Consider Quit Smoking Hypnosis to Kick That Butt

Stopping smoking success stories are wide and varied. One of the many methods that those who wish to quit have used has been quit smoking hypnosis. It is generally believed that quitting smoking is among the most difficult things a person has to face since the habit is so addictive even though it is life-threatening. There are absolutely no positive advantages to smoking. Nicotine is harmful from both a psychological and a physical perspective. Quit smoking hypnosis, an innovative new strategy for quitting smoking is increasingly being proven to be very successful.
Quit smoking hypnosis can be used alone or along with medication, and either way is highly successful, for three reasons.
The Psychological Therapy Aspects Of Quit Smoking Hypnosis
Since nicotine is psychologically damaging, it takes work on both the conscious and subconscious mind to reverse the way a smoker thinks about smoking. Smokers think they are mentally dependent on the drug, not just physically addicted. Hypnotherapy helps smokers realize they don’t need to smoke to fulfill something psychologically. A recent study proved that several sessions of hypnotherapy led 66% of people to give up cigarettes.
Quit Smoking Hypnotherapy Boosts Strength, Motivation, and Confidence
Another psychological effect of smoking cigarettes comes from previously trying to quit. If you have attempted to quit smoking but couldn’t keep it up, you have a mental reaction to quitting again that says you will probably fail again. But with quit smoking hypnosis, you can erase that pessimistic broken record and actually succeed.
And because you will achieve what you once told yourself you couldn’t do, your self confidence will rise. Your success will also motivate you later if you’re tempted to start smoking again.
Quit Smoking Hypnosis Helps Withdrawal Symptoms
If smoking is tied to regular daily situations, like smoking and drinking coffee, smoking after meals, or smoking when your friends go on their smoke breaks, it is even harder to quit sometimes. Quit smoking hypnotherapy will help condition your behavior to deal with these situations. You won’t have to work so hard fighting the urge to smoke; your brain will be ble to cope easier because of hypnotherapy. Don’t depend on willpower alone, or else you could relapse and start smoking again. Hypnosis is much easier and more effective.
Quit smoking hypnotherapy is very legitimate, and it quite successful. To get started right away with hypnotherapy sessions so that you can quit smoking as soon as possible, contact a hypnotherapist in your area. Your physician or the local hospital can offer contact numbers, or look in the phone book. Be sure you look up a licensed or certified hypnotherapist that has experience. You can even look up their referrals from past clients, or ask people who have gone through hypnosis for recommendations.
An alternative to hiring a personal hypnotherpaist is to use one of the many books and CD that are available from online stores such as Amazon. Ask a doctor for some references of good CD and book resources. Again, make sure these quit smoking hypnosis CDs come from a good company so the results are positive.

Smoking Myth

We all have our ways to continue smoking, nobody actually wants to smoke but many of us were scared of life without cigarettes. I thought about it constantly and ironically my over analysing was probably my key to actually escaping. I read constantly about smoking and researched my quit smoking project for years and years without it has to be said any real action.
The real reason I continually failed to even try to quit smoking was the myths that had built up in my mind. I had to learn about these one by one and deal with them before I could even try. There are lots of smoking myths that exist to keep people trapped but here are a couple that particularly affected me.
Smoking Myth 1 – Smoking helps me deal with stress
Now as an ex-smoker, I can hardly believe I ever thought this but I did and it stopped me trying to quit smoking for years. Like many people I had a lot of stress in my life and to be honest I could barely begin to contemplate dealing with this stress without my cigarettes. Well the truth is quite bizarre but definitely true, cigarettes actually make your life much more stressful . It’s true the simple fact is whenever a smoker is not actually smoking they are suffering the stressful experience of nicotine withdrawal as it slowly leaves their body. That stressful feeling is reduced only when you are actually smoking – when you stop it slowly builds up again. This is why people think it actually helps with stress because smoking reduces the nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
Of course non-smokers don’t have this element in their lives at all so smoking a cigarette would never help them because they are not addicted to nicotine. They have to deal with all the usual stress in life but the poor smokers have that bit more than the rest of us.
Smoking Myth 2 – Life just won’t be any fun
There is an idea that smoking is one of life’s great pleasures and by giving up we are depriving ourselves of that enjoyment. It is completely and utterly untrue but I’m afraid it was used by me as excuse to quit smoking. So why do people think it is a pleasure? Again it is all down to nicotine withdrawal and the stress and tension it causes. Smoking a cigarette improves the mood of a smoker because it temporarily relieves the withdrawal feelings they are suffering. Cigarettes then appear to improve a good time or make a bad time more bearable.
If you often say ‘I want to give up smoking’ then you need to understand they are doing to us. By that I don’t mean all the scary health stuff but the illusion of pleasure that smoking appears to deliver.

Majors to chew it over as big-league tobacco policy isn't up to snuff

Derek Jeter steps to the plate again, his jaw churning ferociously on some foreign, sticky substance. It’s just gum, and Jeter will prove that to the world now and then by blowing a giant bubble. But until the silly pink ball emerges, who knows?
It might be gum, yet it also could be a pouch of smokeless or dip tobacco — that stubborn, traditional chew of choice for baseball players throughout history. And this is exactly what drives Jimmie Lee Solomon crazy, because sometimes he just can’t win. There are enough bad examples in his world. The executive VP of baseball operations for MLB worries that kids will get the wrong idea, and that baseball will be hurled back into the Nicotine Age.
“It’s gum a lot of the time, not tobacco,”says Solomon, who has worked for 16 years to eliminate chewing tobacco and dip from the big-league culture. “Unfortunately, it can have the same, impressionable effect.”
You know the most dangerous of all drugs in baseball? It isn’t steroids, and it isn’t human growth hormone. Those performance enhancers are health terrors in their own right, impacting the very bones of the game. But legal, smokeless tobacco in its multiple chewable forms still provides the addictive poisons linked most conclusively to illness and fatal disease.
The Mayo Clinic identifies an assortment of horrors associated with chewing tobacco, whether it is packaged in the form of leaves, paste or twists: Tooth decay, gum disease, high blood pressure, oral and nonoral cancers.
There are countless, tragic tales of ex-ballplayers who suffered unkind, tobacco-related fates. The most famous of all is probably Babe Ruth, a frequent tobacco chewer, who died at age 52 from complications caused by a cancerous tumor in his throat.
Each year, about 30,000 Americans are diagnosed with throat and mouth cancer, many tobacco-related. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 20% of high school-aged boys admit to having tried chewing tobacco, in one form or another. Gum that is shredded and packaged like chaw likely only contributes to the trouble.
It is a major national health problem, linked fairly or unfairly to baseball by long-term association. When the sport sprouted in the mid-1800s, chewing tobacco was more popular than smoking. Player preference merely reflected that of society. The general public moved to smoking en masse when tobacco spit was linked to the spread of tuberculosis, but ballplayers kept chewing and spitting to keep their mouths moist and their gloves greased.
As late as the 1940s and ’50s, the vast majority of ballplayers chewed tobacco. By the ’70s, a new epidemic arrived. Free samples of dip, which is a more refined form of ground tobacco, became a staple in clubhouses.
The good news is that the numbers have substantially decreased over the past few decades. Education and penalties at the college and minor league levels have made a big difference. The product exists, however, even if the culture driving it has been diminished.
You can spot a handful of users in the Mets’ clubhouse, slightly fewer at Yankee Stadium. It is still there in clubhouses, the tin cans piled high in some lockers. Some teams — the Boston Red Sox, for instance — are more frequent and visible users than others.
A Harvard School of Public Health study found that a 2004 World Series game played between the Red Sox and Cardinals provided 9 minutes and 11 seconds of perceptible smokeless tobacco use by players and most notably by the manager, Terry Francona. That’s essentially 18 free prime-time commercials for manufacturers such as Skoal and Copenhagen.
Ask the dippers about it, many say they are embarrassed and don’t want to comment. Francona has been very public about his longtime battle with the addiction. Most are less forthcoming. Even a conversationalist such as Nick Swisher politely declines to speak on this subject. Many are self-conscious about the possible unwanted influence on young viewers.
“I don’t know if I use it because of nerves, but it’s a bad habit,”said Mets catcher Ramon Castro, who started at 18 and admits to two or three dips a day. “I only use it during the season. My wife won’t let me do it at home.”
Castro began chewing in Puerto Rico, and that has become a fresh problem for baseball. Many Latin players begin their careers in leagues that do not prohibit the use of chewing or dip tobacco. The habit once spread by Swedish immigrants coming to North America is now a part of the Caribbean and Central American baseball subculture.
“Latin players come from Cuba, or the Mexican or Venezuelan summer leagues, they’re not impacted by the rules,”Solomon said.
Solomon is talking about the landmark legislation enacted throughout farm systems after he began working on the project as director of
minor league operations back in 1993 — with the help of former announcer and player Joe Garagiola.
Garagiola chewed for much of his career because he felt it was the thing to do in baseball. Once he learned of its dangers, he dropped all euphemisms and began to call it “spit tobacco”to get his point across about the ugly addiction.
Garagiola calls the habit “a horrible, horrible thing.”He has some health problems now apparently unrelated to his chewing days, and has little patience for what was once his great crusade.
“I got tired of beating my head against the wall,”Garagiola says. “They haven’t done anything about it.”
Solomon argues that considerable progress has been made, in part because of Garagiola’s influence.
“There was a big effort with Fay Vincent, and now Bud Selig has carried through,”he said. “We try to offer alternatives — sunflower seeds, bubble gum for those with oral fixations. We have presentations on the risks. We’ve found less and less users.”
In the minors, and in colleges, tobacco is barred from the ballpark and while traveling with the team. If a player is caught, the fine is $100 for a minor leaguer at the Single-A level and below; $300 for a Double-A player and above. The manager of the guilty player receives the most punitive fine, $1,000.
“But it’s like speeding,”Solomon says. “There are only so many cops who are going to catch them.”
When these same players arrive at the big leagues, no prohibition is in place and there is unlikely to be one anytime soon. Any punitive ban must be part of a new collective bargaining agreement with the Players’ Association, and there are simply too many other topics on the table.
“Let’s just say chewing tobacco is not high on the totem pole,”Solomon says. “It might get done, but you can’t say.”
Meanwhile, players keep chewing and spitting, not always convinced they are inflicting substantial harm upon themselves. Mets catcher Brian Schneider uses the stuff, yet insists he can walk away from it at any time.
“I only do it during batting practice,”he says. “It’s a nonchalant habit, I’m not very conscious of it. I don’t crave it. It started when I reached pro baseball. Before that, my dad would have killed me. And my wife doesn’t let me. She hates it.
“If I never had it again, I wouldn’t think twice.”
He should never do it again, and never think twice.
© Copyright:Nydailynews

The Impact of Substance Abuse on Federal, State and Local Budgets

Substance abuse and addiction cost federal, state and local governments at least $467.7 billion in 2005, according to Shoveling Up II: The Impact of Substance Abuse on Federal, State and Local Budgets, a new 287-page report released today by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University.
The CASA report found that of $373.9 billion in federal and state spending, 95.6 percent ($357.4 billion) went to shovel up the consequences and human wreckage of substance abuse and addiction; only 1.9 percent went to prevention and treatment, 0.4 percent to research, 1.4 percent to taxation and regulation, and 0.7 percent to interdiction.
The report, based on three years of research and analysis, is the first ever to assess the costs of tobacco, alcohol and illegal and prescription drug abuse to all levels of government. Using the most conservative assumptions, the study concluded that the federal government spent $238.2 billion; states, $135.8 billion; and local governments, $93.8 billion, in 2005 (the most recent year for which data were available over the course of the study).
“Under any circumstances, spending more than 95 percent of taxpayer dollars on the crime, health care costs, child abuse, domestic violence, homelessness and other consequences of tobacco, alcohol and illegal and prescription drug abuse and addiction, and only two percent to relieve individuals and taxpayers of these burdens, is a reckless misallocation of public funds. In these economic times, such upside-down-cake public policy is unconscionable,” said Joseph A. Califano, Jr., CASA’s Founder and Chair and former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. “It’s past time for this fiscal and human waste to end.”
The report found that the largest amount of federal and state government spending on the burden of substance abuse and addiction—-$207.2 billion, or 58 percent–was for health care (74.1 percent of the federal burden). The second largest amount–$47 billion, or 13.1 percent– was spent on justice systems, including incarceration, probation, parole, criminal, juvenile and family courts (32.5 percent of the state burden).
“With health care costs by far the heaviest burden of shoveling up, to attempt health care reform without providing for prevention and treatment of this disease is like trying to make a Reuben sandwich without corned beef and sauerkraut,” said Califano.
The report, conducted with the assistance of a distinguished national advisory commission, follows CASA’s landmark 2001 report Shoveling Up: The Impact of Substance Abuse on State Budgets, which was limited to state government. Report Appendices C, D, and E contain individual cost breakdowns for spending by the federal government, 45 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, local governments, and three local case studies (a city, Nashville, TN; a county, Multnomah County, OR; a combined city and county, Charlotte and Mecklenberg County, NC).
In an unprecedented effort, CASA looked beyond the narrow categories of spending (prevention, treatment, research, taxation and regulation, and interdiction) to the much larger costs buried in government budgets such as those for substance abuse related spending on health care, criminal, juvenile and family court justice systems, incarceration, child welfare, domestic violence and child abuse, homelessness, mental illness and developmental disabilities. The result is the most comprehensive measure ever undertaken of the impact of substance abuse and addiction spending across all levels of government.
Key Findings

  • Of the $3.3 trillion total federal and state government spending, $373.9 billion – 11.2 percent, more than one of every ten dollars– was spent on tobacco, alcohol and illegal and prescription drug abuse and addiction and its consequences.
  • The federal government spent $238.2 billion (9.6 percent of its budget) on substance abuse and addiction. If substance abuse and addiction were its own budget category at the federal level, it would rank sixth, behind social security, national defense, income security, Medicare and other health programs including the federal share of Medicaid.
  • State governments spent $135.8 billion (15.7 percent of their budgets) to deal with substance abuse and addiction, up from 13.3 percent in 1998. If substance abuse and addiction were its own state budget category, it would rank second behind spending on elementary and secondary education.
  • Local governments spent $93.8 billion on substance abuse and addiction (9 percent of their budgets), outstripping local spending for transportation and public welfare.
  • For every $100 spent by state governments on substance abuse and addiction, the average spent on prevention, treatment and research was $2.38; Connecticut spent the most, $10.39; New Hampshire spent the least, $0.22.
  • For every dollar the federal and state governments spent on prevention and treatment, they spent $59.83 shoveling up the consequences, despite a growing body of scientific evidence confirming the efficacy and cost savings of science-based interventions.
  • With respect to children, for every dollar federal and state governments spent on prevention or treatment, they spent $60.25 shoveling up the consequences of substance abuse and addiction.
  • For each dollar in alcohol and tobacco taxes and liquor store revenues that federal and state governments collect, they spend $8.95 shoveling up the consequences of substance abuse and addiction.

“Despite a significant and growing body of knowledge documenting that addiction is a preventable, treatable and manageable disease, and despite the proven efficacy of prevention and treatment techniques, our nation still looks the other way while substance abuse and addiction cause illness, injury, death and crime, savage our children, overwhelm social service systems, impede education–and slap a heavy and growing tax on our citizens,” said Susan E. Foster, CASA’s Vice President and Director of Policy Research and Analysis.

CASA Call for Action

The report details cost effective methods to reverse these spending patterns and reduce human suffering. To stop the hemorrhage of public funds to shovel up the wreckage of substance abuse and addiction, the CASA report offers specific recommendations in its call for actions by federal, state and local governments in several areas:

  • Prevention and early intervention,
  • Treatment and disease management,
  • Tax and regulatory policies, and
  • Expanded research.

CASA is the only national organization that brings together under one roof all the professional disciplines needed to study and combat all types of substance abuse as they affect all aspects of society. CASA and its staff of more than 50 professionals has issued 68 reports and white papers, published two books, conducted demonstration programs focused on children, families and schools at 233 sites in 88 cities and counties in 35 states, Washington, DC and two Native American reservations, held 18 conferences attended by professionals and others from 49 states, and has been evaluating the effectiveness of drug and alcohol treatment in a variety of programs and drug courts. CASA is the creator of the nationwide initiative Family Day—A Day to Eat Dinner With Your Childrentm –the fourth Monday in September—the 28th in 2009—that promotes parental engagement as a simple and effective way to reduce children’s risk of smoking, drinking and using illegal drugs. In May 2007, CASA’s Chairman Joseph A. Califano, Jr., called for a fundamental shift in the nation’s attitude about substance abuse and addiction with publication of his book, HIGH SOCIETY: How Substance Abuse Ravages America and What To Do About It. In August 2009, Mr. Califano’s book, How to Raise a Drug Free Kid: The Straight Dope for Parents, will be published by Simon & Schuster’s Touchstone/Fireside Division. For more information visit http://www.casacolumbia.org/.
© Copyright:  Casacolumbia

UA Researchers Look to Stem the Growth of Tobacco Use Worldwide

Sunday is the World Health Organization’s World No Tobacco Day.
The focus of WHO’s campaign this year is the effectiveness of warning labels in getting people to stop smoking and using other forms of tobacco. Since warning labels first appeared on cigarette packs more than 40 years ago, Americans have generally taken these warnings to heart.
In the rest of the world, it’s a different story, especially in developing countries where smoking and other tobacco use is on the rise.
“Warnings are fine and make sense in Western countries,” said Mark Nichter, a Regents’ Professor of anthropology at The University of Arizona. “But we’re doing something different.”
Nichter and two colleagues – his wife, Mimi Nichter, an associate professor of anthropology, and Myra Muramoto, an associate professor of family and community medicine – have been trying to stem the growing tide of smoking and other tobacco use in two of the most populated countries in the world, India and Indonesia.
Seven years ago they formed Project Quit Tobacco International along with their research partners at the Achutha Menon Centre in South India and the Gadjah Mada University in Indonesia. The project is a pioneering attempt to develop what they call “culturally appropriate approaches to tobacco cessation within the health sectors of India and Indonesia.”
Those two countries, along with China, represent a large and growing market for tobacco companies. China, for instance, has more smokers than the United States has citizens, said Scott Leischow, a professor of family and community medicine at the UA and associate director for behavioral and social science research at the Arizona Cancer Center.
Leischow, who is also the past president of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, said women in China also represent a tiny but rapidly growing cadre of smokers.
Project Quit Tobacco aims to work on tobacco cessation by introducing the topic at ground zero: medical schools and clinics in India and Indonesia. The project has received a second round of grant funding worth $1.5 million from the Fogarty International Center, part of the National Institutes of Health.
“We need to change the norms of the medical profession,” said Mark Nichter. “We’re trying to get schools to introduce tobacco at every level of study.”
Doctors in Third World areas, he noted, often are smokers themselves, which seriously undermines any efforts to get their patients to give up tobacco.
Worldwide, he said, tobacco use is among the greatest causes of preventable death and disease. “Approximately 500 million people alive today will die because of tobacco,” Nichter said.
“In terms of its significance as a global health issue, tobacco smoking kills more people than malaria, maternal and major childhood conditions, and tuberculosis combined,” he said.
He added that by 2030, the annual number of deaths caused by tobacco will rise to 10 million, with half of these deaths occurring among the 35-69 age group.
“As a consequence, smoking will be the cause of one-third of all deaths in the next 20 years,” Nichter added.
Most tobacco-related deaths will occur in India, Indonesia and China, where smoking and chewing is on the increase. Almost 70 percent of the men in Indonesian are smokers and about half of the men in India use some form of tobacco.
While tobacco use in the U.S. is associated with cancer, in Third World countries tobacco use is a major risk factor for tuberculosis and diabetes. Those who have had tuberculosis and continue to smoke are far more likely to relapse. Smoking also exacerbates diabetes symptoms, especially heart disease.
Project Quit Tobacco also is developing “culturally sensitive counseling” that is designed to appeal to men’s responsibility toward their families. Smoking and tobacco use can consume a significant part of a family’s resources, not only to purchase products but to pay for health care costs related to tobacco use.
Scott Leischow said it isn’t unusual for a family to spend 15 to 20 percent of its income on tobacco.
“In a low-income country, that’s money that is not being spent on food, shelter or medicines they need. It’s an economic burden globally,” he said. “The challenge is that once a person starts smoking, it’s a highly addictive condition – an addictive as heroin, cocaine or alcohol – and it’s difficult to stop.”
Nichter said one goal is to emphasize to men that giving up smoking is a heroic, selfless act that benefits their families.
“We also want to turn this into a women’s issue. Women should also encourage men to stop to lessen the harm done by smoking,” he said.
Nichter said the potential to save lives globally through aggressive cessation initiatives has been well-documented. “By the year 2020, if adult consumption were to decrease by 50 percent, approximately 180 million tobacco-related deaths could be avoided.”
© Copyright: Uanews

Saskatchewan to impose long-awaited workplace smoking ban

Tobacco-control advocates are hoping the workplace smoking ban in Saskatchewan, which takes effect Sunday, will reduce smoking rates in this province.
For three years running Saskatchewan has had the highest smoking rates in the country and the highest youth smoking rate, said Donna Pasiechnik, the Canadian Cancer Society Saskatchewan’s tobacco control co-ordinator.
“That is a big concern to the Canadian Cancer Society, and should be a concern to everyone living in this province, because tobacco use is the No. 1 preventable cause of deaths and sickness in this country,” Ms. Pasiechnik said.
The workplace ban is a first step towards reducing those rates and providing Saskatchewan workers protection against second-hand smoke, she added.
Sunday’s launch of the workplace smoking ban coincides with World No Tobacco Day.
“This is a fitting day to launch a smoking ban to reduce exposure to second-hand smoke (in the workplace),” Advanced Education, Employment and Labour Minister Rob Norris said in a news release.
The ban is the result of amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations which prohibits smoking in all enclosed places of employment, including buildings, vehicles, other enclosed structures and underground mines.
The only exceptions are: Traditional First Nations and Métis spiritual ceremonies where permission is granted; designated smoking rooms for residents and visitors (such as in special-care homes) that are allowed by the Ministry of Health’s tobacco control legislation; areas of underground mines that are located more than 10 metres from other workers; and some self-employed businesses, vehicles and camp living accommodations with permission and when others are not present.
Initially the focus will be on education with the hope that any complaints can be resolved in the workplace. However if there are ongoing non-compliance issues, the ministry’s OHS investigators will get involved. Notices of contraventions requiring the employer to comply with the ban will be issued and repeated flagrant disregard of the ban could result in charges being laid.
The workplace ban is a first step, Ms. Pasiechnik said, noting that to reduce smoking rates Saskatchewan has to look at a much larger comprehensive tobacco-control plan. The cancer society is currently working with other health groups and the Ministry of Health to develop such a strategy.
“There are a number of measures we would like to see the government adopt, everything from better tobacco taxation policies to placing more restrictions on where people can smoke, including in cars with children,” she said.
© Copyright:  Nationalpost

Youth, Health Groups to Take Studios to Task

How many children will be exposed to smoking in G, PG and PG-13 movies this summer — and start smoking because of it? Which studios will produce the most youth-rated films with tobacco imagery?
These are questions that will be answered by a campaign this summer from the American Medical Association (AMA) Alliance, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, and the California Youth Advocacy Network. Their Movie Smoking Scorecard campaign, announced today, will include:

--  Mobile billboards that will drive around Los Angeles -- and the major
    studios -- today and tomorrow. The billboard shows a young girl asking,
    "Which movie studios will cause me to smoke this summer?" and promotes the
    campaign's Facebook page.
--  A scorecard that regularly tallies the number of tobacco impressions
    in this summer's youth-rated blockbusters.
--  Facebook pages that host the scorecard, a petition, Twitter feed and
    videos of youth commenting on smoking they have personally seen in movies
    this summer.
--  A letter-writing and petition drive across the country during the
    blockbuster season.
--  A strategically placed billboard located near -- and naming -- the
    studio with the worst summer record at the end of September.

The blockbuster season’s first example of smoking in a youth-rated film is 20th Century Fox’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” a PG-13 film that has grossed more than $163 million in the U.S. (as of May 24) and has numerous scenes of the main star, actor Hugh Jackman, with a cigar. Another PG-13 blockbuster, “Angels & Demons” by Sony Pictures, includes tobacco imagery and has grossed nearly $82 million in the U.S. as of May 24.
The latest research shows that PG-13 films account for two out of every three tobacco impressions delivered to audiences of all ages. Other studies have shown that one-third to one half of all new smoking by teens can be attributed to smoking in movies — and that exposure to tobacco imagery predicts established smoking behavior in adolescents. In August 2008, the National Cancer Institute released a monograph that concluded that movies with smoking cause children to smoke.
“The story of children exposed to tobacco images in film has an all too predictable ending: many of them begin smoking,” said Dr. Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, Director and Health Officer of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “Health professionals, parents and even youth themselves recognize this fact, yet studios continue to produce — and market to children — movies that promote tobacco. It’s time that movie studios stop ignoring the science and start listening to the very people who want to see their movies — without smoking.”
One such person is 16-year-old Elizabeth Nguyen from Orange County. After seeing “Wolverine,” she posted a video on the campaign’s Facebook page that tells the story of a boy at the theater who was imitating the character Wolverine by “fake smoking a cigar.” Nguyen goes on to say, “It just goes to show, what we see on the big screen, we remember. So please, stop falsely advertising smoking as the cool thing to do. It will just make your movies even better.”
“It’s incomprehensible for studios to defend their promotion of tobacco products in youth-rated films when you hear from teenagers directly that they are taking notice — and offense — to this onscreen promotion,” said Sandi Frost, President of the AMA Alliance, the 27,000-member volunteer arm of the AMA that, in 2006, launched its Screen Out! campaign to reduce promotion of tobacco in youth-rated films in light of growing evidence of the harm it has on youth.
One of their proposed solutions, also advocated in this current campaign, is for the Motion Picture Association of America to given an R rating to any film with irresponsible or gratuitous tobacco images. Two years ago, the MPAA agreed to factor tobacco imagery into their ratings, but health groups have seen no consistent or effective change.
All summer, youth can upload their videos to the campaign’s Facebook page (keywords: Movie Smoking Scorecard) to voice their opinion to the studios (Paramount, Disney Pictures, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Universal and Warner Bros.). Visitors can also sign a petition, read the Twitter feed and check out the latest scorecard, which tallies the number of tobacco impressions in youth-rated films.
“Young people see more movies more often than any other age group,” explains Karen Strach, Youth Coordinator for the California Youth Advocacy Network. “It is irresponsible for Hollywood to be featuring tobacco use in films geared towards youth, which is why this summer teens across the country will be encouraging the movie studios to eliminate tobacco use from movies rated G, PG, and PG-13.”
For more information on the campaign or the ongoing scorecard of studios, enter keywords Movie Smoking Scorecard on Facebook, or click on: www.MovieSmokingScorecard.com.
About the AMA Alliance
The AMA Alliance, the volunteer arm of the American Medical Association, is committed to public health promotion in their organizational mission. A not-for-profit organization of more than 26,000 grassroots members working in their communities, the AMA Alliance strives to ensure child safety, prevent abuse and violence, promote healthy lifestyles and increase awareness of available health care resources. www.screenout.org
About the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
The Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of the nearly 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Public Health comprises more than 4,000 employees and an annual budget exceeding $750 million. To learn more about Public Health and the work we do, please visit: http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov
About California Youth Advocacy Network (CYAN)
CYAN is dedicated to supporting youth and young adults by advocating for a tobacco-free California. We provide tobacco control professionals and young people with the tangible tools for action to mobilize a powerful statewide movement. Our staff is committed to changing the tobacco use culture in California’s high schools, colleges and universities, military bases, and all levels of the young adult community. http://www.cyanonline.org/
© Copyright:  Marketwire

Belmar tightens beach smoking rules even further

Cigarette breaks on the beach here are about to get more complicated.
Already known as the first beach in the continental United States to limit smoking to designated areas — under a law passed in 2001 — Belmar now plans to limit those areas even further, the Township Council announced today.
Until now, smokers were allowed to light up within 100 feet of smoking signs that stood every 400 feet along the beach. All told, 20 percent of the beach was set aside for smoking, enough to allow smokers to set up their chairs within the designated areas.
But beginning this beach season, each smoking area will shrink significantly, some to as small as 20 by 30 feet. Smokers will need to walk to the designated areas every time they feel an urge to puff.
And, unlike before, the boundaries of the smoking areas will be delineated by a plastic chain or a rope, to make enforcement easier.
“We think it’s a good step forward to making Belmar beaches one of the healthiest for beachgoers anywhere in the country,” Mayor Kenneth E. Pringle said, to applause from the audience.
Of course, few members of the audience probably were smokers. The council held its meeting today at the Belmar Elementary School, as part of a community outreach effort, so most of the audience consisted of some 160 students in sixth through eighth grades who might have been applauding because they got to miss science class.
Still, their applause seemed to delight the governing body.
“We want you guys to come to all our meetings from now on,” Pringle told the students.
The fine for smoking outside of a designated area will remain $25, the mayor said, but the Police Department will step up enforcement.
In the past, he said, three or four officers would sweep the entire beach and look for beachgoers who were disrespecting borough law. Now, two officers will be assigned to every four-block zone, so they can watch the beach more closely.
Also, the borough will assign to each zone a “customer service representative,” or an employee who will remind beachgoers of the laws and summon the police if necessary.
“The hope is that we’ll reduce if not completely eliminate cigarette litter on our beaches,” Pringle said. He noted that the beachraker cannot pick up cigarette butts, so the butts remain in the sand for years.
The public comment session brought tough questions for the council to answer.
“What are you going to do about smoking at night?” asked 13-year-old Dennis Lepore, a seventh grader and local resident.
The law applies 24 hours a day, Pringle replied. And spotting an illegal smoker is easier in the dark.
“Oh,” Dennis said. “Like (the smokers) hiding behind the lifeguard stands?”
“I’m not sure that’s what they’re doing behind the lifeguard stands,” the mayor replied.
Out on the boardwalk, Justine Cotugno of Howell, a frequent visitor to Belmar, approved of the council’s limiting smoking even more than before.
“If you want to smoke, go to a different area,” the 60-year-old said. “”It’s easier to clean up a smaller spot.”

Florida's Crist signs tobacco "execution order"

Florida Governor Charlie Crist didn’t try to hide his motives when he signed into law a $1-per-pack cigarette tax hike Wednesday, reported The Orlando Sentinel. “I view it more as a health issue than a tax issue,” said Crist, a Republican who broke with a career-long opposition to tax increases. “Ronald Reagan used to say if you want to kill something, tax it. It wouldn’t be bad if we killed smoking.” As of July 1, Florida’s new cigarette tax is $1.34 per pack. An equivalent increase applies to smokeless and pipe tobacco, but not cigars.
The extra $1 tax is expected to generate more than $900 million a year, to be used to offset Medicaid costs and fund cancer research, said the report.
With the increase, Florida’s cigarette tax goes from sixth-lowest in the nation to slightly above the national average of $1.23 a pack, the report added. Florida’s neighbors have some of the lowest levies in the nation: Georgia (37 cents), Alabama (42 cents) and South Carolina (7 cents).
David Sutton, a spokesperson for New York City-based Altria Group Inc., the parent company of Philip Morris, Richmond, Va., told the newspaper that Florida’s tax hike would prompt many consumers to seek tax-free ways to buy their smokes, whether on an Indian reservation or the Internet. “Obviously, it’s a big hit to our consumers and to retailers as well,” he said. “You’ve got a very difficult economy out there.”
Crist, who is running for U.S. Senate, had never supported a tax increase in his political career dating back to his time in the state Senate in the 1990s, the report said. At a news conference, the governor said the budget doesn’t include any “broad-based tax increases,” noting most Floridians don’t smoke.
Other states are moving toward increased tobacco levies. Among them are Texas, Wisconsin, Vermont and California. In Texas, the state Senate voted Tuesday night to raise state taxes on smokeless tobacco, with some of the money going to help pay for a program to encourage doctors to practice in rural areas, said the Associated Press.
Instead of basing the tax on price, smokeless tobacco would be taxed by weight. The change is expected to raise about $105 million.
The tax change is also tied to a tax cut for some small businesses. A Senate plan makes the increase in the smokeless tobacco taxes a tradeoff for reducing a tax levied on businesses that make less than $1 million a year.
The bill, sponsored by State Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D), was approved 29 to 2 and must go back to the House for final approval.
“It sounds to me like we’re interfering in the free marketplace,” State Sen. Mike Jackson (R) told AP. “What you’re doing is artificially raising the price of a product to Texans who choose to buy it just so you can have money to give it away somewhere else.”
State Sen. Kel Seliger (R), tried but failed to amend the bill to reduce the tax increase, a move that he said would have still raised about $50 million.
In Wisconsin, if a proposed increase in the cigarette tax passes, the state’s American Indian tribes stand to receive $81.5 million in refunds over the next two years, said The Wisconsin State Journal, triple what the tribes got several years ago.
The tax refunds on cigarettes sold by tribal retailers have shot up in recent years, as has the cigarette tax itself, raising objections from other retailers about unfair competition and from public health advocates who want the tax levied on as many packs as possible to stop smoking.
The tax would increase by 75 cents per pack under a proposal being debated by the state legislature’s budget committee, increasing the rebates by $18.8 million over the next two years, said the report.
“We’ve felt that this has been extremely unfair,” Brandon Scholz, president of the Wisconsin Grocers Association, told the paper. The tribes “should remit the tax just like we do.”
Ho-Chunk Nation spokesperson Anne Thundercloud told the State Journal that tribes are getting the same share of the tax they always have under agreements worked out between the state and Wisconsin’s 11 sovereign tribes. “In order to work cooperatively with the state, the tribes reached an agreement on…the refund as both an incentive for tribes to collect the tax for the state and as a mechanism for the state to collect tax revenues it might otherwise not be able to obtain,” she said.
The state is prohibited by federal law from taxing the sales of cigarettes and tobacco to tribal members on reservations, but the state can tax the sale of cigarettes to nontribal members, according to the report, citing thr Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
Under current law and the 11 tribal agreements, the state refunds to tribes the full tax on cigarette sales to tribal members and 70% of the tax on sales to nontribal members. The agreements can be ended by either side with 30 days notice, Linda Barth, spokesperson for the state Department of Administration, told the paper.
Bobbi Webster, a spokesperson for the Oneida tribe, told the paper that the tobacco tax refunds have “become increasingly important” to funding health care, education and housing for the tribe’s members at a time of economic hardship and budget cuts.
The state cigarette tax went from 77 cents per pack to the current $1.77 per pack in January 2008. Following that increase, tribes began to sell a bigger share of the cigarettes sold in Wisconsin, boosting their refunds from 3.9% of state tobacco tax revenues to 5.1% this year, the report said. The tax would increase to $2.52 per pack in September under Gov. Jim Doyle’s proposed budget.
Cigarette taxes in Vermont appear to be on the rise, but it is unclear how much, reported The Burlington Free Press. Lawmakers would add 25 cents a pack onto the $1.99 the state already charges; Gov. Jim Douglas is pushing for a 45-cents-per pack increase. The difference could be settled in a special legislative session on the budget next week.
Vermont House Speaker Shap Smith is among those who worry that cigarette taxes are not a stable revenue source, because increasing them tends to drive down the number of smokers.
And facing a $21.3-billion deficit, California lawmakers say they are considering a $1.50 per pack increase in the cigarette tax to raise $1.2 billion annually, according to a United Press International (UPI) report. “Given the serious budget shortfall we face, this is the year to pass the tobacco tax,” State Sen. Alex Padilla (D) told The Los Angeles Times. “It is needed now more than ever.”
At 87 cents per pack, California’s cigarette tax is one of the lowest in the nation, said the report.
Previous attempts to raise tobacco taxes in California have failed, in part, because people believe the tax is unfair, Frank Lester, a spokesperson for Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Reynolds American Inc. told the news agency. “The tax tends to be one of the more regressive taxes, meaning it falls on people of lesser means and working families.”
Meanwhile, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) has proposed a new per-pack tax on cigarettes to offset the cost of cleaning up discarded cigarette butts, reported AP. The city is studying how high to set the proposed fee, but a preliminary estimate puts it around 33 cents. The plan would have to be approved by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
© Copyright: Cspnet

Crist signs cigarette-tax hike, calls it a 'health issue'

Gov. Charlie Crist signed into law a $1-per-pack cigarette tax hike Wednesday – the biggest of its kind in Florida history — saying he hopes to kill the habit that results in thousands of deaths every year.
“I view it more as a health issue than a tax issue,” said Crist, a Republican who broke with a career-long opposition to tax increases. ” Ronald Reagan used to say if you want to kill something, tax it. It wouldn’t be bad if we killed smoking. It would save a lot of lives.”
As of July 1, Florida’s new cigarette tax is $1.34 per pack. An equivalent increase applies to smokeless and pipe tobacco, but not cigars.
The extra $1 tax is expected to generate more than $900 million a year, to be used to offset Medicaid costs and fund cancer research.
Higher cigarette taxes mean teenagers will never pick up the habit, and addicted adults might quit, said Brenda Olsen, an American Lung Association lobbyist.
Though Florida’s tax has remained flat for two decades, smoking rates have steadily declined. About 19 percent of adults, or less than 2 million Floridians over 18, smoke.
Still, smoking is linked to 28,600 deaths a year in Florida and requires $6 billion to treat tobacco-related illnesses, state analysts say.
“The rate of smoking goes down as the cost of smoking goes up,” Olsen said. “We’re not trying to make the product illegal; we saw what happened with Prohibition [in the 1920s]. But we certainly work very hard to create a smoke-free Florida and a smoke-free America.”
With the increase, Florida’s cigarette tax goes from sixth-lowest in the nation to slightly above the national average of $1.23 a pack.
Still, Florida’s Deep South neighbors have some of the lowest levies in the nation. Among them: Georgia (37 cents), Alabama (42 cents) and South Carolina (7 cents).
New York has the highest cigarette tax, at $2.75 a pack.
Florida’s tax hike is a double whammy for smokers. The federal tax on cigarettes went up 62 cents in April, from 39 cents a pack to $1.01.
David Sutton, a spokesman for the parent company of Philip Morris, said Florida’s tax hike would prompt many consumers to seek tax-free ways to buy their smokes, whether on an Indian reservation or the Internet.
“Obviously, it’s a big hit to our consumers and to retailers as well,” he said. “You’ve got a very difficult economy out there.”
The decision to raise cigarette taxes also has political dimensions for Florida’s Republican leaders. Crist, who is running for U.S. Senate, had never supported a tax increase in his political career dating back to his time in the state Senate in the 1990s. At a news conference, the governor said the budget doesn’t include any “broad-based tax increases,” noting most Floridians don’t smoke.
Legislative Republicans, who have resisted higher taxes since coming to power in 1996, also embraced the tax amid a $6 billion budget deficit.
© Copyright: Orlandosentinel