Archive for category Tobacco Abuse

Chicago Mayor’s Proposal on Stricter Smoking Regulations Opposed By City Council Committee

Implementing more stringent measures against cigarette smoking may sound like a heroic act for any mayor, but it doesn’t seem to be the case in Chicago.

cigarette smokingAfter Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel announced plans to update the legal smoking age to 21 (from the current 18) and increase taxes on tobacco products, members of the City Council Finance Committee doused water on the mayor’s proposal. According to some aldermen in the committee, the latest move by Emanuel may lead to more harm than good. Here are some of the opposing views on the matter:

  • According to one alderman, the high taxation against tobacco may increase the sale of tobacco products in the black market and lead small tobacco businesses to shut down.
  • Chairman Edward Burke (14th) spoke in behalf of aldermen, saying that the mayor’s plans would worsen the situation on loose cigarettes in the black market.
  • Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) said in a news release that the change in legal smoking age was without basis, considering that people who are 18 years old are allowed to get married. “An 18-year-old is not a kid,” according to Hairston.

Emanuel seems unfazed by the criticism on his proposal. “Mayor Emanuel has stood up to the tobacco industry countless times throughout his career to reduce youth smoking, and he’s not about to back down now”, a statement from the mayor’s office said. He seems to be banking on his effective five-year campaign against teen smoking, the rate of which has dropped to 10.7 percent in the city.

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Kids Exposed To Secondhand Smoke Have Higher Risk of Obesity and Poor Brain Functioning

If you want your kids to do better in school and keep their weights in check, you should quit smoking.

cigarette secondhand smokeThis was the theme of the study by researchers from the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, after looking into the cases of 220 children between the ages of 7 and 11 diagnosed as overweight or obese. The study proponents asked parents about their children’s exposure to secondhand smoke, and tested the kids for presence of the nicotine metabolite cotinine in their bloodstream. Data on levels of physical fitness of the children were also collated.

The results of the study were clear as day: Children exposed to secondhand smoke were more likely to be overweight or obese, and develop poorer cognitive functioning. “All the bad things fat does to us, passive smoking makes worse,” according to study co-author Martha S. Tingen in a news item. “Children who were exposed to second-hand smoke scored poorer on all cognitive tests.” Tingen works at the Cancer Center at Augusta University as Tobacco Control Program director.

Exposure to cigarette smoke leads children away from their potential to live better lives. “We are talking about a recipe for an unhealthy child who becomes an unhealthy adult who cannot reach their full potential,” Tingen mentioned. She also stated the long-standing belief that secondhand smoke is as harmful as firsthand use of the tobacco product. “If you are breathing in second-hand smoke, it’s almost as bad as if you were smoking the cigarette yourself,” Tingen added.

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Non-Smoking Teens Still Exposed To Secondhand Smoke, Says Study

Your teenage child may refuse to smoke cigarettes, but it doesn’t mean that they’re free from the health hazards associated with smoking.

cigarette secondhand smokeIn a startling discovery by a research team from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), close to half of teenagers in middle school and high school who don’t smoke are exposed to secondhand smoke. The findings were based on inquiries on more than 17,000 kids back in 2013.

Much like smoking tobacco, secondhand smoke is considered by the CDC to be an equally dangerous substance. “These findings are concerning because the U.S. Surgeon General has concluded that there is no safe level of secondhand smoke exposure,” said study lead author Israel Agaku via a news report.

What’s more surprising is that roughly 25 percent of the kids exposed to secondhand smoke said that they get exposed on a daily basis. However, the study wasn’t able to determine the exact duration of exposure of these children to secondhand cigarette smoke.

In addition, the rate of secondhand smoke exposure was higher in teenagers who engaged in smoking, the study team added.

Results and details of the CDC study were published in the journal Pediatrics.

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TV Advertising Exposes Too Many Kids To E-Cigarettes

As the world becomes increasingly aware of the hazards of electronic cigarettes, more studies and investigations are continuing to deal with this worsening issue. This recent statement from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) seems to support the campaign against e-cigarettes.

children tv exposure to alcohol adsThe agency recently released survey results saying that children in the U.S. are exposed to e-cigarette advertisements on TV. Results revealed that roughly 70 percent of kids admitted to have seen an e-cigarette ad on television. The survey was conducted with about 22,000 students in high school and middle school, who were asked if they saw an ad on e-cigarettes in TV, movies, magazines, retail stores, or online.

The agency fears that this trend may lead more teenagers to engage in e-cigarette smoking, which may also translate to tobacco use. “Unfettered marketing of e-cigarettes has the potential to compromise decades of progress,” said CDC representative Brian King in a news item.

CDC’s statement, however, wasn’t met with unanimous acceptance. For instance, the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association said that the agency’s statement shouldn’t be taken as it is. “The CDC continues to mislead the public about the benefits of vapor products as far less harmful alternatives to smoking… The CDC also fails to mention that teens are exposed to many other adult issues on the Internet, TV and movies, such as violence, sex, and alcohol,” said group executive director Cynthia Cabrera.

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Study: E-Cigarette Use Leads To Cell Damage and High Cancer Risk

Many people look to electronic cigarettes as a way to quit smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes, but several studies have confirmed that e-cigarettes are no better. Another study recently added to the list of researchers against e-cigarettes.

teen e-cigarette useResearchers at the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System revealed via a news release that electronic cigarettes may lead to cellular damage. This occurrence increases the risk of developing cancer. “Our study strongly suggests that electronic cigarettes are not as safe as their marketing makes them appear to the public,” the researchers said.

The research team conducted lab experiments on human cells by exposing them to e-cigarette vapors from two specific brands. Whether the product was free from nicotine or not, the damage was evident in cells exposed to the vapor, compared with untreated human cells. “We found that other variables can do damage as well. It’s not that the nicotine is completely innocent in the mix, but it looks like the amount of nicotine that the cells are exposed to by e-cigarettes is not sufficient by itself to cause these changes. There must be other components in the e-cigarettes that are doing this damage. So we may be identifying other carcinogenic components that are previously undescribed,” said study co-lead Dr. Jessica Wang-Rodriquez.

Results of the study were published in the journal Oral Oncology.

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Little Cigars Worsen Rate Of Tobacco Use By Teenagers

A new product seems to have fueled tobacco use in teenagers, based on a recent study by Monitoring the Future.

teen cigarette legal smoking ageSmall cigars called cigarillos are trending in teen socials these days, and these seemingly innocent and milder versions of traditional tobacco products have shot up the rate of tobacco use in teenagers by about 67 percent over just a 30-day period. The results were based on a nationwide survey on more than 40,000 students from 8th to 12th grades in 2015.

Cigarillos are typically wrapped in brown paper, much like its much larger cousin in the form of cigars. These new products contain combusted tobacco and are available in flavors, leading more teenagers to like the product more. “We find that more than 87 percent of adolescents who used cigarillos in the past 30 days used flavored cigarillos,” said Monitoring The Future senior investigator Richard Miech in a news release.

Flavoring in cigarettes has long been banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but this restriction does not apply to other tobacco products, including cigarillos.

The group acknowledges the risk of cigarette use in teens as a result of using cigarillos. “If these cigarillo users become addicted to nicotine and go on to become cigarette smokers, then the long-term and hard-fought decline in teen cigarette use may reverse… And even for those who do not transition to cigarette smoking, cigarillo use is already increasing the proportion of American young people being exposed to most of the smoked ingredients in cigarettes,” Miech added.

Monitoring the Future is an annual survey in the U.S. that aims to determine trends in substance abuse by adolescents. The survey is conducted by the University of Michigan and commissioned by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

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