Sep. 24, 2013

Health body backs smoke free prisons

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has joined forces with other public health bodies in backing proposals for smoke free prisons. The CIEH played a leading role in campaigning for the introduction of smoke free legislation.

Since 2007, when the smoke free laws came into force, all premises accommodating juvenile offenders have been required to be smokefree and smoking has only been permitted in adult prisons by prisoners in their own cells. Smoking is not permitted in any other parts of the prison buildings and there is no exemption for prison officers and other staff.

Additionally, the Government has always expected prison governors to exercise local controls to ensure that any prisoners who do not smoke will have their own cell, or be placed in a cell with other non-smokers. This has not always happened.

The CIEH argues that many prison cells are poorly ventilated and heavy smoking can cause a severe build up of smoke which can affect the health of both the prisoners and prison officers and other staff who provide care for them. Some of these will be people who have asthma and other respiratory illnesses, and women who are pregnant. It is not right for smokers to smoke in places that damage other people’s health.

Commenting, Ian Gray, CIEH Principal Policy Officer, said: “The proposal to introduce smoke free requirements through a series of early adopters of this policy is a sensible way forward and can draw upon the experience of the Isle of Man and the Channel Isles where smoke free prisons already operate successfully.”

“I have carried out a survey of the mental health facilities in England and the difficulties encountered there, especially in high security units, are in many ways similar to prison environments. All mental health units have been smoke free for over five years and we know of some excellent models which can be shared with the prison service to support their prisoners and staff whilst these necessary changes are introduced.”

Aug. 13, 2013

Holy smoke - licence could be a drag

FIRST it was a $5 per pack tax rise. Now cancer experts want people to have to apply for a licence to smoke.
"This is terrible,'' said electrician Ryan O'Neill, 29.
The Darwin City tradesman said that it wasn't about cigarettes but about freedom.
"They're getting more controlling every single day,'' he said.
"They want to have us as little robots going along and paying our mortgages.
"We're all adults and we should be able to make our own choice as an adult.''

Professor Roger Magnusson, of the University of Sydney's Law School, and Professor David Currow, of the Cancer Institute of NSW, say a smart-card licence would combat teenage smoking.
Retailers would

Jul. 8, 2013

SPD's DeSalle in sticky situation amid tobacco allegation

A Sandusky police officer caught last year with 50 grams of methamphetamine in his locker is now on administrative leave for apparently chewing tobacco on duty and denying it, police said.

Supervisors placed James DeSalle, a 12-year veteran, on paid leave Wednesday and scheduled him for a pre-disciplinary hearing at 2 p.m. Monday.

In question is a Nov. 5 domestic call at an East Shoreway Drive home, where another officer twice saw DeSalle spit a dark-brown substance on the ground while leaving the home.

When supervisors later asked him if he was chewing tobacco, DeSalle denied it and said he was allergic to a cat in the home, police said.

A video camera in DeSalle’s police cruiser recorded footage of him spitting a substance onto the ground, police said.

Confronted with the video, DeSalle denied he’d been chewing tobacco on duty.

Sandusky prohibits its police officers from using tobacco products on duty.

DeSalle told officers he had tobacco in his mouth only when he was outside his cruiser at a First Street address, according to a pre-disciplinary letter his supervisors sent him.

But the video footage doesn’t support that, the letter said.

“It’s very unprofessional and I’m trying to raise the professional bar (in the department),” Sandusky interim police Chief Jim Lang said.

Lang, who plans to conduct the hearing, declined to speak specifically about DeSalle’s case, but said allegations of this nature could result in an officer being placed on unpaid leave.

More troubling, perhaps, are DeSalle’s past reprimands.

In July 2009, DeSalle was replaced as the handler of Justice, Sandusky’s police dog.

He’d been in charge of Justice for about a year but was reassigned after repeatedly requesting time off at night and weekends, when the police dog is used the most, Lang said.

While reassigning DeSalle, supervisors inventoried his locker and discovered 50 grams of methamphetamine.

The drugs, according to DeSalle’s personnel file, had never been assigned to him.

DeSalle told his supervisors he was using the drugs to train the police dog and intended to notify them about the methamphetamines, but never got around to it.

It’s unknown why DeSalle needed 50 grams of meth to train the dog, rather than just a gram or two.

When the Register reported on DeSalle’s reassignment at the time, then-interim police Chief Charlie Sams had said supervisors were investigating other possible improprieties by DeSalle, though they declined to specify what those were.

According to law enforcement officials, a typical “one-hit” dose of meth is one-fourth of a gram. A gram of meth sells on the street for about $100, making the street value of 50 grams about $5,000.

Three months after that incident, DeSalle received a written reprimand for failing to turn on his cruiser’s video camera during calls. His personnel file noted it was the fourth such incident for him in 2009.

His personnel file also shows he drove recklessly last fall — about 47 mph in a 25 mph zone — while responding to a non-emergency call about a mattress and box spring in the middle of Milan Road.

DeSalle told his supervisors he was concerned someone could have been hurt.

According to Sandusky Municipal Court records, DeSalle has also had a history of money problems with financial, medical and utility companies. A government agency also garnished some of his wages, his personnel file shows.

In regard to DeSalle’s earlier performance, Lang said he doesn’t let an officer’s past cloud his judgment when evaluating an incident now in question.

“I want to give everyone a fair, honest chance,” Lang said.

Legislation appeal up in smoke as judge rules against tobacco company

LEGISLATION to curb smoking by imposing a ban on tobacco displays in shops came a step closer yesterday after an appeal against the proposals by one of the world’s biggest tobacco companies was rejected by judges.
Imperial Tobacco went to court to challenge the provisions of the Tobacco and Primary Medical (Scotland) Act 2010 on the grounds that the matter was reserved to Westminster and outwith the legislative scope of Holyrood.
Yesterday at the Court of Appeal in Edinburgh three judges upheld an earlier appeal that ruled none of the grounds submitted by Imperial were valid and the legislation should stand. Imperial could now take the matter to the Supreme Court in London.
Michael Matheson, the public health minister, welcomed the decision. “I am delighted that the court has upheld the ruling made in September 2010 by Lord Bracadale to dismiss Imperial Tobacco Limited’s legal challenge against the bans on tobacco displays and tobacco sales from automatic vending machines,” he said.
Vicky Crichton of Cancer Research UK said: “We welcome this ruling by appeal court judges. We hope this judgment allows Scotland to move forward with plans to protect future generations of children by putting tobacco out of sight and out of mind.”
The legislation, which will ban the open display of cigarettes in shops and outlaw vending machines, was due to have come into effect in large retailers last October but was delayed until April 2012 because of Imperial’s legal challenge.
Three weeks ago the Scottish Government announced a further delay to “a date to be announced”. The display ban for small shops is scheduled for 2015.
Campaigners against smoking have said the Act will bolster Scotland’s reputation as a world leader in tobacco control.
But retailers and the tobacco industry warned that the legislation would have a severe effect on small shopkeepers who were already reeling from the recession. Sections 1 and 9 of the Act make it an offence to display tobacco products or smoking-related products in the course of business, and to have control of premises on which a vending machine is available.
In his judgment, Lord Hamilton said the objectives of the provisions were not in doubt.
“The risk which the smoking of tobacco products is perceived to present is to health, primarily of the smokers as consumers but also of those non-smokers who may be exposed to a smoke-filled environment and, by ‘passive smoking’, suffer adverse affection,” he added.
Imperial maintained that the provisions related to a reserved matter, the regulation of the sale and supply of goods to consumers, and also claimed they modified article 6 of the Union with England Act 1707, so far as it related to freedom of trade, and therefore breached the Scotland Act 1998

Jun. 26, 2013

Smoking Hookah bad side effects associated with cigarettes

Many people smoke water pipes — known as hookahs — as an alternative to cigarettes because they believe that it is less dangerous and doesn't have any of the bad side effects associated with cigarettes.  It's a social habit, and many bars are now adopting them as a draw for crowds in a competitive business.
But a new research study in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention has shown that hookah smoke may expose users to different toxic chemicals and could result in different types of cancer than cigarette smoke.
"Water-pipe smoking at 'hookah bars' has become popular with young people in the United States, and some believe that it is less harmful than cigarette smoking," said Peyton Jacob III, Ph.D., a University of California, San Francisco research chemist at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center. "We report for the first time that toxicant exposures from water-pipe and cigarette smoking differed in pattern, with higher exposure to some toxicants like carbon monoxide and benzene in water-pipe smokers."
Researchers asked 13 healthy adults (eight men and five women) who were experienced in smoking hookah and cigarettes to participate in the experiment. Study participants smoked either four days every day and then at a later time they were told to smoke hookah for the same time period. This was done to compare the effects of the different smoking methods in the same person.
Water pipe smoking exposed participants to half the amount of nicotine as cigarettes. Researchers also found carbon monoxide levels that were 2.5 times higher in people who smoked from a water pipe during a 24-hour period. Carbon monoxide can increase the risk for heart attack, stroke and sudden death in people with heart or lung diseases.
Metabolites of the cancer causing industrial chemical, benzene, was detected at far higher levels in the urine of water pipe smokers.  Benzene exposure is known to cause leukemia in people.
"People want to know if it is a lesser health risk if they switch from cigarettes to smoking a water pipe on a daily basis," said Jacob. "We found that water-pipe smoking is not a safe alternative to cigarette smoking, nor is it likely to be an effective harm reduction strategy."

Tobacco health labels won’t convince addicts, association says


The Minister of Health last week announced plans to expand health warning labels on Canadian cigarette packages, a move meant to discourage young adults from starting to smoke, and to encourage long-time smokers to quit cigarettes. But one interest group is skeptical that the expanded labels will actually lower smoking levels.
“There’s some scientific evidence that suggests it will help, but if you read the commentary that people have written in the papers, they’re addicted, so they’re going to continue to smoke,” said Steve Tennant, vice president of the Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA), whose members credit between 40 and 50 per cent of annual sales to tobacco products, with independent downtown Ottawa stores seeing sales as high as 60 per cent.
Nepean-Carleton MP Pierre Poilievre joined Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq at Tunney’s Pasture Dec. 30 to announce the plan, which includes expanding health warning labels on cigarette packages from 50 per cent to 75 per cent of the cover, and adding real victims’ testimonials about their struggles with smoking-related diseases.
Canadian anti-smoking activist Barb Tarbox, who died of lung cancer in 2003 after a whirlwind tour of the country to show young Canadians what happens if you smoke, will be featured in her dying moments on some of the new labels. Many new labels will be in colour.
The plan will also launch a new anti-smoking campaign on social media sites such as Facebook, and will introduce a nation-wide toll-free quit line.
“We know that having health warning labels on packages is still one of the most effective ways to warn smokers of health hazards. Therefore we will toughen efforts to make them bolder and bigger,” said Aglukkaq.
But Tennant believes these kinds of initiatives do not really make much difference, particularly for long-time smokers. “If you want to buy cigarettes from us, you’re going to buy cigarettes from us,” he said.
Indeed, one Quickie employee in Ottawa South said cigarette sales at his store have actually gone up since convenience stores have had to keep tobacco products hidden from view.
“Whether you can see it or not, you know we sell cigarettes,” Tennant said. “All it does is slow down service, but as for sales it doesn’t really affect them.”
Tennant added that if the Canadian government really wants to tackle smoking in Canada, it needs to focus on a bigger problem: contraband.
“It’s great to govern the legal products, but it’s frustrating to see business eroding around you because of contraband products that don’t have health warning labels, that don’t pay the taxes, that follow none of the guidelines the Feds have put in place,” he said. “What we get frustrated with is that the Ontario government especially and the Feds don’t take action on the amount of contraband flowing into the country, particularly into areas like Ottawa,” which is bookended by contraband hubs in Cornwall and Montreal.
In 2008, contraband cigarette seizures jumped to its highest level ever, hitting nearly 967,000 cartons, compared to only 29,000 cartons in 2001. Much of that contraband circulates around Ontario.
The Canadian Cancer Society and the Heart and Stroke Foundation both sent representatives to the conference to offer support to the government’s initiatives.
“This outstanding package of new measures will increase awareness of tobacco’s health effects and will reduce smoking among both youth and adults,” said Daniel Demers, director of national public issues at the Canadian Cancer Society. “The announcement comes just in time for New Year’s and provides a further impetus for the many Canadians who will make a resolution to quit smoking.”
The new health warning labels will appear on cigarette packages “as soon as possible” Aglukkaq said, but she wouldn’t give any sort of time line.