Skip navigation
All People > Thomas3.20.2010 > Thomas3.20.2010 Blog > 2012 > August

Largest-Ever Survey on Global Tobacco Use Issues Dire Warnings

Read more:


Nearly half of all men and more than 1 in 10 women use tobacco in many developing countries, and women are starting to smoke at earlier ages, according to the largest survey to date on international tobacco use. If current trends continue, warns the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco could kill a billion people around the world in this century.

The authors of the new study say the numbers call for urgent changes in tobacco policy and regulation in developing nations. While tobacco use is declining in industrialized countries, it remains strong — or is even increasing — in low- and middle-income countries, a trend the authors attribute to powerful pro-tobacco forces worldwide.

“Our data reflect industry efforts to promote tobacco use,” said lead study author Gary Giovino of the School of Public Health and Health Professions at the University at Buffalo in New York, in the statement. “These include marketing and mass media campaigns by companies that make smoking seem glamorous, especially for women. The industry’s marketing efforts also equate tobacco use with Western themes, such as freedom and gender equality.”

The study, the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), looked at smoking trends among people ages 15 and older from 16 countries, estimating that there are 852 million tobacco users in these countries. GATS targeted 14 low- and middle-income countries — Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Mexico, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay and Vietnam — and also included data from the United States and the United Kingdom for comparison.

Nationally representative surveys were conducted during face-to-face interviews with 248,452 participants in the GATS countries in 2008-10. Data from the U.K. and the U.S. came from the U.K. General Lifestyle Survey and U.S. Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey, respectively, which had a total of 188,895 respondents. The researchers’ extensive sampling was enough to estimate tobacco use among 3 billion people.

Most tobacco users smoke cigarettes: 41% of men and 5% of women, but other popular forms of tobacco include cigars, chewing tobacco and water pipes. Already, nearly 6 million people die from tobacco-related causes each year, according to WHO. Other key findings from the study:

  • About 49% of men and 11% of women in GATS countries used tobacco (smoked, smokeless or both)
  • Although women’s tobacco use rates remain low, women are beginning to smoke as early as men, around age 17
  • Countries with the highest number of quitters were the U.S. and the U.K., as well as Brazil and Uruguay, “where tobacco control activities are strongest.”
  • Quit rates were lowest in China, India, Russia and Egypt. “In India and Bangladesh, smokeless tobacco use is very high and oral cancer rates are among the highest in the world,” says Giovino.
  • China had the largest number of tobacco users overall, at 301 million people, followed by India, with 274 million. The problem is lack of anti-tobacco regulations. “China National Tobacco, for example, which is owned by the Chinese government, sponsors dozens of elementary schools, where students are subjected to pro-tobacco propaganda. Some messages even equate tobacco use with academic success,” said Giovino.
  • Smoking rates were highest in Russia, however, where 60% of men and 22% of women use tobacco; by comparison, 53% of men and 2% of women in China use tobacco. Tobacco use rates were also high in Ukraine (50% of men, 11% of women) and Turkey (48% of men, 15% of women). ”In countries like Russia, Ukraine, and Turkey, use among adolescents and young adults is very high and indicates a public health crisis in their future unless effective action is taken to reduce use,” says Giovino.
  • In some countries the rates are rising. CNN reported:


    “One place where we know it’s gone up, unfortunately, is Egypt — as a result of the revolution,” said Edouard Tursan D’Espaignet of WHO”s tobacco control program.

    The GATS study found 38% of men and less than 1% of women smoked in Egypt as of 2010.

    However, government regulations limiting smoking in certain places fell apart after Hosni Mubarak’s regime was ousted last year, and “the tobacco industry walked in very, very aggressively” to market its product amid the chaos, said Tursan D’Espaignet.

    “We are hearing things like ‘Smoking is a way to show you’re free from the previous regime,’” he said.


    Tobacco company marketing is a central part of the problem, say the study authors. In poorer countries, pro-tobacco forces can spend a lot more money than their tobacco-control counterparts.

    In richer countries like the U.S., in contrast, tobacco use has been declining: currently, about 19% of adults smoke. Smoking among teens has also been dropping, but the rate of decline has recently stalled, as states cut funding for tobacco-control programs.

    And while cigarette consumption fell 33% in the U.S. over the previous decade, there was a corresponding 123% increase in the consumption of other smokable tobacco, like pipes and cigars, including among teens. Why? They’re cheaper. “The U.S. industry is expanding to promote use of other tobacco products such as snuff and cigars — many of these are flavored,” says Giovino.

    Some countries are making huge strides in getting people to quit. In Australia, for example, the country’s High Court upheld a ruling this week barring company logos from appearing on cigarette packs; starting in December, cigarette boxes will come in plain packaging emblazoned with grim health warnings and disturbing photos of the health effects of smoking. The country is urging other governments to adopt the same policy.

    To solve high tobacco consumption worldwide, Giovino says three groups that need to be held accountable: the tobacco industry; governments, which can choose to regulate tobacco or not; and consumers.

    “All three have a role to play in changing the trends, but experience tells us that the interplay between pro-tobacco and anti-tobacco forces is what determines trends in tobacco use,” says Giovino. “So we want to reduce the pro-tobacco forces and increase anti-tobacco forces.”

    Proven ways to reduce smoking rates include enforcing tobacco advertising bans, raising the price of tobacco products, helping smokers quit and protecting people from secondhand smoke, and raising awareness about the hazards of smoking by using warning labels and increasing public education campaigns.



Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 28, 2012

Exercise may temporarily ease cigarette cravings


(Reuters Health) - Smokers who are trying to quit might want to take a jog the next time a cigarette craving overtakes them, a new research review suggests.

Looking at 19 past clinical trials, researchers found that a bout of exercise generally helped hopeful quitters tamp down their nicotine cravings. Whether that all translates into a greater chance of quitting, though, is unclear.

Still, the researchers say that if getting on your bike helps you avoid lighting up, do it.

"Certainly, exercise seems to have temporary benefits, and as such can be strongly recommended," Adrian A. Taylor, a professor of exercise and health psychology at the University of Exeter in the UK, said in an email.

For its study, published in the journal Addiction, Taylor's team combined the results from small clinical trials that tested the immediate effects of exercise on smokers' cigarette cravings.


Smokers were randomly assigned to either exercise - most often, brisk walking or biking - or some kind of "passive" activity, like watching a video or just sitting quietly.

Overall, Taylor's team found, people said they had less desire to smoke after working out than they did before.

"After exercise, smokers reported about one-third lower cravings compared with being passive," Taylor said.

Exactly why is not clear. But one possibility, Taylor said, is that exercise serves as a distraction. Being active might also boost people's mood, so that they do not feel as great a need to feel better by smoking, Taylor noted.

None of the smokers in these studies was in a quit program or using nicotine replacement products, like gums or patches. Since nicotine replacement therapy curbs cravings, Taylor noted, exercise might have less of an effect for smokers who are using those products, or possibly the other medications used for smoking cessation.

Those include the prescription drugs varenicline (Chantix) and bupropion (Zyban and generics).

Still, exercise is a generally healthy habit for anyone. And, Taylor pointed out, smokers often gain weight when they try to kick the habit - one reason that some people, particularly women, go back to smoking.


"So increasing (calorie) expenditure can help to reduce weight gain after quitting," Taylor said. He noted, though, that more research is needed to see just how effective exercise might be in warding off post-quitting pounds.


As for whether exercise ultimately helps smokers quit, there is little to go on.

Taylor and his colleagues recently reviewed 15 clinical trials on the question for the Cochrane Collaboration, an international research organization that evaluates medical evidence.

Only one of those studies, Taylor said, suggested that exercise helps boost quit rates over a year. But the problem, he noted, was that most of the studies had major limitations, like including only a handful of participants.

Hopefully, better evidence will become available, according to Taylor. "Large, good-quality studies are underway," he said.

And smokers need all the help they can get. According to the American Lung Association, it takes smokers an average of five to six "serious attempts" to finally quit.

The group recommends that smokers try some combination of therapies - not only nicotine replacement or medication, but behavioral counseling too.

Desire to Smoke Subsides, But Cigarette Cues Retain Power

A study by Drs. Gillinder Bedi and Harriet de Wit of the University of Chicago and Drs. Kenzie Preston, David Epstein, and Stephen Heishman of the NIDA Intramural Research Program provided initial evidence that drug-dependent humans can experience “incubation” of cue-induced craving. The phenomenon— an increasing susceptibility to drug cues during the first months of abstinence—has been documented repeatedly in animals. The issue has important clinical implications, suggesting that cues may continue to act as a potent trigger for relapse well past the initial period of withdrawal.

The 86 participants in the study were daily smokers who were not seeking treatment and were paid to quit for 7, 14, or 35 days. They came to the laboratory daily for tests to confirm abstinence, and the researchers measured their craving responses to cues on the last day of their participation. One group also participated in repeated cue tests on days 7, 14, and 35. The cues consisted of holding a lit cigarette and looking at photos of cigarettes, and participants rated their craving before and after cue exposure.


The cue-induced craving was roughly twice as strong after 35 days of abstinence as it was after 1 week. Moreover, the craving increased over this period even though the smokers’ urges to light up in the absence of cues steadily weakened, dropping by more than 25 percent over 5 weeks.

Biological Psychiatry 69(7):708– 711, 2011.

TODAY is a Great Day to LIVE Smoke FREE!



Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 22, 2012

How many is one too many? 

Just ONE!

ONE SICKERETTE will change your DNA and set you up for Cancer....

ONE SICKERETTE can cause a stroke...

ONE SICKERETTE can cause heart disease...

ONE SICKERETTE may flip the switch for COPD/Emphysema...



I'm talking about March 14 - March 20, 2010! And no truer statement can be made! On March 14 I went to the Hospital with a temperature of 102! My teeth were clacking in my head. I radiated heat off my feverish body for yards. I was literally delerious and then I was given the news, "Your lungs are inflated." What do you mean, my lungs are inflated? How can that be and why? "You have Emphysema." That's not possible! I hardly smoke at all! "Emphysema is chronic, progressive and incurable." Whoa, hold on here! I haven't smoked that much!"If you don't quit smoking now you will get a lot worse very quickly."YIKES! I guess my smoking days are over! Smoking just isn't an option for me anymore!

On March 19th I took my last puff! I just couldn't make myself "waste" those cigs I already had! On March 20th I made the Best DECISION I had ever made in my entire life! FREE! ADDICTION FREE!!! Of course, I didn't know that! I wasn't all that happy about quitting but to me nothing is more disgusting than watching somebody on Oxygen smoke! That sure as heck wasn't gonna be me! Well. I also came to BecomeanEx that week and Read, Read, and Read some more and listened to the long timers to find out what they were doing right and I followed their lead! I was as surprised as anybody about how much easier my quit was than I thought it would be! It all had to do with the basic question. I know, you think the question is to smoke or not to smoke! NO! The question for me was, "Since smoking isn't an option then what can I do in this situation?" What can I do when I drink my coffee? What can I do when I'm driving to work? What can I do when it's break time? What can I do while I'm reading my favorite book? What can I do after dinner? etc.,etc.,etc...Before you know it, I found some AMAZING answers!!! I was transforming before my very eyes!!! I became stronger and more confident and more assertive than I ever imagined! And it just keeps getting better and better! WOW! If I had known that I sure as heck would have quit before I had COPD!!!! But regrets never help the situation! So I do my best to help others see what I see before they get the E-Word dropped in their laps! 

That's why I say that it was the Best of Times! Because the NEW Thomas was being formed by a simple DECISION! What to do instead! If I can do this you can too! And you will never ever regret THAT!



Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 15, 2012

Too often in today's society, we jump into action without thought. A person is rude and we reach for a sickerette; an accident occurs and we can't wait to light up; another bill we can't afford comes in the mail and we run to the gas station for a pack of killer sticks....


If we can just stop a moment and put things into perspective, we might be better able to access our desires and realize that we're under the hypnotic influence of addictive thinking! How do you recognize addictive thinking? Simple, really - your addictive mind has only one goal - your next FIX! It's so easy to go on auto-pilot and just walk into that store, mumble those familiar words [mine is Marlboro Reds 100s, hard pack] and before you even know what happened, there you are again with that da#@ enemy hanging off your lip, sucking in the death fumes! 


Those separation EXercises are all about preparing ahead of time - imagine yourself coming upon one of those automatic situations and just for one second, stopping and thinking - Is this what I really want? What can I do instead???? Write these practice runs down - in detail. Think of as many different scenarios as you can come up with. Visualize that NEW YOU deciding on a different outcome - not resentfully, but happily, knowing that you are making a FREEDOM decision! 


The first step is to STOP and THINK!


"Be still and know that I am God!" Ps 46:10

We know that smoking tobacco increases a person’s risk of cancer, heart attacks and strokes. But what do we know about how much harm smoking does to the brain?

Way back in 1848, The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal described tobacco as a “Passage of an Iron Rod Through The Head.” This statement is not an exaggeration when we consider the devastating effects of smoking on the brain.

Consider what’s inside a cigarette. Tobacco is only one of many ingredients. To create a cigarette’s taste, artificial flavorings are added. Other chemicals are added to make cigarettes burn longer. Of the 4,000 chemicals found in a cigarette, about 50 are carcinogenic. The rest are plain poisonous.

A 2000 report by toxicologist Jefferson Fowles and scientist Michael Bates of New Zealand lists the chemical constituents in cigarettes. They include:

  • arsenic (found in rat poison)
  • cyanide (a deadly poison)
  • ammonia (in cleaning supplies)
  • sulfuric acid (in car batteries)
  • DDT (insecticide).

The three most common chemicals are carbon monoxide (car exhaust), tar (makes roads and blackens the lungs), and nicotine (used in bug spray). It is hard to imagine anyone wanting to contaminate their brains with these chemicals and poisons.

The brain is a wonderful creation—it loves, imagines, plans, makes beautiful poetry and invents iPhones. To function, it needs a large supply of blood flow to feed its 100 billion neurons. Carbon monoxide, a toxic gas in cigarette smoke, interferes with oxygen flow in the blood’s arteries.

Carbon monoxide levels are significantly higher in the blood of smokers; a 2004 study published in Radiotherapy and Oncology found that carbon monoxide decreased the oxygen-carrying ability of red blood cells in smokers compared to nonsmokers.


Besides cutting off blood supply, tobacco has a compound that causes inflammation by attacking healthy nerve cells, a process that causes further damage, according to 2009 research published in the Journal of Neurochemistry.

Tobacco damages the basic structure of the brain and alters its chemistry. Therefore, humans’ greatest asset take a hit.

In smokers, we see a decline in memory, verbal and mathematical capabilities. We also see diminished attention and reasoning, plus problems with mood control.

This cognitive decline is a double-edged sword, as it disables the smoker’s ability to calculate and reason that the odds are against them—smoking causes cancer, for example. Others around them are, of course, fully aware of the risks.



Smoking shrinks the brain through the gradual destruction of neurons and their connections. What that means for a young person who smokes is a lower intelligence quotient (IQ).

This effect of smoking on IQ was confirmed by a large study of men between the ages of 18-21, published in the 2010 February issue of Addiction.

In the later years of adulthood, smoking continues to shrink the brain and contributes to dementia. Several studies indicate that chronic smoking leads to an increased risk for different types of dementia, especially Alzheimer’s.

In fact, smoking accelerates brain aging. A study from the Netherlands, published in the journal Neurology in 1999, showed that the risk of Alzheimer’s dementia was significantly higher in smokers, especially in men, than in non-smokers.

On a hopeful note, the study also showed that previous smokers who quit had a slight reduction it the risk of Alzheimer’s dementia.

Because of modern technology, we can now look at pictures of smokers’ brains. What MRIs of a smoker’s brain show us is atrophy—the brain shrinks in volume and density. In fact, studies show that smokers have a smaller volume of gray matter and density in the pre-frontal cortex.

The more packs of cigarettes a person smokes, the worse the loss of brain matter, according to a study done at the Veterans Affairs in Los Angeles and published in the 2004 January issue of Biological Psychiatry.

Gray matter is crucial. It’s home to the neurons that help you make straight As in school and come up with smart ideas in your career.



Another risk of smoking: It more than doubles the risk of having a brain hemorrhage, according to a study published in Stroke in 2003.

Smoking also doubles the risk of having a stroke, which is like a heart attack of the brain. It happens when normal blood flow to the brain is interrupted either because of a clot or because a blood vessel breaks.

Strokes can cause death, and they can cause debilitating problems. The risk of stroke increases with the number of cigarettes smoked, according to the Framingham Heart Study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1988.

On a hopeful note, stroke risk decreased significantly after two years of quitting and by five years, the risk had dropped to the level of non-smokers.


There are some things in life worth the pleasure. Others are not. If you smoke, ask yourself: Is this worth it?


Tobacco use is responsible for about 443,000 deaths—about one in five—each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. Nearly 20 percent of American adults smoke.

The latest survey of tobacco use among young people brought good news about the prevalence of cigarette smoking, but highlighted a disturbing trend on the use of cigars and smokeless tobacco.

The 2011 National Youth Tobacco Survey, released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that cigarette smoking rates continue to fall, with new lows of 15.8 percent among high school students and 4.3 percent among middle schoolers.

Anti-smoking forces have learned what works in the campaign against cigarette smoking -- higher tobacco taxes, funding for cessation and prevention programs, strong anti-smoking laws and regulation of tobacco products and marketing.

Unfortunately, the tobacco industry has learned some lessons, too. The survey provides sad confirmation that tobacco companies are successfully exploiting discrepancies in the law. Candy and fruit-flavored cigarettes are banned, but cigars are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

It's no accident that there's been a significant increase in cigar smoking among African-American high schoolers, from 7.1 percent in 2009 to 11.7 percent last year. Among all high-school boys, 15.7 percent smoke cigars and 12.9 percent use smokeless tobacco.

The FDA should assert jurisdiction over all tobacco products, and Congress should close loopholes that help the industry lure new, young customers with cheap, sweet cigars that look and smoke just like cigarettes. Lawmakers can help, too, by setting tax rates on cigars and smokeless tobacco that are as high as those on cigarettes.

The insidious use of flavors and marketing campaigns geared to young people are no different from campaigns of old, which enticed generations of young people to take up a habit that made smoking the No. 1 cause of preventable disease in the nation. These tactics must be snuffed out.

Read more:


Saving Smokers

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 14, 2012

A slow-motion tsunami of disease and death, at last on the wane in North America and Europe, is blazing its seemingly irresistible path across Asia, Africa and Latin America. It's slated to claim one billion – billion! – lives over the course of this century, more than all the world wars combined. The vector of this cruel epidemic is not weaponized contagion, nuclear terrorism, nor drought and famine. 

The killer is the cigarette. This frightful toll is actually not inevitable; in fact, we — those of us in the medical and public health sciences — have the means to largely ameliorate this desperate situation. But seemingly mindless of the tragic consequences, those running our governmental and private nonprofit health agencies — in near-unanimous lockstep — refuse to acknowledge an approach with vast lifesaving potential. Worse, they conspire to distort the science and suppress communicating the truth to those whose need to hear it is most dire: addicted smokers.

The lifesaving concept is harm reduction; simply put, it allows nicotine-addicted smokers to satisfy their craving by supplying them with their drug of choice without the lethal tobacco smoke: the real killer. In fact, tobacco harm reduction is the same concept that led to the development of nicotine patches, gums, and inhalers. While it’s the nicotine that keeps smokers coming back for more, it's the smoke – inhaled hundreds of times a day — that causes the myriad deadly smoking-related diseases.

Yet, while smokers for decades have been handed the tired mantra, “Stick to the old reliable FDA-approved cessation aids,” the sad fact is that these products have been proven ineffective in study after study. The best of them increase quitting “success” rates from 5% "cold turkey" to maybe 10%. This type of success is killing millions of smokers. These products simply do not deliver the nicotine "hit" that smokers require, nor the taste and rituals of smoking tobacco

A better approach exists: a tobacco product called "snus," smokeless tobacco in small teabag-like sachets, has been shown among men in Sweden to help reduce smoking rates and smoking-related disease to the lowest level in Europe. Snus-type smokeless products — contrary to popular belief — do not cause any of the cigarette-related diseases, and of course there is zero second-hand smoke.

Over the past few years, numerous other reduced-risk tobacco products and "clean-nicotine" devices have been developed, mainly (but not exclusively) by the tobacco industry. These include dissolvable oral orbs and sticks, and electronic cigarettes ("e-cigarettes") that look like cigarettes but deliver nicotine vapor which is inhaled like cigarette smoke. 

Given the devastating fact of the increasing uptake of smoking – and its attendant health impacts — in less developed regions, you’d think public health leaders worldwide would be eager to consider any promising technology for helping smokers get off and stay off deadly, addictive cigarettes. Au contraire — these same “leaders” take every opportunity to ban or restrict the alternatives, going so far (in the US) to try to prevent the importation and sale of e-cigarettes. This wrong-headed regulation was only blocked thanks to a Federal judge, to the immense gratitude of millions of ex-smokers who relied on this innovative product to quit.

Officials and NGOs, suspicious of tobacco companies’ motives, have falsely accused them of targeting youngsters with "candy-flavored" dissolvable products – sometimes even before the product hit the market. This precaution derives, of course, from the reprehensible, corrupt behavior of "Big Tobacco" in the 20th century. In fact, the international tobacco control treaty (“The Framework them Convention”) specifically urges governments to reflexively ban innovative reduced harm products, and find reasons why later, rather than undertake research into these nearly harmless and beneficial products. Those responsible for our own law giving tobacco oversight to the FDA, enacted in 2009, grandly claim to have markedly reduced teen smoking by such endeavors as banning candy-flavored cigarettes (smoked by no one) and by forcing tobacco companies to reveal their ingredients — useless information. Meanwhile, the same law established near-impossible hurdles for reduced-harm products to enter the market, effectively condemning addicted smokers to "quit, or die."

While the irresponsible activities of the cigarette companies in days gone by will never be forgotten, the goal now should be saving millions (or more) lives — and a billion others. The time to get with the 21st century has arrived. Yet, the CDC, FDA, American Cancer Society, and others refuse to acknowledge the current facts: reduced risk/reduced harm nicotine delivery methods can help smokers quit while the "old reliable" FDA-approved products do not. 

A British expert speaking for the Royal Society of Medicine put it thusly:“The absence of effective harm reduction options for smokers is perverse, unjust, and acts against the rights and best interest of smokers, and of public health. Addicted smokers have a right to choose from a range of safer nicotine products, as well as accurate and unbiased information that guides that choice.”

Over 450,000 are lost each year in our country alone to smoking, and multiples of that number are left too ill to work or enjoy life. Most smokers wish to quit, yet few succeed, while our leaders issue platitudes and refuse to tell the truth. It is long past time that this should have changed – but better late than never. Smokers, and the families they leave behind, are the real victims of this public health travesty.

Dr. Gilbert Ross is the Executive Director and Medical Director of the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH), a consumer education-public health organization. He received his undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Cornell University’s School of Arts and Sciences in 1968, and received his M.D. from the N.Y.U. School of Medicine in 1972.

Few studies have looked at the risks of breathing second-hand smoke outdoors, an activity increasingly capturing the attention of health officials. A recent study in Environmental Health Perspectives found that nonsmokers who visited outdoor restaurants and bars where smoking was allowed had elevated levels of tobacco-related chemicals in the body compared with people at a smoke-free control site.

In August and September 2010, 28 students from the University of Georgia spent three evenings in Athens, Ga., on patios outside a family restaurant and a bar where smoking was permitted, and at a nonsmoking open-air control site. The students, 18 women and 10 men, deliberately sat near smokers and one study participant counted the number of cigarettes lit every 10 minutes. Urine and saliva samples were collected before, immediately after and the morning after each three-hour visit.

Levels of salivary cotinine, a byproduct of nicotine, were significantly higher both immediately after and the morning after the restaurant and bar visits compared with the control-site visit. The greatest increase was recorded after the visit to the bar, where four times as many cigarettes were lit than at the restaurant. Urinary concentrations of NNAL, a chemical found in tobacco, were elevated immediately after the bar and restaurant visits and significantly elevated the next morning.

On Monday, Aug. 6, 2012, the Archives of General Psychiatry published a study showing two things: early-onset of smoking among ever-smokers was significantly tied to heavy smoking later in life and that starting earlier was more likely to lead to heavy smoking later in life than late-onset smoking depending on the presence of a mutant gene.

In the latter case, there's a lot more science-y dialog than I care to toss around in a blog entry, andI wrote about the study in full on the main site. No, my real concern is the unadjusted finding: early onset smoking was associated with more than a two-and-a-half times odds ratio of heavy smoking in adulthood (unadjusted OR 2.63, 95% CI 2.49 to 2.78, P<0.001).

According to the researchers, the participants that qualified for "early-onset" designation started smoking at age 16 or younger. In New Jersey, the youngest someone can be to legally purchase cigarettes is 19 -- up from 18 the same year I became legally allowed to purchase cigarettes, roughly 7 years ago.

Heavy smoking status was identified as more than 20 cigarettes per day, roughly more than a pack-per-day, on average.


When you hear one of "Big Tobacco's target demographics is younger smokers, this is precisely why:

  • Cigarettes are chemically addictive
  • The earlier someone starts smoking, the longer they will have to be addicted for
  • The earlier someone starts smoking, the more likely they are to smoke more when they get older

With these and the genetic factors associated with higher smoking risks in the study, the authors use those data to conclude that "these results provide further compelling evidence in support of public health interventions targeting adolescent smoking."

Another key note is that these data are from international ever-smokers from 43 different studies with 33,348 combined participants. While I would not advocate for a "Not even once"-style anti-smoking campaign, that may be what these numbers call for. The missing piece in all of these claims made in the public service announcements is that cigarettes are an incremental burden -- we've already started showing the end results heavy smoking has on health, but the journey starts young, with having ever smoked, and grows into a burden of more than a pack-a-day in adulthood.

Smoking rates are down. But the risks aren't there, according to this study, with late-onset smokers. It's with our youth. "Smoking: don't get sucked in," doesn't seem like such a bad message with some numbers behind it. To parrot the authors, interventions need to be significant and hit youth, preferably before they start smoking.

Umbilical-cord blood from women who smoked during pregnancy had DNA modification in genes associated with detoxification of tobacco smoke, investigators reported.

An investigation of epigenome-wide DNA methylation in cord blood yielded statistically significant associations (P<0.05) with maternal cotinine levels (a biomarker of smoking) for 26 sites mapped to 10 genes. Analysis of a small replication cohort confirmed the findings for three genes, two of which have been implicated in removal of toxins from tobacco smoke.

"These results suggest that epigenetic mechanisms reflected by DNA methylation may underlie some of the well-documented impacts of maternal smoking on offspring," Stephanie J. London, MD, DrPH, of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, N.C., and co-authors reported online in Environmental Health Perspectives.


"Our identification of differential methylation in genes known to be involved in the response to tobacco-related compounds, in addition to a novel gene, demonstrates the value of using this approach to elucidate the epigenetic effects of in utero exposures."

Maternal smoking during pregnancy can cause multiple adverse effects on children. Understanding of the underlying mechanisms has remained incomplete.

Some evidence has suggested that epigenetic mechanisms, such as DNA methylation, might play a role in the adverse effects of maternal smoking. Supporting evidence has come primarily from preclinical models. London and colleagues sought to expand on the modest accumulation of data in humans.

The study included 1,062 participants in a Norwegian study of maternal folate status and asthma at age 3. The participants were selected on the basis of available cord blood for evaluation and complete data for maternal cotinine status.

For replication analysis of cord blood, investigators recruited 36 participants from an epigenetics study conducted at Duke University. Half of the mothers reported smoking during pregnancy.

Using commercial technology, investigators examined maternal plasma cotinine in relation to DNA methylation at 473,844 cytosine-guanine dinucleotide sites (CpGs) in the 1,062 cord-blood specimens from the Norwegian study the 36 specimens from the epigenetics study.


Analysis of the Norwegian cord blood samples revealed maternal plasma cotinine levels consistent with active smoking in 12.8% of the participants; 11.7% of the mothers reported smoking during pregnancy.

DNA methylation analysis produced statistically significant (P<1.067 x 10-7) associations with maternal plasma cotinine for 26 CpGs mapped to 10 genes. The 26 CpGs included:

  • 8 in the coding region of growth factor independent 1 transcription repressor (GFI1) on chromosome 1
  • 4 in the coding region of aryl-hydrocarbon receptor repressor (AHRR) on chromosome 5
  • 4 in a region upstream of cytochrome P450 isoform CYP1A1 on chromosome 15
  • 4 in the coding region of myosin 1G (MYO1G)


Relationships between DNA methylation and maternal plasma cotinine levels were inverse in some cases and direct in others.

CYP1A1 and AHRR previously have been implicated in tobacco smoking detoxification, but GFI1had not.


Comparison of self-reported smoking and DNA methylation showed that smoking was associated with reduced methylation in four CpGs in AHRR and increased methylation in CYP1A1 and GFI1CpGs.

The replication analysis revealed associations between maternal cotinine and DNA methylation consistent with those observed in the Norwegian discovery set, and that achieved statistical significance for AHRRCYP1A1, and GFI1.

The association with the greatest statistical significance in both the discovery and replication sets was AHRR cg05575921, wherein smokers had decreased DNA methylation compared with nonsmokers.

Despite the much smaller size of the replication set, "the replication P-values were systematically smaller than would be expected by chance (P<0.00011)," the authors wrote. "This suggests that it is exceedingly unlikely that the replication findings are false-positives and confirms the high degree of replication that we observed."

Patients who start smoking at a younger age appear to have a genetic susceptibility to heavy smoking as adults, researchers found.

In a meta-analysis, smokers who started at age 16 or younger and had at least one mutation in a nonsynonymous single-nucleotide polymorphism in CHRNA5 --rs16969968 -- had a significantly greater risk for heavy smoking in adulthood than those who started smoking later (OR 1.45, 95% CI 1.36 to 1.55, P=0.01), according to Laura Bierut, MD, of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo., and colleagues.

"The finding of a stronger genetic risk in early-onset smokers supports public health interventions to reduce adolescent smoking," they wrote in the Aug. 6 issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.


The results are supported by earlier studies in animal models showing that "the developing adolescent brain [is] particularly vulnerable to addictive effects of nicotine and by human studies suggesting that adolescent neurodevelopment is a particularly vulnerable period for the development of addiction," the authors explained.

The researchers analyzed a sample of 33,348 ever-smokers from 43 studies and stratified participants into early-onset -- those who started smoking at 16 or younger -- and late-onset smokers or those who started after age 16.

Additionally, participants had presence of the rs16969968 genotype, or an analogous SNP called rs1051730, measured against heavy and light smoking status.

The analogous gene was included, the authors wrote, because it provided "statistically equivalent results and there is biological evidence that rs16969968 alters receptor function."

"An unresolved issue is whether rs16969968 plays a role in the heightened susceptibility to nicotine dependence in early-onset smokers," they added.


Heavy smoking status was defined as more than 20 cigarettes per day, while light smoking was defined as 10 or fewer cigarettes per day, with moderate smoking status excluded from the analysis.

They found that the overall risk for heavy smoking in participants who initiated smoking early was significant at an odds ratio of 2.63 (95% CI 2.49 to 2.78, P<0.001).

They also reported that early-onset smoker participants with mutated AG or AA alleles -- versus wild-type GG alleles -- of the rs16969968 genotype had a 1.45 and 2.10, respectively, increased OR for heavy smoking (95% CI 1.36 to 1.55 and 1.97 to 2.25).

In late-onset smokers with the same genetic mutations, the OR was 1.27 (95% CI 1.21 to 1.33) for those with an AG allele (P=0.01).

Bierut and colleagues added that because early-onset smoking was a strong risk for smoking in later life and that age of smoking onset is a heritable characteristic, "we must consider the possibility that a shared genetic factor could lead to early-onset smoking and heavy smoking in adulthood" but that there did not seem to be a shared genetic factor between early-onset smoking and heavy smoking (P=0.77 for association).

"Accordingly, early use may not cause greater vulnerability to addiction; instead, early use and vulnerability to addiction may have a shared etiology," they wrote.


The authors noted that their study was limited by a number of factors, including heterogeneity of samples with differential assessment of measures, inconsistent genetic markers between studies, and lack of external modifiers to smoking behavior, such as parental monitoring and peer smoking.

They also noted that future research could investigate the interactions of these external modifiers and their associations with cigarettes smoked per day with a genetic component.

Maternal smoking during pregnancy is one of several independent risk factors for infants developing severe bronchiolitis that requires mechanical breathing assistance at a hospital, according to a studypublished online August 6 in Pediatrics.

Jonathan M. Mansbach, MD, from the Department of Medicine, Children's Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, and colleagues conducted a 3-year, multicenter (up to 16 centers) prospective cohort study of 2207 children younger than 2 years who presented with severe bronchiolitis during the months of November through March, beginning in 2007.

Of the 2207 children, 379 (17%) were enrolled in the intensive care unit, and 161 (42%) of those children required continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and/or intubation. Fifty-nine (37%) required CPAP, 64 (40%) required intubation, and 38 (23%) required both.

Of all the 2207 children, most (59%) were boys, 61% were white, most had a birth weight of less than 7 pounds, and the median age was 4 months (interquartile range, 2 - 9 months). Most of the children were breast-fed, had no parental history of asthma, and were born at term. The median hospital stay was 2 days, and the pathogens most often detected were respiratory cyncytial virus-A (RSV-A) (43%), RSV-B (30%), and human rhinovirus (26%).


In addition to collecting clinical information, the investigators conducted interviews to obtain patient demographics, medical and environmental histories, and symptom and acute illness details. Among the interview questions was, "Did the mother of [child] smoke cigarettes during the pregnancy?"

The researchers used multiple modelling and analysis methods to determine which children were more likely to need CPAP and/or intubation, controlling for 10 demographic and clinical factors including age, birth weight, maternal smoking, and time preceding emergency visits.

"[W]e found several factors independently associated with a child's need for CPAP and/or intubation: young age, low birth weight, child of mother who smoked during pregnancy, onset of respiratory symptoms <1 day before presentation, presence of apnea, severe retractions, room air oxygen saturation <85%, and inadequate oral intake," the researchers write.

For instance, of the 161 children who required CPAP and/or intubation, 46% were younger than 2 months (P < .001), 73% were born between October and March (P = .002), 16% weighed less than 5 pounds at birth (P = .01), and 19% had mothers who smoked during the pregnancy (P = .12).

In comparison, 28% of the total study population was younger than 2 months, 61% were born between October and March, 13% weighed less than 5 pounds at birth, and 15% had mothers who smoked during pregnancy.


In a multivariable model, the strongest predictors for requiring CPAP or intubation were age under 2 months (odds ratio [OR], 4.29-fold; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.66 - 11.53), maternal smoking (OR, 1.38; 95% CI, 1.05 - 1.91), sleep apnea (OR, 4.78; 95% CI, 2.57 - 8.50), severe retractions (OR, 11.14; 95% CI, 2.40 - 33.19), room oxygen saturation lower than 85% (OR, 3.28; 95% CI, 2.02 - 4.82), and inadequate oral intake (OR, 2.47; 95% CI, 1.34 - 5.07).

Previous research has shown that mothers who smoke during pregnancy have children with impaired lung capacity at birth and into childhood. This new study, however, is the first study to find that smoking during pregnancy is an independent risk factor for "bronchiolitis requiring CPAP and/or intubation even after controlling for 9 other factors."

Limitations of the study include the inclusion of patients only from academic medical centers, which may limit generalizability of the results, plus variations in institutional care and use of resources. Strengths include the broadening of previous research into a multiyear and multicenter effort.

The researchers conclude, "The present data not only build on and extend previous findings about the respiratory ramifications of in utero smoke exposure for infants, but they also emphasize the need for continued work on smoking cessation."

 - Benjamin Franklin


Community Support

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 13, 2012

Last night when thinking of Tommy in Prayer, I was reminded of the unselfish way that he reaches out to Newbies and lifts them up in supportive  "Collateral Kindness." While he's recovering, there is a way in which we can EXpress OUR Collateral Kindness to him! Tommy and a few others spend time in the FORUMS where the newbies are directed into oblivion unless we take the time to purposely search for and bring them back! They need a personal touch - they need YOU AND ME coming to them in welcome and an outreaching hand not just once but for an EXtended period of time until they are comfortably situated in the BLOGS or for those who decide not to BLOG (yes, there are many!) have their group of supportive friends who will regularly check in and offer support and accountability. 

If you have been on your quit journey either a short time or a long time, you can do this and it only takes time and caring which is what this site is all about! If you're like me, sometimes we can get into a habit if just going directly to the BLOGS since that is the nest of our Quit Community. But let's not forget those who flounder in the FORUMS! Go to the FORUMS and select a newbie who you personally connect with. Introduce yourself and tell them, "I'm here for Tommy! He helped me and now, I'm here to help you because at the moment he can't!" By helping others - we help ourselves! We have to clarify our own Quititude because we are passing it on! I, for one, will never forget Tommy's message of FOCUS and DETERMINATION which helped launch me almost 2 and 1/2 years ago to get my sea legs and become confident in my NEW NORMAL! We build on what we've learned and it all comes down to teaching our Creator given minds healthy motivating thoughts that replace our sickerette Addictive Thoughts and win the VICTORY of FREEDOM! Let us never forget that Tommy brought us the FREEDOM TRAIN which daily brings more addicts out of their addictiveness and into the sunshine of Addictive FREE Abundant Living!

RECENTLY published research suggests that nicotine-based drugs may be harming many smokers chances of giving up the weed, writes Bill Jamieson



IT IS 23 days and counting, or, by the time I have written this, 23 days, two hours and counting since I fell into the clutches of a most unholy alliance in modern lifestyle politics.


I refer to the Faustian alliance between Big Pharma and the anti-smoking lobby. This is no grubby little back-stage deal. It is the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact of health economics. Its exposure is long overdue.


Pass me my nicotine patches and the NiQuitin mint drops. I am on Day 23 of what Sheila Duffy, Reichsmarshall of that crack Panzer Division “Action on Smoking and Health” who has forced me to stand outside on countless rain-soaked pavements would doubtless call a Smoking Cessation Programme. I may be quitting **** after 50 years. But I sure ain’t quitting nicotine.


Courtesy of the NHS, I have been on Nicotine Replacement Therapy. There are the patches. I’ve got patches in places where you never thought were places. There are the 4mg nicotine lozenges (“for those who smoke within 30 minutes of waking”). And there is the e-cigarette with the glowing green tip.


This has not exhausted my repertoire of anti-smoking devices. I have mobilised behavioural therapy and resorted to psychometric tapping: ten taps with the fingers of both hands on the forehead, then on the neck, on the sides of my ribs, on the chest and finally on my knuckles. I deployed this on the second week after dining at an Edinburgh restaurant. The waiter looked on with mounting apprehension. I don’t know if it lowered the nicotine crave but it certainly brought the bill very quickly to the table.


But it is down the route of Nicotine Replacement Therapy, that I have been wafted. Why go cold turkey when the pharmaceutical industry, aided and abetted by the better-lifestyle lobby, has laid on such helpful largesse in my drive to stop smoking?


Well, there’s only one thing wrong with NRT. It doesn’t work. I am grateful to Patrick Basham and John C Luik for their summary of research into the efficacy of NRT which appears in the current edition of Journal of the Institute of Economic Affairs (neither have ever been employees of the tobacco industries).


They set out to examine whether the replacement therapies pursued by anti-tobacco activists really do work for smokers “as opposed to simply enhancing the profitability of those drug firms manufacturing NRT”. Their concern is that the pharma industry “may be willing to stack the deck in its favour in order to win regulatory approval and with it billions of dollars in potential sales for its products”.




Over the last 25 years the pharma industry has increasingly entered the nicotine business through the development and marketing of NRTs which include gums, patches, nasal sprays, inhalers, lozenges and varenicline (a prescription medication). Six years ago the business, which the authors say has largely escaped any significant critical evaluation, was estimated to be worth $1.7 billion. It has certainly grown since.


Their review of 13 of the most important US studies on the effectiveness of NRT compared to cold turkey cessation is disturbing. Here are some examples. A 2007 study using data from the National Health Interview Survey reported that 75.7 per cent of successful quitters (abstinent for 7-24 months) stopped by using the cold turkey method without pharmaceutical assistance compared with 12.4 per cent who used nicotine patches.


A 2009 study found that most of those who quit smoking without planning used neither behavioural nor medicinal support and, most significantly, unplanned attempts to quit were twice as successful as planned attempts using NRT.


A 2010 study found that the one year abstinence rate for those using patches was only 0.8 per cent of the sample. This compares with unaided quit attempts which yielded one year abstinence rates of between 3 and 11 per cent.


A 2012 study found that “while public health initiatives on smoking cessation have increased substantially… widespread dissemination of these aids has not improved population success rates”. In effect pharmaceutical cessation drugs have not increased the number of smokers who have been able to quit smoking over the longer term.


Finally the most recently published study of the effectiveness of NRT followed 787 Massachusetts adult smokers who had quit smoking. It found no difference in relapse rate among those who used NRT for more than six weeks. “Using NRT”, it concluded, “is no more effective in the long term than trying to quit on one’s own”. Unassisted cessation continues to lead NRT by a wide margin.


“To put the matter bluntly”, the authors conclude, “the dominance of NRT is not supported by research data: it effectively pushes smokers away from the most successful way to quit and this reduces their chances of successfully quitting. By pushing smokers to NRT, the public health community and the anti-smoking movement paradoxically reduce their chances of stopping smoking and thereby increase their chances of dying from smoking.” In an uncharitable reading, smokers are being “literally sacrificed to the interests of the pharmaceutical industry and its anti-smoking partners”. Meanwhile, the pharma industry gets to enlarge its share of the nicotine market – with official approval.


So should I rip off those patches? After reading this research I could have done with a triple strength nicotine lozenge and a pack of Marlborough.


The trigger for my own no-smoking moment was a prolonged course of dental surgery where cessation was strongly advised so I do not have much choice in the matter. But it will come down in the end – as it always does – to will power. I must kick the habit, but also its most dubious health industry substitute – entrapment in the Molotov-Ribbentrop Nicotine Pact.

A recent study challenged an enduring belief that women were less successful than men in quitting smoking. The study, published in the journal Tobacco Control, found convincing evidence that across all of the age groups, "there [is] relatively little difference in cessation between the sexes."


The researchers used data from major national surveys in the United States, Canada, and England to approximate the rates of smoking cessation by age in men and women. They did find a pattern of sex differences in smoking cessation which was consistent across all surveyed countries. According to the study, "below age 50, women were more likely to have given up smoking completely compared to men, while among older age groups, men were more likely to have quit than women." Different age groups had sex differences in smoking cessation but the authors are not sure what accounted for the finding.

This most recent study is the largest epidemiological study to date, and the authors have found no solid evidence to support the longstanding claims that smoking cessation is more difficult for women. According to the study, "The myth of female disadvantage at quitting smoking is bad, first and foremost, for women," because they may get discouraged quickly and end their efforts prematurely. But the authors also expressed that it is detrimental for men who may think they are at an advantage and then not put forth the proper effort to end their smoking habit. The study claims, "it is time to put aside the idea that women are less successful than men at giving up smoking."

Despite the findings of this new study, the difficulty of smoking cessation based on sex should not be discounted. According to several studies, women experience more severe withdrawal symptoms than men when quitting smoking, which can make the act of quitting much harder and more uncomfortable for women. In addition, women are less likely than men to benefit from nicotine replacement therapy, which also contributes to the difficulty some women experience when trying to quit.

Smoking is a difficult habit to quit and tobacco use can lead to nicotine dependence and serious health problems. Smoking cessation can dramatically reduce the risk of health problems caused from tobacco use. Though it may require multiple intervention methods to curb dependence from chronic tobacco use, effective treatments are available. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, "there are more former smokers than current smokers," in our country today.


Kicking the smoking habit is the most important step a smoker can take to improve the length and quality of his or her life. There are an abundance of options available to help both men and women quit their nicotine addictions.

It is also important to note that women who quit smoking relapse for different reasons than men. Weight control, stress, and negative emotions are all reasons cited by women who have relapsed and these issues need to be taken into account for any successful cessation program.

While it is important to note that the majority of tobacco smokers quit on their own without using evidence-based cessation treatments, here are some effective methods to do so recommended by CDC: • Brief clinical interventions (i.e., when a doctor takes 10 minutes or less to deliver advice and assistance) • Counseling (individual, group or telephone/online) • Behavioral cessation therapies • Medication (e.g. nicotine replacement products, and prescription and non-prescription medication including certain SSRI's)

For women, proper weight management, emotional and psychological support should also be applied to cessation efforts and can facilitate a smoke-free lifestyle long-term. Whether male or female, smoking cessation is a challenge, but one that can be overcome and lead to tremendous improvement in one's quality of life and overall health.

The man who is challenging a smoking ban in Auckland Prison was led from the court handcuffed to a Corrections officer.

Career criminal Arthur William Taylor has taken the management of Auckland Prison to the High Court at Auckland.

Flanked by four prison guards, Taylor invoked the Bill of Rights Act among others, and said the prisons had not put aside extra funding to help smokers quit.


He said one prisoner had self-harmed as a direct result of the smoking ban and had lost three litres of blood.

"It is one of the only decisions that has any real importance to anyone in prison."

Taylor - who was last year sentenced to a further seven years jail for his involvement in a P-ring inside Paremoremo Prison - said smoking was "virtually" a common law right and everyone in New Zealand was able to smoke in their homes if they wanted to.

Counsel assisting the court, Gillian Coumbe, said the case was not about the court deciding whether or not smoking is good or bad but whether the ban was lawful.


She said if Parliament wanted smoking banned in prisons then a blanket ban should have been made. Instead, it was left up to prison managers to impose new rules.

Ms Coumbe said the smoking ban effected all prisoners, including those not convicted. The ban is also around the clock and covers all parts of the prison, including outdoor yards.

"It is important to acknowledge that a prison cell is the home of the prisoner who resides there."

Ms Coumbe said Parliament allowed smoking in prison cells - even after non-smoking legislation was enacted in 1990 - because some prisoners were confined to their cells for 23 hours a day.


She said the Corrections Department "strenuously advocated" for smoking to be allowed in cells when it appeared before a Parliament Select Committee in 2002.

Ms Coumbe said prisoners caught smoking can face seven days loss of earnings or seven days confined to their cell.

While privileges can also be taken away, one of the items that cannot be denied to prisoners under current prison rules is tobacco.

"That doesn't really make sense. It is an inconsistency."

Ms Coumbe said while overseas courts in Canada and the United States had upheld prison smoking bans, New Zealand was capable of making its own decision.

Taylor has previous convictions including armed robbery, escape and kidnapping.

He was infamous for a string of armed robberies and for prison breaks, including one in 1998 that led to an armed cordon around an enormous area of the Coromandel.

Taylor and the other escapers - including double murderer Graeme Burton - were found in a plush holiday home with an extensive wine cellar, which they had pillaged. Detectives found the men had stacked the fridge with red wine.

The hearing before Justice Murray Gilbert continues.

As a musician who has worked in smoke-filled bars in and around Mobile for 37 years, I am well aware of the dangerous realities of secondhand tobacco smoke.

I am deeply concerned about my health, the health of my band mates, and that of all musicians. This also includes the health of bartenders, waitresses and waiters who work to make a living in this environment.

No one should have to surrender the right to breathe clean air. Everyone knows the dangers of secondhand smoke. It is not about anyone’s constitutional rights. It is about a known health hazard.

This is why I am urging our elected officials to pass a smoke-free law that would prohibit smoking in bars, restaurants, music venues and all workplaces in our city.

As of July 1, according to the American Nonsmokers Rights Foundation, 81.8 percent of the U.S. population lives under a ban on smoking in “workplaces, and/or restaurants, and/or bars, by either a state, commonwealth or local law,” with 52 percent living under a ban covering all workplaces and restaurants and bars.

Please, don’t let Mobile be among the last to get on board with a good thing. We have too many good things happening now in our beautiful city. This law will help present a positive and progressive image of Mobile.



Regarding “South Jersey smoking rate a killer for region” (editorial, July 29):

As a senior citizen, I am aware of some smoking-related issues that are not being researched by the American Cancer Society, the state Health Department, etc.

As the editorial mentioned, there is a correlation with a high incidence of smoking diseases in farm workers. How do they afford cigarettes? Are they being paid with cigarettes by any of the farmers? They likely have no insurance so the taxpayers are thus paying for their medical care.

Salem is one of the poorest counties in New Jersey, so I would recommend a study be done regarding the smoking rates of low-income people — including senior citizens who are on Social Security plus Medicaid — versus those with higher incomes.

I do know that in subsidized seniors’ apartments, a married couple on Social Security alone pays more rent than a couple on additional social welfare programs.


Essentially, the state and federal governments are subsidizing the purchase of cigarettes. Then the taxpayers are subsidizing the rents and medical care related to smoking and second-hand smoke.

Even though one cannot purchase cigarettes with food stamps, the money paid out from welfare and Social Security can be used for that purpose.

Although government cannot prohibit the purchase of cigarettes by these benefit recipients, they can do a few things to make smoking more difficult — such as making “Section 8” and tax-exempt, low-income senior apartments smoke free. Or, at least prohibit all smoking except in a designated outside space.

If the County of Salem can prohibit smoking on county properties, why can’t the state and federal government follow suit with this housing?

I find the lack of emphasis on seniors who smoke to be appalling, as we have the highest rates of immune disorders, chronic lung and heart disease, diabetes, cancers, etc. The emphasis has been on preventing smoking in the young, as it should be, but please don’t forget to put an emphasis on the effects of smoking on the elderly as well.

We are the ones who require frequent medical treatment and hospitalizations, and are more likely to end up in a nursing home as a result of a smoking-related illness. These costs affect all taxpayers, hospitals and health insurance companies, so certainly someone should be studying this issue.

Smokers, including state workers, will have to think twice before lighting up next year at most government buildings and grounds.


An executive order issued by Gov. John Kitzhaber last week prohibits state employees and individuals from using tobacco products inside state agency buildings and grounds — a ban that will be phased in during the next 17 months.


There are a few exceptions to the ban, including rest areas, public roads and sidewalks and public beaches.


Last week, I talked with a handful of state workers on Capitol Street NE where smokers are a common sight — along with discarded cigarette butts.

Some were skeptical that the ban would compel smokers to quit, which raised a question about whether smoking bans and restrictions in the workplace work.


Cathryn Cushing, who works for the Oregon Health Authority’s public health division, said the research is clear: smoke-free laws help tobacco users kick the habit.


“The reason why a smoke-free workplace helps is pretty simple,” she said. “Every little thing that makes it harder to smoke or use tobacco makes it easier to quit.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also cites studies that show smoking bans and restrictions can reduce the amount of daily smoking among workers and increase the number of employees who stop smoking. By challenging the perception of smoking as a normal adult behavior, that change also trickles down to the behavior of youths, an online fact sheet stated.


For example, a 2005 study published in the American Journal of Public Health, found that employees who worked in places that maintained or implemented smoke-free policies were about twice as likely to quit smoking as employees who worked in places where they were allowed to smoke.


In Oregon, about 9 percent of 50,000 or so state employees are smokers. That figure is below the average of 16 percent for the general population.


Smoking-related illnesses are estimated to cost Oregon an estimated $2.5 billion annually — and $13 million directly to state government from higher insurance costs and lost productivity.


Cushing said the new restriction will help decrease the amount of tobacco users in the state and cut the spread of second-hand smoke.


The Oregon Health Authority also surveyed smokers after the Department of Human Services in 2008 banned smoking from its offices and grounds. A few employees cited the smoke-free workplace as one reason why they quit.


“I have just quit smoking after 31 years and one of the reasons I quit was because the building was going to become smoke free. So thank you for making a smoke-free workplace,” said an employee with the Department of Human Services.

Everyone knows that smoking can be harmful to your health but were you aware that smoking can be just as bad for your pets?  Second hand smoke is a common problem for pets not just because they breathe the smoke but also because the smoke residue settles on their hair coat and bedding. 

Cats are three times more likely to develop cancer of the lymph nodes and an increase risk for squamous cell carcinoma. In addition to the increased risk of cancer, cats they are also more likely to develop asthma by ten fold.  Dogs are not immune to smoke either because those who live with smokers have a greater risk to develop lung or nasal cancer.


When cats and dogs groom themselves or lick or chew on bedding, they ingest nicotine, which is also a toxin to pets.  Smoking in a confined space like a car even with the windows down is particularly dangerous for pets that travel. 

Pets who develop illness from second hand smoke will develop lethargy, coughing and oral or nasal masses. If you see symptoms of second hand smoke illness in your pet contact your veterinarian immediately and try to kick the habit.

Condominium board members that are feeling pressure from members to address the issue of second-hand smoke will be pleased to learn that there is a combined effort on the part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and others to advocate and encourage multifamily housing owners and operators to adopt smoke-free policies to protect residents from the dangers of second-hand smoke and to reduce property maintenance costs.  A new 63 page manual for owners or management agents of federally assisted public and multi-family housing has been published that provides eye-opening facts for community leaders, managers and operators.  Smoke Free Housing is a 63 page compilation of material that includes specific information that can be helpful in limiting or eliminating smoking on multifamily buildings, as well as links to additional resources.

From the manual:

  1. Over 140,000 fires were started by cigarettes, cigars and pipes in the U.S. causing $530 million in property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
  3. Twenty-five percent of people killed in smoking-related fires are not the actual smokers, with many being children of the smokers, neighbors or friends.
  5. Smoke-free housing saves on property maintenance costs from cleaning and painting stained walls and ceilings and repairing burn marks; and
  7. Secondhand smoke is also associated with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  9. As courts across the country are addressing nuisance claims brought by non-smokers, with more and more ruling in the non-smoker’s favor, smokers have been required to install air ventilation systems and extra insulation to prevent smoke from entering other units.  Some communities are voluntarily becoming “smoke free” through amendments to their governing documents and some municipalities have adopted ordinances prohibiting smoking in private residential buildings altogether – even if confined within the unit!

    The issue of second-hand smoke is not going to go away.  There are options to consider if residents are pressuring the board to do something about the odor, adverse health impacts, costs and annoyances caused by second-hand smoke and resources such as the Smoke Free Housing manual are available to assist in the effort.

People in the U.S. are smoking more cigars and pipe tobacco even as cigarette use declines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.

Pipe tobacco smoking increased more than fivefold and cigar use more than tripled from 2000 to 2011, according to findings published today by the CDC in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Total consumption of all smoked tobacco products declined 27.5 percent during the period while the reduction was only 0.8 percent from 2010 to 2011, the Atlanta-based health agency reported. Cigarette consumption continued its more than decade- long decrease, dropping 2.5 percent from 2010 to 2011.


“We are making less progress,” said Terry Pechacek, the associate director for science in the CDC’s Office of Smoking and Health, in a phone interview today. “The smoke from a burned product is just about as dangerous, no matter what source it comes from.”

The CDC, in its report, and anti-smoking advocates attributed the increase in cigar and pipe smoking to changes in tobacco company practices and federal tax policies that make the products less expensive than cigarettes.

The U.S. raised taxes in 2009 on a carton of cigarettes to $10.07 from $3.90 and raised taxes on an equivalent amount of roll-your-own cigarette tobacco to $10.07 from 45 cents. Pipe tobacco levies rose to $1.15 from 45 cents.

’Manipulate’ Products

“It’s totally a phenomenon reflecting that companies manipulated their products to avoid taxes,” Danny McGoldrick, research director at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids in Washington, said today by telephone. “They started mislabeling roll-your-own cigarette tobacco as pipe tobacco and paying the lower tax on it.”

Altria Group Inc. (MO) (MO), the largest U.S. seller of tobacco, said it didn’t support having more than one level of taxes.“Altria and its tobacco operating companies believe that little cigars and roll your own tobacco should pay the same tax as cigarettes, as Congress intended,” David Sylvia, a spokesman for Altria, said in an e-mail. “The companies support legislation at both the state and federal level to ensure that taxes on little cigars and roll your own are taxed the same as cigarettes.”

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. doesn’t market loose or roll- your-own tobacco, or cigars and couldn’t comment, David Howard, a spokesman for the subsidiary of Reynolds American Inc. (RAI) (RAI), said in an e-mail.

Gregg Perry, a spokesman for Lorillard Tobacco Co., said he hadn’t read the report and declined to comment. Reynolds and Lorillard, respectively, are the second- and third-biggest U.S. cigarette makers.

Lower Cost

Consumers have begun purchasing pipe tobacco and using machines available at many stores to roll hundreds of cigarettes in minutes for a lower cost than they would pay for the pre- rolled product, Michael Tynan, a CDC analyst who was the report’s lead author, said in a phone interview.

Differences in manufacturing and marketing restrictions, which prohibit the use of descriptors “light” or “low tar” for cigarettes, but not for cigars and pipe tobacco may also play a role, the report states.


“We know that a very high proportion of youth are using this form of tobacco,” Pechacek said. Cigars can also be made in many flavors and are inexpensive, making then appealing to young people, he said. “All of our indicators are showing lack of progress” in reducing tobacco consumption among young people, he said.

Limit Differences

A law signed in July may limit the price difference between non-cigarette smokable tobacco and cigarettes, the report states.

A provision in the Transportation and Student Loan Interest Rate Bill would require roll-your-own cigarette machine products to be classified as manufacturers and subject to the same taxes as cigarettes face, though that may be blocked by lawsuits, Tynan said.

“This report demonstrates the need to equalize taxes on all tobacco products and for the Food and Drug Administration to regulate all tobacco products,” Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said in a statement.

A U.S. district judge ruled yesterday that R.J. Reynolds and Lorillard can proceed with a lawsuit to block the FDA from using advice from a Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee in making its regulatory decisions because of potential conflicts of interest among the members.

Nationwide, many faces and names are attached to the latest battle in the smoking war, but in Colorado Springs one woman personifies the issue.

Elizabeth Reed is known to government officials for her long-winded speeches at City Council meetings, her barrages of e-mails to the Housing Authority of the City of Colorado Springs, her petitions and badgering.


"[The Housing Authority] is trying to kill my mom," Reed, a part-time geriatric caregiver, writes in one of her many e-mails to the Independent, "and the smokers are happy to help."

Housing Authority officials aren't willing to grant Reed's request to make at least one of their nine senior-living apartment buildings nonsmoking. Instead, officials — including Housing Authority board member and former Vice Mayor Larry Small — portray the 43-year-old as a lonely agitator.

"I know where you're getting this from," Small tells the Independent, when questioned about smoking in Authority-owned buildings. "You tell me you've talked to many people, and I know the one complaint, and we've looked into that. And we've heard it over and over again from a few individuals in one unit, and I'm just not going to go any further in this discussion."

But like it or not, the issue of tobacco smoking in apartments — government-owned or otherwise — is bigger than Reed. Way bigger.

Spurred by research into the dangers of secondhand smoke, many states long ago banned puffing in bars, restaurants, hotels and other public spaces. Now, slowly, the nation is beginning to consider what limitations, if any, should be put on apartments.

In April, the Wall Street Journal reported that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg might be trying to enact a ban on smoking in apartments. The mayor later denied it.

This summer, Santa Monica almost became the eighth California city to approve a ban or limit on smoking in apartments. The law ended up stalled — for reasons we'll explain later — but not because the majority of Councilors had any reservations about giving cigarettes the boot. At the meeting where the law was given an initial go-ahead, the Santa Monica Mirror reports, some City Councilors insisted the ban — for all new occupants of multi-unit dwellings — didn't go far enough.

"We're way behind the curve here. I don't care what anybody else says. Santa Monica likes to think of itself as a leader. It's a follower here," Council member Bobby Shriver was quoted as saying. "...I don't know why we don't have a policy where we say all the units are going to be smoke-free. Why isn't that a good policy?"

Individuals and governments are confronting the matter through many lenses. Some say it's about freedom from intrusion, and the sanctity of the home. Others say it's about public health, and the government's role in ensuring the right to breathe free. Still others see it as simply a nuisance to be decided by little more than a study of balance sheets.For most, however, the issue of smoking in apartments is intensely sensitive and emotional. Perhaps because the apartment rides a fine line between public space and private space, between something that belongs only to the individual and something shared.

Changes creeping

When the nation wants to know what progressive changes will soon take hold, it looks to California. When Colorado wants to know the same, it looks to Boulder.

Unlike officials at the Housing Authority of Colorado Springs, representatives of Boulder Housing Partners don't think there's anything outrageous about banning smoking in public housing. In fact, they've already done it.

"I think the event that helped us get focused on our own decision was in 2009, we adopted an organization-wide sustainability plan which included a clean-air goal [of zero pollution from energy consumption]," says executive director Betsey Martens. "...We certainly can't have a clean-air policy and allow people to smoke."

As the housing authority for the city of Boulder, BHP had tested a ban on a single building in 2008; in September 2011, it instituted a full ban. But first, it underwent an extensive public process, and partnered with the anti-smoking nonprofit Group to Alleviate Smoking Pollution of Colorado (GASP) to provide cessation and education programs to the authority's smoking tenants.

"You just have to be so thoughtful about it, and we deliberated for, I'd say, several years, really weighing the needs of those for whom smoking brings great comfort ... against those who are very affected by smoke," she says. "It's one of the most intractable problems in housing."

In the end, the city's 1,000 housing authority units went smoke-free. Martens still gets a few complaints from smokers about the change, but says most people seem happy with it. And, as a bonus, it's cheaper for the authority to clean an apartment when a tenant moves out.Pete Bialick, GASP executive director, says his organization knows of 28 Colorado housing authorities — about a third — that have either adopted some nonsmoking policies or are in the process of doing so. Among those with total bans are Loveland and Fort Collins. Denver has three nonsmoking housing authority buildings.

GASP, which receives state funds, came into being after the passage of Colorado's Indoor Clean Air Act of 2006, which banned smoking in most public buildings. The group's mission is to advocate for nonsmoking policies — and its No. 1 goal is to eliminate smoke from multiunit housing.

Bialick says most people understand the logic behind banning smoking in restaurants and retail spaces, but "people think that people should be allowed to smoke in their own homes; that if they do it in their own homes, they're not going to be bothering anybody else. But the fact is, up to 50 percent of the smoke can filtrate into other people's apartments and start damaging and hurting other people's health."


The federal government branch that funds housing authorities agrees with Bialick, though it can't force nonsmoking policies because authorities are considered independent entities.

"Housing authorities are not required to offer nonsmoking," explains U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development spokeswoman Donna White, "[but] we strongly encourage them to."

HUD issued a statement in 2009 to all housing authorities, urging them to adopt nonsmoking policies. In part, it reads, "Because Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) can migrate between units in multifamily housing, causing respiratory illness, heart disease, cancer, and other adverse health effects in neighboring families, the Department is encouraging PHAs [public housing authorities] to adopt non-smoking policies."

Statewide, private apartments are reflecting a changing attitude about smoking. Though exact numbers aren't available, Nancy Burke, vice president of government affairs for the Colorado Apartment Association, says she's noticed more apartment owners switching to nonsmoking. Many have watched smoking bans go up for businesses, and see their own bans as protecting the health of their residents and the value of their property.

Others have different reasons.

"I think you had 'Wave 1' with smoking in bars, but I think 'Wave 2' was when it was OK to buy marijuana and grow a few plants," she says. "What [apartment owners] said is, 'We're just going to instate no-smoking policies.'"

In other words, the no-smoking policy is meant for pot-smokers, too. Interestingly, in Santa Monica, it was concerns about limiting apartment dwellers' access to medical marijuana that stalled the city's no-smoking apartment law.


But weedier issues aside, tobacco smoke remains the main focus of the discussion of apartments and smoking. And, like housing authorities, private apartment owners can get a little urging from the government. Nigel Guyot, program manager of the tobacco education prevention program at El Paso County Public Health, says he's got plenty of literature for any landlord who wants to make the switch. Though there are no legal requirements for making a building "nonsmoking," the government has plenty of suggestions for creating a clean and toxin-free environment.

"Anything that's porous in an apartment or a dwelling can absorb the smoke particles," Guyot says, noting drywall, paint and wood can absorb toxins. "Smoke goes everywhere. That's what we've learned about it."

Studies are beginning to show that the stale smell that clings to items exposed to smoke is harmful. Dr. Lowell Dale, medical director of Mayo Clinic Tobacco Quitline and an associate professor of medicine at the clinic's College of Medicine, writes in an online forum that "thirdhand smoke" combines with indoor pollutants to create a toxic and cancer-causing mix.

"Studies show that thirdhand smoke clings to hair, skin, clothes, furniture, drapes, walls, bedding, carpets, dust, vehicles and other surfaces, even long after smoking has stopped," he writes. "...Thirdhand smoke can't be eliminated by airing out rooms, opening windows, using fans or air conditioners, or confining smoking to only certain areas of a home."

But that message doesn't appear to be changing much locally. While a GASP website features a growing list of tens of thousands of nonsmoking Colorado apartments, Guyot hasn't noticed many landlords making the switch around these parts. In fact, he can't remember the last time he fielded such a call from a landlord.


A test of wills

On a summer afternoon, seven older ladies shuffle down to the first floor of the Senior Heritage Plaza at 1410 N. Hancock Ave. They're quiet at first, offering meek or even frightened smiles for the reporter now in their midst. But soon, one starts talking. Then another. Within minutes, they're interrupting each other.

"I can't believe they don't have a rule [that] you can't smoke where the senior citizens are," exclaims Elfern Lunzer, an eight-year resident. "It's like they don't care. It's like they say, 'They're going to die anyway.'"

Maryam Yeuredjian, a tiny woman with a heavy accent from her native Jordan, says, "I complain all the time and sometimes I'm bleeding — I show you." She points to her face. "I'm sometimes bleeding from my nose."




Carol Howard can smell the smoke coming through her vents. Georgia Mitchell smells it in the hall.


All the women have health problems worsened by tobacco smoke: heart conditions, breathing issues that leave them reliant on oxygen tanks, chronic sinus infections. Margarita Rubio recently had to go the doctor for a cough she blames on the smoke.


Senior Heritage Plaza is the home of Ethel Rose Reed, Elizabeth Reed's mother. Known as "Rose," the chic-looking 79-year-old suffers from asthma, bleeding stomach ulcers and mild cognitive impairment.


"It's unconscionable," she says in the crisp tone of a former music teacher, "that we have elderly people that are subjected to smoke."


Several doctors and medical professionals have confirmed in writing to the Housing Authority that tobacco smoke will worsen Rose's condition. "Due to her medical issues Ms. [Rose] Reed is required to reside in a smoke-free building," nurse practitioner Mary Jo Shaffer wrote plainly in January 2012.


Rose and her neighbors say they've griped for years to building supervisor Terri Shaver, but have been told, "If you don't like it, move somewhere else." (Shaver didn't return phone calls seeking comment.) In December 2011, 17 residents of the 32-unit building signed a petition circulated by Reed asking to make the building nonsmoking. The Housing Authority wasn't moved.


Like all nine senior-living apartment buildings and 433 scattered-site family units run by the Authority, the Senior Heritage Plaza remains smoking-optional, meaning smokers can puff away in their own units, but not in common areas. Authority executive director Gene Montoya thinks the policy is reasonable, saying he doesn't believe smoke can travel through a building if residents only smoke in their own units, especially given that the Senior Heritage Plaza's ventilation system is segregated. (In fairness, the only public part of the building where this reporter could clearly smell smoke was in the stairwells.)


What's more, he notes many older residents have smoked all their lives, and were even encouraged to do so in their youth.


"All those folks that smoked in World War II, Vietnam, they all received as part of their rations cartons of cigarettes," he says.


Montoya says asking seniors to suddenly give up the habit or go outside to smoke is cruel — and a violation of the sanctity of their home. Still, he thinks that at least some Authority buildings may eventually go smoke-free.


"I do think in three to five years, as that generation that I spoke about earlier passes away, we're going to find ourselves changing our policy," he says.


But Larry Small, at least, won't be heralding any change. Contacted by phone, the board member — who notes his own home "isn't nonsmoking" — raises his voice defending the rights of occupants to smoke in their apartments.


"These people rent those places, and they live in them as their home," he says. "They need to be permitted to use them in the fashion that they need to use them...


"Because a person is old or poor doesn't mean the government has a right to dictate to them how they live in their own homes. These people are human beings who have the same rights as any other person who has the means to live in their own home with their own needs, and I'm not ever going to infringe on somebody's right to live peacefully in a home they're paying for."


Fact and fiction


Emotions aside, when it comes to the dangers of smoking, the facts are clearly on the side of the anti-smoking crowd.


Since the Mad Men era, we've learned a lot about cigarettes' harmful effects. Most of us have heard it all before. Secondhand smoke contains 7,000-plus chemicals, including hundreds that are toxic and about 70 proven to cause cancer. Inhaling secondhand smoke can cause lung cancer and heart disease. Tobacco is the nation's leading cause of preventable death. There is no safe level of secondhand smoke.


But there's more.


Studies have shown, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms, that even in the best-designed apartments — ones with separate ventilation systems and tightly sealed windows and doors — smoke still travels from one apartment to another. That's true even if apartments have air filters.


"The only way to protect one apartment is to make the entire building smoke-free," says Darryl Konter, CDC spokesperson.


Aside from health effects, advocates for nonsmoking policies often cite safety and economic concerns. They claim smoking increases risk of fire, insurance costs and turnover costs for apartments.


It seems that some, but perhaps not all, of those claims are true.


Smokers undoubtedly pose a greater fire risk than nonsmokers. The 2011 Colorado Springs Fire Department Statistical Abstract shows that over five years, smoking was one of the leading causes of structure fires, igniting 80 blazes. In multi-family units, smoking was the third-leading cause of fires.


The insurance claim, however, is iffy. Don Sicard of HUB International, which insures the local Housing Authority, notes that an insurance underwriter can lower a premium because of a nonsmoking policy. But, he says, many insurers won't, because "even if it was a smoke-free building, it's hard to monitor that."


On the turnover-cost side, there are more muddled facts. Laura Russmann, executive director of the Apartment Association of Southern Colorado, notes that nonsmokers leave "less residue to paint over when a person moves out." Martens, of Boulder Housing Partners, says clean-up costs for turned-over apartments dropped when BHP went nonsmoking. Some Springs apartment owners contacted by phone agree, noting that they've had to replace everything from carpet and curtains to cabinets and paint when a smoker has moved out.


But transferring a building to nonsmoking can be expensive. Though legally a landlord faces no requirements to switch to nonsmoking, many want to eradicate the smell and toxins, leading to cleaning and replacement costs. Sometimes, a policy change will also prompt smoking residents to move out, meaning lost rent.


Then there's the hassle. In most cases, landlords must wait for smokers' leases to expire before a building can be fully smoke-free. In the meantime, smokers object. Meetings are held. Emotions run high.


And it's no wonder. Anna Hagney, a respiratory therapist with Memorial Health System, reminds us that smoking is highly addictive, especially if patients start young.


"A lot of these elderly or geriatric populations, they started smoking when their brain was still developing," she notes, saying the addiction becomes ingrained biologically.


That said, Hagney thinks a nonsmoking policy in apartments could ultimately help residents quit and boost their health. It would also do a great service to their neighbors, because secondhand smoke is actually worse than firsthand. When a smoker inhales, their lungs break down particles in the smoke, she says, causing it to be more toxic upon exhale.


Ms. Reed's long war


Elizabeth Reed wears a perpetually pleading expression; her childlike features and bouncing curls do little to hide her obvious anxiety.


When talking of her battle with the Housing Authority, she comes armed with papers. Show her an interest and give her your e-mail address, and Reed will bombard you with pictures, articles and newsletters. She will send three-page-long diatribes. She will beg and beseech and even threaten to go elsewhere if she is not acknowledged.


At the core of Reed's argument are two themes. First, she believes she's on the right side of science. And second, she believes she's fighting for her mother's life. Thus, she's outraged that no governmental authorities are jumping to her defense.


"[S]moke incursion is like someone taking an invisible pill," Reed writes in an e-mail to the Indy, "and then being able to come in with an invisible pillow and suffocate you multiple times a day, pressing with variable force, for variable durations."


Reed's mother isn't in a hurry to leave the well-kept Senior Heritage Plaza. There's the companionship of her neighbors, and the proximity to conveniences — a bus stop out the front door, the Senior Center practically next door. And, of course, there's the subsidy. A low-income senior, Rose can't afford much more than the $178 a month she pays.


Rose's apartment is almost comically tiny, especially with an upright piano shoved determinedly inside. She moved here in summer 2009 from a different Housing Authority apartment contaminated with mold. Soon afterward, she and her daughter began struggling with the Housing Authority over the smoke here.


Reed sent letters and made calls. That, in turn, escalated into a battle — one that the Reeds appear to be losing. Since 2011, they've filed Requests for Reasonable Accommodation with the Housing Authority. They've had their complaint seen by the Colorado Civil Rights Division for possible violations of the Fair Housing Act. They've even appealed to HUD, alleging violations of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. All entities have considered the facts, and all have thus far refused to require a nonsmoking policy at Senior Heritage Plaza.


It should be noted that the Housing Authority has, at times, offered to set up air purifiers in Rose's space, or even to move smokers around to create a nonsmoking wing of the building. But the Reeds weren't satisfied with those offers, citing research showing that it won't rid the building of toxins. They continue to pursue their HUD complaint.


"I am not letting this stand," Reed wrote to the Indy of HUD's recent Preliminary Finding of Compliance in her case. "They will find, ultimately, that Housing is not in compliance."


With her prospects thinning, Reed has been working behind the scenes with city employees in hopes that City Council might adopt a resolution against smoking in Housing Authority buildings.


Of course, even if Council did make such a bold move, a resolution lacks enforcement power. And Council has no right to force the Authority's hand.


Low on options


When it comes down to it, Reed's biggest concern is her mother. Even if the Authority doesn't budge in its stance, she'd be satisfied to see Rose moved to a nonsmoking building. The Reeds had a chance to do exactly that in 2006, when Rose was accepted into the Section 8 program, which offers low-income people subsidies at private rentals. Rose didn't respond to that offer, and it expired. She says she never saw the letter, though Montoya says it was sent.


Whatever the case, Section 8 is an extremely popular federal program, and getting accepted takes years. Rose isn't willing to wait for a second chance, and Montoya says regulations prevent him from circumventing the normal process.


Rose's other option would be to rent a private apartment at full cost. But even if she could get by without her subsidy, she might have trouble finding a nonsmoking apartment at a moderate price, especially in a bustling rental market with just a 6 percent vacancy rate.


Look at Greccio Housing, a nonprofit that runs 20 apartment buildings (and owns 15 of them). It has offered low-income housing since 1990, but not a single building is nonsmoking.


Jill Gaebler, Greccio's development director, is working to change that, in a seven-unit building that's home to a lot of kids. (Greccio is considering making a newly purchased 21-unit building nonsmoking, too.) It's an undertaking. As a nonprofit, Greccio must OK the change with its major funders. It's also undergoing a process of surveying and public input, and has secured a small sponsorship from Memorial Health System for a smoking cessation program for tenants.


And because Gaebler wants the building to eventually be free from all smoke-related toxins, she's had to secure funds for a clean-up. Three grant applications are in the mail that would pay for new carpet, linoleum and blinds, as well as for a fog treatment to clean the porous parts of the units.


Looking further up the financial spectrum, Griffis/Blessing, which owns nearly 4,000 mostly higher-end apartments in the Springs, has precious few smoke-free properties. Pat Stanforth, senior vice president of Griffis/Blessing, says nonsmoking apartments make sense economically, and she knows that nonsmokers, who are in the vast majority, prefer smoke-free buildings.


But like Gaebler, Stanforth says making the switch is difficult. That's especially true in a large building, where a landlord must change the rules individually for each tenant as his lease expires. Meanwhile, the clean-up of the property gets under way even as tenants still on old leases continue to puff away indoors.


"I think for owners, in the long run, it would be beneficial to have more nonsmoking buildings," she says, "but it is hard to do, harder than you think."


Becky Deeter, manager of Griffis-owned Bella Springs Apartments in the Northgate area, recently transitioned one 12-year-old, eight-unit building to nonsmoking. Since the building was part of a larger complex, and few of the building's tenants smoked, Deeter simply transferred the smokers to other apartments on-site. The biggest hassle: turning the units over once the smokers left, which cost $4,000 to $5,000 in clean-up costs, plus lost rent.


But Deeter says residents at the nonsmoking building are happy, and a survey of her residents found 80 percent favored nonsmoking buildings.


For her part, Deeter says smoking is a hassle whether or not it's allowed. If smoking is allowed, nonsmokers complain about the smoke. If it's banned, keeping smokers from lighting up becomes an enforcement issue.


Still Deeter can feel the winds of change. And she thinks they smell clean.


"If I have a chance to do a new property, I will definitely designate buildings right off the bat as nonsmoking buildings, because there's enough people now to warrant nonsmoking buildings without there being a loss, a vacancy," she says. "I would make probably 80 percent of my property nonsmoking."




Second thoughts


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, inhaling secondhand smoke can lead to the same health problems that smoking can. Here are some of the issues secondhand smoke can cause or exacerbate:


• Heart disease: Secondhand smoke causes about 46,000 early deaths from heart disease each year among U.S. nonsmokers. Nonsmokers who regularly inhale secondhand smoke increase their risk for heart disease by 25 to 30 percent. Even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can damage the lining of blood vessels and make blood platelets stickier, upping the risk of a heart attack.


• Lung cancer: Secondhand smoke causes 3,400 lung cancer deaths a year of nonsmokers in the U.S. Nonsmokers regularly exposed to secondhand smoke increase their risk of lung cancer by 20 to 30 percent. Even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can damage cells and lead to the growth of cancer.


• SIDS: The chance that an infant will die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is increased by exposure to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke appears to affect the part of a baby's brain that regulates breathing.


• Health problems in kids: Children whose parents smoke get sick more often, get bronchitis and pneumonia more often, have more wheezing and more frequent and severe occurrences of asthma, get more ear infections, and show slower lung growth.

  • digg


  • Long story short

    Nationwide, housing authorities and landlords are banning smoking in apartments. If the conversion hasn't started here, the conversation has.
    • by J. Adrian Stanley
Sort  Oldest to Newest Newest to Oldest Most Liked    





Showing 1-3 of 3


add a comment


Damn, king, you actually said something intelligent. I give you full credit. Must be one of your good days.
I do have a question, however. What exactly is a CoC? HOA documents include: bylaws, CC&Rs (covenants, conditions and restrictions) and sometimes Articles of Incorporation and design guidelines. 
As always, I'm here to help.

        report      0 likes, 2 dislikes        image like image dislike    
      Posted by       smartestman on       08/02/2012 at 10:13 AM   

I think it boils down to this - landlords have a right to set what limitations they wish to set on properties they rent to lessees. Lessees have a right to shop around and find a landlord they wish to rent from. 

Some people will want smoke-free apartment buildings, so offer them. Some people will want apartment buildings they can smoke in, so offer them. It's like the CoC in an HOA - if you don't like the CoC, don't sign it and find a different HOA or a neighborhood without one.

        report      2 likes, 0 dislikes        image like image dislike    
      Posted by       GnomeKing on       08/02/2012 at 9:43 AM   

If cooking odors, toilet odors, smoke, and fire can penetrate firewalls, building inspectors should be called to determine if the building is not up to code, and the ban is REALLY needed.

        report      1 like, 1 dislike        image like image dislike    
      Posted by       Bob Johnson on       08/02/2012 at 9:30 AM   
      Subscribe to this thread:    
        By Email    
       With RSS   
     Showing      1-3 of      3  

Add a comment





  • Caught in the action

    Professionals and amateurs alike capture fleeting images for theMove IT! photo competition
    • by Indy staff
  • Spiel time with Bill Maher

    A not-so-cordial conversation with the controversial talk show host
    • by Bill Forman
  • More »


  • Pikes Peace Justice and Peace Commission@ Catamount Institute/Beidleman Environmental Center

    • Sat., Aug. 11
  • The Business of Art Center@ Business of Art Center

    • Through Nov. 10
  • Intemann Trail Committee@ Manitou Springs City Hall

    • Sat., Sept. 8, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • HEARS 5K Experience@ Tri-Lakes Business Incubator

    • Sat., Aug. 25, 7:30 a.m.
  • Remington College@ Remington College

    • Thu., Aug. 9, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.




  • Spiel time with Bill Maher

    A not-so-cordial conversation with the controversial talk show host
    • by Bill Forman
  • Testing patience

    Why the Department of Revenue is driving more customers crazy.
    • by Achille Ngoma
  • More »


  • Long story short

    Nationwide, housing authorities and landlords are banning smoking in apartments. If the conversion hasn't started here, the conversation has.
    • by J. Adrian Stanley
  • Spiel time with Bill Maher

    A not-so-cordial conversation with the controversial talk show host
    • by Bill Forman
  • More »


Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 6, 2012

Knowledge is Power! And we have a lot to learn this morning, so grab a cup of coffee and enjoy increasing your Quititude Power!


The Power of Choice!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 1, 2012

It's time to let go of the past and put on a NEW PERSPECTIVE! This quit will be different because you know you are not being deprived of anything of importance! You are not sacrificing - you are gaining! You are reclaiming YOURSELF - that person that your Creator intends for you to be - Addiction FREE! You are FREE to make a BETTER CHOICE!


We didn't get addicted with the first cigarette that we smoked so which one was it? The 100th, the 237th? Who knows - at some point we crossed the line and forfeited our right to choose to smoke or not to smoke - it became an addict's necessity.

That's why the quit has everything to do with reclaiming my choice. Did I choose to smoke that last cigarette or was I compelled to feed my addiction? Obviously, I had NO CHOICE AT ALL! I DID make a choice on March 20th, 2010 that I would not smoke that day NO MATTER WHAT! On March 21st I made an equally binding choice. Today, the 865th day of my quit I chose N.O.P.E.(Not One Puff Ever) and N.E.F. (Never Ever Forget)

By recognizing my choice about smoking or living FREE - Nicotine Addiction FREE, I honor the POWER of CHOICE. I have made other important choices, too, such as changing careers, nutrition and exercise. I have a saying that if you think you don't have a choice - well then, YOU DON'T! Making that life changing choice to live Smoke FREE helped me see those other choices that benefit my Health and Happiness because I learned something fundamental from my quit journey!Namely, I have the Right and the Responsibility to CHOOSE MY ATTITUDE, to choose my words, even my thoughts and feelings, and especially my ACTIONS!!!

I've heard folks argue that "This is me!" when they carry on with negative attitude and behavior. "I am respecting who I am." Well, I say, I have a choice to make. I can honor who I was yesterday and yet CHOOSE to feel better about myself, the world, and life in general TODAY!!! If I was disgruntled and resentful or depressed and pessimistic yesterday - fine, that was me yesterday! But it doesn't have to continue to be me TODAY! I DO have a choice!

I choose to LIVE LIFE ABUNDANTLY! I choose to see all the beauty and ugliness but to FOCUS on the Beauty! I choose to feel sad, angry, lonely, happy, playful, fascination, etc... but embrace the Happy! I choose to spend my energy on folks who wish to see me flourish and grow and accept my wish that they do the same. I choose to be constructive not destructive when I deal with challenges. I choose to count my blessings not dwell on my losses. I have that CHOICE because I am FREE - FREE of my Addiction - FREE to be ME - the ME that I believe my Creator expects me to be - THRIVING, GROWING, JOYOUS, APPRECIATIVE of this Gift of Life!

So with this 864th cigarette not smoked I CHOOSE TODAY to Pledge N.O.P.E. and N.E.F. and I will RESPECT myself enough to HONOR that decision NO MATTER WHAT! I CHOOSE to PROTECT my ability to CHOOSE! I hope you do the same!





Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 1, 2012

A Certain Wise Owl

A certain wise owl sat in an oak,

The more she heard, the less she spoke;

The less she spoke, the more she heard;

Why aren't we all like that certain wise bird?


Thank You, folks, for your support! I'm in a rough patch here and yes, I let something very small get the best of me. Then I read Bonnie's Blog about her Dear Friend, Lynne and ExSmoker 101's Blog about her Sister-in-Law. They reminded me of something very important that I had lost FOCUS on - LIFE is Precious!!!! Stonecipher put it best - LIFE isn't really about how long I might live, it's about how I DECIDE to live TODAY! I chose to find a renewed perspective!


Yesterday was OwlFeather's Elder Appreciation Day and better late than never, I wish to Thank Her and YOU for your kind words and show of unity! I have many folks to whom I am grateful, some of whom are no longer with us - Ray, the Man of Steel and Beloved Dawn! Some are here less often and/or less visibly - hwc, Williewookie,Eddieg, Kathy S., Choptrice, Pattymint, Anacondahead, Jay, Molzep, Daisy, Tina, Brodertr, Deb, Live4theDash and of course, my QUIT BUDDY DORIS(AuntDee!) Some have fallen by the wayside - Patrick Marsh and Brenda =~( and then there are those who still devote time here very often - James The Happy Quitter, Peggy, Moe, Aztec, Giulia, Sheryl, Carenda, Yaya, Break,Connie, Dale, Tommy, JoAnne, Sootie and those of the newer generation who run the FREEDOM TRAIN - Marcie, Linda, Karen, , Cyn, Maggie, Jonilou or are the new daily backbone - IrishRose, INDIN GRL Diane Joy, Thee New Me JO, ZinaMarie, Nautical Nut Joy, Grammi, Star, Nancy, Heidi, JoJo, Alice, Chuck, George, Julia Amy, Lisa, Kathryn, KatherineFrederick, Patty, MikeCity,oh so many.....


For those who are just getting started - think about this: If sickerettes are your Best Friend then people aren't, are they???? Life is so much BETTER in every way when you LIVE Smoke FREE! 


ThankYou, Sister Owl! ^ - ^


Filter Blog

By date: By tag: