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Thu, 24 Oct 2019
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Smoking

Russia's Emergency Ministry bans smoking on apartment balconies

Russian woman smoking on balcony
© Getty Images (file photo)
Russian smokers have been left gasping after the emergencies ministry announced that smoking on the balconies of apartment blocks would be banned under new fire regulations.

Under the new rules, "open fire" is prohibited on apartment balconies, as well as in the living areas of dormitories and hotels.

Lighting matches and smoking are both classed as open fire, officials say. Barbecuing kebabs and lighting candles will also be banned, reports say.

There was initial confusion as to whether smoking was included in the ban, with one tobacco industry official insisting that the new rules were all about "alcoholics who grill shish kebabs on the balcony".

No Entry

New York governor Cuomo announces hysterical emergency ban on most e-cigarette flavors

Gov. Cuomo
© Go Nakamura/New York Daily News
Amid growing reports of vaping-related illnesses and even deaths, Gov. Cuomo announced an emergency ban on all e-cigarette flavors other than tobacco and menthol.

"Vaping is dangerous, period," Cuomo said Sunday.

"This is a burgeoning health crisis," he added, vowing to "take action now."

Cuomo called out flavors like bubble gum and cotton candy that are aimed at young smokers.

"These are obviously targeted to young people and are highly effective," Cuomo said, pointing to federal stats from 2018 showing vaping among high schoolers had increased 160% over the past four years.

Comment: See also:


Smoking

There's no proof that the vape flavor ban will help kids

vaping man
While Michigan's flavor ban won't help kids, it will harm adults.

"As governor, my number one priority is keeping our kids safe," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer told The Washington Post. Unfortunately, her executive order to ban flavored e-cigarettes will not accomplish that goal. Instead, this misguided attempt to limit youth vaping will undermine the harm reduction benefits of e-cigarettes for adult smokers and will increase police interaction among vulnerable populations — including kids themselves.

Tobacco users who switch from combustible cigarettes to e-cigarettes experience various improvements in health. These include quick improvements in lung function and reduced exacerbation of COPD symptoms, research shows. Using e-cigarettes also helps people quit smoking altogether, with twice the success rate of other quit methods. Punishing people in possession of these safer products while leaving combustible products alone will do little to improve public health.


Comment: The dangers of combustible products (i.e. tobacco cigarettes) are greatly exaggerated. See:

Everyone can agree that protecting our children is paramount, but the flavor ban does nothing to aid in this effort. Researchers have yet to demonstrate that an e-cigarette flavor ban will prevent minors from obtaining and experimenting with tobacco products, including far more dangerous products like combustible cigarettes. This means that the ban will not only make adult smokers less likely to switch to vaping or quit tobacco altogether, but also will not succeed in its primary aim of reducing youth vaping rates.

Comment: One can't help but wonder if all the hysteria over vaping isn't a backdoor way to ban use of all tobacco and nicotine products.


Smoking

Smoking hysteria: 50-year smoking study overlooked

Person smoking
© Warren Lynam
If I were a smoker I think I'd be absolutely fuming if I was called a bludger on the front page of my local paper (Chronicle 08-05-15) but that is how it is now: Smokers are regarded as second class citizens and anyone can bully or abuse them.

Still, there was some good news for smokers because we learned that two out of three smokers will die which I suppose means that one in three smokers won't die!

You can't get such good odds on immortality any other way.

And that shows how ridiculous the claims of the anti-smokers have become.

They can make whatever ludicrous or outrageous threats of death and disease they like without the slightest question or criticism and that is extremely unhealthy in a democracy.

No one else is allowed to go around threatening and frightening people like that.

Comment: See also:


Smoking

Illinois governor signs bill banning smoking in cars with minors

Smoking in car with minors
© UVM
Smoking will no longer be allowed in cars with anyone under 18 years old in a new Illinois law.

Gov. JB Pritzker signed House Bill 2276 on Friday. Its sponsors include State Sen. Julie Morrison and State Rep. Jonathan Carroll.

The American Lung Association sent a statement in response to the bill passing. It said the law, which takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020, will "make a significant impact" on the health of minors.

"This new law will protect the health of our children. Breathing secondhand smoke causes several health issues in children, like sudden infant death syndrome, asthma, and ear infections, as well as wheezing, coughing, and getting sick more often," said Kathy Drea of the ALA. "It is essential to avoid smoking near children, especially in a small enclosed spaces like cars."

Comment: See also: The epidemic of junk science in tobacco smoking research


Eye 1

Nanny state: Gov pledges to end smoking in England by 2030

smoking
© Alamy
The government is pledging to end smoking in England by 2030 as part of a range of measures to tackle the causes of preventable ill health.

Promoting physical activity, developing guidelines on sleep and targeting those at risk of diabetes are also set out as priorities in the green paper.

The policy document aims to reduce the number of years spent in poor health.

Currently men and women spend over a fifth of their lives in ill health - 19 years for women and 16 for men.

Those in deprived areas experience the longest periods of poor health.

Comment: More from the BBC:
Who are the smokers that haven't quit?

In 1974, almost half of all adults in the UK smoked. For many, spending time in smoke-filled homes, pubs and workplaces was simply a part of daily life.

Today, that figure has fallen to 15%. The government has pledged to end smoking in England altogether by 2030.


Smoking rates have dropped whereas stress, obesity and cancer related deaths are soaring.


But some people remain much more likely to smoke than others.

People living on a low income are disproportionately likely to smoke, for example. One in three social housing residents and one in four manual workers smokes, compared with one in 10 of those in professional or managerial jobs.
smokers  uk
Smoking rates also differ considerably around the country. Only 8.6% of those in East Devon smoke, for example, compared with 21.8% in Dundee.

This regional divide is startlingly illustrated by the proportion of women who smoke while pregnant.

In England, one in 10 pregnant women smoke. But within this there are huge variations - ranging from one in 50 in some wealthy parts of London to one in four in Blackpool, one of the most deprived areas.

People with mental health problems are similarly affected. This group is 50% more likely to smoke than the rest of the population, a gap that has been widening.


There is evidence that smoking can be beneficial to those who suffer from particular mental illnesses, and it's likely they're self-medicating.


Because smoking is so uniquely harmful, this translates into major differences in illness and early death.

One US study suggested smoking accounted for two-thirds of the life expectancy shortfall among people with mental health problems, 10 years of lost life. These findings are likely to apply to other countries too.

Another study indicated the poorest men in England and Wales were twice as likely to die between the ages of 35 and 69 as the richest - and their death was almost five times more likely to be caused by smoking.


Although fewer people are smoking than ever before, life expectancy has fallen, notably this has occurred alongside soaring levels of poverty, leading one to conclude that poverty, not smoking, is the leading cause of death: Life expectancy for poorest girls in England falls for first time since 1920s


Why are these groups more at risk?

In recent years, the UK has introduced policies that appear to have helped many smokers quit and deterred others from starting.

The smoking ban was introduced in 2007, alongside a raising of the minimum purchasing age to 18.

Taxes on a £10 pack of 20 cigarettes have increased to over 80% of the retail price, while the packaging and display of tobacco products have become increasingly restricted and advertising banned.

Wales is targeting a 16% smoking rate by 2020, while the Scottish government aims to create a "tobacco-free" generation by 2034 and Northern Ireland is also aiming to eradicate smoking altogether, in addition to England's pledge to end smoking by 2030.

Stop-smoking services providing support and medication have also been offered nationwide, contributing to the fall in overall smoking rates.

Yet they have been less effective for poorer and mentally ill smokers, even if they are as likely to try to quit as other groups.

The reasons for this are varied and complex.

These groups can have higher levels of dependence, making it harder to give up. They are also more likely to be around other smokers, normalising the behaviour and making it harder to quit successfully.

They may also have to deal with stress factors such as income instability, poor housing and living in run‐down neighbourhoods.


Stress and the factors mentioned above are significant causes of ill health.


At the same time, stop-smoking services, which appear to have helped reduce inequalities, have disappeared in many areas, with an estimated 30% funding cut in England between 2014-15 and 2017-18 .

Financial incentives

For these reasons, a different approach may be needed.

Some clear recommendations have been made to stop the third of mentally ill people who smoke from being left behind. Many can be applied to other at-risk groups.

Free, tailored individual support, including advice, mobile stop-smoking services and online resources, has been shown to be effective, as have financial incentives such as making cigarettes more expensive and offering smokers cash to quit.

Price increases appear to work best in combination with support such as counselling and smoking alternatives such as electronic cigarettes or nicotine patches.

E-cigarettes, in particular, have become more popular in recent years. Public Health England suggests these products carry a fraction of smoking's risk and every year could be contributing to between 22,000 and 57,000 people quitting smoking.


Doctors asking patients if they smoke could also help identify would-be quitters who don't want to bother the NHS or are facing multiple health conditions.

Why is this so important?

Reducing smoking among the most disadvantaged is one of the most important ways to reduce health inequalities.

Alongside shortening life expectancy through disease and illness, smoking can also negatively affect mental health.

Giving up is associated with reduced depression, anxiety and stress, while boosting overall quality of life.

The addiction is often passed from one generation to the next, meaning children who grow up around smokers are much more likely to take it up themselves.

On top of this, smoking is expensive and can trap people into cycles of poverty.


Smoking traps people in 'cycles of poverty'?? As admitted above, nearly 80% of the cost of tobacco is a government mandated tax.


While far fewer people smoke now than in the past, there are still seven million smokers in the UK.

Studies suggest most long-term smokers die from a smoking-related disease.


It's quite telling that even with all the money invested into anti-smoking propaganda, the best they can do is claim that 'studies suggest', because they can't prove something that isn't true.


Every year in England, 80,000 people die from the effects of smoking, making it the number one risk factor for ill health and early death.

With more than 200 deaths per day, this is equivalent to a plane crashing every day.
About this piece

This analysis piece was commissioned by the BBC from an expert working for an outside organisation.

Dr Leonie Brose is a senior lecturer at the National Addiction Centre, King's College London.
It's bears repeating: Smoking rates have plummeted yet diseases and illnesses of all kinds are on the rise, and so, evidently, tobacco - with it's numerous, proven health benefits - is not to blame. While poverty continues to rise and quality of life deteriorates throughout the Western world, rather than coordinate a plan to alleviate the causes of this suffering, governments are instead prioritising the banning of tobacco.

The anti-smoking agenda is nothing new and much of the theory and coercive techniques come thanks from the Nazi Germany. Those lauding the anti-smoking agenda should be careful what they wish for:

See: Also check out SOTT radio's: The Health & Wellness Show: The Truth about Tobacco and the Benefits of Nicotine


Airplane

Atlanta City Council approves smoking ban at Hartsfield - Jackson Int'l Airport

Smoking banned in ATL airport
© Flickr/peace6x
Travelers who smoke might typically land at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and head to one of the airport's designated smoking rooms, but those days may soon be over. The Atlanta City Council approved an ordinance this week that would entirely ban smoking and vaping at the airport, as well as at several of the city's public areas, including restaurants, bars, and hotel rooms.

The council voted 13-2 in favor of the smoking ban, which includes cigarettes, cigars, and electronic cigarettes. If the ordinance is approved and signed by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, it will go into effect Jan. 2, 2020. (A Georgia law passed in 2005 already prohibits smoking in restaurants and bars where people under 18 are permitted and requires a smoking area to be enclosed and private or outdoors

Atlanta's airport is one of the last major U.S. hubs to still offer travelers designated smoking areas. According to the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation, all but five of the 35 busiest U.S. airports were smoke-free as of Jan. 2, 2019. O'Hare International Airport in Chicago; Los Angeles International Airport; Dallas Fort Worth International Airport; Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina; and recently, Denver International Airport have closed smoking lounges and gone completely smoke-free indoors.

Comment: See also:

Smoke, Lies and the Nanny State


Smoking

US Department of Veterans Affairs bans smoking at all healthcare facilities

VA hospitals ban smoking
© U.S. Air Force/William Tracy
All Department of Veterans Affairs health care facilities will be completely smoke-free by October, with all forms of tobacco use, including e-cigarettes and vaping, banned from facility grounds, officials announced in a news release Monday.

The policy change, first published by the Veterans Health Administration in early March, ends the use of designated smoking areas or shelters at VA hospitals.

"Although VA has historically permitted smoking in designated areas, there is growing evidence that smoking and exposure to secondhand and thirdhand smoke creates significant medical risks, and risks to safety and direct patient care, that are inconsistent with medical requirements and limitations," officials said in the release. "Accordingly, VA's Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has collaborated with key stakeholders to update and recertify the policy to be consistent with the department's commitment to Veterans and the community."


Comment: Where's the evidence that second and third-hand smoke poses significant medical risks?

Lies, Damned Lies & 400,000 Smoking-related Deaths: Cooking the Data in the Fascists' Anti-Smoking Crusade


The change applies to everyone at VA facilities, including patients, visitors, volunteers, contractors, vendors and staff, officials said.

Comment: A November 2008 study conducted by major universities in Texas showed that smoking was high in people with PTSD - a condition that veterans are highly susceptible to.
RESULTS:

Smokers were approximately twice more likely to have PTSD than nonsmokers in the general population, and individuals with PTSD were approximately twice as likely to be current smokers. Smokers with PTSD evidenced more negative affect, trauma history, and comorbid psychiatric history, as well as quit attempts and higher relapse rates. PTSD symptoms were associated with expectations that smoking would reduce negative affect, which, in turn, was associated with increased smoking rate and nicotine dependence. Male sex was associated with nicotine dependence and PTSD avoidance, while the relationship between PTSD and smoking relapse due to withdrawal was stronger in females. Specialized, integrated PTSD and smoking cessation treatments showed promise in increasing quit success relative to standard care in randomized trials.
Some people should smoke, some people shouldn't.


Eiffel Tower

City of Paris extends smoking ban to 52 parks and gardens

Paris extends smoking ban
© AFP (File photo)
The city of Paris will extend a ban on smoking to 52 parks and gardens in the French capital from June 8, the mayor's office announced Friday, marking World No Tobacco Day.

Smokers in the French capital face further restrictions on their liberté to light up with a new measure to ban smoking in 52 parks and gardens across Paris.

The announcement -- made on May 31, World No Tobacco Day - adds 46 additional parks and gardens to a list of six parks, which were designated no-smoking zones in July 2018.

The measure is aimed at "reducing the number of smokers in these parks and cigarette butts thrown on the ground", explained the directive issued by city authorities.

The French have long cherished their smokes, from Gauloises to Gitanes, and France ranks among the EU's heaviest smoking nations. The new move to increase public health standards will be phased in, with the first few weeks of "sensitisation" set to last until early July.

Take 2

City of Beverly Hills votes to ban ALL tobacco sales, but exempts cigar clubs

Arnold Schwarzenegger holds a cigar
© Damian Dovarganes/AP
Then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger holds a cigar as he waves to Long Beach residents after visiting the city.
Beverly Hills has long been anything but a smoker's paradise. The city was the first in California to ban smoking inside restaurants and most public places, back in 1987, and added outdoor venues to the list in 2007.

Now it is poised to enact what officials say is the most stringent tobacco ban in the country, eliminating the sale of virtually all recreational nicotine products - with one very Beverly Hills exception.

Cigarettes are out. Vapes are dead. But for an elite group of aficionados, hundreds of whom swamped committee meetings and wrote the city in protest, cigars will be spared - as long as they're smoked inside one of three dedicated lounges.

Entreaties have poured in to City Hall from top executives at real estate offices, security firms, talent agencies - and from former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Nearly all of them are acolytes of the Grand Havana Room on North Canon Drive, a club so exclusive its members need a special key to get in.

"The Grand Havana Room, which I have been a member of since its inception, provides a treasured home away from home, " wrote Schwarzenegger. "It is unthinkable that the city might adopt a policy that would intentionally or unintentionally cause the closure of this character-defining institution."


Comment: How does one define their character at a cigar club? Smoking cigars and rubbing elbows with powerful people? Translation: Arnie loves his tobacco and wants to continue to enjoy the benefits of tobacco with his wealthy friends, without criticism from prying eyes.


Comment: See also: Smoke, Lies and the Nanny State