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Future of Nicotine Levels in Cigarettes Uncertain

Washington – The Food and Drug Administration may soon have the ability to regulate sales, distribution and advertising of tobacco products, but it would not be allowed to require removal of nicotine from cigarettes.

Nicotine, the most addictive ingredient in a cigarette, increases the level of the dopamine neurotransmitters in the brain.

Dopamine controls many important responses in the brain, such as behavior.

Nicotine spreads in the brain within a few minutes of the first inhalation, creating feelings of reward, which then cause the smoker to continue smoking.

“People may smoke for non-nicotine reasons, but it is the nicotine that is the primary addictive component of cigarettes,” said Dr. Allison Chausmer from the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

American Lung Association Graph of Chemicals in CigarettesAlthough the FDA would not be able to get rid of nicotine altogether under the bill being considered by Congress, it would have the power to reduce nicotine levels in tobacco products.

The possible benefits for smokers, just like the bill, remain debatable.

A study by the National Institute of Drug Abuse found that tapered reduction of nicotine in cigarettes over a four-week span led one-fourth of smokers who were not trying to quit to spontaneously stop smoking after returning to their regular cigarettes.

“If a cigarette has nicotine levels that are below the level that people find rewarding, it may result in a reduced incidence of smoking initiation and/or increased incidence of quitting,” Chausmer said.

Chausmer also said that if the FDA lowers the nicotine content of cigarettes, “Fewer people will become addicted, and those who are addicted may find it easier to quit.”

However, smokers’ behavior varies, and some, if faced with lower nicotine levels in cigarettes, might smoke more to achieve the same nicotine satisfaction. Chausmer noted that smoking more cigarettes would mean spending more money and taking more time away from work or friends because of today’s smoke-free workplaces and restaurants.

The bill that would give the FDA regulatory power was approved by a House committee last week and will move to the House floor in the coming months.

Source: Farah Khan, Medill Reports, Northwestern University

Tobacco Companies Target Young Female Smokers: Hot Pink Ladies-Only

We don’t see much of the Marlboro Man anymore, but what about the “Virginia Slims” woman? Everybody knows what happened to him – or them, two of whom died from lung cancer.

She, however, was never quite as iconic. But that doesn’t mean the tobacco companies don’t have a soft spot for women, especially the young ones, according to a new report released Wednesday.

Issued by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the report alleges tobacco companies are trying to cultivate a generation of new users with fruity flavored cigarettes and marketing campaigns that target young people, including young women and girls.

In particular, the report takes issue with a recent R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company campaign that it says is clearly designed to attract girls with hot pink product packaging, ladies-only nights at clubs and cutesy party giveaway bags containing cigarettes, berry-flavored lip gloss and cell phone “bling.”

David Howard, spokesman for the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, said the Camel No. 9 marketing campaign is not about reaching young people. There are 20 million adult women smokers, Howard said, and 19 million of them smoke some brand other than Camel. Health organizations involved with the report, however, insist the ads cross the line against marketing tobacco products to youth. The report was released in collaboration with the American Lung Association, American Cancer Society and American Heart Association.

“It seems pretty clear that the ads were designed to appeal to young girls and 20-somethings,” said Ellen Vargyus, counsel for the American Legacy Foundation, an anti-smoking organization. “From [tobacco companies’] point of view, it’s sound marketing to do that. We know that 80 percent of smokers start before they’re 18.”

“In the days when tobacco companies were not so careful about what they said they used to call teens ‘replacement smokers,’” Vargyus said.

According to the American Heart Association, more than 178,000 women die from smoking-related diseases in a year. While death from uterine and stomach cancer has decreased in the last 70 years, lung cancer has surged among women, with an increase in incidence of almost 400 percent in the last 20 years.

The Camel No. 9 campaign caused quite a stir last fall. A group of 40 U.S. House members sent letters to 11 magazines calling on them to stop carrying the ads. The magazines, and their parent companies after them, either did not respond or refused.

Courtesy of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.If the goal of the ads was to get cigarettes in the hands of young women and girls, tobacco companies chose the right style and place, said Rosemarie Conforti, a professor of media literacy and education at Southern Connecticut State University.

“In the age of age aspiration, there are many teen girls who are reading these magazines because they want to be older,” Conforti said. “Magazines, and they know this, are absolutely the manual on how to be a young woman.”

Conforti said the fashion layout especially is the kind of guide girls love. It tells you how to be sophisticated and fashion-forward in three simple steps, she said, and it shows you the lifestyle that goes along with it through the cigarette ad on the right.

“Obviously, the fourth implied step is: ‘And smoke,’” Conforti said.

As these kinds of ads define what it means to be a woman, Conforti said, they also establish a benchmark against which girls and women measure themselves, having a cumulative impact that is more about long-term effects on lifestyle and less about one particular product.

R.J. Reynolds has said it will not advertise in print magazines in 2008. The Camel No. 9 campaign, however, continues online and through other promotional materials that are given away at bar parties.

“The innocence mixed with the sophistication – the roses and the pink mixed with the black — it’s the two sides that every girl wants to be,” Conforti said. “Sweet and sexy, sweet and sexy, that’s what women hear over and over again. You can either be an angel or a whore, and we don’t have a lot of choices for what’s right down the middle.”

Source: Kahrin Deines, Medill Reports/Chicago

States Ranked On Anti-Tobacco Campaign Spending For Kids

In a new report outlining the use of tobacco state by state New Hampshire has received a failing grade.

It was released jointly by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and American Lung Association.

The report, entitled “A Broken Promise to Our Children” ranked states on their cost associated with programs aimed at protecting kids from the dangers of tobacco, and ranked the state of New Hampshire a disappointing 41st.

The state spends 1.3 million dollars per year on anti-tobacco programs for kids, which is only 12% of the recommended spending amount.

Other states did not fair much better on the national ranking report.

North Carolina came in a disappointing 28th in anti-tobacco spending, offering a yearly allotment of just over 17 million dollars.

Massachusetts came in at number 33, only spending 12.8 million dollars per year on anti-tobacco campaigns aimed at kids.

“Massachusetts has made a modest improvement in protecting kids from tobacco, but budget cuts have reduced the effectiveness of what was once one of the nation’s best tobacco prevention programs,” said William V. Corr, executive director of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, in a statement.

Maine , Delaware and Colorado rounded out the top 3 states when it came to spending for anti-tobacco campaigns for kids.

Overall, the report found that as many as 30 states and the District of Columbia are spending less than half the CDC’s minimum amount recommended to be spent on anti-tobacco campaigns.

Source: Dogflu.ca

Mississippi is 27th for Anti-Tobacco Money

Once among the nation’s leaders for anti-smoking campaigns for youth and teens, Mississippi now ranks 27th among states that spend money on tobacco prevention, a new report says.

The report released Wednesday also found that tobacco companies spend $183 million a year on marketing in Mississippi, almost 23 times the state funding for tobacco prevention.

State Health Officer Dr. Ed Thompson said there’s been some decline in youth tobacco use rates in the state, but there’s a “great deal of competition from the tobacco industry so that’s an uphill battle.”

Overall, states this year have increased total funding for tobacco prevention programs by 20 percent to $717 million, the report said.

Maine, Delaware and Colorado were the only three states that funded tobacco prevention programs at minimum levels recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the report said.

Issued by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society, the report called for the implementation of tobacco control measures. Those included prevention programs, higher tobacco taxes and smoke-free workplace laws.

Mississippi ranked last in the nation in 2006, but moved up after Gov. Haley Barbour approved $8 million for a state-funded tobacco prevention program within the Department of Health during this year’s legislative session.

The bottom ranking resulted from the court-ordered termination of $20 million in annual funding for the Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi, a private, nonprofit headed by former Mississippi attorney general Mike Moore.

The Partnership’s money had come from the state’s settlement with the tobacco industry in the 1990s. Barbour successfully sued to cut off the Partnership’s money, saying only the Legislature has the authority to decide how that money should be spent.

William V. Corr, executive director of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said in a statement that Mississippi “has a long way to go in re-establishing an effective program.”

MississippiIt’s been 10 years since a landmark multistate settlement with the tobacco industry. Moore filed the first such lawsuit against the cigarette makers, forcing them to cover medical costs of people who became sick from their products. The nationwide settlement came soon after, but states weren’t required to create tobacco prevention programs.

With Moore at its helm, the Partnership set a standard for anti-tobacco programming, using catchy advertisements, churches, community coalitions, and school nurses to warn teens about the dangers of smoking. Mississippi’s teen smoking rate was 22.4 percent in 2004, and fell to 18.7 percent by 2006.

Thompson said the new state-funded program is still being developed and Moore is chairman of its advisory council.

“Certainly use of media is going to be one of the elements that they’ll consider and place into the mix,” said Thompson.

As far as increasing funding for tobacco prevention, lawmakers are reluctant to make any promises. Mississippi’s economic forecast shows slow growth, and lawmakers have predicted budget cuts for next year.

“Increasing funding for tobacco prevention is a very worthwhile project and it merits consideration,” said Senate Public Health Committee Chairman Alan Nunnelee. “But it’s far too early to make any commitments about what will or won’t be funded.”

Source: AP

Quit Smoking is the Way to Good Health

Cigarette smoking kills approximately 300,000 in the United States each year, and most of these people are seniors.

Lung cancer and emphysema are the best-known miserable outcomes.

However, accelerated development of atherosclerosis is the most important problem resulting from smoking.

This results in heart attacks and strokes, heart pains, leg pains, and many other problems. Pipe and cigar smoking do not have the pulmonary consequences that cigarette smoking does, but they do predispose to cancer of the lips, and tongue. Nicotine in any form has the same bad effects on the small blood vessels and thus accelerates development of atherosclerosis.

n.jpgIt is never too late to quit.

Only two years after stopping cigarette smoking, your risk of heart attack returns to average.

It has actually decreased substantially the very next day! After ten years your risk for lung cancer is back to nearly normal.

After only two years there is a decrease in lung cancer risk by perhaps one-third.

The development of emphysema is arrested for many people when they stop smoking, although this condition does not reverse. Seniors often feel that it is too late for changes in lifestyle to have beneficial effects on their health.

Not so. Most seniors have plenty of time to get major health benefits from quitting smoking. Remember that after age 65 men live an average of 15.4 more years and women 19.2 years. Chances of stroke and heart attack begin to go down immediately after you quit. Moreover, you will notice at once that your environment has become more friendly when you are not a smoker. Many of the daily hassles that impair the quality of your life go away when you stop offending others by this habit.

Many health educators are skeptical about cutting down slowly and stress that you need to stop completely. This may not always be true for seniors. For some people, rationing is a good way to get their smoking down to a much lower level, at which point it may be easier to stop entirely.

For example, the simple decision not to smoke in public can both help your health and decrease your daily hassles. To cut down, keep in the cigarette pack only those cigarettes you are going to allow yourself that day. Smoke the cigarettes only halfway down before extinguishing them.

There are many good stop-smoking courses offered through the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, and local hospitals. Most people won’t need these, but they can be of help. Try by yourself first. Then, if you still need help, get it.

Nicotine chewing gum or patches can help some people quit, and your doctor can give you a prescription and advice. Don’t plan on this as a long-term solution, since the nicotine in the gum or patch is just as bad for your arteries as the nicotine in cigarettes.

The challenge to stop smoking is an example of your ability to make your own choices if you are trapped by your addictions, even the lesser ones, you can’t make your own choices. Victory over smoking behaviors improves your mental health, in part because this is a difficult victory. It can open the door to success in other areas.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/health-articles/quit-smoking-is-the-way-to-good-health-220346.html