Nov 14

CDC: Tobacco use linked to 40% of cancer diagnoses

Headline , Tobacco

Cancers associated with tobacco use make up 40% of all United States cancer diagnoses, and tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of cancer and cancer deaths in the United States, according to a recent CDC Vital Signs report.

CDC officials also said the cigarette smoking rate has reached an all-time low, thanks in part to state and local groups’ efforts, but stressed more work must be done.

Tobacco use and the cancers related to it remain a “persistent and preventable health threat in this country,” CDC Director Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, said in a news briefing.

“…Although smoking rates are at an all-time low, tobacco causes cancer of at least 12 parts of the body, accounts for three in 10 cancer deaths and will kill six million current smokers unless we implement programs to help them quit,” he said.

According to the CDC, research suggests that in addition to lung and head and neck cancer, tobacco use is associated with cancers of the rectum, colon, cervix, bladder, liver, pancreas, kidney, and stomach, and acute myeloid leukemia, as well as cardiovascular problems, such as heart attack and stroke, and pulmonary problems, such as COPD.

Among the CDC’s recent findings: men have a higher rate of tobacco-related cancer deaths than women; blacks have a higher rate of tobacco-related cancer deaths than other race groups; the burden of tobacco-related cancers is worse in areas with high poverty levels and low levels of education; and approximately 1.3 million deaths from cancers linked to tobacco use have been prevented since 1990. In addition, tobacco use results in 480,000 deaths and more than $300 billion in productivity losses and direct health care expenditures each year, and it costs $1,000 less per year to care for an ex-smoker than a smoker.

National Health Interview Survey data show among U.S. adults, the proportion who smoke cigarettes declined from 20.9% (45.1 million) in 2005 to 15.1% (36.5 million) in 2015. During 2014-2015 alone, there was a 1.7% decline, marking the lowest incidence of adult cigarette smoking since the National Health Interview Survey began compiling such data in 1965.

The CDC offered several recommendations for states and local entities to help them continue their efforts to reduce tobacco use rates, including promoting smoking cessation programs; powerful mass media campaigns; establishing and following up on smoke-free laws; and raising tobacco product prices.

“When states invest in comprehensive cancer control programs — including tobacco control — we see greater benefits for everyone and fewer deaths from tobacco-related cancers. We have made progress, but our work is not done,” Lisa C. Richardson, MD, MPH, director, CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, said in a press release.

“Much of the good work that’s been done to reduce tobacco use has happened at the state and local levels. Much more needs to be done to address the gaps and better help communities that are disproportionally impacted by tobacco-related cancers,” Frieden said. “Progress across the [United States] has been inconsistent. There are large disparities among groups of people who use tobacco and disparities in the groups affected by tobacco related cancers.”

The CDC’s data were released a week before the Great American Smokeout on Nov. 17, an annual American Cancer Society initiative that encourages smokers to quit. – by Janel Miller

Source: Healio

 

Nov 14

CSUSM to Create 100% Smoke- and Tobacco-Free Campus

Headline , Tobacco

California State University San Marcos was awarded a $20,000 grant as part of the American Cancer Society and the CVS Health Foundation’s Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative (TFGCI), a $3.6 million multiyear program intended to accelerate and expand the adoption and implementation of 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free campus.

Over the next three years, colleges and universities throughout the U.S. will be awarded TFGCI grants to support their efforts to advocate for, adopt and implement a 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free campus policy. Campuses will also receive technical assistance and resources to support their efforts with education, communications, cessation and evaluation. CSUSM is one of the first 20 colleges and universities to receive a TFGCI grant.

“We’re honored to be one of the first universities to receive this pioneering grant,” said Kim Pulvers, associate professor of psychology. “Our overall project goal is to prepare our campus for successful implementation of a 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free campus program effective Fall 2017.

The plan to identify cessation resources for students, faculty and staff is underway. Evaluation activities are in progress, including a recent campus-wide survey, which established a baseline of tobacco-related behaviors, exposure and attitudes.

“We will be focusing our attention on educating the campus community about the upcoming 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free campus program. We will be planning monthly educational events and promoting the program through a variety of channels.”

TFGCI grants are intended to address a critical, unmet need by helping colleges and universities achieve 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free campus policies. The U.S. Department of Education reports there are approximately 4,700 institutions of higher education in the country. According to the Americans for Nonsmokers Rights Foundation, only 1,427 college campuses are 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free. That reflects major progress over earlier years, but much remains to be done.

“Through support from the CVS Health Foundation, we are excited to advance the efforts of many dedicated students, faculty and staff to make their campuses 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free using proven strategies that will also reduce tobacco use among students,” said Cliff Douglas, vice president for tobacco control and director of the American Cancer Society’s Center for Tobacco Control. “To be successful in creating a tobacco-free generation, it is important that we prevent and eliminate lethal and addictive tobacco use among America’s college students.”

This TFCGI grant announcement coincides this week with the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout, an intervention effort to encourage smokers to quit for a day, quit for good or make a plan to quit.

CSUSM will also be hosting an on-campus event during U-Hour on Thursday, Nov. 17 featuring X Games athletes, educational tables and free food to encourage the campus community to learn more about the changes and new program. This event is not open to the public. Any media wishing to attend should contact Whitney Frasier at 760-566-4213.

Event Information:

What: Change is in the Air

When: Thursday, Nov. 17 from noon to 1 p.m.

Where: Kellogg Plaza

Directions and parking: CSUSM is located at 333 South Twin Oaks Valley Road in San Marcos. For more information or directions to the campus, visit http://www.csusm.edu/guide. Visitors may purchase a daily or timed permit in any general parking lot utilizing the daily permit machines.

Source: CSUSM

 

Nov 14

Hazardous chemicals discovered in flavored e-cigarette vapor

Headline , Smoking

Building on more than 30 years of air quality research in some of the most polluted urban environments on Earth, a team of atmospheric scientists at the Desert Research Institute (DRI) have turned their attention toward the growing e-cigarette industry and the unidentified effects of vaping on human health.

New research published this week in Environmental Science & Technology (ES&T), a journal of the American Chemical Society, reports that the aerosols (commonly called vapors) produced by flavored e-cigarettes liquids contain dangerous levels of hazardous chemicals known to cause cancer in humans.

The study “Flavoring compounds dominate toxic aldehyde production during e-cigarette vaping” confirms that these toxic aldehydes, such as formaldehyde, are formed not by evaporation, but rather during the chemical breakdown of the flavored e-liquid during the rapid heating process (pyrolysis) that occurs inside e-cigarettes or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).

“How these flavoring compounds in e-cigarette liquids affect the chemical composition and toxicity of the vapor that e-cigarettes produce is practically unknown,” explained Andrey Khylstov, Ph.D., an associate research professor of atmospheric sciences at DRI. “Our results show that production of toxic aldehydes is exponentially dependent on the concentration of flavoring compounds.”

E-cigarette liquids have been marketed in nearly 8,000 different flavors, according to a 2014 report from the World Health Organization. Recent reports have shown that many flavors, such as Gummy Bear, Tutti Fruitty, Bubble Gum, etc., were found to be especially appealing to adolescents and young adults.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that 16-percent of high school and 5.3-percent of middle school students were current users of e-cigarettes in 2015, making e-cigarettes the most commonly used tobacco product among youth for the second consecutive year. In 2014, 12.6-percent of U.S. adults had ever tried an e-cigarette, and about 3.7-percent of adults used e-cigarettes daily or some days.

Khylstov and his colleagues measured concentrations of 12 aldehydes in aerosols produced by three common e-cigarette devices. To determine whether the flavoring additives affected aldehyde production during vaping, five flavored e-liquids were tested in each device. In addition, two unflavored e-liquids were also tested.

“To determine the specific role of the flavoring compounds we fixed all important parameters that could affect aldehyde production and varied only the type and concentration of flavors,” explained Vera Samburova, Ph.D., an assistant research professor of chemistry at DRI.

Samburova added that the devices used in the study represented three of the most common types of e-cigarettes – bottom and top coil clearomizers, and a cartomizer.

The study avoided any variation in puff topography (e.g., puff volume, puff velocity, interval between puffs) by utilizing a controlled sampling system that simulated the most common vaping conditions. E-cigarette vapor was produced from each device by a four-second, 40-ml controlled puff, with 30-second resting periods between puffs. The e-cigarette devices were manually operated to replicate real-life conditions and all samples were collected in triplicate to verify and confirm results. Specific care was taken to avoid “dry puff” conditions.

To provide further proof that the flavoring compounds, not the carrier e-liquid solvents (most commonly propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerin) dominated production of aldehydes during vaping, the authors performed a series of experiments in which a test flavored e-liquid was diluted with different amounts of the unflavored e-liquid. Liquids with higher flavor content produced larger amounts of aldehydes due to pyrolysis of the flavoring compounds.

In all experiments, the amount of aldehydes produced by the flavored e-cigarette liquids exceeded the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) for hazardous chemical exposure.

“One puff of any of the flavored e-liquids that we tested exposes the smoker to unacceptably dangerous levels of these aldehydes, most of which originates from thermal decomposition of the flavoring compounds,” said Khylstov. “These results demonstrate the need for further, thorough investigations of the effects of flavoring additives on the formation of aldehydes and other toxic compounds in e-cigarette vapors.”

This research was independantly funded by the Desert Research Institute and conducted in DRI’s Organic Analytical Laboratory located in Reno, Nevada.

Source: Smoking / Quit Smoking News From Medical News Today

Nov 14

California undermines Big Tobacco, raising the cigarette tax by $2 in the state

Headline , Tobacco

California voters handed Big Tobacco a resounding defeat Tuesday when they passed Proposition 56 to raise the cigarette tax by US$2 a pack (with increases in e-cigarettes and other tobacco products). This is the first increase in cigarette taxes in California in 18 years.

The money will fund health care for poor people and reinvigorate California’s tobacco control program.

Economists project that the effect of the price increase alone will cut smoking prevalence from today’s 9.4 percent to 7.1 percent in 2020; the fact that Prop 56 quadruples the funding for the state’s aggressive tobacco control program will make that effect even bigger.

The drop in smoking due to Prop 56 is so large that it will save California families, taxpayers and businesses $1 billion a year in health costs starting next year.

It will also cost Big Tobacco $250 million a year in lost sales, which is why they fought it so hard.

Indeed, by pushing smoking down to such a low level, the behavior may simply collapse, making California the first place to reach former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop’s vision of a smoke-free society.

Proof of principle: We can end the tobacco epidemic

Such an accomplishment will demonstrate that we can, indeed, get rid of tobacco as a public health problem without adopting the industry’s phony “harm reduction” strategies. We don’t need their e-cigarettes, which are presented as a healthy alternative to cigarettes, when, in fact, they extend and protect the cigarette market by attracting youth and young adults and deterring quitting for most, but not all, adult smokers. It also shows that we don’t need new gimmicks like Philip Morris’ “heat not burn” products that are being test-marketed.

Just as the model of increasing tobacco taxes to fund tobacco control programs spread when California voters passed Proposition 99 in 1988, Prop 56 will be a model for the rest of the U.S. and the world.

A hard-fought victory

The 63 percent “yes” vote was hard-fought. Big Tobacco blocked 34 attempts in the Legislature and defeated two previous ballot initiatives to raise the tax, one in 2006 and another in 2012. Tobacco giants Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds and a few other tobacco interests spent $71 million on a disingenuous campaign that urged a “no” vote in part because Prop 56 didn’t put enough money into fighting smoking.

Voters saw through these claims in part because, after a rocky start, tax proponents took on and discredited Big Tobacco’s claims in an adequately funded campaign that raised $36 million to defend the tax.

Comic Kathy Griffin even had to create her own YouTube video to let people know that the “white lady gardening” urging a “no” vote was really Big Tobacco.

While the tobacco companies spent twice as much as the health groups, health spent enough to get the truth out.

Lesson learned: It costs ‘enough’ to beat Big Tobacco

Big Tobacco killed similar tax proposals in Colorado ($1.75 a pack; 46 percent yes) and North Dakota (44 cents; 45 percent) by outspending proponents by a factor of six.

The lesson: You don’t have to spend as much as the tobacco industry, but you need enough money to get your message out.

There were also two bizarre competing initiatives in Missouri – the state with the lowest tobacco tax – supported by tobacco interests, one by RJ Reynolds to preempt meaningful increases that funded tobacco control programs and hit small producers and another from the Missouri Petroleum Association and the Convenience Stores Association to undo the first one.

Health groups opposed both, and voters wisely defeated them, with 63 percent and 55 percent voting “no.”

Just as progress is being made in one smoking problem, another is emerging: commercialized marijuana.

A combination of public concern about the inequities created by the failed war on drugs and well-financed campaigns (totaling $41 million for recreational and $8 million for medical versus opponents’ $14 million and $3 million) led to passage of recreational marijuana in three – and maybe four – states on Tuesday.

California (56 percent yes), Maine (50.36, still too close to call), Massachusetts (54 percent) and Nevada (54 percent) all legalized recreational marijuana. Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota passed more limited medical marijuana.

At the same time legalization reduces the criminal justice problem created by the war on drugs, it is creating a public health problem. The marijuana initiatives prioritize business over public health by codifying alcohol policies designed to promote business rather than tobacco control policies designed to minimize demand.

Indeed, the tobacco industry seriously considered getting into the marijuana business in the 1960s and 1970s and could do it in a second. They have the technology to design products to maximize use and the marketing prowess to maximize profits. And if they don’t do it, other corporate players will soon be doing the same thing. Indeed, the growth potential for the new marijuana business explains much of the money supporting these initiatives.

As tobacco use continues to fall and marijuana use increases, the evidence that marijuana causes cancer, heart disease and other problems will grow.

At some point, as the public realizes that the right way to legalize marijuana would be to do so with marijuana tax-funded demand reduction programs as we now do with tobacco, we can expect more battles with the new rich marijuana industry like Proposition 56.

Source: SALON

Nov 14

Secondhand tobacco smoke exposure a risk factor for coronary atherosclerosis

Headline , Tobacco

NEW ORLEANS — A new study presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions strengthens the association between the extent of coronary atherosclerosis and the level of secondhand smoke exposure.

Researchers issued a questionnaire to 268 never-smokers aged 40 to 80 years to assess risk factors and extent of lifetime secondhand tobacco smoke exposure, providing a total secondhand tobacco smoke score.

To determine ordinal coronary artery calcium scores, low-dose non-gated CT scans were used, followed by CT angiography.

Harvey Hecht, MD, from the division of cardiology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, presented the findings, which were simultaneously published in JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging.

“The extent and importance of secondhand tobacco smoke [exposure] as a major global health issue cannot be overestimated,” Hecht and colleagues wrote in JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging. “Increasing awareness of the heavy toll exacted by secondhand tobacco smoke exposure, particularly [CV], has resulted in more intensive investigation of the accompanying atherosclerosis, particularly that detectable in early stages by noninvasive modalities.”

Hecht and colleagues analyzed the prevalence, extent and plaque characteristics of atherosclerosis to determine the independent contribution of secondhand tobacco smoke exposure after adjustment for known risk factors.

Coronary atherosclerosis was observed in 48% of patients, and was more prevalent in those with low to moderate secondhand tobacco smoke exposure (48%) and high exposure (69%) compared with minimal exposure (25%; P < .0001).

Compared minimal secondhand tobacco smoke exposure, the odds of developing atherosclerosis were higher among those with low to moderate exposure (OR = 2.1; 95% CI, 1-4.4) and high exposure (OR = 3.5; 95% CI, 1.4-8.5). The researchers did not find a significant relationship between atherosclerosis and diabetes (P = .56), hyperlipidemia (P = .11), hypertension (P = .65) or renal disease (P = .24).

As exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke exposure increased, any plaque or stenosis in a major vessel was more prevalent (minimal exposure, 14%; low to moderate exposure, 41%; high exposure, 45%; P = .0013) as were the odds of five or more involved segments (minimal exposure, 0%; low to moderate exposure, 39%; high exposure, 61%; P = .0001), Hecht and colleagues reported. The researchers noted that the effect of secondhand tobacco smoke exposure was more pronounced in those with calcification or partial calcification compared with no calcification.

“Although the study sample size is modest; the initial insights are astounding,” Khurram Nasir, MD, MPH, from Baptist Health South Florida, Florida International University and the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease, and Jaideep Patel, MD, from the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease and Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, Richmond, wrote in a related editorial published in JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging. “The results of this study demonstrated a powerful graded linear relationship between the severity of secondhand tobacco smoke exposure and the presence and severity of coronary artery plaque that overcomes any lingering doubt about the deleterious impact of secondhand tobacco smoke.”

According to Nasir and Patel, the results of this trial provide an opportunity to publicly discuss the potentially fatal coronary effects of secondhand tobacco smoke exposure, provide policy makers with evidence to work toward implementing smoke-free laws, promote discussion amongst stakeholders to incorporate universal secondhand tobacco smoke exposure screenings in primary care practice, and can provide incentive to assess the link between atherosclerotic disease and secondhand smoke in population-based studies. – by Dave Quaile

Source: Healio

 

Nov 14

LIVE WELL: The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline encourages tobacco users to take the Great American Smokeout Challenge

Headline , Tobacco

Tobacco users are encouraged to participate in the Great American Smokeout (GASO) challenge Thursday and experience the benefits of a tobacco-free lifestyle, if only for a day. GASO is an annual event that supports a day-long cessation effort, which can be the first step toward a healthier life.

GASO is the perfect time to learn more about the Helpline and get tips and tools that can help you quit tobacco your way. Many people plan a quit date around the New Year, and this is a great time to try out a mini-quit or just think about beginning your tobacco-free journey. The Helpline offers nonjudgmental support to anyone thinking about quitting, whether it’s for one day during GASO or if you’re ready to quit for good.

“I called the helpline, and they sent me patches,” said Marilyn, an Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline user from Muskogee. “It’s hard. Trust me. But if you really want to quit, you can do it no matter what!

Keep your faith, stand your ground and don’t give in. After quitting, my tastes buds have changed, my breathing is better, and my sense of smell is a lot stronger than before. Just amazing how your body changes once you stop smoking.”

According to the American Cancer Society, after just 20 minutes of being tobacco free, blood pressure decreases and pulse rates drop. Within 24 hours of quitting, the chance of a heart attack decreases. Within one year of quitting, the risk of coronary heart disease is lowered to half that of a tobacco user. Plus, annual savings could total nearly $2,700 by not purchasing tobacco products.

For many tobacco users, quitting – even for just a day – can feel impossible. But by quitting for an hour here and there, they can build up endurance. As hours, days and even weeks add up, quitting goes from feeling impossible to something quite possible.

The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline, funded by the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, or TSET, provides FREE services to help tobacco users quit their own way.

These services include free text and email support, phone and web coaching, patches, gum, lozenges and more for registered participants. Registrants can talk to personal Quit Coaches about their individual needs, choose from a variety of services and get started on the path toward a tobacco-free life.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to quitting tobacco. However, the Helpline’s evaluation results show that those who work with a Quit Coach and use the full range of services available have the best chance of quitting. The Helpline supports tobacco users even if they’re just thinking about quitting.

To celebrate GASO locally, University Health Services at OSU and the Payne County TSET Healthy Living Program have partnered to put on the third annual Gobble Wobble which will take place Friday.

This event includes a mile walk that will begin at 12:10 and end at approximately 12:50. The walk starts and stops on the south side of the Classroom Building and a free cold turkey lunch will be provided to the first 100 participants.

You can register for free here: https://uhs.okstate.edu/content/GWWregForm or by calling the University Health Services Health Education office at 405-744-4212.

To learn more about the services offered by the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline and to speak with professional Quit Coaches, call 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit OKhelpline.com.

Connect with the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline through social media by liking the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline on Facebook or following @OKhelpline on Twitter and Instagram. Find more quitting tips at http://okhelpline.com/start-small-finish-big/.

Katelyn McAdams is a TSET Healthy Living Program Specialist.

Source: Stillwater News Press

 

Nov 14

Merced smokers mixed on new tobacco tax

Headline , Tobacco

Starting in January, the cheapest pack of cigarettes at Cigarettes and Cigars on G Street in Merced will be in the $5 range, according to an employee, Kirsten Weston. Currently the cheapest pack of cigarettes is $3.77, she said, and the most expensive is around $8, soon to be $10.

The majority of California voters agreed with the new parameters on increasing the tobacco tax, voting “yes” on Proposition 56 this election cycle. According to Ballotpedia, the measure won by almost 63 percent.

The tax increase will add $2 to cigarette packs and other tobacco products, going from 87 cents to $2.87. About $1 billion to $1.4 billion is estimated in tax revenue, which will mostly go toward health care funding for low-income Californians. The rest of the revenue, 13 percent, will go toward smoking prevention.

Although Weston said she voted “no” on the proposition, she expected it to pass because a lot of younger voters don’t support smoking tobacco. Smokers already pay a lot of money for cigarettes, she said, and doesn’t find the proposition fair to them.

“It’s pretty much the government taxing poor people,” Weston said. “It gets expensive and this is a real addiction.”

Weston, 22, said people who come into Cigarettes and Cigars barely are able to afford the $4 to $5 packs, and they probably won’t be able to swing adding $2 to that. Most people coming through the shop are lower-income individuals, she said.

“This is something people do and you can tax people in other ways, I feel like,” she said.

A 23-year-old Merced resident, Peter Jhrar, bought a pack of Camel cigarettes on Saturday from Cigarettes and Cigars, and said although he voted “no” on Proposition 56, he hopes the price increase will help him quit smoking.

“Ten dollars a pack is a lot in its own.” he said. “I eventually want to quit and this might help me.”

Jhrar said a lot of people smoke because they’re “hooked,” and if people want to continue smoking, they’re going to find a way to do so.

“It’s all about willpower,” he said.

Golden Valley Health Center in Merced held a rally weeks before the election supporting the proposition, because revenue will go toward health care such as Medi-Cal. Advocates said for places such as Merced, which has the second-highest population rate on Medi-Cal in the state, passing the legislation would be beneficial to the community.

Dr. Eduardo Villarama, regional medical director for Golden Valley, said he was pleased the tobacco increase passed because he knows how damaging tobacco is for the body and how it is responsible for a lot of preventable illnesses.

Tobacco intake can make illnesses such as lung cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and respiratory problems worse, Villarama said. Sinus and ear infections are more common in children who are exposed to secondhand smoke, he said.

“The money added to the pool can create more services for patients,” Villarama said. “We need to focus on preventative measures. It’s a really big challenge to quit smoking.”

Making tobacco products more expensive can add another barrier that smokers have to consider, Villarama said, hopefully leading them to a more healthier lifestyle.

“Overall it’s really about tobacco health-related illnesses,” he said.

When it comes to the business side, Mike Siegel, owner of Cigar Monkey on Canal Street in Merced, said he expects to see a drop in business until people get used to the tobacco increase. He predicted 20 percent of premium tobacco shops in the state will disappear.

“A lot of premium tobacco shop customers will turn to the internet for products,” Siegel said. “People voted in another bad law.”

Something most people don’t think about, Weston said, is how the tobacco increase can affect jobs. If her employer isn’t making enough to pay her, she said, she could potentially lose her job. A lot of customers have told her the tobacco increase may be the reason they have to quit smoking, Weston said.

“A significant amount of customers come in every day,” Weston said. “Eight out of 10 are buying cigarettes.”

Source: Merced Sun-Star

 

Nov 13

Proposition 56, a $2-per-pack boost to tobacco taxes, is approved by voters

Headline , Tobacco

After voters twice turned back attempts to raise the state’s tobacco tax over the last decade, California looks poised to pass Proposition 56, which would increase the cigarette tax by $2 per pack.

Proposition 56 leads 62.4% to 37.6% in late returns, according to the secretary of state’s office.

“Smoking is the number one cause of avoidable death in the state of California,” said Democratic donor Tom Steyer, who was the co-chairman of the Proposition 56 campaign. “We had a broader coalition to support the idea of pushing back against the tobacco companies and raising the cigarette tax than ever before. We believe that that kind of broad coalition works against organized and concentrated economic interests when we stick together and when we all turn out and vote.”

The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates that Proposition 56 could raise at least $1.3 billion a year, with most of the money going toward the state’s Medi-Cal health care program for low-income residents.

The campaign was one of the most expensive in the state this year, with tobacco companies pouring in more than $70 million to fight the tax hike. In television advertisements, the companies criticized the measure as a payoff to the health care industry, which financed much of the Yes on 56 campaign.

But in contrast to failed efforts to raise the tobacco tax in 2006 and 2012, proponents of the tax hike were able to raise significantly more funds to promote Proposition 56.

Currently, California’s cigarette tax is $0.87 per pack, which ranks 37th in the country, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and it hasn’t been raised in almost 20 years. Along with cigarettes, other tobacco products including smokeless tobacco and cigars will see a corresponding tax increase. And for the first time, the growing e-cigarette industry will need to pay tobacco taxes.

Source: LA Times

 

Nov 12

Teens with asthma almost twice as likely to smoke as their healthy counterparts

Headline , Science , Smoking

Curiosity is a driving factor in why most kids start smoking, and the same is true for kids with asthma. A new study found adolescents with asthma were twice as likely to smoke as kids without asthma. And they continue to smoke well into their teen years, even though they know smoking is particularly bad for their lungs.

“The study found 22 percent of the kids with asthma smoked, while only 12 percent of kids without asthma smoked,” said allergist Bradley Chipps, MD, ACAAI Fellow, and asthma expert. “The researchers discovered that curiosity about cigarette smoking is the main reason why kids with asthma start smoking. They then develop a greater dependence (22 percent) to nicotine compared to kids the same age who don’t have asthma (12 percent).” Dr. Chipps was not involved with the study.

The study examined more than 3,300 questionnaires from adolescents between 13-19 years of age. Two groups were formed — those with asthma and those without. The data from the questionnaires revealed teens with asthma who began smoking before 11 years of age continue smoking because they believe the habit lessens their anxiety and stress.

According to the study authors, the adolescents surveyed indicated they knew smoking was addictive, but often smoked when waking up in the morning or when they were sick. “Despite their knowledge that smoking is bad for their health, the adolescents with asthma didn’t consider smoking to be a problem,” said Dr. Chipps.

ACAAI says that tobacco smoke — including secondhand smoke — is one of the most common asthma triggers, and is unhealthy for everyone. “Kids with asthma already have trouble breathing,” says Gailen Marshall, MD, PhD, ACAAI Fellow. Dr. Marshall was also not involved with the study, but will be speaking at the meeting on the topic of managing asthma through lifestyle changes such as stopping smoking. “If you have asthma, it’s important that you avoid exposure to cigarette smoke of any kind. Smoking makes breathing much harder for kids with asthma.”

See the full story at Smoking News — ScienceDaily

Nov 11

Smokers and shops prepare for new tobacco tax after passage of Prop. 56

Headline

For the first time, Californians who vape will be subject to tobacco taxes, with the passage of Prop. 56.

While traditional cigarette smokers will go from paying a tax of 87 cents per pack to $2.87 starting April 1, an equivalent taxation structure for e-cigarettes and vaping liquids still must be calculated.

Public health advocates cheered the passage as a way to reduce tobacco usage, while the vaping industry said the tax could deter smokers from using e-cigs as a tool to quit. The vote came five months after California raised the smoking and vaping age from 18 to 21.

“California is making massive strides just in a few months,” said Ravi Choudhuri, advocacy manager for the American Lung Association’s Orange County division. “We were always known as the forefront of anti-tobacco states, and now we’re back on that track.”

For every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes, smoking goes down 4 percent, according to a 2014 report on smoking by the U.S. surgeon general. State Board of Equalization spokesman Jonathan Mendick said Wednesday that the board will inform the public of how the tax will apply to e-cigarettes on its website in the coming months.

“It’s still pretty vague unfortunately as far as the actual tax,” said Alea Jasso, co-owner of South County Vapors in Tustin. “I guess now leaders from the e-cig industry and liquid manufacturers will have to sit down with the BOE and try to find a fair taxation that won’t put shops out of business.”

Jasso said vaping liquids, or e-juice, come in bottles ranging from 15 ml to 200 ml, with a typical 30 to 60 ml bottle costing $18 to $30. She said she thinks the tax will need to be based on milliliters rather than set as a flat rate.

The $2 a pack increase on traditional cigarettes could also prompt current smokers to switch to vaping, provided the tax isn’t too high, she said.

“If they look to vaping as their source to try to quit, we hope it’s affordable enough for them to be able to do that,” she said.

This month, the journal Health & Place published research showing that Orange County middle school students whose schools were within a quarter-mile of a vaping shop were about twice as likely to use e-cigarettes than those whose schools were not close by.

“The visibility of the stores and the novelty may be more attractive to younger students who are still in that developmental stage where they’re more likely to experiment with substances,” said lead researcher Georgiana Bostean, who teaches sociology and environmental science at Chapman University. “The fact that there are more vape stores might make them think vaping is more socially acceptable than smoking. It might increase actual access because they’re in walking distance of the school.”

Bostean said she expects the higher price of e-cigarettes to drive down usage, which has been increasing among teens.

“There’s a huge bulk of evidence on tobacco taxes that shows taxation is one of the most effective ways to reduce smoking across the board, and also in adolescents,” she said. “There’s no reason to believe that would be different for e-cigarettes.”

 

Source: The Orange County Register