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Smoking ban: ASH calls for more legislation to cut adult rates

19/05/2013 BBC News Wales

Smoking ban: ASH calls for more legislation to cut adult rates

Campaigners are calling for more legislation to cut the number of adult smokers in Wales as figures reveal a fall of just 1% in six years.

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) said the Welsh government must take "bold action" in light of the Welsh Health Survey figures.

It showed 23% of people still lit-up despite the 2007 ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces.

The Welsh government admitted it needed to do more to cut smoking by adults.

Elen de Lacy, chief executive of ASH in Wales, said: "The Welsh government needs to look at banning smoking in cars and around children.

"We need to be thinking about packaging to stop young people being attracted to smoking.

"The Welsh government needs to be taking bold action."

The survey showed Wales' smoking rate had remained static since 2010, and had fallen by only 3% since 2003-2004.

'Poor investment'

But Ms De Lacy added: "The ban never set out to reduce smoking rates but the aim was to reduce exposure to second-hand ...

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... smoke.

"It has been successful in what it set out to do but it has not had the knock-on effect."

Health campaigners called into question the work of the Welsh government in its attempts to meet its target to reduce smoking prevalence to 16% by 2020.

Ms De Lacy blamed the Welsh government's "ambitious" targets and poor investment in public health campaigns on the issue.

She said: "The Welsh government has set an ambitious target of 16% smoking prevalence by 2020 and it is hard to see how we are going to reach this target if things remain the same in Wales.

"We need to be investing in comprehensive quit smoking campaigns, delivering more flexible cessation services and tackling illicit tobacco in our communities."

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If we are to change attitudes and smoking behaviour in order to meet our targets then we all need to work together to promote a positive smoke-free approach”

Welsh government spokesman

A Welsh government spokesperson said it had made "good progress" in cutting smoking among young people but it needed to do more to reduce the number of adults who smoked.

Its programme, Tobacco Control Action Plan, had set targets of no more than 20% of adults smoking by 2016 and 16% by 2020.

The spokesman said: "There is compelling evidence that the most effective approach to tobacco control is a comprehensive strategy combining legislation, high taxation, regulation of advertising and sales, restrictions on smoking in public places, and a tailored range of awareness, education and cessation initiatives. The Tobacco Control Action Plan incorporates all of these approaches.

"If we are to change attitudes and smoking behaviour in order to meet our targets then we all need to work together to promote a positive smoke-free approach."

The Welsh Health Survey also revealed adults in Wales are getting fatter, with three in five adults being overweight or obese.

Just 29% reported being physically active on five or more days in the past week, and 33% reported eating five or more portions of fruit and vegetables the previous day.

More than a third (34%) of children were classified as overweight or obese - a slight fall from 35% in 2011 - but the number classed as obese remained at 19%.

A Welsh government spokesman said the figures for children were "more encouraging" but acknowledged the rise in adult overweight and obesity rates.

He added: "Programmes such as the Community Food Co-operative Programme and Change4life campaign form part of our broader response to helping people take personal responsibility for their own health by achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight, eating well and becoming physically active."

Traces of cigarette smoke "don't stay in the smoking rooms"

14/05/2013 USA TODAY

Anyone who has ever walked into a "non-smoking" hotel room and caught the distinct odor of cigarette smoke will not be surprised by the findings of a new study: When a hotel allows smoking in any of its rooms, the smoke gets into all of its rooms, the study suggests.

Nicotine residues and other chemical traces "don't stay in the smoking rooms," says Georg Matt, a psychologist from San Diego State University who led the study, published Monday in the journal Tobacco Control. "They end up in the hallways and in other rooms, including non-smoking rooms."

The study found smoke residue on surfaces and in the air of both smoking and non-smoking rooms in 30 California hotels where smoking was allowed. Levels were highest in the smoking rooms, but levels in non-smoking rooms were much higher than those found at 10 smoke-free hotels.

Volunteers who stayed overnight in the smoking hotels also ended up with sticky nicotine residues on their fingers, whether they stayed in smoking rooms or not. Urine tests found additional evidence of nicotine exposure in ...

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... those who stayed in smoking rooms, but not those who stayed in the non-smoking rooms.

The research comes as smoke-free hotels are becoming more common, though not as common as smoke-free bars and restaurants. Many large chains, including Marriott, Westin and Comfort Inn, have gone smoke-free and hotels must be smoke-free by law in four states and 71 cities and counties, according to the Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation. Nearly two-thirds of hotels responding to a recent survey by the American Hotel & Lodging Association said they were smoke-free, though just 39% of economy hotels said so.

The reason many hotels still offer smoking rooms is that some domestic and international travelers still want them, says Kathryn Potter, senior vice president of marketing and communications for the hotel association, based in Washington, D.C. "I have family members (and) friends who book hotels based on where they can smoke," Potter says.

About one in five U.S. adults still smoke, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Matt says his study suggests non-smokers should choose only hotels with no smoking. He says it's likely that non-smoking guests are routinely exposed to second-hand smoke seeping under doorways and moving through ventilation systems as people smoke elsewhere in hotels. Yet the study also shows widespread contamination with what researchers call "third-hand smoke," the pollutants left behind on furniture, drapes, carpets and in the air, long after cigarettes are extinguished.

Matt says it is possible people are sneaking cigarettes in some of the smoke-free rooms, but other research shows second- and third-hand smoke can travel through homes and apartment buildings.

Second-hand smoke is linked with health effects, including asthma attacks, heart disease and lung cancer, according to the CDC. The effects of third-hand smoke are not as clear.

"We do know third-hand smoke contains many of the same toxins we find in second-hand smoke," Matt says. "When the smoke disappears, the danger does not end."

3 tobacco companies in $27B lawsuit begin their defence

14/05/2013 CBC News

Three of Canada's tobacco giants began their defence Monday against a $27-billion class-action lawsuit in Montreal by calling a witness who said the dangers of smoking are no secret.

Historian and professor Jacques Lacoursière testified tobacco's health risks have been common knowledge for decades.

He pointed to over 700 references to the hazards of smoking dating back to the 1950s, including TV and radio reports, school manuals, government releases and health professionals.

One of the many examples included a newspaper article that outlined a significant increase in lung cancer risk following the prolonged use of cigarettes.

The proceedings will continue on Tuesday with the plaintiffs' cross-examination of Lacoursière.

"What these historians miss is all the coverage that came out in the media about how the industry was involved in a conspiracy to hide all that information," said Damphousse François, the Quebec director of the Non-Smoker's Rights Association.

"They knew about the health effects of their products, but they didn't meet ...

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... the obligation to inform their public about what they knew."

Landmark class-action lawsuit

The complainants, two groups of individuals representing a total of 1.8 million Quebecers, allege three tobacco companies did everything possible to encourage addiction:

Imperial Tobacco.


Rothmans, Benson & Hedges.

One group involves individuals who have become seriously ill from smoking, and members of the other group say they are unable to quit smoking.

They also allege the companies failed to properly warn their customers about the dangers of smoking, underestimated evidence relating to the harmful effects of tobacco, engaged in unscrupulous marketing and destroyed documents.

The class-action lawsuit, which is being touted as the biggest civil case in Canadian history, was first filed years ago.

Lawyers for the tobacco companies attempted to have the entire civil suit thrown out, but the judge rejected the dismissal.

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