Zero tolerance for secondhand smoke around children

Photo via Health Day

Photo via Health Day

If someone asked to borrow your child to conduct a science experiment on the effects of poisonous gases on young children, you would probably call the authorities and report them.  Yet millions of kids in the U.S. and throughout the world are living with a smoker, usually a parent, and breathing in toxins on a daily basis in homes and cars. The medical outcomes of this exposure can result in pneumonia, bronchitis, ear infections, asthma, and chronic coughs, while long-term outcomes can include decreased lung development, early heart disease and a shortened life expectancy.   Just recently the American Heart Association came out with a statement recommending “zero tolerance” when it comes to tobacco smoke exposure around children.

What makes secondhand smoke so bad is the number of toxins present in the smoke: more than 7,000 compounds, with 250 chemicals known to be harmful and over 70 known to cause cancer.   Secondhand smoke is so dangerous that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified it as a known human carcinogen.  That doesn’t seem to stop some family members from exposing their children to secondhand smoke.

It is estimated “24 million nonsmoking children and youths are exposed to secondhand smoke in the U.S.”  Even with declines in adult smoking, nearly 41% of these children, age 3-11, and 34% of children 12 to 19, are still exposed to smoke on a daily basis.  Low-income children and minority youth are at an even bigger disadvantage.

You may be able to smell the lingering effects of secondhand smoke or even see it in the air, but you do not see the “immediate, tangible negative consequences” it has on a child’s health.  Many parents may be “oblivious to the gravity of second and third hand smoke exposure and possible effects” which may or may not “be related to their level of education, access to health care and role modeling in the community.”   Continued tobacco prevention education in schools will also help prevent children from becoming the next smoker by educating them to the dangers.

Click HERE for article.


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Removing tobacco from pharmacies has public support

In 2014 CVS Caremark made the decision to quit selling tobacco in their stores.  Now two years later a new Centers for Disease Control (CDC) survey is out showing a majority of tobacco_sales_in_pharmaciesAmerican adults, including those who are smokers, are in favor of removing tobacco from pharmacies.  Currently, about 134 municipalities in California and Massachusetts, as well as one county in Minnesota, prohibit tobacco sales in pharmacies.

The question was asked of 4,269 U.S. adults 18 years of age and older: “Do you favor or oppose banning the sale of all tobacco products in retail pharmacy stores?” More than “66 percent were strongly or somewhat in favor of outlawing tobacco sales, while 14% strongly oppose such a policy.”  Even half of smokers and tobacco using non-smokers would support such a policy.

The highest percentage of respondents (72%) who believed tobacco should not be sold in pharmacies came from the 65 years of age and above group, while 70% of all women supported a policy.  Blacks (65%), whites (66%) and Hispanics (67%) were almost equal in support of a policy.

The American public seems to think pharmacies should follow the CVS lead by removing tobacco from their shelves and concentrate on the business of health.  Good idea or bad business?


Click HERE for the article.








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Trinkets and Trash for August 2016

If you haven’t signed up to receive Trinkets and Trash every month, what are you waiting for?  The report monitors the tobacco industry marketing and sends you the new monthly ads and contests.  It may be the 21st century, but Big Tobacco is still using old tricks in a new medium when it comes to getting your attention. Tobacco ads can now be sent directly to consumers through the internet, saving the companies millions in marketing costs.  They have to make it interesting.

cope_002Copenhagen has a new “the process is the passion” ad in Sports Illustrated featuring a group of surly-looking motorcycle machinists apparently restoring old bikes during their free time after work. Would you really be packing a lip using dirty, greasy hands?  Unfortunately, this ad was placed in a national sports magazine and seen by thousands, if not millions of teens, and sends the wrong message that you need tobacco to be passionate about what you do in life. Another smokeless tobacco company, Grizzly, is back after going “off the grid” in June.  And of course, there is a new “off the grid” contest showing different “off the grid” locations (igloo) with a survival tip video tutorial, such as opening a can without an opener.  “Every day you are asked to choose between two prizes that would enhance the experience and your chances of survival.”  The product site gets you to continually log in, while you learn survival tips you will never have to use.  Great marketing!  Not to be outdone with “going off the grid”, Skoal has their “mancation” giveaway where is have a “chance” to win trips.  The best and most valuable prize you could win is getting your life back by quitting these products.

Not everyone is happy in tobacco-land as Newport visitors to their new website are voicing their dissatisfaction with the lack of games.  Do they know there are thousands of other games online without having to go to a tobacco site?  Camel has an “Open Canvas” art contest with some interesting restrictions…you create art on their website but nothing related to health or health-related topics or activities.  So art showing smoking is good, but art showing bicycling, running or maybe eating healthy is bad?

And if you think you have heard it all…WAIT!  There is now a vaping competition tour with 28 stops.  Your “skills can be showcased” as you compete in men’s and women’s “Big Cloud” and “Tricks.”  According to a former smoker …”once you get off cigarettes, you want to be a part of something…”  Being part of a health study on electronic cigarette use probably isn’t what they were thinking of.

It may be 2016, but people are still gullible to fall for Big Tobacco’s tricks.

Click HERE for Trinkets and Trash, August 2016.






Posted in Big Tobacco, Cigarettes, E-Cigarettes, Smokeless tobacco, Smoking, Tobacco, Tobacco market | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who influences teen tobacco use?

We know that “nearly 9 out of 10 cigarette smokers first tried smoking by age 18,” according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  But just who is influencing teens to



start using tobacco in the first place?  According to a study conducted in India, part of the answer may depend whether you are male or female.

The study was composed of over 9,000 households with those in age from 15 years and older.  According to theories in psychology and sociology, “individuals imitate behaviors they observe from individuals with whom they identify closely, such as parents, siblings, friends/peers, teachers and the media.”  The “importance of the person to the individual” also plays a role.

Males were more likely to start using tobacco due to pressure from friends.  But peer pressure comes in second when it comes to teens smoking as they are more likely to be influenced by a family member.  Females were more likely to be influenced by a family member whom they look up to, such as their mother.  Having a family member use tobacco “legitimizes the habit in the mind of vulnerable kids” which may explain why children of smokers are more likely to pick up the habit.

According to the study, getting people to quit might be more effective if the tobacco user knew that their behavior was influencing tobacco use by other family members and friends.   Educating the parents about the hazards of tobacco could benefit not only the parents, but possibly prevent future tobacco use among younger family members.

Click HERE for the entire article.

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Florida Tobacco Prevention Training and Twitter

One of our favorite parts of the Florida Tobacco Prevention Training for Educators online course is the social media component.  It would be difficult to keep up with all the new information without the news feed alerts and posts we receive every hour.  Every day we read through the hundreds of articles and gauge whether to reTweet or post it to our Facebook account, or whether to share it in our blog.  Information such as state and national reports, medical studies and research that comes out during the school year is saved and included in our course the following year.  While our followers see our posts on social media, we get to see all the analytics behind the posts, and the information from our followers is interesting, to say the least.

The top five “interests” of our audience are: business and news (66%), politics and current events (58%), businesses news and general info (54%), Science news (47%), and health, mind, and body (45%).  Tobacco and tobacco prevention fit well in those “interests”.  The top five occupations of our followers are listed as: professional/technical (42%), health services (21%) self-employed (19%), homemaker (18%) and white collar worker (15%).  The gender of our audience is a close match at 52% female to 48% male.

Although we are based in Florida and our course is for Florida educators only, it appears our state comes in second in the number of audience members with California taking first place.  New York, England, GB and Texas round out the top five “Regions”.  The majority of our followers live in the United States (63%), followed by United Kingdom, Canada, Spain and Australia.  Spain coming in number four was a surprise as we report more stories from Australia.  About 95% of our audience speaks English, with Spanish, Arabic, Japanese and French mentioned.  In terms of age, the majority of followers are in the 25-34 age bracket (48%), followed by 35-44, 45-54, and 18-24 age brackets.

August has been a good month for the Florida Tobacco Prevention Training for Educators with 45 new followers and 29K impressions (the number of times a user saw the Tweet on Twitter).   We love reporting news and information as it pertains to tobacco, youth and tobacco prevention, and look forward to another exciting year.





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iQOS hopes to push aside e-cigs

Tobacco consumption has changed throughout time.  People have puffed dried tobacco leaves in pipes, chewed the leaves, snorted or snuffed it up their noses.  Prior to 1900 cigarette smoking was an uncommon form of tobacco use due to the high cost of the hand-rolled cigarettes.  But the cigarette rolling machine and the use of advertising iQOSchanged all that and made the cigarette king of tobacco use for over a century.   In 2003, the first electronic cigarette was created by a Chinese pharmacist and smoker who developed the device after his father died from lung cancer.  It hit the world market the next year and use has taken off, especially among youth.  Soon there will be a new kid on the block that combines miniature sticks of tobacco with electronic cigarette technology.

The product called iQOS (pronounced eye-cos) has been a 10 year, $2 billion research and development project by Philip Morris and was originally launched in 2014 to be a “viable alternative to smoking.”  Not only do smokers have the familiar “hand-to-mouth gesture” of smoking and a cigarette-like tip to inhale from, they also receive something missing with current electronic cigarettes…real tobacco flavor.  It is those smokers who desire this real flavor, but in a safer delivery system, that Philip Morris is hoping to gain as customers.  Test markets included Japan and Italy and “a handful of other countries as well.”

Electronic cigarettes and the iQOS system both use a battery and heating system, but heatsticksthat is where the similarities end. While an e-cigarette or vapor device heats up liquid flavoring which may or may not contain nicotine, the iQOS system heats a miniature stick of tobacco called a Marlboro HeatStick in its tube.  The original iQOS heated the tobacco to 900 degrees, releasing more toxins, while the newer device heat up to 350 degrees “to produce vapor but not secondhand smoke. ”  According to iQOS research, the lower temperature reduces the toxins “by about 95%.”  It provides the user with “a mouthful of tobacco-flavored vapor, but no smoke and tar.”

The product comes with a charger, charging cables, and the smoking device.  The heatsticks are sold separately.  The major drawback to the device is that it needs to be charged before using, and cleaned afterwards with a device included in the set.  A spokesman of rival Imperial Tobacco said the device “smells like an ashtray” after use.

The company hopes to market the device here in the U.S. by early 2018.  It will be interesting to see how this develops over time, especially with the Marlboro name attached to the device, and whether it will be as popular as electronic cigarettes.

Click HERE for the 2016 article.
Click HERE for the 2015 article.
Click HERE for the 2014 launch article.








Posted in Cigarettes, E-Cigarettes, International, Second Hand Smoke, Smoking, Tobacco, Tobacco market | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The lawsuits start against new FDA rules on e-cigarettes

A liquid nicotine manufacturer, Nicopure Labs LLC of Tampa, Florida became the “first liquid nicotine manufacturer to file a federal lawsuit against the FDA back in May for the controversial smokeless tobacco rules that went into effect Aug. 8.”  It has several complaints about the new rules.

Nicopure claims that both the Administrative Procedure Act and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution are violated by the FDA’s rules.  By banning free samples, the company feels the FDA is in violation of the First Amendment, however, the ban “regulates conduct, not speech,” according to the FDA.

Also, the FDA regulations on electronic cigarettes are much more burdensome than those for traditional cigarettes, according to the company, by requiring manufacturers to list all ingredients of the liquids used in electronic devices.  While conventional cigarettes have 599 ingredients and two flavorings – tobacco and menthol – there are up to 8,000 liquid flavorings for electronic vaping devices.

Switching to e-cigarettes may be beneficial for adults by reducing the risk associated with smoking conventional tobacco cigarettes, however, the ingredients in the liquids used in electronic devices “may still pose a health risk.”  The FDA states that “Nicopure does not disclose its actual ingredients for its e-liquids, so what consumers are really inhaling is largely unknown.”  It should be noted that many of the flavorings are candy and fruit flavored and are a big appeal to youth, many of whom have not smoked traditional cigarettes.

It will be interesting to see the outcome of this lawsuit.

Click HERE for the entire story.



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More cancer-causing chemicals in vapor

cloudsThose gigantic plumes of vapor from electronic cigarettes may come at a cost to your health, according to a study that looked at not only the chemicals, but if the temperature of the heating coil changed the level of chemicals emitted.

This latest study found propylene glycol and glycerin, both respiratory irritants and “probable carcinogens”, “among 29 other chemicals released in” vapor to create the artificial smoke.  Glycidol, another “probable carcinogen not previously identified in the vapor”, propylene oxide, a “possible carcinogen and respiratory irritant” and “acrolein a powerful irritant” are also in the list of chemicals.  When heated, these chemicals decompose which release other toxic chemicals.

According to the study, chemicals emitted were “significantly higher for single-coil vs a double-coil vaporizer.”  When the voltage is increased in a single-coil device, “the mass of e-liquid consumed doubled per puff and total aldehyde emission rates tripled per puff.” When the vapor device is used several times, “aldehyde emissions increased by more than 60%”, “due to a buildup of byproducts that degraded upon heating.” Aldehydes “can alter breathing patterns by narrowing airway openings.”

We already know that conventional cigarettes have thousands of chemicals which damage the body.  We are still learning about the possible long-term health effects of using electronic cigarettes.

Click HERE for the entire story.






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How does Florida measure up?

ACSCAN_reportThe American Cancer Society Can Action Network (ACS CAN) has released their 14th edition of How Do You Measure Up? which details what each state legislature is doing to reduce cancer in their state.  According to the report, “for every dollar spent to increase physical activity, improve nutrition, and prevent smoking and other tobacco use, the return on investment is almost $5.60.”  When it comes to tobacco, some of the suggestions made in the report include tobacco tax increases, smoke- and tobacco-free policies and fully funded “statewide tobacco prevention and cessation  programs” as well as increasing comprehensive insurance coverage for cessation. The future benefits would far outweigh the initial costs.

Tobacco companies understand that tax increases would “have an adverse impact on salesTax_rates_on_cigarettes of tobacco products,” especially with teens who are more sensitive to price increases of tobacco products.   The current cigarette tax in Florida, which has not been increased since 2009, is $1.34/pack, putting our state in 29th place and below the average state cigarette excise tax of $1.63/pack.  Currently, Florida has no tax on cigars or e-cigarettes and only taxes snuff and chewing and smoking tobacco at 85% of wholesale/manufacturer’s price. Taxes on these items have not increased since 2009.

Florida enacted the Clean Indoor Air Act in 1985 and added an amendment in 2003 after 71% of Florida voters voted to prohibit smoking in enclosed indoor workplaces, and public and private businesses including restaurants.  There are exceptions to the rules with stand-alone bars, retail tobacco shops and airport smoking lounges still allowing smoking. There is no doubt that everyone would benefit from 100% smoke-free laws for all public areas in Florida.

“States can reduce their smoking rates and health care costs” by providing cessation services but not all states do.  According to American’s Health Rankings, our state is ranked 33rd due to our high percentage of uninsured population.  The American Cancer Society reports Florida has “no type of counseling or no FDA approved tobacco cessation medication covered for all enrollees.” Yet the State of Tobacco Control, put out by the American Lung Association, states the Florida Medicaid program covers five types of medications, and counseling varies by plan.  Participants may have co-payments and may have to use one type of the treatment before trying another.  Medications are limited to 6 months and dollar limits vary by plan.  There is no provision for private insurance.

In a perfect situation, all public spaces would be smoke- and tobacco free, all states would increase tobacco prevention and cessation funding which would reap results now and would save states money in the future, and all states would increase tobacco taxes.   We may not live in a perfect world, but we all have room to improve upon measures that would improve public health.


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Welcome Back to School!

WelcomeThe Tobacco Prevention Training for Educators online course welcomes back Florida educators and students to the 2016-2017 school year. Whether your classes are in full swing, or just getting started today like in Palm Beach County, we know the year will be great.

This year marks the seventh year for the statewide Florida Tobacco Prevention Training for Educators online course.   Almost 800 K-12 educators from 49 districts enrolled last year in either our 30- or 60-point course, with over 300 participants completing the course and receiving continuing education units towards renewal of their certificate.   Full-time teachers made up the majority of our participants, with school counselors and administrators rounding out the top three participant categories.  Almost 90% of our participants were from public schools, with charter schools and private schools also listed. All subject areas were represented with elementary, English/language arts, science, physical education and social studies as the top five.

So why is teaching tobacco prevention so important?  According to the 2015 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey cigarette smoking among teens in our state has seen a decrease with only 6.9% of high school students reporting current cigarette smoking, one of the lowest in the nation.  But while cigarette use is decreasing, new products, such as electronic cigarettes, are “‘recruiting‘ kids who would have never smoked to vape.”  Florida middle and high school students have seen drastic increases in electronic cigarette use since 2011 with 326.7% of middle school and 409.7% of high school students reporting current use. Teaching your students tobacco prevention not only educates them about the health dangers of tobacco, but helps them make informed decisions for their future.

The new school year has barely begun and already we have 35 participants from 14 districts.   Take a moment to look at our course and register at the link below.  If you have any questions, please call us at the number listed under “user support” on our home page.

Click HERE to go to the course.
Click HERE for the August 2016 Newsletter.



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