Tag Archives: tobacco deaths

Dangers of Smoking Label

The FDA’s 9 New Cigarette Health Warnings

September 22, 2012 marks a monumental change in the appearance of cigarette packaging in the United States.

At this time, new warning labels must appear on all cigarette packs. Each warning targets a specific danger of smoking with a graphic color image that communicates the intent of the warning. There were 9 significant warnings decided upon out of the initial 36 proposed in November 2010 when the label revamping ruling selection began. Part of the process included a time of evaluating public comments.

On September 22, 2012 big tobacco manufacturers will no longer be able to distribute cigarettes in the United States unless their package designs display the one of the 9 warning labels.

Graphic Incentives to Quit Smoking

New FDA Cigarette Package Warning LabelThe final selection of 9 FDA cigarette warning labels hope to target youth smokers making them more aware to empower them to never start smoking. The labels also increase awareness of the some of the health risks and diseases related to smoking by providing a graphic incentive to appeal to smokers to get them to quit.

Since research suggests that nicotine is as addictive as heroin, cocaine, or alcohol and that the frequency of smoking is often what prevents people from quitting, a strong intent behind these graphic labels is that perhaps each time someone picks up a pack, the image could put them over the edge into the say no or quit category.

The 9 cigarette label warnings cover these concerns:

  1. Cigarettes are addictive.
  2. Tobacco smoke can harm your children.
  3. Cigarettes cause fatal lung disease.
  4. Cigarettes cause cancer.
  5. Cigarettes cause strokes and heart disease.
  6. Smoking during pregnancy can harm your baby.
  7. Smoking can kill you.
  8. Tobacco smoke causes fatal lung disease in nonsmokers.
  9. Quitting smoking now greatly reduces serious risks to your health.

Along with each of the warnings are corresponding smoking facts that give smokers a lot to think about.

Not Soon Enough for Many

We can’t help but think how many lives would have been different had smokers truly been informed of the dangers of inhaling tobacco smoke before they picked up their habit or exposed others to the toxic fumes. I think only those with a death wish would have started smoking or exposed their loved ones.

Just recently, we received this heartbreaking letter from a caregiver taking care of a parent who developed serious health problems brought on from smoking and died a horrible death. Should we all have the choice of a better quality of life?

Smoking Killed my Mom: 4 Years As A Caregiver

FDA Warning LabelThere are no words to express fully express our condolences to the author of this letter. For their privacy we are not including their name, but the content is published in its unedited form:

Thank you so much for taking the time to express your condolences. I am devastated by the loss of my mother, and I am not handling her death well at all. The fact that it was so senseless makes it that much harder to bear. The fact that she suffered so needlessly…

She had gangrene in her little toe. That’s how it all started. She needed surgery to unblock her right carotid artery. It was discovered that her circulation was completely blocked from her right hip to her foot. The surgeons unblocked the arteries and put stents in. Her toe even healed, but she wouldn’t quit smoking. When she started showing signs of the same problem, I made her quit. We got into huge arguments, but it was already too late. They ended up amputating the entire front of her right foot.

Every day, I had to change her bandage at least twice. I had to flush this gaping, horrific wound, put antibiotic cream over it, then re-wrap it in clean gauze. Every night, I had to listen to her beg me for more pain medication that I could not give her. After three months of hell, the doctors amputated her right leg below the knee. This wound healed, but her independence had been seriously compromised forever. Her ability to breathe was rapidly deteriorating as well.

StethoscopeNear the end of March 2010, she said she needed to go to the hospital because she couldn’t breathe. Five minutes more, and they would have had to intubate her. They put her on steroids to help reduce the inflammation in her seriously damaged lungs. A few days later, they did a bronchoscopy and suctioned a bunch of crap out of her lungs. She was sent to a nursing home to recoup. The steroids raised her blood sugar and made insulin necessary. They also caused her to gain a significant amount of weight, which further hindered her ability to breathe.

Right before she was due to come home, the nursing home sent her to the ER. When my best friend and I arrived, she wasn’t in any distress. Mom really wasn’t sure why they had sent her at all. Unfortunately, sitting on the gurney for so long caused a massive cramp in her hip. She went into respiratory distress and deteriorated rapidly. She wound up staying in the hospital for a week. That’s when her doctor called and told me that there was no way I would be able to handle her care on my own anymore. He ordered her to be placed in a nursing home. You don’t even want to know the hell that the two of us went through with that place. She had pneumonia in December of 2010. When she had sufficiently recovered, they had to amputate her left leg below the knee as well.

The Saturday before she died (she died the week of Easter Sunday), I went to pick up her laundry as usual. She was sleeping, but very restless. She cried out in pain and sat straight up in bed. I asked her if she was okay. She said yes. I asked her why she hadn’t eaten any of her dinner yet (her tray was untouched, unusual for her). She picked up her fork and started pushing the food around. “I’ve been eating” she said. I went to fill her pitcher with fresh ice water. I came back and she was sound asleep again.

I asked the two aides in the room how long she had been like this. They shrugged and said, “She’s been making those funny noises all day.” I explained to them that only once in a while was normal and that they should be a ‘tad more concerned’ (I was being very sarcastic, of course). I went out into the hall to speak with the nurse, who informed me that Mom had been complaining of pain in her right hip, so they gave her (insert name of a narcotic pain pill here). I shook my head ‘no’, and told the nurse that the only pain reliever her doctor had ever approved was regular-strength Tylenol. Narcotic pain pills suppress the breathing too much in people with COPD. She said that’s what the doctor had ordered. Turns out it wasn’t her doctor, but the doctor on call.

Symbol for No SmokingTuesday morning at 6:30 a.m., the phone rings. Mom’s eyes were open, but she was non-responsive. By the time my brother and I reached the hospital she was already gone. To have to see her laying on that gurney just about killed me. I honest to god don’t think I’m going to get through this. I am beyond furious that these companies can literally get away with murder. Nobody you love should have to die the way my mother did. I did everything in my power to make her well. I failed. I don’t think I can live with that, especially since I’m about to lose our house and everything my family ever owned. I am terrified out of my wits. Sorry this is so long…I just needed to talk. There’s so much that I left out of this…so much more. Never have I known a hell like what we had to go through. It just isn’t right.

It is our hopes that you will pass on this article on to others who are enticed to smoke, or your loved ones who do. Sometimes a wake up call like this true story can make a huge difference.

May 31 Celebrate World No Tobacco Day

In 1987 World No Tobacco Day was created by WHO, the World Health Organization.

With a focus on the negative health effects of tobacco smoking, the aim of May 31st is to reduce tobacco deaths each year.

Right now that number stands at about five million yearly. That number is expected to double within the next ten years which is pretty scary.

On this date WHO provides awards to individuals and organizations who have supported the cause of reducing tobacco use in exceptional ways.

We are looking forward to see to whom this year’s awards are given for their outstanding work to bring greater awareness to the world.

Ban on Tobacco Advertising

Just last year, WHO moved to lobby for a ban on tobacco advertising because of the obvious link between ads aimed to get young people to start smoking and ads that attempt to make smoking look attractive, appealing, or whatever motivator they can conjure up to market the poisons they package.

The Great American Smokeout is another world event, which is recognized the Third Thursday in November. Just in time for the holiday season. This is a gift that can keep on giving for it can save a life if a smoker stops in time.

This Years World No Tobacco Day Theme – Tobacco Health Warnings

pic-crushing-ciggysThis year the celebration is centered around warning people around the globe about the dangers of tobacco and cigarette use.

Attention is drawn to the practices that big tobacco companies partake to keep the smoking epidemic growing each year even though every year thousands of lives are lost due to the dangerous effects of smoking.

Some deaths are also due to second hand smoke, and links have been made to smoking during pregnancy and the negative effects it has on the fetus and baby.

Pass the Word – No Smoking!

On May 31st, take the lead and tell everyone you know to pass the word. One voice at a time may make the difference in someone’s life.

Watch this short video to see what the effects in just one year from the accumulation of tar in cigarettes.

 

UT takes $445,000 of Philip Morris Money for Tobacco Grower Research

Should the University of Tennessee accept money from the tobacco industry to help promote the growth of domestic tobacco production?

That ethical question has yet to be debated—even nearly six months after UT quietly received a one-year $445,000 grant from Philip Morris to establish and operate a Center for Tobacco Grower Research in Morgan Hall on the Knoxville campus.

News of the grant is coming as a surprise to anti-smoking activists and even UT staff.

“It blows me away that UT would take money from a cigarette manufacturer, knowing that smoking kills,” says Douglas Benton, an Alcoa resident who earned a business degree at UT and founded No Smoking in Restaurants in Tennessee (NoSIR) in 2005. “I don’t like people making one penny off killing other people. I don’t understand why my university would try to help farmers to make more money selling something that has no possible benefit at all to a human.”

UT initially released its big news to ag extension agents, tobacco growers, and Burley strade publications where the reaction was positive. The inaugural Nov. 29 press release unabashedly quotes Philip Morris’ Vice President of Leaf, Jeanette Hubbard: “Because American tobacco is the backbone of our blends, a stable supply of U.S. tobacco is very important to Philip Morris USA. That’s why we are pleased to work with the University of Tennessee to support sustainability of U.S. tobacco production through the research conducted by the center.”

But there’s been hardly a murmur about the ethics of accepting funding from a manufacturer of tobacco products, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say cause 438,000 deaths in the United States per year, representing 5.5 million years of potential life lost and $167 billion in health-care costs and lost productivity annually.

“I’m not really catching any heat,” says the center’s director Daniel Green, who also worked with the Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association. “Obviously you get some questions about, ‘Why tobacco?’ but we’re getting a lot of support from the growers.”

This support from growers will probably continue—after all, they stand to gain production and industry information that hasn’t been available since the 2004-2005 federal tobacco-quota buyout terminated federal tobacco price-support and supply-control programs, and the center’s research will undoubtedly provide them with ways to produce more competitively in the new free-market economy.

But away from the burley fields, opposition and outrage are mounting as more members of Tennessee’s public health community and UT alumni learn of the center’s creation and the source of its funding.

Jenny Carico, a nurse at Student Health Services who earned her Bachelor’s of Nursing at UT, says tobacco money funding anything on campus is ill-advised and unethical. “I think a great deal of tobacco marketing is geared to my patient population and it makes me spitting mad,” she says.

Tobacco According to the state Department of Health’s Prevalence of Tobacco Use in Tennessee, 1997-2007, smoking prevalence among adults ages 18-24 years is around 29 percent, compared to 22.6 percent of the state’s general population and 20.1 percent for the United States on the whole.

“The cigarette manufacturers are gunning for these kids with marketing that gets them started smoking at an age when they think they’re bulletproof,” she says. “By the time they figure out they’re not, they have to deal with the reality that tobacco is addictive, sometimes at great expense to their health—that’s not the kind of profit we want funding university research.”

The agricultural portion of the university community, though, doesn’t see what all the fuss is about.

“You know, tobacco is still a legal commodity for farm owners to produce,” says Green, himself a non-smoker though he grew up on a tobacco farm in Kentucky. “Here, it’s just a part of agriculture—an important part of agriculture.”

Kelly Tiller, an assistant professor at UT’s Agricultural Policy Analysis Center, whose work is partially funded by Philip Morris, explains the agricultural community’s emotional disconnect between tobacco fatalities and the product they grow as a long-time cultural phenomenon, one that hasn’t changed much even though around three-fourths of the state’s tobacco growers ceased production after the federal tobacco-quota buyout.

“To them, tobacco growing is viewed as a legal farm enterprise that has provided a significant economic base for many of our rural communities for a very long time, and is tightly integrated into those communities,” Tiller says.

The research center, she says, will also emphasize tobacco merely as an agricultural commodity. “The data will revolve around the farm part of production, not cigarettes or any other manufactured products.”

All of the center’s reports and survey results will be available to the general public, ordinarily from summaries on the center’s website—with no proprietary information for Philip Morris. The benefit to the tobacco giant will be shared by other manufacturers and growers, says Tiller.

And Green hopes that more farmers will decide to grow tobacco because of the center’s research, which could also benefit Philip Morris and other national cigarette and tobacco-product manufacturers.

“While the primary objective will be to collect and disseminate information necessary to enhance the long-term sustainability of U.S. tobacco production, research conducted by the center may improve the success of current growers or attract new or former growers to the industry,” he says.

Green insists that more tobacco farmers, in Tennessee and other tobacco-growing states, would be good for the farm economy.

But Chastity Mitchell, contract lobbyist for the grassroots Campaign for Healthy & Responsible Tennessee (CHART), based in Nashville, is skeptical of more farmers getting in—or getting back to—tobacco production. She’s also wary of Philip Morris’ interest in Tennessee starting in 2007, the same year the state passed the Non-Smokers Protection Act prohibiting smoking in most public places and workplaces, increased its cigarette tax by $0.42 to $0.62 per pack, and significantly increased funding for its tobacco control program.

“I find it interesting that after the big policy year that we had in 2007…that Philip Morris would make this kind of significant investment in Tennessee to sustain the tobacco economy and even to try to recruit new growers,” says Mitchell, who has worked in Tennessee in tobacco control for the past eight years, including stints with the American Heart Association and as Government Relations Director for the American Cancer Society. “We’ve seen, over the years, that domestically grown tobacco is just a minute fraction compared to what tobacco companies purchase worldwide.”

And growers had good reasons to get out of the tobacco business back in 2005—and to continue to stay out, says Mitchell. “They wouldn’t make the same money that they did with price supports, they don’t have the allotment anymore…and to try to get them back, especially when manufacturers like Philip Morris are continuing to buy more and more overseas, it’s just a really strange situation.”

The Philip Morris investment may also cast a shadow on UT Agricultural Economics’ relationship with the public health community, says Mitchell, even though they’ve historically collaborated on tobacco issues that affected both groups, facilitated by Tiller, who was a tobacco policy analyst almost nine years before the research center’s creation.

“I think those collaborations fostered a good bit of communication, but now that we know Dr. Tiller is involved with this Tobacco Research Center, and Philip Morris is underwriting it, it would certainly make those in the public health community hesitant to sit down and have an open dialogue with the tobacco growers, knowing how they’re funded.”

At least on the surface, the Philip Morris money does not seem to benefit the University of Tennessee’s bottom line. It does cover Green’s entire salary and overhead at his Morgan Hall office, but he’s a new hire, not an existing member of the faculty. A small portion goes to cover part of Dr. Tiller’s salary, and a graduate assistant who would come from the Agricultural School is budgeted, but hasn’t been hired. The vast majority pays for data collection expenses.

But even if UT won’t get a new wing for the Ag school, or millions in discretionary funds, NoSIR’s Benton can see no excuse for taking Philip Morris money.

“It’s incredible that an institute of higher learning would promote smoking when ordinarily the more educated people are, the less likely they are to smoke,” Benton says. “I think the university has to learn to be like the rest of us…that sometimes you just have to put your foot down and say, ‘No.’”

Source: —Rose Kennedy, Metro Pulse

Tobacco Deaths a Third World Plague

Facts tell us tobacco deaths on the rise and increasing in many countries.

Judith Longstaff Mackay, a senior policy adviser to the World Health Organisation, said cigarette markets were shrinking in advanced economies, but growing in developing states.

Tobacco-related deaths are expected to double to 10 million a year by 2030, with most fatalities in developing countries, says a senior World Lung Foundation (WLF) official.

“There’s about three million TB [tuberculosis] deaths a year, and five million deaths a year from tobacco,” said Mackay. “By 2030, that will be closer to 10 million, they’ll be doubling…and the major burden is on developing countries.”

Staring Contest by Cyril Van Der HaegenSmoking is a major cause of cancer of the lung, throat and bladder. Despite proof of the health risks, Mackay said more people were lighting up worldwide, with 1.64 billion smokers expected by 2030, from 1.3 billion today.

The American Cancer Society labels China a “ticking time bomb” with about 320 million smokers.

According to the 2006 edition of The Tobacco Atlas, published by the society, the four countries with the highest number of male smokers (who are the majority of the world’s smokers) were China, Yemen, Djibouti and Cambodia.

New Zealand Herald