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February 15th, 2008:

Smoke Bans Deter Young

Article from: Herald Sun Australia – Grant McArthur

February 15, 2008 12:00am

BANS in pubs and clubs have helped reduce the number of young smokers by 30 per cent in the past year.

The number of 18-29 year olds smoking dropped from 26.2 per cent in 2006, to 18.6 per cent in 2007, figures released by Quit Victoria revealed yesterday.

Smoking was banned in Victoria’s 7000 pubs, clubs, gaming rooms and cigar bars on July 1 last year.

Overall, the number of Victorians smoking has dropped from 21.3 per cent in 1998, to 17.3 per cent last year.

But tobacco is still responsible for 4000 deaths in Victoria each year and costs the health system $5 billion annually, prompting a graphic new advertising campaign to further lower smoking rates.

A new ad will hit TV screens this weekend, centring on the whistling noise of a woman breathing — the sound of air passing around a tumour as it tries to enter her lungs.

It is a noise Associate Professor David Ball from Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre hears all too often. “I’ve seen cancers the size of grapefruit in lungs and the person is not aware of it being there,” he said. “Approximately 11 per cent of patients will survive five years and that compares with an overall 60 per cent survival for all cancers. “The human stories I see occur in people who may have given up smoking 20 or 30 years ago, but because of lifestyle choice they made then they are now afflicted by a disease, which in most instances is fatal.”

Smoking May Kill a Million Indians Every Year By 2010

Agence France-Presse in Chicago – Updated on Feb 15, 2008 – SCMPIndia is in the midst of a smoking epidemic which will kill about a million people annually – or nearly one out of every 10 deaths – during the 2010s, researchers said.

And some 70 per cent of those people will die before they reach the age of 70, according to the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“I am alarmed by the results of this study,” India’s Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said. “The government of India is trying to take all steps to control tobacco use – in particular by informing the many poor and illiterate of smoking risks.”

The first nationally representative study of smoking habits and associated mortality rates found that some 120 million Indians smoke, although they generally pick up the habit later in life.

Some 37 per cent of men and about 5 per cent of women aged 30 to 69 smoke either cigarettes or leaf-wrapped bidis, which are unfiltered and contain about a quarter as much tobacco as a cigarette.

The study projected that by next decade that deaths linked to smoking will rise to one in five among males and one in 20 among females aged 30 to 69.

Men who smoked cigarettes lost an average of ten years of life, while smoking bidis cut an average of six years off the life expectancy of men and eight years off of the lives of women.

Even light smokers saw their mortality risk jump: smoking between one and seven cigarettes a day nearly doubled the mortality risk while smoking the equivalent number of bidis raised mortality risks by a third.

“It is truly remarkable that one single factor, namely smoking, which is entirely preventable, accounts for nearly one in ten of all deaths in India,” said Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen.

“The study brings out forcefully the need for immediate public action in this much neglected field.”

Indian, Canadian and British researchers led a team of 900 field workers who surveyed all adult deaths during 2001-2003 in a nationally representative sample of 1.1 million homes in all parts of India.

Researchers compared the smoking histories of 74,000 adults who had died with 78,000 living and adjusted their findings based on education levels, alcohol use and whether they lived in rural or urban areas.

They found about 61 per cent of men who smoked died between the ages of 30 and 69 compared with only 41 per cent of non-smokers.

Some 62 per cent of women who smoked died in middle age, compared with only 38 of non-smokers.

“The extreme risks from smoking that we found surprised us, as smokers in India start at a later age than those in Europe or America and smoke less,” said lead author Prabhat Jha of the University of Toronto’s Centre for Global Health Research.

“And, smoking kills not only from diseases like cancer and lung diseases but also from tuberculosis and heart attacks.”

Quitting smoking has been shown to greatly reduce the mortality risk. But it is uncommon in India, where only about 2 per cent of adults have quit, and they often did so only after they fell ill.

Casino Smoke Ruling

Casino Smoke Ruling / Just Pass The Ban

Published: Friday, February 15, 2008 – Press of Atlantic City

Well, this always seemed inevitable to us.

Why it hasn’t seemed inevitable to the casino industry – and why the industry hasn’t been more afraid of cases like this – is well … hazy.

A state workers’ compensation judge has ruled that a casino dealer’s 10 years of secondhand-smoke exposure materially contributed to her lung cancer. The dealer, Kam Wong, never smoked herself, nor did anyone in her household smoke. The insurance company for the former Claridge Casino Hotel is now responsible for any future medical treatment related to Wong’s work in the casino.

And this won’t be the last such case.

Yes, casino revenue in Atlantic City is down, and many in the industry blame the city’s partial smoking ban, which restricts smoking to 25 percent of the casino floor. The state’s public-smoking ban, which exempted casino floors, prohibits smoking in casino hotels’ other public areas. But at least one poll has concluded that more New Jersey residents would patronize casinos if they went completely smoke-free.

Besides, the debate is, in essence, over.

Revel Entertainment Group’s Atlantic City casino will be completely smoke-free when it opens. Last year, James Perry, then head of Trump Entertainment Resorts, said: “Generally speaking, we believe over the next three-year period, smoking will be banned in almost all casinos throughout the United States or certainly on the Eastern Seaboard. Long-term, we have to be prepared to operate these casinos in a smoke-free environment.”

And now, the court cases have come rolling in. The science about the dangers of secondhand smoke has been clear for sometime; more court cases will soon follow – and, almost certainly, in lawsuits posing far more liability for the industry than this one workers’ compensation case.

Atlantic City’s partial ban is not really being enforced anyway. The casinos’ plans for dividing up their casino floors into smoking/no-smoking areas or building nongaming smoking rooms will be neither cheap to build nor particularly effective.

It’s over. A bill in the state Senate to ban smoking on casino floors – just as it is banned in virtually every other workplace in the state – has been reintroduced. It was approved in the Senate last year but languished in the Assembly. It’s time for the casinos to drop their opposition and for state lawmakers to end the casino smoking exemption.

That would make Atlantic City’s partial ban moot. The casinos could drop plans for the expensive retrofitting of their casino floors. And the industry won’t look quite so culpable the next time a nonsmoking casino dealer with lung cancer goes before a judge or jury seeking damages.

Treaty On Illegal Tobacco Trade

WHO wants treaty on illegal tobacco trade by 2010

15/02/2008 AFP

GENEVA (AFP) — The World Health Organisation announced Friday that it planned to adopt a new international treaty on the illegal tobacco trade by 2010.

“We have finally assessed that we want a protocol on the illicit trade of tobacco,” Ian Walton-George, the world health body’s top negotiator on the issue, told a press conference at Geneva. The WHO has been meeting this week at its headquarters in the Swiss city to debate a new protocol on the illicit tobacco trade to tie in to its wider Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

“2010 is the date for finalising negotiations and adopting the text of the protocol,” said Haik Nikogosian, who heads the WHO’s anti-tobacco secretariat. The illicit tobacco trade is estimated to make up approximately 10 percent of global tobacco sales and costs governments between 40 and 50 billion dollars (27-34 billion euros) every year.

In African countries such as Nigeria, its share is estimated to be even higher at between 10 and 16 percent, lobby group Corporate Accountability International (CAI) said earlier this week. “Controlling this trade, controlling the prices is crucial to prevent young people to use tobacco,” Deborah Arnott, European head of the Framework Convention Alliance pressure group, said Friday.

Campaigners alleged ahead of the WHO meeting that tobacco giants Philip Morris, British American Tobacco and Japan Tobacco actively collude with cigarette smugglers to gain a foothold in lucrative developing markets.

“Transnationals benefit in a number of ways from the illicit trade in tobacco,” said Kathyrn Mulvey, CAI’s director of international policy.

This includes establishing a brand presence in new markets, and getting more people addicted to cigarettes — particularly children because smuggled tobacco is so cheap, she told journalists on Wednesday.

“Documents do show industry complicity in this deadly business,” Mulvey added.

The WHO said last week that tobacco use could kill more than one billion people around the world this century unless governments and civil society act to reverse the epidemic.

The existing FCTC agreement, signed in February 2005, aims to rein in the estimated five million annual deaths caused by smoking, which the WHO says will double by 2020 if nothing is done.

Illicit Trade In Tobacco Products

This note records the Chairperson’s personal view of the overall content of the discussions that have taken place during the first session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body on a protocol on the illicit trade in tobacco products. In accordance with decision FCTC/COP2(12) of the Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the template for a protocol on illicit trade in tobacco products prepared by the expert group (convened in accordance with decision FCTC/COP1(16)) formed the basis for these discussions. This note is not, and is not intended to be, a record of the discussions. Rather, it is an aide-memoire for the Chairperson and an attempt to capture the general tenor of the views exchanged during the first session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body. In accordance with decision FCTC/COP2(12), a chairperson’s text will be drafted and submitted to the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body for consideration at its second session.

See the full document on Drafting and negotiation of a protocol on illicit trade in tobacco products here.