2015 Fire Prevention Week

FirePreventionFire Prevention Week was started in 1920 on the 40th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, when President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation.  This year October 4 – 10, 2015 ushers in Fire Prevention Week with the theme “Hear The Beep Where You Sleep.  Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm!”

According to the National Fire Protection Association, smoking materials are the leading cause of home fire deaths.  During the years 2007-2011 “these fires caused an average of 580 deaths, 1,280 injuries and $509 million in direct property damage per year.”  Falling asleep while smoking caused about one-third of these deaths.  According to PBS.org, “approximately 1,500 kids are killed each year by fires in the home that were caused by cigarettes.”

What can you do to protect your home and family from house fires if you are a smoker? First, smoke outside if you can.  Not only will this protect your family from secondhand smoke, it will protect them from fires started by smoking materials inside the house. Second, if you smoke inside, put your cigarette out a deep, flat, sturdy ashtray that is difficult to tip over.  If you smoke outside fill a can with sand and extinguish your cigarette in the can, making sure it is completely out.  Make sure your home has working smoke alarms, and if the alarms are battery operated, check the batteries at least once a year to make they are still working.

exploding_e-cigaretteIf you use electronic cigarettes, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s directions for charging the device.  Never leave a charging electronic cigarette unattended in a house or vehicle as reports of exploding devices have become common place.


Click HERE to find other fire safety advice to protect your family and home.

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Trinkets and Trash September News

Autumn is upon us and that means the tobacco companies are gearing up for some seasonal activities in case you forgot all the things you can do while you are using tobacco or vaping.

virginia_slimsThe Virginia Slim women are still parading around in their fall fashion, but instead of thin women in ridiculous poses, virginia_slims1holding a cigarette up to their head (what was that all about anyway?), they now offer recipes, horoscopes and conversation topics.  Oh…and don’t forget the coupons.  But really, do women really dress like this?  Maybe they need to add a disclaimer: “Smoking does not keep you from gaining weight” and “Women who smoke have more wrinkles.”  We do appreciate that the fine print at the top of the ad on the left says “Nothing about our cigarettes will help you quit smoking.”

NewportpumpkinIt wouldn’t be autumn without a picture of someone craving a pumpkin, and Newport came to the rescue.  Did you notice that no place in that picture does it show any craving utensils nor does it show the couple enjoying a cigarette?  You can either smoke or have fun, but you can’t do both.

If you are a dip user instead of a smoker, Grizzly is giving yougrizzly some Grizzly Outdoor Corps Field Notes on saltwater fishing and lets you know the fish are running.  Their site also has “Tellin’ it like it is topics” so you can discuss a new topic each month.  September’s topic was your preference between bow vs. rifle hunting.  Since bow season and rifle season are at different times, an avid hunter would probably participate in both.  Do guys really need to go on a tobacco site to discuss these things?

Camel will soon have new pack designs, thanks to their users who sent them mobile phone pictures during a photography “In Focus” contest.  Winners receive “photography prize Camelbundles and a grand prize photo excursion,” as well as seeing their photos on packs of cigarettes.  Several years ago the tobacco industry argued against a change in packaging to make all cigarette packs essentially the same color because they claim the packaging represents their intellectual property, and is important for brand recognition, and “to communicate particular attributes about each brand and by extension the personality and social status of its users.”  Yet Camel is changing their pack designs.  The packaging must not be as important as the tobacco industry claims.

swisher_sweetsToday’s tobacco ads don’t have to show their product to send out a message to users.  Case in point, Swisher Sweets’ Instagram post of a young woman appearing to dance while wearing a warning label “Surgeon General Warning: Cigar Smoking Can Cause Lung Cancer and Heart Disease.”  Swisher Sweets makes a full sized cigar, but most teens know the product for their cheap, little flavored cigars or cigarillos in the bright packaging.  According to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, high school kids are twice as likely as adults to smoke cigars.  And between 2009 and 2011, cigar use among African-American high school students increase by more than 60%.  So who do you think this advertisement is targeting?

The tobacco industry is constantly trying to reinvent itself, and everyone is their target.

Click HERE for September tobacco industry news from Trinkets & Trash.


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Flavored Tobacco Use is Up Among Youth

When the 2009 Tobacco Control Act went into effect, the FDA banned cigarettes with candy, fruit and clove flavorings that appealed to youth.  But that didn’t mean flavored cigarette_vs_cigarellotobacco products disappeared from store shelves.  The tobacco industry changed the color of their spots, or at least the cigarettes from white to brown, added a bit of weight and a filter to it, put it in bright colored packaging and called it a cigarillo or little cigar.  And that’s not the only flavored tobacco product out there.  Hookah tobacco, called shisha, smokeless tobacco, e-cigarettes, and pipe tobacco all have flavorings too.  Add menthol cigarettes to the mix and that’s a lot of flavored product.  Now, new data just released from the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) reports that all these flavored tobacco products are a hit, with an estimated 70% of U.S. middle and high school students using at least one flavored tobacco product in the past 30 days which defines them as current users.

e-cigsAt the top of the list are e-cigarettes, with an estimated 30,000 possible flavor combinations, according to one e-cigarette vapor company.  With that many flavorings, it is no wonder that 63.3% of youth or about 1.58 million have tried them.  Throw in the cloud-producing factor of the devices and you can understand the popularity of this trend.

A reported 1.02 million, or 60.6% of teens have reported using flavored hookah tobacco.hookah This specialty tobacco, often called shisha, is often mixed with molasses or honey and fruit to sweeten this moist and sticky tobacco.  Many shishas claim to be organic or herbal, giving the illusion that the product is somehow safer.  It is still tobacco and it still exposes the user to tar and carcinogens.

flavored_cigarsA reported 63.5% or about 910,000 youth reported using a flavored cigar in the past 30 days. A single little cigar can sell for as little as $0.33 in a three-pack, while a larger size cigar flavored cigars may be several dollars.  The little cigars are often the size of a cigarette and many have tips or filters, prompting the user to inhale the smoke into lungs rather than holding the smoke in the mouth before exhaling like with a traditional large cigar.  The tobacco industry gets away with selling these little cigars so cheaply because cigars are taxed by weight so they add fillers to increase the weight.  Youth aren’t looking for a fine smoking experience, but rather a cheap nicotine hit and this not only delivers they can easily purchase them.

Flavored smokeless tobacco was used by 58.8% or 690,000 teens.  These products have a flavored_smokelesslot of sugar and 3x the nicotine of cigarettes, but teens think smokeless is safer because there is no chemicals from burning and no secondhand smoke.  However, there are still 28 cancer-causing chemicals in it.  Smokeless has long been associated with baseball where it wasn’t uncommon to see a wad of chew in a player’s mouth and a stream of spit hitting the ground.

menthol1Menthol cigarettes are still popular among teens with 53.6% or about 900,000 teens using this product.  When flavors were banned in cigarettes, the FDA left menthol off the list. Menthol cigarettes still deliver all the cancer-causing chemicals as regular cigarettes, but with a cooling effect on the throat allowing users to inhale deeper.  New youth smokers often smoke menthols to begin with and may switch to non-menthol cigarettes, making “menthols a gateway to regular tobacco use.” Black Americans smoke more menthol cigarettes than any other group with tobacco research institution reporting that percentage at 70-92%.

Finally 42.3% of youth or about 120,000 are using flavored tobacco pipe tobacco.  Loose pipe tobacco is taxed at a lower rate, making this tobacco cheap.  Many teens believe it is less dangerous than traditional rolled cigarettes, but this tobacco has the same cancer-causing chemicals found in traditional rolled cigarettes.

These flavored products are popular among our youth and the added flavorings lure them into products they might not otherwise try, but there are steps we can take.  Removing flavored cigars from general stores and placing them in cigar shops would drastically cut the use by teens, but removing flavors all together is the solution.  Taxing the cigars at similar levels as cigarettes would increase the price point and decrease youth use, and the time is overdue for a tax increase on all cigars. Removing menthol from the market would not only decrease teen use but would help cut the adult smoking rate as well.

Click HERE to read the  Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)




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September Observances

It’s September and it’s a good time to take notice of all the observances slated for this month.  If you enjoy eating, September is your month as fall harvest brings us national observances for Fruits & Veggies, Chili Peppers, Apples, Potatoes, Mushrooms, Papaya and Rice.  Need some meat for that meal?  No problem because September also celebrates Prime Beef Month.

prime_beefCelebrating with too much prime beef may raise your cholesterol levels, so you may want to have your cholesterol checked as it is also Cholesterol Education Month.  According to the CDC, “cholesterol, produced by the liver, is a waxy, fat-like substance which is a source of energy for the body. It is also found in many foods.  Three types are measured in your body: HDL, LDL and Triglycerides.  If you have a difficult time remembering which is the good, the bad and the ugly, think of HDL cholesterol as the “high” or “happy” measurement.  You want this number to be 35mg/dL or higher.  The LDL is the “lousy” or “bad” cholesterol, and you want this number to be less than 110mg/dl.  Your triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood.  When you eat carbohydrates and fats and don’t burn enough calories, your body stores these, giving you a high triglyceride level.  High triglycerides can contribute to a “thickening of the artery walls, which could cause a stroke, heart attack and heart disease.”  If your triglycerides are extremely high, it can also cause acute pancreatitis.  You can check this chart to see what your numbers mean.  So what does cholesterol have to do with tobacco?

Smoking reduces your good cholesterol or HDL levels, and affects the way the fat-like substances in your blood are metabolized, allowing fats to circulate through the body.   Smoking also injures the lining of blood vessels allowing these fats to be deposited along the walls, creating plaque and narrowing the vessels which is called atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.  Smokeless tobacco users also seem to have higher total cholesterol levels as compared to non-tobacco users.  Studies have found that if you quit using tobacco, the levels of good cholesterol (HDL) increase.  The good news is that it is also National Chicken Month, so swap out some beef for chicken or fish to help decrease your cholesterol levels.

babySeptember is Infant Mortality Awareness Month and this is a good time to learn how smoking can affect you and your baby.  Even breathing other people’s smoke can cause health problems for your baby.  Smoking during pregnancy can cause your baby to be born too soon or to be underweight at birth meaning a sicker baby and a longer hospital stay. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS is a risk fact for babies whose mothers smoke or who live with others who smoke.   Check the link above for other mortality risk factors for your baby.

It’s still warm in south Florida, but it’s starting to cool off in other areas of the country.  While you are trying to stay healthy by eating right, protect yourself from colds, and don’t forget about a flu shot as the Cold and Flu Campaign also starts in September.  Did you know that a smoker is more likely than a nonsmoker to have upper and lower respiratory tract infects, perhaps because smoking suppresses immune function.” And all that coughing will get worse if you smoke because smoking irritates and damages your lungs.

September also brings us AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Month, and as a responsible owner, you would never smoke near your dog, would you?  Those toxins in secondhand smoke also affect your pet and can produce nasal tumors and cancer of the sinus in long-nosed breeds and higher lung cancer rates in dogs with short to medium noses.

And finally, September 29th is World Heart Day.  Eating healthy, exercising, and getting enough sleep isn’t enough to protect your heart if you are still using tobacco.  Nicotine in tobacco increases your “heart rate, tightens major arteries, and can cause an irregular heart rhythm,” which makes your heart work harder.  Smoking raises your blood pressure, and the chemicals in cigarette smoke “lead to buildup of fatty plaque in the arteries” which could injure vessel walls.  This also affects your cholesterol levels (see information above).   Cigars aren’t any safer than cigarettes.  Smokeless tobacco isn’t a safe alternative as it contains 3x the nicotine of a cigarette and increases your heart rate as well.  Others living with a smoker are also at risk for heart disease by breathing in all the secondhand smoke.  It’s never too late to quit smoking and you can see benefits within 20 minutes.  Your heart rate and blood pressure drop, your circulation improves and one year after quitting, your “excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker.”



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High Numbers on Hookah Use

The Medical Press recently published an article on hookah smoking mentioning that it is “increasing in both prevalence and frequency” among high school students.  What used to be a fad is now seeing 1 in 5 high school students using a hookah in the past year, with hookah_loungesome using it “often enough to be considered regular users.”  Some long-term surveillance reports monitoring the smoking habits of adolescents have not kept up with this trend which is a concern among researchers.  As hookah’s popularity increases among teens, so do the public health concerns and here is why.

Hookah has become popular among youth because it is a shared social experience that’s slightly exotic. Most adolescents have heard about the dangers of cigarette smoking, but the truth among users about hookah is cloudy.  The biggest myth is that the bubbling water at the base of the pipe removes the harmful toxins before reaching the smoker.  In truth, the Hookah1water does nothing more than cool the heat of the smoke, allowing the user to draw it deeper into their lungs. Tobacco used in hookah, called shisha, is different from cigarette tobacco as it is moist and mixed with fruit extracts, sweeteners, and other flavorings to make smoking smoother. Your hookah experience can be different each time by blending different flavors.

The long smoking sessions are another reason hookah is dangerous to health.  A single cigarette can take about 20 puffs in about 10 minutes, and contains about 500-600 milliliters (ml) of inhaled smoke, while a hookah session can last up to an hour or longer, involve 200 puffs or about 90,000 ml or more of inhaled smoke.  Hookah smokers are not only exposed to more smoke, they also inhale more nicotine, carbon monoxide, and “about 36 times the tar of one cigarette.”

Even though hookah use has been increasing nationwide, not all of the reporting studies and sites have kept up with gathering information.  Here in our state, the Florida Youth Tobacco Survey has been asking teens about hookah use since 2008, and we have witnessed an increase.  While the smoking rate is at 6.9% for high school cigarette use, a historic low, hookah use is at 11.6% of high school students who reported smoking from a hookah at least once during the past 30 days.  That is an increase of 50.6% since 2008.  The numbers are even higher, 22.5% for those high school students who reported that they ever tried hookah; that number has increased 66.7% since 2008.

The most shocking data is that it is not the high school students, but middle school students who have increased the most in the same time period.  Since 2008 hookah use among middle school students increased 127.6%, from 2.9% to 6.6%.  Middle school students who reported smoking hookah at least once during the past 30 days has increased by 84.2% since 2008, from 1.9% to 3.5% today.

Collecting and reporting figures for this tobacco trend is important, but so is getting the information to the parents and teachers so they can educate the students.  Our Florida Tobacco Prevention Training for Educators online course provides information on hookah in our Alternatives chapter.  Many of our participants taking the course are amazed at the dangers they did not know were present in hookah use.  The tobacco epidemic among youth will decrease when education on the dangers of tobacco and tobacco alternative devices increases.

Click HERE for hookah prevalence and HERE for the 2014 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey



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FDA Exercises Its Authority

In 2009, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act was signed into law giving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “authority to regulate the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products.”  One such authority involves “regulating new tobacco products to make sure they don’t cause additional or heightened public harm than existing products.”

Pall_MallOn Tuesday the FDA exercised that authority and R. J. Reynolds was hit with a ban on sales in the U.S. on four of its cigarette products: Camel Crush Bold, Pall Mall Deep Set Recessed Filter, Pall Mall Deep Set Recessed Filter Menthol and Vantage Tech 13.  The FDA found that these cigarettes “were not substantially equivalent to their respective ‘predicate’ products (i.e. products that were commercially marketed as of February 15, 2007) as identified by the manufacturer.”  Camel Crush was released in 2008 in the U.S. prior to the Act being signed, but after the 2007 date used by the FDA.  According to the FDA, the tobacco company “failed to demonstrate that these changes don’t make them more appealing, more addictive or more harmful.”  The products have been ordered off the U.S. market immediately.

What made Camel Crush cigarettes so interesting is each cigarette contained a bead or crushpowerball” of flavor that when bitten down on released a strong mint or menthol flavoring that infused the filter with flavor.  Putting the beads into the filter allowed the smoker to decide whether or not they wanted a menthol experience when they smoked. The beads allowed the company to essentially have several flavors of cigarettes, each with the capability of becoming a menthol cigarette as well.  According to Matt Meyers of Campaign For Tobacco-Free Kids, “the Camel Crush Bold style delivered menthol at higher levels than previous products, added sugars and other sweeteners, had new filters and tested differently for harmful and potential harmful constituents.”

One business analyst suggested that these are simply new versions of old products.  And while they didn’t change the tobacco, they did introduce higher levels of flavoring and additional sweeteners into the filter, making for a different experience for the smoker. With the additional sweeteners you are also making a product more appealing to youth. The cooling effect of the menthol reduces the harshness of the tobacco, making the smoking experience smoother smoke, and allowing the smoker to inhale the smoke deeper into the lungs making addiction easier.  The four brands mentioned above only make up less than 1% of RJ Reynolds’ sales volume so the effect on the bottom line won’t be dramatic. About 30% of smokers use menthol cigarettes, but about 57% of youth smoke menthols. If menthol was totally removed from the market, it could have a dramatic reduction in the number of youth who start smoking.

In 2013 the FDA ruled against Lorillard on four new products but allowed two others to go to market.  This new ruling removes highly flavored menthol products.  It will be interesting to see where the FDA stands in the future on menthol products.

Click HERE and HERE for more information on this subject.


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Smoking Rate Heads Down Again

scoreboardDid you see the new score?  Public health: 1 Smoking rate: closer to 0, as the number of U.S. adults smoking cigarettes has dropped to a new low of 15.2%.  That number is 2 percentage points below 2014, but that may change as it is only for the months of January through March.  New Year’s resolutions could be one factor as to why the numbers are lower, but we will have to wait until 2015 is over to see the final results.

What does the decrease in smoking mean?  First, fewer premature deaths from smoking.   Approximately one-fifth of all U.S. deaths or about a half a million deaths are due to smoking.  Another reason the smoking rate has dropped could be due to smokers switching to electronic cigarettes.  According to the CDC report, the number of former smokers is higher than the number of current smokers.

So how can we get the smoking numbers lower?  First, raise taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products such as flavored little cigars, electronic cigarette devices and liquid nicotine.  The tobacco industry is lobbying states to keep tobacco taxes low by arguing an increase will hurt users by taking more money out of their pocket. That’s why many states only raise taxes a few cents at a time rather than a larger increase of $1 or more.  The fact is many low income users are spending hard earned money on tobacco and are already taking money away from other necessities such as food, clothing, and medications to pay for their tobacco.  Raising taxes will give some smokers an incentive to quit altogether, while other users may cut back.  It is also a proven fact that the number of youth smokers decreases when taxes are increased, something the tobacco industry is aware of and doesn’t like.

Second, raise the tobacco purchasing age to 21 across the U.S.  “Seven in 10 cigarette smokers support banning the sale of tobacco products (not just cigarettes), to anyone under age 21.”  It’s an interesting number considering the same number who support the ban also would like to stop smoking, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control.  And an even high number, “three out of four Americans overall favor the policy” of raising the purchasing age. We have said it before, if smoking is so great, why do so many people want to quit, and now that same number, 70%, want the tobacco purchasing age raised.

Another policy that could be put into place to decrease smoking and tobacco use is requiring stores selling tobacco to apply for a tobacco license much like those stores selling liquor. Removing flavored little cigars from convenience stores and moving them to tobacco/cigar stores would also keep under-aged youth from purchasing them.  Of course the tobacco industry will argue that requiring a tobacco license or removing flavored tobacco products will cause small convenience stores to lose customers and close, but they also argued that businesses would be shuttered if smoking bans went into place, and that didn’t happen.

The wheels of progress seem to turn slowly, especially in tobacco control, but with diligence and perseverance, public health will be the ultimate winner.

Click HERE for more information on U.S. smoking rates and HERE for CDC tables and charts.




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Happenings in August

August has simply flown by and we may have missed some observances that are highlighted this month.  It’s a tall order to remember all those special days, like Paul Bunyan Day on the 10th, or even some of those obscure days, like National Toilet Paper Day on the 26th.   However, there are some observances that do need to be mentioned.

August was Psoriasis Awareness Month and smokers “have almost double the risk of developing this chronic disease compared with people who have never smoked.”  Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease which means your own body attacks normal tissues.  If psoriasis runs in your family, your “smoking may trigger the genes to become active.”  Many people who smoke say they do so because of stress, yet stress is another trigger for psoriasis.  Nicotine affects the immune system, but other chemicals in the tobacco and smoke may cause cell damage.  Even exposure to secondhand smoke as children can increase the risk of developing psoriasis.  Click HERE to read more about psoriasis.

Sometimes psoriasis can cause joint pain, which is called psoriatic arthritis, and smoking can make the condition worse.  Since there is no cure for psoriatic arthritis, you want to control the symptoms with treatments to prevent joint damage.  And smoking while you are taking treatments for your condition may decrease the results you get from the treatments.   The best thing you can do for your skin or joints is to quit smoking.  Click HERE to read more about psoriatic arthritis.

World Lung Cancer Day was August 1st, and while cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor and may be “linked to about 90% of lung cancers,” environmental exposures from “radon, asbestos, arsenic, beryllium and uranium have all been linked to lung cancer.”  Other factors such as age, a history of cancer in another area of the body and other respiratory diseases may increase your lung cancer risk.  Cigars and pipe smoking also increases your risk, as does breathing in secondhand smoke at home or at your workplace.  Regardless of your age, you can reduce your risk of disease by quitting and reducing your exposure to secondhand smoke, but then you knew I was going to say that because National Psychic Day was also observed this month.

Sometimes life provides you with a Serendipity moment, which by the way, was celebrated on August 18.  Other times you may have a “sneak some zucchini onto your neighbor’s porch” type of surprise, which was observed on August 8.  No matter the surprise, let’s hope you learned something new.  And you still have time to celebrate August with a sandwich or a panini, as both are observed this month.





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E-cigs: Safe or Not?

eCigsAn e-cigarette is a battery operated device that may or may not look like a traditional cigarette.   Instead of igniting the tobacco-filled tube of a cigarette, users inhale a heated, flavored nicotine liquid vapor which is produced by means of a rechargeable battery inside the device. The inhaled vapor provides a hit of nicotine and the exhaled vapor looks like smoke, but does not contain the thousands of chemicals found in traditional tobacco cigarettes or the awful smell.  E-cigarettes came onto the U.S. market in 2007, and while it’s already a booming business raking in billions of dollars, not much is still known about the long-term health affects of using these devices.  Now a UK study has proclaimed that e-cigarettes are less harmful than tobacco and has given them a high seal of approval.  Considering e-cigarettes have been on the market less than 10 years which is not enough time to conduct long term health studies, it seems premature to provide such an approval.

The UK report was produced for Public Health England and was based on findings from other studies.  The results seem to be making headlines worldwide and some of their statements are interesting, to say the least.  One such statement under the Executive summary states “whilst there is some experimentation among never smokers, regular use among never smokers is rare.” Perhaps this “rare use” may be true in the UK as they report around 2% of youth is using electronic cigarettes at least monthly.  However, the U.S. findings on youth and e-cigarettes (EC) appear much different.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, “current e-cigarette use among middle and high school students tripled from 2013 to 2014” and “current e-cigarette use has surpassed current use of every other tobacco product overall, including conventional cigarettes.”  Here in Florida, current cigarette use among high school students is at an all time low at 7.5%, but current e-cigarette use is averaged at 10.8% overall, but higher for males and whites when the results are broken down.  So much for this rare use.

Another statement under Key messages says, “there is no evidence that EC are undermining the long-term decline in cigarette smoking among adults and youth, and may in fact be contributing to it.”   According to the MMWR link above, when you take into account e-cigarette and hookah use, “the increases in use of those offset declines in use of more traditional products such as cigarettes and cigars.  There was no decline in overall tobacco use between 2011 and 2014.”

While the electronic cigarette industry may be celebrating this latest study, the information within sounds reminiscent of how the cigarette industry paid “experts” to downplay the dangers of cigarette smoking.  The study continually promotes EC as a cessation aid and urges public health officials to relax restrictions, and even license the devices as a medicinally licensed product through their health system.  They even suggest that the “use of the gateway terminology be abandoned until it is clear how the theory can be tested in this field.”  As you read through the study either the information doesn’t make sense at all, or claims made seemed too good to be true.

As new information comes out today regarding the conflict of interest of some of the authors, the celebrations may be over.  “Three of the 11 authors of that study disclosed their role advising the e-cigarette industry in the original text of their paper.” An Italian author has links to an e-cigarette distributor and pharmaceutical companies, and a U.S. author has links to “several manufacturers of smoking cessation products…”  A Swedish scientist “admitted to being a ‘consultant for most companies with an interest in tobacco dependence products.'”

Those who issued the report are standing by its claims, citing an “expect review” had already endorsed the findings, although the “authors themselves accept (the work) is methodologically weak.”  A statement at the beginning of the paper says “Public Health England exists to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities… through world-class science, knowledge and intelligence…”  They may have let the public down on this one.  One statement in the report that can be agreed upon is found in the Key messages: “Continued vigilance and research in this area are needed.”

Click HERE for the study and HERE for the newest finding on the report.



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Welcome Back Teachers and Students!

back_to_schoolWelcome back Florida educators and students! This is the sixth year the Florida Tobacco Prevention course has been offered at the state level and we are so excited to share some changes for the 2015-2016 school year.

First, we have had a change to our name.  We are now the Florida Tobacco Prevention Training for Educators: An Online Professional Development for K-12 Educators.  You never realize all the places your logo appears until you change it.  While we continue to update our banners, flyers, headers and icons, know that our mission remains the same:  to provide current information to Florida educators so they may teach their students about the health dangers of tobacco and nicotine use.

The second big change we are excited about is we now have two courses – a 30- or a 60 point course –  in which to earn teacher in-service credits.  Many participants stated they wanted to take the course, but didn’t need 60 credits to renew their certificate.   Problem solved.  The 30 credit course will have reduced content in its 12 chapters, two forums and two comprehensive assignments, while the 60 credit course will have 14 chapters, four forums, and four assignments.  Both courses will have a quiz after each chapter and a comprehensive test at the end.  Participants are required to write and submit an original lesson plan as well as chose five other lessons from our lesson library to teach a total of six tobacco lessons to their students in order to receive the credits.

According to our statistics from last year, 223 educators in 42 counties completed this course and taught tobacco lessons which impacted 6,613 students.  The majority of our participants were in a public school district, but we also had participants in public charter schools as well as private/independent, campus-based, and special audience public. Elementary school teachers were the largest group who took the course at 40.7%.  And all subject areas were represented including School Counselors, Fine Arts, Administrators, ESE Adaptive and Drivers Education.

Every year participants state how they are amazed at the way our youth are targeted by the tobacco industry; before it was through smoking, now youth are targets of the e-cigarette industry.   We hear from our participants how the information they presented in their lessons had an impact on the lives of their students.  Students took their new knowledge home and shared it with their families, and several reported their family members either quit or reduced their smoking.  Less tobacco use by family members means our students are less likely to use tobacco in the future.

The new school year has barely started and already we have 30 participants registered from seven counties.  You can make a difference in the health of your students by teaching them about the dangers of tobacco and other nicotine delivery systems that are currently on the market.  Take a moment to look at our course and enroll at Florida Tobacco Prevention Training for Educators.

Let’s have a great school year!



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