Curbing teen smoking ‘must go beyond raising minimum age’

The Straits Times, 14 March 2017
Author: Linette Lai
“Teens below the age of 18 have been barred from smoking legally since 1993. Last week, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said it plans to raise the minimum legal smoking age from 18 to 21. In Singapore, these are the years when nearly half of smokers become regular smokers. But the data tells a different story. In 2013, the average age when smokers took their first puff was just 16, according to the National Health Surveillance Survey. Experts said the discrepancy shows that efforts to curb teen smoking must go beyond raising the minimum legal age. Issues such as raising awareness and enforcement cannot be sidelined.”
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No doubt about it: smokefree laws cut heart attacks in big way

The Conversation, 7 March 2017
Author: Stanton Glantz
“There is strong and consistent evidence that exposure to secondhand smoke causes heart attacks and that smokefree workplace and public place laws cut heart attacks (and other diseases). The most recent evidence comes from a large study in Sao Paolo, Brazil, where heart attack deaths dropped by 12 percent following implementation of its smokefree law.”
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Tobacco elimination: an economic and public health imperative

The Lancet, 389(10066), p225, 2017
Source: Editorial, The Lancet
“Last week, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the US National Institutes of Health, in collaboration with WHO, released The Economics of Tobacco and Tobacco Control—the 21st volume in a series of monographs on tobacco control produced from the NCI. The almost 700-page report contains an impressive body of work from more than 60 authors worldwide. It provides a comprehensive summary of the latest evidence and research, and what needs to be done on two areas. First, the economics of tobacco control, including tobacco use and growing, manufacturing and trade, and tobacco control interventions and policies to reduce tobacco consumption and its effects on health and disease burden. Second, the economic implications of global tobacco control efforts since the coming into force of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2005. Will this report make a difference?”
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Doctors urge Theresa May to publish anti-smoking strategy

The Guardian, 5 January 2016
Author: Sarah Boseley
“More than 1,000 doctors, healthcare professionals and public health experts, including heads of royal colleges and public health institutions, are calling on the prime minister to publish the latest tobacco control plan without delay. Experts hope the new UK tobacco control plan, which has been delayed in part because of the Brexit vote and its fallout, will plot the course for driving smoking rates down to 5% by 2035, which a report from Cancer Research UK said was feasible.”
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Philip Morris seeks U.S. approval to market alternative cigarette

Reuters, 6 December 2016
Author: Natalie Grover, Sruthi Ramakrishnan,Toni Clarke
“Philip Morris International Inc (PM.N) filed a much-awaited U.S. application to market a new type of cigarette that heats rather than burns tobacco and may carry fewer health risks. The company’s application is the first to seek U.S. approval to market a tobacco product as being less harmful than traditional cigarettes.”
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How e-cigarettes could ‘health wash’ the tobacco industry

The Conversation, 1 December 2016
Authors: Ross MacKenzie and Benjamin Hawkins
“The evidence that e-cigarettes help people quit smoking was described in the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recent report as “scant and of low certainty”. So far tobacco companies are the only actors to successfully gain medical licences for such products, although none have yet come to market. But the decision to seek medical approval for their products may have serious consequences.’
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Make tobacco firms liable for smoking harm

Washington Post, 13 November 2016
Author: Nirmala George
“A global conference on tobacco control has pledged to hold the tobacco industry legally liable for health consequences of smoking and protect public health policies from the influence of tobacco companies. Representatives from around 180 countries participating in the World Health Organization’s global tobacco control treaty negotiations on Saturday adopted a declaration in which they also vowed to prohibit or regulate the sale of e-cigarettes.”
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Smoking declines dramatically but linked to 40 percent of cancer cases

Washington Post, 10 November 2016
Author: Laurie McGinley
“New government reports say that the smoking rate among adults has declined sharply over the past decade but that 40 percent of cancer cases still may be related to tobacco use. Those malignancies go beyond cancer in the lungs to include a dozen other parts of the body, including the throat, stomach, pancreas and liver. More work needs to be done to help groups whose smoking rates remain disproportionately high and cautioned against underestimating the difficultly of quitting smoking.”
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How the tobacco industry is gaming Australian health regulations

The Conversation, 2 November 2016
Author: Steven Greenland
“Australia’s tough tobacco regulations are acting as a catalyst for the industry to develop sophisticated marketing practices. These companies are gaming the system by anticipating regulatory impact and then using unregulated marketing elements to overcome it.”
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Why requiring low-nicotine cigarettes is still ill-advised

The Conversation, 25 October 2016
Author: Lynn T. Kozlowski
“Global policymakers will soon consider a policy of requiring that only reduced-nicotine cigarettes can be manufactured or sold. This may sound good, but as someone who has studied tobacco for decades, I believe it is premature to deploy this as a tool to improve global health.”
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