Loss money avoid habit sweet like smoke, drink alcohol , tobacco hence danger double make money go to medical doctor & admit in the hospital and save not money change wealth.
British firm tests world's first nicotine vaccine –(Times of India Online-14/09/2001)
A British biotechnology company, already developing a vaccine to help addicts kick cocaine, said that it had started clinical trials on the world's first nicotine addiction vaccine. The product, which is given by injection into the muscle, aims to prevent the addictive cycle of cigarette smoking by stopping nicotine from entering the brain. However, the initial Phase I study of TA-NIC will merely assess its safety and tolerability at different doses, and researchers still have several years work ahead of them to prove the efficacy of the product. David Oxlade, chief executive of Xenova Group Plc, the company behind the project, said the vaccine could eventually have an important role to play in helping smokers quit.
Currently available smoking cessation products include nicotine replacement therapy, delivered via skin patches or chewing gum, as well as drugs like GlaxoSmithKline Plc's Zyban.TA-NIC and Xenova's anti-cocaine vaccine TA-CD work by generating antibodies in the bloodstream that prevent nicotine and cocaine from crossing into the brain, thereby blocking the normal "high" generated by the drugs. Xenova has a total of eight products in clinical trials, the most valuable of which is deemed to be XR 9576, designed to fight multi-drug resistant cancer. Xenova struck a $105 million licensing deal for XR 9576 with Vancouver-based QLT Inc last month.
Gutkha and pan masala-(Daksha Hathi, Deccan Herald, Bangalore-10/09/2001)
A young employee in a public sector firm enjoyed chewing pan masala with his friends so much that he consumed more than ten shiny foil packets of the scented, spiced confection. Till suddenly, he developed a 'bald' tongue, soreness in the mouth and an inability to eat hot foods. These were the early symptoms of the dread disease oral submucous fibrosis which is being linked increasingly with the consumption of pan masala, gutkha and other smokeless tobacco products. Today he is under treatment and thanks to having bid farewell to pan masala there is hope of the disease being arrested. Another young man was not so lucky. An addiction to pan masala has caused oral sub mucous fibrosis to advance so rapidly in his case, that he is no longer able to open his mouth to eat.
Says Dr. Vijay Kumar, Head of Department of Oral Oncology and Reconstructive Services, '' He will need surgical treatment which is painful and may not help him permanently. He is currently running frantically from one cancer hospital to another, seeking a miraculous cure for an irreversible and ravaging disease.'' Vijay Kumar says ''In pan masala and gutkha products the concentration of tobacco is much more - 24 to 30 per cent of it is tobacco and hence the chances of contracting smf are very high.''
John Hopkins Memorial Hospital which had done a survey of 37 brands of pan masala has found that 36 were carcinogenic. Oral sub mucous fibrosis is a pre-cancerous condition linked with use of smokeless tobacco products and it starts with a balding tongue and white patches in the mouth. If the patient persists in consuming such products, it will lead to stiffening of the mouth, and an inability to open it. ''In some ways smf is even more difficult to treat than cancer'' he says.
The alarming increase in cases of smf especially in young people addicted to gutkha and pan masala products has caused the Director of the Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, Dr. P.S. Prabhakaran to undertake a three month WHO funded survey of young children in Chitradurga, Mandya and Gulbarga districts, covering 40,000 people to find out their consumption patterns. A preliminary survey of young people in Kanakapura by KIDWAI has revealed that 67 per cent of chewers were students using arecanut powder and other pan masala products and 75 per cent were between 10 to 16 years old and 50 per cent of youngsters have some chewing habit or the other.
He says ''There is enough reason to ban the sale of smokeless tobacco products such as pan masala and gutkha as Kerala has done.. We are seeing smf symptoms in bus conductors, drivers, housewives, students and significantly in pan masala and pan beeda vendors!'' He regrets that while smf can be arrested, it cannot be reversed and the damage it causes is terrible.
According to him there are now 400 to 500 products of pan masala available in the market such as scented supari, aromatic powder, khaini, mishri, mawa, etc. ''There is an upsurge in the occurrence of smf which corresponds with the increasing popularity of this product'' says a guide for dental students, dentists and physicians entitled ''Tobacco related oral mucosal Lesions and Conditions in India'' brought out by the Dental Research Unit of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research Bombay which also has pictures of two products of a very popular brand containing tobacco.
It says ''pan masala is a commercial product containing arecanut, slaked lime, catechu, and condiments.; many brands of this product contain tobacco - it comes in attractive foil packs and sachets. Among these, mishri is genotoxic and carcinogenic.''
A recent study in Bombay shows that an increasing number of patients are visiting hospitals with symptoms of OSF and a majority of them are young people aged from 20 to 30 who were addicted to gutkha or pan masala. It takes only four or five years for symptoms of OSF to appear and the next stage could be cancer because 7.6 per cent of all OSF patients finally get cancer. OSF also makes it 400 times more likely for a person to get oral cancer.
Unfortunately, while Kerala has already begun to discourage the sale of all pan masala and gutkha products and ''Mass use of indigenous tobacco products like snuff, zarda, khaini and gudakhu have resulted in India recording the highest number of oral cancer cases in the world, experts said at a meet on World Tobacco Day.
A long term study in mice carried out at the National Institute of Occupational Health, Ahmedabad, (a unit of the Indian Council of Medical Research) has shown that regular pan masala use causes cancer. Out of 12 mice that received plain pan masala through their diet for 56 weeks, four developed tumours. The cancer causing potential of pan masala containing tobacco was even higher as seven out of 12 mice in this group developed tumour in the lungs, stomach, liver, testes, ovary and adrenal glands.
Smokers less productive than non-smokers: Study –(Times of India Online-05/09/2001)
Smokers who claim that a cigarette helps them work better are given the lie by a study which shows they not only need to take more time off for sickness but also are less productive than non-smokers. The study covered 300 booking clerks at a large US airline, comprising 100 current smokers, 100 former smokers and 100 others who had never smoked at all.Current smokers were absent from work for sickness for 6.16 days per year on average, compared with 4.53 days among ex-smokers and 3.86 among "never" smokers.The airline's reservation computers also provided objective details as to an employee's productivity by recording how much sales income that clerk had notched up for the company, how long he or she took to answer a call and how long that person was away from their desk. Current smokers performed the worst of the group. Their production was 4.0 percent below "never" smokers and 8.3 percent below ex-smokers.The research was carried out by a business consultancy, Charles River Associates; a medical research firm, MEDTAP International; and the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, which used the data in a project for a smoking cessation product.It is published in Tobacco Control, a publication of the British Medical Journal (BMJ).The authors say their study is important as it provides an important measure about the hidden costs of smoking for an employer. In addition to sick leave, a smoker can be less productive because he or she is taking ritualistic smoking breaks, and often feels unwell, which has an impact on work performance, they suggest. "Smokers and workers with other types of addictions may deny that their addictions have any negative influence on productivity," they note.In 1990, the US Office of Technology and Assessment estimated that the workplace cost of disability and premature mortality from smoking employees for American businesses was 47 billion dollars a year.
TN to ban smoking in public places –(Times of India Online-15/08/2001)
Chief minister J Jayalalitha announced that the government would take steps to ban smoking in public places and use of plastics. Addressing the people after hoisting the national flag here, she said the government would take all steps to impose the ban as cigarette smoking led to cancer besides polluting the environment. Smoking habit among the poor and downtrodden also affected them economically, she added.
To provide free medical facilities to the poor on par with medical facilities available in private and corporate hospitals, the government would constitute a medical advisory board, she said.
Smoker agrees to $100 million damage award –(Times of India Online-22/08/2001)
A Los Angeles lung cancer victim has agreed to a record $100 million damage award against cigarette maker Philip Morris, rather than seeking an even larger possible verdict in a new trial. Richard Boeken, 57, announced his approval of the massive award, reduced from $3 billion by a Los Angeles judge earlier this month.
Philip Morris, the country's biggest cigarette maker, said it plans to appeal the award, and will file papers within a few weeks. The company will ask for a complete reversal and retrial on multiple grounds. Meanwhile, the company will be required to post a $100 million bond with the court, according to the tobacco company's attorneys. Piuze said he still believes $100 million is not enough to punish the tobacco company for lying to the public about the dangers and addictiveness of smoking. "I have never come into contact with anything like the tobacco fraud that has been perpetrated for 50 years in this country," he said. Attorneys for the tobacco company have said Boeken should have been aware of the risks of smoking because of widespread anti-smoking publicity. "Philip Morris is going to aggressively appeal to overturn an award that has gone from the ridiculous to the absurd," said Steven B. Rissman, associate general counsel for Philip Morris. He said that he anticipates that the appeal will be successful because of the overwhelming size of the award. "We are unaware of any appellate court decision that has upheld a punitive damage award of greater than $25 million, which we contend is still too much."
The $100 million is the largest judgment against a tobacco company in a lawsuit by an individual smoker. A Los Angeles jury awarded $3 billion in punitive damages to Boeken in June after finding Philip Morris guilty of fraud, negligence, misrepresentation and selling a defective product. The jury also granted $5.54 million in compensatory damages for the Marlboro smoker. On Aug. 9, Judge McCoy reduced the award to $100 million and said he would grant a retrial only if Boeken declined the award. McCoy ruled that the jury's award was legally excessive and was disproportionate to the compensatory damages traditionally given for medical relief and lost earnings. In his ruling, McCoy called the tobacco company's efforts to hide scientific information about the health risks of smoking "reprehensible in every sense of the word." He wrote that Philip Morris did not accept responsibility for the "devastating and widespread" consequences of its conduct on people like Boeken. Boeken started smoking as a teen-ager more than 40 years ago before warnings on cigarettes were common practice. The self-employed dealer in oil and gas securities was diagnosed in 1999 with lung cancer that has since spread to his brain. Piuze said he has anticipated an appeal. "I would be shocked beyond words if Philip Morris sent a truck over here with $100 million," he said. Piuze added that his client will cross appeal the case to seek reinstatement of the $3 billion punitive damages awarded by the jury. The decision became public on the same day that Philip Morris' attorneys argued in a California appellate court that a $26.5 million award to another lung cancer victim in San Francisco was excessive.
AG asked about status of bill on cigarettes-(Times of India Online-22/08/2001)
Taking note of numerous adverse effects of cigarette and tobacco products and the absence of any fund for victims of smoking in India, the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked Attorney-General Soli Sorabjee to tell it the stage at which the anti-tobacco bill was pending in Parliament. A direction in this regard was given by a bench comprising justice G.B. Pattanaik and justice Ruma Pal during the hearing of a public interest litigation filed by an NGO 'Women Action Research and Legal for Women', which was seeking a ban on smuggling of cigarettes into the country. Petitioner's counsel Rani Jethmalani also said that though the cigarette majors like ITC and VST earned huge profits, they had so far not expressed their willingness to contribute to a fund for the victims of smoking. At this point, the bench asked Sorabjee to ascertain as to at which stage the cigarettes and other tobacco products (prohibition of advertisement and regulation of trade and commerce, production, supply and distribution) bill, 2001, was pending in Parliament. Counsel for ITC, senior advocate Anil Devan, informed the court that the bill was pending with the select committee of Parliament and the same was seeking evidence from the cigarette manufacturers as well as from others, including NGOs.
China sitting on smoking time-bomb: Study-(Times of India Online-17/08/2001)
Smoking will account for one in three of all premature deaths among Chinese men in the years ahead unless action is taken now to prevent a medical catastrophe, researchers said.Scientists from the University of Hong Kong and Oxford University in Britain said their unprecedented new study, based on smoking-related fatalities in Hong Kong, was the first to show the extent of the risk. "Among middle-aged smokers in China about half will eventually be killed by tobacco, unless there is widespread cessation by adults who already smoke," said Professor T.H. Lam.The new research, the biggest yet to study smoking deaths in a Chinese community, projects explosive growth in tobacco deaths among the most productive members of the workforce in the world's most populous nation. In the United States, the proportion of deaths attributable to tobacco in middle-aged men had reached 34 percent in 1975, and "history has repeated itself after two decades in Hong Kong with a proportion of 33 percent," Lam said in a statement. "This proportion that we observe in Hong Kong now is in turn more than twice as big as in mainland China 10 years earlier."In Hong Kong, the most Westernized Chinese city, cigarette consumption had peaked in the early 1970s, 20 years behind the United States but 20 years ahead of mainland China, the study said. Based on projections from Hong Kong, it forecast two million tobacco deaths in China a year by 2025, three million by the mid-century, and a total of 100 million during the first half of the 21st century. With 1.27 billion people, China has 20 percent of the world's population but accounts for 30 percent of the global tobacco market, the researchers noted.Medical data shows that in Hong Kong men aged 35-69, smokers die at about twice the rate of non-smokers from a variety of illnesses including cancer, respiratory failure and heart disease. "Previous estimates of mortality due to smoking in Hong Kong were based on Western findings, which may or may not be applicable to Chinese," the study said. One-third of deaths of men aged between 35 and 69 in Hong Kong in 1998 were attributable to smoking-related diseases, the study said based on research into 27,507 deaths.
'Partial lung removal for emphysema does not work'-(Times of India Online-16/08/2001)
Surgery to remove part of the lung in patients with severe emphysema does not work, according to the nationwide study in the New England Journal of Medicine. The operation "represents all risk and no benefit for these patients," coauthor Dr. Steven Piantadosi of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health told Reuters. Investigators are still looking at whether lung-volume-reduction surgery can benefit emphysema patients who are less ill. That part of the study is scheduled to end in December 2002.But for the sickest patients, those whose lung capacity has been reduced to less than 20 percent of normal, the evidence is so clear-cut against surgery that "we're not even going to put these patients in the trial any longer," Piantadosi said.About 2 million Americans, most over age 50, have been diagnosed with emphysema, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Some 14 percent of the sufferers fell into the category Piantadosi's team studied. He estimated another 14 percent might be sicker still, and even less likely to benefit from the operation, where about 15 percent to 30 percent of the lung is removed. Using data from patients treated at 17 medical centers, the researchers found that 11 of the 69 volunteers who had the surgery were dead within 30 days, compared with none of the 70 patients who received standard treatment. Over the longer term, the death rate was nearly four times higher for patients who underwent the operation.Those who survived had "small improvements" in their ability to get around after six months, the researchers said, but people in both groups had a similar quality of life. Only "a few ... (who had the surgery) had a substantial improvement in functional status."
Smokers less likely to react to Viagra: Study –(Times of India Online-14/08/2001)
Anti-impotence drug Viagra may not be as effective for men who are heavy smokers, a medical study in Hong Kong showed. The survey by Hong Kong's Kwong Wah Hospital involved 5,450 men who suffered from erectile dysfunction and received Viagra treatment over a two-year period starting in February 1999. Sixty-seven percent or 3,651 patients in the survey were smokers. The others suffer from hypertension and diabetes.Of the 926 patients who did not react to the blue pill, 840 or 91 percent were regular smokers and most had been smoking for more than 10 years. Most smoked more than 10 cigarettes a day and nearly half puffed away more than 20 times a day. The findings prompted anti-smoking campaigners to call for harsher warnings to be printed on cigarette packets."We should include much more explicit health messages and warnings about the damage to many different aspects of sexual and reproductive health of both male and females," Anthony Hedley, the chairman of the council on smoking and health said. He believed young smokers would be more receptive to such warnings than notices about potential damage to the heart and lungs.
Health authorities in Hong Kong said some 5,500 people die each year from diseases commonly linked with smoking such as lung cancer, bronchitis, emphysema and certain types of heart disease. Viagra is produced by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer
Number of smoke-free offices rises-(Times of India Online-13/08/2001)
Many more Americans are working in smoke-free offices, but whether the air around their desks is clear largely depends on the state in which they live, according to a study by the National Cancer Institute. Nearly 70 per cent of employees worked in businesses that had smoke-free policies in 1999, up from 46 per cent in 1993, according to the study. Only 3 per cent of workplaces were smoke-free 15 years ago, according to government research.Workers in the Midwest and South-the regions where most tobacco is grown-generally reported the fewest smoke-free workplaces, while those in the Northeast and West had the most.
Donald Shopland, lead author of the study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, defined a smoke-free workplace as one where smoking is forbidden in public spaces and work areas, including individual offices. Utah has the most workers covered by anti-smoking policies-84 per cent-followed by Maryland, California, Massachusetts and Vermont, according to the study, which was based on responses from 270,000 workers nationwide. Those states have strong state or local laws restricting smoking in workplaces or public spaces, said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, an anti-smoking group in Washington, DC. "There is a direct correlation between a community and a state enacting strong laws to protect workers from secondhand smoke and the number of workers who this study finds are protected," Myers said. Nevada has the fewest workers in smoke-free offices-49 per cent-followed by Kentucky, Indiana, South Dakota and Michigan, the study found. Shopland noted Nevada has a large gambling industry and it could be that smoking is part of the social culture there. He said the largest group of employees who don't work in smoke-free environments are those in the hospitality industry. "Restaurants and bars will end up being the last things that go smoke-free," Shopland said. The tobacco industry has fought laws such as one in California that bans smoking in indoor restaurants and bars. "Any government-mandated smoking ban that eliminates smoking in places like bars and restaurants goes too far," said Brendan McCormick, a spokesman for Philip Morris. He said the company supports efforts to minimize secondhand smoke in various other ways, including creating separate smoking areas and installing good ventilation systems. Reports by the US surgeon general and others have found that exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke can cause lung cancer and other diseases. The National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, paid the Census Bureau about $3 million to survey about 800,000 people in 1993, 1996 and 1999. Answers from 270,000 people who work in indoor offices were included in the study, which bills itself as the largest of its kind and the first detailed look at trends in workplace smoking restrictions in all the states and Washington, DC.
Philip Morris wants judgment reversed-(Times of India Online-31/07/2001)
Philip Morris Co is arguing that the $3 billion judgment awarded to a longtime smoker with lung cancer should be reversed because the judge refused to allow evidence of his criminal history. A superior court jury last month awarded $3 billion in punitive damages and $5.5 million in compensatory damages to 56-year-old Richard Boeken. The verdict was the largest ever in an individual lawsuit against a tobacco company. Boeken, a former oil and securities dealer who smoked for 40 years, claimed he was the victim of an industry campaign that portrayed smoking as "cool," but concealed its dangers. During the trial, defence lawyers sought to tell the jury about Boeken's past run-ins with the law, including his involvement in the 1980s in a fraudulent oil and gas scheme. Boeken's lawyer, Michael Piuze, argued that his client's legal indiscretions had no bearing on the case and would prejudice the jury. Judge Charles W. McCoy agreed. In its motion for a new trial, Philip Morris also takes aim at the size of the verdict, saying it shows jurors were motivated by "passion and prejudice" against the cigarette maker. McCoy scheduled an August 6 hearing on the motion and on an alternative request by the defence to reduce the damages to a maximum of $25 million. Philip Morris' lawyers said evidence from the wire fraud case could have helped the jury in evaluating Boeken's credibility.
Bill for ban on tobacco ad being examined –(Times of India Online-31/07/2001)
A bill proposing ban on sale of tobacco products to minor and total ban on advertising of tobacco products was being examined by a parliamentary standing committee, the Rajya Sabha was informed.The government was also taking measures to make young people aware of the dangers of tobacco use through campaigns on television, radio and print media, State Minister of Health and Family Welfare A Raja said in a written reply
Smoking is a greater cause of death and disability than any single disease, says the World Health Organisation. According to their figures, it is responsible for approximately 3.5 million deaths worldwide every year - or about 7% of all deaths. Tobacco smoking is a known or probable cause of approximately 25 diseases, and even the WHO says that its impact on world health is not fully assessed.
UK heart attack and stroke studies show that smokers in their 30s and 40s are five times more likely to have a heart attack than non-smokers. Tobacco contributes to the hardening of the arteries, which can then become blocked and starve the heart of bloodflow, causing the attack. Often, smokers who develop this will require complex and risky heart bypass surgery. If you smoke for a lifetime, there is a 50% chance that your eventual death will be smoking-related - half of all these deaths will be in middle age. Smoking also increases the risk of having a stroke.
Another primary health risk associated with smoking are lung cancer, which kills more than 20,000 people in the UK every year. US studies have shown that men who smoke increase their chances of dying from the disease by more than 22 times. Women who smoke increase this risk by nearly 12 times. Lung cancer is a difficult cancer to treat - long term survival rates are poor. Smoking also increases the risk of oral, uterine, liver, kidney, bladder, stomach, and cervical cancers, and leukaemia.
Another health problem associated with tobacco is emphysema, which, when combined with chronic bronchitis, produces chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The lung damage which causes emphysema is irreversible, and makes it extremely difficult to breathe.
Smoking in pregnancy greatly increases the risk of miscarriage, is associated with lower birthweight babies, and inhibited child development. Smoking by parents following the birth is linked to sudden infant death syndrome, or cot death, and higher rates of infant respiratory illness, such as bronchitis, colds, and pneumonia.
Nicotine, an ingredient of tobacco, is listed as an addictive substance by the US authorities. Although the health risks of smoking are culmulative, giving up can yield health benefits regardless of the age of the patient, or the length of time they have been smoking. By 2020, the WHO expects the worldwide death toll to reach 10 million, causing 17.7% of all deaths in developed countries. There are believed to be 1.1 billion smokers in the world, 800,000 of them in developing countries.
Study on 'benefits' of smoking causes stir –(Times of India Online-23/07/2001)
A unique study commissioned by a major cigarette company, which concludes that smokers contributed millions of dollars to Czech state exchequer by dying prematurely, has raised many eyebrows but failed to dampen smoking among the masses. The study, prepared for tobacco giant Philip Morris by consulting firm Arthur D. Little international, is a blunt cost-benefit analysis of smoking and social services. The study, quoted by the New York Times, spelled out in details the savings that smokers brought to the state in 1999 by dying early. The report, prepared for Czech parliamentarians who are preparing to levy new cigarette taxes, concluded that public finances would save $24.2 to $30 million from lower cost of health care, savings on the care of retirees and the cost of housing for the elderly as a result of shorter life span, Times said. The report has graphs in the shape of cigarettes showing the cost and benefits of early death of smokers. And expectedly, the report has raised many eyebrows. "This is first class cynicism and hyena-ism," wrote the country's leading newspaper Mlada Fronta Dnes comparing Philip Morris to the Nazi SS which calculated the value of a human life in the World War II concentration camp. "What an offer: 'come help us make money on the death of your citizens'," the Times quoted the paper as writing. Commenting on the report, a Czech government spokesman said, "it is unbelievable that Philip Morris dares to conduct this study in this country. It is ethically unacceptable to think and write about human beings in these categories".
Among the benefits of smoking, as reported in the study, are savings of 28 million koruna on housing for the elderly, of 196 million korunas on care and social payment for the retirees and of 968 million korunas on health care from premature death. This is offset against costs associated with smokers starting fires, lost taxes as a result of premature death, health costs of second hand smoke and direct health care costs. Notwithstanding the outrage amongst the Czech government and the press, as also anti-smoking groups world wide, Czechs continue to puff away, leading to more profits for Philip Morris - which controls eight per cent of the market, the Times said. Philip Morris last year made a profit of $82 million on sales, making it the country's most profitable company, the Times reported. Czech smoke on an average of almost two packs a week for every man, woman and child in the country, the paper reported quoting Philip Morris.
Scientists find gene link to smokers' heart risk-(Times of India Online-14/07/2001)
British scientists have discovered a gene which raises the risk of heart disease among men who smoke up to four times, according to new research findings. The researchers made the discovery after analysing the DNA of over 3,000 healthy middle-aged men, aged between 50 and 61, who were questioned about their smoking habits and monitored for eight years.
According to the results, to be published in the British Medical Revue The Lancet, a specific variant of the gene, known as APO-E4, was found to dramatically boost the harm done by smoking. The same danger probably applies to women, although this is not yet confirmed by the research which was led by professor Steve Humphries, a British heart foundation expert on cardiovascular genetics at University College, London.
"What is clear from our research is that having the E4 version of the Apo-E gene significantly increases the risk of CHD (Coronary Heart Disease) in current smokers by about three times," said Humphries. "However, it should not be forgotten that all current smokers had an increase in risk of CHD whatever version of APO-E they carried. Our research shows that this risk was larger in the E4 group".
Smoking by itself more than doubled the risk of suffering heart attacks or blocked arteries. Two other variants of the gene, APO-E2 and APO-E3, also increased smoking heart disease risk but by a much smaller degree.
Study links smoking with infertility and menopause-(Times of India Online-16/07/2001)
Women who smoke are running the risk of becoming infertile and inducing an early menopause, according to the latest US scientific report to investigate a link already suspected by researchers. "We've uncovered a mechanism to explain why premature ovarian failure occurs following exposure to toxic chemicals in the environment," the head of the study at Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital says in the report to be published in the August issue of Nature Genetics. "We've correlated this (the earlier menopause in female smokers) with exposure to a class of chemicals in tobacco smoke that accelerate the death of egg cells in the ovaries," said Jonathan Tilly.
The research adds two more serious medical effects to a catalogue of illnesses and diseases scientifically proven to be caused by smoking, the study says.
Research carried out on mice confirms the long suspected link between female infertility and a class of toxic chemicals known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are present in tobacco smoke and cause the destruction of eggs in the ovaries. The toxic chemicals are also released into the environment by fossil fuel combustion. These chemicals bind to a receptor inside egg cells of the ovaries causing the release of a gene which then sets off a suicide command ordering the egg to undergo programmed cell death. But the toxic chemicals did not affect eggs from mice engineered to lack either the receptor or the gene in the same way, showing the importance of both the gene and the receptor in premature ovarian failure.
Scientists then grafted tissue from human ovaries under the skin of mice, to prove that the research carried out on mice would have similar effects on humans.
When the mice were given an injection of the toxic compound, researchers reported a striking increase in degenerating eggs and programmed cell death in the human ovarian tissues, in the same way that they observed in mice ovaries.
"The data strongly support the hypothesis that the early onset of menopause in women smokers is caused, at least in part, by the actions of tobacco smoke-derived PAHs (toxins) in human oocytes" - eggs before they mature, Tilly says. He added that he hopes the technique of grafting human tissue onto the mice will allow for further research on the effect of other potential biohazards and drugs on the health of women's eggs.
A single cigarette can affect heart function –(Times of India Online-09/07/2001)
Smoking just one cigarette can cause an abrupt change in the function of the heart's key pumping chamber, according to research presented here last week at the 12th Annual Scientific Sessions of the American Society of Echocardiography. Dr Firas A Ghanem and colleagues at the Brody School of Medicine of East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, suspected that smoking might immediately, but transiently, impair the function of the left ventricle-the heart's key pumping chamber -- between heart muscle contractions. This impairment, also called LV diastolic dysfunction, has been linked to shortness of breath.
Cigarettes did indeed cause changes in left ventricle function, but nicotine chewing gum did not, suggesting that other chemicals act in conjunction with nicotine to cause heart problems, the researchers note. Ghanem and his colleagues evaluated the effects of smoking and nicotine gum on 27 healthy people. None had any evidence of heart disease, and none were taking any medications.
People were divided into two groups. One group smoked a single cigarette and the second group chewed nicotine gum for 15 minutes. Before and after exposure to either gum or the cigarette, the researchers used a Doppler echocardiogram to measure the blood flow in the heart. Doppler echocardiograms use sound waves to produce images of structures within the body.
In the cigarette group, there were differences in several measures of heart blood flow, but no changes were noted in the second group, before or after chewing nicotine gum.
There were limitations to the study, Ghanem pointed out. The number of patients was small and nicotine levels were not measured. Also, the changes in heart function observed didn't meet clinical criteria for dysfunction of the left ventricle. "In conclusion, immediately after smoking a single cigarette, LV diastolic function, as measured by Doppler echo, significantly worsens," Ghanem said. "Chewing nicotine gum does not seem to have the same.
Delhi govt to implement anti-smoking law effectively-(Times of India Online-04/07/2001)
With an aim of enforcing the anti-smoking law in Delhi strictly, the city government said special raiding teams would be constituted to prevent violation of the act and police asked to keep check around the educational institutions. Chairing a meeting to review the anti-smoking act here, Delhi health and family welfare minister A K Walia said smoking in public places, offices and buses is banned and punishable by fine of up to Rs 100 for first time and Rs 200 for the second time.
New sections of the act have also been enforced under which sale of tobacco products to children less than 18 years of age and storage and sale of these items within the radius of 100 metres of educational institutions is prohibited, he said. There is a provision of fine of up to Rs 300 for violation of these sections of the act for the first time and Rs 1000 and three months' imprisonment for the second time.
The minister asked the deputy commissioners of police to issue directions to all their police stations to keep a check around the educational institutions. He said the directorate of health services was being decentralised into nine districts and special raiding teams would be constituted in every district for implementing the act with a heavy hand.
The meeting was told that 381 persons had already been challaned and 1448 fined for violation of the act. Besides, the government organised public lectures, workshops, exhibitions and rallies to educate the masses.
VST allows BAT to up stake-(Indian Express-15/06/2001)
The takeover battle for VST Industries has taken another turn with the board of directors of VST allowing tobacco giant BAT Plc to increase its stake in the Hyderabad based company. If appoved by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), UK based BAT will be able to increase its stake in VST from 32.1% to over 51%.
Not following in his dad’s footsteps-(Bombay Times-14/06/2001)
Actor Sean Penn has finally quit his four-pack-a-day smoking habit after watching his father Leo Penn dying of lung cancer. Penn, who turned 40 last year, says he had been trying to kick the habit for some time but it was seeing his movie director dad lose his battle with lung cancer that finally urged him into action
New cigarette ad restrictions urged-(Times of India Online-13/06/2001)
Tobacco companies are attracting young smokers even without billboards and cartoon characters like Joe Camel, researchers said while urging new advertising restrictions. Teenagers surveyed over the past two years vividly recalled ads featuring carefree smokers. Many of the youth also underestimated the health risks and addictions of smoking. Banning pictures from ads would help end the image that smoking is fun and give marketing campaigns about tobacco dangers a chance to work.
Leaders of anti tobacco groups said findings in the new study should be used to lobby states and the federal government to restrict tobacco advertising. The US Supreme Court is considering a constitutional challenge of state curbs on tobacco ads. Legislation is pending in Congress to give the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco.
Each year, an estimated 1 million minors take up smoking. As part of a 1998 settlement of state lawsuits, the tobacco industry was banned from using billboard ads and cartoon characters, such as R J Reynolds Tobacco Co.'s Joe Camel. R J Reynolds said in a statement that it 'supports efforts to prevent underage smoking' and complies with the settlement. The five largest cigarette manufacturers spent $8.2 billion on advertising and promotions in 1999, according to the Federal Trade Commission. The advertising appeals to emotions and young people do not understand or appreciate the dangers of smoking until it's almost too late. The study was based on interviews in 1999 and 2000 with about 2,600 people ages 14 to 22 and 1,500 people 23 years and older.
Adolescents and young adults were more likely to recall cigarette ads than those over age 30. For example, nearly 90 percent of 18 year olds recalled recently seeing the ads, compared with about half of 50 year olds. The study said 63 per cent of young people incorrectly thought there were more deaths each year due to drug and alcohol abuse than to tobacco. While 80 per cent of young smokers said they thought smoking was addictive, more than 60 per cent said they thought quitting was 'either very easy or possible for most people if they really try.'
Smoking claims 50,000 lives in Iran each year-(Times of India Online-13/06/2001)
Tobacco consumption is claiming the lives of 50,000 Iranians every year, the ministry of health was quoted as saying, as it prepared to launch a no smoking week to wean the country off the popular habit.
According to the Jomhuri-Eslami daily, the last week of the current Iranian month of Khordad, June 15 through 21, will be a 'no tobacco' event, each day carrying a different theme on the social and economic effects of cigarettes.
In May, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated that by 2030 a total of 10 million people will die every year from tobacco related diseases worldwide, particularly in Asia where 60 per cent of the male population are smokers.
Philip Morris to Pay $3 Billion-(Yahoo News 07/06/2001)
A jury awarded a cancer-stricken smoker more than $3 billion from tobacco giant Philip Morris, the largest judgment against a cigarette maker in a lawsuit brought by an individual. The Superior Court jury found against Philip Morris on all six claims of fraud, negligence and making a defective product. Some legal experts cautioned, however, that the award might not stand. Richard Boeken, 56, was awarded $3 billion in punitive damages and $5.5 million in general damages.
``We thought that figure would hurt them, make them stand up and take notice,'' juror Denise Key said of the punitive damages. ``We want them to be responsible, to put on their product that the product will kill so when you smoke you smoke at your own risk.''
It was the largest jury award won by an individual against a cigarette maker. The largest judgment against the tobacco industry in a class-action lawsuit was $145 billion awarded last year to thousands of sick Florida smokers. Philip Morris was one of five tobacco companies in that case.
Boeken, who suffers from incurable lung cancer, smiled and gave a thumbs-up sign as the 18-page verdict was read. He declined to speak to reporters after the hearing.
Philip Morris attorney Maurice Leiter said he will appeal. ``We recognize Philip Morris is an unpopular company. It makes a dangerous product, but clearly, the evidence does not support this verdict,'' Leiter said. He said the company believes Boeken ignored ``a mountain of information'' about the health risks of smoking and chose to continue his habit.
Boeken's attorney, Michael Piuze, said he did not know how the jury set the award amount, but that he was pleased.
The award may not pass a new test adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court some attorneys warned. ``The punitive damage award has to bear some relationship to compensatory damage,'' said attorney Michael Hausfeld, who sued tobacco companies in May, claiming they violated federal racketeering laws to hook children on cigarettes.
``Clearly here the punitive award is an expression of total outrage and I'm not sure under the Supreme Court test for a single individual that kind of a differential would be upheld,'' Hausfeld said.
Boeken had sought more than $12 million in compensatory damages such as medical bills and lost earnings, and between $100 million and $10 billion in punitive damages.
He was diagnosed in 1999 with lung cancer, which has spread to his lymph nodes, back and brain. He took up cigarettes in 1957 at age 13 and was smoking at least two packs of Marlboros every day for more than 40 years. Piuze said his client had kicked heroin and alcohol, but renewed his smoking habit after trying to quit several times.
Piuze argued that his client was a victim of a decades-long tobacco industry campaign to promote smoking as ``cool'' while the company concealed the serious dangers of smoking. During closing arguments, Piuze said Philip Morris is ``the world's biggest drug dealer, something that puts the Colombian drug cartels to shame.''
Attorneys for Philip Morris didn't deny that smoking caused Boeken's illness but argued that he ignored health warnings about the dangers of cigarettes and chose to smoke despite the risk.
Jurors during the 7-week trial were presented with evidence that included company memos and videotaped depositions from Boeken and clips of tobacco company executives' 1994 congressional testimony. Juror Ann Anderson said her intent was not punish the company, but to make them stand up and take notice.
The verdict was the latest in a series of tobacco industry courtroom losses. Earlier this week, a New York City jury found tobacco companies liable for deceptive business practices, ordering them to pay up to $17.8 million to treat ailing New York smokers.
There have been six earlier cases in which plaintiffs won individual awards since the mid-1990s, said Richard Daynard, a law professor and chairman of the Tobacco Products Liability Project at Northeastern University School of Law in Boston. But only one of those plaintiffs has actually received any money, a 70-year-old ex-smoker who got $1.1 million from Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. after a 1995 jury award. The company is appealing the verdict to the Supreme Court, but was ordered to make the payment. Three others are being appealed, while the other two have been overturned.