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US Anti-Tobacco Efforts

U.S. falls short in anti-tobacco efforts – report

Thu Jan 10, 2008 12:00am EST – Reuters
By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

WASHINGTON, Jan 10 (Reuters) – The U.S. Congress and President George W. Bush have stymied efforts to tighten regulation of tobacco and discourage smoking and states have not spent nearly enough to battle cigarettes, the American Lung Association said on Thursday.

The group implied that heavy lobbying and spending by tobacco companies was influencing at least some politicians and urged Congress to give the Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate cigarettes.

“While many states have failed to make meaningful progress at protecting their most vulnerable citizens, the tobacco companies are spending billions of dollars annually marketing their deadly products,” the report reads.

“A report issued by Common Cause and the Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund found that the tobacco industry made almost $3 million in Political Action Committee contributions to federal candidates during the 2005-2006 election cycle, including more than $1.7 million in contributions directly to federal candidates,” it adds.

“The Institute on Money in State Politics found that tobacco companies and retailers gave over $96 million to state-level candidates, committees and ballot measure campaigns during the 2005 and 2006 election cycle.”

In 1998, states reached a settlement with tobacco companies in which they received $246 billion over 25 years to pay for the costs of smoking-related illnesses.

But anti-smoking campaigners say states have raided these and other tobacco-prevention funds to cover budget deficits, build roads or pay for non-tobacco related projects.


“While the American Lung Association applauds the U.S. Congress for increasing the federal cigarette excise tax by $0.61 to $1.00 per pack, unfortunately it was vetoed by the president and will not take effect,” the report read.

“The increased tax would have resulted in current smokers quitting and fewer children starting to smoke.”

The report praises efforts by some states.

Twenty-one states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have now approved comprehensive smoke-free air legislation,” it reads.

In 2007, seven states — Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Oregon and Tennessee — significantly strengthened their smoke-free air laws. Tennessee is the first traditional tobacco-growing state to pass strong restrictions on smoking in public places and workplaces.

But states are slower to raise tobacco taxes — which several studies show can deter smokers. And they also do not spend nearly as much as is recommended on programs to prevent smoking and to help smokers kick the habit, the Lung Association complained.

“More than half of states have not passed comprehensive laws prohibiting secondhand smoke in workplaces and other public places,” the report reads.

“Until the political will can be found to implement the proven and effective policies graded in this report, over 438,000 people each year will continue to die from tobacco-related diseases.”

The Lung Association report accuses tobacco companies of marketing to youths and even to children with new flavored cigarettes and brightly colored packaging.

Nearly 21 percent of Americans smoke — a total of 45 million people, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

(Reporting by Maggie Fox, editing by Todd Eastham)

Cigar Show Air Quality

Published in the New York Times November 22, 2007

At a Cigar Show, an Air-Quality Scientist Under Deep, Smoky Cover


The agitators met a few blocks from the target at a secret location, so as not to call attention to the devices in their bags.

They synchronized their watches. They reviewed the well-rehearsed game plan: If their bags were searched, the first operative, known as “Researcher 1 (female),” would say the device was for an asthma condition. If she was not allowed into the event with the device, she would activate Plan B: go to the ladies’ room and strap it to her body.

The man behind the subterfuge (Researcher 2, male) was Ryan David Kennedy, 34, a scrappy Canadian graduate student with crooked glasses who is studying the impact of tobacco on air quality.

He crossed the border at Buffalo on Monday morning and on Tuesday crashed the giant cigar party and trade show sponsored by the publisher of Cigar Aficionado magazine at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square.

A nonsmoking vegetarian posing as a cigar lover, Mr. Kennedy was nervous. Canadians are, for the most part, known to be earnest, demure and very law-abiding.

“I think I’m being watched,” he said before the event, known as the Big Smoke, which drew hundreds of cigar lovers and peddlers into a ballroom on the hotel’s sixth floor. He said he strongly believed his room at the Marriott had been searched.

Mr. Kennedy, who holds a master’s degree in environmental science from the University of Waterloo in Ontario and is working on a doctorate in psychology there, soon found himself in the belly of decadence. The ballroom was swarming with stogies — Bolivar, Ashton, Don Tomas and a dozen other brands — whiskey, tequila and exotic dancers.

Mr. Kennedy, who has also researched the level of particulate matter produced by smoking tobacco on outdoor patios, and Kerri Ryan (Researcher 1), a friend from college who lives in New York, sneaked their devices in the door. (Mr. Kennedy’s professor used a discretionary fund to cover the costs of the event tickets — $400 each — and other expenses.)

A tiny white plastic tube protruding from each of their bags like a hidden microphone took in the air, which was then measured for particles by the device, known as a Sidepak. The device can log 516 minutes of air sampling before the battery runs out, and is a well-established method for detecting dust and smoke.

Mr. Kennedy measured the particles in the air on Monday to obtain a baseline before the cigar smokers descended. Then on Tuesday he tested the air inside the ballroom and in various places outside the cigar party — at the elevators, in guest rooms and in the lobby. To log enough data on the air, he would need to stand in one place for 5 or 10 minutes and look busy.

If Mr. Kennedy and Ms. Ryan were lurking in one place for too long, perhaps seeming suspicious to security guards, they would say loudly, “We’re waiting for Sally.”

It was easy for Mr. Kennedy to prove his thesis: that plumes of cigar smoke lead to high levels of particulate matter in the air.

Marriott Hotels announced in July that it was making all of its hotels 100 percent smoke-free, but it has made an exception for the Big Smoke.

Opponents of smoking working with Mr. Kennedy said the exception was a glaring violation of the hotel’s own policy.

“The event is really a flagrant contradiction to their commitment to their guests and employees,” said Louise Vetter, president of the American Lung Association of the City of New York and a spokeswoman for the New York City Coalition for a Smoke-Free City. “The dangers of secondhand smoke are indisputable, and in New York City it is law to protect workers from secondhand smoke. We applauded Marriott, but to have this event in New York City and to create an exception — there’s no exception for public health.”

Under the state law, smoking is banned in most indoor places, including the Marriott ballroom (though there is no legal ban on smoking in guest rooms). But the law allows an exception for tobacco promotional events “where the public is invited for the primary purpose of promoting and sampling tobacco products.”

Cigar bars that were open in the city before Dec. 31, 2002, and can prove that they generated at least 10 percent of their gross income from the sale of tobacco products are also exempt; they can extend their registration each year if they continue to meet those criteria and do not expand or change location.

Kathleen Duffy, a spokeswoman for Marriott Hotels, said the company was honoring a longstanding contract with the publisher of Cigar Aficionado, Marvin R. Shanken, and had been the host of the Big Smoke at the Marriott Marquis for at least 10 years.

“We are not going out and booking smoking events at any of our hotels,” she said. “We did announce we would be smoke-free, but with this client we had an obligation.”

She said “we tripled our efforts” to keep the smoke contained, banning smoking outside the ballroom and increasing the filtration in the room, so that the smoke was funneled outside the hotel through air vents.

Under Environmental Protection Agency guidelines, air with fewer than 15 micrograms per cubic meter is considered good quality; air with more than 251 micrograms per cubic meter is hazardous.

Mr. Kennedy’s preliminary findings showed that the average level of particulate matter in the hotel the day before the event was 8 micrograms per cubic meter, 40 micrograms where he was waiting to get in line for the event and 1,193 micrograms inside the ballroom.

About 10 p.m., after one last measurement — “Elevators, 9:44!” Mr. Kennedy said to his assistant — he was bloodshot and stinky, but he declared the experiment a success.

Smoking in Open Air Public Places

Clear the Air contends that under existing Hong Kong laws any person who smokes in any open air public place commits several possible offences in addition to the legal obligations of employers and the occupiers of premises under the Occupational Safety workplace legislation.

Under the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance section 2, it is an offence to litter in public where “deposit”, in relation to litter or waste, includes to cast, throw, drop, discharge, scatter or blow such litter or waste; and “litter” includes: any dirt, dust, ashes, paper or refuse; any rubbish or debris; any other offensive, noxious or obnoxious matter; any substance likely to constitute a nuisance.
Smoking causes litter and ash falls to the ground and into the air as the cigarette burns. The smoke is lethal, offensive and obnoxious, and causes a nuisance to non-smokers in public places. Dropping butts causes litter and is an obvious offence.

Under the Air Pollution Control Ordinance section 10, “nuisance” includes an obnoxious event set out in section 10(2)(h) that includes the deposit of dust or particles of any kind; an objectionable odour; irritation of the eye, nose or skin or any other sensory discomfort.
Cigarette smoke in public places is obnoxious to non-smokers, causes the deposit of dust or particles, an objectionable odour to non-smokers and scientifically proven studies show irritation of the nose , asthma attacks and sensory discomfort.

Under the Public Cleansing and Prevention of Nuisances Regulations section 4, no person shall deposit or cause or permit to be deposited any litter or waste on or in any street or public place.
We have yet to see anybody holding a lit cigarette in a portable container to prevent the dust, ash and debris from being deposited in the air, street or public place.

Under the Air Pollution Control Ordinance section 2, “air pollution” means an emission of air pollutants which either alone or with another emission of air pollutants is prejudicial to health; or is a nuisance.
The lethal dangers to health of tobacco smoke are documented and scientifically proven beyond contest , the smoke is a major nuisance and air pollutant and highly prejudicial to health of innocent persons nearby.

Under Chapter 132X Section 10 Food Business Regulations it states: ‘Every person engaged in any food business shall, while so engaged, take all such steps as may be reasonably necessary to protect the food from risk of contamination or deterioration, and in particular, without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, no person shall- (a) so place, or cause, suffer or permit any other person so to place, any open food as to involve any risk of contamination’
Allowing smoking in restaurants whether open air or otherwise will allow the highly toxic micron sized chemicals in cigarette smoke to contaminate any served open or loosely covered food.

A summary of a recent Stanford University study on Outdoor Tobacco Smoke is attached herewith for your study.
“Our results demonstrate that Outdoor Tobacco Smoke can be high during periods of smoking in locations where persons are near active smokers.
Therefore, it is possible for OTS to present a nuisance or hazard under certain conditions. Examples of scenarios where OTS levels might be high include eating dinner with a smoker on an outdoor patio, sitting at a table next to a smoker at a sidewalk cafe, sitting next to a smoker on a park bench, or standing near a smoker outside a building.

Children who accompany a smoking parent or guardian may experience substantial exposure.

Outdoor restaurant or pub workers who spend a significant portion of their time within a few feet of active smokers are also likely to receive relatively large total OTS exposures over the course of a day, possibly exceeding the EPA 24-hr health standard for fine particles.
If one is upwind from a smoker, levels most likely will be negligible. However, if the smoker’s position changes or one spends time downwind from a smoker, then moving to a distance of 2 m can reduce the likelihood of experiencing elevated particle exposure because of OTS. Future studies should measure OTS levels for dynamic situations with multiple smokers, including continuous measurements of personal OTS concentrations or biomarker levels for workers in outdoor locations.

Support for health-based OTS bans may lie in a potential acute effect on susceptible populations.
Short term OTS exposures might be life threatening for high risk persons, because the human cardiovascular system is very sensitive to secondhand smoke.(31)
A recent before-and-after smoking ban study showed a decreased chance of myocardial infarction when a ban was in place,(32 ) which suggests that there is an acute risk associated with SHS exposure for persons at increased risk of coronary heart disease or with known coronary artery disease.(33)”

Real-Time Measurement of Outdoor Tobacco Smoke Particles
Neil E. Klepeis, Wayne R. Ott, and Paul Switzer
Stanford University, Stanford, CA

Particulate Air Pollution Short Term Effects

School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.

BACKGROUND: Numerous studies have shown that ambient air pollution and smoking are both associated with increased mortality, but until now there has been little evidence as to whether the effects of these 2 factors combined are greater than the sum of their individual effects. We assessed whether smokers are subject to additional mortality risk from air pollution relative to never-smokers.

METHODS: This study included 10,833 Chinese men in Hong Kong who died at the age of 30 or above during the period 1 January to 31 December 1998. Relatives who registered for deceased persons were interviewed about the deceased’s smoking history and other personal lifestyle factors about 10 years before death. Poisson regression for daily number of deaths was fitted to estimate excess risks per 10 microg/m increase in particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter <10 microm (PM10) in male smokers and never-smokers in stratified data, and additional excess risk for smokers relative to never-smokers in combined data.

RESULTS: In smokers there was a significant excess risk associated with PM10 for all natural causes and cardio-respiratory diseases for men age 30 years or older and men 65 or older. For all natural causes, greater excess risk associated with PM10 was observed for smokers relative to never-smokers: 1.9% (95% confidence interval = 0.3% to 3.6%) in men age 30 and older and 2.3% (0.4% to 4.3%) in those age 65 and older.

CONCLUSIONS: Ambient particulate air pollution is associated with greater excess mortality in male smokers compared with never-smokers.

Tobacco Smoke Identified as Toxic Air Contaminant

State of California – technical report citing Tobacco Smoke as a Toxic Air Contaminant

Proposed Identification of Environmental Tobacco Smoke as a Toxic Air Contaminant

Download the full report on the Proposed Identification of Environmental Tobacco Smoke as a Toxic Air Contaminant here.

This report, prepared by the staff of the Air Resources Board (ARB), contains an evaluation of exposures to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) in California. This report is referred to as Part A, “Proposed Identification of Environmental Tobacco Smoke as a Toxic Air Contaminant.” The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has developed a comprehensive health evaluation on exposures to environmental tobacco smoke, referred to as Part B. Together, these evaluations serve as the basis for ARB’s proposal to identify ETS by regulation as a toxic air contaminant (TAC).

Under the provisions of Assembly Bill 1807 (Health and Safety Code sections 39650-39662), the ARB is mandated to administer California’s TAC Program. The ARB’s exposure assessment is based, to the extent available, upon research and monitoring data, emissions inventory data, and information on exposures from data on ambient and indoor air environments, as well as, an assessment of children’s exposures (Health and Safety Code Sections 39650 et seq.). The Health and Safety Code, section 39655, also requires that each candidate TAC must meet the definition of a TAC, defined as “an air pollutant which may cause or contribute to an increase in mortality or in serious illness, or which may pose a present or potential hazard to human health.”

ETS entered the identification program in June 2001. Some of the information in this report is based upon data presented in the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment’s (OEHHA) 1997 report: “Health Effects of Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke” (OEHHA, 1997). Specifically, Chapter 2 (Exposure Measurement and Prevalence) of the OEHHA report was updated to include ETS exposure information developed subsequent to the data presented in the report (after 1995). The National Cancer Institute (NCI), acting for the U.S. Public Health Service, recognized the importance of the 1997 OEHHA report and incorporated it as part of their Smoking and Tobacco Control Monograph series (NCI, 1999).

This is the revised Scientific Review Panel (SRP) version of the report which includes the Executive Summary, Part A (exposure assessment), Part B (health effects), and Part C (responses to public comments) documents. This version of the report, along with the comments received on the public review version, will be considered by the SRP on Toxic Air Contaminants at a noticed public meeting.

The ARB’s consideration of ETS as a TAC will occur following review by the SRP. If the SRP approves the report, it will be presented to the ARB at a duly noticed public hearing, after a 45-day public comment period. If the ARB approves the report at a hearing and identifies ETS as a TAC, the information contained in the report will be used in the assessment of the need for control measures. Any consideration of control measures to reduce exposures to ETS, if identified as a TAC, will follow a separate rulemaking process, which allows for a thorough public process including workshops, and a public hearing.