One Drug May Help People Put Out The Cigarette

A popular smoking cessation drug dramatically reduced the amount a heavy drinker will consume, a new Yale School of Medicine study has found. Heavy-drinking smokers in a laboratory setting were much less likely to drink after taking the drug varenicline compared to those taking a placebo, according to a study published online in the journal Biological Psychiatry.
The group taking varenicline, sold as a stop-smoking aid under the name Chantix, reported feeling fewer cravings for alcohol and less intoxicated when they did drink. They were also much more likely to remain abstinent after being offered drinks than those who received a placebo, the study found.
Additionally, there were no adverse effects associated with combining varenicline with alcohol in the doses studied. When combined with low doses of alcohol, varenicline did not change blood pressure or heart rate, nor did it seem to induce nausea or dizziness.
“We anticipate that the results of this preliminary study will trigger clinical trials of varenicline as a primary treatment for alcohol use disorders, and as a potential dual treatment for alcohol and tobacco use disorders,” said Sherry McKee, associate professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine and lead author of the study. Smokers are more likely to drink alcohol and to consume greater quantities of alcohol, and they are four times more likely to meet criteria for alcohol use disorders. Diseases related to tobacco use are the leading causes of death in alcoholics.
“A medication such as varenicline, which may target shared biological systems in alcohol and nicotine use, holds promise as a treatment for individuals with both disorders” according to McKee.
McKee said that 80% of participants receiving varenicline did not take a drink at all, compared to 30% of the placebo group. The findings suggest that varenicline has the potential to be at least as effective in reducing drinking as naltrexone, another drug found to reduce alcohol consumption in heavy drinkers. Unlike naltrexone, varenicline is not metabolized by the liver and may be safe to use by those with impaired liver function, a frequent consequence of heavy alcohol use, McKee said.

Smoking, Drinking Should Matter in Movie Ratings, Parent Survey Finds

Although many parents believe smoking and drinking alcohol should be factored into movie ratings, fewer than half of parents surveyed felt such behaviors warranted an “R” rating for a film.
And, only about one-quarter felt that smoking in movies was enough of a factor on its own to justify an R rating. Yet, past studies have shown that high exposure to smoking scenes in movies increases the risk of teen smoking.
“Parents need to know that in terms of risk factors for smoking and possibly alcohol use, movies have a strong influence on children,” said the study’s lead author, Meghan Longacre, an instructor and research coordinator at the Hood Center for Children and Families at Dartmouth Medical School in Lebanon, N.H.
“I think our study suggests that researchers and public health advocates need to do a bit more work to educate parents about the relationship between movie smoking exposure and children’s initiation, and to motivate and assist them to monitor their children’s movie viewing,” she added.
Dr. Jonathan Pletcher, an adolescent medicine specialist at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, said the “onus can’t all be on the parents. This goes beyond what a parent is able to control in our society. Kids are getting bombarded with these messages every day.”
But, Pletcher added, smoking and drinking are definitely things that parents should try to talk about with their children. That way, you can help put these behaviors into context and convey your own values to your child, he said.
The current Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating system judges films based on adult themes, violence, language, nudity, sex and drug use. Because research has linked movie smoking with an increased risk of teen smoking, public health advocates have requested that smoking behavior also be included in the rating system, according to background information in the study, which was published in the March issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
The MPAA recently said it would consider smoking along with many other factors in rating films. However, the MPAA doesn’t take alcohol use into account.
To assess the importance of these behaviors to parents, Longacre and her colleagues interviewed 2,564 parents from New Hampshire and Vermont about movie ratings. Most of the parents surveyed were mothers, and most were white. Their children were between the ages of 9 and 15 years.
Just over half felt that cigarettes should be factored into the ratings system, while 66 percent felt alcohol use should be. Almost 29 percent of parents thought that smoking in a film justified an R rating. Nearly 42 percent said that alcohol consumption was enough by itself to garner an R designation.
Longacre said the researchers were somewhat surprised that the parents seemed to be more concerned about drinking in movies than smoking. “It could reflect the fact that parents aren’t aware of the research on exposure to movie smoking,” she said. Or, “it also could reflect a greater recognition that adolescents are more likely to drink than smoke, and/or a greater concern with the negative consequences of teen drinking that may seem more immediate and dire to parents, such as drinking and driving, compared to the longer-term health consequences of smoking.”
Pletcher pointed out one weakness of the study — there wasn’t a great deal of diversity in the study population, and he noted that there are “wide variations in how much people smoke or drink in different communities. In different areas, it’s quite possible you’d get different results.”
Source: Healthday ®

Minister rules out tobacco ban

The Government will not ban tobacco displays in shops, says Health Minister Tony Ryall.
Confirmation of the decision, previously signalled by Prime Minister John Key, came yesterday in Mr Ryall’s response to a petition which asked for cigarettes and tobacco to be stored out of sight in retail outlets.
Parliament’s health select committee backed the petition, but it also said evidence could not directly link the banning of displays with decreasing smoking rates.
Mr Ryall said the Government was committed to reducing smoking and was prepared to consider any new and effective initiatives.
“The Government will consider any options, including legislation, if international or domestic research gives us a compelling case that it would lead to a significant decrease in tobacco use. I have asked the ministry to keep monitoring international moves in this area.”
The New Zealand Medical Association urged Mr Ryall to reconsider.
“Stopping the tobacco industry from advertising its products at point of sale is a vital step towards ensuring that the next generation of young New Zealanders don’t get hooked on an addictive product which kills half of its long-term users,” said association chairman Peter Foley.

The Nurses Organisation and the Dental Association said they were dismayed by the decision.
Research showed that young people did notice tobacco displays, a joint statement said, and teenagers who saw them were more likely to start smoking.

Smoking-ban change

A judge should throw out the criminal charges filed against five people who allegedly were smoking cigarettes in public last year, a Peoria lawyer says.
The reason? Recent changes to the state’s smoking ban. Daniel O’Day will argue the issue at 9 a.m. March 24.
In motions filed in Will County Judge Jim Egan’s courtroom, O’Day cited legislation signed Feb. 4 by Gov. Pat Quinn. It clarifies a once-murky section of the Illinois Smoke Free Act, a law that made its debut Jan. 1, 2008, and forbids smoking in most public places.
In the past, if someone was ticketed for smoking in Will County, there were two courses of action: pay a fine or go to court. Now, if someone gets a ticket and wants to fight the fine, the Illinois Department of Public Health will hold an administrative hearing.
The violations are a civil — not a criminal — matter.
“You cannot take people to court over it,” O’Day said.

The Leading Ban and the Smoking Prohibition.

In Europe the leading ban is smoking ban in public places. Smoking was banned only for to promote a healthier lifestyle in a country where smoking is very popular and the population is in decline. Russia also dreams about a healthy life style.
In Russia there are few non-smoking areas but instead of this there are many restaurants which continue to be full of cigarette smoke.
In Russia smokers smoke even in public places such as airports, railway stations, and underground railway. For example in airports they congregate in overcrowded smoking zones or male toilets to puff on cigarettes beside the urinals before boarding their flights, but in railway stations smokers smoke at the back of railway carriages.
Researchers said that in Russia around 40 percent of all adults smoke.
Nightclub owners in Moscow were not thrilled at the prospect of a smoking ban.
“In New York, only 20 percent of the nightclubs survived after the smoking ban was introduced even though the climate allows people to go outside and smoke,” said the owner of two of Moscow’s best-known nightclubs, Georgy Petrushin.
In Russia cigarettes cost about $1 a packet.
But the government wants to promote a healthier lifestyle in Russia because a the average life expectancy for men is under 60, far lower than in Western Europe, and the population is declining also.