Smoking & Tobacco Articles

Tobacco related articles and smoking regulation in the USA. Interesting facts on cigarette smoking. Top tobacco news.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Population-specific Community-based Cancer Screening May Discourage Smoking

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Alexandria, VA - Large, population specific community-based screening may increase awareness of the dangers of smoking cigarettes and reduce at-risk behaviors, according to a new study in the November 2011 issue of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

While the World Health Organizations estimates that 60 to 80% of head and neck cancers could be curbed by changing at-risk behaviors, such as cigarettes use, our national programs to date have had little impact reducing these mortalities.

Alexandria Smoking

To change this statistic and control costs, the June 2011 Affordable Care Act, (PL 111 - 148) mandated development of effective and achievable means for improvement in the U.S. health status. Contributing to the effort, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention support community-based programs that pair the offering of healthcare such as cheap cigarettes control interventions with education.

This studys authors, understanding that office-based screening programs may not benefit those at risk who do not receive routine healthcare, set out to determine if participation in community-based screenings could result in a reduction in tobacco use and if different factors in participants predict behavior change.

To target the study population, NASCAR fans at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, who fit the demographic identified by Institute of Medicine of the National Academy as most at risk, were recruited. These were screened for symptoms indicative of head and neck cancer, such as lumps or sores in the mouth.

Of the 578 participants who received a full screening, 31% were further identified as smokers. During the screening, physicians discussed signs and symptoms of head and neck cancer, the risks of tobacco use, and tobacco cessation with all participants.A telephone survey of study participants was conducted six months later. Of those reached for survey who had identified as smokers at the screening, 59% reported smoking cigarettes fewer cigarettes store per day than six months prior, and 15% reported quitting smoking cigarettes entirely.

Based on this evidence, the authors suggest that the screening may have impacted tobacco cessation.While the studys authors acknowledge that more research is needed, they state that community-based screening is likely useful, as it provides another source of tobacco-use education for an at-risk population.

They write: More must be done at national, state, and community level to support tobacco cessation in venues outside those funded government programs that historically have had little impact on tobacco use and head and neck cancer mortality. Physicians and healthcare workers must take the lead in developing creative avenues to teach their patients about tobacco cessation and its link to cancer and other diseases.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

A Proposed City Smoking Ban

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Civilization has been engaging in the same general argument for thousands of years, says Jasper LiCalzi, professor of political economy at the College of Idaho: How do you answer the wishes of a majority without trampling the rights of individuals? That question has come up several times in the past year for Boise city leaders.

First came panhandling: Where is the line between a persons right to ask for money and a business owners not to have beggars discouraging customers? Playing in the Boise River, too, has been an issue. Whats the line between rowdy river jumpers, who say theyre enjoying a healthy summer pastime, and rafters, who call them a menace? Now, questions have arisen over proposed ordinances to ban smoking cigarettes in bars, some parts of public parks and other places in Boise where people congregate.

Councilman Alan Shealy said its been a while since the council has dealt with such a contentious issue. Hes one of the councils biggest supporters of the smoking cigarettes ban. And public sentiment so far is on his side. Following a spirited public information meeting Oct. 5, when bar owners and their allies squared off against members of the medical community and parents of young children, the mayors office received 131 comments from the public about the ordinances. Seventy-three were in favor of the proposals to ban smoking cigarettes, 58 were against.

A 2010 citizen survey backs that up, with about three out of four favoring banning smoking cigarettes in all indoor public places, including bars. The margin is smaller when it comes to parks, with just over half of survey responders in favor of banning smoking cigarettes there. Sentiment about where the city should draw its line, though, is split at one local park Rhodes Skate Park near the River Street neighborhood. Some limits are reasonable, said Collus Hill, who smoked for a decade and quit.

I can see banning smoking cigarettes around playgrounds where kids are. Children pick up on grown-ups habits. But even he says the city has to find some kind of equal ground, where children are healthy and people can smoke. The citys proposed smoking cigarettes ban is a slippery slope for Wiley Padden. The city government is taking too many civil liberties away, increasing a stranglehold on what you can do, said Padden.

Basic laws are OK, but you take away smoking cigarettes, jumping in the river, society will turn into something like Demolition Man, said Padden, referring to the film about a post-apocalyptic world. Shealy said the council has heard from citizens who say the proposed ordinances violate their constitutional right to privacy. There is no constitutional right to smoke. Privacy laws do not protect smokers, he said, adding that people have the right to smoke cigarettes all they want until that behavior affects someone elses health.

Council members say the city wants to provide a safe working environment for bartenders and others who work around smoke. The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution does say that private property cant be taken for public use without just compensation, said LiCalzi. Some local bar owners argue that the city is, in effect, taking their property away if the smoke cigarettes ban keeps customers from coming through their door.

But the other side looks at it from a society standpoint, since a great deal of the cost of health care is borne by the public, LiCalzi said. Does the public have a say in what smokers do if its paying for emergency rooms and Medicare?Smoke-ban advocates say yes.

The citys arguments in favor of the ban note that cigarettes use costs every taxpaying household in Idaho $539 per year. City leaders are still searching for the line between majority and minority, and making refinements. Before the Oct. 5 public information meeting, the proposed ordinance banned smoking cigarettes in smoke cigarettes shops.

At its last work session the council proposed exempting stores whose business is 95 percent cheap cigarettes or tobacco-related products. Changes might still be made to the proposals, said city spokesman Adam Park, depending on what happens at Tuesdays council meetings.

The city added a 4 p.m. session in addition to its usual 6 p.m. session to accommodate crowds, particularly bar workers who might not be able to attend in the evening. In ancient Athens, they were having the same kinds of arguments, said LiCalzi, but not about tobacco. Maybe about wine.

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