Category Archives: Smoking Research

Research Studies on cigarette smoking

Documentary Film The Tobacco Conspiracy

The Tobacco Conspiracy: Investigative Documentary Challenges Industry Lies

Filmmaker Nadia Collot took three years to dig deep into the global tobacco industry and uncover the major lies and fraud for which it’s responsible.

In The Tobacco Conspiracy (Kuiv Productions and National Film Board of Canada), the network of deceit and lies of the Big Tobacco companies is highlighted, as well as the expanse of this manipulation and corruption.

Featuring interviews with experts and thoroughly researched documentation, Collot delivers one of the most powerful looks at the fraudulent tobacco industry.

Investigation Into Big Tobacco

Collot asks, “Why is cigarette smoking so popular and accepted despite all the information we have?” A former smoker of 20 years, Collot spent three years looking for an explanation to this question. Her discoveries are well-documented in this must-see film.

Documentary Film The Tobacco ConspiracyShe examines various aspects of the fraudulent roles of Big Tobacco, including how the tobacco industry distorts scientific research and even uses bribery of scientists and researchers to manipulate data in order to serve its own interests and purposes. Tobacco companies recognized privately in 1953 that smoking is directly related to cancer, yet they banded together to release The Frank Statement that denied this correlation.

While there have been successes in the fight against Big Tobacco—implementation of graphic warning labels, advertising restrictions, even increased taxation—there is still a way to get around rules. And that’s most often done using lots of money. As an example, this documentary looks into how tobacco companies use hidden product placement as a means of evading advertising regulations. Cigarette companies pay heavily for smoking scenes to be included in television and film.

Tobacco and Government

Because cigarettes are heavily taxed, the government is constantly at war with itself. The taxation provides a heavy and consistent flow of revenue. Yet there are severe health implications that result from tobacco use.

The Tobacco Conspiracy also sheds light on the international smuggling role the industry plays. As smugglers infiltrate poor companies, they distribute free cigarettes to young people with the specific goal of getting them addicted. Once they are, the smugglers then charge money for the smokes. The tobacco companies then approach the poor country’s government and explain how much revenue is lost, and offers to distribute the cigarettes in order to provide a consistent flow of money.

Watch This Documentary for Free

The Tobacco Conspiracy shows viewers endless amount of documentation and information that may astound some as to the lengths the tobacco industry will go to in order to gain new customers and make more money. This hour and half film is available for viewing online at no cost.

The Tobacco Conspiracy

Watch the powerful documentary online now …

Neurodevelopment of Infants Born to Mothers Who Smoke

Research statistics gathered by a study lead by Professor George Wehby of the University of Iowa’s College of Public Health have revealed startling evidence about the neurodevelopment of babies of mothers that smoke during pregnancy, and these facts are much worse than expected.

The study’s female participants were from health clinics in the countries of Brazil, Chile, and Argentina. It included assessing 1,600 children.

Smoking Jeopardizes Infants’ Healthy Development

Trained physicians performed cognitive tests along with assessing the children’s basic neurological function and communication skills in their surveys.

They found a disturbing fact: that mothers of unborn children continue smoking during pregnancy are subjecting their babies to as much as a 40 percentage point increase in the probability of being at risk of developmental problems by the ages of three and twenty-four months.

Part of the reason for this high percentile is double-fold. Many of the mothers sampled were from a poor socioeconomic status. Mothers who are poor have been found to smoke in greater quantity and have less access to proper prenatal care.

The study also included additional controls that many other research studies did not, which refined the study’s accuracy. The full details of the study are available in: George L. Wehby, Kaitlin Prater, Ann Marie McCarthy, Eduardo E. Castilla, Jeffrey C. Murray, “The Impact of Maternal Smoking During Pregnancy on Early Child Neurodevelopment.” Journal of Human Capital 5:2 (Summer 2011).

FDA Warnings for Mothers Who Smoke

In 2005, 12 percent of pregnant women in the US still smoked while pregnant, thinking of foremost of themselves over their babies’ healthy development. An unborn baby is not protected from the dangerous chemicals a mother’s body absorbs from cigarette smoking.

The FDA’s new cigarette package labels include a warning on the dangers of second hand smoke to unborn children as one of their 9 new label designs in hopes to lower this statistic.

Reference: Kevin Stacey, kstacey@press.uchicago.edu
University of Chicago Press Journals, 773-834-0386

WebQuit Nationwide Stop Smoking Study Offers Free Tools and Support

Would you like to quit smoking in the next 30 days?

Bloggers nationwide are sharing the news about a nationwide smoking cessation study being conducted by Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Fred Hutch (for short) is a world leader in cancer research, treatment, and prevention. This new program aims to improve the effectiveness of web-based smoking cessation programs.

The study will be quite powerful and important. Imagine cutting through all the stop smoking methods to find core programs and methods that offer the best results.

Smoking is the No 1 cause of preventable death in the United States. Also, people are turning to online programs to quit because the programs are inexpensive and convenient. Online stop smoking programs also give the person a way to get support without having to physically travel to support groups and offer privacy while trying to quit.

Because smoking addiction may be a little different for each person, tailoring a program to a person’s specific physical, emotional, and mental addictions and characteristics may help save thousands of lives each year.

Getting Free From CigarettesThe Fred Hutch study is seeking thousands of participants who want to be free of their habit! By joining the study a smoker could in turn offer information that may help others down the road.

Also those who join the study will receive many FREE perks! WebQuit offers interactive tools for dealing more effectively with smoking urges. Study members also receive step by-step guides for quitting smoking, personalized plans for quitting and remaining smoke-free, and even electronic links for reaching one-on-one expert help for quitting.

CiggyFree.com invites you to join, you could be free within 30 days!

Get started, buy visiting > WebQuit.com

Research Discovers Tobacco in Cigarettes Contain Live Bacteria Strains and Human Pathogens

Scientific American just published an article by Brett Isreal with a stiff warning that users of tobacco products are also inhaling live bacteria into their lungs when they smoke tobacco.

The amount of carcinogenic substances and chemicals in cigarettes has been the bulk of the research studies, along with the effects of nicotine addition, until now.

This new research study at University of Maryland points to “hundreds of different strains of bacteria” being introduced to the body with cigarette use. The facts found in this research study begin to explain why smokers contract so many infections and chronic diseases.

The live bacteria, which they are inhaling also contains human pathogens. This is a very serious discovery and researches are trying to deal with the public health implications and additional risks from the second-hand smoke.

Almost every organ in the human body system is harmed by smoking cigarettes. The evidence points to high risks for catching colds, influenza, asthma, bacterial pneumonia, and even interstitial lung disease.

Cancer research facilities are finding the news of this study exciting because it spurs on new research opportunities on the bacterial diversity of tobacco. This is critical research to help scientist understand the dangers for everyone who is exposed, whether they are the smoker or a passerby who experiences the smoke indirectly.

pic-bacteriasThe discovery of bacteria contamination in tobacco leaves prior to harvesting caused concern over what happens when the tobacco is harvested and made into tobacco products and cigarettes. The answer that was found is that the harvested tobacco was also contaminated and was a breading ground for various bacterial strains.

The health implications of smoking that was once thought to just be related to ingesting heavy metals, carcinogenic chemicals, and dealing with the negative effects of nicotine has just added another contributor.

The concern of smoking bugs by inhaling them deep into the lungs is a pretty gruesome picture. I thought parasites were bad.

Stay tuned for new health alerts once this study circulates providing the public is made aware.

Excuse me honey, while I go outside to inhale some bugs in that tasty cigarette!

Credit: Brett Israel and Environmental Health News & Scientific American

FTC Discontinues Tar and Nicotine Test

After 42 years, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has ended a test to measure the amount of tar and nicotine in cigarettes.

According to the Associated Press, the FTC decided to discontinue the testing for two reasons: the test itself was flawed, and tobacco companies could use the results to promote one brand of cigarette over another.

The test was known as the Cambridge Filter Method, the A.P. reports, and on Nov. 26 the FTC commissioners voted unanimously to discontinue it. Saying that the FTC would no longer be a “smokescreen” for tobacco companies’ marketing programs, Commissioner Jon Leibowitz told the wire service, “Our action today ensures that tobacco companies may not wrap their misleading tar and nicotine ratings in a cloak of government sponsorship.”

Over the years, many cigarette advertisements had promoted low tar and nicotine levels in some brands, using the phrase, “by FTC method.” Insofar as the testing itself was concerned, it had long been criticized by scientists because it never took into account how people smoked, such as how deeply they inhaled, the A.P. reports.

Cigarette Smoke The National Cancer Institute acknowledged that the Cambridge Filter Method did measure changes in design and quantity of tar and nicotine, but there has never been any evidence that so-called light cigarettes reduced disease caused by smoking, the wire service reports.

FTC Rescinds Guidance On Cigarette Testing

For over four decades the tobacco industry has used machine testing approved by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to measure tar and nicotine levels in cigarettes.

But in a 4-0 vote, the FTC has now shunned the tests, known as the Cambridge Filter Method, rescinding guidance it established 42 years ago.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) found that cigarette design changes had reduced the amount of tar and nicotine measured by smoking machines using the Cambridge Filter Method. However, there was no evidence the changes reduced disease in smokers. Furthermore, the machine does not account for ways in which smokers adjust their behavior, such as inhaling deeper or more often to maintain nicotine levels.

The FTC said the test method is flawed, and results in erroneous marketing of tar and nicotine levels that could deceive consumers into believing that lighter cigarettes were more safe.  The move means that future advertising that includes the tar levels for cigarettes will not be permitted to include terms such as “by FTC method.”  “Our action today ensures that tobacco companies may not wrap their misleading tar and nicotine ratings in a cloak of government sponsorship,” said FTC Commissioner Jon Leibowitz.  “Simply put, the FTC will not be a smokescreen for tobacco companies’ shameful marketing practices.”

Using current methods, cigarettes with a tar levels in excess of 15 milligrams per cigarette are typically called “full flavored”, while those with less than 15 milligrams are considered “low” or “light”. Cigarettes with tar levels below 6 milligrams are regarded as “ultra low” or “ultra light.”  “The most important aspect of this decision is that it says to consumers that tobacco industry claims relating to tar and nicotine are at best flawed and most likely misleading,” Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, told Reuters.

The commission said that during the 1960s it believed that providing consumers with uniform, standardized information about tar and nicotine levels in cigarettes would help them make better decisions. At that time, most public health officials believed that reducing the amount of tar in a cigarette would also reduce a smoker’s risk of lung cancer. However, that belief no longer exists.Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) introduced legislation earlier this year that would prohibit companies from making claims based on data derived from the Cambridge testing method.  But the bill did not progress to the Senate for a full vote.  “Tobacco companies can no longer rely on the government to back up a flawed testing method that tricks smokers into thinking these cigarettes deliver less tar and nicotine,” said Lautenberg.

Pamela Jones Harbor, an FTC commissioner, called on Congress to approve the regulation of the tobacco industry by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a move that would authorize government scientists to monitor, analyze and regulate cigarette components.  Tobacco companies have been clear over the years in saying that there is no such thing as a safe cigarette.

In a statement by Philip Morris USA, the United States’ largest tobacco company, the company said it is committed to working with the federal government to identify and adopt testing strategies that improve on the Cambridge method.

FTC BuildingThe FTC said that all four major domestic cigarette makers told commissioners the 1966 recommendations should be retained until a suitable replacement test was approved.  Philip Morris told commissioners that eliminating the current guidance could lead to a “tar derby”, in which cigarette makers would employ different methods to measure yields in their cigarettes, leading to greater consumer confusion.

Source:  Red Orbit

Big Tobacco Companies Covered Up Radiation Dangers From Smoking

Tobacco companies have covered up for 40 years the fact that cigarette smoke contains a dangerous radioactive substance that exposes heavy smokers to the radiation equivalent of having 300 chest X-rays a year.

Internal company records reveal that cigarette manufacturers knew that tobacco contained polonium-210 but avoided drawing public attention to the fact for fear of “waking a sleeping giant”.

Polonium-210 emits alpha radiation estimated to cause about 11,700 lung cancer deaths each year worldwide. Russian dissident and writer Alexander Litvinenko died after being poisoned with polonium-210 in 2006.

The polonium-210 in tobacco plants comes from high-phosphate fertilisers used on crops. The fertiliser is manufactured from rocks that contain radioisotopes such as polonium-210 (PO-210).
The radioactive substance is absorbed through the plant’s roots and deposited on its leaves. 

People who smoke one-and-a-half packets of cigarettes a day are exposed to as much radiation as they would receive from 300 chest X-rays a year, according to research.

New health warning labels such as “Cigarettes are a major source of radiation exposure” have been urged by the authors of a study published in this month’s American Journal of Public Health. 

“This wording would capitalise on public concern over radiation exposure and increase the impact of cigarette warning labels,” the Mayo Clinic and Stanford University authors say.

Quit Victoria executive director Fiona Sharkie said Australian tobacco companies were not legally obliged to reveal the levels of chemicals contained in cigarettes. This made it difficult to know exactly how damaging PO-210 was and meant it was impossible to know what effect it had on other poisons contained in cigarettes.

“It (PO-210) is obviously highly toxic and we applaud any efforts to publicise the dangers,” she said. “But the industry needs to be better regulated before we can support specific warnings.” 

Inhalation tests have shown that PO-210 is a cause of lung cancer in animals. It has also been estimated to be responsible for 1% of all US lung cancers, or 1600 deaths a year.

The US authors analysed 1500 internal tobacco company documents, finding that tobacco companies conducted scientific studies on removing polonium-210 from cigarettes but were unable to do so.  “Documents show that the major transnational cigarette manufacturers managed the potential public relations problem of PO-210 in cigarettes by avoiding any public attention to the issue.”

Second Hand Smoke Laces the AirPhilip Morris even decided not to publish internal research on polonium-210 which was more favourable to the tobacco industry than previous studies for fear of heightening public awareness of PO-210.

Urging his boss not to publish the results, one scientist wrote: “It has the potential of waking a sleeping giant.” Tobacco company lawyers played a key role in suppressing information about the research to protect the companies from litigation.

The journal authors, led by Monique Muggli, of the nicotine research program at the Mayo Clinic, say: “The internal debate, carried on for the better part of a decade, involved most cigarette manufacturers and pitted tobacco researchers against tobacco lawyers. The lawyers prevailed.

“Internal Philip Morris documents suggest that as long as the company could avoid having knowledge of biologically significant levels of PO-210 in its products, it could ignore PO-210 as a possible cause of lung cancer.”

Source: William Birnbauer, Theage.com.au

There May be a Very Good Reason Why Coffee and Cigarettes Often Seem to go Hand in Hand

A Kansas State University psychology professor’s research suggests that nicotine’s power may be in how it enhances other experiences.

For a smoker who enjoys drinking coffee, the nicotine may make a cup of joe even better.

And that offer another explaination why smoking is so hard to quit.

“People have very regimented things they do when they smoke,” said Matthew Palmatier, assistant professor of psychology at K-State. “If you think about where people smoke or who they smoke with, you realize that it occurs in very specific places, often with a specific group of people.

Maybe it’s a reason why nicotine is so addictive — if you get used to having that extra satisfaction from things you normally enjoy, not having nicotine could reduce the enjoyment in a given activity.

“People may not be smoking to obtain a pleasurable drug state. They may be smoking in order to regulate their mood, and that effect could make nicotine more addictive than other drugs.”

Palmatier said much previous research on nicotine addiction has looked at the drug itself rather than the other factors he is studying.

“The approach we’re taking is out of left field,” he said. “But it seems to be one of the best explanations as to why people smoke.”

Palmatier has a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to understand how this phenomenon can be used to better design tobacco addiction treatments, usually offered in stop smoking aids, like patches and pills. He began psychological research in addiction as a graduate student and later began researching the reinforcing effects of nicotine.

Coffee and Cigarettes“The big picture is trying to figure out why people smoke,” Palmatier said. “There are a lot of health risks, and the majority of smokers already know what they are. They want to quit but can’t. It’s not because nicotine is a potent drug; it doesn’t induce significant amounts of pleasure or euphoria. Yet, it’s just as difficult if not more difficult to quit than other drugs.”

At K-State, Palmatier studies rats that are allowed to self-administer nicotine by pushing a lever. The main source of light in their testing environment shuts off when the rats earn a dose of nicotine. After about a minute, the light comes back on to signal that more nicotine is available.

By manipulating this signal, Palmatier and his colleagues found that the rats weren’t really that interested in nicotine by itself.

“We figured out that what the rats really liked was turning the light off,” Palmatier said. “They still self-administered the nicotine, but they took more of the drug when it was associated with a reinforcing light.”

Palmatier and colleagues published a paper on their research in the August issue of Neuropsychopharmacology.

Palmatier has begun looking at how rats respond to sweet tastes after having nicotine. He said preliminary results show that nicotine has comparable effects on sweet tastes. That is, rats respond more for sugar-water solutions after getting nicotine.

“The taste aspect is really important because we can actually figure out how nicotine is increasing the subjects’ behavior,” Palmatier said. “If it makes a reward more pleasurable, then it may increase the palatability of a sweet taste.”

Palmatier said that a future phase of research would be determining whether nicotine can make unpleasant experiences more tolerable, helping explain why lighting up after a bad day at work can be tempting.

Contact: Beth Bohn
Kansas State University

Genetic Achilles Heel May Support Nicotine Addiction

Do genes play a role in tobacco addiction?

Recent studies suggest they may, particularly the CHRNA5 gene.

A University of Michigan press release notes a genetic variation suggests a finding that may help explain the path that leads from that first cigarette to lifelong smoking.

In the press release studies smokers and non-smokers to find if you have the less common rs16969968 form of the CHRNA5 gene and you smoke a cigarette you are more likely to get hooked.

Yet another reduction in the possible scope for free will.

Study on Genetics, Genes and Smoking

In a paper published in the September Issue of the journal Addiction, a multi-university collaborative team of researchers specializing in statistical genetics, gene analysis, and trait analysis reports an association between a variant in the CHRNA5 nicotine receptor gene, initial smoking experiences, and current smoking patterns.

The genetic and smoking data come from 435 volunteers. Those who never smoked had tried at least one cigarette but no more than 100 cigarettes in their lives, and never formed a smoking habit. The regular smokers had smoked at least five cigarettes a day for at least the past five years.

The regular smokers in the study were far more likely than the never-smokers to have the less common rs16969968 form of the CHRNA5 gene, in which just one base-pair in the gene sequence was different from the more common form. This kind of genetic variation is called a single nucleotide polymorphism or SNP.

Smokers were also eight times as likely to report that their first cigarettes gave them a pleasurable buzz.

“It appears that for people who have a certain genetic makeup, the initial physical reaction to smoking can play a significant role in determining what happens next,” says senior author and project leader, Ovide Pomerleau, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School and founder of the U-M Nicotine Research Laboratory.

“If cigarette smoking is sustained, nicotine addiction can occur in a few days to a few months,” he adds. “The finding of a genetic association with pleasurable early smoking experiences may help explain how people get addicted — and, of course, once addicted, many will keep smoking for the rest of their lives.”Among those who ever try smoking this gene explains only part of the difference between those who become addicted and those who do not. Expect more discoveries of genes that contribute to the odds of getting addicted.

Achilles HeelWe are witnessing an acceleration of the rate of discovery of genetic factors that influence behavior. This acceleration in the rate of discovery will accelerate as DNA testing costs continue to drop. So expect to see many more reports of genes that influence behavior.

Source: Randall Parker, FuturePundit

Progress Has Been Made in Cutting Nicotine Risks, but Exposure Remains Problem for Nonsmokers

Nearly half of America’s non smokers are sucking in fumes from tobacco products.

And that’s the good news!

A new study from the Centers for Disease Control showed that 46 percent of nonsmokers had signs of nicotine in their bodies during blood tests conducted between 1999 and 2004.

That is down significantly from 84 percent when similar tests were conducted in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

But CDC researchers emphasize that this is no reason for celebration – not with statistics showing that exposure to secondhand smoke increases nonsmoking adults’ risk of lung cancer by at least 20 percent and their odds of heart disease by at least 25 percent.

“It’s still too high,” research Cynthia Marano told The Associated Press. “There is no safe level of exposure.”

Moreover, there was little change regarding the exposure of children ages 4 to 11 to secondhand smoke. That percentage stands at 60 percent, and CDC officials note this greatly increases children’s chances of respiratory illnesses and ear problems. In babies, the possibility of sudden infant death syndrome also increases.

Officials attributed the overall decline in the exposure rate of nonsmokers to the growing number of laws banning smoking workplaces, bars, restaurants and other public settings.

The CDC study’s findings justify the public indoor smoking legislation that will go into effect in September in Pennsylvania, virtually nullifying the argument that these bans usurp proprietors’ and individuals’ rights. Indoor smoking creates a public health issue for others and contributes to rising health care and insurance costs for everyone.

It’s good to see at least some progress being made, but to paraphrase that old cigarette commercial, “we’ve come a long way, but we have a long way to go.”

Source: The Patriot News