Study: Smokers Often Unaware of Chemical-Cocktail in Cigarettes

Do you have any idea what ‘ingredients’ go into making cigarettes? You would be surprised to hear what things people inhale with each puff of a cigarette – besides nicotine, I mean.

tobacco-2
Source: ThinkProgress

There are about 4,800 chemicals in a cigarette, many of which are carcinogenic; but researchers from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, found that the majority of smokers don’t know what they’re inhaling.

Marcella Boynton, lead author of the study, said in a press release:

“The majority of the [United States] public wants easy access to information about chemicals in cigarettes and other tobacco products. Surprisingly, our results reveal that groups one might presume to be the least psychologically motivated to look for this information, young adults and smokers, were more likely to say that they had previously looked for this information.”

For the study, data was analyzed from 5,014 American adults over age 18 who were contacted in a national telephone survey. The survey focused mainly on low-income areas, which are more likely to include people who use tobacco and suffer smoking-related health problems – the impoverished, the lesser educated, and sexual minorities.

Read: 7 Huge Detrimental Effects of Smoking

The team found that 27.5% of the respondents had sought information about the chemicals in tobacco smoke that can cause cancer and other adverse health effects.

Of the participants who had searched for information, 37.2% were between the ages of 18 and 25 – the largest percentage – and 34.3% of them were smokers. Some 26% of those who were non-smokers also said they had looked for information on cigarette smoke.

The biggest finding was that most of the participants didn’t know what’s contained in cigarette smoke, and half of them said they’d like to see that information printed on cigarette packages.

Cigarette smoke contains arsenic, ammonia, acetaldehyde, coumarin, and various other substances, most of which are known to be toxic when inhaled or ingested. The FDA lists the known toxins on the agency’s website.

However, none of this information is available to the average person who buys a pack of cigarettes. Instead, the Surgeon General provides rather vague warnings on cigarette packs about the dangers of smoking.

And since there’s such a vast number of chemicals in cigarette smoke, it’s impossible to gauge just how many health problems are caused by smoking, or how serious they are. [1]

smoking_can_damage_every_part_of_the_body
Source: IFinallyQuit.com

Read: What are the Immediate and Long-Term Benefits of Quitting Smoking?

Boynton said:

“By making tobacco chemical information available to the public and tobacco industry practice more transparent, those seeking this information may be less likely to start smoking and more likely to quit…”

The researchers found a nugget of good news, however; more than 80% of smokers interviewed for the survey expressed a desire to kick the habit. [2]

The study was published in BMC Public Health.

Sources:

[1] Medical Daily

[2] NHVoice

ThinkProgress

IFinallyQuit.com

Judge OK’s Controversial Evidence in Roundup-Herbicide Trials

There are numerous pending lawsuits revolving around Bayer AG and an herbicide product known as Roundup – with claims that the herbicide is causing cancer. Well, Bayer AG suffered a blow January 28 when a federal judge tentatively agreed to allow controversial evidence the company had hoped to exclude from upcoming trials.

At a hearing in San Francisco federal court, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said his decision was “probably most disappointing for Monsanto.” (In 2016, Bayer and Monsanto merged for a whopping $66 billion.)

Bayer insists that glyphosate, the chemical in Roundup that is alleged to cause cancer, is safe and that decades of independent studies back that claim.

Read: Monsanto “Deliberately Covered up Data” Proving Glyphosate is Cancerous for 4 Decades

Chhabria ruled that plaintiffs could include some of Monsanto’s allegedly ghost-written studies and attempts to influence the findings of scientists and regulators during the first phase of upcoming trials. The judge said that documents which showed the company taking a position on the science or a study during the first phase were “super relevant.”

On January 3, Chhabria issued an order limiting evidence of corporate misconduct. The move lifted Bayer’s shares nearly 7% and made the company optimistic that Chhabria would take a harder line on similar damning evidence. At the time, Bayer called such evidence a “sideshow” intended to distract jurors from scientific evidence.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs argued that evidence of corporate misconduct was integral to proving the company’s scientific claims are skewed in favor of Monsanto (now Bayer).

Read: EPA Official Accused of Helping Monsanto “Kill” Glyphosate-Cancer Link

Chhabria agreed, saying the line between scientific evidence and corporate misconduct was a murky one and questioned whether it would be fair for the jury not to hear about Monsanto’s alleged attempts to influence scientists.

The parties agreed to exclude other internal documents, including internal e-mails on Monsanto employees discussing lobbying efforts, from the initial trial phase. However, that evidence could come into play if glyphosate is found to have caused plaintiff Edwin Hardeman’s cancer and the trial proceeds to a second phase to determine Bayer’s liability.

The order applies to Hardeman’s case, which is set for trial on February 25, and 2 other upcoming cases. Of the more than 9,300 Roundup lawsuits pending nationwide, 620 of them are before Chhabria.

In August, a jury awarded former school groundskeeper DeWayne Johnson $289 million in a similar case, sending Bayer shares tumbling. That award was later reduced to $78 million and is under appeal. Plaintiffs’ lawyers say corporate misconduct evidence was crucial to that decision.

Sources:

Reuters

Tobacco Doesn’t Just Kill Smokers; It Kills the Environment

About 90% of all lung cancers are caused by cigarette smoking. Smoking kills 7 million people a year, speeds aging, destroys the heart and cardiovascular system, and leads to asthma and COPD. But cigarettes don’t just wreak havoc on the human body; they also wreak havoc on the environment through deforestation, pollution, and littering. [1] [2]

In May, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a study detailing the environmental costs of tobacco, adding to the mind-blowing $1.4 trillion in healthcare costs and lost productivity. The report looks at the immediate environmental damage caused by tobacco consumption, as well as “the post-consumption waste and health implications that continue to play out long after the tobacco has been smoked.” [3]

WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said:

“Tobacco threatens us all. Tobacco exacerbates poverty, reduces economic productivity, contributes to poor household food choices, and pollutes indoor air.” [2]

Source: TobaccoFreeCo.org

A few of the main take-aways from the report:

  • There are more than 7,000 toxic chemicals in tobacco waste – some of them cancer-causing – and these substances also pollute the environment.
  • Tobacco smoke has created thousands of tons of human carcinogens, toxicants, and greenhouse gases.
  • Cigarette butts and other tobacco waste account for a huge amount of trash. According to a 2014 study, tobacco waste constitutes more than a third of the refuse collected during coastal cleanups. Additionally, nearly two-thirds of all cigarettes purchased every day wind up tossed in the streets, grass, and water. Too few people “flick their butts” into a trash receptacle. [3]

Tobacco-leaf curing requires burning enormous quantities of wood, which contributes to deforestation. Larger tobacco growers also use coal, which emits carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas implicated in global warning. [4]

Read: The True Cost of Smoking Revealed

As if that’s not disgusting enough, the planet is littered with millions of kilograms of non-biodegradable cigarette butts.

Pollution aside, tobacco is a drain on the world’s resources, including energy and water, and requires the extensive use of harmful chemicals. [2]

The report states:

“From start to finish, the tobacco life cycle is an overwhelmingly polluting and damaging process.” [4]

Mammoth amounts of insecticides, herbicides, GMOs, fungicides, and fumigants are applied to tobacco plants. Many of these products are so harmful to health and the environment that they’ve been banned in some countries.

The WHO is calling on world governments to work toward controlling tobacco pollution by enacting measures such as banning tobacco marketing and advertising, promoting plain product packaging, and making all public spaces and workplaces smoke-free. [3]

World health experts are also urging governments to implement tobacco taxes. It is one of the least-used tobacco control methods, but raising tobacco taxes and prices is remarkably effective, according to Dr. Oleg Chestnov, the WHO’s Assistant Director-General for NCDs and Mental Health.

At the moment, governments rake in about $270 billion in yearly tobacco excise tax revenues. But the WHO says this could increase by more than 50% to bring in an additional $141 billion by simply increasing taxes on packs of cigarettes by $0.80 a pack.

Additionally, the WHO wants to make it mandatory for tobacco companies to supply information on the amount of environmental damage their operations contribute to. At the moment, some large manufacturers do report on their use of environmental resources and waste streams, but ‘the data is limited and opaque.” [4]

The authors wrote:

“All producers should be required to compensate for the environmental harms caused by deforestation, water use, waste, etc. through offsets in order to ultimately reduce the long-term ecological harm their business causes.” [4]

Read: Tobacco Industry Forced to List Ingredients in their Products

Chan said:

“By taking robust tobacco control measures, governments can safeguard their countries’ futures by protecting tobacco users and non-users from these deadly products, generating revenues to fund health and other social services, and saving their environments from the ravages tobacco causes.” [3]

Sources:

[1] Web MD

[2] CNN

[3] Consumerist

[4] RTT News

TobaccoFreeCo.org


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