Tuesday, September 22, 2009

How to Reduce Heart Attacks

A new study released today in the Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association reports that heart attack rates decrease after passing smoke free air laws. The study analyzed the results from 13 studies in 5 countries in which heart attacks rates were found to decrease by an average of 17% the first year and as much as 36% within three years of passing a smoke free air law.

Another study also released today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, analyzed 11 reports from 10 locations, including Indiana, and found that heart attacks decreased 17% overall all and then decreased by 26% each year after.

These two studies highlight the importance of passing smoke free air laws, not only because they improve the health of workers, but also because they improve the health of the overall community. Now is the time for Indianapolis to join the rest of the nation by passing such an important public health policy.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Westfield Going Smoke Free

The City of Westfield passed a smoke free ordinance last night that covers all workplaces with the exception of those that only allow patrons over 21 and private clubs. This is a good step forward for a city that previously had no secondhand smoke protection for their workers. Hopefully it will not be too long before they take the next step to protect all workers from the dangers of secondhand smoke. The Westfield ordinance goes into effect on October 14th.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Smoke Free Comedy Now Available

Good news, all comedy clubs in Indianapolis are now SMOKE FREE!
Last night Crackers Comedy Club (both locations) went smoke free. You can visit the Broad Ripple location this weekend and see David Alan Grier of In Living Color and other fame. Morty's Comedy club went smoke free on August 1st, and word is that business is going well.

Now we just need an ordinance for all the other businesses that have not seen the light requiring them to go smoke free.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Big Tobacco at Rib America

If you attended the Rib America Festival at Military Park last weekend you were sure to see big tobacco present; there was a Longhorn spit tobacco booth, a Copenhagen spit tobacco booth and a Camel booth. The Copenhagen booth was the first booth at the West St. entrance and had an attractive lady luring people into the booth. Camel was over a little further with around 20 attractive young ladies and a large RV with their logo all over it. The Longhorn booth was over by the Canal, but was still in a very noticeable location. So you can imagine my surprise when I strolled in with my baby and husband to an event that I thought was family friendly only to see that the first booth was promoting a deadly product that kills 53,000 Americans every year. To say that I believe it is irresponsible for the festival to cater to families, music fans and meat lovers and still allow big tobacco to give out their deadly products is an understatement.

Here is all the FREE tobacco that we rounded up simply by visiting the various tobacco booths.

If you ever wonder why it is so hard for people to quit or why young people start smoking at all when we all know the health warnings, it is because of practices like this. Big tobacco attends events in which they are able to freely hand out their product (you did have to be 18 to get the products and say you want to use tobacco) in order to maintain their current client base and to hook new people. They are also present at many of our local bars every weekend handing out free cigarettes, and they give money to our local decision makers to lobby for their own interests. Tobacco companies out spend public health dollars millions to one every single year. It will be up to all of us to say that it is not OK for the companies to continue to addict individuals and to hook our youth in order for this to stop. Next time you are somewhere and you see big tobacco with their 'free' tobacco please tell the owner that you don't want to see it happen anymore and that its not the responsible thing to do.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Where can you find pregnant smokers?

Why here in Indiana of course!

A report, released August 15th by the Prenatal Substance Abuse Commission (PSAC), indicated that an estimated 20 percent of women used tobacco while pregnant; ranking Indiana seventh highest in the nation among all 50 states. That's nearly 18,000 babies that are born in Indiana to mothers who smoke. These babies are more likely to suffer from SIDS, to be born premature, have low birth weights and other health problems.

The Indiana Tobacco Quitline offers a specially designed free counselling service deigned for pregnant smokers. Included as part of the program is a series of up to 10 phone calls that are completed with the mother both during – and after – the term of pregnancy is completed. Quit coaches are specifically empathetic to the mother’s needs and they help make sure they have the right support network as part of the treatment services. For this service expectant mothers can call 1-800-Quit-Now (784-8669).

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

FDA Warns Against E-Cigarettes

In July, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned consumers about the use of e-cigarettes because they contain chemicals harmful to humans. E-cigarettes have become popular within the last couple years as a 'safer' alternative to cigarettes and are being sold online and in shopping malls. Through analysis of their ingredients the FDA has found that the e-cigarettes have traces of diethylene glycol, a chemical used in antifreeze that is toxic to humans, and in several other samples, the FDA analyses detected carcinogens, including nitrosamines. E-cigarettes also contain nicotine, the addictive substance found in traditional tobacco products. These new electronic cigarettes could increase a persons addiction to nicotine and could lead to addiction in young people.

The FDA is looking into regulating or banning these products because they do not contain health warnings found on cigarettes and because they contain harmful chemicals. Currently there is a pending lawsuit in Oregon against a Florida e-cigarette maker claiming that they target children with their fruit and other flavorings. The countries of Hong Kong and Finland have banned them outright and Canada is halted all sales until further testing is complete.

It will be interesting to watch what does happen with e-cigarettes whether they become banned outright or are added to the FDA's regulation of products. It can be said that all products that contain nicotine are addictive and harmful to people who use them.