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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Health Rish Of Smoking...Death on the increase

'One of the major perenial epidemic confronting mankind is death from tobacco'

'Of the three bilion people who smoke daily worldwide, 250 are women, 22 percent of women live in developed countries and nine per cent of them in developing countries'

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Nigeria's smoking habit

Tobacco kills close to five million people yearly worldwide with over 70 percent of deaths occurring in developing countries including Nigeria where about 12 percent of the population are addicted to nicotine.

Now the Nigerian parliament seems to have responded with a tobacco control bill.

If passed, this could be the biggest tobacco crackdown in the history of Nigeria.

From Lagos, the BBC's Fidelis Mbah, reports.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Smokers more prone to developing tuberculosis

Although, smoking per se does not cause the TB disease, experts warn that those infected with the bacteria run the greater risk of developing the disease if they are smokers...the person who smokes has greater affinity to develop active TB disease, since smoking is a very important predisposition factor to the disease



Monday, September 14, 2009

Smoking accounts for about one in five Cancer deaths

Tobacco smoke causes 90 percent of all Lung Cancers. Thanks to falling smoking rates in most countries of the world. Fewer men than ever are dying of lung cancer. But lung cancer is still the leading cancer killer in men. Smoking accounts for about one in five deaths from cardiovascular disease andthe risk increases with the number of cigarettes smoked each day.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cigarette smoke in carpet could affect babies

WE'RE all aware of the dangers of second-hand smoke; only recently, a leading doctor said smoking should be banned in cars carrying children.
But could there be even greater worry? Could you suffer the effects of passive smoking from simply travelling in a smoker's car -even if they haven't lit up?

Is that nasty ash-tray tang that lingers on car-seat fabric, curtains in homes and the clothes of the nicotine addict strong enough to damage other people's health?

These questions were posed in an article by The Mail of London in a recent article on a research on the effect of cigarette smoke on children.

The Mail reported that according to some experts, thirdhand smoke, as it is known, is as dangerous to health as the fumes billowing directly from a pipe or cigarette, particularly for babies and children.

A recent report in the United States of America has warned that even if you don't smoke in front of your family, you might be putting them at risk of cancer or delaying the development of their brain, thanks to polluting their environment with a lingering chemical cloud.

The warning came from a paper produced in the respected journal, Paediatrics, earlier this year.

The study surveyed more than 1,500 households, learning that just 26.7 per cent of those that included a smoker had strict rules about not smoking in the home.

"The dangers of third-hand smoke are very real," explained the leader of the study, Professor Jonathan Winickoff, of Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, United States of America.

"Toxic particles in cigarette smoke can remain on nearby surfaces long after the cigarette has been put out, meaning the sofa is potentially as problematic as the ashtray itself," Winickoff said.

Small children and babies are particularly susceptible because they crawl on the carpet and are likely to breathe in close proximity to smokers or even lick and suck clothing or items that smokers have touched.

Winickoff is also concerned about new mothers who smoke, saying, "When you're near your baby, even if you are not smoking, the child comes into contact with those toxins.

"And if you breastfeed, the toxins will transfer to your baby in the breast milk."

According to the National Toxicology Programme in the United States of America, tobacco smoke contains about 4,000 chemicals, including 250 poisonous gases and metals.

Such poisonous gases and metals in tobacco include butane (used in lighter fuel), arsenic, carbon monoxide, benzene, toluene (found in paint thinners), ammonia, chromium (used to make steel), cadmium (used to make batteries), lead and hydrogen cyanide (which is used in chemical weapons).

The smoke even contains polonium-210 - the highly radioactive carcinogen used to murder Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko, in London in 2006.

Experts fear that these particles are carcinogenic and that some of the toxins may affect brain development in young children, who may be more affected than adults as their bodies and brains are still growing.

And these concerns are not confined to the Americans.

"Parents who smoke should be aware that when they cuddle or hold a child on their lap, they are exposing them to the smoke on their clothes," says Professor Ros Smyth, Head, Division of Child Health, University of Liverpool.

Smyth added, "They should be particularly aware if they have a child with a respiratory problem such as asthma."

It is a question of risk, says Professor Andrew Shennan of baby charity, Tommy's.

Shennan said, "You wouldn't go into a room full of asbestos, so would you go into a room full of other toxins?"

Earlier this year, two students in San Antonio, Texas, United States of America, won an award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for an experiment on fruit fly larvae that had been exposed to foam saturated with tobacco smoke.

The pair observed a high number of mutations, which could influence scientific knowledge of the effect of environmental - or third-hand -smoke on humans.

Meanwhile, a San Diego study in 2004 discovered that in households where there was a smoker, although all smoking was done outside, children still had nicotine in strands of their hair and in their urine.

Mothers who smoked away from their children were found to have nearly as much nicotine on their hands as smokers who made no special effort.

This new research on third-hand smoke builds on previous studies into second-hand smoking, or passive smoking - inhaling someone else's cigarette smoke.

The original passive smoking studies began in the Seventies and although the initial findings linking passive smoking to disease were contested by the industry, it is now accepted that there is a clear link.

In 2004, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared that scientific evidence unequivocally established that exposure to tobacco from passive smoking causes death, disease and disability.

It also found that the risk for lung cancer when a spouse smoked was 20 per cent for a woman and 30 per cent for a man. It is estimated heavy exposure to cigarette smoke at work pushes this to 50 per cent.

The danger with passive smoking is so-called 'side stream' smoke - this is full of the same toxins as the 'mainstream smoke' inhaled directly by the smoker from the filter end of the cigarette, but comes from the burning tip of the cigarette.

Indeed, fresh side-stream smoke is actually four times more toxic than mainstream smoke, according to research from the Centre for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, United States of America.

The report concluded, "Smokefree public places and workplaces are the only practical way to protect the public health from the toxins in side-stream smoke."

Further studies have shown that children who passively smoke as a result of living in households where there is a smoker are more likely to suffer from respiratory disease, asthma attacks, middle ear infections and cot death.

The increasing weight of the evidence about the dangers of passive smoking led many countries to consider smoking bans in enclosed public places, with Norway the first to go smoke-

free in 2004, Italy in 2005 and the United Kingdom in 2007. Doctors and health workers have already noted a corresponding fall in the number of hospital admissions for heart-related conditions.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Researchers Call for Stronger Controls on Tobacco

The debate over a new and wholistic national tobacco control laws in Nigeria have been the concern of Anti-Tobacco Control Advocates, Nigerian Government and those engaging in the cultivation, processing, distribution, advertising and marketing of tobacco's lethal products.

A Public Hearing on the National Tobacco Control Bill 2009 was held on July 21 and 22 by the Nigeria Senate's Health Committe to this effect, in which over 40 civil society group made presentaions. The bill which would amend the 1990 Tobacco Control Laws of Nigeria is sponsored by Deputy Minority Leader, Senator OlorunimbeMamora, will completely domesticate the WHO Framework Convention onTobacco Control (FCTC), which Nigeria signed in 2004 and ratified in2005 but is yet to fully domesticate in Nigeria.

The imperative of a new tobacco control laws is not new to Nigeria as example abound elsewhere in the world. The New Zealand case report below not only call for a stronger control but emphaise the rich benefits of putting one in place as well as the modalities. In other word, the draft National Tobocco Control Bill 2009 is a product of a rich consultation so that when passed into law will be adequate to address the subject matter of tobacco control beyond the scope its 1990 content would.

New Zealand- Call for Stronger Controls on Tobacco

Health researchers say tobacco control policies should be strengthened or modified because they have reduced smoking by only 3%.
The issue is being discussed at the public health association conference at Otago University in Dunedin.
Professor Peter Crampton from Otago University campus in Wellington told delegates that in 1996 about 24% of New Zealanders were smokers. Despite significant reforms, he says, a decade later that figure had dropped by just 3%.
Professor Crampton says smoking prevalence has actually increased over that period in several demographics. He believes the figures illustrate that dramatic changes to tobacco policy are required.
Another researcher, Professor Richard Edwards, suggests a tobacco supply agency be established to restrict the amount of tobacco entering New Zealand.
He says the agency would buy the tobacco from the tobacco industry and then control how and where it was sold.
Professor Edwards says sales could be banned within 1km of schools and tobacco sold in plain packaging featuring only health warnings.

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