Tag Archives: teenage smokers

Teens Who Smoke Truly are Acting Brainless

Parents now have another reason to worry about their children smoking.

Nicotine might cause the teenage brain to develop abnormally, resulting in changes to the structure of white matter — the neural tissue through which signals are relayed.

Teenagers who smoke, or whose mothers smoked during pregnancy, are also more likely to suffer from auditory attention deficits, meaning they find it harder to concentrate on what is being said when other things are happening at the same time.

Leslie Jacobsen of Yale University School of Medicine and colleagues used diffusion tensor imaging, which measures how water diffuses through brain tissue, to study the brains of 33 teenagers whose mothers had smoked during pregnancy. Twenty-five of the teens were daily smokers. The team also studied 34 teens whose mothers had not smoked, of whom 14 were daily smokers.

Both prenatal and adolescent exposure to tobacco smoke were associated with changes in white matter in brain pathways that relay signals to the ear.

The changes were greatest in teenagers who smoked, suggesting the brain is particularly vulnerable to the effects of nicotine during adolescence, when many neural pathways are maturing (Journal of Neuroscience).Recently, Jacobsen’s team reported that prenatal and teenage exposure to smoke were associated with reduced auditory and visual attention, with boys being particularly vulnerable to auditory deficits.

In such boys, “the levels of disruption are significant enough that if you were already struggling at school it could tip you towards school failure,” Jacobsen says. She now hopes to test whether the changes are reversible, by scanning the brains of teenagers who give up smoking.

David McAlpine, director of the Ear Institute at University College London, says the findings are interesting because the key brain pathway affected by nicotine helps determine how we process auditory information when distracted by other tasks. “The fact that smokers show changes in this pathway means they may be less able to hear what’s being said,” he says.

Symbol for Not Using Your BrainNicotine binds to receptors in the brain that regulate neural development. Inappropriate stimulation could cause abnormal connections to form, says Jacobsen. Such misconnections are already thought to affect babies exposed to nicotine before birth, but this goes further:

“The new findings show that there is a downstream effect on white matter — the magnitude of which is pretty remarkable,” says Richard Todd at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Missouri. “It seems the brain remains vulnerable long into adolescence.”

Source: Linda Geddes, New Scientist Magazine

Tobacco May Kill 1 Billion in This Century, WHO Says

Tobacco use will kill 1 billion people in this century.

This is a 10-fold increase over the past 100 years, unless governments in poor nations raise taxes on consumption and mandate health warnings, the World Health Organization said.

No country fully implements these most important tobacco – control measures, according to a 330-page report released today by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Geneva-based UN agency.

Bloomberg, who helped fund the study, joined WHO Director-General Margaret Chan at a news conference in New York to discuss the findings. “This is a unique point in public health history as the forces of political will, policies and funding are aligned to create the momentum needed to dramatically reduce tobacco use and save millions of lives by the middle of this century,” Chan said in a foreword to the report.

The WHO said the tobacco “epidemic causes the deaths of 5.4 million people a year due to lung cancer, heart disease and other illnesses. That figure might rise to 8 million per year by 2030, including 80 percent in countries whose rapidly growing economies offer their citizens the hope of a better life,” the report said.

American States

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, said states are falling short on U.S. recommendations to boost insurance coverage of proven anti-smoking treatments that fight nicotine addiction.

The Atlanta-based U.S. government agency said eight states’ Medicaid programs, which serve the poor, fail to reimburse for any tobacco-dependence programs, and only Oregon covered them all. About 35 percent of Medicaid patients are smokers, it said.

Tobacco is the “single most preventable cause of death” in the world, the WHO said. Yet governments in low-and middle- income countries that collect $66.5 billion in taxes from the sale of tobacco products spend only $14 million on anti-smoking measures, and 95 percent of the world’s population is unprotected by the type of anti-smoking laws Bloomberg has pushed in New York.

Commitment Sought

“Now for the first time ever we have reliable data, a system of analysis and clear standards to promote accountability,” Bloomberg said of the report, which examines tobacco use in 179 countries.  “What we are still missing is a strong commitment from government leaders, but we believe this report will empower more leaders to act.”

Bloomberg, 65, the billionaire founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP, announced in 2006 he intended to donate $125 million to worldwide smoking-cessation efforts.

Bloomberg’s Health Department has made fighting tobacco use its top priority, enforcing age limits on smoking, distributing free nicotine patches and chewing gum though the city’s 311 telephone information number and producing television ads featuring a former smoker who lost his voice to throat cancer at age 39.

The Health Department reported in January that teenage cigarette use has been cut by half — to one in six teenagers — since Bloomberg became New York City’s mayor in 2002. That year, he persuaded the state legislature to ban smoking in indoor workplaces including bars and restaurants. He also fought for and won a cigarette tax increase of $1.50 that lifted the average price to about $7 per pack.

Role of Taxes

Smoking Pink LipstickThe WHO said raising taxes was the most effective way to reduce tobacco use, noting that a 70 percent increase would prevent a quarter of all tobacco-related deaths.

The report cites a 2001 study titled “Critical Issues in Global Health,” by epidemiologists Richard Peto and A. D. Lopez, edited by former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, as support for the assertion that population and smoking trends during the next several decades might lead to as many as 1 billion lives lost to smoking.

China, the world’s largest producer and consumer of tobacco, was highlighted by the UN agency. Almost 60 percent of men smoke cigarettes in China, compared with 21 percent in the U.S. At the same time, the report cited a survey that said most urban residents of China support a ban on tobacco advertising, higher tobacco taxes and smoke-free public places.

David Howard, a spokesman for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., which reported $8.5 billion in U.S. sales of brands such as Camel, Kool and Pall Mall cigarettes, said his company has expressed “the very clear opinion that smoking causes serious diseases.”

The company, owned by Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based Reynolds American Inc., continues its sales efforts, Howard said, because “there are about 45 million adults who are aware of the risks and have made the conscious decision to use tobacco products, and it’s a legal product.”

Source: By Henry Goldman and Bill Varner, Bloomberg [02-07-08]

Alabama Ranks 49th Nationally in Funding Tobacco Prevention

You’ve heard all the warnings and scientific data, even seen disclaimers on the side of the box of cigarettes.

Many times, however, it doesn’t stop your child from picking up a cigarette.

11,100 of Alabama’s kids start smoking each year, and 24.4% of high school students in the state smoke regularly. That’s an early start to a deadly habit.

“80 to 90% percent of smoking adults started before the age of 18. There’s good data that if you can keep young people from ever beginning to smoke, they never will smoke,” said Dr. Don Williamson, Alabama’s State Health Officer.

Prevention, however, is hard to accomplish. According to a new study from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Alabama ranks 49th when it comes to funding tobacco prevention programs, spending only 2.9% CDC’s minimum recommendations. Health administrators say their hands are tied.

“It costs twenty million dollars if you want to do it right. In Alabama, we’re not going to get twenty million dollars,” Williamson said.

With settlement money from tobacco companies tied up in other state programs, funding to help prevent and put an end to teen smoking is scarce.

Alabama Map“Bottom line is we just don’t have enough dollars in the state to do the effective job on smoking cessation that we’d like,” Williamson explained.

The Department of Public Health will ask for $4,000,000 to help aid tobacco prevention and treatment.

Though it’s still far less than the Federal government recommends, the amount is more than five times what the state currently spends on those programs.

Source: Cody Holyoke

Virginia No. 32 in Anti-Smoking Spending for Minors

Richmond, Va. – A national study by an anti-smoking group says Virginia continues to lag behind in the amount of money spent on anti-smoking campaigns for minors.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids reports that in the last fiscal year, Virginia spent $14.5 million on anti-smoking campaigns for youths.

That’s less than half of what it should be spending based on recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

VirginiaThe group said Wednesday that Virginia’s spending puts it at 32nd in the nation, down from a ranking of 24th last year.

The report said 19 percent of Virginia adults smoke, while 21 percent of the state’s teenagers smoke.

Source: AP

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

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Launches CancerNo9.com

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has launched a new anti-Camel No. 9  web site.

Smokers can network through facebook and Myspace and share their stories and provide support for one another.

You can learn how to effectively communicate with the government to get them to reduce the appeal of cigarettes along with other important support and information.

Some other Features:

  • A petition asking editors of women’s magazines to stop running ALL cigarette ads.
  • Fact sheets about women, smoking and health.
  • Media coverage of Camel No. 9.
  • Image gallery of Camel No. 9 magazine ads, postcard promotions and novelty items.
  • Message board to share ideas.
  • Resources pages.

Cancer No 9Visit them on the web at CancerNo9.com
Learn more about Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Light and Lucious: Cigarette Ads Marketing to Young Teen Girls and Women

“Camel No. 9 continues a long history starting in the 1920s of tobacco industry marketing that targets women and turns more young girls into smokers.

These marketing campaigns cynically equated smoking with independence, sophistication and beauty and preyed on the unique social pressures that women and girls face.

And Camel No. 9 is carrying on the shameful legacy of targeted marketing that lures young women and girls into a lifetime of addiction and disease.”

Carter Headrick
Director, Grassroots
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Camel No. 9 PackagesClick to view a Slideshow of Camel No. 9 Marketing Tactics and Tobacco Ads

Light and Lucious! Notice the Camel 9 cigarette ad with the girl that looks to be around 18 if that.

Marketing in Magazines: Vogue, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire and InStyle.

Even Direct Mail and Tons of Promotional Gifts