Entries in Cigarettes (27)


Many Smokers Will Have a Hard Time Lighting Up on New Year's Day

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The new year is bringing in a new set of restrictions for smokers.

Starting on Jan. 1, a number of towns and workplaces across the country are enacting new rules that will make it harder for people to find a spot to light up.

The Wall Street Journal reports that beginning on Tuesday, workers at 3M's headquarters in Saint Paul, Minn., may have to drive a quarter of a mile to a strip mall parking lot to have a cigarette because smoking will be banned everywhere on the corporate campus.

The newspaper says that state workers in Delaware also will have to go hunting for a place to smoke on New Year's Day, as all state property -- indoor and outdoor -- becomes smoke-free.  The new rule in Delaware applies not only to tobacco products, but also to electronic cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and hookahs, according to the Journal.

Similar efforts are being discussed by officials from Maine to California as governments and businesses aim to protect non-smokers from secondhand smoke, the Journal says.  

The new rules come as fewer people are lighting up.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the number of U.S. adults who smoke dropped to 19 percent in 2011.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


St. Paul, Minn., Cracks Down on Candy Cigarettes

Courtesy Tobi Lynden(ST. PAUL, Minn.) -- A mom-and-pop candy shop in St. Paul, Minn., got a Prohibition-style visit from authorities who threw the book at the owners for selling cigarettes and cigars to children, even though they were made only of bubble gum.

An official with the city's Department of Safety and Inspection who visited Lynden's Soda Fountain last week told the gum slingers to pack up their best-selling candy cigarettes, Big League Chew and bubble gum cigars, or face a $500 fine, proprietor Tobi Lynden told ABC News.

"This a tiny little shop.  We've got a soda fountain from the '50s, and sell nostalgic candy and ice cream.  It's a very neighborhoody place," Lynden said.

Citing a 2009 city ordinance that banned the sale of candy cigarettes for fear they'd promote smoking to minors, the health inspector told Lynden that she had to remove the offending candy or face the consequences.

Lynden complied and stored the candy sticks in the shop's basement away from the public.

When news of the crackdown hit Facebook, some took to the Web to complain.

"Wow.  Unfortunately, my grandson started smoking, and I am willing to bet he never saw a candy cigar or cigarette.  If they think that is the problem they need some new people on that committee," a woman named Becky Silver posted on the candy shop's Facebook page.

Lynden, a mother and a former nurse, said she was complying with the law but was torn as to its efficacy.

"I see both sides.  We don't want to be promoters of kids having lifelong cigarette smoking habits.  We care about kids and health.  But if the city is worried about cigarettes, maybe they should ban cigarettes," she said.

Maine and Tennessee have statewide bans on candy cigarettes, as do Thailand, Canada and Australia.

Calls to the St. Paul Department of Safety and Inspection were not returned.  Spokesman Robert Humphrey, however, told the Star Tribune: "We enforce this on a complaint basis.  This isn't taking time away from any major enforcement [actions]."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Report: Raising Cigarette Tax Could Deter Smoking

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new report by the Congressional Budget Office, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, says raising cigarette taxes by just 50 cents could save lives. The report estimates that if the tax is implemented, 200,000 cigarette-related deaths could be avoided.

Dr. John Spangler with the Wake Forest School of Medicine in Wintston-Salem, N.C. says this method has worked in the past.

"Research has consistently shown that as you raise the cigarette tax, you decrease use," he says. "Every state that has increased their cigarette taxes have noted a drop in cigarette consumption."

"In fact, for every 10-cent increase in cigarette tax, it's been shown that there's a three- to five-percent decrease in cigarette consumption or smoking by both adults and youth," Spangler adds.

But the higher cost may not be enough for some heavily addicted smokers to kick the habit, according to Spangler.  

"To really help them quit and to reduce their tobacco use, you really do need to provide them with smoking cessation devices."

Initially the tax could save about $730 million in federal health care spending dollars, cutting a significant portion of the nation's deficit, according to the CBO report. However, with more people living longer because of this tax, federal spending would eventually be higher than it would have been otherwise.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Cigarette Tax Hike Leads to Historic Drop in Smoking

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A federal tobacco tax hike signed by President Obama just days after he took office in 2009 has resulted in a historic drop in cigarette smokers, according to new analysis by USA Today.

The newspaper, citing surveys by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reports that about three million less people smoked last year than in 2009.  The decrease was largely due to the overnight 22 percent price increase in cigarettes in April of that year.

On April 1, 2009, the cigarette tax leaped from 39 cents to $1.01 per pack.  The hike was made to help fund expanded health care for children.

Tax records show the change has raised more than $30 billion in new revenue, USA Today reports.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Court Blocks Graphic Warnings on Cigarettes

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services(WASHINGTON) -- A federal appeals court Friday said tobacco campanies don't have to put large graphic warnings on cigarette packs.

In a 2 to 1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington sided with tobacco campanies, affirming a lower court ruling that said the large warnings and graphic photos on cigarette packs violate First Amendment protections.

"The First Amendment requires the government not only to state a substantial interest justifying a regulation on commercial speech, but also to show that its regulation directly advances that goal," Judge Janice Rogers Brown stated in the majority opinion, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Brown added in the opinion that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration failed to show evidence that such graphic warning labels would reduce smoking rates, the Journal reports.

The FDA had proposed that, staring in September, tobacco companies add visual graphics with warnings about smoking to cigarette packaging.

The judges ruled Friday that the warnings -- and photos -- go beyond factual information into anti-smoking advocacy.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Egg Study Not All It’s Cracked Up to Be

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study says eggs may be on par with cigarettes when it comes to heart health, but doctors and media critics say it’s not a fair comparison.

Researchers at Western University in Canada surveyed 1,200 patients about their egg and cigarette consumption and used ultrasound to measure the plaque in their arteries. They then concluded in the study, which was published in the journal Atherosclerosis, that people who ate more eggs over time had more plaque in their arteries, and equated eating eggs to smoking cigarettes.

The study’s lead researcher, Dr. David Spence, said in a press release that his study has shown that yolks make plaque build up more quickly in the arteries, “about two-thirds as much as smoking,” adding, “in the long haul, egg yolks are not okay for most Canadians.”

But cardiologists say the study shouldn’t be taken so seriously because the research is flawed.

“This is very poor quality research that should not influence patient’s dietary choices,” said Dr. Steven Nissen, who chairs the department of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, in an email. “It is extremely important to understand the differences between ‘association’ and ‘causation.’”

Nissen said the researchers relied on patients to recall how many eggs they consumed, but asked them once and assumed it remained constant, which isn’t reliable. He said the way researchers measured patients’ plaque has come under “considerable criticism,” and that researchers failed to adjust for other dietary factors.

Dr. David Frid, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic, told ABC News he doesn’t think smoking should be equated with eating eggs because eggs have an indirect rather than direct impact on heart disease. The eggs have to first increase cholesterol to create plaque build-up. The impact of smoking on heart disease is direct because smoking causes arteries to become inflamed, which prompts the body to respond with plaque.

He said the study fails to take exercise or other dietary habits into account. Study participants could have consumed more salt, or they could have been on cholesterol-reducing drugs, too.

“It may be that people who consume a lot of eggs also consume a lot of other fatty foods,” Frid said, adding that how the egg is prepared should also be taken into account.

Dr. Jorge Plutzky, the Director of the Vascular Disease Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said that the study authors explained the limitations of their study, which includes the potential for other variables to mask results and errors inherent in having patients self-report their egg consumption.

He said what the study really does is generate “a clue or suggestion” that needs to be revisited. It is not conclusive.

Dr. Richard Besser, the Chief Health and Medical Editor, of ABC News, spoke about the egg study on Good Morning America Wednesday morning.

“Eggs keep getting a bum rap,” Besser said. “First they’re really good for you, and then they’re bad for you, and this is another one where they’re bad for you.  But there are a number of things that affect your cholesterol that they didn’t look at that people can really pay attention to.”

Besser suggested exercising, reducing saturated fats, and maintaining a healthy weight. He said an egg a day is fine, unless you have heart disease, in which case limiting consumption to four eggs a week is a good idea.

“Eggs are a great source of balanced protein and many vitamins,” he said. “If you do it in moderation, it’s a great part of your diet.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Are Egg Yolks as Bad as Cigarettes?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study suggests regular consumption of egg yolks can be just as bad for heart health as regular cigarette use.

Watch the Good Morning America report:

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Study: Weight Gain After Quitting Smoking Averages Around 10 Pounds

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As more people quit smoking cigarettes to protect their health, many face a new battle: weight gain.  A new study in the journal BMJ shows that quitters gain more weight than anyone previously thought.

The research found that those who quit smoking gained an average of 10 to 11 pounds after 12 months, with most of the weight gain in the first three months.

Still, that shouldn't stop people from kicking the habit for good, the researchers said.

Scientists from France and the U.K. conducted a meta-analysis that examined 62 European-based studies of weight gain among people who had successfully stopped smoking.  They said the average weight gain was higher than doctors generally thought, though there were substantial differences among study participants.

Until now, the National Institutes of Health in the U.S. has been saying that not everyone will gain weight after quitting, and those who do will generally gain fewer than 10 pounds.

"Most of the post-cessation weight gain occurs quickly, during the first quarter," said Henri-Jean Aubin, an addiction specialist who was lead author of the study.  "Weight gain decelerates afterwards.  There is a great inter-individual variability of post-cessation weight gain."

About 16 percent of people actually lost weight after quitting, and 13 percent gained more than 22 pounds.  Because of the great range, researchers said the average weight gain is not necessarily meaningful to people kicking the cigarette habit.

Researchers said the study results should encourage physicians to acknowledge the risk of added pounds.  Doctors need to encourage their patients to adopt a healthy diet and to exercise regularly, they said.

"On the other hand, weight-concerned smokers should consider the possibility they may not gain weight while quitting smoking," said Aubin.

It is worth noting that this type of meta-analysis has its limitations because investigators did not measure participants' weights directly, but, rather, studied a collection of studies, said Robert Amler, dean of the School of Health Sciences at New York Medical College.

"Each of the collected studies weighed different groups of people [with] different ages, different baseline weights, different ethnicities under different circumstances, which means that each study yielded results that may imply something different than the others' results," Amler said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Smoking in Movies, Even PG-13 Films, Ups Teen Smoking Risk

Hemera/Thinkstock(HANOVER, N.H.) -- Teens who watch movies in which smoking is common, regardless of whether the film is rated PG-13 or R, are more likely to pick up the habit, a new study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics finds.

After surveying 6,522 adolescents ages 10 to 14 over a two-year period, researchers found that smoking in movies rated PG-13 had the same impact as those rated R, suggesting that its mainly seeing the habit -- and not other adult behaviors -- that affects whether kids will choose to light up.  Films rated G or PG, in which smoking is uncommon, were not linked to teen smoking.

"Movies affect behavior and the more movies kids watch, the more likely they are to be influenced," Dr. James Sargent, a professor of pediatrics at Dartmouth University and one of the study's authors, told ABC News Radio.  "Seeing lots of smoking in movies shapes how they think about smoking.  It shapes how they think about what smoking might do for them, and it increases the risk that they'll try smoking."

Researchers found that about 60 percent of teenagers' exposure to smoking in movies comes from PG-13 and other youth-rated films.  They suggest changing movie ratings accordingly to lower the rate of teen smoking.

"Movies are currently rated R for things like profanity that have no impact on health and they're really not rated with respect to risk behaviors like smoking and drinking, so what we're trying to get Hollywood to do is to include things that matter in the rating system," Sargent said.

Eliminating smoking from youth-rated films would lower teen smoking by about 18 percent, he pointed out.

It is worth noting that other factors, such as one's environment and family -- which were not examined in this study -- could also influence whether a child chooses to start smoking.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Voters in California Weigh Cigarette Tax to Fund Cancer Research

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- While you were watching the news-leading story of the recall election in Wisconsin, voters in California Tuesday were deciding whether to raise taxes on cigarettes to fund cancer research.

The tobacco fight on the West Coast has gotten the attention of a presidential primary. Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds have spent almost $46 million on TV and radio ads against the proposed tax hike, which would be $1 per pack of cigarettes.

The initiative has brought about one of the most expensive election fights in recent memory, even though anti-tobacco advocates had spent just $3 million on advertising. Their effort, led by Lance Armstrong, included a parody ad that involved people saying things like: “I support big tobacco because they killed my wife. And that’s one less mouth to feed.”

The ballot question -- Proposition 29 -- was supported widely in California when it was announced, but the contest now appears to be much closer because of the influx of the ads from the tobacco industry. The industry’s campaign featured a doctor in a white smock speaking out against the proposed hike. After voters initially favored the tax by 37 points in one poll, a recent survey showed that lead had been cut down to 11 points.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio