Information - Support - Advocacy
Research... and Hope

Unbelievable but true

Study: Tobacco Cos. Wooed Female Smokers

5/31/2005
Boston, MA
Michael Kunzelman apnews.myway.com

OCF Note: And tobacco companies keep telling us they are not targeting any specific groups of people......

Tobacco companies did elaborate research on women to figure out how to hook them on smoking - even toying with the idea of chocolate-flavored cigarettes that would curb appetite, according to a new analysis.

Researchers at Harvard University's School of Public Health said they examined more than 7 million documents - some dating back to 1969, others as recent as 2000 - for new details about the industry's efforts to lure more women smokers.

Carrie Carpenter, the study's lead author, said companies' research went far beyond a marketing or advertising campaign.

"They did so much research in such a sophisticated way," she said. "Women should know how far the tobacco industry went to exploit them."

The report, published in the June issue of the journal Addiction, says tobacco companies looked for ways to modify their cigarettes to give women the illusion they could puff their way into a better life.

One of the documents, a 1993 internal report from Phillip Morris, extolled the virtues of making a longer, slimmer cigarette that offered the false promise of a "healthier" product.

"Most smokers have little notion of their brand's tar and nicotine levels," the report states. "Perception is more important than reality, and in this case the perception is of reduced tobacco consumption."

A Phillip Morris spokesman declined to comment on the report, saying the company hasn't had a chance to fully review it.

The Harvard researchers spent more than a year sifting through an online database of internal documents made public following the 1998 settlement between tobacco companies and 46 states.

Carpenter said they found at least 320 documents that focused on women's smoking patterns, including a 1982 report from British-American Tobacco Co. that said women buy cigarettes to help them "cope with neuroticism."

"We can safely conclude that the strength of cigarettes that are purchased by women is related to their degree of neuroticism," the report stated. Other internal studies showed that companies explored adding appetite suppressants to cigarettes.

In 1980, for instance, R.J. Reynolds Co. proposed creating a cigarette with a "unique flavor that decreases a smoker's appetite, including brandy, chocolate, chocolate mint, cinnamon, spearmint and honey." However, researchers didn't find any evidence they followed through with that idea.

The report says worldwide smoking rates among women are expected to increase 20 percent by 2025, "driven by the growth of female markets in developing countries," while men's smoking rates are steadily declining.

Jack Henningfield, a professor of behavioral biology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said he hopes the report serves as a "call to action" for government officials to focus their anti-smoking efforts on women, particularly in developing countries.

"It's a time bomb," said Henningfield, director of the Innovators Combating Substance Abuse Program at Johns Hopkins. "They've got to act now to prevent the time bomb from exploding."

Carpenter said there is no evidence in the trove of documents that suggests tobacco companies have stopped targeting women.

"Without regulation from government agencies, we don't know what they're doing today," she added.

The Harvard research project was funded in part by the National Cancer Institute.

Death, disease not linked to smoking: high court

 

By MASAMI ITO
Staff writer

OCF Note: Reported by The Japan Times…… What, these people don’t read the studies done in the rest of the world?

The Tokyo High Court on Wednesday dismissed an appeal filed by former smokers, some now deceased, who were each demanding 10 million yen in compensation from Japan Tobacco Inc. and the government for tobacco-induced illnesses.

The six plaintiffs claimed to have contracted lung cancer, throat cancer and emphysema from smoking cigarettes for periods ranging from 33 to 50 years. Three of the plaintiffs died after the lawsuit was filed in 1998 and family members have continued to press their cases.

Presiding Judge Toshinobu Akiyama said Wednesday that he supports the Tokyo District Court's ruling in July 2004 that the court "cannot affirm the causal relationship between smoking and the diseases of the plaintiffs and the deceased plaintiffs."

In Wednesday's ruling, Akiyama noted that while smoking does endanger one's health, there are other substances in the environment that can lead to cancer.

Such factors must be considered comprehensively when referring to the dangers brought about by smoking, the judge said, adding that the effects of tobacco on the human body have not yet been thoroughly clarified.

Akiyama also ruled that compared to other addictive substances, including heroine, cocaine and alcohol, nicotine addiction is relatively weak.

The plaintiffs' head lawyer, Yoshio Isayama, slammed the ruling, saying it virtually denies the existence of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which Japan ratified last June and took effect this February. The preamble of the FCTC states that "scientific evidence has unequivocally established that tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke causes death, disease and disability."

"With (the ruling) almost completely denying the contents of the international convention, what does the government plan to do now?" Isayama asked. "Is it planning to withdraw from the convention?"

Jun Araki, the son of one of the deceased plaintiffs, also expressed anger. "This ruling placed priority on the annual 2.3 trillion yen in (tobacco) tax revenue over the precious lives and health of the Japanese people," Araki said, adding the plaintiffs will appeal to the Supreme Court.

Tobacco lozenges snare 'Virginia's Finest' seal

 

2/20/2004
Information from: The Virginian-Pilot
Associated Press

Smithfield hams, peanut brittle and maple syrup are prominent among the hundreds of products that proudly display the "Virginia's Finest" label.

But one health-care group thinks the state may have gone too far when it endorsed spit-free tobacco lozenges that carry labels warning they may cause tooth loss and mouth cancer.

"The last time I checked, if consumed as intended, eating a Smithfield ham won't kill you," said Matt Barry, senior policy analyst with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids in Washington, D.C. "I love ham, and I love bacon, but it doesn't have nicotine, so I know I can quit anytime I want to. I don't think we'll be needing a ham patch anytime soon."

The lozenges, made by Star Scientific Inc. of Chesterfield County, are the only tobacco products that carry the familiar red and blue logo. Star Scientific was approved for the Virginia's Finest program in 2001, and added a second type of lozenge last year.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture program was created in 1989 to promote the state's agricultural products. Products that carry the label include Christmas trees, raw milk, roses, sausage, fudge and salt-water taffy.

"We did a lot of thinking about what to do with tobacco products," said Catherine T. Belcher, program administrator for Virginia's Finest. "I know it's a health concern, but only for the ones that use it. There's no second-hand smoke."

Belcher said she and other department leaders ultimately decided it would be unfair to exclude tobacco from the list of products worthy of promotion.

"The main thing is all the tobacco that goes into the product is all Virginia tobacco," she said.

Tobacco has been a crucial part of Virginia's economy since 1614, when settlers at Jamestown shipped their first crop to England and secured the colony's financial stability. Thousands of tiny tobacco leaves carved into the ceiling of the state Capitol are a constant reminder of that history.

Today, tobacco ranks as the state's second most valuable crop behind nursery and forest products. Cash receipts from tobacco totaled $132 million in 2000, the most recent data available from the agriculture department.

Star Scientific is a small publicly traded company that was the first to develop the lozenges, which they have trademarked as "Spit Free." The company also makes snuff.

Health advocates say the tobacco lozenges may actually discourage smokers from quitting. They fear the lozenges may be confused with smoking cessation products, which contain nicotine but no tobacco.

State agriculture officials said they talked with Star Scientific representatives about concerns over youngsters using the lozenges and were assured that they would not be marketed to youth. It is illegal to sell the lozenges or any other tobacco products to juveniles.

An Uncaring Message

 

7/12/2003
Sarasota, Florida
Brad Rodu, D.D.S
The Sarasota Herald Tribune

OCF Note: This article only appears here because of the absurdity of its author’s perspective. This is an editorial comment By Brad Rodu DDS, which appears in this paper. It is not a news article. See OCF editorial note at end.

Dr. Richard Carmona, the U.S. surgeon general and the Bush administration's primary adviser on the nation's public health, demonstrated that he is sadly ill informed about the nation's No.1 health problem, cigarette smoking, during testimony at a recent House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing.
Carmona's first blunder was his contention that "There is no significant scientific evidence that suggests smokeless tobacco is a safer alternative to cigarettes." Carmona rejected decades of published research and the prestigious British Royal College of Physicians, who reported last year that smokeless tobacco products are "on the order of 10 to 1,000 times less hazardous than smoking."

Surely Dr. Carmona knows that cigarette smoking is a major risk factor for lung and other cancers, heart diseases and emphysema, resulting in 440,000 deaths annually in the United States. But he doesn't seem to appreciate that smokeless tobacco use carries no risk for lung cancer, heart disease or emphysema. The only consequential risk for long-term smokeless use is mouth cancer. Fifty years of research prove that even this risk is very low (less than half that associated with smoking). In fact, smokeless tobacco use is about as safe as automobile use. That's 98 percent safer than smoking.

Saying that smokeless tobacco is as dangerous as cigarettes is more than a blunder. It is an uncaring message to smokers from America's number one doctor: Quit or die. With stable smoking rates, this is an approach cigarette manufacturers can live with. For more than half of inveterate smokers (those who simply cannot quit), it's a prescription they will die with.

Carmona's second blunder was his support for banning tobacco products. Asked if he "would support banning or abolishing all tobacco products," Carmona responded, "I would at this point, yes." This marked the first time a surgeon general has called for outright prohibition, and he sent would-be supporters running from the Hill. Even the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, which has shown little interest in helping inveterate adult smokers, couldn't support Carmona. Its spokesman commented that "We would all like to see a tobacco-free world … (But) we can't just take away their tobacco."

Carmona's boss can't be happy; Bush administration officials responded quickly with disclaimers. "That is not the policy of the administration," commented Bush spokesman Scott McClellan, saying that Carmona's comments represented his views as a doctor. But Carmona's views as a doctor are just the point. He occupies one of the most trusted positions in American medicine and in American government.

The Bush administration should do more than distance itself from these dangerous and irresponsible positions. It should direct Carmona to read the dozens of scientific papers on tobacco harm reduction. It should direct him to review the evidence from Sweden that smokers can quit by substituting smokeless tobacco.

Finally, it should require that he tell American smokers the truth about all available options for quitting. After all, the 10 million smokers who will die over the next two decades are, in a very tangible way, his responsibility and his legacy.

Brad Rodu, D.D.S., is a professor in the department of pathology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine.

OCF editorial note: I wonder how many people, who read Brad Rodu’s editorial regarding the relative safety of smokeless tobacco vs. inhaled tobacco and subsequently die of an oral cancer, or live the rest of their lives disfigured by surgeries and treatments for it, he would like to take responsibility for? After all, he’s asking the surgeon general to take responsibility for those affected by his comments and positions. Picking and choosing your statistics to make a point can be done by anyone. Certainly an argument can be made that by eliminating the deaths (as a result of lung cancer or cardiovascular problems) from inhaled tobacco would reduce tobacco related deaths, since spit tobacco is not associated with these diseases. But you can reduce a portion of those saved lives by the addition of those deaths of individuals who will lose their lives to oral cancer instead. I wonder what Rodu’s motivation to go on the attack against Carmona and in support of tobacco is? As a doctor, would he not like to see a tobacco free world? It kills millions every year around the world. The costs of treating tobacco related disease are staggering. The human toll in suffering these diseases would be reason enough to rid ourselves of tobacco. Apparently Rodu would not, since he calls Carmona’s desire for a tobacco free world his second blunder. Why not suggest an alternative non-tobacco nicotine replacement instead of another form of tobacco with it’s associated deaths? For a dentist to take this position, which would make oral cancer more prevalent, is an embarrassment at best. This dentist’s priorities are grossly misplaced. Suggesting chewing tobacco as a nicotine supplement because it is not linked to heart disease or lung cancer is a joke. Yes, doctor, let’s just increase the rates of oral cancer in the US instead………absurd is the only word that comes to mind.

A Sucker Punch Against Smoking

 

April 20, 2002- Los Angeles Times
By Sean Carter

OCF Note: The FDA won't regulate cigarettes, but they will stop lollypops.

As a smoker, I can attest that, with the exceptions of performing neurosurgery, playing the violin, or operating a "childproof" lighter, there is nothing more difficult than quitting smoking. This is not to say that it is impossible to quit. In fact, I've quit smoking several times. Because of people such as myself, an entire industry has grown around smoking cessation. Several companies offer nicotine gum and patches. And recently, some companies have begun to market new nicotine-laden products, such as nicotine lip balm and even nicotine water.

In my efforts to quit smoking, I've tried many of these products. They all seem to have at least one major drawback. For instance, the nicotine gum is wonderful for getting a quick nicotine "pick-me-up" when you can't light up. However, as you can imagine, it doesn't go particularly well with an after-dinner wine. Moreover, I find it difficult to justify leaving my office at work every 15 minutes to take a gum break. The nicotine patch has one major advantage: simplicity. You simply stick the patch to your arm and all of your nicotine needs are met for the day. Well, almost all of them. For one, the nicotine patch doesn't satisfy the oral and manual fixations that afflict many smokers. Second, most smokers are not craving a constant flow of nicotine. Rather, look for an abrupt change in body chemistry, which helps us stave off boredom, stress and annoying nonsmokers.

That's why I was excited when I heard about a new smoking-cessation aid hitting the market: nicotine lollipops. The lollipops seemed to provide good solutions to the major drawbacks of the gum and the patch. Moreover, you can still look cool sucking on a lollipop. After all, it worked for Telly Savalas on the hit TV show "Kojak." And let's face it, trying to look cool is what made most of us take up smoking in the first place.

However, before I could shave my head and start saying, "Who loves you, baby?" the Food and Drug Administration halted the sale of nicotine lollipops. According to the FDA, the nicotine used in the lollipops, nicotine salicylate, has not been tested for safety or effectiveness. The FDA's action in this matter is questionable for a number of reasons. For one, when did the FDA gain jurisdiction over nicotine products? The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, not the FDA, oversees the tobacco industry.

As a legal matter, the FDA has about as much control over cigarettes as I have over my children. Nevertheless, the FDA claims that it has jurisdiction over smoking-cessation aids because they are "drugs." And the FDA's policy is to test all drugs before they are sold. That is the kind of backward thinking that typifies large bureaucracies and my wife's side of the family. After all, maybe it's just me, but I'm willing to take my chances with the lollipops. In fact, I don't care if they contain trace elements of gasoline, Drano or my wife's meatloaf; they have to be safer than cigarettes.

However, the FDA disagrees. As a result, a "drug" that could possibly reduce smoking deaths will be held up for safety reasons while cigarettes will continue to be sold to the same people being "protected" by the FDA.

In answer to Kojak's immortal question, "Who loves you, baby?": certainly not the FDA

UK Health Experts Attack Anti-Smoking Restrictions

 

By Richard Woodman
NEW YORK

OCF Note: Drug regulators would rather smoke???

Reuters Health - British public health experts accused drug regulators on Thursday of endangering the lives of smokers by imposing stringent restrictions on the use of nicotine replacement therapy. In a review in the journal Addiction, they said the existing regulatory framework restricts access to NRT even though the likely consequence is continued use of nicotine in a much more harmful form through smoking. They called for restrictions and warnings stopping young people, pregnant smokers and smokers with cardiovascular disease using NRT to be removed. NRT should also be licensed for temporary abstinence--for example at work or in public places--as well as for complete smoking cessation, they said. Long-term use of NRT should be allowed, and NRT products should be made as widely available as cigarettes, the experts said, and regulators should not erect barriers to development of less harmful forms of nicotine delivery devices to compete with cigarettes.

``It's simple really--the more the regulators place stringent regulations on the use of NRT, the more likely it is that people will continue to smoke, and then die as a result,'' said lead author Dr. Ann McNeill from the department of psychology at St. George's Hospital Medical School, London. She told Reuters Health that the recommendations had been drawn up by a group of experts convened by the World Health Organization after discussions with regulators in Britain, France, Germany and Poland. The recommendations will be presented at this week's WHO ''public-private partnership in tobacco control'' meeting in Prague attended by public health and company representatives. Co-author Dr. Jonathan Foulds of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey's School of Public Health said in a statement: ``We really need to liberalize the market for nicotine treatments and remove these absurd restrictions. ``In many countries of the world you need a doctor's prescription to get the nicotine inhaler but you can buy cigarettes almost anywhere. What kind of crazy system is it that makes it so much easier to get the most dangerous product and so hard to get the treatment?''

Fellow co-author Clive Bates, director of the UK anti-smoking group Action on Smoking and Health (news - web sites), said fears of medical liability were responsible. ``It's easy to explain why the regulators adopt the ostrich posture when it comes to NRT products--if a smoker has a problem when using the drug, the regulator or medical professional might be blamed. ``If the regulator or medical professional was liable for the consequences of not treating a smoker with NRT, we'd soon see these restrictions come off.''
SOURCE: Addiction 2001;96:1757-1768.

 

German anti-smoking campaign focuses on risk of wrinkles

OCF Note: Vanity is more powerful than good health or death????

Reuters Health - In the battle to convince young women stop smoking, the Association of European Cancer Leagues (ECL) thinks the desire to be beautiful may be a more powerful weapon than the fear of lung cancer. Beauty and wrinkles is the major theme of European Week Against Cancer 2001: Women and Tobacco, which is targeting women from 20 to 35 years old.

The ECL says lung cancer is rising more rapidly among women than among men in the European Union, and in some countries lung cancer among women under 45 years of age is more common than among men in the same age group. In Germany, the Week Against Cancer has been organized by the charity German Cancer Aid. Dr. Eva Kalbheim, spokeswoman for the group, told Reuters Health on Friday that in the battle against smoking, she is convinced a positive message, such as looking pretty, is much more effective with women than are the scare tactics of lung cancer.

"Research shows that you do not get results with negative tactics," she said. "People shrink back. They do not want to hear it." She also noted that young women have trouble understanding the concept of mortality. "They feel like lung cancer could never happen to them," she said. "But young women want to look beautiful." She said the negative cosmetic effects appear relatively soon after women start smoking, but that the effects are reversible if women quit smoking early enough. But "the damage on skin and the subsequent formation of wrinkles is irreversible if smoking continues for decades. After 20 years of smoking, the skin of a 40-year old woman has aged an additional 20 years."

The German effort has enlisted the support of Caroline Beil, a well-known TV personality. Beil, 34, is an ex-smoker whose message will be listened to by younger women, Dr. Kalbheim said.

Philip Morris angers Czechs with Tobacco Toll Report

 

AUGUST 5, 2001
By DAVID HOLLEY
LOS ANGELES TIMES STAFF WRITER

OCF Note: If your population smokes, they will die sooner, and it will save your government money???

WARSAW - Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman, a heavy smoker, once defended his habit by arguing that it helped his country's finances. "As a smoker, I support the state budget, because in the Czech Republic we pay tax on tobacco," Zeman said. "Also, smokers die sooner, and the state does not need to look after them in their old age."

It somehow was OK - even darkly humorous - when Zeman made such a defense in his own behalf. But Philip Morris, the world's largest cigarette maker, recently made the mistake of distributing a report in the Czech Republic that made those same arguments, opening itself to ferocious criticism from Czech media and U.S. anti-smoking groups.

In its most provocative calculation, the report said that by dying early, smokers saved the Czech government $30 million in 1999 because of reduced costs for health care, pensions and housing for the elderly. That figure reflected "5.23 years of life lost for the average smoker," it said.

These "indirect positive effects" of smoking on public finances helped ease the much higher costs of smoking, according to the report, which Philip Morris used in a lobbying effort to influence Czech politicians and officials. In 1999, those costs included $29.6 million in additional health care for people sickened by secondhand smoke, the report said.

The report accepted the figure of "22,000 deaths due to tobacco smoking in the Czech Republic in 1999."

A commentary in Mlada Fronta Dnes, a leading Czech newspaper, called the report "monstrous" and "extremely nasty," adding that "in the United States they would not dare say anything like that even under a blanket."

The Czech Republic is "indeed a happy hunting ground for ruthless predators such as Philip Morris," the commentary added. "When in the mid-1990's it looked like the number of smokers might decline, they calmly focused on the children. They convinced them that he who smokes is tall, with lots of muscles, and indeed American. That's cool isn't it? Now Philip Morris went even further and went too far."

Concerns about the health effects of smoking were slow to spread in Eastern Europe before the 1989 collapse of communism in the region, and the habit remains deeply entrenched in the Czech Republic and its neighbors.

Smokers make up about a quarter of the Czech Republic's population of 10 million, and they consume more than 20 billion cigarettes a year, the newspaper Lidove Noviny reported.

Philip Morris commissioned the report by the consulting firm Arthur D. Little International, then distributed it after Czech officials complained that the tobacco industry was saddling the country with huge health-care expenses.

The report said that when the impact on government finances of all smoking-related costs, savings and tax revenues were added together, the result showed a net positive effect in 1999 of $151 million.

The Mlada Fronta Dnes commentary said it was as if the auto industry had claimed that the faster people drove, the more they would be killed and the more the state would save. It parodied Philip Morris' position as: "Fantastic business proposal: Let's together profit from the death of the citizens of your country. We shall kill then, and you will free our hands. Profit for both guaranteed."

U.S. smoking organizations also latched onto the report, saying it reveals the true face of Philip Morris. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids in Washington has posted a copy on its web site (www.tobaccofreekids.org).

Once the outcry erupted, it didn't take Philip Morris long to realize that the report had been a big mistake. In a news release in late July the company said the report "exhibited terrible judgement as well as a complete and unacceptable disregard of basic human values."

The decision to commission the study was "not just a terrible mistake. It was wrong. All of us at Philip Morris, no matter where we work, are extremely sorry for this," the statement said. "No one benefits from the very real, serious and significant diseases caused by smoking."

The admission of error, however, didn't do much to mollify critics.

"Philip Morris' apology…can only be viewed as a cynical act of damage control unless the company also supports real change to reduce the deadly toll of tobacco," said Matthew L. Meyers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "Without action to back up its words, one has to question what Philip Morris really regrets: the report's callous conclusions or the damage done to Philip Morris' efforts to portray itself as a reformed, responsible company."

Myers charged that in various countries, Philip Morris aims "to block effective government action to reduce tobacco use."

"In the United States, these efforts include Philip Morris' feel-good corporate image advertising…and its support for ineffective legislation to grant the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authority over tobacco products," he said.

Vince Willmore, director of communications for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said the group had heard about the report and then "tracked it down through [anti-smoking] advocates in the Czech Republic."

"It is the bluntest admission we've seen by a tobacco company of the harm that tobacco products cause," Willmore said.

"No responsible corporate entity would produce a report that basically brags about the benefits of killing its customers," Willmore added. "Essentially, that is what Philip Morris is doing…This is a warning to policy makers that Philip Morris hasn't changed and can't be trusted."

The Philip Morris report came at a time when the Czech Health Ministry is proposing wide-ranging steps to combat smoking, including banning the sale of tobacco products to juveniles; outlawing smoking in post offices, banks and courts and at bus and streetcar stops; and prohibiting the sale of cigarettes at kiosks, restaurants, hotels and gasoline stations.

But Pavel Tautermann, who wrote to Lidove Noviny, was skeptical of the possibilities for change. In comments published by the newspaper, he argued that the report underestimated the government's profit from tobacco.

"No state," Tautermann wrote, "will give up an instrument which reliably kills people in the post-productive years."

Special correspondent Iva Drapalova in Prague contributed to this report.