Archive for category Tobacco Abuse
If you think the warning signs on your cigarette pack aren’t effective enough to help you quit smoking, this new invention might be the answer: A teenager from Dubai created a cigarette pack that talks!
Dubai resident Achilles Ash, 14 years old, created a special flip-top cigarette box that activates an audio-recorded message that tells about the health risks of smoking. The mechanism is similar to a musical birthday card that plays a tune when the reader opens it. The teenager believes that his invention would leave a more lasting impact on the smoker than the printed warning ads. “It would be much more effective than the written warnings. They are also economically viable as I was able to get a chip from a card I bought for (2 Dirham),” Ash said.
The whole idea sprung up when he remembered how amused he was with musical cards. “Suddenly, this idea stuck me and I bought a new musical card and took out the chip and tried working with it… My father brought me an old cigarette packet. I also attached the red light from the card on to the cigarette packet. So when the packet is opened, the red light shines to warn the person, and the recorded message starts,” Ash added.
Ash began his personal quest against smoking when he experienced his first puff at age five. “I tried a puff and that was it. I started coughing and found it very hard to breathe,” the young inventor said.
[ Image source: The National UAE ]
In a bid to combat smoking and its adverse health effects at an early age, a senator from California pushed a bill to increase the legal age of smoking from 18 to 21.
State senator Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) introduced the proposal as an answer to youth smoking. “We can no longer afford to sit on the sidelines while big tobacco markets to our kids and gets another generation of young people hooked on a product that will ultimately kill them,” Hernandez said in a Reuters news item. The lawmaker heads the senate health committee.
The U.S. in general has posed the legal smoking age at 18, although some states have pegged the limit to 19. Meanwhile, Hawaii County and New York City have already implemented a legal smoking age of 21 within their respective jurisdictions.
Hernandez isn’t alone in this battle. Bob Ferguson, Attorney General for Washington state, recently filed a similar bill to place cigarettes and nicotine products on the same degree as alcohol and recreational marijuana, both legally procured and used at a minimum age of 21. In addition, Ron Chapman — director of Department of Public Health in California — declared that electronic cigarettes are addictive.
The latest report by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) reveals both good and bad news in terms of substance use by teenagers.
According to the annual teen tracking report by the government agency, teenage use of illicit drugs such as cocaine and heroin has dropped this year. “Probably that relates to very aggressive campaigns for prevention,” said NIDA director Dr. Nora Volkow in a news release.
In addition, the rate of teenage smoking using traditional cigarettes has also dropped significantly, as well as the rate of teenage binge drinking. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about e-cigarette use. What’s troubling for the agency is that the dangers of e-cigarettes have not yet been exposed completely. “One of the arguments has been that when you’re vaping nicotine you are not inhaling all the combustion products from tobacco leaves that you get from a regular cigarette… The problem has to do with the fact that if these e-cigarettes are improperly manufactured, then they can deliver toxins from leakage from paint or other materials that are used in their production,” Volkow said.
Illicit use of Adderall and other similar prescription stimulant drugs is also on the rise, according to the NIDA study. “The problem of using stimulant medication to study for tests is that stimulant drugs are addictive and actually they can be highly addictive,” the NIDA director added.
Despite several studies that serve as warnings, as well as alerts from health agencies, the use of electronic cigarettes by teenagers continues to rise.
This finding was revealed by a study by researchers from the University of Hawaii Cancer Center led by Dr. Thomas Wills. According to the study as published in a news release, 30 percent of students in Hawaii between 14 and 15 years of age were reported to be using e-cigarettes. This figure is quite alarming, considering that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in 2012 that 10 percent of teenagers use the alternative electronic sticks.
What’s troubling about this scenario is that e-cigarettes were advertised to lead people away from more harmful tobacco products, but researches have shown the exact opposite: e-cigarettes may promote smoking tobacco products. “The fact that e-cigarette only users were intermediate in risk status between non-users and dual users raises the possibility that e-cigarettes are recruiting medium-risk adolescents, who otherwise would be less susceptible to tobacco product use,” the researchers said.
The study involved a survey of close to 2,000 pupils who were asked about their use of tobacco cigarettes and the electronic variants, as well as marijuana and alcohol.
Wills emphasized the real issue of addiction to smoking, which is not easy to turn away from. “A lot of teens think it is easy to quit smoking but it isn’t true. It’s hard for anybody to quit,” Wills added.
Doctors are supposed to be the vanguards of health, but a recent study reveals that only a few of them intervene when it comes to teen smoking.
According to study author Gillian L. Schauer in her interview with Reuters Health, only 31 percent of adolescents in high school and middle school were advised by a healthcare professional to stop smoking. “Our results suggest that more than 6.6 million youth and adolescents who currently use tobacco or are at high risk for future smoking did not receive advice from their health care provider to quit or avoid tobacco,” Schauer said.
The study involved a survey of more than 18,000 teenagers all around the U.S. to ask them about tobacco usage and any discussions with health professionals about smoking. The results showed that while more than 70 percent of the kids have not tried smoking, 11 percent admitted to have smoked tobacco. Unfortunately, while majority of them were able to visit the doctor within the year, less than a third were given advice against smoking.
What’s more unfortunate is that only 32 percent of the kids surveyed said that a doctor or nurse asked them about smoking. “Young people often underestimate the addictive potential of nicotine, and 9 out of 10 adults who smoke started before age 18, making anti-smoking and anti-tobacco messages delivered by a health care provider an important intervention for youth,” Schauer stressed. “Given that tobacco is still the number one preventable cause of death and disease in the U.S., it is surprising that more clinicians are not intervening with adolescent patients to help them avoid or quit tobacco.”
The Manhattan Beach City Council has just approved a new ordinance that bans smoking in many public areas. The new law has been implemented starting July 18.
Branding itself as a smoke-free city, Manhattan Beach is now conducting the new ordinance, which broadens its existing laws to include electronic cigarettes. Scope of the smoking ban now includes many public places, including city streets and sidewalks, as well as public dining locations. Anyone inside the city may light a smoke in designated areas inside most hotels, and also residential areas and inside private moving vehicles.
Sona Coffee, who functions as the environmental program manager in Manhattan Beach, said that anyone walking through shops and other public areas can rest assured of their health. “The reason for that is we want to protect all of our visitors all of our residents from the impacts of second-hand smoke,” Coffee said in a news item.
Violators caught smoking in banned areas will be dealt with a $100 fine for the first offense. However, the city’s residents are given one month before the ordinance is set to full implementation and violators get slapped with the fine.