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Entries in Tobacco (11)

Friday
Aug242012

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

Tuesday
May222012

Introducing Humor to an Expensive Fight Over Cigarettes

Hemera/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- “I support big tobacco because they killed my wife. And that’s one less mouth to feed.”

That’s a line from a new parody commercial set to be shown during the Dancing With the Stars finale Tuesday night, put together by advocates in California who are trying to get voters to approve of a proposition that would raise a tobacco tax by a dollar to fund cancer research.

The anti-tobacco crowd says “big tobacco” will spend up to $60 million to persuade voters to oppose the tax, compared with about $3 million spent to get the proposition approved. Lance Armstrong heads the effort.

Watch the parody ad here.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Mar312012

FDA Will Require Tobacco Companies to List Harmful Ingredients 

David De Lossy/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Food and Drug Administration announced on Friday that it will require the tobacco industry to disclose a number of harmful chemical ingredients and also to back up claims for tobacco products marketed as "less risky" to health, Health Day reports.

There are more than 7,000 chemicals in tobacco and tobacco smoke and the FDA has a list of 93 chemicals that cause or may cause harm to smokers or non-smokers, including formaldehyde, nicotine, arsenic, cadmium, ammonia and carbon monoxide. Under the new requirement, tobacco companies will have to list quantities of 20 ingredients linked with cancer, lung disease and other diseases by April 2013.

Tobacco companies will also be required to back up claims that tobacco products marketed as "less risky," such as roll-your-own and smokeless tobacco products, are safer.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov102011

Over 1,200 Retailers Cited for Tobacco Violations

BananaStock/Thinkstock(SILVER SPRING, Md.) -- As part of its new responsibility to oversee tobacco, the U.S. Department of Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday it has issued warning letters to more than 1,200 retailers across 15 states for violating regulations concerning the sale of cigarettes to minors.

The FDA says it has conducted sting operations to see if retail outlets will sell cigarettes to minors, or are violating other provisions of the new federal law such as selling single cigarettes, or having cigarette vending machines where minors can have access.

Officials say a year-long investigation in 15 states -- involving 27,500 inspections --  found a number of retailers were in violation of federal laws, including Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid stores. The most common violations were failure to verify undercover inspector's age and selling individual or unpacked cigarettes.

The FDA is warning violators they have 15 days to respond to the warnings and outline how they intend on cracking down on the violations. Repeat offenders are subject to a $250 fine for a second violation and $10,000 -- as well as a potential permnanent ban on selling tobacco products -- for six or more violations within four years.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Sep102011

From Age 2 to 7: Why Are Children Smoking in Indonesia?

Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Thinkstock(JAKARTA, Indonesia) -- He is a thoroughly modern icon: the cherubic toddler now known around the world as the "smoking baby." More than 13 million people have watched a YouTube clip of the 2 year old puffing hungrily on cigarette after cigarette, twirling them in his hands. But while many viewed this video with amusement and perhaps some shock, it appears this "smoking baby" is just the tip of the iceberg.

Indonesia, the fourth most populous country in the world, appears to be in the throes of an uncontrolled tobacco habit. It is a place where domestic and international tobacco companies are able to operate in ways they haven't been able to in the U.S. for 41 years.

This is a country where, as soon as a visitor steps off the plane, he is bombarded with cigarette ads on billboards and logos, and where, as 2020 found out, there is more than one "smoking baby."

In a tiny fishing village in Eastern Java, lives an adorable 2-year-old boy named Chairul. Soon after awaking from a nap, he lights up with the help of his grandfather. The grandfather says he allows Chairul to smoke because it tastes good, "like bread with chocolate."

As Chairul smokes beside him, his grandfather said he doesn't think it is a problem.

"He sometimes smokes two packs a day," he said, though it appears Chairul does not inhale. Yet he puffs away, exposed to the smoke around him. When warned about the health effects of cigarettes, Chairul's grandfather said, "If the boy doesn't smoke, he doesn't feel good." It's all right, he said, "as long as he drinks enough coffee with his cigarettes."

As strange as that may seem, Chairul is no fluke. In a town a few hours to the south, 20/20 found a seven-year-old boy who also smoked while his family looked on.

His name is Maulana, and his mother said he has been smoking since he was 2, but she hopes he quits when he goes to school this year.

As to why she allows her son to smoke, Malauna's mother said, "I can't just stop him abruptly, because he gets weak and cries. It has to be done slowly."

It is estimated that about a million children in Indonesia under the age of 16 smoke, and that one third of Indonesian children try smoking before the age of 10. In Indonesia, it is perfectly legal for a child of any age to buy and smoke cigarettes, despite the hundreds of international studies showing tobacco is addictive and harmful.

The World Health Organization says tobacco kills more than five million people annually.

In the U.S., tobacco companies haven't been allowed to advertise on TV in 41 years. So, unable to market freely at home, big tobacco has increasingly turned overseas, where they are using the very tactics to reach young people that have long been banned in America.

Indonesia's Minister of Health, Dr. Endang Sedyaningsih, who studied at Harvard University, said more than 400,000 people die in Indonesia every year of tobacco-related causes. But she said she can't push too hard for change, for fear her efforts will backfire if she does.

But living in this environment, where cigarette companies have such free rein to transmit their message, quitting for the children of Indonesia may be easier said than done.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug252011

Would Stricter Movie Ratings Deter Kids from Smoking?

Doug Menuez/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The World Health Organization recommends slapping adult ratings on movies with scenes that depict smoking, an approach that some anti-tobacco advocates believe could deter kids from lighting up.

Although WHO guidance is largely symbolic, and most nations have ignored it, supporters of controlling kids' access to these images now say restrictive ratings could influence what movie makers are marketing to kids, according to their policy paper in this week's issue of the journal PLoS Medicine.

In it, Christopher Millett, a public health expert at Imperial College London, and his co-authors from the UC San Francisco Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, director Dr. Stanton Glantz, and consultant Jonathan Polansky, said that some governments provide "generous subsidies to the U.S. film industry" for movies that indirectly promote tobacco use in youngsters.  They would like to turn that around with a policy that relies on economic disincentives, such as making sure that films that include tobacco use are ineligible for public subsidies.

However, others who are just as committed to reducing youngsters' risk of tobacco-associated cancer, heart disease and lung disease, don't think there is enough evidence to demonstrate that controlling who gets into a movie theater can reduce the likelihood kids will become smokers.

Simon Chapman, a public health professor at the University of Sydney in Australia, and Matthew C. Farrelly, a public health policy researcher with RTI International in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, offered a four-part argument against the ratings.

First, they said, no one has definitively demonstrated that watching others smoke onscreen leads to more smoking among those in the audience.  Furthermore, they said, most of the studies purporting to show that link are muddied by many other factors in kids' lives.

"Movies showing smoking might have a lot more in them that might appeal to youth at risk of smoking than just smoking," they wrote.

As a result, they discounted the strength of published estimates suggesting that 390,000 American youngsters smoke because of what they see onscreen, or that imposing adult ratings on films that include actors smoking would likely prevent 200,000 youngsters from becoming smokers.  The figures fail to take into account that kids are drawn to smoking by far more than just what they see at the movies, they said.

A third element of their opposition to tougher ratings is that singling out the movie industry ignores the many other media that contain images of smoking, including the Internet.

Finally, as a matter of principle, they objected to censorship of movies, books, art or theater as a means of tackling public health issues.  Chapman and Farrelly suggested that censorship might turn off citizens and politicians who would otherwise support stricter tobacco control measures, such as blocking "commercial product placement by the tobacco industry."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug172011

Tobacco Companies Sue FDA over Graphic Cigarette Warning Labels

U.S. Food and Drug Administration(WASHINGTON) -- For years, the tobacco industry has put up with anti-smoking ads and having to put warnings labels on packs of cigarettes.

But now, several big tobacco companies are fighting back against new requirements imposed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to put hard-hitting anti-smoking images on packs of cigarettes.

In a 41-page lawsuit filed on Tuesday, five tobacco companies argue that the labels step on their freedom of speech and serve as an advertisement to push the government's anti-smoking agenda.

"The government can require warnings which are straightforward and essentially uncontroversial, but they can't require a cigarette pack to serve as a mini-billboard for the government's anti-smoking campaign," Floyd Abrams, a lawyer for the companies, said in a statement.

Beginning in September 2012, the labels -- which include images of a man smoking from a tracheotomy hole and rotting teeth -- will be required on all cigarette packing in the U.S.

The FDA has not yet issued a response to the lawsuit.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul262011

Cigarette Companies Encouraged to Stop Alleged False Advertising 

AbleStock.com/Hemera Technologies(WASHINGTON) -- Cigarettes are neither healthy nor eco-friendly, despite what advertising campaigns may claim.

The Reynolds American tobacco company has relaunched their magazine advertisements for their acclaimed “eco-friendly” Natural American Spirit cigarettes and have targeted women, choosing to run the ads in the pages of Elle, Lucky and Marie Claire.

The ad campaign is both deceptive and dangerous, according to the Washington D.C.-based Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK), which has called upon Reynolds American to stop what CTFK calls false advertising.

More than 400,000 U.S. deaths are attributed to smoking each year, and more than 7,000 chemicals -- several hundred of them toxic -- are emitted into the environment through cigarette smoke, according to the CTFK.

On a global scale, at least 5.6 trillion cigarettes are discarded into the environment annually, according to researchers in an issue of Tobacco Control funded by Legacy, published earlier 2011.

The Ocean Conservancy’s annual International Coastal Cleanup says it picked up more than two million discarded cigarettes in 2010.

The company that manufactures North American cigarettes, the Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company, has faced numerous counts of legal action by government agencies.  As of 2010, Santa Fe is required to add a disclaimer stating, “Organic tobacco does NOT mean a safer cigarette.” 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul112011

Secondhand Smoke Linked to Neurobehavioral Disorders

AbleStock [dot] com/Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(DUBLIN) -- Expanding on a 2007 survey that reported a link between parents who smoked and children who had neurobehavioral disorders, researchers at the Tobacco Free Research Institute in Dublin found that an estimated 4.8 million children in the U.S. were exposed to secondhand smoke at home.

These children were at a 50 percent greater risk of having two or more neurobehavioral disorders -- like ADHD and learning disabilities -- compared to children not exposed to secondhand smoke, according to the researchers.

Futhermore, they found that boys, older children (aged 9-11 years old), and those living in poor households were at the greatest risk.

The authors of the study, published Monday in Pediatrics, concluded that had these children not been exposed to secondhand smoke in the home, more than a quarter of a million cases of neurobehavioral disorders may have been prevented.

However, it is worth noting that this conclusion is inappropriate for this data since the study only shows that secondhand smoke exposure and these conditions are associated, not that one caused the other.   Therefore, one cannot determine what the rate of these disorders would have been had there been no secondhand smoke exposure.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May312011

Smoking Will Kill Six Million People This Year, WHO Says

AbleStock[dot]com/Hemera Technologies(GENEVA) -- Six million people will die from tobacco this year, including 600,000 non-smokers from secondhand smoke, according to the World Health Organization.

These latest figures, released Tuesday, are huge and projections show they're heading upward.  The WHO says smoking could kill eight million a year by 2030.

The organization attributes the increasing number of deaths to governments not doing enough to get people to stop the unhealthy habit and not protecting the public from secondhand smoke.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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