Unexpected benefits found in tobacco

Researchers with Bay Pines VA Healthcare and the University of South Florida this week announced they have found a compound Alzheimer's disease derived from tobacco that may help memories of Alzheimer’s disease patients.
Cotinine, they say, reduces plaques associated with dementia and prevented memory loss in mice with Alzheimer’s disease. The findings were reported online in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
“We found a compound that protects neurons, prevents the progression of Alzheimer’s disease pathology, enhances memory and has been shown to be safe,” said Valentina Echeverria, a Bay Pines VA Healthcare System researcher and assistant professor of molecular medicine at USF Health.
“It looks like cotinine acts on several aspects of Alzheimer’s pathology in the mouse model,” Echeverria said.
Currently, Alzheimer’s disease drugs help delay the onset of symptoms, but none halt or reverse the processes of the disease, researchers said.
Previous studies have shown that people who smoke are less likely to suffer from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, they said.
Those studies have attributed this to a beneficial effect of nicotine.
The downside is that nicotine has harmful effects on cardiovascular functions and is addictive.
The researchers looked at the effects of cotinine, the major byproduct of nicotine metabolism, in Alzheimer’s disease mice.
They said cotinine is nontoxic and longer-lasting than nicotine and its safety has been demonstrated in human trials evaluating the compound’s potential to relieve tobacco withdrawal symptoms.
Every day for five months, researchers gave cotinine to 2-month-old mice that had been altered genetically to develop memory problems mimicking Alzheimer’s disease.
At the end of the study, the mice treated with cotinine performed better on tasks measuring their working memory and thinking skills than untreated Alzheimer’s control mice.
Long-term cotinine treatment proved successful: The mice’s performance was identical to that of normal mice without dementia, researchers said.
The compound’s effects, scientists said, may extend beyond Alzheimer’s patients.
They say the tobacco-derived compound also may relieve fear-induced anxiety and help blunt traumatic memories in mice afflicted with post-traumatic stress disorder.

China bans smoking in public venues – in theory

BEIJING — China launches a ban on smoking in indoor public spaces Sunday but the effort is widely viewed as vague and half-heartedChina bans smoking and few expect it to have much of an impact in the tobacco-addicted country.
The nationwide prohibition is designed to bring China — which has more than 300 million smokers, roughly equal to the entire population of the United States — more in line with health regulations in developed countries.
But it faces a tough test.
Tobacco use is deeply ingrained in China, where offering a cigarette is a common greeting ritual. Lighting up in elevators or even hospital waiting rooms is routine and second-hand smoke is considered a serious health threat.
“I don’t think this ban on smoking will have a big effect,” Yang Lei, a 32-year-old Beijinger who has been smoking for four years, told AFP.
“In China, when you are in a restaurant, people smoke even if there is a ‘No Smoking’ sign. When you eat with friends, few people ask others if it’s OK to smoke and restaurant managers rarely stop clients who smoke.”
Many health experts have warned that China, the world’s largest producer and consumer of tobacco, faces a ticking health timebomb unless it curbs smoking, and the ban marks a significant move for the Chinese government.
“The Chinese ministry of health has taken an important step forward in their tobacco control efforts,” said Kelly Henning, head of public health initiatives, including tobacco control, at the US-based Bloomberg Foundation, which finances anti-smoking efforts worldwide.
But the nation’s commitment to the ban remains unclear.
Similar temporary bans were introduced during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and last year’s World Expo in Shanghai, but were rarely respected or enforced.
The specifics of the new nationwide ban are sketchy and vague.
The ministry of health guidelines say smoking will be banned in “indoor public spaces” and that cigarette vending machines cannot be located in public places.
However, state press reports have said offices and factories will not be covered by the ban, and it remains unclear whether it will be adequately enforced in bars, restaurants, and public transport.
Tobacco kills more than a million people each year in China, where some brands can be purchased for as little as three yuan (46 US cents). Chinese and foreign experts say the number of smoking deaths could triple by 2030.
Experts point to the state monopoly on the tobacco industry, which accounts for nearly a tenth of national tax revenue, as one of the biggest obstacles to anti-smoking efforts.
Beijing dragged its feet in adopting the ban — its takes effect four months after the expiration of a deadline set by the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which China signed five years ago.
So far, there has been no major nationwide public awareness campaign to promote the ban.
Enforcement issues and penalties also are not clearly spelled out.
The guidelines say “operators of businesses in public places” must put up “no smoking” notices and take the initiative to stop smokers from lighting up.
Even China’s state news agency Xinhua said Friday the ban is “likely to be ignored by smokers, public venue operators, and the general public due to its vague content,” singling out a lack of clarity on penalties and enforcement.
“The crucial points are control, enforcement and collection of fines. Who will be involved? If these elements are missing, respect (for the ban) becomes optional,” said Teh-wei Hu, a professor of public health at the University of California, Berkeley.
Hu said he saw no high-level commitment in China to cut tobacco consumption.
“Given the Chinese political system, we need the premier and the president — or even the vice-premier — to raise this issue publicly. So far we have not heard any comment from them on this topic,” Hu said.
Chen Chi, a 22-year-old public health student, is paying his way through university by working as a waiter in Beijing. He admitted the ban was news to him.
“People won’t change,” he predicted. “More and more young men are starting to smoke.”

Is smoking in public places freedom of choice?

JEDDAH: Whether smoking in public places is a freedom of choice or not is a subject of continuous debate. The large number of smoking-publicsmokers in public places contributes to the rising number of passive or secondhand smokers.
Secondhand smoke is classified as a known human carcinogen, a substance capable of causing cancer.
In the past, smokers in Saudi Arabia did not respect the laws on smoking in government buildings, airports and hospitals. With the increasing number of smokers in the Kingdom, especially among youth, the government started to tighten the rules against smokers.
Crown Prince Sultan, deputy premier and minister of defense and aviation and chairman of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), banned smoking in airports across the Kingdom from the end of last year. GACA launched an awareness campaign to fight smoking in cooperation with travel agencies and government offices. The sale of cigarettes is forbidden in the areas around the two holy mosques.
Nonsmokers interviewed by Arab News called for authorities to fine people who smoke in public places, similar to the smoking fines implemented at airports. Nonsmokers believe that smoking in public places is not a freedom of choice, because it harms others directly. Some believe that smoking in a public place is a selfish act and deprives others from enjoying their stay outdoors. Others believe that smoking in public places influences children negatively.
Arab News interviewed over 80 people in shopping malls, near schools, and at the airport to hear their opinion about smoking in public places. All but two said they believe smoking in public places should be banned and is not a freedom of choice.
Omar Kamel, interviewed in Sairafi Mall in Jeddah, said that smoking is not a freedom of choice. “They have the right to kill themselves, but not others,” said Kamel. He added: “Smoking in public places is not a freedom of choice, because there are people who are negatively affected by it. I hope to see one day that smoking is truly prohibited on the streets.”
Saeed Faraj, a father of four, interviewed at a shopping center, said that smoking near children should be considered a crime. “I am a smoker but I do not smoke in a public place and I avoid smoking in front of my children, because I do not want them to pick up my bad habit.” He said that people should discourage smokers from smoking in a public place.
Muna Fahd, interviewed at the airport in Jeddah, said that people smoking in public should be punished. “I do not believe it is right that I have to leave the park or the mall, or move from where I sit, just because someone is smoking next to me. He should be the one to move, because smoking harms others. Therefore, he should isolate himself to smoke far away from people,” said Muna.
Akram Mustafa is a smoker who was seen smoking inside Red Sea Mall. He told Arab News that smoking was a freedom of choice and always should be. “I do not know why people are making a big deal out of it. If they do not like the smell, then they should move. It is always a question of who comes first. If I sit in a place and start smoking, then whoever comes later has no right to ask me to put out my cigarette. The opposite, of course, applies as well.”
Ahmad Fuad, an ex-smoker, said that he realized how badly he was harming others when his children coughed because someone smoked next to them. “As an ex-smoker, I can say that smoking is really bad and it should be banned in public places. What is needed is an awareness program on secondhand smoke, because many people are not mindful of that. Nonsmokers think that they are safe if they do not smoke, and that they will not get affected by a man who smokes next to them,” Fuad said.
Lujain Saleh, a mother of four, said the problem is that nonsmokers allow smokers to smoke next to them. “They should stand up for themselves and demand that the smokers extinguish their cigarettes. The problem is that many people are shy to tell smokers not to smoke, thinking that they are interfering with their freedom. Smokers in public places have no freedom to do so and, in fact, are violating the freedom of nonsmokers to enjoy the place without the bad cigarette smell. Actually, smokers should worry more about the health of others, but most of them — if not all — are selfish and do not care about their health and the health of others,” said Lujain.
Dr. Hussein Abdul Samiea, a chest specialist, confirmed that secondhand smoking is more harmful than firsthand smoking. It is preferable for nonsmokers to stay away from smoking areas.
“Secondhand smoke is one of the most important causes of serious diseases such as cancer, heart and lung diseases. Nonsmokers are affected more negatively from smoking than smokers. A smoker inhales only 15 percent of the cigarette smoke, while 85 percent of the smoke is puffed in the air and this threatens nonsmokers’ lives,” said Dr. Abdul Samiea.
The website of the Saudi Tobacco Control Program recently published a study by Ohio State University. The study included 52 children aged from two to five years, adolescents from 9 years to 18 years, and 107 students. The study found that passive smoking is particularly harmful to children. The study, in addition, found that the more a child is exposed to smoke, the more weight it will gain.
By RENAD GHANEM
ARAB NEWS

Nebraska lawmakers advance cigarette legislation

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A bill that would create a way for Nebraska to collect tobacco tax revenue from American Indian tribes Nebraska lawmakersadvanced Wednesday through a first-round legislative vote.
The measure would call for state officials to reach compacts with tribes so they could collect money to comply with a national legal settlement with the four largest U.S. tobacco companies.
At stake is $46 million in settlement money for health care expenses. The four companies have claimed recently that states are failing to collect escrow payments from smaller tobacco manufacturers that were not part of the settlement. The escrow payments were required as part of the settlement to keep small manufacturers from having an unfair advantage.
Grand Island Sen. Mike Gloor said his bill is intended to keep Nebraska in compliance with the terms of the 1998 agreement to reimburse governments for tobacco-related health care costs. The settlement stemmed from a lawsuit filed by the attorneys general of 46 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
The settlement requires the four companies — Philip Morris USA, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. and Lorillard Tobacco Co. — to pay at least $206 billion over a 25-year period.
Gloor said one of the four, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, withheld $2.5 million from its latest payment because it claims Nebraska is not complying with the settlement.
“We literally are at risk of having to pay back some of the money we use in the health care cash fund if we do not get compliant,” Gloor said.
American Indian reservations and federal trust lands are generally considered sovereign nations, immune from state tobacco taxes. In March, Nebraska Tax Commissioner Doug Ewald apologized to the Ponca Tribe in Niobrara after state officials seized $14,000 worth of tribal cigarettes on the mistaken belief that they should have had a state tax stamp. The cigarettes were returned.
But the state can collect taxes on tobacco sales to non-tribal customers.
Wholesalers within the Winnebago Tribe in northeast Nebraska collect about $250,000 a year in tribal tobacco taxes. The chief executive of Ho-Chunk Inc., the tribe’s economic-development arm, told the Legislature’s Revenue Committee in March that tobacco and gas taxes account for tribe’s entire tax base. Nebraska and the tribe already share tax revenue from gas sales.
Lance Morgan, the chief executive, told the committee that the bill was an attempt by the big tobacco companies to crush its competitors by eliminating their price advantage.
The bill advanced, 38-0, but requires two more votes before it clears the Legislature.

Reynolds, Philip Morris Lose Smoking Case

ACKSONVILLE, Florida – Morgan & Morgan’s Keith Mitnick won big last night when a Jacksonville jury deliberated into the evening before awarding $6 million in compensatory damages, and determining that punitive damages were warranted as well against Reynolds American’s R.J. Reynolds Tobacco unit and Philip Morris.
The case involves Patricia “Patty” Allen, who was born in 1948 and smoked for 36 years. She died of COPD caused by smoking.
On the issue of causation, Mitnick told the jury that circumstantial evidence would show that Patty Allen was affected by the tobacco industry’s public relations and marketing campaigns:
“She followed precisely the reaction that they intended,” said Mitnick. For example, when Ms. Allen was a senior in high school she started smoking, at a time when they were targeting teenage girls. She started smoking even though there was evidence of health risks, which showed that the cigarette companies’ attempts to bring the threat level down worked with her. She started her first cigarette with a filter, at a time when the cigarette companies were proposing an “illusion of filtration” that would allow smokers to respond to the health warnings by doing something that seemed different, rather than disregarding them. “She was a success story for the cigarette companies,” said Mitnick.
For R.J. Reynolds, Jones Day’s Dennis Murphy told the jury that Patricia Allen “was no wallflower, was no victim…This case is about a woman who made decisions for herself and followed through on those decisions regardless of who thought she should be doing something different.
“Now one of her decisions was to start smoking. In 1966…the year that the warnings were first put on cigarette packages — Ms. Allen started smoking regularly. She was an adult, she knew that smoking had health risks; she chose to smoke. And why not? Cigarettes were a legal product, had been all her life, just like alcohol.”
“Why did she smoke? The evidence will show that her friends smoked,” said Murphy. “Her parents smoked throughout her childhood. Later, smoking helped reduce her stress level, and reduced her depression. Ms. Allen suffered chronic pain from some accidents she had starting in the 1970’s, and took medication for that pain. Smoking helped her cope with the pain. There were lots of reasons she smoked, and that she kept making the decision to smoke.”
For Philip Morris, Winston & Strawn’s Dan Webb told the jury that Ms. Allen smoked Philip Morris cigarettes for just two years out of her 36 years of smoking, which was not enough to be a substantial factor in causing her addiction or COPD. Moreover, said Webb, neither Ms.
Allen’s decisions to start smoking nor to continue smoking were caused by any wrongful act by Philip Morris. For example, Ms. Allen was only 4-5 years old when the Frank Statement was published.
The jury found in favor of the plaintiff on all issues, concluding the Ms. Allen’s smoking addiction was the legal cause of her death on all theories, including negligence, defective product, concealment, and agreement to conceal. The jury allocated 45% fault to R.J. Reynolds, 15% fault to Philip Morris, and 40% fault to Ms. Allen. The jury awarded compensatory damges of $3M to her husband Andy Allen and $3M to her daughter Amber Allen. The jury also found that punitive damages were warranted.

Bismarck now officially bans smoking in bars, truck stops

Bismarck’s bars, truck stops and tobacco shops are now officially smoke-free.City Bar
The Bismarck City Commission accepted the April 19 special election results that put the ban into effect and set its start at 1 a.m. today, after the bars closed.
Final election results were:
— 5,282 voted to ban smoking and 3,563 voted no.
— 4,490 voted not to allow smoking huts and to ban smoking and 4,294 favored allowing smoking huts and banning smoking.
— 4,467 opposed using city sales tax money to pay for the special election while 4,187 favored it.
Some of opponents of the ban argued this week that the wording on the second ballot item confused voters because it mentioned both allowing smoking huts and repeated the smoking ban language.
No legal challenge came before the commission Tuesday to stop the ban.
The smoking ban was passed by the City Commission in late August and was scheduled to start last November. Bar workers filed petitions to put it to a vote, and the ban was suspended until the outcome of the election.
Audience member Rob Dickson said the wording on the second ballot was misleading and was “throwing people off and is unfair.”
Mayor John Warford said the ballot was written correctly under the legal requirements for referendums. After further discussion, the commission approved the election results with a 4-0 vote and set the start of the ban. Commissioner Mike Seminary was absent.
By LeAnn Eckroth, 250-8264, leann.eckroth@bismarcktribune.com.

Treasury to cut holidaymakers

The number of cigarettes holidaymakers may bring back from Europe without attracting questions from Customs officials is to be cut duty-free-tobaccoby more than two-thirds as part of a Treasury attempt to claw back some of the £2.2bn in tax lost to tobacco smuggling every year.
The proposed change, which sets a guideline limit of 800 cigarettes and 1kg of rolling tobacco, will reignite a battle with campaigners such as smokers’ rights group Forest. Simon Clark, director of Forest, described the move as “shocking”, noting that current limits of up to 3,200 cigarettes and 3kg of rolling tobacco were set in 2002 after an attempt to clamp down further met with outrage and legal challenges.
Treasury minister Justine Greening is to set out plans to slash existing guideline limits, bringing them in line with Ireland and many other parts of Europe. “It doesn’t actually change the rules,” she said. “People who are holidaymakers or travellers from the UK, who maybe want to bring back some cigarettes when they come home for personal use, they are not affected at all. But we do believe this will do is start to deter those people who are actually just using minimum indicative levels as a way of bringing in wholesale amounts of cigarettes.”
“The levels people [will still be able to] bring in are more than enough for their own personal use – that is not something we would, or should, challenge.”
This claim was immediately challenged by Clark said: “The Labour government was forced to increase the limit from 800 to 3,200 because there was chaos at airports and ports around the country, with goods and vehicles being seized all over the place. We have absolutely been there with the 800 guideline. It didn’t work.”
Under European law, smokers bringing in tobacco merely have to convince Customs officials it is for personal use. Official guidance, however, sets the level at which suspicion is cast on personal imports.
In 2002, when then chancellor Gordon Brown sought to impose a maximum guideline of 800 cigarettes, an opposition campaign won enthusiastic support from sections of the media. The Sun newspaper claimed it had been victorious when the level was increased to 3,200 after a series of stunts including sending its own bus, full of page three girls, to head a protest convoy of cross border shoppers to Calais. The Treasury also faced a legal challenge from cross-Channel operator Hoverspeed.
This time, Greening is confident she has the support of the tobacco industry and believes a guideline limit of 800 cigarettes – commonplace across the continent – is well established in European law. Campaign group Action on Smoking and Health is also supportive.
The Tobacco Manufacturers Association said it would not oppose the reduced guideline limits but noted the move would not be welcomed by low-income smokers, coming a month after heavy price rises imposed in the budget. Paul Stockall of the TMA said the budget imposed the steepest price rises on cheap cigarettes and rolling tobacco, the price of a packet of 20 cigarettes and a 25g pouch rising around 10% to £5.64 and £7.34 respectively.
“We would expect non-duty-paid [smuggled cigarettes] sales to increase,” he added.
More than one in 10 cigarettes smoked in the UK is smuggled or bought legitimately by overseas travellers. The figure for rolling tobacco is almost half. Tobacco sales nevertheless generate £8.8bn in tax each year for Treasury coffers.
The controversial move to lower guideline limits for returning holiday-makers is part of a broader package of measures which will see a 20% budget increase for Revenue & Customs’ 685-strong anti-smuggling team. Additional resources will primarily be focused on intelligence operations overseas, where seizures exceeded 1bn cigarettes for the first time last year.
The biggest loss to the Treasury comes from counterfeit tobacco products and so-called “illicit white” – brands manufactured for overseas markets and smuggled into the UK, the most prevalent of which is Jin Ling, which is made in Kaliningrad, Russia.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health said: “ASH welcomes the much of HMRC’s new strategy particularly increased investment in tackling smuggling. However, there is too much weight placed on collaboration with the tobacco industry which has historically been a major driver of smuggling, and no reference to the UK’s obligations to protect tobacco control from the vested interests of the tobacco industry. And there is no clear ambition for the size of reduction in the illicit market which they expect to achieve from this increased investment.”
By Simon Bowers
The Guardian

E-cigarettes ruled tobacco products

E-cigarettes have joined cigars and pipe tobacco as unregulated tobacco products, clearing the way for mainstream stores to begine-cigarettesselling the electronic devices.
Last year, a U.S. federal court ruled that as long as electronic cigarettes aren’t marketed as a way to treat or cure disease, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has no authority to block the importation of the battery-powered products.
On Monday, the FDA announced it would not appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Sebastian Cangemi, president of Liberty Stix, a Mayfield Heights-based manufacturer and distributor of E-cigarettes, credits the court decision with most likely saving his business that was formerly located in Willoughby.
“Smokers will now have access to a product that is a great alternative to traditional tobacco. And as the industry evolves, it will become an alternative that will change the entire world’s smoking habits,” Cangemi said.
“The majority of sane, anti-smoking advocates will also agree that this alternative, while initially pigeonholed as a substandard product, will soon become the norm.”
The FDA has indicated that it plans to propose regulations for the smoke-free nicotine alternatives.
Cangemi said Liberty Stix welcomes case-by-case regulation, adding that he believes his company makes the only American pre-filled cartridge.
Sellers of E-cigs say they are odorless, flameless and contain none of the carbon monoxide, tar, tobacco, smoke or cancer-causing agents found in regular cigarettes.
The FDA argued that the safety of E-cigs has not been proven, so they should be regulated as drug devices rather than a tobacco product.
Federal officials had been seizing shipments of electronic cigarettes amid concerns that the products were being marketed as safer alternatives to traditional tobacco.
By Tracey, ReadTRead@News-Herald.com

Chewing tobacco sends heart pounding

NEW DELHI: You thought that puffing away on cigarettes only could result in a racy heart?Chewing Tobacco for Kids
A new research by doctors from India’s premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences has found that even chewing tobacco – as less as one gram – significantly raised heart rate.
What was most significant among the findings was that when doctors asked patients with normal coronary arteries to chew tobacco in the catheterization laboratory, a striking transient narrowing of normal coronary arteries were visible even with the slightest chewing tobacco.
This, doctors say may not be such a major worry for youngsters, but when adults with already some amount of narrowed arteries continue to chew tobacco, further constriction of arteries would mean a significant decrease in amount of blood reaching the heart. This raises the chances of a heart attack.
Also, for the first time, the study showed that chewing tobacco could lead to peripheral vasodilation which means the blood instead of reaching the brain would remain at peripheral arteries like hands and feet
This could be the reason why most first-time users of chewing tobacco suffer giddiness and vertigo.
The study has now been published in the American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs.
Speaking to TOI, Dr Balram Bhargava, senior author of the study said “Never before has it been shown that chewing even a slight amount of tobacco could cause narrowing of major heart arteries by over 14%. For people already having narrow arteries with fat deposit, this would mean a further constriction and angina or pain everytime the person runs or is anxious.”
Twelve habitual tobacco chewers undergoing elective coronary angiography were included in the study. Changes in the heart were calculated at baseline and at 15 minutes, 30 minutes, and 60 minutes following the start of tobacco consumption.
Following coronary angiography, a continuous cardiac output pulmonary artery catheter was used to measure the right heart pressures and cardiac output. Having obtained baseline blood pressure data, 1 gram of tobacco was given to be chewed. Subsequently, data were obtained periodically over a period of 60 minutes.
Around 10 minutes after tobacco was given, doctors estimated the diameter of the left anterior descending (LAD) artery – one of the main arteries of the heart, by a coronary angiography.
The results showed that chewing tobacco led to a significant increase in heart rate (from 68.3-12.4beats/min to 80.6-14.6 beats/min) – the highest being at 10 minutes after consuming chewing tobacco. And cardiac output from 3.8-0.45L/min to 4.7-0.64 L/min, peaking at 15 minutes.
Chewing tobacco was associated with coronary vaso-constriction (LAD diameter change from 3.17-0.43mm to 2.79-0.37 mm).
One reason for this, doctors say could be the higher amount of nicotine in India chewing tobacco products like khaini and zarda.
The researchers estimated that Indian smokeless tobacco products for chewing contain more nicotine (13.8-65.0 mg/g) than American smokeless tobacco products.
Dr Ambuj Roy, associate professor of cardiology at AIIMS and one of the authors said although the ill effects of cigarette smoking is known to cause acute hemodynamic effects, there was a lack of data concerning such effects of chewing tobacco.
“Chewing tobacco not only increases the workload on the heart and makes in pump faster causing it to stress but it also reduces the diameter of heart arteries acutely,” Dr Roy added.
According to the recently released Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), 21% of Indian population is addicted to smokeless tobacco alone and another 5% percent smoke as well as use smokeless tobacco. Around 75% of the 275 million Indians consume smokeless tobacco products. A large number of children and youth in India are addicted to smokeless tobacco. Smokeless tobacco contains nicotine, which is highly addictive. There are 3095 chemical components in tobacco, among them 28 are proven carcinogen.
Smokeless tobacco causes oral cancer, pancreatic cancer, increased blood pressure and heart rate and adverse reproductive outcomes. One third of males use smokeless tobacco products. Khaini is used the most, followed by gutkha. Around 91% of female tobacco users use smokeless products like betel quid with tobacco is used the most, followed by gutkha and khaini.
Some hard facts:
One third of Indian adult men smoke while one half consume tobacco in smoke or smokeless forms.
Nearly 7 lakh deaths are attributable to tobacco use in India per year.
Chewing is the most common form of smokeless tobacco use in India.
Smoking cigarettes is shown to increase the blood pressure and heart rate.
Nicotine levels remain elevated for a longer duration from smokeless tobacco compared with smoking tobacco.
In India, smokeless tobacco use is higher among adult men and women than smoking.
Smokeless tobacco use was found among 38.1% of men and 9.9% of women, while 33.3% of the men and 1.6% of women smoked.
Kounteya Sinha, TNN

Tobacco rules apply to electronic smokes

RICHMOND — The Food and Drug Administration said yesterday that it plans to regulate smokeless electronic cigarettes as tobacco products and won’t try to regulate them under stricter rules for drug-delivery devices.
The federal agency said in a letter to stakeholders that it intends to propose rule changes to treat e-cigarettes the same as traditional cigarettes and other tobacco products.
The news is considered a victory for makers and distributors of the devices, which continue to gain popularity worldwide.
E-cigarettes are plastic and metal devices that heat a liquid nicotine solution in a disposable cartridge, creating vapor that the “smoker’’ inhales. A tiny light on the tip even glows like a tobacco cigarette.
Users and distributors say e-cigarettes address both the nicotine addiction and the behavioral aspects of smoking — the holding of the cigarette, the puffing, seeing the smoke come out, and the hand motion — without the more than 4,000 chemicals found in cigarettes.
First marketed overseas in 2002, e-cigarettes didn’t become easily available in the United States until late 2006. Now, the industry has grown from the thousands of users in 2006 to several million worldwide, with tens of thousands new e-smokers every week.
No timeline has been set on the proposed rule changes.
The FDA said e-cigarettes could still be regulated as drugs or drug-delivery devices if they are “marketed for therapeutic purposes,’’ — for example, as a stop-smoking aid.
Craig Weiss, president of Sottera Inc., the Arizona-based company involved in the lawsuit that led to the FDA’s decision, said he was “very happy’’ with the agency’s decision.
Jason Healy, president of e-cigarette maker Blu Cigs, also praised the decision. Once the FDA’s rules covering e-cigarettes are in place, he said, they will help in “weeding out the shady companies.’’
Some e-cigarette makers have claimed that the products will help smokers quit using traditional cigarettes, while other manufacturers have tried to steer clear of the issue.
Nearly 46 million Americans smoke cigarettes. About 40 percent try to quit each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But unlike nicotine patches or gums, e-smokes have operated in a legal gray area.
The FDA lost a court case last year after trying to treat e-cigarettes as drug-delivery devices, rather than tobacco products. A federal appeals court ruled that electronic cigarettes should be regulated as tobacco products rather than as drug-delivery devices, which must satisfy more stringent requirements such as expensive clinical trials to prove they are safe and effective. The FDA had until yesterday to appeal to the Supreme Court.
The agency issued warning letters last year to several makers of e-cigarettes and their components, saying the companies’ health claims and manufacturing practices broke the law.
The FDA has said its tests found that the liquid in some electronic cigarettes contained toxins besides nicotine — which is toxic in large doses — as well as carcinogens that occur naturally in tobacco.
By Michael Felberbaum, Boston.com