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Yearly Archives: 2015

E-cigarettes very popular among Ontario students

Vape ’em if you’ve got em: Ontario students are ditching regular cigarettes for their e-cigarette cousins, a CAMH survey has found.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health released its 2015 survey on Ontario students’ drug and alcohol use on Wednesday. The survey, which is done every two years, asks students from grades 7-12 about their drug use over the past year.

Here are some of the most interesting findings:
1. E-cigarettes have overtaken regular tobacco use

12 per cent of students reported using e-cigarettes in the past year, compared to eight per cent who smoked a regular cigarette. This includes e-cigarettes with and without nicotine – in many cases, the students themselves didn’t know what kind they had smoked.

“I think a lot of public health efforts have been put into reducing smoking of tobacco cigarettes,” said Dr. Hayley Hamilton, a research scientist at CAMH and co-lead on the survey project. These public health campaigns seem to have succeeded – to a point anyway.

“We want [cigarette use] to be much lower,” she said.

But the trend could indicate some persistent misconceptions when it comes to the health risks of cigarette alternatives.

“I think there is an assumption or a belief that e-cigarettes are less harmful than tobacco cigarettes,” she said. “The problem is that the data, the research to date is inconclusive with respect to the impacts or effects of e-cigarettes.”

2. More students have taken prescription opioids recreationally than smoked a cigarette

How uncool have cigarettes become? More Ontario students report non-medical use of prescription opioids than smoked cigarettes in the last year. 10 per cent of students report using an opioid pain reliever non-medically, compared to eight per cent who smoked cigarettes. 59 per cent of opioid users said they obtained the drug from someone at home.

This comes as prescription opioids take a growing toll on Canadians. In 2011, Ontarians were more likely to die from prescription opioid overdoses than as the driver in a car accident.

“You’re using drugs without a prescription, without your own prescription. So you’re using them without medical supervision. And they’re highly addictive,” Hamilton said.

Source: Globalnews.ca



Big tobacco makes one more attempt to advertise to kids?

In the 1950s and ’60s, it was open slather for tobacco companies to target teens.

“One of the most important customers today is the youthful novice in smoking,” declared an article in the Tobacco Trade Journal of Queensland in 1954.

“He is your customer of the future and special efforts should be made to cultivate him.”

The “model age” for smoking initiation in Australia, the industry held, was 15 years.

“Statistics show that 12 per cent of the population in Australia are teenagers and represent 16 per cent of the total purchasing power,” said the journal in 1964. “The importance of wooing this group with advertising is therefore evident”.

Teenagers the industry found, were “most responsive to advertising, and when it appears in a form slanted to them directly, it becomes a valuable springboard for capturing this lucrative market”.

But the steady attention of health authorities and governments, including creeping advertising bans from 1976 in Australia, have shut down these more blatant approaches to getting kids hooked.

Subtler techniques have been required.

In 1984, as Philip Morris tried to spruik its flagging Marlboro brand, it lamented that it lacked appeal to younger smokers and should “concentrate on sampling and promotion” to give young smokers “first-hand experience with the product”.

Across the industry, packaging was carefully designed to denote cool. Cartoon character Joe Camel, for example, was the “ambassador of smooth,” with his shades, his social ease and his high jivin’ lifestyle, and was clearly designed to be a hit with the kids.

Tobacco companies also got around advertising bans by sponsoring sporting events such as the Winfield Cup rugby league and Formula One to create an aura of success. Product placement in movies acted subliminally to reinforce the pro-smoking message.

“Incidental positive smoking imagery,” found the British Medical Journal, can “generate the … consumer effects attributed to … advertising”, and adolescent smokers were “particularly attuned” to it.

“Such imagery increased their urge to smoke and reduced their desire to quit.”

The latest challenge for big tobacco is plain packaging. Through FOI laws, perhaps, they are seeking once again to find a way to keep schoolkids and teens buying what they’re selling.

Source: http://www.smh.com.au/

Russian Tobacco Makers Ask Putin to Keep Cigarette Prices at Low-Cost

Russia’s biggest cigarette makers this week have sent a letter to President Vladimir Putin asking him to stand against a parliamentary move to establish a minimum price on smoking products, business newspaper Vedomosti revealed Friday, citing a copy of the letter.

Despite the fact that 60 % of men and about 25 % of women in Russia light up, based on the latest World Bank records, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, the State Duma, has been working on tobacco cessation program. This summer, tobacco use in Russian cafes and restaurants was prohibited.

A bill to establish a minimum price of $1.3 per package and then increase it in accordance with inflation was transmitted to the Duma in September. This could result in a significant price increase: Based on a tobacco industry source quoted by Vedomosti, 40 % of cigarettes sold on the Russian market cost under $1, and a quarter of them are produced by Russian companies.
In their letter, four of Russia’s major cigarette makers — Donskoi Tabak, United Tobacco Factory, Usman-Tabak and the Baltic Tobacco Company — explained the new law would have a “negative impact on the local tobacco industry,” getting rid of their competitiveness when confronted with greater, multinational cigarette companies.
Vedomosti reported it was not able to validate the credibility of the letter. Kremlin representative Dmitry Peskov told that he was not aware of it.
Inexpensive, locally produced cigarettes are substantially lower in quality. At the same time, international companies control Russia’s $20 billion cigarette market, and international cigarette brands such as Lucky Strike and Parliament at present sell at prices about $1.3.
Playing on the rise of nationalism that has appeared in Russia after the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in March, Vedomosti cited the letter as disagreeing that the bill is shortsighted and unpatriotic facing the aggressive sanctions by Western countries — where most of their competition is headquartered.
A study led by state-controlled pollster VTsIOM at the beginning of September indicated that over 70 % of Russians would prohibit imports of alcohol and cigarettes from Western countries, but few would stop buying foreign cars or pay an additional tax on vacations overseas.
The bill is now being viewed by a Duma committee and is planned to be brought to session on November 10

Cigarette Packages Are About to Look Scary in India

Cigarette packages are about to look scary in India with 85% graphic warning occupying the space on this sort of packages.

However in the coming months we will notice that the packages will be entirely whole of graphic warnings, occupying around 85 % of the real estate on a cigarette package. And the Indian government has made it obvious that it is planning to become tough with companies that doesn’t follow its instructions concerning their rules.

Until these days, about 40 % of the space on cigarette packages was just occupied by health warnings. Yet recently Indian government has reported that it is planning to make present day cigarette packages more terrible. At this point, the graphic warnings on cigarette packages will occupy about 85 % of the entire space on the packages. India has explained that it will adhere to World Health Organization’s most recent recommendations. India’s health ministry has reported that everything has been completed in this regard. He also added that the government has amended guidelines under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) via a gazette announcement, setting April 1, 2015, as the timeline and leaving cigarette makers with less than six months for consent.

There is no denying the simple fact that India is attempting to stop the risk. However, it is not alone. Practically identical measures were undertaken by Indonesia several weeks ago. The Indonesian government has set up most strict guidelines to struggle smoking. The development has appeared just before an international report by the Canadian Cancer Society, which rated India at 136 out of 198 countries with regard to the size of graphic health warnings on cigarette packages. Tobacco Institute of India (TII), which represents the interest of cigarette producers that include International Tobacco Company and Godfrey Phillips, reported the suggested warnings are irrational, radical and unrealistic to apply and implement. “The present graphic health warnings at 40% are enough to advise and caution a person. The suggestion to further raise the size of the warnings is totally unwarranted and needless.

What everyone needs to know about e-cigarettes

What are the health risks of using e-cigarettes?

According to WHO’s 2014 report, “Electronic nicotine delivery systems”, the main health risks from e-cigarette use come from the inhaling of nicotine and other toxic emissions from these products, either directly or second-hand.

  1. Nicotine is the addictive component of tobacco. It can have adverse effects during pregnancy and may contribute to cardiovascular diseases. Although nicotine itself is not a carcinogen, it may function as a tumour promoter. Nicotine seems to be involved in fundamental aspects of the biology of malignant diseases, as well as of neurodegeneration. In addition, fetal and adolescent nicotine exposure can have long-term consequences for brain development. In addition to inhalation, the main health risk from nicotine exposure is overdose by ingestion or through skin contact. Users fill e-cigarettes’ containers themselves, so they, not the manufacturers, set the levels of nicotine. Nicotine poisoning can result from the liquid’s accidentally coming into contact with users’ skin or ingestion by children. The United States and the United Kingdom have already seen a tremendous increase in reported nicotine poisoning, often involving children.
  2. Although e-cigarettes are likely to be less toxic than conventional cigarettes, they produce more than just water vapour. They contain some cancer-causing agents, such as formaldehyde, which in some brands reach concentrations close to those of some conventional cigarettes. E-cigarettes’ impact on health has not yet been determined.
  3. Finally, the use of e-cigarettes increases the level of nicotine and particulate matter (PM) in the air. There is no safe level of exposure to PM for bystanders, and the health risk multiplies with increasing concentrations.

In summary, the existing evidence shows that e-cigarette use poses serious threats to adolescents and fetuses, and increases exposure of nonsmokers and bystanders to nicotine and a number of toxicants. Nevertheless, the reduced exposure to toxicants of well regulated e-cigarettes, used by established adult smokers as a complete substitution for cigarettes, is likely to be less toxic for the smokers than conventional cigarettes or other combusted tobacco products. The amount of risk reduction, however, is unknown.

Can I be addicted to e-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes may carry a risk of addiction to nicotine and tobacco products among young people and nonsmokers. They may promote delaying of quitting smoking, or deter quitting.

Does WHO say e-cigarettes are helpful or harmful?

Sufficient evidence shows that e-cigarettes are hazardous to young people, pregnant women and people who do not use nicotine. At the same time, e-cigarettes are likely to be less toxic than cigarettes for adult smokers if product content is well regulated and if the smokers use them as a complete substitution for cigarettes. The latter would mean that e-cigarettes would have to be relatively effective as a quitting aid, which there is not yet enough evidence to prove.

For all these reasons, WHO can neither dismiss nor accept the use of e-cigarettes globally without further evidence, and regulation is necessary in the meantime both to protect the public from any potential ill effects and to ensure that these products do not contribute to the tobacco epidemic.

Can e-cigarettes help me quit smoking?

For now the evidence is inconclusive. Given the uncertainty about e-cigarettes’ safety and effectiveness as an aid to quitting, rigorous study is needed by independent research organizations that are not affiliated with the e-cigarette or tobacco industry. In coming years, a solid body of evidence is expected to be built that will allow a definitive conclusion to be drawn.

At present, no governmental agency has yet evaluated and approved an e-cigarette product for smoking cessation, although the United Kingdom’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency is reviewing some products.
Before considering e-cigarettes as a potential cessation aid, smokers should be encouraged to use a combination of already approved treatments. Nevertheless, experts suggest that appropriately regulated e-cigarettes may have a role to play in supporting some smokers who have failed cessation treatment, been intolerant to it or have refused to use conventional medication.