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From the Plant to the Puff

There are 93 known and potentially harmful chemicals in cigarettes.

You may not be a smoker, but you know that cigarettes can kill you. It actually kills half of all who start and never quit! The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has created some videos and interactive tools to help you learn more about the potentially harmful chemicals in cigarettes from the plant to the product to the smoke.

PositiveTip: If you have children or grandchildren take some time to show them these videos and information. It could help them never start smoking.

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Global Smoking Deaths Rising

Eighty percent of current smokers live in low- and middle-income countries.

Smoking is responsible for about 6 million deaths per year globally at an estimated associated cost of $1 trillion. An international report projects that by 2030, smoking-related deaths will rise to over 8 million a year! While smoking in the U.S. has fallen to a record low of 15.!% of adults, it has been countered by rising numbers of smokers concentrated among the poor and other vulnerable groups. Just five tobacco companies account for 85% of global cigarette production.

PositiveTip: Fully support all reasonable efforts to control tobacco use!

 

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No Safe Level of Cigarette Smoking

Even a single cigarette each day increases mortality risk by 64%.

Many smokers believe very light smoking or not smoking every day may reduce their health risks. In a study of 290,000 middle-age and older smokers, researcher found long-time, low-volume smokers had significantly higher mortality risks compared with those who had never smoked or quit. Those who reported consistently smoking 1-10 cigarettes a day had an 87% greater chance of dying prematurely. These associations were similar for men and women.

PositiveTip: All smokers--even light smokers--can benefit from smoking cessation.

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Big Money Spent to Fight Cigarette Tax Hikes

A 10% increase in the price of a pack of cigarettes drops kid's use by 7%.

Big Tobacco will spend almost $100 million on this election to defeat tax hike propositions in just three states: California, Colorado, and North Dakota. If approved, per-pack taxes will rise by $1.75 to $2.00. Proponents of these hikes say one of the most effective ways to encourage people to stop smoking is to raise taxes by $1.00 per pack. 

PositiveTip: Support all reasonable efforts to curb the tobacco habit, especially if tax funds are used to help cessation efforts.

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Will Big Tobacco be Victorious in the U.K.?

U.K. tobacco 'plain packaging' laws challenged by manufacturers.

Big Tobacco, representing companies like Phillip Morris, British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco, and Japan Tobacco have filed suit against the U.K.'s "plain packaging" laws which are due to take effect in May 2016. They claim the law seizes their property without compensation. Tobacco kills over 100,000 people each year in the U.K. This law aims to discourage children from smoking and to help smokers quit.

PositiveTip: Remember, it is best to never start smoking, and if you do smoke, now is the best time to quit!

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"Quit Like a Champion"

Smoking is still the single largest cause of disease and preventable premature death.

The 2015 Great American Smokeout is one week away! The American Cancer Society designates the third Thursday of each November to encourage smokers to go the distance and give up smoking. Ready-to-use graphics for social media, flyers, posters and table tents can be downloaded. If you are curious about the impact of smoking in the movies, check out this resource!

PositiveTip: It is never too late to quit smoking. Get the help you need to stop--or help a smoker you know quit!

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Kuddos to the FDA!

The FDA does not approve products, only clears them for marketing.

The U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has banned the marketing of four R J Reynolds cigarette brands because they do not meet specific safety and composition requirements. The FDA found they have changed so much over the last few years they do not resemble the original products--with higher levels of formaldehyde, menthol, sweeteners, and unclear tobacco blends. No tobacco product is "safe" even if approved for marketing.

PositiveTip: Don't start smoking, stop if you started, and help others quit. It's still good advice.

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Smoke Just Seems to be Smoke

Marijuana smoke may be as harmful to lung function as cigarette smoke.

An animal study reported as an abstract at the American Heart Association annual meeting found secondhand marijuana smoke to be as harmful as tobacco smoke. The endothelial function of the rats studied decreased 50-70% when exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke. This impairment did not depend on THC in the smoke, and was similar to tobacco smoke. (Reference: Wang X, et al "Brief exposure to marijuana secondhand smoke impairs vascular endothelial function" AHA 2014; Abstract 19538)

PositiveTip: Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke regardless of the source.

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Menthol in Cigarettes to be Banned?

Menthol in cigarettes makes it easier to start, harder to quit.

Menthol cigarettes pose a public health risk greater than that of non-menthol cigarettes because its anesthetic properties reduce the harshness of cigarette smoke. This makes initiation of smoking easier and promotes progression to regular smoking, increases dependence, and may reduce success in quitting. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is proposing regulating or banning menthol use in cigarettes.

PositiveTip: Encourage the FDA to act quickly to remove these dangerous products from the market.

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Hiking Cigarette Taxes and the Federal Deficit

Increasing federal excise tax on cigarettes could help lower the deficit.

The United States Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released data demonstrating that raising the federal excise tax on cigarettes by 50 cents per pack (currently $1.01 per pack) would save lives and reduce the federal deficit even though people would live longer on Medicare. This increase would cause 1.4 million adults to quit smoking and save 10,000 lives in the first decade.

PositiveTip: Smoking takes a terrible toll on personal health, driving up health care costs for all.