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November 1st, 2016:

WHO: New Smoking Products, Internet Pose Dangers for Tobacco Control

The World Health Organization warns that tobacco control efforts are being threatened by new smoking products and new online advertising opportunities that can reach young people around the world.

Such threats are to be addressed next week at an international meeting in New Delhi.

The head of WHO’s Tobacco Convention Secretariat, Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva, says it is easy for young people to download films and cigarette ads that appear online.

And, she tells VOA, the film industry from Hollywood to Bollywood exerts a strong influence on the behavior of young people.

“There are a number of studies showing a clear correlation between the social acceptability and taking up and consuming tobacco through the influence exerted by pop stars, by film actors and actresses, and by the film industry itself,” Costa e Silva said.

A rating system to keep children from watching films advertising tobacco is one of the proposals likely to come up at the New Delhi conference.

In addition, WHO says there is an increasing need to regulate the use of smokeless tobacco and water pipes.

Tibor Szilagyi, an officer in the Tobacco Convention Secretariat, warns of the dangers of water pipes. Their use is common in the Middle East, he says, and growing in other regions.

“In the case of water pipes, we have the evidence … that it is more dangerous than regular cigarette smoking,” Szilagyi said. “They are saying that one session of water pipe tobacco use is equal to 100 cigarettes smoked.”

Szilagyi warns that tobacco companies are coming up with harmful new approaches for marketing the product. For instance, he says, the tobacco used in water pipes now comes in a variety of aromatic fruity flavors.

Another gimmick, he says, is the floating water pipe, which can be inhaled while floating on the sea.

Smokeless Tobacco: Research Putting Another Nail in That Coffin

By: Dr. William Sturrock

For years many have wondered whether using smokeless tobacco in forms such as dip, chew or E-cigs might somehow be safer because there are no combustion products that are being inhaled. While we already do know that oral, esophageal and GI cancers are more common in those who use smokeless tobacco, users have argued that these types of cancer are not as common, and may not be as life-threatening as diseases associated with smoking such as lung cancer and COPD. Lung cancer in particular remains the leading cause of cancer death for men and women in the US, so many with a nicotine habit have hoped to avoid this known risk of tobacco smoke to themselves, as well as the risks to others with second hand smoke. Unfortunately for smokeless tobacco advocates, we now have evidence of health risks that go beyond what was previously known.

Just this past month researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health published the results of their study done in Sweden, looking at the health of men using smokeless tobacco over a 21 year time-frame. They found was that compared to men that never used these products, smokeless tobacco users suffered a 24% higher chance of prostate cancer as well as a 19% higher of death from any cause. While the involvement of the prostate may be surprising to some, scientists have known for years that smokers of tobacco products can have higher rates of disease in non-respiratory organs compared to non-smokers. Cervical cancer, skin cancer and especially bladder cancer all occur more frequently among smokers.

Toxins from the tobacco combustion can be more concentrated in many different cell types as the body tries to metabolize and excrete these compounds. However this is the first time that a study on non-combusted tobacco had evidence of disease distant from the tissues that have direct contact with the smokeless product. So, if there was no exposure to the combustion products, what is the cause of these distant effects? Consumers of smokeless products do get regular exposure to nicotine, which is absorbed through the oral mucosa and transported by the blood stream to the rest of the body. Now researchers are more convinced that nicotine by itself can promote cancer transformation of many cell types. Already animal studies had suggested that nicotine puts oxidative stress onto cell DNA, and with this study we have the first evidence in humans that this is the likely mechanism for these distant ill effects.

Although it may ‘seem’ safer to use smokeless tobacco, Mother Nature has once more taught us that she cannot be fooled, and there is no such thing as a less dangerous consumption of this product. Unfortunately, children growing up in the US get mixed messages about smokeless tobacco when they see their role-models in many sports (especially baseball) using these products. It turns out that there has been a public health campaign to get baseball to kick the habit that has been gaining momentum.

Smokeless tobacco usage is now prohibited in the minor leagues, but only Boston, Chicago and the California teams have outlawed its use in the majors. Now, if we can just get the rest of the league to step up to the plate and ban smokeless tobacco in all of its forms from our national pastime, then that would be a real reason to cheer!

India says it is committed to global tobacco-control treaty

NEW DELHI India reaffirmed on Tuesday its commitment to a World Health Organization (WHO) tobacco-control treaty, despite lobbying from its $11 billion industry that opposes some measures in the treaty that will be discussed at a conference next week. Delegates from about 180 countries will attend the Nov. 7-12 conference near New Delhi on the only global anti-tobacco treaty, called the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The treaty aims to deter tobacco use that kills about 6 million people a year, including about a million in India. Reuters reported last week that tobacco industry groups were lobbying the government with letters and signature campaigns to safeguard the interest of farmers and to ensure that no “unreasonable” proposals are adopted at the conference. The Tobacco Institute of India (TII), the cigarette industry body, said in Sept. 28 letter to the government that “there is no obligation on any signatory to the FCTC” to comply with its provisions. The government response to those letters has not been made public but on Tuesday, the health ministry published half-page notices in several newspapers to say India would apply the treaty’s provisions.

“India reiterates its commitment to the full implementation of WHO FCTC,” the ministry said in the notice, that included a picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The government said in the notice that tobacco “drains the economy” of nearly $16 billion a year. The TII, which represents cigarette makers including ITC, part-owned by British American Tobacco, and Philip Morris International’s local partner, Godfrey Phillips, declined to comment about the government notice.

Last week, tobacco farmers protested outside the health ministry and the WHO regional office in New Delhi asking the government to boycott the conference. More than 100,000 farmers also sent the government a petition seeking protection from FCTC rules. Tobacco groups want India to include farmers in its official delegation. A health ministry official said last week the government would not agree to their requests.

The tobacco industry has been at odds with the federal government this year over a rule requiring makers to print bigger health warnings on packages. The WHO FCTC conference decisions, designed for implementation at national level by signatories, have a direct bearing on the nearly $800 billion global tobacco industry. Topics for debate at the conference include alternative livelihoods for tobacco farmers and e-cigarette regulation. (Editing by Tom Lasseter, Robert Birsel)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

The Tobacco Control Atlas: ASEAN Region

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Alaska Airlines flight grounded after e-cig batteries ignite

Passengers on an Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to Anchorage on Sunday were delayed for more than five hours after a passenger’s backpack started burning. Batteries for an e-cigarette are the likely culprit.

Flight 67 had just made a scheduled stop in Ketchikan, and about half the passengers had deplaned when the incident occurred at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

Andrew Hames was seated just a few rows behind the passenger.

“And I heard sort of a whooshing sound, like a quick hiss of air, and I looked up and about three rows in front of me a guy’s backpack started smoking and burst into orange and blue flame. He quickly got it off and hit it to the ground and some other passengers got up and started stomping on it.”

Hames said the man thought the source of the fire might have been an e-cigarette, but that wasn’t the complete answer. After all passengers had stepped off into the Ketchikan airport, Hames spoke briefly with the man as he emptied out his pack.

“And he said it was this device. And he held up the charger itself,” Hames said. “And it looked like there were some coins in the bottom and somehow made contact with that. And he also had several charred quarters sitting on the table as well.”

Hames also said the man appeared quite chagrined, and cooperated fully with authorities in the airport.

In a prepared statement, Alaska Airlines confirmed that freshly charged batteries were to blame. Spokesperson Ann Zaninovich also didn’t call the event a fire.

“Technical experts believe that when the batteries came in contact with metal keys and coins it caused a spark. There was visible smoke, and a set of keys and candy fell to the ground through a burnt hole in the backpack,” Zaninovich wrote. “While there was not fire, there was sparking, which prompted the flight attendants to take swift action and use the fire extinguisher.”

Zaninovich said that “out of an abundance of caution,” the aircraft’s first officer put “the device” in a fire containment bag, which is carried on all of the airline’s planes. She offered no comment on whether the incident would affect rules regarding the transport of e-cigarettes or battery chargers on aircraft.

Hames, however, considers the event an eye-opener.

“I imagine if those items had been underneath the airplane in the luggage compartment and somehow that same event had happened, it absolutely could have been more exciting than it already was,” he said.

Another aircraft was sent to take passengers on to Juneau and Anchorage. Hames and his family arrived in Sitka about five hours behind schedule. The original aircraft used for Flight 67 was returned to service about six hours later. A 12-inch square of burned carpet had been replaced.

Smoking And The Immune System: Nicotine Causes An Increased Inflammatory Response

Smoking is bad for you; this is not a new revelation. From increasing your chances of developing lung cancer to putting you at risk for emphysema later in life, the consequences of smoking seem never-ending. But in case you needed yet another reason to kick the habit, a new study may have it for you. According to the research, nicotine activates certain white blood cells, called neutrophils, which in turn release molecules that lead to increased inflammation.

Although previously suspected, this newly found link between nicotine and inflammation reveals how smoking is related to the immune system. Through the activation of neutrophil white blood cells, nicotine directly causes an increase in inflammation in the body. This discovery may also open the door for new and improved therapies to treat tobacco-related illnesses.

“Because of the direct link between nicotine itself and inflammation, this study has important implications including that alternative forms of nicotine inhalation, such as vaping that lacks other chemicals from cigarette smoke, may nonetheless still have detrimental immunological effects,” explained E. John Wherry, Ph.D., Deputy Editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, the journal where the study was published, in a recent statement.

In order to make this discovery, the team stimulated isolated neutrophil cells from humans and mice with nicotine in order to measure the amount of inflammation this exposure produced.

Inflammation is part of the body’s natural response to a perceived attack. However, an unnecessary increase in our body’s inflammation response can actually promote disease rather than prevent it, The Daily Mail reported. This is because inflammation plays a role in many illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, asthma, and some autoimmune disorders. It’s not exactly the invading pathogen that makes us feel ill, but rather the body’s attempts to fight against it which produces disease “symptoms” that make us feel poorly. The bigger the inflammatory response of the body, the more symptoms of illness you will experience, and in turn the more sick you will physically feel.

Tobacco Industry Targets Schools in Africa

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Tobacco packaging and labelling policies in countries of the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Pacific Regions

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