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05-10-2012, 10:23 PM #1
Blood test may help identify kids' second-hand smoke exposure: study
Updated 11:01 AM May 11, 2012
NEW YORK - More than half of the children who were part of a new study from California tested positive for second-hand smoke exposure - despite only a handful of their parents admitting to lighting up.
Parents may think children are only exposed if they're around someone actively smoking a cigarette, researchers said, or are unaware of where else their children might be breathing in smoke.
They said a blood test may help identify and reduce smoke exposure.
"What the test does is allow the doctor - in consultation with the parent - to figure out the source of exposure and then to eliminate it," said Dr Jonathan Winickoff, an associate professor of paediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children in Boston.
Dr Winickoff, who co-wrote an editorial accompanying the study, told Reuters the test can also identify if a child is being exposed to smoke without the parent realising it, such as by living in an apartment building where smoking is allowed.
Second-hand smoke exposure in children has been tied to - among other things - sudden infant death syndrome, respiratory problems, ear infections and asthma.
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) tested 496 blood samples left over from children - most age one to four - to determine how many of them were exposed to secondhand smoke.
The researchers tested the blood for cotinine, a chemical produced by the body after it is exposed to nicotine.
Overall, 55 per cent of the blood samples had a measurable amount of cotinine, which meant those children were exposed to smoke within the last three to four days.
Only 13 per cent of parents, however, admitted their child had been exposed to second-hand smoke.
"I think parents do not understand the various sources of potential exposure," said Dr Neal Benowitz, one of the study's co-authors from UCSF.
The researchers pointed out in their Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine report that some parents may also believe a child has to be around someone who is smoking to be exposed - but that is not the case.
For example, children can still get the effects of second-hand smoke if they spend time in a room where someone recently smoked.
Dr Benowitz and his colleagues said testing children for cotinine could ultimately prevent diseases brought on by second-hand smoke exposure by helping to detect the source.
"Once you know there is exposure then you can talk to the parent," said Dr Benowitz, who added that a doctor can ask if anyone inside the child's home or daycare smokes to identify the source.
Testing for cotinine is currently not readily available to the general public. Dr Benowitz said it is also fairly expensive at about US$90 (S$112) to US$100 per test, but that the price might come down as it becomes more widely used.
Dr Winickoff said the best approach would be to integrate cotinine testing with routine lead testing.
As for what parents can do right now, Dr Harold Farber, who studies smoking exposure and asthma at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, said they should keep their child away from places where people are smoking and places that allow smoking.
Dr Farber told Reuters that it is also important for parents to stop smoking themselves.
"You can't be a parent who smokes and not expose your child. Keeping it away from your child isn't enough," he said. REUTERS
Doctors say that it is also important for parents to stop smoking themselves. GETTY IMAGES
Justin L liked this post
05-13-2012, 11:46 AM #2
Not too long ago I was watching a program on marketing on TV.
While it is rather difficult or even prohibited to advertise cigarette smoking in the West, especially in the US and even in Singapore, it seems there are no such rules in INA. Smoking is even glamorized using famous models and it seems teen smoking is rampant and cigarette companies therefore love to do business there. There was much publicity about a two-year-old toddler who got into the habit from his father and became addicted to smoking.
It was also reported that around 400,000 people died from smoking-related diseases each year in INA as:
1. Cigarettes are very cheap;
2. They are freely available and school children can even buy them easily;
3. Smoking is addictive, therefore children apart from adults, will need to go back to smoking on a regular basis;
4. Cigarette companies make super profits as production cost is low and the demand is high.
But the cost to the smoker is very high too. As smoking is addictive, the smoker will need to continue to smoke to satisfy his urge. Disease will set in as even second smoke is harmful to the bystander. Illness will mean loss of gainful employment and income to the family.
Financial problems will soon occur as medical and hospitalization fees need to be paid. It will
become worse if the breadwinner lost his fight and became another victim of a smoking related death!
But cigarette companies continue to thrive if there are no strict regulations against cigarette selling and buying. INA is a very big market.
If very young school children, students and young adults can easily afford to buy cigarettes which are addictive, then it will be very difficult to stop the young from being sick and dying young.
Last edited by Loh; 05-13-2012 at 11:56 AM.
05-31-2012, 09:41 PM #3
A plan to reduce young adult smokers
by Amir Hussain
04:45 AM Jun 01, 2012
SINGAPORE - The Health Promotion Board (HPB) has set a new target for cutting down the number of "young adult" smokers - those aged 18 to 29 - from the current 16 per cent to 14 per cent by 2015, HPB chief executive officer Ang Hak Seng announced yesterday.
Noting that about 80 per cent of smokers pick up the habit before they are 21, Mr Ang said: "Youths remain a priority group when it comes to HPB's National Tobacco Control Programme."
Hence, the HPB is rolling out an integrated health programme with the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) to get youths to embrace a smoke-free lifestyle.
Under the new programme, the HPB will form a Health Alliance with student councils, fund Health Advocacy Projects and work with the ITE to start Health Promotion Clubs as a co-curricular activity.
It will deploy nurses as Student Health Advisers at all three ITE colleges as student health advisers and to provide health counselling.
The HPB said that the percentage of young adult smokers below 30 years old in Singapore has increased from about 12 per cent in 2004 to 16 per cent in 2010.
The programme will be implemented at all higher learning institutes - including polytechnics and universities - by 2015. Amir Hussain
08-16-2012, 10:15 PM #4
'Alarming' smoking habits found in poorer countries
Updated 11:02 AM Aug 17, 2012
LONDON - Two fifths of men in developing countries still smoke or use tobacco, and women are increasingly starting to smoke at younger ages, according to a new international study which found "alarming patterns" of tobacco use.
Despite years of anti-smoking measures being encouraged across the world, most developing countries have low quit rates, according to the study in The Lancet medical journal on Friday - and tobacco is likely to kill half its users.
There are wide differences in the rates of smoking between genders and nations, as well as major disparities in access to effective anti-smoking policies and treatments.
"Although 1.1 billion people have been covered by the adoption of the most effective tobacco-control policies since 2008, 83 per cent of the world's population are not covered by two or more of these policies," said Professor Gary Giovino of the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions in New York, who led the research.
Such measures include legislation in some developed nations banning smoking in public places, imposing advertising bans and requiring more graphic health warnings on cigarette packets.
The findings come as the world's leading tobacco firms, British American Tobacco, Britain's Imperial Tobacco, Philip Morris and Japan Tobacco lost a crucial legal appeal in Australia this week against the introduction of plain tobacco packaging.
Australia's planned "no logo" laws are in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations and are being watched closely by Britain, Norway, New Zealand, Canada and India, which are considering similar measures to help fight smoking.
Tobacco kills up to half of its users, according to the WHO. Smoking causes lung cancer, which is often fatal, and other chronic respiratory diseases. It is also a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, the world's number one killers. Other forms of tobacco use include snuff or chewing tobacco.
Prof Giovino said his findings "reinforce the need for effective tobacco control".
301 MILLION CHINESE USE TOBACCO
Using data from Global Adult Tobacco Surveys (GATS) carried out between 2008 and 2010, Prof Giovino's team compared patterns of tobacco use and cessation in people aged 15 or older from 14 low- and middle-income countries. They included data from Britain and the United States for comparison.
They found disproportionately high rates of smoking among men - at an average 41 per cent versus 5 per cent in women - and wide variation in smoking prevalence between GATS countries, ranging from about 22 per cent of men in Brazil to more than 60 per cent in Russia.
Rates of female smoking ranged from 0.5 per cent in Egypt to almost 25 per cent in Poland. Women in Britain and the United States also had high smoking rates, at 21 per cent and 16 per cent respectively.
The study found that around 64 per cent of tobacco users smoke manufactured cigarettes, although loose-leaf chewing tobacco and snuff were particularly common in India and Bangladesh.
With an estimated 301 million tobacco users, China has more than any other country, closely followed by India with almost 275 million. Other countries included in the study were Bangladesh, Mexico, Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay and Vietnam.
The researchers said the rise in tobacco use among young women was of particular concern.
In a commentary about the study also published in The Lancet, Jeffrey Koplan from Emory University in the United States and Judith Mackay from the World Lung Foundation in Hong Kong called for more investment in tobacco control measures, saying current under-funding was "extraordinary".
In low income countries, they said, for every US$9,100 (S$ 11,390) received in tobacco taxes, only US$1 was spent on tobacco control.
The WHO says tobacco already kills around 6 million people a year worldwide, including more than 600,000 non-smokers who die from exposure to second-hand smoke.
By 2030, if current trends continue, it predicts tobacco could be killing 8 million people a year. REUTERS
A man smokes a cigarette at Bondi beach in Sydney, Aug 15, 2012. REUTERS
Last edited by Loh; 08-16-2012 at 10:23 PM.
08-16-2012, 11:02 PM #5
Interesting. One of the problems with Big Tobacco is that they are being forced out of well developed countries (eg. event sponsorships, advertising, movies, etc), so they've learned to shift their profit focus onto developing countries with populations that are earning enough to spend and with less strict controls and govt intervention. Such as China.
Just for curiosity's sake, you should start a poll in the general forum (since it can relate to badminton in terms of health in general) to see how many on this forum smokes.
08-17-2012, 12:50 AM #6
08-17-2012, 12:50 AM #7
08-17-2012, 01:52 AM #8
Interesting because chewing gum is not even a health issue. It is banned mainly because of the damage and inconvenience it can cause to the environment like chewing gum on carpets and clothing, train doors,etc. But "dental gums" are permitted, whatever it means.
On the other hand, smoking can not only cause damage to the environment like dirtying the place, sparking a fire, etc, but also cause smoke-related diseases such as lung cancer,etc.
Smoking therefore can take away lives unnecessarily and can therefore become a financial burden to dependents.
Sick people also require medical attention and their absence from work lowers productivity.
Given a choice, smoking should also be banned in Singapore if even chewing gum is not allowed. But smoking is an addiction and has been a long-term habit with smokers. It is not easy to give up smoking, therefore the government has to be careful to take away this "democratic right" of the people. If there is a sizeable adult population who smoke, it will affect the popularity of the government negatively and votes could be lost. So to directly ban smoking is difficult since it is addictive. "Moral suasion" and health education seems to be the preferred method.
Some governments depend on cigarette companies to provide the necessary finance in the form of tax, sponsorships, etc. These companies can influence political parties since they provide the latter with financial support.
09-13-2012, 03:30 AM #9
Indonesian Men are World’s Top Smokers
ByTHE ASSOCIATED PRESS|
September 12, 2012
Men smoke cigarettes at a railway station in Jakarta, Indonesia, in May. (Photo: Reuters)
Indonesian men rank as the world’s top smokers, with two out of three of them lighting up in a country where cigarettes cost pennies and tobacco advertising is everywhere.
A survey released on Tuesday found that 67 percent of all males over 15 years old smoke. The sprawling archipelago ranked second only to Russia overall with a rate of 35 percent compared to 39 percent, respectively.
“We have failed in protecting our people,” said Health Minister Nafsiah Mboi, commenting on the rate of male smokers jumping from 53 percent since 1995. “We have been defeated by the tobacco industry . . . we don’t want this, we cannot accept this because our job is to protect people from cigarettes.”
More than 8,000 people participated in the study last year, which is part of a global series of surveys taken in 15 countries with heavy tobacco use and supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It also found a high rate of Indonesians were subjected to second-hand smoke at work, home and in public places.
Mboi said she was particularly alarmed to learn that nearly 80 percent of Indonesians are exposed to smoke at home.
“How is the number of parents smoking at home with kids so high? It means that they are damaging their children’s lungs, whether intentionally or not,” she said. “As the health minister, I am ashamed to let this condition continue.”
Indonesia has long been criticized for its lack of tobacco controls. It is one of a remaining handful of countries that has failed to sign the WHO’s tobacco treaty. Giant billboards promote cigarettes and commercials run on television and before movies in theaters. Local and multinational tobacco companies also routinely sponsor sporting events and concerts—advertising that has long been banned in many countries.
Most Indonesian men crave kreteks, a pungent mixture of tobacco and cloves, but brands such as Marlboro, produced by US-based Philip Morris International, have also gained in popularity. Around three percent of women smoke in the country.
Health regulations passed in 2009 call for a number of tighter tobacco controls, including bans on advertising and smoking in public places, but they have yet to be implemented by the government.
“It’s just sitting there,” said Mark Hurley of the Washington-based Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, who attended the report’s launch in Jakarta. “I think if there was high-level approval, the health regulations would have been passed a long time ago.”
Smoking-related illnesses kill at least 200,000 annually in Indonesia, which has a population of nearly 240 million. About a quarter of Indonesian boys aged 13 to 15 get hooked on cigarettes that sell for about US $1 a pack or as little as a few cents per stick, according to WHO. The latest national survey, however, only assessed smoking among adults.
Indonesia’s tobacco industry employs millions in the world’s fifth largest cigarette-producing market. Around six percent of the government’s revenue comes from cigarette taxes, and a powerful tobacco lobby has blocked past regulation attempts, including a move to ban TV ads.
Indonesian cigarettes are cheap by regional standards, with taxes less than 40 percent. Tobacco farmers have held massive street protests to denounce any push for higher tariffs or tighter restrictions.
The series of tobacco surveys included Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Mexico, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay and Vietnam.
09-17-2012, 09:34 PM #10
I think there are several good points brought up on this topic. However, I feel it is a freedom of choice. A freedom that our forefathers have fought so hard for. The chewing gum ban was uncalled for, but who am I to say? If we were to start banning things that cause damage to property and pose health hazards to the consumers and the people around them, then why not ban cars (these have a high death rate in the hands of inexperienced, inconisderate drivers), alcohol, skateboards, etc. My point is, it is all about responsibility; social responsibility. And banning is definitely not the way to go about teaching this.
05-30-2013, 10:04 PM #11
Retailers lend support to World No Tobacco Day
Photo: Ernest Chua SOURCE:MediaCorp Press Ltd
They will suspend cigarette sales, display anti-smoking campaign posters to cover up tobacco displays
By Alfred Chua
6 hours 49 min ago
SINGAPORE — More retailers across the island have lent their support in the fight against smoking on World No Tobacco Day by voluntarily suspending the sale of tobacco products today, as a voluntary welfare organisation (VWO) reiterated a call to raise the minimum legal age for smoking.
This year’s campaign sees 145 retailers, alongside supermarket chains like Giant and NTUC FairPrice, suspending tobacco sales, which Parliamentary Secretary (Health and Transport) Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim said is a “comparable” increase from previous campaigns.
“With more … coming on board, it shows that the business community understands the impact of smoking and would like to play a role, (and that) they care about the health conditions of their fellow Singaporeans,” said Associate Professor Faishal, who launched the campaign yesterday at a FairPrice outlet and Sin Wah Hong Coffeeshop in Geylang.
The Health Promotion Board (HPB) was not able to provide exact numbers for previous years.
As part of the campaign, retailers who have voluntarily halted sales of tobacco products will display anti-smoking campaign posters to cover up their tobacco display. Customers will also receive Blue Ribbon magnetic bookmarks in place of their usual pack of cigarettes.
According to the HPB, the prevalence of smoking in Singapore was 14.3 per cent in 2010, compared to 12.6 per cent in 2004. It hopes to lower the percentage to under 10 per cent by 2020.
Assoc Prof Faishal commented that the increase “underscores the need for renewed tobacco control efforts to tackle (smoking)”. He added that the issue of helping young smokers wean off smoking will be a focus of the Ministry of Health.
SATA Commhealth, formerly known as the Singapore Anti-Tuberculosis Association, is also hoping to raise the minimum legal age for smoking from 18 to 21.
Its Chief Executive Officer, K Thomas Abraham, said he is “in talks with high level officials to persuade them to look into it seriously”.
He added that the 18 to 21 age group is “particularly vulnerable, where people tend to experiment freely without thinking of consequences”.
“Twenty-one is a good age, because one would have experienced enough, and be mature enough to make decisions,” he said, adding it was time for more aggressive measures.
When asked about the suggestion, Assoc Prof Faishal stressed the importance of getting input from Singaporeans: “I think this will help us to have a more effective policy, as well as engagement from the Singapore community in trying to reduce the smoking rate among Singaporeans.”
Mr Tan Biing Yan, whose Sin Wah Hong Coffeeshop is participating in the campaign for the second year, said suspending cigarette sales has drawn some curious comments from his customers.
He said cigarettes only made up a small part — about 3 per cent — of the income at the coffeeshop.
Mr Tan plans to suspend sales for more days in the future. “What we are doing is also for the next generation, that smoking is not good. It’s not that type of culture anymore,” he said.
Last edited by Loh; 05-30-2013 at 10:07 PM.
01-19-2014, 09:35 PM #12
US surgeon general urges new resolve to end smoking
This Sept 14, 2005 file photo shows packs of cigarettes in a store in Brunswick, Maine. Photo: AP
Habit linked to more diseases such as erectile dysfunction and cleft palate birth defects
Published: 17 January, 6:31 PM
WASHINGTON — It is no secret that smoking causes lung cancer. But what about diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, erectile dysfunction? Fifty years into the war on smoking, scientists still are adding diseases to the long list of cigarettes’ harms — even as the government struggles to get more people to kick the habit.
A new report from the United States Surgeon General’s office says the nation is at a crossroads, celebrating decades of progress against the chief preventable killer but not yet poised to finish the job.
“The real emphasis needs to be put on the fact that we still have a major and tragic catastrophe going on,” said acting Surgeon General Boris Lushniak.
The report is being released today (Jan 17) at a ceremony at the White House, after a week of headlines marking the 50th anniversary of the landmark 1964 surgeon general’s report that launched the anti-smoking movement. Far fewer Americans smoke today — about 18 per cent of adults, down from more than 42 per cent in 1964.
But the government may not meet its goal of dropping that rate to 12 per cent by 2020, the new report cautioned.
Nearly half a million people will die from smoking-related diseases this year. Each day, more than 3,200 youths smoke their first cigarette. New products such as e-cigarettes, with effects that are not yet understood, complicate public health messages. And if current trends continue unabated, 5.6 million of today’s children and teens will go on to die prematurely during adulthood because of smoking, the report found.
Remarkably, the report adds more entries to the official list of smoking-caused diseases, including Type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, erectile dysfunction, the macular degeneration that can blind older adults, two additional cancers — liver and colorectal — and cleft palate birth defects.
“Enough is enough,” said Dr Lushniak. He urged new resolve to end smoking by increasing use of proven tobacco-control measures, including price hikes for cigarettes and expanding comprehensive indoor-smoking bans that he said currently cover about half the population.
The report also encourages research into newer ideas, such as whether lowering the amount of addictive nicotine in cigarettes would help people quit.
Here are some ways the smoking landscape has changed between the 1964 surgeon general’s report and today’s:
1964: The surgeon general declares that cigarette smoking increases deaths.
2014: About 20.8 million people in the US have died from smoking-related diseases since then, a toll the report puts at 10 times the number of Americans who have died in all of the nation’s wars combined. Most were smokers or former smokers, but nearly 2.5 million died from heart disease or lung cancer caused by secondhand smoke.
1964: Heavy smoking is declared the main cause of lung cancer, at least in men.
“The data for women, though less extensive, point in the same direction.”
2014: Today, lung cancer is the top cancer killer, and women who smoke have about the same risk of dying from it as men. As smoking has declined, rates of new lung cancer diagnoses are declining nearly 3 per cent a year among men and about 1 per cent a year among women.
1964: Male smokers were dying of heart disease more than nonsmokers, but the surgeon general stopped short of declaring cigarettes a cause of heart disease.
2014: Today, heart disease actually claims more lives of smokers 35 and older than lung cancer does. Likewise, secondhand smoke is riskier for your heart. Smoke-free laws have been linked to reductions in heart attacks. Today’s surgeon general report also found that secondhand smoke increases the risk of a stroke.
1964: Smoking in pregnancy results in low-birth-weight babies.
2014: Today’s report said 100,000 of the smoking-caused deaths over the past 20 years were babies who died of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, or complications from prematurity, low birth weight or other conditions related to parents’ smoking. And it adds cleft palate birth defects to that list of smoking risks to babies.
1964: The more you smoke, the bigger the risk of death.
2014: Smokers are estimated to shorten their life by more than a decade. But stopping can lower that risk; sooner is better.
1964: That first report focused mostly on lung effects and could not prove whether certain other illnesses were caused by smoking.
2014: Doctors now know that smoking impacts nearly every organ of the body, and today’s report said medical care for smoking-caused illnesses is costing the country more than US$130 billion (S$165 billion) a year. Add to that lost productivity of more than US$150 billion a year.
1964: Cigarettes were the major concern. “The habitual use of tobacco is related primarily to psychological and social drives, reinforced and perpetuated by pharmacological (drug) actions of nicotine.”
2014: “The tobacco industry continues to introduce and market new products that establish and maintain nicotine addiction,” Today’s report says. The percentage of middle and high school students who use electronic or e-cigarettes more than doubled between 2011 and 2012.
1964: That first report called for “remedial actions” to reduce smoking. Warning labels on cigarette packaging started appearing a year later.
2014: With warnings now everywhere, today’s report says, “We know that increasing the cost of cigarettes is one of the most powerful interventions we can make.” In 2012, the average price of a pack of cigarettes was US$6, largely reflecting an increase in state and federal taxes. For every 10 per cent increase in the price, there is a 4 per cent drop in smoking. AP
(I hope badminton players and others who are members of BC will take heed of the above findings and refrain from smoking or get rid of the habit if they are smokers. Not a bad resolution for 2014!)
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