16 Feb 2010

China Expands Smoking Ban to 7 Cities

Chinese authorities plan to expand smoking bans in indoor public places across 7 major provincial capitals. But the numbers just don't look too promising.

Smoking is a huge business in China: 2 trillion cigarettes are sold in the country every year. The country accounts for more than one-quarter of the world's 1.3 billion smokers, with about 60 percent of Chinese men and 3 percent of women indulging in the habit.

Taxes from tobacco sales topped 416 billion yuan ($61 billion) last year, up 26.2 percent from 2008, according to a report issued last week by the state tobacco industry regulator. Interest on government loans to the industry added another 97 billion yuan ($14 billion).

A lot of this money is raised by the provinces rather than central government, making it even harder to curb cigarette sales. Stressed out local administrators will probably need a few extra packets now.

[Yahoo Finance]

Electronic Cigarettes - Quit Smoking or Quit Nicotine?

The electronic cigarette was developed in China in 2004 and designed to replace the smoking of tobacco cigarettes and cigars. In spite of indoor smoking bans sweeping across the globe, many smokers are finding it difficult to quit. There are a variety of nicotine replacement products but these drug delivery systems in no way replicate the smoking experience. The e-cigarette is different in that it aims to both deliver nicotine and also simulate to some extent the experience of smoking a traditional cigarette.

Using an E-cigarette

The e-cigarette, or e-cig, consists of a mouthpiece containing a cartridge with a nicotine solution, a heating element or atomizer, a lithium-ion battery holder and finally an LED at the tip of the e-cig. The way e-cigarettes function means they also contain some electronic circuitry and an airflow meter. They come in different designs, often made to look like a fountain pen so can be discreetly kept in one's pocket but also available as a replica cigarette.

Using an electronic cigarette is pretty much like one of those nicotine inhalers one can buy in the pharmacy. There is no need to switch it on but rather just inhale through the mouthpiece. The airflow sensor then becomes activated and switches on the heating element. A short burst of heat vaporizes a little of the nicotine solution which is then inhaled. At the same time, the LED at the tip of the e-cig lights up showing that the battery is functional and the device operational but also simulating the burning tip of a tobacco cigarette. The nicotine vapour is largely absorbed through the lungs, just like tobacco smoke. Exhaling actually creates a “smoke” vapour even though, obviously, the tip of the e-cig doesn't emit smoke. After an e-cig puff the device switches itself off automatically.

19 Jan 2010

What's in a cigarette? The FDA Finally Wants to Know!

The US Food and Drug Administration is finally trying to do its job. By June 2010, tobacco companies must tell the FDA their cigarette formulas - for the first time ever. The companies also have to hand in any studies they have done on the effects of such ingredients... cough! cough!

"Tobacco products today are really the only human-consumed product that we don't know what's in them," Lawrence R. Deyton, the director of the Food and Drug Administration's new Center for Tobacco Products and a physician, told The Associated Press in a recent interview. [Yahoo]

However, the FDA won't be publishing cigarette recipes any time soon as the disclosures are still subject to trade secret laws, but they do promise to publish a list of any harmful ingredients.

Cigarettes and their smoke contain more than 4,000 chemicals; among them are more than 60 known carcinogens, according to the American Cancer Society. But scientists say they can't yet tell all they'll learn from the new data because so little is known about how the chemicals combine to affect people.

One major problem is the difference between what is in an unlit cigarette compared with what is in the inhaled smoke. The two cocktails can be very different. Just compare what happens when you burn plastics.

The shift from nicotine addiction through cigarettes to nicotine addiction through smokeless products is going to be a slow crawl.

11 Jan 2010

Barack Obama Quit Smoking to Run for President

Today's The Times runs extracts from a new book about the behind the scenes personal dramas of the candidates running for the US presidency in 2008. High calorie gossip feed, but one revelation was that Barack Obama's wife, Michelle, was less than enthusiastic about his bid and only gave her support after extracting some concessions.

"It was only after he promised to quit smoking, be home on Sundays and attend his daughters’ parent-teacher meetings and music recitals that she finally swung behind his bid." All very heart-warming, but in relation to his stopping smoking this should serve as a great counter-example to those who put off quitting because their life seems too stressful.

Imagine running for the Democratic candidacy and then for President of the United States. Now there's a stress-free life! Quitting whilst your life is genuinely stressful - rather than the false stress of a nicotine withdrawal - means that many of those smoking triggers get trampled underfoot. Waiting for a time of tranquillity is just another excuse not to quit.

Will we be seeing the "Obama Guide to Quit Smoking"? A marketing pipe dream.

Yes We Can! [Notice the power of propaganda. I will come back to this another time to create our own positive propaganda slogans.]