Tag Archives: Anti-Smoking Group

The Great American Smokeout – “Put Away Your Cigarette for This Day!”

Put away cigarettes at least for a single day, and maybe you will not want to light up again. This message was sent by anti-smoking organization as they celebrate the 35th Annual Great American Smokeout.

put-away-cigarette

It was estimated that more than 400,000 Americans die every year from smoking related diseases, as for instance lung cancer. While Nebraska’s population constitutes 1.8 million, about 2,000 Nebraskans die each year from smoking-related diseases. It was proved long ago that smoking is a real killer and it still continues to be a multibillion dollar industry.

Current decision implemented by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to place health warning labels on cigarette packs will be an essential knock over the head, according to Community Connections Tobacco Free Lincoln County Coordinator Megan Shelton.

“People and most of all children are usually too visual. I can run on for hours about the consequences and dangers of smoking, but these graphic packages will be especially effective for those children who are thinking about trying to smoke and also for those who expose themselves and those around them to those dangers by smoking tobacco products,” she stated.

Shelton said that the Great American Smokeout was quite effective in increasing awareness to these problems.

“The problem with tobacco consumption is something that will not hurt anyone. You are not going to smoke one cigarette and have a smoking related disease that day. It is a process that takes time, that is why such a day as the Great American Smokeout is a day that is aimed to encourage people to kick their habit and increase the awareness about the consequences of smoking and the harm that is caused to those who use this dangerous product,” Ms. Shelron said.

Ms. Shelron stated that she hopes that namely this day people will mark as the beginning of a new life, a life where there is no place for tobacco. Also this day is very important in continuing to inform and educate people on tobacco dangers.

The American Cancer Society and the Nebraska Department of Health have a common message for the Great American Smokeout which is “Less smoking, more birthdays”.

“Stopping smoking is probably one of the best things a person can do in order to improve his/her health. I think that The Great American Smokeout is an excellent chance to make the first step in this direction,” declared Dr. Joann Schaefer, the state’s Chief Medical Officer.

Dramatic Cuts in Anti-Smoking Programs

In conformity with the findings of a report by a coalition of anti-smoking organizations, state government are reducing the expenses on smoking prevention programs, despite generating higher-than-ever revenues from tobacco taxes and MSA payments, with the most significant lows recorded in New York State.

Anti-smoking campaign

The recently revealed report, under the name “A Broken Promise to Our Children” declares that state legislatures had reduced expenditures by more than 15%. The report shows the states have laid out $567 million for anti-smoking campaigns in the last fiscal year.

This sum accounts for just 2.3 percent of the total revenues collected from taxes and settlement contributions which made up nearly $25 billion, as the report claims.

Vera Pearrow, spokesperson for American Lung Foundation stated that it is a rather ridiculous situation that such scanty part of revenues generated from tobacco products is actually used to prevent minors from taking up cigarettes and assist those smokers who are willing to give up.

In conformity with present federal legislation, the legislatures are not required to spend the generated money on smoking-related programs. At the same time, the nationwide statistics shows that state officials had to close a total budget deficit of $145 billion last year because of enormous revenue shortages.

In accordance with the report data, the revenues from tobacco industry have grown up essentially since the majority of state government implemented tax hikes to compensate huge deficits.

New York accounts for the most dramatic funding cut related to anti-smoking programs, cutting the expenditures by more than 30 percent, regardless of the fact that state health officials elaborated several effective cessation campaigns that contributed to a significant drop in the statewide smoking rates.

The annual report demonstrates that the only state that has not reduced funding of the anti-smoking programs and maintained the expenses at the level recommended by the Center for Disease Control is North Dakota.

David Paterson, NY State Governor acknowledged that State Finance Committee had to reduce the expenses on social programs in order to use the funds for the needs of general budget, which lacks $3 billion, the highest state budget deficit across the nation.

The spokesman for the Governor they had been literally obliged to reduce the funding of smoking-related programs because of the highest fiscal deficit that state has ever faced.

The spokesman also admitted that NY public health department has spent some $50 million on anti-smoking programs in spite of the severe holes in the state coffins. They have only reduced expenses on ads and promotion of cessation programs.

Nevertheless, the public health groups that authored the report declared that budget deficit is not a valid justification for cutting the expanses on smoking prevention programs, because the tobacco-related profits have raised.

In conformity with a nationwide CDC report, the adult smoking rate has added 1 percent and has stopped at approximately 21 percent. As regards teenage smoking rate decreased to 20 percent from last year’s 36 percents.

Major National Anti-Smoking Group Supports Bans on Smokers in Certain Public Places and Workplaces

On Tuesday, I reported that Royal Oldham Hospital apparently instituted the first policy of its kind – a ban on smokers (not just smoking) in the maternity waiting room. Dick Puddlecote’s blog captured a picture of the sign outside the waiting room, which states: “In the interests of others, smokers are not allowed in this room.”

Today, I report that a major national anti-smoking organization – Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) – is actually supporting the idea of banning smokers from certain public locations because of the alleged health threat of thirdhand smoke.

smoking-ban

In a press release issued yesterday, ASH states: “SmokERS — not just smoking — have been barred in a public area at a major hospital, a restriction likely to spread to other areas of the hospital as well as to other hospitals, says Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), a national organization leading the fight to protect nonsmokers from thirdhand tobacco smoke. Public interest law professor John Banzhaf of ASH notes that many steps are being taken to protect nonsmokers from thirdhand tobacco smoke: … ASH recently forced a major university to stop an employee, who took smoke breaks outside his smoke free office, from working in the same office with a women whose health – and the health of her unborn child — were threatened by his thirdhand smoke, according to testimony from two of her doctors. Even in a state with a law which allegedly prohibits discrimination against smokers, a major company prohibits anyone from coming on the premises if they have any detectable odor of tobacco smoke on them. To avoid being barred, smokers likely have to change clothing, shower and shampoo, and use mouthwash.”

“Thirdhand tobacco smoke, ‘the invisible yet toxic brew of gases and particles clinging to smokers’ hair and clothing’ [NY TIMES] – was recently identified in the medical journal Pediatrics as “toxic” and as a cancer risk to nonsmokers of all ages, especially to children of parents who smoke only outside the family home. Indeed, notes Prof. John Banzhaf of ASH, these tobacco smoke residues contain a mix of carcinogens, toxins, and other irritants including highly carcinogenic compounds, heavy metals, hydrogen cyanide (used in chemical weapons), butane (used in lighter fluid), toluene (found in paint thinners), arsenic, lead, and even radioactive Polonium-210 (used to murder a Russian spy). Another study showed that even a smoker’s breathe may be harmful to children, and perhaps also to adults. It found that the chemicals in a smoker’s breath were sufficient to cause or aggravate respiratory illnesses including asthma, coughs, and colds among children in homes where parents smoked only outside the home as compared with kids in homes where the air was not contaminated by the breath of a smoker.”

‘”These two studies suggest that society must go beyond merely protecting children from being in the presence of parents and others who smoke in their homes, and think about more effective measures to protect children from parents who smoke anywhere. It also provides a strong scientific basis for agencies which already refuse to permit smokers to adopt children, even if the potential adoptees claim that they only smoke outdoors, and never in the presence of the child,'” says Banzhaf.” …

“Thus, says Banzhaf, adults as well as children should be protected from thirdhand tobacco smoke, and restrictions aimed at smokERS, as well as smoking itself, are likely to increase in the light of these new scientific findings.”

The Rest of the Story

In my post reporting the Royal Oldham hospital’s policy, I sarcastically offered a series of suggestions for protecting people from thirdhand smoke, such as prohibiting smokers from entering public places or workplaces or from working in child care or educational settings.

In response, Matt (a commenter) wrote: “I understand your article was intended as sarcasm, but there’s also a frightening aspect to it. I have no doubt whatever there’s an anti-smoker nut out there, reading some of your suggestions and exclaiming: “Geez, why didn’t we think of that?””

It appears that Matt was correct. Presumably after reading my post and finding out about the Royal Oldham policy, ASH read the suggestions, exclaimed “Geez, why didn’t we think of that?” and issued its press release calling for the protection of both adults and children from exposure to smokers – in other words, for a ban on smokers in certain public places.

Most frighteningly, ASH calls for policies that not only protect children from exposure to smoke in the home, but from exposure to parents who smoke anywhere. ASH explicitly calls for policies that ban smokers from adopting children, if if they agree not to smoke in the home or anywhere in the presence of the child.

If we take ASH’s suggestions seriously (which we need to), they would call for a ban on smokers working in child care settings or in schools. In order to protect children from “the invisible yet toxic brew of gases and particles clinging to smokers’ hair and clothing,” society would need to prohibit anyone who smokes from working in a child care center or a school.

Furthermore, we would need to ban anyone exposed to secondhand smoke from working in a child care or educational setting. If you live in a state that allows smoking in restaurants and you often go out to such restaurants to eat, you would have to be prohibited from being a teacher or working in a school in any capacity, lest the smoke that settles on your clothing poisons children in the school.

Disturbingly, ASH distorts the scientific evidence and misreports the findings from the scientific literature to support its radical position. For example, ASH reports that an article in the journal Pediatrics identified thirdhand smoke “as a cancer risk to nonsmokers of all ages, especially to children of parents who smoke only outside the family home.” In fact, that article made no such claim. Nowhere in the article does it conclude that thirdhand smoke is a cancer risk to anyone – children or adults.

The scientific evidence does not support a conclusion that even secondhand smoke is a cancer risk to children. There is absolutely no evidence that thirdhand smoke is a cancer risk for exposed children.

It would be bad enough if ASH was merely distorting scientific evidence to try to scare the public about the alleged risks of thirdhand smoke exposure. But to use that distorted and misreported science to support draconian policies that would bar smokers from workplaces and public places, including not allowing them to adopt children or to work in day care centers or in schools, is despicable.

I truly cannot believe how low the anti-smoking movement has sunk. I never could have imagined that we would reach this point, where a major national anti-smoking group is calling on banning smokers and not just smoking in public places.

When I reported the Royal Oldham story Tuesday, I was wondering whether any anti-smoking groups would join me in condemning the policy. Even then, it never occurred to me that a major anti-smoking group would actually come out and support such a policy and encourage the widespread extension of that policy.

I certainly didn’t expect any group to come out and condemn the policy, but the fact that ASH actually believes this is a good thing is absurd.

This would be a really funny story, if not for the fact that it may well result in a system of “smoker apartheid,” by which smokers need to be banned from public places because of the unrestrained fanaticism and zeal of an increasingly extremist anti-smoking movement that has completely lost its base in science and in reason.