Tag Archives: cigarettes

More US teens are vaping than smoking cigarettes, study finds

More US teenagers have tried vaping than smoking cigarettes, a new study shows, raising concerns among some researchers that vaping could become a new generation’s substance delivery system of choice.

The new nationally representative study showed that 35.8% of students in their final year of high school had tried vaping, versus 26.6% who had ever smoked a cigarette.


These findings emphasize that vaping has progressed well beyond a cigarette alternative

Richard Miech, principal investigator

Since vaping’s growth in popularity, debate has raged in public health circles about the role e-cigarettes should play. American researchers have largely taken a prohibitionist stance, arguing vaping does more harm than good, while British have researchers focused on the device’s potential benefits to current smokers.

“These findings emphasize that vaping has progressed well beyond a cigarette alternative,” said Richard Miech, the principal investigator on the annual Monitoring the Future survey, which involves tens of thousands of students. The government-funded research is now in its 43rd year, and considered the most authoritative national picture of teen drug use.

“Vaping has become a new delivery device for a number of substances, and this number will likely increase in the years to come,” said Miech.

Researchers only have three years of data on how many teens use the electronic devices, but the latest Monitoring the Future study found vaping is already widespread among high school students.

From its peak in the mid-1990s, the rate of all high school students who are smoking has dropped dramatically. For example in 1997, 65.4% of students in their final year of high school said they had ever smoked a cigarette. In 2017, 26.6% of the oldest high school students had smoked one.

However, in the last few years vaping has seen huge growth. Monitoring the Future did not measure teen vaping until 2015. By that time, 35.5% of 12th graders had used one before. That number rose slightly in 2017, to 38.8%.

E-cigarette smoking in California. The study also asked how often teens vaped marijuana.


E-cigarette smoking in California. The study also asked how often teens vaped marijuana. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

For the first time this year, Monitoring the Future asked teens how often they vaped nicotine, marijuana or only flavoring, though researchers warned the numbers are likely to skew low since teens may not know what is in a vaping product. They found one in four 12th graders had vaped nicotine, and 11.9% had vaped marijuana.

Vaping devices turn liquid flavorings laced with nicotine or marijuana into a vapor. In the US, they are largely unregulated. Although Congress passed a law meant to regulate the devices in 2009, nearly a decade later the Food and Drug Administration failed to issue regulations to guide manufacturers. They don’t expect to do so before 2021.

Those delays have followed heavy lobbying by tobacco companies such as RJ Reynolds and Altria (formerly Philip Morris USA), who fought against the 2009 law.

Koval also said evidence of vaping marijuana was worrying. Emerging research shows marijuana can be detrimental to the development of teens’ brains.

“But as concerns this audience, which are young people, it’s not a good idea for them to be consuming nicotine in any way, shape or form,” Koval said. “It’s concerning to see that.”

Researchers have conducted Monitoring the Future surveys among US high school students in their final year since 1975, adding lower grades in the 1990s. In all, approximately 50,000 students in about 420 public and private secondary schools are surveyed annually.

‘Heat not burn’ cigarettes still harmful to health, say government advisors

‘Heat not burn’ cigarettes, marketed as a safer option by tobacco companies, still contain chemicals that are harmful to health, a government advisory body has found.

The independent Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) has looked at the evidence on the “heat not burn” products currently available mainly online in the UK. They are less risky than conventional cigarettes, the committee has found, but nobody should assume they are safe.

Reporting its findings to the department of health in England, the committee said people who use the two products sold in the UK are exposed to about 50% less or 90% less of the “harmful and potentially harmful” compounds. The variation is mostly to do with the temperature to which the tobacco is heated; one product reaches 350C and the other 50C. In a conventional cigarette, tobacco is burned at 800C.

Professor Alan Boobis, chair of the COT, said there is likely to be a risk to health with “heat not burn” products, although it would be a reduced risk, but the safest thing is to quit altogether.

If you are having trouble stopping smoking, he said, first try the licensed nicotine replacement therapies, such as patches and gum. “Then think about e-cigarettes. If that really doesn’t work, there are the ‘heat not burn’ devices,” he said.

“But at the same time, we have to be very much on our guard that these are not seen as recreational devices.”

The committee found there was a risk, though, reduced, to bystanders who might inhale the fumes. It also advised that they could not be considered safe for pregnant women.

The ‘heat not burn’ cigarettes in the UK market have been developed by the tobacco giants Phillip Morris International (PMI) and British American Tobacco. PMI has said it is committed to a smoke-free future in which it will sell safer alternatives. But it still markets cigarettes heavily around the world, especially in the developing world where fewer restrictions are in place.

“Heat not burn” cigarettes produce a vapour either from directly heating tobacco or from heating other substances which are then passed over tobacco to flavour it. The higher temperatures are reached where tobacco is heated directly, as in the PMI iQOS product.

The committee is also looking at the safety of e-cigarettes, but did not have the evidence to compare them with the “heat not burn” products.

Deborah Arnott, the chief executive of the anti-smoking health charity Ash, said, “The COT review is welcome as an independent assessment of tobacco industry evidence on ‘heat not burn’ products. COT concluded that while ‘heat not burn’ products are lower risk than smoking they are not risk-free, so quitting tobacco use completely is still the healthiest option.”

‘Heat not burn’ cigarettes still harmful to health, say government advisors

‘Heat not burn’ cigarettes, marketed as a safer option by tobacco companies, still contain chemicals that are harmful to health, a government advisory body has found.

The independent Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) has looked at the evidence on the “heat not burn” products currently available mainly online in the UK. They are less risky than conventional cigarettes, the committee has found, but nobody should assume they are safe.

Reporting its findings to the department of health in England, the committee said people who use the two products sold in the UK are exposed to about 50% less or 90% less of the “harmful and potentially harmful” compounds. The variation is mostly to do with the temperature to which the tobacco is heated; one product reaches 350C and the other 50C. In a conventional cigarette, tobacco is burned at 800C.

Professor Alan Boobis, chair of the COT, said there is likely to be a risk to health with “heat not burn” products, although it would be a reduced risk, but the safest thing is to quit altogether.

If you are having trouble stopping smoking, he said, first try the licensed nicotine replacement therapies, such as patches and gum. “Then think about e-cigarettes. If that really doesn’t work, there are the ‘heat not burn’ devices,” he said.

“But at the same time, we have to be very much on our guard that these are not seen as recreational devices.”

The committee found there was a risk, though, reduced, to bystanders who might inhale the fumes. It also advised that they could not be considered safe for pregnant women.

The ‘heat not burn’ cigarettes in the UK market have been developed by the tobacco giants Phillip Morris International (PMI) and British American Tobacco. PMI has said it is committed to a smoke-free future in which it will sell safer alternatives. But it still markets cigarettes heavily around the world, especially in the developing world where fewer restrictions are in place.

“Heat not burn” cigarettes produce a vapour either from directly heating tobacco or from heating other substances which are then passed over tobacco to flavour it. The higher temperatures are reached where tobacco is heated directly, as in the PMI iQOS product.

The committee is also looking at the safety of e-cigarettes, but did not have the evidence to compare them with the “heat not burn” products.

Deborah Arnott, the chief executive of the anti-smoking health charity Ash, said, “The COT review is welcome as an independent assessment of tobacco industry evidence on ‘heat not burn’ products. COT concluded that while ‘heat not burn’ products are lower risk than smoking they are not risk-free, so quitting tobacco use completely is still the healthiest option.”

‘Heat not burn’ cigarettes still harmful to health, say government advisors

‘Heat not burn’ cigarettes, marketed as a safer option by tobacco companies, still contain chemicals that are harmful to health, a government advisory body has found.

The independent Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) has looked at the evidence on the “heat not burn” products currently available mainly online in the UK. They are less risky than conventional cigarettes, the committee has found, but nobody should assume they are safe.

Reporting its findings to the department of health in England, the committee said people who use the two products sold in the UK are exposed to about 50% less or 90% less of the “harmful and potentially harmful” compounds. The variation is mostly to do with the temperature to which the tobacco is heated; one product reaches 350C and the other 50C. In a conventional cigarette, tobacco is burned at 800C.

Professor Alan Boobis, chair of the COT, said there is likely to be a risk to health with “heat not burn” products, although it would be a reduced risk, but the safest thing is to quit altogether.

If you are having trouble stopping smoking, he said, first try the licensed nicotine replacement therapies, such as patches and gum. “Then think about e-cigarettes. If that really doesn’t work, there are the ‘heat not burn’ devices,” he said.

“But at the same time, we have to be very much on our guard that these are not seen as recreational devices.”

The committee found there was a risk, though, reduced, to bystanders who might inhale the fumes. It also advised that they could not be considered safe for pregnant women.

The ‘heat not burn’ cigarettes in the UK market have been developed by the tobacco giants Phillip Morris International (PMI) and British American Tobacco. PMI has said it is committed to a smoke-free future in which it will sell safer alternatives. But it still markets cigarettes heavily around the world, especially in the developing world where fewer restrictions are in place.

“Heat not burn” cigarettes produce a vapour either from directly heating tobacco or from heating other substances which are then passed over tobacco to flavour it. The higher temperatures are reached where tobacco is heated directly, as in the PMI iQOS product.

The committee is also looking at the safety of e-cigarettes, but did not have the evidence to compare them with the “heat not burn” products.

Deborah Arnott, the chief executive of the anti-smoking health charity Ash, said, “The COT review is welcome as an independent assessment of tobacco industry evidence on ‘heat not burn’ products. COT concluded that while ‘heat not burn’ products are lower risk than smoking they are not risk-free, so quitting tobacco use completely is still the healthiest option.”

For children’s health, the government has to treat sugar like cigarettes | Gary Taubes

Let us not get out hopes up. Public Health England is in a very difficult position. Faced with unprecedented levels of obesity and diabetes, with a nation that keeps getting fatter and sicker, the agency clearly has to act. The obesity and diabetes epidemics represent a “slow-motion disaster,” as Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organisation, phrased it. So inaction is unacceptable.

Yet virtually everything PHE does now is likely to be either too little – unlikely to have any meaningful effect on the prevalence of obesity and diabetes – or too much, in that the industries that may indeed be responsible for the problem are likely to fight it. While the Treasury develops a levy for sugary soft drinks, PHE hopes to induce the producers of sugary foods to reduce the sugar in their products by 20%. If they can reformulate the product, all the better. If not, they should shrink the size of the product itself.

Commendable as PHE’s initiative is, reasons to be pessimistic abound. The programme is based on the idea that sugar does its damage to the body and to children merely through the calories it contains. As such there’s nothing particularly unique – either toxic or addictive – about sugar, as I and others have been arguing. We just consume too much of it.


Guidelines say children should have a maximum of 24-30g of sugar per day – a third of what they’re actually consuming

On the one hand, it’s hard to win a legal battle with an industry when the best you can argue is that we like their products a little too much for our own good. Some rigorous research targeted at answering the question of whether sugar has toxic qualities independent of its calories would help enormously here, even if it took years to complete.

On the other hand is the simple question of how much we can expect a 20% reduction in sugar to help. Will it curb the epidemics? Avert the slow-motion disaster? PHE predicts that this voluntary sugar reduction program will result in 200,000 fewer tonnes of sugar consumed in 2020 than are consumed today, and so 20% fewer overweight children as well. As Ernest Hemingway’s Jake Barnes might have put it in The Sun Also Rises, “isn’t it pretty to think so?”

Even if a 20% reduction in sugar consumption is achieved in three years (and that alone may be unprecedented) it pales in comparison to what health officials imply is necessary to get children eating healthier. UK guidelines now suggest that children should be consuming a maximum of 24-30g of sugar per day – six to seven sugar cubes. Even less for kids under six. According to a recent PHE survey, that’s one-third of what they’re actually consuming (much of which apparently comes in the morning as part of what their parents think of as a healthy breakfast).

So now, assuming industry goes along with this voluntary programme, and assuming that kids don’t respond to smaller portions or sugar-reduced formulations by eating more, both of which are possible, what’s the chance that we’ll see a significant curbing of the epidemics, even if the 20% goal is reached?

Let’s use cigarettes and lung cancer as our pedagogical example, confident, as we are, that cigarettes cause lung cancer. Cigarette consumption in the UK peaked in the mid-1970s when half of all men smoked and over 40% of women. Together they averaged 17 cigarettes a day. Now let’s imagine that we didn’t get those smokers to quit, but we managed to cut their consumption by 20%. Instead of 17 cigarettes a day, they’re averaging 14.

Would we expect to see a decrease in lung cancer prevalence? Would we expect that the lung cancer epidemic would be curbed at all, let alone within a few years of peak consumption? I would wager that even the PHE authorities would acknowledge that such a change would have little effect. Reasons here, too, would abound. Among them that it takes lung cancer risk 20 years to return to baseline after the smoker quits. So these 14-a-day smokers would still be at high risk, albeit perhaps not quite as high.

Indeed, in the US, per capita smoking began to decline in the mid-1960s, immediately after the surgeon general’s landmark Report on Smoking and Health. Lung cancer rates stopped rising only 30 years later. By then, per capita consumption had dropped by almost 50%. More importantly, when it comes to cigarettes, public health authorities don’t target the number of cigarettes smoked, but the number of smokers. Cut that number significantly, as we did, and lung cancer rates fall.

We see an overweight child with a chocolate bar and our tendency is to think that the chocolate bar is the proximate cause. Get rid of that chocolate bar, or shrink it in size, and we have a child who never gets overweight to begin with. But these epidemics of obesity and diabetes have been in the works since the late 19th century, cooking along, quite likely passed down from sugar-eating mothers to their children even in the womb. If so, our kids are getting fatter not just because they’re eating sugar, but because they’re programmed – epigenetically, in the scientific lingo – before they’re even born.

This epidemic has deep roots and may require drastic action to curb. That PHE is acting is admirable. But maybe we should treat this like cigarettes: aim to curb the number of sugar consumers, rather than the amount of sugar they consume. It will still take time to see an effect, but the odds of success will rise.

Smoking numbers hit new low as Britons turn to vaping to help quit cigarettes

The number of smokers in Britain has reached its lowest point since records began in 1974, according to new data, while more than a million people say they are using e-cigarettes to help them quit smoking.

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics shows that 17.2% of adults in the UK smoked in 2015, down from 20.1% in 2010.

Smoking levels are highest in Scotland, at 19.1%, followed by Northern Ireland, where it is 19%, Wales on 18.1% and England on 16.9%. The numbers have been dropping fastest in recent years in Scotland and Wales. Among local authorities, Blackpool is the only one to feature consistently in the 10 heaviest smoking areas between 2012 and 2015. In 2015, 25.3% of adults in Blackpool smoked.

Smoking by country

The data also shows that 2.3 million people were e-cigarette users in England, Scotland and Wales in 2015, about 4% of the population. Their survey also shows that 4 million more people describe themselves as former e-cigarette users. A further 2.6 million say they have tried them but not gone on to use them regularly.

Half of the 2.3 million who were current users of e-cigarettes at the time of the survey said they were doing it to quit smoking. A further 22% said they were vaping because it was less harmful than smoking. Only 10% said they chose to vape because it was cheaper than buying cigarettes. Others – 9% – said they used e-cigarettes mainly because they were permitted indoors.

The figures will bolster the arguments of those who believe e-cigarettes have a major role to play in ending the tobacco epidemic. The issue has been hugely controversial among public health doctors and campaigners, some of whom consider e-cigarettes to be a stalking horse for the tobacco industry which hopes to make smoking acceptable again and has invested in vaping.

e-cigarette users

The World Health Organisation has expressed concern over e-cigarettes, but Public Health England has said vaping may be 95% safer than smoking tobacco.

Half of current smokers say they have tried e-cigarettes, and 14.4% of current smokers also vape.

Some of the statistics suggest that it is often the heavier smokers who turn to e-cigarettes. Those who also vape smoke marginally more cigarettes per day on average than those who do not – 11.8 versus 11.3. Smokers who have given up on e-cigarettes smoke 12.2 per day versus 10.6 among those who have never used an e-cigarette. Smokers who have children at home are also more inclined to use e-cigarettes.

The ONS vaping data is from the opinions and lifestyle survey 2014-15 and relate just to Great Britain. The ONS figures on general smoking trends include northern Ireland.

smoking graphic

Men are more likely to smoke – 19.3% do, compared with 15.3% of women. Smoking is most common in the 25-34 age group, where 23% smoked in 2015. It is least common in the over-65s, among whom 8.8% smoke. But the biggest decline since 2010 has been among the 18-24 year-olds, where it has dropped five percentage points to 20.7% in five years.

Figures for Great Britain also show that smokers have been cutting back on the numbers of cigarettes they consume. Average consumption is down to 11.3 cigarettes per day, the lowest number since 1974.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH said: “The decline in smoking is very encouraging and shows that strong tobacco control measures are working. However, the government can’t leave it to individual smokers to try to quit on their own. If the downward trend is to continue we urgently need a new tobacco control plan for England, and proper funding for public health and for mass media campaigns. That’s essential if the prime minister is to live up to her promise to tackle health and social inequality.”

The NHS has banned cigarettes and should ban meat too – both cause cancer

The World Health Organisation ranks bacon, ham and sausages alongside smoking as a cause of cancer, placing processed meats in the same carcinogenic category as asbestos, alcohol and arsenic. The World Cancer Research Fund advises eating cured meats as little as possible – ideally not at all. And there’s persuasive evidence that, compared to a solely plant-based diet, eating meat shortens life and makes people sicker and fatter.

Against this background, the NHS allows fast food chains in its hospitals. Patient menus offer a wide selection of meats every day. And creamed potatoes, beef casserole and sweet chilli pork and rice are recommended “healthier choices”. Patients can tuck into disease-promoting animal flesh, but do not enjoy unrestricted hedonism. Meat eaters who enjoy a relaxing cigarette after dinner are prevented from doing so, apparently in their own and others’ best interests, thanks to a blanket ban on smoking.

But how can the NHS sensibly ban cigarettes as a known health hazard while simultaneously promoting meat? To endorse one known danger while completely banning a similar one makes no sense. Either it’s OK to allow free choice or it’s OK to prevent “unhealthy behaviours”, but you can’t have it both ways. If you ban smoking you have to ban meat, which causes considerably more damage to animals, the environment and individuals than smoking. If you don’t ban meat, then you can’t ban smoking. Which is it to be? George Orwell coined the idea of doublethink in his dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four to highlight the troubling phenomenon where we simultaneously accept mutually contradictory beliefs as true, blissfully unaware there’s any conflict.

In doublethink we fail to notice even the most stunning inconsistencies. Most people like to think of themselves as animal lovers – in the UK for example about half of all households keep pets – yet it’s estimated that only 2%–10% of the UK population is vegetarian (will eat dairy and eggs) and less than 1% is vegan (will not eat or use any animal matter). So it seems that at least 50 million British animal lovers are happy to eat them, which is surely more than a little weird.

We’ve all seen people putting money in animal charity collection boxes with one hand, while eating a beef burger with the other. But even staring absurdity in the face, most of us don’t notice a problem. We only see it once we’re ready to. Until then we flick it away: “pets are different”, “pigs are meant to be eaten”, “we have to have our iron”, “all farmed animals are treated well”, “you can slaughter animals humanely”, and so on.

We are plagued by doublethink because we habitually separate the world into unrelated packets. Smoking is a health issue. Meat is normal. Alcohol is bad. Not allowing tobacco products to be displayed is health promotion. Allowing body parts of slaughtered animals on public view in supermarkets is wholesome. Illogical beliefs appear compatible if their true connections are disguised. Smoking is tightly wrapped in a packet labelled “Very bad for your health”, whereas eating meat is in a quite different packet called “a balanced diet” or “you need your protein”. So long as we see the world in disconnected chunks, we can avoid serious thought, and preserve the status quo. We need more opportunity to think deeply for ourselves. And where better to begin than in the NHS, which should offer balanced information about many life choices, not just those which it’s fashionable to ban.

David Seedhouse is professor of values-based practice at the University of Worcester. His new book, Thoughtful Health Care: A Practical Guide to the Power of Awareness will be published by Sage in the spring.

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Long-phrase smokers find plain-packaged cigarettes taste worse

Long-term smokers discover the taste of plain-packaged cigarettes worse than that of branded cigarettes, new research suggests.

A research of 51 smokers by the University of Newcastle also found that participants can no longer differentiate in between brands, saying all cigarettes now tasted the identical.

Tobacco businesses have denied changing elements, and co-writer and PhD candidate Ashleigh Guillaumier explained the study’s findings highlight the energy of branding.

“It truly is one particular of the primary reasons that the tobacco business fought so difficult towards the introduction of plain packs,” Guillaumier said.

“They have invested a whole lot of time developing up their branding and know how influential it is on people’s perceptions and expertise of the product.”

The researchers investigated the affect of the new one-colour packets dominated by vivid health warnings by conducting group discussions with smokers just before and soon after plain packaging was implemented in 2012.

“They could not discern a distinction among brands now and they thought the top quality of the tobacco had deteriorated.

“That was a steady talking stage that people genuinely agreed on in the groups sessions.”

Co-writer Associate Professor Billie Bonevski explained the review lent assistance to the plain-packaging legislation and presented fuel for other countries to get up the policy.

Plain packaging became mandatory on one December 2012.

The University of Newcastle study is published in Overall health Education Research (Oxford University Press).

Poll: need to cigarettes be completely banned?

Three teenage girls sitting at cafe terrace, smoking cigarettes, low angle view

Tim Crocker-Buque, a expert registrar in public overall health medication who proposed the movement, mentioned that it is unusual for people to make an informed choice to smoke in the course of adulthood. Photograph: PhotoAlto / Alamy/Alamy

The British Healthcare Association will vote on Tuesday on whether to lobby the government to permanently ban cigarettes for any person born soon after the yr 2000. This would not stop any adults who currently smoke from carrying out so but would imply that it will turn out to be progressively illegal more than time.

Supporters of the movement at the doctors’ union say the measure is necessary due to the fact 80% of smokers who consider up the habit make the choice to do so as children. The BMA have previously successfully lobbied the government to ban smoking in public areas and in cars carrying young children. The smokers’ group Forest mentioned the thought was “preposterous and discriminatory”.

What do you believe?

Nick Xenophon urges floor cost on cigarettes to outsmart tobacco giant

Independent senator Nick Xenophon is pushing for a minimum floor price tag on cigarettes to counter a tobacco giant’s “cynical” move to promote discounted packets.

British American Tobacco Australia has launched what it claims is the cheapest legal packet of cigarettes on the industry at $ 13 for a 25-pack.

It is blaming federal government policy for the move, saying it is merely looking for to remain competitive as income of reduce-cost cigarettes soar.

Xenophon has accused the tobacco giant of circumventing laws to discourage individuals from smoking.

He programs to introduce a resolution in the upper home subsequent week to look for a minimum floor price for all cigarettes offered in Australia.

“We want to outsmart massive tobacco in terms of what they’ve carried out with this value-discounting and reduction-major campaign,” he told ABC Television on Monday.

Xenophon will seek advice from with public overall health authorities on the most effective disincentive price but wants to see a minimum of $ twenty for a 25-pack.

It was the very best choice to fight a “deeply cynical” campaign aimed at boosting the ranks of younger smokers, he stated.

Xenophon also dismissed “exaggerated” market claims that plain packaging laws and huge excises were driving up black market place income.