December 2008


Research Highlights
Other Cessation News


Research Highlights

Other Cessation News




Quit Smoking Apps on the iPhone

The release of the Apple® iPhone in 2007 revolutionized the cell phone experience. Internet access and other features became available literally at the touch of a fingertip. What has truly set the iPhone apart, though, is the availability of third-party applications, or "apps," that can be downloaded from at Apple® App Store through the iPhone or iTunes.

These third-party apps, some free and some requiring a fee, cover a wide range of topics and functions including social networking, games, music services, restaurant finders, sports, travel and navigation, and much more.

Not surprisingly, the App Store also includes quit smoking apps. Are these quit smoking apps effective? Do they represent evidence-based practices? Are they linking to proven services like quitlines and web-based cessation programs?

A quick search for smoking cessation applications in the App Store reveals that none of the apps available to iPhone users link to programs and services that are considered to be evidence based. Some of the apps may be helpful for specific tasks in quitting, but not for the entire process. All of these apps, ranging from free to $7.99, advertise themselves as effective ways to quit smoking. One even has a celebrity endorsement from Ewan McGregor.

Using the terms "quit smoking," "stop smoking," and "smoking cessation," the search revealed 21 applications related to cessation. The majority appeared under quit smoking, with only one additional one under stop smoking. The following is a summary of what we found.

Calculator applications
The most common type of application that appeared in the search results were calculator tools. These tools track the total number of cigarettes smoked and cost of cigarettes over particular time periods. Several of the applications seem intended for use after a person has quit smoking.

Quit Smoking Helper ($1.99)
According to this application, the user sets the price of their favorite tobacco, and the number of cigarettes smoked per day. The application will show the user the period since quitting smoking, extended life, and money saved.

Quitter (Free)
"Quitter" is similar to "Quit Smoking Helper." The description states that "Being a 'Quitter' has never been so rewarding! This free application will keep track of how long you've been smoke-free and how much money you have saved since giving up smoking. Quitting smoking can be one of the most difficult things you will do but a quick glance at the dollar signs on your iPhone will help you stay on track. Go ahead, be a Quitter."

Quit It (Smoking) ($0.99)
"Quit It" states that it "is a tiny motivating program, supporting and encouraging smokers to quit smoking and helping ex-smokers to stay quit." It keeps track of the cigarettes "you did not smoke" and how much money is saved.

iBear Smoker ($1.99)
"iBear Smoker" is an application that helps track the number of cigarettes the user smokes per day, week or month and to count smoking expenditures (time as well as money). Unlike some of the other applications, this one acknowledges some limitations. According to the description, "we believe that there are no quick-fix technologies or shortcuts which would help you to quit yourself need to decide to quit and then stick to your decision.This application does not make you quit smoking or change your lifestyle, it just helps you keep statistics."

Cigarette Tracker ($0.99)
"Cigarette Tracker" is similar to "iBear Smoker." It is used to track the number of cigarettes smoked every day and the amount of money spent on smoking. It also claims to be able to provide an estimate of nicotine intake. Like "iBear Smoker," it acknowledges limitations, stating "While this application is not a primary tool developed to quit smoking, it offers a great value added for someone looking to quit."

Lung Age Calculator ($0.99)
"Lung Age Calculator" is promoted as a tool for clinicians to encourage smoking cessation among patients. It states "using data from office spirometry, the clinician will be able to calculate the patients "Lung Age." This result is easy for patients to understand and may be used as an incentive to help them quit smoking. Tools like this have been shown to help increase cessation rates."

Calendar applications
Another common type of application that appeared in the search results was a calendar tool. These calendar tools are designed to track the number of consecutive days of a task. None of these applications were directly focused on cessation; quitting was just one of the many suggested uses for these tools.

Streaks ($0.99)
"Streaks" is a calendar tool to track chains on consecutive dates of certain accomplishments. The description states "the goal is to get a streak going and never break it. Every day that you accomplish your chosen task, mark that day on the calendar. Soon you will have a streak going. Once your streak starts, you will be motivated to keep it going."

Goalkeep ($3.99)
"Goalkeep" is similar to "Streaks." In this application, checkmarks on consecutive days that the task is accomplished become "chains." According to the description, "Seeing your 'chain' highlighted on the calendar is a powerful motivator to keep going! Goalkeep helps reinforce the good habits that make life more productive and organized. When you're trying to establish good habits, consistency is the key.this is where Goalkeep comes in: it keeps you on track."

Several of the calendar tools that appeared in the search results only keep track of days remaining until or days elapsed since a certain event. "Days Until" (Free), "iBear Timer" (Free), "Day Count" ($0.99), "Big Day" ($0.99) all keep track of important events or goals. According to the descriptions, important events or goals that can be tracked are days until or days since a vacation, holidays, anniversaries, birthdays, work assignments, presentations, interviews, exams, taxes, elections, etc. These applications indicate they can help the user track time elapsed since quitting smoking.

Hypnosis applications
Several applications promote hypnosis as an effective quit smoking method.

Quit Smoking Now with Max Kirsten ($7.99)
This application, the most expensive of all the applications, is based on Max Kirsten's "famous 'Quit Smoking Now' program" that has helped "1000's of people successfully quit smoking." The description states that "this is a proven quit smoking program - not a generic hypnosis product." There is even a testimonial from actor Ewan McGregor.

Custom Hypnosis ($1.99)
"Custom Hypnosis" is not specific for smoking cessation. It states that this program is "the first application of it's kind where you retain complete control over you own hypnosis session." It offers 6 different powers of suggestions, including quit smoking.

Rationing applications
These types of applications aim to help the user quit by rationing the number cigarettes per day or increasing length of time between cigarettes smoked.

Smokeless ($1.99)
"Smokeless" calculates a schedule for smoking based on how much a user smokes now, the length of time, and the goal. It claims to help "you to quit smoking, or to reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke every day." The application also keeps a list of reasons for quitting and has a "first aid section" to help the user overcome withdrawal symptoms.

iQuit ($0.99)
"iQuit" claims that it "eases the transition" from smoker to non-smoker by slowly increasing the time between cigarettes smoked. The application lets the user know when a cigarette is permitted. It starts by adding just a few seconds to the current "between time" and that "gradually you'll work up to adding days between over the course of your personalized quitting regime."

iLog It ($0.99)
"iLog It" is not specific to smoking cessation, but it claims that it "will help you keep your habits under control!" The description asks "Trying to be a good boy or girl and not over indulge in your favorite decadence? Need to keep track of something on a daily or weekly basis? Then iLog It is for you!" A user would set a daily and weekly maximum number of cigarettes to smoke and track how many are smoked. But "if you go to zero on both daily and weekly allowance, you lose!"

Other applications
My Stop Smoking Coach with Allen Carr ($4.99)
This applications is an interactive game "that provides customized feedback and the impetus to help you quit, once and for all." The application includes 14 "innovative games designed to help you remove all illusions created by nicotine addiction while having fun." The user also chooses a personal coach and receives personalized advice and tips on quitting. The description includes a disclaimer that "you must be at least 17 years old to download this game" due to a rating of 17+ for "Frequent/Intense Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or References."

SensoSmoke 01 ($1.99)
"SensoSmoke 01" claims to teach the user how to "apply directed visualization and NLP to eliminate your attraction against smoking." The description states that SensoSmoke has been developed "by a team of psychologists and specialists in wellness." It claims that by using "in an intelligent way the strategies that your brain employs to classify the sensory impulse, you will be able to defeat the temptation without the need to fight against it, simply dissolving it."

SensoSmoke 02 ($1.99)
This version of "SensoSmoke" claims to apply "the strategy of sensory combination to apply a negative sensation to the act of lighting a new cigarette." This application teaches the user to link "at your will an image that represents to you the smoking habit with a 'disgusting impulse' so that the negative sensation that you will experience will allow you to defeat temptation to start smoking another cigarette."

iQuit It ($0.99)
This application claims to "keep you on the honest path" while trying to quit bad habits, including smoking. When having a craving, the application reminds the user of the ultimate goal to quit and thereby provides motivation to stay quit. The description states that "it's proven that keeping a log of some kind greatly increases your chances of successfully quitting."

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Research Highlights

Children Remain Especially Vulnerable to Secondhand Smoke, Despite Nation's Progress in Clean Indoor Air Policies

Nearly half of all children in the United States are still exposed to secondhand smoke (SHS) each week, according to a new survey from the American Legacy Foundation®, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Julius B. Richmond Center of Excellence and researchers from Mississippi State University.

The groups say that while America has come a long way in changing the social perception of smoking in the past 10 years, children are still exposed to secondhand smoke at alarming rates, and they are encouraging parents who smoke to quit for good.

The Social Climate Survey of Tobacco found that 42 percent of children are exposed to SHS each week and there are public settings where children could be exposed that are still not smoke-free.

"Children especially deserve smoke-free environments, and all public places where children eat and play should be protected from secondhand smoke," said Jonathan Klein, M.D., FAAP, director of the American Academy of Pediatrics Julius B. Richmond Center for Excellence. "Adults have the power to make healthier decisions for their children, and there needs to be more done to protect children in homes and cars from the dangers of secondhand smoke," said Klein.

Other key findings include:

  • While 75 percent of U.S households prohibit smoking in the home and car, that leaves 25 percent of American homes and cars unprotected.
  • More non-smokers prohibit smoking in the home than smokers.
  • More than one quarter of smokers report that their child had been exposed to secondhand smoke in their home.
  • Among parents who smoke, only 53.5 percent prohibit smoking in the home and even fewer (22.5 percent) prohibit smoking in the family vehicle.
  • 8.1 percent of US parents report that their child was exposed to SHS in an indoor public place in the past 7 days.

"The effects of secondhand smoke are serious and should not be minimized," said Cheryl G. Healton, President and CEO of the American Legacy Foundation, the only national public health foundation solely dedicated to reducing tobacco use in the U.S. "Addressing this issue starts with helping adult smokers and parents quit. Most know they are dealing with a tough addiction, so pediatricians and others can provide the tools and resources for parents to re-learn their life without cigarettes," Healton said.

For more information, see web link:
American Legacy Foundation News Release December 16, 2008


New Survey Shows Continued Progress in Reducing Youth Smoking

The 2008 Monitoring the Future survey released recently finds that smoking rates among 8th, 10th and 12th graders have declined to the lowest levels recorded in this survey for all three grades. However, like other recent surveys of youth and adult smoking, this survey also shows that smoking declines have slowed in recent years.

There is much to celebrate in the Monitoring the Future survey, which was released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Since peaking in the mid-1990s, smoking rates (the percentage who have smoked in the past 30 days) have declined by 68 percent among 8th graders, 60 percent among 10th graders and 44 percent among 12th graders.

These declines are powerful evidence that scientifically proven solutions, implemented primarily at the state and local level, are working. These include higher cigarette prices resulting from state cigarette tax increases and the 1998 state tobacco settlement; effective, well-funded tobacco prevention programs run by some states and nationally by the American Legacy Foundation; and a growing number of state and local laws requiring smoke-free workplaces and public places.

However, smoking declines among both youth and adults have slowed in recent years, following budget cuts to some tobacco prevention and cessation programs and huge increases in tobacco marketing expenditures. From 1998 to 2005, tobacco marketing nearly doubled from $6.9 billion to $13.4 billion, according to the most recent Federal Trade Commission data. Tobacco companies now spend the bulk of their marketing budgets on price discounts, which undermine efforts to discourage smoking by increasing cigarette prices.

The Monitoring the Future survey shows the impact of these harmful trends. It finds a statistically significant decline in smoking this year only among 10th graders. There has not been a statistically significant year-to-year decline in smoking among 12th graders since 2003, and 20.4 percent of high school seniors still smoke.

For more information, see web link:
Campaign For Tobacco Free Kids Press Release December 11, 2008


Secondhand Smoke Boosts Asthmatic Boys' Behavior Woes

Secondhand smoke in the home increases the risk of behavioral problems in boys with asthma, researchers report.

The study, by a team at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, included 220 boys and girls ages 6 to 12, with asthma.

For each doubling of secondhand smoke exposure, boys showed a twofold increase in behavioral problems such as hyperactivity, aggression, and depression.

The researchers found that secondhand smoke had no impact on girls, even though they were on average exposed to higher levels of tobacco smoke than boys. Additional research is needed to explain this gender difference, the researchers said.

The study was published online in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics.

"These findings should encourage us to make stronger efforts to prevent childhood exposure to tobacco smoke, especially among higher risk populations, such as children with asthma," study lead author Kimberly Yolton, a researcher at the Children's Environmental Health Center at Cincinnati Children's, said in a hospital news release.

It's not known why secondhand smoke can cause behavioral problems in boys with asthma, but Yolton noted that there's "quite a bit of evidence" that nicotine in tobacco smoke affects development and functioning of the nervous system, as well as child development and behavior.

The children in this study were exposed to secondhand smoke from an average of 13 cigarettes a day, said the researchers, who added that even low levels of secondhand smoke exposure may lead to behavioral problems.

For more information, see web link:
U.S. News & World Report December 10, 2008


Secondhand Smoke Causes Fertility Problems

Women who breathed in secondhand smoke as children or young adults were later more likely to have trouble getting pregnant and suffer more miscarriages than women not exposed to smoke, U.S. researchers reported.

They said toxins in the smoke could have permanently damaged the women's bodies, causing the later problems, and said their finding support restrictions on smoking.

Luke Peppone at the University of Rochester in New York, Dr. Kenneth Piazza of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, and colleagues studied 4,800 women treated at Roswell Park.

They were asked to give details of all pregnancies, attempts to get pregnant, and miscarriages, as well as their history of smoking and breathing secondhand smoke.

Overall, 11 percent of the women reported difficulty becoming pregnant, and about a third lost one or more babies, the researchers wrote in the journal Tobacco Control.

"Forty percent reported any prenatal pregnancy difficulty (fetal loss and/or difficulty becoming pregnant)," they said.

Women who remembered their parents smoking around them were 26 percent more likely to have had difficulty becoming pregnant and women exposed to any secondhand smoke were 39 percent more likely to have had a miscarriage, Peppone's team reported.

Four out of five of the women reported exposure to secondhand smoke during their lifetimes and half grew up in a home with smoking parents.

For more information, see web link:
Reuters December 4, 2008


Secondhand Smoke Is Declining Factor in Heart Disease

If they continue, recent reductions in exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke will markedly reduce coronary heart disease in the U.S., researchers said.

Exposure to secondhand smoke has been reduced by between 25 percent and 40 percent over the past decade, according to James Lightwood, Ph.D., of the University of California San Francisco, and colleagues.

A mathematical model adjusted for the changes shows that the clinical and economic burden of heart disease associated with secondhand smoke is also falling -- by up to 30 percent, the researchers reported online in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

But the "burden remains substantial," they argued, with more than 15,000 deaths a year from coronary heart disease that can be blamed on secondhand smoke.

The researchers used Monte Carlo simulations to estimate events and costs as a function of the prevalence of risk factors, including the prevalence of secondhand smoking, under several assumptions.

Raw data was taken from several public sources including the 2000 census, the Framingham Heart Study, the National Health and Nutrition Evaluation Survey, and the 2000 National Health Interview Survey.

Dr. Lightwood compared two main scenarios -- a status quo scenario whose disease burden was based on active and passive smoking levels seen between 1999 and 2004 and a trend forecast that assumed that the reduction in passive smoking observed from 1988 through 2006 will continue through 2008.

In the status quo scenario, the researchers found, secondhand smoke:

  • Caused between 21,800 and 75,100 deaths from coronary heart disease a year.
  • Caused between 38,100 and 128,900 myocardial infarctions annually.
  • And led to a yearly cost of between $1.8 and $6.0 billion.

In contrast, the trend forecast found that secondhand smoke:

  • Caused between 15,200 and 56,900 deaths from coronary heart disease a year.
  • Caused between 26,300 and 56,900 myocardial infarctions annually.
  • And led to a yearly cost of between $1.2 and $4.6 billion.

The ranges vary depending on the assumed relative risk for coronary heart disease associated with exposure to secondhand smoke -- the researchers conducted the analysis using low and high relative risk estimates of 1.26 and 1.65.

For more information, see web link:
MedPage Today December 3, 2008


Fewer Smokers Linked to Lower Cancer Death Rate

The number of new cancer cases and deaths are falling for both men and women for the first time since the government began compiling a report on long-term trends, researchers announced recently.

Overall cancer death rates decreased an average of 1.8 percent a year from 2002 to 2005, the report shows. Death rates have been falling since the government began tracking this trend in 1998.

Researchers say they were particularly encouraged that the number of new cases also fell, by an average of 0.8 percent a year, from 1999 to 2005.

Those findings mark a change from the past, in which the cancer rate fell in men, but rose or held steady in women, as female smokers and former smokers succumbed to lung cancer. From 1995 to 1999, the overall number of new cases in both sexes grew by 0.9 percent a year.

Declining cancer rates are particularly impressive, given that the nation is aging, says John Niederhuber, director of the National Cancer Institute, one of the report's four sponsors.

Researchers credit declines in smoking for much of this progress.

The report confirms earlier studies showing the cancer mortality rate would be virtually unchanged if it weren't for growing numbers of Americans rejecting tobacco, says author Ahmedin Jemal of the American Cancer Society, another of the report's sponsors.

Researchers have a wealth of evidence demonstrating how to cut smoking rates: hike cigarette taxes, ban smoking in public places, invest in educating young people and provide smoking cessation counseling, says Therese Bevers, associate professor at Houston's M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

California, which in 1990 became the first state to implement a wide-ranging anti-tobacco program, has reaped huge rewards. Lung cancer death rates there fell at an average of 2.8 percent a year from 1996 to 2005 - twice the rate in many states of the South and Midwest, according to the report. California was also the only state where lung cancer cases and death rates fell in women.

For more information, see web link:
USA Today November 26, 2008


Ability to Quit Smoking May Depend On ADHD Symptoms, Researchers Find

Tobacco use is more prevalent and smoking cessation less likely among persons with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (A.D.H.D.). In a study of smokers with attention deficit and hyperactivity symptoms, those who exhibited elevated hyperactivity and impulsivity, with or without inattention, showed lower quit rates after 8 weeks than those with inattention symptoms alone or those without the A.D.H.D. symptoms.

The study, now available online in Nicotine and Tobacco Research, could help smokers and physicians to better tailor cessation treatment for individuals with A.D.H.D.

"Greater understanding of the divergent associations that exist between the different kinds of A.D.H.D. have important public health consequences for smoking cessation and decreased tobacco-related mortality in this population," said the study's lead author Lirio Covey, Ph.D., professor of clinical psychology (in psychiatry) at Columbia University Medical Center and the New York State Psychiatric Institute.

During the initial, eight-week phase of a maintenance treatment study, 583 adult smokers, 43 of whom were identified with clinically significant A.D.H.D. symptom subtypes using the A.D.H.D. Current Symptom Scale, were treated with the medication buproprion (brand name Zyban®), the nicotine patch and regular cessation counseling. Compared to smokers without A.D.H.D., smokers of both A.D.H.D. subtypes combined showed lower abstinence rates throughout the study.

Breakdown of the A.D.H.D. group by subtype, however, revealed a more complicated picture. The researchers found that by the end of the treatment, the proportion of abstainers among A.D.H.D. smokers with inattention were nearly identical to those without A.D.H.D. (55 percent compared to 54 percent, respectively).

By contrast, the A.D.H.D. subgroup with hyperactivity, with or without inattention, exhibited lower quit rates throughout the treatment period compared to smokers without A.D.H.D., essentially finding that only in the presence of hyperactivity and impulsivity, were differences observed between smokers with or without A.D.H.D. symptoms.

"The knowledge gained from further study of how these early onset disorders of nicotine dependency and A.D.H.D. are related could lead to early prevention of either one or both of these conditions," concluded Dr. Covey. More research is needed to tease out why hyperactivity causes less cessation success.

For more information, see web link:
ScienceDaily November 24, 2008


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Other Cessation News

Documents Offer Look at Big Tobacco's Tactics

Two studies released recently allege that big tobacco companies tried to undermine anti-smoking policies in Asia by infiltrating a research institute in Thailand and providing funding for one in China.

Public health researchers from the University of Sydney and the University of Edinburgh analyzed internal industry documents made public following litigation in the United States. The researchers claimed that Philip Morris planted a scientist in Chulabhorn Research Institute in Bangkok in a bid to get researchers to play down the impact of secondhand smoking.

A separate study including a Mayo Clinic researcher alleges that British American Tobacco provided funding in China for the Beijing Liver Foundation in a campaign to shift the focus there away from smoking dangers to ailments like liver disease.

Both companies denied the charges presented online in the Public Library of Science Medicine journal. The two studies were partly funded by the National Cancer Institute in the U.S.

Anti-smoking groups say big tobacco for years has sought to covertly influence government smoking policies and squash scientific findings highlighting hazards of smoking.

Earlier reviews of company documents have claimed that cigarette companies worked to defeat a tobacco advertising ban in Europe, pressured drug companies to tone down marketing for smoking-cessation products and placed consultants at the World Health Organization to try to subvert efforts to reduce smoking.

Critics contend the companies are turning increasingly to Asia where smokers are on the rise.

In the Thai study, University of Sydney's Ross MacKenzie and University of Edinburgh's Jeff Collin allege that Philip Morris scientist Roger Walk was able to lecture and organize conferences at the Thai government-funded Chulabhorn from the early 1990s to at least 2006.

The researchers say this allowed Philip Morris to develop relationships with key officials and scientists in efforts to discount the threat of secondhand smoke.

The other study alleges that London-based British American Tobacco used the Beijing Liver Foundation to lobby China's Health Ministry in a campaign to forestall smoke-free legislation.

The researchers say documents show that the company provided training for industry, public officials and the media to spread its message that secondhand smoke was an insignificant source of pollution.

"Our findings show that, despite the tobacco industry's public efforts to appear socially responsible and to assert that they are part of the solution to the global tobacco epidemic, there is a fundamental conflict between the interests of tobacco companies and public health," said the Mayo Clinic's Monique E. Muggli, who conducted the study with Kelley Lee, Quan Gan, Jon O. Ebbert and Richard Hurt.

For more information, see web link:
The Washington Post December 23, 2008


Court Allows Suit Against 'Light' Cigarette Makers

The Supreme Court said that consumers may sue over what they allege to be deceptive marketing of "light" cigarettes, a decision that opens tobacco companies to what could be billions of dollars in liability in court cases nationwide.

The justices voted 5-4 in saying that a group of Maine smokers may proceed with their suit against Philip Morris USA, now owned by Altria. The marketing of what the tobacco companies had once called a more "healthy" cigarette is perhaps the biggest legal liability facing the industry, experts say.

The court said federal laws regarding the labeling of cigarettes for health dangers do not stand in the way of suits under state laws that regulate fraudulent marketing practices.

Such suits, wrote Justice John Paul Stevens, are "predicated on the duty not to deceive" and are separate from federal oversight of cigarette testing or the warnings printed on cigarette packs.

Tobacco companies and business groups had hoped the court would rule that the federal laws "preempt" state consumer laws. Anti-smoking groups said the ruling gave a "green light" to court action to hold cigarette-makers liable for the harm they cause.

"It is a historic day for tobacco litigation," said Edward L. Sweda Jr., senior attorney for the Tobacco Products Liability Project at Northeastern University School of Law. He added that the industry had wanted an "absolute shield of immunity for decades of wrongdoing."

In addition to the Maine case, he said there were about 40 similar suits filed in more than 20 states against tobacco companies that sell the "light" and "low-tar" cigarettes.

For more information, see web link:
The Washington Post December 16, 2008


Cancer to Be World's Top Killer by 2010, WHO Says

Cancer will overtake heart disease as the world's top killer by 2010, part of a trend that should more than double global cancer cases and deaths by 2030, international health experts said in a report released recently. Rising tobacco use in developing countries is believed to be a huge reason for the shift, particularly in China and India, where 40 percent of the world's smokers now live. So is better diagnosing of cancer, along with the downward trend in infectious diseases that used to be the world's leading killers.

Cancer diagnoses around the world have steadily been rising and are expected to hit 12 million this year. Global cancer deaths are expected to reach 7 million, according to the new report by the World Health Organization.

An annual rise of 1 percent in cases and deaths is expected - with even larger increases in China, Russia and India. That means new cancer cases will likely mushroom to 27 million annually by 2030, with deaths hitting 17 million.

Underlying all this is an expected expansion of the world's population - there will be more people around to get cancer.

By 2030, there could be 75 million people living with cancer around the world, a number that many health care systems are not equipped to handle.

"This is going to present an amazing problem at every level in every society worldwide," said Peter Boyle, director of the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Boyle spoke at a news conference with officials from the American Cancer Society, the Lance Armstrong Foundation, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the National Cancer Institute of Mexico.

The "unprecedented" gathering of organizations is an attempt to draw attention to the global threat of cancer, which isn't recognized as a major, growing health problem in some developing countries.

The organizations are calling on governments to act, asking the U.S. to help fund cervical cancer vaccinations and to ratify an international tobacco control treaty.

"Cancer is one of the greatest untold health crises of the developing world," said Dr. Douglas Blayney, president-elect of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

"Few are aware that cancer already kills more people in poor countries than HIV, malaria and tuberculosis combined. And if current smoking trends continue, the problem will get significantly worse," he said in a written statement.

For more information, see web link:
Fox News December 9, 2008


FTC: Tar Testing Invalid

The Federal Trade Commission said recently that it has pulled its approval of a controversial method that allowed for the labeling of cigarettes as "light" and "low tar" for 42 years.

The FTC's decision, long expected, is the latest development in an ongoing debate that has reached the U.S. Supreme Court about what can be marketed as reduced risk in cigarette-smoking.

Since 1966, cigarette manufacturers, including R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., and the FTC have relied on the Cambridge Filter Method -- a machine that "smokes" cigarettes according to a standard protocol -- for determining relative risk and provide data to consumers.

The data eventually led to three categories for cigarette styles, "full flavor," "low" or "light," and "ultra low" or "ultra light."

The FTC said it has determined that the filter method is flawed because it was not designed to "replicate actual human smoking," such as smoking lower nicotine/low tar cigarettes more deeply to obtain more nicotine.

Tobacco marketers "should no longer use terms suggesting the FTC's endorsement or approval of any specific test method," the FTC said. "The commission will not allow its stamp of approval on a test method that is confusing or misleading to consumers."

"The broader message is that 'low tar/low nicotine' has inaccurately led many smokers to believe lower risk," said Dr. John Spangler, the director of the Tobacco Intervention program at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. "So, the new message that the government's testing method has not been accurate shows that the public may have been even more misled."

The FTC said it would begin to consider legal challenges focusing on cigarette advertising, marketing and packaging as false or misleading related to the filter method after Jan. 1. The FTC carved out a March 1 exemption to challenges for products already at retail, packaging already in distribution and print advertising already submitted for publication.

For more information, see web link:
Winston-Salem Journal November 27, 2008


North Dakota Will Spend More Money on Tobacco Prevention

Supporters of Initiated Measure Three say now that the measure is passed, North Dakota will become the only state to fund its comprehensive tobacco prevention and control programs at the level suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The measure dedicates monies from so-called "bonus" payments by tobacco companies through a lawsuit settlement to tobacco prevention and cessation. Under the original lawsuit settlement, 45 percent of the money went toward water projects, 45 percent to the Common Schools Trust Fund -- and ten percent to health programs.

"The passage of Measure 3 was a mandate from the people of North Dakota to provide them with the health and economic benefits of a statewide tobacco prevention and control program funded at the level recommended by the CDC," said Kathy Mangskau, one of the measure's sponsors. "We are committed to insuring that the will of the people will be realized.

A representative of the national Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids says a recent study shows that of the $204 billion states received from the tobacco settlement, only about 3 percent, or $6.5 billion -- has been spent on tobacco programs.

"No state in the nation is funding tobacco prevention programs at the level the CDC recommends," said Campaign spokesperson Jodi Radke. "North Dakota will be a compass for the nation."

The CDC recommendation for North Dakota is $9.3 million a year.

For more information, see web link:
Prairie Region News November 21, 2008


Ontario Lung Association Urges Smoking Parents to Give Kids a "Free Ride"

The Ontario Lung Association recently launched the Campaign for a Smoke-free Ride - a program that urges parents not to smoke in their car when children are there. Launching on Canada's National Child Day, Campaign for a Smoke-free Ride is dedicated to protecting children by providing parents with the positive support they need to give their kids a smoke-free ride.

"We know that for many parents who smoke, it can be hard to resist lighting up in the car, even when their kids are with them," says George Habib, president, Ontario Lung Association (OLA). "For this reason, we are pleased to be launching a campaign to give those who smoke the support and encouragement they need to give their kids a smoke-free ride; and we would like to thank the Government of Ontario for their support in making this important campaign possible."

Taking a positive and educational approach, Campaign for a Smoke-free Ride aims to connect with smokers across the province through advertising, community events, a toll-free information line (1-888-344-LUNG (5864)), and a dedicated Web site ( where people can go for information, tips and support on how to have a smoke-free ride.

"Children regularly exposed to second-hand smoke are more likely to suffer lung damage and breathing problems and have an increased risk of developing severe illnesses, such as asthma," says Dr. John Granton, Chair, Ontario Thoracic Society. "What's really important for parents to know is that there is no safe way to smoke in a car with children. In-car concentrations of second-hand smoke are up to 27 times greater than in a smoker's home, making smoking in the car highly toxic to young, developing lungs."

Provinces across the country have begun to recognize the importance of this issue. On January 21, 2009, also known as Weedless Wednesday, Ontario will become the third province in Canada to enact legislation that will ban smoking in vehicles with children. Nova Scotia and British Columbia have already enacted similar legislation.

For more information about Campaign for a Smoke-free Ride, or the dangers of second-hand smoke in the car, call 1-888-344-LUNG (5864) or visit

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MarketWatch November 20, 2008


AAFP, AAP Call for AMA to Support Tobacco Control Content in EHRs

The AAFP has long-standing policy on tobacco use, including a recommendation that urges family physicians to collaborate with other health professionals to counsel patients who smoke or use smokeless tobacco to quit. Now, that recommendation could become easier to follow, thanks to a measure introduced at the recent interim meeting of the AMA House of Delegates that calls for inclusion of prompts to ask about tobacco use in electronic health records, or EHRs.

The AAFP and the American Academy of Pediatrics co-sponsored a resolution that asks the AMA to advocate that all EHR systems include a template that prompts clinicians to collect data about patients' tobacco use, exposure to secondhand smoke, interest in quitting and past attempts to quit.

According to the resolution, automatic prompts in these systems also should remind clinicians to:

  • encourage patients who use tobacco to quit,
  • advise them about the importance of maintaining smoke-free environments, and
  • connect patients and their families to tobacco cessation resources.

"In a busy family medicine practice, any way that a doctor can take a few minutes to talk to patients about their smoking gets the best results in getting them to stop," said AAFP Board Chair Jim King, M.D., of Selmer, Tenn., in an interview with AAFP News Now. King testified in support of the tobacco control EHR templates during a Nov. 9 reference committee hearing at the AMA interim meeting in Orlando, Fla.

According to that committee's report, testimony on the measure was mixed, with a number of speakers addressing "both the value and deterrents associated with multiple prompts that may be embedded in electronic medical record templates." In the end, delegates referred the resolution to the AMA Board of Trustees for its decision on what action to take.

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AAFP News Release November 19, 2008


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