Don't Like to Eat People That Smoke!
of the Times
GENEVA (Reuters) - A global treaty aimed
at dissuading children from smoking and helping adults kick the
habit came into force on Sunday with the United Nations saying
it could save millions of lives.
The World Health Organization (WHO) applauded the strong warnings
on cigarette packages and the eventual ban on tobacco advertising
and sponsorship laid down in the world's first international public
"It's entry into force is a demonstration of governments'
commitment to reduce death and illness from tobacco use,"
said WHO Director-General Lee Jong-wook in a statement to mark
Tobacco, the second leading cause of preventable deaths globally
after hypertension, kills 4.9 million people a year, the U.N.
And the annual death toll from tobacco-related diseases -- lung
cancer, heart attacks and cardiovascular diseases -- could soar
to 10 million by 2020, with 70 percent of the deaths in developing
countries, it adds.
The treaty, known as the Framework Convention
on Tobacco Control, gives members three years to slap strong health
warnings on tobacco packages and five years to ban advertising,
promotion and sponsorship.
It also recommends tax increases on tobacco
products, a crackdown on smuggling, and reducing exposure to second-hand
Approved by the WHO's 192 member states in May 2003, the pact
became law on Sunday, 90 days after the 40th state had ratified
It will only carry legal weight in those countries which have
ratified it, now numbering 57. In total, 167 countries have signed
the pact -- but have not necessarily sent it to parliament for
WHO officials and activists say the powerful tobacco industry
is lobbying intensively to restrict the number of countries applying
the treaty, including the United States which has signed up but
not yet sent it to the Senate.
"The tobacco industry wants to be free to sell and market
their deadly products in such a way that they have more and more
profits. This is the only language the tobacco industry knows,"
Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva, director of the WHO's Tobacco Free
Initiative, told journalists.
"In Brazil, my country, the tobacco industry is furiously
lobbying the Congress and the Senate in order not to get the treaty
ratified. They are using the tobacco farmers to make the case,
saying that they will lose their jobs."
Activists accuse the Bush administration, which
signed the pact last May, of having worked hard to dilute it.
"U.S. ratification of the treaty would send a strong message
to the rest of the world that we will not support these efforts
and instead put protection of public health ahead of tobacco industry
interests," the U.S. -based Tobacco Free Kids lobby group
Douglas Bettcher, treaty coordinator, was upbeat. "We are
happy to report that industry is not winning this game."
Some of the largest tobacco growers -- India,
Japan, Pakistan, Thailand and Turkey -- as well as cigarette producing
countries such as Britain, Germany, the Netherlands and Turkey
are among those which ratified have the treaty, he said.
The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has issued
a ban on smoking in all public places. Coming just two months
after a ban on the sale of tobacco products, the new law means
that Bhutan now has the toughest anti-smoking laws in the world.
The irony is that, even as smoking bans are becoming fashionable
in the liberal West, it is an absolute monarchy with a reputation
for human rights abuses that is leading the way.
The new law bans smoking in "all places where people gather".
It specifically mentions parks, nightclubs, football grounds,
shops, bars, restaurants, government offices and even vegetable
markets. There will be no areas exempt from the ban after the
law by the governing Council of Ministers comes into effect. [...]
Bhutanese smokers have been protesting against the ban, which
they say is a gross infringement of their personal rights. They
are particularly incensed that proposals to allow strictly controlled
smoking areas were rejected in favour of a blanket ban. Now the
only legal way to smoke in Bhutan is to travel outside the country
and bring your own cigarettes in, and then smoke them inside your
own home. [...]
(AP) In a smoke-choked Manhattan tavern, Cynthia
Candiotti asked a neighbor for a light and took a deep drag
on her cigarette, savoring a last barstool puff before the city
outlawed smoking in bars and nightclubs.
Ireland is set to ban smoking in the country's
pubs as of midnight Sunday. The move to ban smoking in Irish
pubs is being viewed as a test case for the rest of Europe.
bans smoking in public
By Matt Prodger
Monday, 2 August, 2004
The parliament in Montenegro, which has one of the highest
rates of smoking in Europe, has passed a law banning smoking
in public places.
Plans to ban smoking in all closed public areas, including
bars and offices, in Portugal could be in place by October,
after parliament agreed to consider new proposals aimed at
protecting passive smokers.
The move follows a petition presented by the Humanitarian
Union of Patients with Cancer (UHDC) in April. The Commission
for Work and Social Affairs analysed the UHDC recommendations
and concluded that “existing legislation in Portugal
is insufficient from the point of view of protecting non-smokers
– it fails to recognise their rights, with grave consequences
for their health.”
London council leaders may seek powers from Westminster to
ban smoking in the capital, it emerged today.
The move to ban smoking in public places in the capital is
one of several ideas being mooted by the Association of London
Government (ALG) before a private parliamentary bill is drawn
up this autumn.
EDINBURGH’S Lord Provost today threw her weight behind
demands for a nationwide ban on smoking in all public places.
Lesley Hinds, head of Scotland’s national health promotions
agency and the Capital’s civic leader, called on the
Scottish Executive to take the "brave" decision
to introduce legislation as soon as possible.
"All states ultimately will go smoke free," said
Dave Holmquist, director of government relations for the American
Cancer Society in Nebraska.
gets jail term for smoking near her kids
WASHINGTON - A Virginia mother has been sentenced to 10 days
in jail for defying a court order not to smoke in front of
Tamara Silvius, 44, who has said she smokes
about a packet of cigarettes a day, was led from a Caroline
county courtroom in handcuffs on Thursday but the judge later
allowed her to post a US$500 (S$850) bond to stay out of jail
while she appeals against the ruling. Advertisement
'It should never have come to this,' Ms Silvius said in a
telephone interview after spending four hours in jail before
'I hope and pray my two little kids don't think they had
their mama sent to jail.'
The sentence is the latest development in a long-running
custody battle between Ms Silvius and her ex-husband Steven
over their children, aged 10 and eight, but the restriction
on smoking, especially in this tobacco-friendly state, has
captured far greater attention.
Ms Silvius' lawyer said: 'It is within the court's powers
to jail somebody for criminal contempt but...I've never heard
of a case where you restrict behaviour this way.'
Her ex-husband's lawyer, Mr Mark Murphy, said
the measure was necessary to protect the health of the children,
who live with their father and often visit their mother on weekends.
The Silviuses have joint custody.
Scientists have known for some time that smoking
seemed to delay the onset of Alzheimer's but they haven't
A new study reveals the active agent is a by-product of
nicotine itself, nornicotine.
Published today in the journal Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences, the study's authors, Kim Janda and
Tobin Dickerson of the Scripps Research Institute, say the
known toxicity of smoking means using cigarettes as a fix
isn't on and that further research is necessary to produce
a non-toxic mime of the nicotine/nornicotine effect.
Heritable factors produce about one-third of Alzheimer's
cases. About 20 per cent of the population, for example,
carries a gene known as Apoe 4, which puts them at greater
risk of developing the affliction and doing so earlier in
life. But the balance of Alzheimer's seems to be down to
environmental factors and risk is accelerated by side-effects
of the aging process.
High among those biological inevitabilities is a stiffening
of the blood vessels in the brain, a process accelerated
by high blood pressure. Stiffening in these vessels reduces
the amount of oxygen that passes to brain cells, making
them less efficient and eventually causing them to die.
Graves' pooled reanalysis found, "A statistically
significant inverse relation between smoking and Alzheimer's
disease was observed at all levels of analysis, with a trend
towards decreasing risk with increasing consumption . A
propensity towards a stronger inverse relation was observed
among patients with a positive family history of dementia."
Only three studies have ever linked smoking with AD. The
reanalysis, in which the author of one participated, noted,
"Since veterans may be expected to smoke more than
the general population, and since smokers have been found
to respond less frequently to questionnaires than non-smokers,
the positive result observed for this study may be spurious."
Over 4 million people suffer from AD, and annual costs
are over $88 billion. There may be 73,000 excess cases per
year among non-smokers, with $17.5 billion in excess costs.
patches benefit patients with Alzheimer's
Independent News : UK, 22 February 2000
Nicotine, the scourge of 20th-century medicine, might actually
benefit people suffering from debilitating brain disorders
such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, according
to new scientific studies of the drug.
August 05, 2003
We all know that smoking endangers our health. But has
nicotine's image problem led scientists to overlook the
drug's potential health benefits? Geoff Watts investigates
Light a cigarette and inhale lungfuls of smoke.
Good for you? Hardly. But spend time with people suffering
from schizophrenia or other forms of severe mental illness,
and you'll find many of them going at it like chimneys. Why?
Poor judgement about the consequences, perhaps. Or the need
for anything to soothe their distress. But there's a third
possibility that is much more intriguing. For them, and others
with psychiatric and even physical illnesses, smoking amounts
to an oddly neglected form of self-medication.
Of course, tobacco smoke - an airborne cocktail of nasty
chemicals - is harmful. What's at issue is a single non-carcinogenic
ingredient: nicotine. This already has one medically approved
application: taken by mouth in the form of gum, or through
the skin from an impregnated patch, would-be ex-smokers
aim to absorb a dose sufficient to dampen their cravings.
And for many trying to kick the habit, particularly when
used as part of a complete programme, it works. But though
we hear occasional whisperings of other possible benefits
of nicotine, they never seem to get taken seriously.
In ulcerative colitis, for example, the symptoms - pain
in the lower abdomen, and diarrhoea - result from an inflammation
of the colon and rectum. The cause of this inflammation
still isn't known, but it's now 20 years since doctors first
noticed that ulcerative colitis is found mainly among non-smokers.
And intermittent smokers may find that their symptoms improve
when they return to tobacco. Nicotine is the ingredient
most likely to have the beneficial effect, and doctors have
tested its effects using nicotine patches. Surprisingly,
though, only a handful of properly controlled trials have
been carried out, and medical advice seems to be to use
patches only with caution. [...]
Schizophrenia, too, has attracted
interest. Surveys have suggested that up to 90 per cent
of people with the disorder smoke. There are at least
two possible reasons: to calm the effects of the illness
itself, or to mitigate those of some of the drugs used to
control it. On this second point,
there have been indications that nicotine can reverse the
memory problems and slowness of thought induced by a commonly
used medicine, haloperidol. But it does seem more
likely that the urge to smoke is driven by its effects on
the disease itself. One possibility is that nicotine suppresses
inconsequential or distracting information coming into the
brain. A radio playing in the next room may be irritating,
but most of us learn to ignore it. People with schizophrenia
find this much harder. Nicotine may help, but the evidence
is mostly inferential. [...]
Attempts to use nicotine in Parkinson's
date back to the 1920s when one clinician injected it intravenously
into a dozen patients. Although
benefits were immediately apparent, little more happened
for 50 years. Interest picked up again in the Eighties,
but virtually all studies used small numbers of patients,
and results were mixed. Even so, to quote Balfour and Fagerstrom,
"the experience from these few cases, although mostly
uncontrolled and preliminary... warrants further investigation".
For one thing, they say, nicotine may improve only certain
symptoms, so may be more valuable to some patients than
Nicotine has also been tested in small studies on pain,
depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obesity
and anxiety. In these disorders the evidence so far has
been even more patchy. But serious research programmes have
often been triggered by less impressive findings. So why
the relative lack of interest in nicotine as a research
topic with clinical payoffs?
The usual explanation is that nicotine,
a natural material, cannot be patented. Few
companies would be prepared to invest in testing it for
disorders if, when it was licensed, anyone could make and
sell it. Melatonin, thought
to be good for jet lag, is similarly disadvantaged. The
standard way round this is to jiggle about with the basic
molecule in the hope of finding a new, patentable version
that works as well or better. Some nicotine-like compounds
have been tested, but with results no more conclusive than
those from nicotine itself. [...]
Either aliens are visiting Manitoban airspace
more frequently, or the smoking ban has forced people to spend
more time staring at the sky. Whatever the reason, a report released
yesterday by Ufology Research of Manitoba states that there were
112 UFO sightings in Manitoba last year, which more than doubles
the previous record for sightings and is more than four times
as many as in 2003.
In fact, the 882 sightings across the country last year also
constituted a record, but UFO researchers are baffled as to why.
"It is puzzling. We know things are up all over Canada. In fact
several provinces saw all-time records last year," said Chris
Rutkowski, the research co-ordinator for Ufology Research of Manitoba,
a group of about a dozen people who compile UFO sighting statistics
for all of Canada.
"We're way past X-Files now and there aren't a lot of UFO-type
movies out there so we can't blame media," said Rutkowski. "It
could be something as simple or obvious as there are more objects
in the sky to be seen."
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