sept. 13 to Nov. 1. Vance said the council agreed to hear opponents out but a majority of the council still favors the ban and he does not anticipate the council changing its decision. "I'm not trying to tell people what to do," Vance said. "I'm just trying to look out for people who don't smoke and have to be around it.
All we're asking is for them to be considerate of their neighbors and just change their smoking habits." Kim Cochran, a consultant for the American Cancer Society Action Network said she congratulates the Bessemer City Council for passing a smoke-free workplace ordinance. "By making workplaces, including bars, restaurants and other public venues smoke-free, Bessemer's ordinance set a high bar for smoke-free policies being considered by other municipalities around the state," Cochran said in a written statement.
"However, the council is now delaying implementation of the ordinance thereby continuing to expose Bessemer residents, workers and visitors to the dangers of secondhand smoke," Cochran said. "Inhaling the dangerous chemicals found in tobacco smoke can be harmful to your health, causing cancer, cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases. Everyone has the right to breathe clean, smoke-free air."
Stevens Point's Community Development Authority is looking to make their housing properties smoke free in the future. Director Michael Ostroski says the move is to bring the city in line with Housing and Urban Development guidelines on indoors smoking. "Housing and urban development it looking to make their housing smoke free and have been urging local groups to take the same route."
The proposed change to the standard lease would would not force people with current leases or housing to stop smoking, and would instead affect those getting new leases with the CDA. Ostrowski says they're not aiming to cut everyone off immediately. "Current residents would be grandfathered in, but any new leases would be smoke free." The affected properties include the Highrise, the elderly and disabled housing, Edgewater Manor, Madison View Apartments and 70 other CDA owned housing locations. The CDA board has already approved the measure, and it now goes to the next regular city council meeting for approval.
Researchers at UC San Fransisco found more than 42,000 non-smokers die annually from secondhand smoke. Those who are most vulnerable to second hand smoke include newborns exposed either in the womb or after birth and adults with existing heart and lung problems. Prevention specialists define second hand smoke as the actual emissions from a lit tobacco product released from the user into the air. Second hand smoke is made up of 4,000 chemicals and of those chemicals 11 are known cancer-causing poisons.
"With second hand smoke it will cling on you," says Tobacco Prevention Specialist Teddy Nault. "So if you are a young mother, young father and you're going back in to pick up that new baby it can be transferred to that child." Nault says there is even third hand smoking that can be just as harmful. Third hand smoking is cigarette residue that clings onto bedding, furniture and carpet. Evidence shows that children exposed to third hand smoke are at risk for chronic respiratory and ear infections. Keep in mind that pets are also affected by second hand smoke and not just our cats and dogs. Pets like fish are affected by the residue that falls into the tank after being in the air.