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January, 2011:

Key Mechanism Governing Nicotine Addiction Discovered


ScienceDaily (Jan. 31, 2011) — Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute have identified a pathway in the brain that regulates an individual’s vulnerability to the addictive properties of nicotine. The findings suggest a new target for anti-smoking therapies.

The study appeared January 30, 2011, in an advance, online issue of the journal Nature.

In the study, the scientists examined the effects of a part of a receptor (a protein molecule to which specific signaling molecules attach) that responds to nicotine in the brain. The scientists found that animal models with a genetic mutation inhibiting this receptor subunit consumed far more nicotine than normal. This effect could be reversed by boosting the subunit’s expression.

“We believe that these new data establish a new framework for understanding the motivational drives in nicotine consumption and also the brain pathways that regulate vulnerability to tobacco addiction,” said Scripps Research Associate Professor Paul Kenny, who led the study. “These findings also point to a promising target for the development of potential anti-smoking therapies.”

Specifically, the new study focused on the nicotinic receptor subunit α5, in a discrete pathway of the brain called the habenulo-interpeduncular tract. The new findings suggest that nicotine activates nicotinic receptors containing this subunit in the habenula, triggering a response that acts to dampen the urge to consume more of the drug.

“It was unexpected that the habenula, and brain structures into which it projects, play such a profound role in controlling the desire to consume nicotine,” said Christie Fowler, the first author of the study and research associate in the Kenny laboratory. “The habenula appears to be activated by nicotine when consumption of the drug has reached an adverse level. But if the pathway isn’t functioning properly, you simply take more. Our data may explain recent human data showing that individuals with genetic variation in the α5 nicotinic receptor subunit are far more vulnerable to the addictive properties of nicotine, and far more likely to develop smoking-associated diseases such as lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.”

A Previously Unknown Pathway Inhibits Motivation

Tobacco smoking is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, with more than five million people dying each year as a result of it, according to statistics cited in the study. Smoking is considered the cause of more than 90 percent of lung cancer deaths. Scientists have established that a tendency towards smoking can be inherited — more than 60 percent of the risk of becoming addicted to nicotine can be laid at the door of genetic factors.

Nicotine is the major addictive component of tobacco smoke, and nicotine acts in the brain by stimulating proteins called nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). These nAChRs are made up of different types of subunits, one of which is the α5 subunit — the focus of the new study.

In their experiments, the Scripps Research scientists set out to determine the role of nAChRs-containing α5 subunits (α5* nAChRs) in regulating nicotine consumption.

First, the team assessed the addictive properties of nicotine in genetically altered mice lacking α5* nAChRs. The results showed that when these “knockout” mice were given access to high doses of nicotine, they consumed much larger quantities than normal mice. Next, to determine if the subunit was responsible for the sudden shift in appetite for nicotine, the scientists used a virus that “rescued” the expression of α5* nAChRs only in the medial habenula and areas of the brain into which it projects. The results showed the nicotine consumption patterns of the knockout mice returned to a normal range.

The scientists repeated the experiments with rats and produced similar results. In this case, the scientists used a virus to “knock out” α5 nAChR subunits in the medial habenula. When the α5* nAChRs were decreased, the animals were more aggressive in seeking higher doses of nicotine. When the subunit remained unaltered, the animals showed more restraint.

The scientists then worked out the biochemical mechanisms through which α5* nAChRs operate in the medial habenula to control the addictive properties of nicotine. They found that α5* nAChRs regulate just how responsive the habenula is to nicotine, and that the habenula is involved in some of the negative responses to nicotine consumption. So when α5* nAChRs do not function properly, the habenula is less responsive to nicotine and much more of the drug can be consumed without negative feedback from the brain.

The scientists are optimistic that their findings may one day lead to help for smokers who want to kick the habit. Based on the new findings, the Scripps Florida scientists have started a new program of research in collaboration with scientists at the University of Pennsylvania to develop new drugs to boost α5* nAChR signaling and decrease the addictive properties of nicotine.

In addition to Kenny and Fowler, authors of the paper, “Habenular α5* Nicotinic Receptor Signaling Regulates Nicotine Intake,” include Qun Lu and Paul M. Johnson of Scripps Research and Michael J. Marks of the University of Colorado, Boulder.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and The James and Esther King Biomedical Research Program, Florida Department of Health.

Transnational tobacco industry promotion of the cigarette gifting custom in China

Objective To understand how British American Tobacco
(BAT) and Philip Morris (PM) researched the role and
popularity of cigarette gifting in forming relationships among
Chinese customs and how they exploited the practice to
promote their brands State Express 555 and Marlboro.
Methods Searches and analysis of industry documents
from the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library
complemented by searches on LexisNexis Academic
news, online search engines and information from the
tobacco industry trade press.
Results From 1980e1999, BAT and PM employed
Chinese market research firms to gather consumer
information about perceptions of foreign cigarettes and
the companies discovered that cigarettes, especially
prestigious ones, were gifted and smoked purposely for
building relationships and social status in China. BAT and
PM promoted their brands as gifts by enhancing
cigarette cartons and promoting culturally themed
packages, particularly during the gifting festivals of
Chinese New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival to tie their
brands in to festival values such as warmth, friendship
and celebration. They used similar marketing in Chinese
communities outside China.
Conclusions BAT and PM tied their brands to Chinese
cigarette gifting customs by appealing to social and
cultural values of respect and personal honour.
Decoupling cigarettes from their social significance in
China and removing their appeal would probably reduce
cigarette gifting and promote a decline in smoking.
Tobacco control efforts in countermarketing, large
graphic warnings and plain packaging to make cigarette
packages less attractive as gifts could contribute to
denormalising cigarette gifting.

ABSTRACTObjective To understand how British American Tobacco(BAT) and Philip Morris (PM) researched the role andpopularity of cigarette gifting in forming relationships amongChinese customs and how they exploited the practice topromote their brands State Express 555 and Marlboro.Methods Searches and analysis of industry documentsfrom the Legacy Tobacco Documents Librarycomplemented by searches on LexisNexis Academicnews, online search engines and information from thetobacco industry trade press.Results From 1980e1999, BAT and PM employedChinese market research firms to gather consumerinformation about perceptions of foreign cigarettes andthe companies discovered that cigarettes, especiallyprestigious ones, were gifted and smoked purposely forbuilding relationships and social status in China. BAT andPM promoted their brands as gifts by enhancingcigarette cartons and promoting culturally themedpackages, particularly during the gifting festivals ofChinese New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival to tie theirbrands in to festival values such as warmth, friendshipand celebration. They used similar marketing in Chinesecommunities outside China.Conclusions BAT and PM tied their brands to Chinesecigarette gifting customs by appealing to social andcultural values of respect and personal honour.Decoupling cigarettes from their social significance inChina and removing their appeal would probably reducecigarette gifting and promote a decline in smoking.Tobacco control efforts in countermarketing, largegraphic warnings and plain packaging to make cigarettepackages less attractive as gifts could contribute todenormalising cigarette gifting.

January 30, 2011

Download PDF : China Gift giving cig TI. TC 11 07

Smoking to die out in NZ by 2058

Last updated: January 11, 2011

Source: NZ Herald

Smoking could “virtually disappear” in New Zealand and many other developed countries within half a century, according to research by a major investment bank.

But Citigroup reckons the habit could be almost wiped out in Australia in as little as 20 years.

Smoking prevalence is 17 per cent in Australia and 19-20 per cent in New Zealand, depending on the data source, although Citigroup puts the NZ rate at 18 per cent.

But even if New Zealand has gone smokefree by 2061, the epidemic of smoking-related disease and premature deaths for many smokers will linger.

“The deaths stop 20 to 50 years after smoking ends,” Christchurch public health researcher Dr Murray Laugesen said.

He said the Health Ministry estimated before the Government announced its tobacco tax increases last April that New Zealand smoking prevalence would drop to 9 per cent by 2051. He calculated that the tax rises could shave off a further 3 percentage points.

Tobacco control groups were predicting before the tax announcement that on the current rate of decline in smoking, it would take 70 years for NZ to become smokefree.

But following the announcement – and Parliament’s Maori affairs committee recommending in November tough new policies with the aim of NZ’s becoming smokefree by 2025 – they are much more hopeful.

“We have the vision that it can be done by 2020,” said Prudence Stone, director of the Smokefree Coalition.

Citigroup said the percentage of smokers was declining throughout the developed world, “more or less in a straight line in most markets. If these trends continue, then by 2050 many important tobacco markets will have gone to zero smoking”.

Britain’s Guardian newspaper said the analysts outlined three scenarios they considered plausible: the graph continuing until it hit zero; gradually fewer people quitting, leaving a hard core of smokers; or smoking reaching a tipping point, after which it became increasingly unacceptable and might eventually be banned.

In New Zealand, the Government is expected to formally reply early next month to the Maori affairs select committee, whose recommendations included annually reducing the amount of tobacco for sale by a set percentage, requiring tobacco to be sold in plain packaging with health warnings, improving access to quit-smoking help, and banning retail displays of tobacco.

The Government has already introduced legislation to ban retail displays and to permit instant fines for selling tobacco to minors.

Smoking restrictions are being introduced at many parks and playgrounds, and music fans at next week’s Big Day Out extravaganza at Mt Smart Stadium will be asked not to light up, although the venue operator says people who defy the five-month-old ban will not be ejected.

GIVING UP Citigroup’s predictions for the end of smoking:

Sweden – 2028

Australia – 2030

Iceland – 2033

UK – 2040

US – 2046

NZ – 2058

Italy – 2091

France – 2118

Greece – 2231

Germany – 2280

Cigarette displays do encourage smoking, researcher says

Last updated: January 11, 2011

Source: The Guardian

In the last series of Mad Men, the directors of Sterling Cooper stopped just short of hurling themselves from the 23rd floor down on to Madison Avenue in a collective suicide pact after hearing that they had lost the contract to advertise Lucky Strike cigarettes. Some 45 years on in the real world, and tobacco advertising is banned on this side of the Atlantic and severely restricted in the US. Canada has gone further by banning attractive, back-lit displays of cigarette packets near the tills of shops and supermarkets. So, too, have Iceland, Norway, some Australian states and the Republic of Ireland. Not the UK, however. Not yet anyway.

“The legislation was passed by the last government with the intention that supermarkets would have had to remove these displays in 2011, and small retailers two years later,” says Professor Ann McNeill, deputy director of the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies. “However, the coalition hasn’t yet committed itself to implementing that legislation.”

She is surprised by that. “They said in their health white paper: ‘Reducing smoking will continue to be a focus for public health’. Also, they claim they’re committed to reducing health inequalities. Given that tobacco accounts for half the differences in life expectancies between social groups one and five, you’d think ministers would want to do everything they can to nudge the public towards healthier choices.”

McNeill is a psychologist based at Nottingham University, the lead in a consortium of nine universities that make up the UK Centre. For 25 years she has worked with experts in other fields, including toxicology, pharmacology and marketing, to find ways of countering the harmful effects of what she calls “the only consumer product, apart from guns, that kills if used as the manufacturer intends”.

She wants to ensure that there is plenty of evidence to counter the intense lobbying of the tobacco industry as it seeks to preserve point-of-sales displays as one of its few remaining marketing gambits. Accordingly, she was only too glad to accept a commission from the Office of Tobacco Control in Ireland to evaluate the effects on adults, retailers and, particularly, children since the ban on displays was introduced there in July 2009. “The budget was too small to commission primary research,” she admits. “So we used existing data sets and augmented them with some questions of our own.”

Over 180 teenagers, aged between 13 and 15, were interviewed a month before the Irish legislation came into effect and a month afterwards. “We found that there was a significant drop in their recall levels when it came to tobacco displays,” McNeill goes on. “Over 80% of them were aware of the displays before the legislation was passed. Afterwards, only 22% thought they’d seen something to do with cigarettes when they went to the shop.”

But why did they think they’d seen anything at all if the displays had been removed?

“They could have been thinking about a vending machine, or it might have been the leather-bound menu of brands that Irish retailers now produce if anyone asks for cigarettes and they’re not sure of the brand they want.”

Further questioning revealed that the majority of youngsters thought it was more difficult for anyone under age to buy cigarettes since the new law came in. “Our survey of Irish retailers backed that up,” says McNeill. “Children could no longer come in, point to a pack in a display and say ‘I’ll have 20 of those’. There was an extra step involved that could undermine their confidence when it came to persuading the person behind the counter that they were over 16.”

Between 30 and 40 retailers were interviewed. The researchers also wanted to find out how they felt about the removal of displays affecting sales and reducing their income. “There are three answers to that,” McNeill says. “One is that profit margins are not great on cigarettes. Another is that tobacco sales have been declining markedly over the past few decades and retailers have been adapting. They know that if customers aren’t spending on cigarettes, they’ll have more to spend on other items. And finally, small retailers in particular are at the heart of their communities and increasingly they don’t want to make profits from a product that they know is killing some of their customers.”

So what did the adults surveyed feel about the removal of tobacco displays?

“We used a survey of 1,000 adults carried out by the Office of Tobacco Control and added a couple of questions of our own. Had they noticed any difference since the displays were removed? And did they support the legislation?”

Support rose from 58% before the legislation came into force to 66% afterwards – not least because of the removal of temptation. “Those who were trying to give up found themselves wavering if they’d gone down to the shop to buy, say, a bottle of milk,” the professor explains. “They’d be in a queue, look at the display and think ‘I might as well get 20 Marlborough while I’m here’. And those who’d already given up felt that they could have been triggered into a relapse by those tempting displays.”

Much to her frustration, that temptation looks set to remain for the foreseeable future – on this side of the Irish Sea, at least.

A Report of the Surgeon General: How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease

Last updated: January 10, 2011

Source: US Surgeon General

The Report

A Report of the Surgeon General: How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease –

The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease
Fact Sheet

This is the 30th tobacco-related Surgeon General’s report issued since 1964. It describes in detail the specific pathways by which tobacco smoke damages the human body. The scientific evidence supports the following conclusions:

There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke. Any exposure to tobacco smoke – even an occasional cigarette or exposure to secondhand smoke – is harmful.

  • You don’t have to be a heavy smoker or a long-time smoker to get a smoking-related disease or have a heart attack or asthma attack that is triggered by tobacco smoke.
  • Low levels of smoke exposure, including exposures to secondhand tobacco smoke, lead to a rapid and sharp increase in dysfunction and inflammation of the lining of the blood vessels, which are implicated in heart attacks and stroke.
  • Cigarette smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals and compounds. Hundreds are toxic and at least 69 cause cancer. Tobacco smoke itself is a known human carcinogen.
  • Chemicals in tobacco smoke interfere with the functioning of fallopian tubes, increasing risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes such as ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, and low birth weight. They also damage the DNA in sperm which might reduce fertility and harm fetal development.

Damage from tobacco smoke is immediate.

  • The chemicals in tobacco smoke reach your lungs quickly every time you inhale. Your blood then carries the toxicants to every organ in your body.
  • The chemicals and toxicants in tobacco smoke damage DNA, which can lead to cancer. Nearly one-third of all cancer deaths every year are directly linked to smoking. Smoking causes about 85% of lung cancers in the U.S.
  • Exposure to tobacco smoke quickly damages blood vessels throughout the body and makes blood more likely to clot. This damage can cause heart attacks, strokes, and even sudden death.
  • The chemicals in tobacco smoke inflame the delicate lining of the lungs and can cause permanent damage that reduces the ability of the lungs to exchange air efficiently and leads to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Smoking longer means more damage.

  • Both the risk and the severity of many diseases caused by smoking are directly related to how long the smoker has smoked and the number of cigarettes smoked per day.
  • Chemicals in tobacco smoke cause inflammation and cell damage, and can weaken the immune system. The body makes white blood cells to respond to injuries, infections, and cancers. White blood cell counts stay high while smoking continues, meaning the body is constantly fighting against the damage caused by smoking which can lead to disease in almost any part of the body.
  • Smoking can cause cancer and weaken your body’s ability to fight cancer. With any cancer – even those not related to tobacco use – smoking can decrease the benefits of chemotherapy and other cancer treatments. Exposure to tobacco smoke can help tumors grow.
  • The chemicals in tobacco smoke complicate the regulation of blood sugar levels, exacerbating the health issues resulting from diabetes. Smokers with diabetes have a higher risk of heart and kidney disease, amputation, eye disease causing blindness, nerve damage and poor circulation.

Cigarettes are designed for addiction.

  • The design and contents of tobacco products make them more attractive and addictive than ever before. Cigarettes today deliver nicotine more quickly from the lungs to the heart and brain.
  • While nicotine is the key chemical compound that causes and sustains the powerful addicting effects of cigarettes, other ingredients and design features make them even more attractive and more addictive.
  • The powerful addicting elements of tobacco products affect multiple types of nicotine receptors in the brain.
  • Evidence suggests that psychosocial, biologic, and genetic factors may also play a role in nicotine addiction.
  • Adolescents’ bodies are more sensitive to nicotine, and adolescents are more easily addicted than adults. This helps explain why about 1,000 teenagers become daily smokers every day.

There is no safe cigarette.

  • The evidence indicates that changing cigarette designs over the last five decades, including filtered, low-tar, and “light” variations, have NOT reduced overall disease risk among smokers and may have hindered prevention and cessation efforts.
  • The overall health of the public could be harmed if the introduction of novel tobacco products encourages tobacco use among people who would otherwise be unlikely to use a tobacco product or delays cessation among persons who would otherwise quit using tobacco altogether.

The only proven strategy for reducing the risk of tobacco-related disease and death is to never smoke, and if you do smoke to quit.

  • Quitting at any age and at any time is beneficial. It’s never too late to quit, but the sooner the better.
  • Quitting gives your body a chance to heal the damage caused by smoking.
  • When smokers quit, the risk for a heart attack drops sharply after just 1 year; stroke risk can fall to about the same as a nonsmoker’s after 2-5 years; risks for cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder are cut in half after 5 years; and the risk for dying of lung cancer drops by half after 10 years.
  • Smokers often make several attempts before they are able to quit, but new strategies for cessation, including nicotine replacement and non-nicotine medications, can make it easier.
  • Talk to your doctor or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW and get started on a quit plan today.

Prizes provide incentive to quit smoking

Last updated: January 10, 2011

Source: The Record

Many people are determined to quit smoking as a New Year’s resolution. The chance to win big prizes may help people keep their resolve to kick the bad habit.

The Canadian Cancer Society launched its annual Driven to Quit Challenge today. Tobacco users who quit for the month of March can win prizes, including a new Honda CR-Z hybrid, Honda Insight hybrid, $5,000 vacation getaways and $2,000 MasterCard gift cards.

“We know that people are looking for incentives to quit smoking and this is a great time to do it,” said Monica Bennett, regional co-ordinator for the society’s Smokers’ Helpline.

Last year, 29,000 people registered — a record number for the annual challenge, now in its sixth year. About 130,000 people joined the challenge since its start. This year occasional smokers can enter, too.

“Occasional smokers can turn into daily smokers,” Bennett said.

One in five Ontario adults are tobacco users, including cigarettes, cigars and chew tobacco, according to a December survey. Half have tried unsuccessfully to quit.

Bennett encourages people to call the smokers’ helpline before March to get started on a plan.

“Nicotine is a very powerful substance, very addictive, and the withdrawal can be really difficult,” Bennett said. “You have to be prepared for what you’re going to do through those tough times.”

The Canadian Cancer Society’s smokers’ helpline is a free, confidential service providing personalized support, advice and information about quitting smoking by phone, online and text messaging. Call 1-877-513-5333 or go to

People can also chat online with other people trying to quit.

“It’s a very supportive, encouraging environment,” Bennett said.

And that goes a long way in helping people stay smoke-free. People registering for the challenge need to find a buddy to help them get through March without tobacco. Buddies can win a $200 gift card.

“We know support makes all the difference,” Bennett said.

More than half of Ontario adults have used tobacco products. On average, people try more than three times to quit.

“Everyone has to come up with what will work for them,” Bennett said.

Remembering four tips for quitting can help. Delay a cigarette, then often the craving passes. Distract yourself by doing something different, such as going for a walk. Take a deep breath. Some smokers only take a deep breath when they smoke, but deep breathing has great benefits. And drink water as a substitute.

National Non-Smoking Week is the third week in January.

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death. Yet many people still smoke.

“It is surprising,” said Donna Nicholson, a public health nurse in the region’s tobacco and cancer prevention program. “I guess that says something about how hard it is for smokers to quit.”

Region of Waterloo Public Health, which has a tobacco information line at 519-883-2279, partners with the Cancer Society in the Driven to Quit Challenge, along with other health units.

Smoking rates vary across Waterloo Region. Cambridge is at 24.4 per cent, Kitchener at 23, the townships at 17.8 and Waterloo is the lowest at 13.6 per cent. Smoking is highest among people age 20 to 44.

Canada’s smoking rate was 18 per cent among those 15 and older in 2009, down from 25 per cent in 1999, according to Statistics Canada.

Nicholson urges people to set a date to quit and stick to it.

Nicotine’s hold is strong, she said, but behaviour has a lot to do with smoking, too. People need to identify situations that trigger smoking and then try to avoid those or find another activity.

“Think about changing things up so you’re not so tempted,” Nicholson said.

And don’t be frustrated by failed attempts to quit. Each one does bring a person closer to being smoke-free.

“It does often take more than one try to quit smoking,” Nicholson said. “They have to be motivated to quit and work at it.”

For more details on the challenge or to register, go to Registration is open until Feb. 28. Those registering in January can qualify to win a $1,000 gift card. People who have quit in the new year can also register. Winners will be announced in April.

FDA requires list of tobacco ingredients

Last updated: January 9, 2011

Source: NewsOK

By late March, manufacturers of most tobacco products must begin giving the Food and Drug Administration information on new additives and other alterations in their products – enabling the agency for the first time to weed out chemical or manufacturing tweaks that make cigarettes and other products more addictive or otherwise more harmful.

Read the full story here:

Report: Smoking industry harming economic health

Last updated: January 7, 2011

Source: China Daily

download the report today from the above link

Cost of addiction rising as experts seek efforts to eradicate it

BEIJING – Lost productivity from smoking-related health problems will hamper China’s economic growth, and related costs incurred by smoking far exceed the tobacco industry’s contribution in terms of profits and jobs it generates, an international panel of experts warned on Thursday.

They also warned that China’s addiction to huge revenues from the State-owned tobacco monopoly is hindering anti-smoking measures, potentially costing millions of lives in the country with the world’s largest number of smokers.

The warnings, issued in a report prepared by a group of prominent public health experts and economists, came amid growing calls for the government to give stronger support to tobacco-control measures.

“As the health impact of smoking, including rising heart disease and lung cancer, gradually emerges, unless there is effective government intervention, it will affect China’s overall economic growth due to lost productivity,” said Yang Gonghuan, deputy director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

She is also lead author of the report, Tobacco Control and the Future of China, which involved the efforts of 60 experts.

The report attempts to quantify the financial cost to China of smoking. Last year, it cost 61.8 billion yuan ($9.3 billion) more to treat people for smoking-related illnesses and deal with tobacco-related issues such as pollution, than the tobacco industry generated in profits and jobs created, Yang said.

Official data released last month said the tobacco industry made 65.9 billion yuan in profits in the first 11 months of last year, 6.3 percent higher than the previous year.

China is the world’s largest tobacco producing and consuming country, with more than 300 million smokers on the mainland, official statistics showed.

Each year, about 1.2 million people die from smoking-related diseases on the mainland and the figure will increase to 3.5 million by 2030, according to estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO).

The report underscores increasing concern that the country’s economic potential will be jeopardized due to escalating medical costs and lost productivity if the government fails to take serious action to combat smoking.

“The report comes at a crucial time in China’s battle against smoking,” said Xu Guihua, deputy director of the Chinese Association on Tobacco Control.

The report was released days ahead of a Sunday deadline that China will fail to meet as a member of WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Measures to be taken before the deadline include banning smoking in public indoor venues as well as a total ban on tobacco-related advertising and sponsorship, Xu said.

The FCTC took effect in China on Jan 9, 2006 as a binding law after being ratified by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. But a huge gap exists between China’s overall tobacco control and the FCTC’s requirements, the report said.

The number of smokers dropped by 0.45 percent annually between 2003 and 2010, compared to 0.9 percent between 1996 and 2002, it said.

Cigarette consumption has seen steady and robust growth, from 589.9 billion in 1978 to about 2.3 trillion in 2009, a year that saw China fail to meet an FCTC deadline on printing warning graphics instead of just slogans on packets of cigarettes.

Hu An’gang, director of Tsinghua University’s Center for China Studies, called the tobacco industry’s obstruction “the prime culprit” behind the failed anti-smoking efforts.

The report highlighted a conflict of interest concerning the State monopoly over the tobacco industry.

The State Tobacco Monopoly Administration is under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the agency in charge of the government-initiated tobacco control campaign. This setup allows the tobacco industry to use the government’s authority to promote tobacco production and sales, impede adoption and implementation of tobacco control policies and laws, and publicly conduct activities undermining FCTC implementation, such as marketing tobacco brands in the name of charity, said the report.

Currently, the tobacco industry employs roughly 10 million people and generates more than 7.5 percent of total government revenues, official statistics showed.

“That undermines China’s fundamental goal for sustainable social and economic development as well as people’s basic right to health,” said Zhi Xiuyi, director of the Lung Cancer Treatment Center of Capital Medical University.

“Considering the long-term benefits, the Chinese government should work harder to prevent more deaths from smoking. It’s a major health and economic issue for the nation,” said Jeffrey Koplan, vice-president for global health at the Georgia-based Emory University in the US.

He also urged national legislation on smoking control in China.

The central government should establish a tobacco control bureau under the National Development and Reform Commission to lead China’s battle against tobacco, replacing the current Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the report said.

Smoking Cessation Linked to Happiness, Elevated Moods

Last updated: January 7, 2011

Source: Time

As if you needed another reason to give up smoking for good: Researchers have now determined that successfully quitting is not only linked to greater happiness, but also to elevated moods, contrary to the popular belief that abandoning the habit makes you miserable.

The study, which was conducted at Brown University and published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research, evaluated 236 male and female smokers, before and during the process of quitting. After undergoing standardized tests for symptoms of depression, participants were counseled on smoking cessation and given nicotine patches to aid them along the way. Further counseling sessions took place at 2, 8, 16 and 28 weeks after their quit dates, regardless of whether or not participants were still smoking. (More on A Single Cigarette Can Raise the Risk of Cancer and Heart Disease)

What researchers found were that those who were able to quit smoking, even for a short time, reported very high spirits during their checkups, while those who failed reported moods that were even darker than when the study began. Those participants who failed right away and never abstained (99 people total) were found to be unhappiest of all the groups, while those who avoided smoking for the whole length of the study reported the highest levels of happiness. (More on Study: 99% of Children Living in Apartments May Be Exposed to Secondhand Smoke)

The findings are persuasive, but the methods the investigators used do give reason for pause. All of the 236 subjects surveyed were also heavy drinkers, and when it comes to a study of mood, alcohol is about the most confounding variable imaginable. Lead author Christopher Kahler told Healthland that the use of heavy drinkers was important because this group typically has low rates of success in quitting smoking, and in general, alcohol is often involved when people go back to smoking after quitting the habit. However, he notes that they did not see a correlation between changes in drinking and depressive symptoms, as most participants continued to drink during the course of the study.

Kahler maintains that smokers who are thinking of quitting should feel encouraged by the results of the study, telling Medical New Today:

The assumption has often been that people might smoke because it has antidepressant properties and that if they quit it might unmask a depressive episode. What’s surprising is that at the time when you measure smokers’ mood, even if they’ve only succeeded for a little while, they are already reporting less symptoms of depression.

Just one more reason to follow through with your resolution to quit smoking this year.

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WHO Air Quality Guidelines

Last updated: January 5, 2010

Source: World Health Organization

Download your latest copy here.