January 2008


Research Highlights
Other Cessation News



Research Highlights

Other Cessation News




NTCC Identifies Strategic Initiatives for 2008

This past December, NTCC held its annual meeting in Washington, DC to identify the strategic initiatives it will focus on in 2008. Members agreed that the 5 overarching initiatives that were developed last year; Consumer Demand, Health Literacy, New Media, Provider Outreach, and Smoke-Free Policies; would remain the same. They identified new projects and activities to move each of the initiatives forward in the coming year.

Consumer Demand Initiative

Seventy percent of adult smokers report a desire quit, and although as many as 40 percent make a serious quit attempt each year, most smokers who try to quit fail, especially those with the least education and income. A key reason is that most smokers who try to quit do not use treatments that could significantly improve their success rates.

The Consumer Demand Initiative is the most active initiative. The goal of this initiative is to support the development of innovative strategies for substantially improving the demand for and use of evidence-based tobacco cessation products and services, particularly in underserved low-income and racial/ethnic minority populations where tobacco use is highest and treatment use is lowest.

The key activities for the year will be supported by two transition grants from RWJF.

  • The first transition grant will support a journal supplement or theme issue to help disseminate the research, concepts, recommendations and insights that emerged from the Consumer Demand Roundtable and National Conference.
  • The second grant will support the development and pilot-testing of an "innovation kit" for organizations to redesign cessation products and services. After working with IDEO to provide intensive on-site consultation to three organizations, it was agreed that it would be most beneficial to create this kit for organizations to go through the redesign process on their own. The kit will describe the IDEO consumer-based design process and include instructions for conducting the key needs assessment and re-design activities.

NTCC will also determine the need for a 2008 Consumer Demand National Conference.

Health Literacy Initiative

Recent data show that those with lower socioeconomic status are more likely to have limited health literacy skills. This same group is also more likely to smoke. Many tobacco cessation materials may not be appropriate for smokers with lower health literacy skills, and may be a contributing factor to the under-use of evidence-based products/services. The goal of this initiative is to provide resources and guidance to the field on creating more health literate tobacco cessation materials.

NTCC has identified several activities as part of this initiative.

  • Disseminate the NTCC Health Literacy Checklist to a wider audience.
  • Conduct a needs assessment survey of NTCC members, state health departments and quitline vendors to determine what types of assistance are needed to integrate health literacy principles into tobacco cessation materials and services and follow-up with materials development, trainings or other activities as needed.
  • NTCC will also collaborate with AHRQ to incorporate health literacy principles into the new PHS clinical practice guidelines by creating and disseminating supporting materials.

New Media Initiative

New, emerging forms of communication; social networking sites, blogs, television, mobile phones, Podcasts, etc., have the potential to promote tobacco treatment and cessation to new and expanding audiences. The goal of this initiative is to raise awareness and provide education on new media and its applications, and to become a resource for new media information.

For this initiative, NTCC is planning the following activities.

  • Continue to expand the Wikipedia project by adding new content as needed and reviewing and editing the tobacco cessation-related entries on a regular basis.
  • NTCC will conduct background research to determine new media trends, usage among various audiences, skills and resources needed to participate, and other pertinent information.
  • Conduct a baseline assessment survey of NTCC members to determine current levels of awareness, knowledge, understanding, and usage of new media. This will help to inform the development of fact sheets and case studies on best practices in new media.

Provider Outreach Initiative

For many, their healthcare provider is an important source of information on tobacco cessation treatment. NTCC has the opportunity to be involved in more formal outreach to this group and to assist and encourage healthcare providers to take a more active role in tobacco cessation.

For this initiative, NTCC is planning the following activities.

  • NTCC will finalize and promote the provider CME-course microsite.
  • Provide support, as needed, to Donna Warner of the Massachusetts Tobacco Control Program and the newly formed multi-state collaborative to promote and support sustainable changes in the healthcare system in support of tobacco cessation.

Smoke-free Policies Initiative

States and localities continue to adopt and implement smoke-free policies. When smoke-free policies are implemented, there may be an increased demand for cessation services. States and localities need to seize these policy changes as opportunities to increase treatment use and quit rates. The goal of this initiative is to support activities around smoke-free policies and create a link between smoke-free policies, taxes, and other policies to cessation products and services.

NTCC has identified several activities as part of this initiative.

  • Promote the NCI smoke-free jurisdictions list.
  • Develop materials to support the NAQC and RWJF/TFK policy playbooks, and create a way to house all of these materials in one place online as an extension of the NTCC website.
  • Conduct outreach to states/localities as they implement smoke-free and other policies.

Additional Communication Activities

NTCC communications activities for 2008 will continue to include a monthly e-newsletter, a regularly updated website, and monthly teleconferences of NTCC members. These activities are designed to keep members informed and up-to-date on NTCC, its partners, and advances in research, new technologies, new policies and other topics related to tobacco cessation.

For more information on these initiatives, please contact Todd Phillips at tphillip@aed.org

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Todd Phillips, Senior Marketing and Communications Manager at Academy for Educational Development

Todd Phillips has worked in tobacco control for more than 15 years. He is currently Senior Marketing and Communications Manager at Academy for Educational Development (AED), in Washington DC where he oversees a variety of health related projects, many of which focused on tobacco cessation. Todd currently manages the activities of the Youth Tobacco Cessation Collaborative (YTCC) and the National Tobacco Cessation Collaborative (NTCC). At AED, he has previously managed a training and technical assistance contract with the Office on Smoking and Health (OSH) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in which he developed a strategic planning training for 14 states to address tobacco-related disparities. Previously he worked at Porter Novelli on the national truth campaign. Todd also developed and implemented the Media Campaign Resource Center for Tobacco Control for CDC. Through this Resource Center, which offers ads created by all the major state campaigns, he has worked with organizations in all 50 states to create counter-marketing campaigns.

Q1: How did NTCC get started?

In 1998, the major national tobacco control funders (American Cancer Society, American Legacy Foundation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Cancer Institute, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation) created the Youth Tobacco Cessation Collaborative (YTCC) with the goal of ensuring every young tobacco user has access to effective cessation interventions by 2010. The YTCC has been such a success that we decided in 2005 to bring the same collaborative approach to adult cessation through the NTCC.

Q2: Why did NTCC choose to focus on these initiatives for 2008? (Consumer Demand, Health Literacy, New Media, Provider Outreach, and Smoke-Free Policies)?

While YTCC has focused mostly on large research projects to understand what works with youth, NTCC is set up to bring partners together to address opportunities and gaps that would benefit the most from collaborative work. Each year NTCC holds a strategic planning meeting to set priorities for the upcoming year. This strategic planning is based on analyses of current partner activities, the identification of needs and opportunities, and consideration of previous frameworks, such as the National Action Plan for Tobacco Cessation. Our five initiatives represent the consensus on the main opportunities for 2008.

Q3: The updated PHS Clinical Practice Guidelines should be released some time this spring. What is NTCC planning around this release?

The release of the PHS Clinical Practice Guidelines gives us a great chance to promote evidence-based cessation treatments to consumers. NTCC will be looking to work with our partners to conduct a year-long outreach effort, especially in ways that reach underserved populations with health literate information.

Q4: Recently, many states and communities have been passing and implementing smoking bans and smoke-free policies. What is NTCC doing to support smoke-free policy implementation?

Practically everyone knows the amazing strides that have been made to protect Americans from secondhand smoke. But these smoke-free policies also represent a tremendous opportunity to help smokers quit. Studies show that the environmental change created by smoke-free and excise tax policies encourages quitting and increases demand for cessation treatments. NTCC is working with the North American Quitline Consortium, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, among others, to make this policy-cessation connection happen.

Q5: NTCC hosted a series of Roundtables and a National Conference to discuss issues and opportunities related to Consumer Demand. What were the outcomes of these meetings and what is being done to promote Consumer Demand?

The Consumer Demand Initiative has led to a big paradigm shift for many people. Instead of thinking of smokers as patients needed to be treated, more people are realizing the value and need for seeing smokers as consumers of cessation products and services. In the commercial world, "consumers" are valued, their input is sought, and products and services are designed to meet all of their needs-aesthetic, psychological and biological. Our products and services need to be efficacious, but they also have to be "effective" in the marketplace where they compete against the many options available to consumers-some of which are proven and many of which aren't.

Q6: What has it been like working with the more unconventional partners, like IDEO and the XPrize Foundation?

One of the big successes of NTCC is bringing in nontraditional partners to the field of tobacco cessation. Our work with IDEO alone has taken me to the far reaches of Alaska to towns with no roads or plumbing to performing in skits as "Jethro" in Arizona with Myra Muramoto in a blonde wig. Yes, there are pictures, and no, I'm not sharing them. Both IDEO and the X Prize Foundation have brought powerful new thinking on how to transform tobacco cessation in America, and it will be exciting to see what 2008 brings.

Q7: What has been the biggest accomplishment of NTCC since its inception?

There have been several key achievements over the past year. The Consumer Demand Initiative has been our flagship project, and has led to many changes, from new research priorities at NCI to research recommendations being considered for the new PHS Clinical Practice Guidelines. The Health Literacy Initiative has been instrumental in getting more organizations to consider how to better communicate with underserved audiences who are most likely to smoke and to have lower health literacy skills.

Q8: What is the greatest challenge that NTCC faces?

I think the biggest test for any coalition is finding ways for partners to collaborate in meaningful ways that lead to true progress. We try to use a range of ways, from Zoomerang surveys to conference calls to special meetings, to keep partners engaged and maximize everyone's time.

Q9: What has been the most rewarding aspect of your work with NTCC?

The best part of leading NTCC is working with so many passionate, intelligent people who are working to improve public health.

Q10: How can an organization become a member of NTCC?

NTCC is open to any organization seeking to increase successful cessation and improve the public's health. Member organizations cannot be involved in activities that are in conflict with improving public health. For more information on membership, contact Jessica Nadeau at jnadeau@aed.org.

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Research Highlights

Tobacco Use Behaviors and Household Smoking Bans among Chinese Americans

In a study published in this month's issue of American Journal of Health Promotion, researchers examined the relationship between household smoking restrictions and smoking patterns among Chinese American adults in two communities in New York City.

This study was a cross-sectional analysis based on a National Institutes of Health-funded population-based household and telephone survey of 2537 Chinese American adults. The analyses focused on 600 male current smokers.

Among current smokers, 37% reported living in a home with a complete smoking ban. Smokers with a full household smoking ban smoked fewer cigarettes on weekdays and weekends than smokers with no household smoking ban and were 3.4 times more likely to report having at least one quit attempt in the past 12 months. Smokers with knowledge of the dangers of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure were 2.8 times more likely to have at least one quit attempt in the last 12 months compared with those who were unaware of the danger of ETS and more likely to live in a smoke-free household.

The authors of the study conclude that smoke-free home policies and interventions to raise awareness among smokers of the dangers of ETS have the potential to significantly reduce tobacco use and exposure to household ETS among this immigrant population.

For more information, see web link:
American Journal of Health Promotion, 2008, Volume 22, Issue 3


Characteristics of Smokers Calling a National Reactive Telephone Helpline

Although reactive telephone helplines for quitting smoking are increasingly popular in the United States, the characteristics of callers using this resource have not been adequately studied. In an article published in this month's issue of American Journal of Health Promotion, researchers examined the characteristics of the current smokers calling a national reactive telephone helpline.

The study included 890 adult current smokers who were new callers to a national reactive helpline. The information collected included selected demographic and smoking-related characteristics.

The analysis found that there was a significant overrepresentation of blacks, non-Hispanics, women, and urban residents, as well as poorer, older, less educated, and heavier smokers in the study population. The researchers conclude that reactive telephone helplines may be preferentially used by population segments that are disadvantaged or smoke heavily and thus are in greatest need for assistance. These helplines may fill a much-needed niche in the marketplace of smoking cessation strategies.

For more information, see web link:
American Journal of Health Promotion, 2008, Volume 22, Issue 3


New Neuroimaging Study Identifies 'Brain Signature' For Cigarette Cravings

A new brain imaging study by researchers in the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania shows that cigarette cravings in smokers who are deprived of nicotine are linked with increased activation in specific regions of the brain. Using a novel method of measuring brain blood flow, this study is the first to show how abstinence from nicotine produces brain activation patterns that relate to urges to smoke.

According to Caryn Lerman, PhD, Director of the Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center and senior author of the paper, and colleagues John Detre, MD, and Ze Wang, PhD, cravings are a hallmark of drug dependence, including nicotine dependence. "There have been several brain imaging studies showing how subjects respond to visual, smoking-related cues, such as a picture of a cigarette or of someone smoking," said Lerman. "However, less is known about the neural basis of urges that arise naturally as a result of nicotine deprivation. This study was designed help fill this research gap."

Fifteen regular smokers were included in the study. Each participant was scanned in a resting state on two separate occasions: participants smoked a cigarette within an hour of the one scan, and abstained from smoking overnight for the other scan.

The findings indicate that abstinence-induced, unprovoked cravings to smoke are associated with increased activation in brain regions important in attention, behavioral control, memory, and reward. "The craving assessments used in our study predict relapse in smoking cessation treatment," said Lerman. "If validated in larger studies, these results may have important clinical implications."

For more information, see web link:
The Journal of Neuroscience, 2007, Volume 27, Issue 51


Social Pressure Can Get Smokers To Quit

New research shows that social pressure plays a key role in getting smokers to quit. By analyzing the smoking patterns of Asian immigrants from countries where smoking is socially acceptable, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have shown that smokers are far more likely to try to quit when living where smoking is not socially acceptable. And the more these smokers try to quit, the more they succeed.

"People say they don't want to conform but in reality, the desire to conform is strong," said principal investigator Shu-Hong Zhu, Ph.D., of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at Moores UCSD Cancer Center, and Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at UCSD School of Medicine. "For a study like this, you have to create a different social norm and then allow people to experience it, so immigrants are an ideal group to study."

Using data from three previous tobacco studies conducted in California, Zhu's team looked at smokers who are recent immigrants to California from China and Korea, where smoking is still widely accepted. They found that the California immigrants have a smoking cessation rate much higher than their counterparts in their native countries, where about two thirds of all men smoke, and smoking is a common and expected social interaction.

In their study, published in Nicotine and Tobacco Research, researchers note that more than half of all Chinese and Korean immigrants in California who ever smoked have quit. Chinese immigrant smokers in California stop smoking at roughly seven times the rate of their counterparts in China. In Korea, a recent, aggressive tobacco control campaign is starting to boost the quit rate, but Korean immigrants in California still stop smoking at more than three times the rate of their counterparts in Korea.

The researchers attribute this marked difference to the difference in social norms. According to the UC San Diego study, over 82 percent of Chinese and Korean immigrant smokers in California reported that they were familiar with the state's anti-smoking campaigns through print, television, or radio. This familiarity shows an awareness of the new social norm.

Changing the social norm not only makes more smokers try to quit, it also makes them more likely to keep on trying, even if earlier tries ended in relapse. Repeated tries will ultimately lead to success.

Zhu points out, "The large difference in annual quit rates is almost completely explained by the difference in proportions of smokers trying to quit. In China, for example, the quit rate is low because a very low proportion of smokers try to quit each year. In California, by contrast, a very high proportion of Chinese smokers try to quit each year. More tries means more success."

For more information, see web link:
UCSD News Release, January 09, 2008


UCSD Researchers Find Young Adults More Likely to Quit Smoking Successfully

Young adults are more likely than older adults to quit smoking successfully, partly because they are more likely to make a serious effort to quit, say researchers at the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego.

The study, "Smoking Cessation Rates in the United States: A Comparison of Young Adult and Older Smokers," published in the January 2, 2008 issue of American Journal of Public Health also found that young adults, aged 18 to 24, are more likely to have tried to quit smoking than older adults, aged 50 to 64.

The study utilized the largest available national data sample, the 2003 Tobacco Use Supplement to the U.S. Current Population Survey, to evaluate the relationship between smoking cessation rates and tobacco-related behaviors between age groups. Eighty-four percent of those 18 to 24 years old reported seriously trying to quit in the prior year compared to just 64 percent of those 50 to 64 years old.

Additionally, the proportion of recent smokers who had quit for at least six months generally decreased as age increased. The older the smoker is, the less likely he or she is to quit or even try to quit. Young adult smokers were also more likely to come from smoke-free homes, were less likely to use pharmaceutical aids, and typically smoked fewer cigarettes a day.

"It is likely that high cessation rates among 18 to 24 year olds also reflect changing social norms over the previous decade," said Karen Messer, Ph.D., Moores UCSD Cancer Center. "Future tobacco control efforts aimed at increasing cessation rates among young adult smokers should continue to target social norms."

The study also showed that smokers who lived in a smoke-free home were four times more successful at quitting than those not in a home with a smoker.

"It has been hypothesized that young people who take up smoking with restrictions at work and home are likely to develop lower levels of dependence than smokers who took up the habit without such restrictions," said Pierce. "Smoke-free homes place barriers around important potential smoking situations, such as after a meal. This study emphasizes that these barriers may be sufficient to prevent relapse and offer a partial explanation for the strong association of smoke-free homes and successful quitting."

In addition, while many studies have show that African-Americans have more difficulty quitting than Non-Hispanic White smokers, this study showed African-Americans were less likely to quit but more likely to report trying to quit.

For more information, see web link:
UCSD News Release, January 02, 2008


Sustained Anti-Tobacco Initiatives Cut Teen Smoking by More Than Half Over Six Years

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas R. Frieden and Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz recently released data from the 2007 New York City Youth Risk Behavior Survey showing that cigarette smoking among New York City teens declined by 20 percent between 2005 and 2007. The City's teen smoking rate has dropped by more than half over the past six years from 17.6 percent in 2001 to 8.5 percent in 2007, the current rate that is about two-thirds lower than the latest available national teen smoking rate of 23 percent.

The Mayor linked the continuing decline - which far exceeds the national decline - to the City's sustained efforts to reduce smoking among adults. Those efforts include a tax increase, the smoke-free workplace law, and TV and subway ads that graphically depict the realities of tobacco-related illnesses.

"In 2001, roughly one out of every six high school students smoked. Today, that has fallen to about one out of every 12 - or about 8.5 percent of students," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The reduction in teen smoking we've achieved in New York City will eventually prevent at least 8,000 premature deaths. These new numbers prove what we in New York have long believed: when you take bold public health measures, you get results."

In 2007, an estimated 20,000 students smoked cigarettes. Had smoking not declined since 2001, there would have been at least 24,000 additional teens smoking in New York City. This decrease will prevent an estimated 8,000 premature deaths. The largest recent declines in teen smoking were observed in Staten Island (down 36 percent between 2005 and 2007), and the Bronx (down 37 percent). Teen smoking remains highest in Staten Island at 14.7 percent.

In addition to efforts to reduce smoking, New York City has also gotten tougher at enforcing cigarette sales to minors. "With our Youth Tobacco Enforcement and Prevention Program, we are conducting more undercover inspections than ever, and under the Mayor's leadership, raising compliance to levels never before seen," said Commissioner Mintz. "While we're thrilled with the program's success and high compliance, our teams continue to go undercover every day to make sure businesses do the right thing and communities are protected. Parents and kids can be the most helpful by reporting stores that make illegal sales."

For more information, see web link :
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Press Release, January 2, 2008


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Other Cessation News

Nova Scotia Youth Top Non-Smokers in Canada

In a recent Health Canada report, Nova Scotia has the lowest smoking rate in the country for young people.

In 2000, Nova Scotia had the highest smoking rate among youth in the country at 31 percent, but seven years later, it is now the lowest with only 12 percent of youth aged 15 to 19 smoking.

Since the implementation of the province's comprehensive Tobacco Control Strategy in 2001, Nova Scotia has had a consistent decrease in overall smoking rates. The strategy uses a multi-pronged approach to address tobacco control that includes community based programming, cessation programs, youth prevention, social marketing, policy development and legislation.

This report "speaks volumes to the commitment Nova Scotians have made to reduce the number of smokers in our province, particularly among our children," said Barry Barnet, minister of health promotion and protection. "As pleased as we are with the results to date, we have more work to do to help Nova Scotians of all ages stop smoking." Nova Scotia's overall smoking rate was also the highest in Canada in 2000, with 30 percent of the population smoking. The latest results show 20 percent of Nova Scotians currently smoke, slightly above the national rate of 19 percent.

"It's encouraging and it shows that we're on the right track," said Steve Machat, manager of tobacco control with the Department of Health Promotion and Protection. "We're also seeing good indications for the future where youth smoking is continuing to decline and be at the lowest rates in our history."

"One of the biggest factors (in the reduction) was the adoption of our tobacco control strategy which has a number of facets from tobacco tax increases to offering nicotine treatment supports to smokers," said Machat.

"It's all those kinds of things that are part of the strategy that have all converged to create the environment for adult and children to prevent it in the first place, or to think about quitting completely."

For more information, see web link:
The Cape Breton Post, January 21, 2008

Ontario Doctors Call on Province to Improve Access to Medication to Help Smokers Quit

In the lead up to National Non-Smoking Week, the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) released a report with new research about quitting smoking and the need to improve access to cessation medications to help people quit smoking. The OMA is calling on the provincial government to include cessation medication, such as nicotine replacement therapy in the Ontario Drug Benefit Plan and the federal government to cut the GST on these products. The report also highlights the need for hospitals to implement cessation programs to improve patient health during their stay.

"Many smokers need help quitting, either with medical advice or access to medicines that can improve their chances of success," said Dr. Janice Willett, President of the OMA. "The health benefits associated with quitting are tremendous and doctors want to help their patients be as healthy as they can."

The OMA report, entitled Rethinking Stop Smoking Medications: Treatment Myths and Medical Realities, also debunks commonly held beliefs about tobacco and smoking cessation medications and makes recommendations for both the use of these products and their availability.

For more information, see web link:
Ontario Medical Association News Release, January 18, 2008

Federal Government Receives Failing Grades on Tobacco Control in Annual American Lung Association Report

The American Lung Association's State of Tobacco Control 2007 report, an annual report card on federal and state tobacco control legislation and policies, assigns only Ds and Fs to the federal government, but says 2008 presents an historic opportunity for Congress to make a dramatic impact on tobacco control across America by authorizing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate tobacco products. Strong, bipartisan legislation is pending in both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives that would give the FDA authority over the manufacture, distribution, marketing and use of tobacco products.

The American Lung Association's State of Tobacco Control 2007 report tracks progress made, ground lost, and issues that have stalled throughout 2007, during which time two major public health reports-from the President's Cancer Panel and the Institute of Medicine-heralded the need for the federal and state governments to take urgent action to reduce America's tobacco epidemic. The Lung Association's report card grades each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico on their tobacco control policies in smoke-free air, cigarette tax, tobacco prevention spending, and youth access to tobacco products. The report grades federal tobacco control efforts on cigarette tax, giving the FDA authority over manufactured tobacco products, cessation and ratification of the international tobacco control treaty.

Grades for federal issues-FDA regulation of tobacco products, cigarette tax, cessation policies, and the international tobacco control treaty-still score only Ds and Fs. Congress, however, is poised to pass the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act to give the Food and Drug Administration oversight over tobacco products, legislation that will curb the marketing of cigarettes to children and teens.

"The Congress has an unprecedented opportunity in 2008 to pass this life-saving legislation," said Bernadette Toomey, President and CEO of the American Lung Association. "We need leaders to stand up and enact national changes that will prevent lung diseases such as lung cancer and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis." Tobacco-related diseases remain the number-one preventable cause of death in America, killing more than 438,000 Americans each year.

For more information, see web link:
American Lung Association Press Release, January 10, 2008


Wegmans Supermarket Chain to Stop Selling Tobacco

The Wegmans supermarket chain will stop selling cigarettes and all other tobacco products next month.

Wegmans, which has 71 stores in five states, will sell its remaining inventory until Feb. 10 and will not order new tobacco products between now and then, said spokeswoman Jo Natale.

The family-owned retailer said it came to the decision after weighing the role smoking plays in people's health with respect for a person's right to smoke.

"We believe there are few of us who would introduce our children to smoking," stated a letter to employees from Wegmans CEO Danny Wegman and his daughter, Colleen, the company's president.

The Rochester, NY based company told its employees that "health concerns outweigh any profits the company gets from tobacco products."

The company will also offer a smoking cessation program to any employee who wants to quit.

Wegmans doesn't expect massive numbers of customers to quit smoking, Natale said. "But we employ 37,000 people. Many of them are young people under 21. If this sends the right message to them, we will have accomplished something."

While Target stores stopped selling tobacco products in 1996 - and many grocery chains specializing in organic or health food never have sold cigarettes - Wegmans is the first major grocery store chain in New York state to pull tobacco products from its shelves, according to the state Health Department.

The move could have a major impact on people's smoking habits due to Wegmans' popularity and long reach, said state Commissioner of Health Dr. Richard F. Daines.

Children often tag along on shopping trips, and not seeing their parents buy cigarettes may help prevent a new generation of smokers from picking up the habit, Daines said. The decision also could inspire other outlets to stop selling cigarettes, Daines said.

For more information, see web link:
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle , January 5, 2008


Tobacco Users Seeking Help Quitting Now Have a New Tool in Montana

The Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program, which operates the Montana Quit Line, is now offering an on-line Internet blog to encourage people trying to kick cigarettes and spit tobacco to share their stories, gain insights and offer each other support.

"Every year around this time we get a lot of new callers, because people are making New Year's resolutions to quit," said Linda Lee, the program's supervisor. "This year someone came up with the idea to do something more high-tech. Since so many people use the Internet, we thought the blog would be a good idea."

Because nicotine is highly addictive - more addictive than some drugs - Lee said the more support people get when they try to quit smoking or chewing, the better.

"Smokers and chewers need all the help they can get," Lee said. "Studies show that if people have support from their families, their friends or from support groups, their chances of quitting successfully go way up."

In fact, she said, tobacco users who take advantage of the program's services are seven to 10 times more likely to quit for good than if they try to quit on their own.

In the three years the Quit Line has been available, more than 15,000 Montana tobacco users have called, she said.

Spit tobacco is just as tough to kick as smoking, said Heather Beck, a smoking-cessation specialist with the program. And it's a big problem in Montana, where the spit-tobacco use rate is twice the national average, she said.

"Nearly half of Montana's spit tobacco users say they want to quit," Beck said in a written news release. "This blog and the Quit Line are here to help spit tobacco users accomplish their goal." The blog can be accessed at www.IQuit08.com.

For more information, see web link:
Bozeman Daily Chronicle, December 24, 2007


Smoking in South Dakota Drops as Tobacco Taxes Rise

Smoking appears to have declined sharply in South Dakota since the state tax on tobacco was increased substantially a year ago.

The cigarette tax was increased by $1 on January 1, 2008, making it $1.53 a pack. The previous 10 percent tax on cigars, chewing tobacco and other tobacco products was raised to 35 percent.

Tobacco stamps were issued for 37,389,568 packs of cigarettes through November in South Dakota, or roughly 9 million fewer packs than for the same 11-month period in 2006, said Michael Kenyon, who manages the collection of special taxes for the state Department of Revenue and Regulation.

Although some smokers may have crossed state borders to buy cigarettes where the tax is less, tax stamp sales would seem to indicate a 20 percent reduction in smoking this year.

The 20 percent reduction in cigarette sales is almost exactly what health groups believed would happen if the tax was raised by $1 a pack, said Jennifer Stalley of the American Cancer Society.

"This is on par with what we expected, if not exceeding our expectations for the number of people who are quitting," she said. "This is a strong indicator that smokers are quitting or reaching out to get assistance to quit."

State tobacco tax revenues totaled nearly $61.4 million through November, Kenyon said. That was an increase of 136 percent, or $35.4 million.

Gail Gray, health and medical services director in the state Health Department, said more than 550 people contacted the agency's QuitLine in October -- about double the usual monthly tally.

For more information, see web link:
Rapid City Journal, December 21, 2007


New Study Places CT Last in Anti-Tobacco Spending

Connecticut allocated no money for anti-tobacco programs this year, obviously less than any other state, a study by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids found.

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said in a statement the finding is an "embarrassment." "Connecticut has fatally failed its children - plummeting to dead last in the nation in funding anti-tobacco programs," Blumenthal said.

In 1998, seven tobacco companies signed the Master Settlement Agreement instead of facing a multi-state lawsuit. In addition to launching an anti-smoking campaign and changing their marketing tactics, the companies agreed to pay more than $200 billion to 46 states and six U.S. Territories.

The settlement doesn't dictate how the states spend the money, and Connecticut uses most of the yearly payments to balance the budget. So far, Connecticut has received $993 million from the settlement and has spent about $14 million on anti-tobacco programs, Blumenthal's office said.

"Connecticut has consistently failed to use this money as it was intended - to protect our children from lifetimes of addiction, disease and death," Blumenthal said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend different spending amounts for each state. For Connecticut, the agency suggests pouring $21.2 million and $53.9 million per year into prevention and cessation programs. Only three states - Delaware, Maine and Colorado - will meet the centers' recommendations, and most states spend under 50 percent the suggested amount.

Sen. Bob Duff, D-25, majority whip, said the lack of spending is a "major problem" for the state. "There's really no defense for that action," he said.

Duff hasn't proposed any legislation for anti-tobacco programs, but he said some recently approved actions indirectly discourage the habit, such as outlawing smoking in bars and restaurants, and this year's jolt in cigarette taxes from 49 cents to $2 per pack, indirectly discourage the habit.

For more information, see web link:
The Stamford Times, December 20, 2007


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