Monday, January 31, 2011

Smoking is Cool


Every lunchtime, Lisa, 14, eats her packed lunch before heading to the tuck shop of her school in Derbyshire. A gap leads to an enclave five metres behind the building, where she and about 15 others congregate to light up their lunchtime cigarette.

“There are two non-teaching members of staff who run the tuck shop and if they turned round properly they would catch us all,” she says. “We used to smoke in an alleyway that joined our two playgrounds together but then they put up fake cameras, so no one does it there any more — and you can’t do it anywhere near the loos because there are smoke alarms that go off.”

This “crafty fag” scenario has been played out in school grounds for decades. What sets Lisa’s generation apart is that they are blowing smoke in the face of the most ferocious antitobacco campaign to date, involving more warnings to young people than ever that the nasty weed can kill, cause wrinkles and seriously impinge on your social life.

Since the first government White Paper on smoking in 1998, the focus on pressurising young people not to smoke has been constant. The anti-smoking crusade has culminated in the present ban on tobacco advertising and smoking in public places, but it shows no sign of stopping there. Since the clampdown on smoking came into full force, the age at which a person can buy cigarettes legally has risen from 16 to 18, but it is hoped that a ban on sales of tobacco from vending machines, which is to be enforced next year, will make it even harder for youngsters to get hooked. Health messages are plastered on cigarette packs and picture warnings will appear on all tobacco products by October. Yet despite such steps and the millions spent on raising awareness that smoking can kill, over the past decade the rate of decline in the number of young people smoking has at best flattened out and at worst, in some areas, actually worsened.

Lisa says she started smoking because her friends did, and that she didn’t think twice about the risks. “I know it’s bad for you but I don’t plan to do it for ever,” she says. “I can’t see the problem with it at the moment. It’s my choice and nobody else’s.”

This view is echoed by young voices around the country. In Wimbledon, southwest London, 13-year-old Alexandra says that “most people have tried it by the time they get into Year 8”. Andrew, 15, from Glasgow, says that “crowds of 20 or more stand outside our school smoking and nobody takes any notice”.

An annual government survey of secondary-school children in England, begun in 1982, has shown only slight fluctuations in the number of 11 to 15-year-old smokers since then, the figure hovering around the initial 11 per cent mark. According to the latest figures, produced in 2008, 6 per cent of 11 to 15-year-olds regularly smoke about six cigarettes a day — slightly fewer than two years previously. But the number of 16 to 19-year-olds who smoke had risen to 26 per cent in that time, and there are areas of the country where the percentage of young smokers has risen dramatically.

In Scotland a third of young people aged 16-24 now smoke — a return to a level last seen a decade ago — while teenage girls in the North West are among those most likely to take up the habit. Overall, two thirds of UK smokers still start before they are 18, and in England one 15-year-old in seven admits smoking regularly.

How have things gone so wrong? Why, after such an almighty effort to persuade them otherwise, do young people still perceive smoking as “cool”? Surveys have long shown that children are more likely to smoke if one or both parents do, and that they are influenced strongly by the habits of siblings and peers. But beyond these obvious connections, are there other factors involved in encouraging children to smoke? This week the Hospital Club in Covent Garden is hosting an event that will examine how smoking has maintained its allure — an allure highlighted in research from Nottingham University last week that revealed the prevalence of smoking images in British-made films.

Dr Alisa Lyons, of the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies (UKCTCS), counted the number of “incidents of smoking” and smoking references in the 15 most popular films released in the UK between 1989 and 2008, including Bridget Jones’s Diary, with RenĂ©e Zellweger, and About a Boy, starring Hugh Grant. Tobacco products were prevalent in seven out of ten films, more than half of which were classified as suitable for children under 15. Almost all were deemed suitable for under-18s.

Dr Lyons and health bodies including the Liverpool Primary Care Trust say that unless there is an overhaul of the film classifications system in the UK, the presence of smoking on the big screen will continue to influence a generation of young viewers. “The more young people are exposed to smoking images, the more it normalises the behaviour to them,” Lyons says. “Seeing actors smoking makes it more glamorous — and if young people don’t directly see the adverse side of smoking, a positive image is cast in their minds.”

Dr Lyons suspects that similar “positive smoking” messages are being taken from television programmes, which she aims to examine in future research. She says that screen exposure is not solely to blame but compounds vulnerabilities in teenage minds.

“Often members of this age group want to be accepted, so, if their friends try smoking, so will they,” she says. “For some there is a rebellious element to it and they use smoking to state their independence.” Some people even have doubts about the merits of anti-smoking campaigns, suggesting that they do more harm than good in their attempts to steer young people away from nicotine.

Indeed, evidence that anti-smoking messages make young people more likely to light up has been mounting for the past eight years, with one group of researchers finding that “quit smoking” campaigns appear to stimulate a teenage rebellious streak, sparking an interest in smoking that may not previously have existed. In surveys of nearly 1,700 pupils at US high schools, Professor Hye-Jin Paek, of the University of Georgia, found that no-smoking campaigns were effective only when they managed to convince teenagers that their friends were influenced by them. “Anti-smoking ads have the greatest impact on smoking attitudes and behaviour when adolescents think that their peers are listening to those messages,” Paek said. “Perception is sometimes more powerful than actual behaviour. It matters how they think their friends are responding.”

A link has also been suggested between the sexual awakening of young people and their desire to smoke. It is known that children who have sex at a young age are more likely to smoke, and a study at University College London found that pre-teens who had a boyfriend or girlfriend at 11 or 12 were at least twice as likely as their non-dating peers to start smoking in the next five years.

“The sexual connection is difficult to study,” says Professor Anne McNeill, of the University of Nottingham’s school of community health sciences (and deputy director of the UKCTCS). “But it could be that because of their dating they have aspirations towards maturity and adulthood and are attempting to enhance their popular image.”

But what becomes of teenage smokers? Are they destined to become hooked, or is smoking a passing phase of youth? Professor McNeill says that all the signs point to childhood smoking resulting in a lifelong addiction. In her research she measured the inhalation of chemicals among children who smoked and found them to be taking in as many damaging substances with each breath as adult smokers.

“Because they are still developing, their neurobiology may be more susceptible to the nicotine than it would be if they first tried smoking when they were older,” she says. “In effect, their internal wiring is being finalised, then they bombard it with smoking.”

Nicotine is known to affect the brain’s reward centres, releasing chemicals that tell the body it is doing something enjoyable and creating the potential for addiction. Research by the Cancer Research UK health behaviour unit at University College London indicated that children who smoke just one cigarette are twice as likely to take up the habit later in life, even if they don’t smoke for several years.

Many of those who start in childhood will join the ranks of those who want to stop — currently seven out of ten UK smokers. Even so, one adult in four still smokes. Admittedly this is far fewer than the one in two who lit up in the 1950s, but it is still a staggering number when you think that most smokers now do so in the full and certain knowledge that it increases their risk of developing lung cancer and conditions such as emphysema, as well as making them more likely to suffer from other forms of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

With four million adults dying worldwide each year from smoking-related diseases, tobacco is a product that kills 60 per cent of its customers.

“The real issue is that these health messages can fall on deaf ears with children,” says McNeill. “Young people live in the here and now. Thirty is a lifetime away and they can’t imagine being that old.”

Cigarettes Max

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Famous Smoking Actors Influences Teenage Fans


The on-screen smoking of famous actors such asLeonardo DiCaprio, Sharon Stone and John Travolta influences smoking amongtheir teenage fans. A new study published today shows that adolescents that smoke are more likely to havefavourite actors that smoke on screen. The finding supports the argument that smoking in films by stars admiredby teenagers contributes to teenage smoking. Clive Bates, Director of ASH, said:

“We don't want to censordirectors and actors by banning smoking in films by law, but we do call on themto recognise the impact they have on their young fans and think about harm theyare doing. Hollywood megastars can findthe best support in the world to stop smoking if they want, but for young fansthe influence of their favourite actors could be the start of a lifetimestruggle with nicotine addiction.

“These teenagers may becopying their favourite movie star's smoking or whether they choose to be fansof stars that make them feel comfortable about smoking, but either way. itsuggests that smoking on screen nurtures and sustains smoking among teenagemovie fans ­ and everybody should be worried about that.”

In the light of the study, ASH has written to theBritish Board of Film Classification (see letter) drawingattention to the findings and requesting that smoking be included in thedecision about certification. JohnConnolly, ASH's new specialist on tobacco advertising:

“Smoking may seem lesstroubling than sex and violence at first sight, but smoking in films may be anincubator nurturing teenage smoking, and therefore a gateway to a long term andpowerful addiction ­ which ultimately causes terrible damage. While we don't want smoking in films banned,there is a good case to upgrade the age classification to 15 if the filmfeatures smoking by aspirational role models ­ such as megastar young actors.”

The new study follows recent findings published in TheLancet about the impact of product placement in films in whichtobacco manufacturers pay to have their products featured or for actors tosmoke.

“There is a differencebetween a director's independent decision to use smoking for a particulareffect, and payment to place smoking or particular brands in films. Product placement is a form of advertisingand should be banned by law, but the new findings should cause every directoror actor to think twice before using smoking as a prop ­ whether or not theyare paid for it.” said Connolly.

Cigarettes Pro

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Even In Sport There Are Smoke...

Imagine yourself doing sport exercises and as final step - inhale a breath of fresh fume, hahaha.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Hello Cigarette Girl

Nice song, dedicated to all smoking nuns!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

30 Interesting Cigarettes Facts

The world’s view on smoking cigarettes has changed dramatically over the last century. The habit was once considered to be cool, sexy, good for your health, and widely enjoyed by many people. It was promoted by sportsmen, and advertised all over television. No one could be seen acting in a movie without a lit cigarette in their hand! Today, smoking is considered to be a nasty addictive habit that can kill you and those around you. You wont find them advertised anywhere – nor will you see anyone smoking inside a public building. It seems that these days smokers are considered to be anti-social and are often frowned at if seen smoking outside in crowded places. Below is a list of interesting facts about cigarettes.

1. Cigarettes are the single-most traded item on the planet, with approximately 1 trillion being sold from country to country each year. At a global take of more than $400 billion, it’s one of the world’s largest industries.

2. The nicotine content in several major brands is reportedly on the rise. Harvard University and the Massachusetts Health Department revealed that between 1997 and 2005 the amount of nicotine in Camel, Newport, and Doral cigarettes may have increased by as much as 11 percent.

3. In 1970, President Nixon signed the law that placed warning labels on cigarettes and banned television advertisements for cigarettes. The last date that cigarette ads were permitted on TV was extended by a day, from December 31, 1970 to January 1, 1971 to allow the television networks one last cash windfall from cigarette advertising in the New Year’s Day football games.

4. U.S. cigarette manufacturers now make more money selling cigarettes to countries around the globe than they do selling to Americans.

5. The American brands Marlboro, Kool, Camel and Kent own roughly 70% of the global cigarette market.

6. Cigarettes contain arsenic, formaldehyde, lead, hydrogen cyanide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, ammonia and 43 known carcinogens.

7. In the early 1950s, the Kent brand of cigarettes used crocidolite asbestos as part of the filter, a known active carcinogen.

8. Urea, a chemical compound that is a major component in urine, is used to add “flavor” to cigarettes.

9. The ‘Cork Tip’ filter was originally invented in 1925 by Hungarian inventor Boris Aivaz, who patented the process of making the cigarette filter from crepe paper. All kinds of filters were tested, although ‘cork’ is unlikely to have been one of them.

10. In most countries around the world, the legal age for the purchase of tobacco products is now 18, raised from 16, while in Japan the age minimum is 20 years old.

11. Contrary to popular social belief, it is NOT illegal to smoke tobacco products at any age. Parents are within the law to allow minors to smoke, and minors are within the law to smoke tobacco products freely. However, the SALE of tobacco products is highly regulated with legal legislation.

12. Smoking bans in many parts of the world have been employed as a means to stop smokers smoking in public. As a result, many social businesses have claimed a significant drop in the number of people who go out to pubs, bars and restaurants.

13. Scientists claim the average smoker will lose 14 years of their life due to smoking. This however does not necessarily mean that a smoker will die young – and they may still live out a ‘normal’ lifespan.

14. The U.S. states with the highest percentage of smokers are Kentucky (28.7%), Indiana (27.3%), and Tennessee (26.8%), while the states with the fewest are Utah (11.5%), California ( 15.2%), and Connecticut (16.5%).

15. Cigarettes can contain more than 4,000 ingredients, which, when burned, can also produce over 200 ‘compound’ chemicals. Many of these ‘compounds’ have been linked to lung damage.

16. The United States is the only major cigarette market in the world in which the percentage of women smoking cigarettes (22%) comes close to the number of men who smoke (35%). Europe has a slightly larger gap (46% of men smoke, 26% of women smoke), while most other regions have few women smokers. The stats: Africa (29% of men smoke, 4% of women smoke); Southeast Asia (44% of men, 4% of women), Western Pacific (60% of men, 8% of women)

17. Nicotine reaches the brain within 10 seconds after smoke is inhaled. It has been found in every part of the body and in breast milk.

18. Sugar approximates to roughly 20% of a cigarette, and many diabetics are unaware of this secret sugar intake. Also, the effect of burning sugar is unknown.

19. ‘Lite’ cigarettes are produced by infusing tobacco with CO2 and superheating it until the tobacco ‘puffs up’ like expanding foam. The expanded tobacco then fills the same paper tube as ‘regular’ tobacco.

20. Smokers draw on ‘lite’ and menthol cigarettes harder (on average) than regular cigarettes; causing the same overall levels of tar and nicotine to be consumed.

21. ‘Lite’ cigarettes are manufactured with air holes around the filter to aerate the smoke as it is drawn in. Many smokers have learned to cover these holes with their fingers or their lips to get a stronger hit.

22. The immune systems of smokers has to work harder every day than non-smokers. As a result, a smokers’ blood will contain less antioxidants, although a smokers immune system may be quicker to respond to virus attacks due to its more active nature.

23. Smokers often smoke after meals to ‘allow food to digest easier’. In fact, this works because the bodies priority moves away from the digestion of food in favor of protecting the blood cells and flushing toxins from the brain.

24. Some people (mostly males) can be aroused by the sight of smoker smoking (usually females). This is called the Smoking Fetish, and affects a small number of the population. As with most fetishes, the reason for this arousal can usually be traced back to incidents in childhood. However, cigarettes – particularly menthols, force blood away from the penis if smoked while aroused.

25. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 25% of cigarettes sold around the world are smuggled.

26. Most smokers take up the habit in their mid teens, well before the legal age for purchasing them, and is seen as a right of passage towards adulthood. Other perceived rights of passage include: aftershave, wearing stilettos, alcohol, drugs and sexual intercourse; with a combination of these sometimes being cited as the main causes of teenage pregnancy.

27. Smoking tobacco is the ultimate gateway drug in that it is legally available, and involves mastering a unique method of intake – much more so than alcohol (which has such a significant effect that users need look no further for stimulation). Smokers looking to get ‘high’ will very rarely do so from cigarettes after the initial stages of taking up the habit.

28. Smokers generally report a variety of after-effects; such as calmness, relaxation, alertness, stimulation, concentration and many others. In fact, smoking will produce a different effect in each individual depending on ‘what they expect to get’; turning the cigarette into the worlds most popular placebo (satisfying the brains hunger for nicotine being the only ‘relaxing’ factor). The smoker will then use these expectations as a means to continue the habit.

29. Several active ingredients and special methods of production are involved in making sure the nicotine in a cigarette is many times more potent than that of a tobacco plant.

30. ‘Toppings’ are added to the blended tobacco mix to add flavor and a taste unique to the manufacturer. Some of these toppings have included; clove, licorice, orange oil, apricot stone, lime oil, lavender oil, dill seed oil, cocoa, carrot oil, mace oil, myrrh, beet juice, bay leaf, oak, rum, vanilla, and vinegar.

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We All Know That Smoke Can Cause Cancer

It has taken me six months to be able to say "I have lung cancer" with any ease. It's not just the grim prognosis that makes the words stick in the mouth, it's the image that troubles me. Lung cancer is a disease of elderly male barflies with fags dangling from their lips, isn't it? So how can I - female, fittish and in my fifties - have it?
All too easily, it transpires. That Andy Capp stereotype is way out of date. Between 1975 and 2007, when men gave up smoking and women took it up, the number of men diagnosed with lung cancer dropped by 47 per cent in the UK while the figure for women grew by 65 per cent. If trends continue, women will soon overtake men.

Cancer is also being discovered in ever-younger patients. "My youngest is 26," says Mary O'Brien, head of the lung unit at the Royal Marsden Hospital. "He has been smoking cannabis, which seems to carry high risk because it is smoked with loose tobacco, no filter, and the smoke is held in the lungs for a long time."

Now that I've joined the club of the 39,000 unfortunates in the UK diagnosed each year, I discover that many of my fellow members are even further from the lung cancer stereotype. Among those I've come across are a mother in her thirties, a doctor in his twenties, a student diagnosed when aged only 19 and a woman in her early fifties with a family history of lung problems. None of them has ever smoked.

Most of us have, of course: smoking is a factor in 80 to 90 per cent of lung cancers. The smoking can have been long ago and not ever have been ever a serious addiction - I, for one, didn't ever graduate from packs of 10. None the less, to outsiders we are a bunch of suicidal idiots, a judgment that makes some of my fellow travellers so coy that they lie to strangers. "If anyone asks about the scar on my back, I say it's a shark bite," says a woman in her thirties operated on for lung cancer.

Image matters for a number of reasons. It has prevented lung cancer from attracting anything like its fair share of research funds: although it's the leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women, it receives just 4 per cent of available funding. The inaccurate image has also meant that coughers and wheezers don't go to the doctor about their symptoms, because people like them don't get cancers, do they? Perhaps most important of all, the embarrassment factor leads to a widespread ignorance of what constitutes risky behaviour.

Everyone knows, of course, that smoking can lead to lung cancer. "Smoking kills" is plastered on every packet of cigarettes, yet 10 million adults in Britain continue to smoke. Do the young women I have just observed sitting outside a cafe, having coffee and a smoke instead of lunch, know that low-tar cigarettes are as carcinogenic as stronger ones - especially if they put their fingers over the holes in the filter and inhale deeply? Do they realise that it is a myth that smoking helps you lose weight? Or that it's not safe to gamble on giving up before you hit 40?

"Cancer can get you 20 or 30 years down the line," says Professor Siow-Ming Lee, a consultant oncologist at University College Hospital, London. When, in 2005, Deborah Hutton, the super-fit, yoga-loving health editor of Vogue was diagnosed with a type of lung cancer known as adenocarcinoma, she hadn't smoked for more than 20 years. When she died seven months later, she left money for a foundation dedicated to encouraging young people not to smoke.

It's uphill work. At present, a third of under-18s smoke. Astonishingly, the habit is not seen as sad and passe, but cool and rebellious, just as it was when I was young. Half of those smokers will carry on for 15 or 20 years, and those most at risk of developing cancer will be the girls. "It's partly that they start smoking earlier," says Lee. Aged 13, they are better than boys at persuading shopkeepers that they are 18. "Women also appear to have less DNA repair capacity, so they are more susceptible to lung cancer than men."
Women do, however, respond better to chemotherapy and survive longer than men. Why this might be - hormones? - remains a matter of conjecture. Understanding will lead to better drug treatments, but if the lung-cancer incidence and mortality figures are to fall, for both men and women, other changes are needed, too.

First, teenagers must be discouraged from experimenting with cigarettes: anyone who gets to 21 without smoking is very unlikely to start. Second, those who are hooked need to be helped to quit. And, third, the unlucky minority who will develop cancer or already has it, needs to be identified when the disease is preventable or curable.

None of these aspects of cancer is commercially attractive. But, fortunately, cancer prevention receives funding from Cancer Research UK. As well as working with scientists, such as Prof Lee, who are breaking new ground in relation to treatments, the charity also funds Prof Gerard Hastings, director of the Centre for Tobacco Control Research.

"In Western Australia, only 5 per cent of young people smoke," says Hastings. "Our figures could be as low, but we need more government action. The plans for putting cigarettes out of sight in shops seems to have stalled. We also need legislation over plain packaging. Since the ban on tobacco advertising, manufacturers have poured money into pack-design - creating packs that open in different ways or fit into a purse - in an attempt to make nasty chemicals appear aspirational and fashionable."

Ideally, he would like to see cigarette companies taken into public ownership to remove the incentive to sell. With the Government receiving pounds 10?billion in tax revenues from tobacco, that may not happen soon. In the meantime, how can parents stop their children smoking, a subject close to my heart since my 21 year-old is hooked?

'Taking the moral high ground doesn't work," says Hastings. "Talk about the way tobacco companies exploit people instead. The Truth campaign in America used shock tactics - one day they delivered what looked like 1,200 body-bags to Philip Morris's head office - and was very effective." In the long term, such an approach should work. Meanwhile, there are millions of current and former smokers at risk of developing cancer.

Only 10 per cent of lung cancers are presently diagnosed early enough for a cure to be possible. There could be more if there was a screening programme. While drug companies don't see much profit in testing kits that have to be produced as cheaply as possible, charities are again leading the way.

The preliminary results of a screening campaign in the US that targeted heavy smokers have shown a 20 per cent drop in mortality. Now, work is under way to develop breath, blood or urine tests that could be used on a broader scale. But we are not there yet.

Seeing those young people having a carefree cigarette for lunch, I want to rush in, and beg them to stub out their fags. It would be a dramatic gesture, but pointless. Instead, we can help them avoid paying a high price for their habit.