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Tobacco in the News

Tobacco-related current events published by the School Community Intervention Program (SCIP)

New Smokeless Tobacco:

Three smokeless, spit-free tobacco products (Taboka, Skoal Dry, and Camel Snus) are now hitting the market.

"These small tobacco-pouch products are hard to spot in the mouth, so kids can use them secretly," warns Matthew Myers of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. Myers tells parents to warn their children once again that tobacco, in any form, can cause major health problems.

Phillip Morris USA is marketing Taboka, a smoke-free tobacco pouch product. It comes in two versions: Original and Taboka Green, a menthol version.

Skoal Dry, from U.S. Smokeless Tobacco, Inc., is advertised as a "discreet, spit-free pouch product available in three flavors: Regular, Menthol, and Cinnamon. Each can contains 20 tobacco packs. Skoal Dry can be enjoyed anywhere and at anytime with the assurance of quality from the experts in smokeless tobacco. No Smoke, No Spit, No Boundaries."

Camel Snus is sold as a pouch of finely ground and pasteurized tobacco intended to be placed between the lip and gum. Snus, a close relative of snuff, doesn't cause the urge to spit that is common with most smokeless tobacco. It is marketed by Reynolds, and they hope its spit-free properties will make it a popular alternative to smoking.

(Source: Pride Omaha, Winter 2007 and product websites)

Nebraska Legislative News:

Some bills that have been introduced in the current session of the Nebraska Unicameral deal with smoking issues.

*LB 53 prohibits smoking in foster homes. It is sponsored by Senator Gwen Howard, District 9, and is co-sponsored by 10 senators.

*LB 395 establishes a statewide smoke-free workplace and public place policy. Areas within twenty feet of doors must be smoke free. Exemptions include private homes, 20% of hotel rooms, and laboratories used to study smoking. Senator Joel Johnson, District 37, is the sponsor with seven senators co-sponsoring the bill.

*LB 585 sponsored by Senator Don Preister, District 5, eliminates the self-service or help-yourself display of cigarettes.

Please note that bills can be changed or amended at any time. Log on to www.nebraskalegislature.gov to monitor these bills as well as others.

Early Smoking - Trigger for Trouble:

Tobacco as a "gateway drug" is not news. It is known to facilitate the use of alcohol or other drugs. But it may be more. It may actually groom the brain for susceptibility to alcoholism and other drug addictions later on. That's according to a recent study showing that teens who begin smoking before age 15 are five times more likely to have alcohol-related disorders by the ages of 18-21, compared to their teenage peers who also drink, but who started smoking only a couple of years later.

(Source: December 2006, Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research)

Nicotine Increase in Cigarettes:

Researchers at Harvard say that tobacco companies have increased the nicotine yield in cigarettes by 11% over the past 7 years, making it harder than ever for smokers to quit. Cigarette makers appear to be using raw tobacco with a higher nicotine content. The study findings could mean that cigarette companies are violating terms of the 1998 nationwide tobacco settlement, which requires the industry to work to prevent underage smoking.

One project researcher stated, "Cigarettes are finely tuned drug delivery devices, designed to perpetuate a tobacco pandemic. Yet precise information about these products remains shrouded in secrecy, hidden from the public." However, Massachusetts law requires the tobacco companies to submit the data to the health department if they want to sell cigarettes in the state.

(Source: www.jointogether.org, 1-18-07)

Prenatal Smoking:

Researchers at Duke University Medical Center believe that smokers born to women who smoked during pregnancy may have a harder time quitting than those whose mothers abstained from smoking while pregnant.

One researcher said, "Smoking during pregnancy can harm the baby in ways that extend far beyond preterm delivery or low birth weight. It causes changes in the brain development of the baby that can last a lifetime. It is easy to quit smoking - anyone can do it, for a brief time. But not taking it up again - that is the part that has proven so difficult for most people, especially those who have been exposed to nicotine before birth."

Researchers concluded from their experiments that to lower the risk of addiction among their children, pregnant women should not only avoid smoking, but also the use of smoking-cessation products that contain nicotine.

(Source: www.jointogether.org, 1-29-07)

Tobacco in the News

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