“Smoking & Health” Turns 50 — Hashtags of the Week (HOTW): (Week of February 24, 2014)

PT's Half-RezDay Party: Rezday Boy

It’s pretty interesting that there have been so many different reports from the Surgeon General’s Office, but if people simply say, “the Surgeon General’s report” they mean the first one, from 1964, on Smoking and Health. I’m glad to see that the SGO is taking advantage of the 50th anniversary to release a new and updated report as well as sponsoring several events. Of course, there is a hashtag — #SGR50.

E-cigarette poisonings & more in the new edition of Public Health Law News

From the CDC’s Office for State, Tribal, Local, & Territorial Support:

The new edition of Public Health Law News reprints an article from USA Today on the rise in reports of poisonings in children by e-cigarettes.

Other stories include reports from the states on changes in public health laws and an interview with Chester Antone, Councilman of the Tohono O’odham Nation Legislature.

Read the complete newsletter here.

World No Tobacco Day

notobaccoMay 31 is the World Health Organization’s (WHO) official World No Tobacco Day.  According to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, a comprehensive ban of all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship is required.

According to WHO, tobacco kills nearly six million people every year, of which more than 600 000 are non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke.

Tobacco epidemic

Tobacco’s toll

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs)

New tobacco rules in Europe

From the New York Times:

Health warnings should cover 75 percent of cigarette packs but governments should also have leeway to require plain packaging, the European Commission said Wednesday.

The commission’s proposal would also ban cigarettes containing large quantities of flavorings including menthol and vanilla, restrict the sale of slimmer cigarettes and maintain a ban in most of the European Union on a form of chewing tobacco called snus.

The proposals still are less strict than in Australia, where a prohibition on logos and colorful designs went into effect this month. But the proposed ban on slim and super-slim cigarettes that are marketed to young women “is a positive development and a world first,” said the Smoke Free Partnership, a European organization that promotes tobacco control and research.

Tonio Borg, the E.U. commissioner for health and consumer policy, said the overall goal of the so-called Tobacco Products Directive was to make smoking less attractive and to discourage young people from tobacco consumption.

Read the complete story here.

Text messages help smokers kick the habit

From NPR’s Shots blog:

Some good news about texting: A review of studies published by the Cochrane Collaboration finds that smokers trying to quit the habit are helped in a big way by supportive messages sent via text.

We all know it’s really hard to quit smoking. Dr. Pamela Brar, an internist in private practice in La Jolla, Calif., says only 5 percent of smokers succeed the first time they try to quit. “Most people will try over a five-year period, if they’re really motivated, as many as six to eight times before they’re successful,” she says.

That’s why the results of this new analysis are encouraging. With help from text messages, hopeful quitters actually doubled their chance of success.

Read the complete post or listen to the story at NPR.

New edition of health Communication Digest available


  • Seth Noar introduces an Audience-Channel-Message-Evaluation (ACME) framework for health communication campaigns.
  • Three studies highlight the negative impact of unhealthy mass media messages. Smoking is the focus of all three studies. Glantz et al. observe a substantial increase in onscreen smoking in youth-rated movies. Shandel et al. find that exposure to prosmoking messages is associated with acute changes in future smoking risk among emerging adults. Yuan et al. suggest that lay health influencers may be an important channel for tobacco cessation interventions.
  • The importance of understanding target audiences is illustrated in five studies. Cook-Craig et al. find, for instance, that interpersonal social networks are preferred by health information seekers in low-income urban neighborhoods. Concurrent evidence is provided by Divecha et al. who report that young urban parents prefer private forms of communication, rather than new media technologies, for conversations about sexual health. Yanez et al. emphasize the importance of patient-physician communication among Latinas. On the other hand, Weidman et al. observe that socially anxious individuals use the internet as a compensatory social media (i.e., minimizing face-to-face communication); a strategy that may result in poorer well-being. Johnson et al. outline communication strategies to effectively promote adoption of best practices.
  • Advanced approaches to message design in health communication endeavors are the focus of several studies. Bergkirst et al. suggest that including headlines can benefit short messages with pictorial metaphors. Both Chatterjee and Voorveld et al. examine media mix strategies to enhance cross-media campaign synergies. Both Hendriks et al. and Ledford report that health campaign message design variables can impact subsequent health conversations. Gainforth & Latimer, Hwang et al., and Rolison et al. exploremessage effects on health risk perceptions. And, Teten Tharp et al. discuss communication strategies forglobal dating violence prevention.
  • The effectiveness of health communication and social marketing interventions is demonstrated in severalstudies. Chervin et al. report that a health literacy intervention increased adults’ knowledge about health issues and self-efficacy. Howlett et al. illustrate how state-sponsored agricultural marketing programs increased adult fruit and vegetable consumption. Morrongiello et al. find that an interactive computer game can improve young children’s fire safety knowledge and behavior. Morrongiello et al. also report positive effects from a RCT evaluating the Supervising for Home Safety program.
  • Two studies examined new media behaviors. San José-Cabezudo & Camarero-Izquierdo examinedeterminants of opening and forwarding e-mail messages. van Noort et al. explore social connections and the persuasiveness of viral campaigns in digital social networking.

Read the complete issue here.



Tobacco: Uphill battle for antismoking campaigns in poor and middle-income countries

From the New York Times:

Despite expensive antismoking campaigns, 41 percent of men in poor and middle-income countries still smoke and more young women are starting to, according to a major new survey of global tobacco use.

The survey, based on 248,452 interviews in 14 countries and published in The Lancet on Thursday, found that the world’s two most populous countries, India (above) and China, had the most new smokers, and the percentage of people who quit there and in Egypt, Bangladesh and Russia was as low as it was in the United States 50 years ago.

While Westerners in general can afford to smoke, the poorest nicotine addicts sometimes buy tobacco rather than food for their families, said the study’s leader, Gary A. Giovino of the University at Buffalo of the State University of New York.

At present, tobacco causes only 4 percent of deaths in poor countries, compared with 18 percent in rich ones, but that trend is shifting.

Governments of poor countries collect $9,100 in tobacco taxes for every $1 they spend on antismoking messages, a Lancet editorial added. In some countries, the tobacco company is government-owned.

Read the complete story here.

For teenage smokers, removing the allure of the pack

From “Fixes” at the New York Times:

Remember teenage smoking? It’s been edged out by teenage obesity as the health concern of the moment. States are cutting programsto prevent the former while establishing programs to combat the latter.

We shouldn’t forget about it. Last year, 18.7 percent of high school seniors were smokers — just about the same as the percentage of teenagers who are obese. But it may be even more important to attack teenage smoking than obesity. Fighting obesity is a lifelong battle. But for smoking, adolescence is Armageddon. Only 1 in 10 smokers starts after the age of 18. After the teenage years, the battle is lost.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that unlike with obesity, we know what to do.

To read the complete post, click here.

Tobacco prevention & control strategies in Washington state

From the CDC’s Prevention Research Centers:

Researchers from the University of Washington PRC and their partners at health departments in Washington State and Oregon assessed health care costs and smoking rates associated with three tobacco-control strategies for the state of Washington:

      • A comprehensive tobacco prevention and control program in Washington State (2000-2011);
      • Washington’s statewide ban on smoking in public places (Initiative 901), in force since late 2005;
      • Washington’s multiple increases in cigarette taxes, which added $0.63 to the per-pack price from 2000 to 2008.

To read more, click here.