Jan. 18, 2011

LETTER: Smoking ban laws don't make much sense

Some smoking bans now include smokeless tobacco products and electronic cigarettes.

The FDA has ruled that tobacco companies cannot tell the public that smokeless tobacco products and electronic cigarettes are 95 percent to 99.5 percent safer than smoking cigarettes or cigars.

There is no smoke, ergo there are none of the harmful toxins that are associated with smoking.

When questioned about their reasoning for including smokeless tobaccos and electronic cigarettes in their bans, government officials will often cite that they don't want smokers using these items to circumvent the no-smoking policies.

So they tell people you want them to quit smoking and yet at the same time you also take away their rights to use smokeless tobacco products in the place of cigarettes or cigars? Something just is not right about that thinking.

Dorothy Taylor

Study Links Chemicals to Diabetes, Obesity

Diabetes and obesity may result from exposure to chemicals and pesticides in cigarette smoke, chemicals in plastic, and arsenic, U.S. government researchers said Thursday.

Michael Gallo, of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, reported the results of the recent study during a workshop this week. He said the link between smoking while pregnant and a child's risk of future development of type-2 diabetes and obesity was strong. "It is consistent with our understanding of how diabetes and obesity develop," he told Reuters Thursday.

"Perhaps less recognized is the consistent association with increased risk of offspring being overweight or obese later in life," Dr. Kristina Thayer, director of the National Toxicology Program Center for Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction, told AOL Health. "Maternal smoking during pregnancy is consistently associated with an increased risk of offspring being overweight or obese during childhood, adolescence or adulthood,"

According to Thayer, this pattern is initially detectable in young children and continues through adulthood. It is supported by laboratory findings that monitor animals who are treated with nicotine during development. In addition to smoking during pregnancy, exposure to secondhand smoke and pesticides during both pregnancy and childhood are linked to diabetes and obesity.

Thayer also says that a number of anti-psychotic medications are linked to diabetes and metabolic disturbances that can lead to weight gain and obesity.

"Like many complex diseases, it is likely that many factors contribute to the development of diabetes," explains Thayer. "It is unknown to what extent environmental chemicals may be contributing to the current epidemics of diabetes and obesity, but it is clear that additional research is warranted to follow-up on the reported associations."

Thayer recommends focusing on risk factors we can control for diabetes and obesity. That means pursuing and maintaining a lifestyle that includes healthy eating and regular exercise.