Tag Archives: tobacco dependence

New Report on Global Tobacco Control Efforts

NEW YORK — WHO today released new data concerning tobacco control.

The data show that while progress has been made, not a single country fully implements all key tobacco control measures, and outlined an approach that governments can adopt to prevent tens of millions of premature deaths by the middle of this century.

In a new report which presents the first comprehensive analysis of global tobacco use and control efforts, WHO finds that only 5% of the world’s population live in countries that fully protect their population with any one of the key measures that reduce smoking rates.

The report also reveals that governments around the world collect 500 times more money in tobacco taxes each year than they spend on anti-tobacco efforts.

It finds that tobacco taxes, the single most effective strategy, could be significantly increased in nearly all countries, providing a source of sustainable funding to implement and enforce the recommended approach, a package of six policies called MPOWER (see below).

“While efforts to combat tobacco are gaining momentum, virtually every country needs to do more.

These six strategies are within the reach of every country, rich or poor and, when combined as a package, they offer us the best chance of reversing this growing epidemic,” said Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO. Dr Chan launched the WHO Report of the Global Tobacco Epidemic at a news conference with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg Philanthropies helped fund the report.

“The report released today is revolutionary,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “For the first time, we have both a rigorous approach to stop the tobacco epidemic and solid data to hold us all accountable. No country fully implements all of the MPOWER policies and 80% of countries don’t fully implement even one policy. While tobacco control measures are sometimes controversial, they save lives and governments need to step up and do the right thing.”The six MPOWER strategies are:

  1. Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies
  2. Protect people from tobacco smoke
  3. Offer help to quit tobacco use
  4. Warn about the dangers of tobacco
  5. Enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship
  6. Raise taxes on tobacco

The report also documents the epidemic’s shift to the developing world, where 80% of the more than eight million annual tobacco-related deaths projected by 2030 are expected to occur.

This shift, the report says, results from a global tobacco industry strategy to target young people and adults in the developing world, ensuring that millions of people become fatally addicted every year. The targeting of young women in particular is highlighted as one of the “most ominous potential developments of the epidemic’s growth”.

The global analysis, compiled by WHO with information provided by 179 Member States, gives governments and other groups a baseline from which to monitor efforts to stop the epidemic in the years ahead. The MPOWER package provides countries with a roadmap to help them meet their commitments to the widely embraced global tobacco treaty known as the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which came into force in 2005.

WHO WHO is also working with global partners to scale up the help that can be offered to countries to implement the strategies.

Dr Douglas Bettcher, Director of WHO’s Tobacco Free Initiative, said the six MPOWER strategies would create a powerful response to the tobacco epidemic. “This package will create an enabling environment to help current tobacco users quit, protect people from second-hand smoke and prevent young people from taking up the habit,” he said.

Other key findings in the report include:

  • Only 5% of the global population is protected by comprehensive national smoke-free legislation and 40% of countries still allow smoking in hospitals and schools;
  • Only 5% of the world’s population lives in countries with comprehensive national bans on tobacco advertising and promotion;
  • Just 15 countries, representing 6% of the global population, mandate pictorial warnings on tobacco packaging;
  • Services to treat tobacco dependence are fully available in only nine countries, covering 5% of the world’s people;
  • Tobacco tax revenues are more than 4000 times greater than spending on tobacco control in middle-income countries and more than 9000 times greater in lower-income countries. High- income countries collect about 340 times more money in tobacco taxes than they spend on tobacco control.

Source: Press Release

Gene Links Alcoholism, Tobacco Addiction, Stress

A team of Quebec researchers has uncovered a series of genes linking the response to stress and high blood pressure with alcoholism and tobacco dependence.

If a person has that series of genes, he or she will be more prone to drink or smoke in order to cope with stress and high blood pressure, according to researchers.

“What that tells us is that it’s not only bad education or family behaviour that matters,” explained Dr. Pavel Hamet, who is leading the study of 120 families in the Saguenay Lac-St.-Jean region.

“The fight against alcohol and tobacco should not only be moralistic, but also give people ways to manage stress,” he said, adding that one in five persons has the predisposition.

He gave his findings at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress in Quebec City yesterday.

Alcohol and TobaccoHamet believes this discovery could explain why men are more prone to alcohol abuse than women.

His team found that the genes that govern alcohol intake appear on chromosome X. Men only have one chromosome X, while women have two.

“A man can only get his chromosome X from his mother, so he is more at risk than the woman who gets one from her mother and one from her father,” said Hamet, director of research at the University of Montreal Hospital Centre.

Hamet believes this study could be helpful to help high-risk people reduce stress and blood pressure, often leading to heart diseases and higher risks of getting a stroke.

Source: The Vancouver Province

Cigarettes are Like a Dirty Syringe

If cigarettes were made without nicotine in its natural form or added to make them more addictive, few people would smoke them, says Prof. Peter Hajek, a clinical psychologist in London who specializes in treating and researching tobacco dependence.

Hajek, here on his third visit to participate in a Kfar Hamaccabiah conference on smoking prevention and cessation organized by the Israel Cancer Association and other groups, told The Jerusalem Post in an interview on Thursday that nicotine itself is “relatively harmless.

It is the tar, numerous carcinogens and other rubbish in smoke that cause such great damage to health. Except for pregnant women, whose fetuses can be harmed by nicotine, cigarettes are like injecting a relatively safe drug into yourself with a dirty syringe.”

Picture of InjectionThe Moravian (Czechoslovakian)-born expert, who heads the psychology section at Barts and the London teaching hospital at Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Dentistry, said that oral and tactile gratification supposedly felt by smokers with cigarettes in their mouths and fingers play “less of a role than we thought.

In fact, the main effect of smoking is to counteract withdrawal symptoms. When smokers addicted to nicotine are between cigarettes, they suffer discomfort and may be irritable and restless. The ‘enjoyment’ they feel is getting the nicotine again to combat these withdrawal symptoms.” Oral and tactile gratification could more safely be provided by holding carrot sticks or blowing bubbles, Hajek joked.

Nicotine-free cigarettes are available on the British market, but very few people buy them because it is the nicotine to which smokers are addicted, and without this drug, smokers get no satisfaction. Many drug companies are working on nicotine-delivery systems that could replace cigarettes, as there is a lot of money in this.

“Most people know smoking is dangerous and want to quit, but many find it very difficult.,” said Hajek, a consultant on smoking cessation to the World Health Organization who himself once smoked as a student “for social reasons, as a decorative smoker who thought they make me look good.”

Commercial firms that claim to cure smokers’ addiction may mislead customers, as there are “many different ways to calculate the success rate. If they send out letters a year afterward to 100 people, and only 10 respond, with nine saying they are still not smoking, it doesn’t mean they have a 90% success rate.

The 90 people who did not respond are likely to be ashamed to say they have relapsed. People want to be nice and say they quit. However, in our studies at Bart and The London, we do validation. We don’t just take their word for it but take a blood sample or have them breathe into a device.

We do it the hard way. Of 500,000 British people a year who are treated for nicotine addiction, half stop smoking for six months, and 15% for a year. This figure might not seem like a lot, but giving up smoking is one of the most significant existing means to improve health.”

About a quarter of the British population – similar to Israel’s – smoke. Britain’s National Health Service offers free smoking cessation courses – but these are not included in Israel’s basket of health services: “It is a treatment like any other, so it should be free here,” he said.

As only a small minority of smokers manage to quit on their own, there are a variety of methods, including psychological support and medications to help. The newest drug, called Champix, is according to some studies more effective than Zyban, which has been available for several years. There are also nicotine chewing gums and patches to help those who have quit to be weaned from their addiction.

But tobacco addiction is not treated like a bacterial infection in which you just take a penicillin pill, he said. “You have to change behavior. Just taking Champix, Zyban or a nicotine patch is not enough. You need psychological support.” The best guarantee of success, he said, “is if the smoker is determined to stop.”

Source: Judy Siegel-Itzkovich, THE JERUSALEM POST

I Quit Cold Turkey Three Years Ago Today

I have been so busy that if I had not checked my e-mail (thanks Rosie for reminding me.) I probably would have slid right past the three-year mark with barely a whisper!

You are perhaps wondering how I arrived at this precious milestone? It took time, research, dedication, stubbornness, and a strong desire to succeed.

I never really had a strong human support system nor did any forum really do anything to help me maintain my quit. Though I once belonged to a group called The Leapers, there was not a whole lot of support there either.

I did have people along the way (Rosie, Maddie, and GoddessXena) who took the time to be supportive when they could.

Girl Bull FighterThe bulk of my support arrived via my own research and putting my heart and soul into the creation of Ciggyfree.com. To be perfectly frank, I was my own best cheerleader. I had to learn to support my own quit and never expect another person to pick me up if I fell down.

I come from a long line of strong willed Scottish/Irish women, and we are women who run through life destined to take any bull by the horns and beat it into submission. Quitting smoking was just another bull to ride in this game called life.

In the past, I quit hundreds of times. I was a serial quitter. I could fit any smoking profile from party girl to closet smoker. Whatever social situation I found myself in would always provide the protocol on how I would sooth this beast of addiction.

In the end my brain had been rewired by consistent exposure to over 4,000 chemicals, including arsenic, ammonia, and formaldehyde in every cigarette that I ever inhaled through time.

The secret to a good quit is to make a conscious decision to not light another cigarette. This means that you take personal responsibility for your own quit. Either you want to live or you want to die. There is no lukewarm. Smoking will kill you.

There is no Freedom without Courage. I have been free for 3Y. I have saved $4,310.03 by not smoking 21,928 cigarettes. I have saved 5M 1D 6h 40m of my life.