Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tid Bits

County needs to butt out when it comes to smokers

“I think it’s time for us to get serious about this,” he declared recently.
Well, I think it’s time we got serious about power-drunk politicians who believe they can tell the little people how to live.
Someone ought to remind Supervisor Hyland that there are still a few Americans left who cling to quaint notions about personal freedom. That includes the freedom to engage in stupid, self-destructive acts as long as they are legal.
Last time I checked, we could roller skate down a flight of stairs if we wanted a thrill. We could ingest nothing but Girl Scout cookies until we slipped into a diabetic coma. And we can curl up on the couch every night to watch the latest installment of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” instead of heading to the gym.
None of these dopey activities are any of the government’s business.
If a private employer wants to hire only nonsmokers, vegetarians or teetotalers, fine. The U.S. Constitution was designed to restrain government – not private entities – from stomping all over our rights.
Determining the best strategy to reduce the health risks associated with secondhand smoke at home raises complex issues. What should be the government’s role in reducing smoking in private homes or cars, especially when children’s health is at stake? Increasingly, evidence shows a health threat from smoking in an adjacent housing unit, like an apartment, where toxins from secondhand smoke seep through walls, ductwork, windows, and ventilation systems. Should smoke-free laws be extended to include multiunit private housing? Should smoking in a car be banned when children are present?
Alternatively, what kind of encouragement would help people voluntarily ban smoking on their own? Given the challenges of adopting a smoke-free home, is there value in supporting families who take a gradual, more incremental approach – starting small, say, by not smoking in front of children or establishing a single smoke-free room – as worthwhile steps on the path to going entirely smoke-free? Or does this confuse the message because only a total ban on secondhand smoke will protect children’s health?

A study detailed in the most recent New England Journal of Medicine confirms what opponents of tobacco litigation said all along — the government makes money off of smokers, and could spend more if enough of them quit.
The argument was dismissed as ghoulish at the time, and it still is. But a Congressional Budget Office analysis of the financial impact of a 50-cent-per-pack increase in cigarette taxes shows that while cutting the number of smokers trims government outlays over the short run, the increased longevity and higher end-of-life expenses of non-smokers eventually would cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars more from Medicare and Social Security.
 It shuts loopholes that allowed customers to light up in establishments that designated themselves smoking bars, in special rooms set aside for smokers or in beer tents, among other things. The center-left state government said the original ban had so many loopholes it didn’t effectively protect nonsmokers.
In future, exceptions will be allowed only for private parties.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tobacco Tid Bits

Time left to submit views on smoking legislation

A consultation aiming to safeguard children against the exposure to second hand smoke has two weeks left to run.

Hammond and Thornberry on NHS charging smokers and drinkers

A former TV Apprentice contestant found little support for her plan for those said to drink, smoke and eat too much to pay some of their own health care costs.
Conservative Philip Hammond said the NHS being free a the point of need was a "cornerstone" and there was no review planned. He asked: "Where would it stop?"

While the firm’s policy has been in place since 2002, it has recently sparked an intense debate on social media sites about the pros and cons of restrictions on smokers in Japan. Does such an absolute ban infringe excessively on the rights of smokers or is this a progressive approach indicating a future workplace model for corporate Japan?

NO smoking signs may unconsciously trigger a desire to smoke, new research has found.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tobacco News Potpurri

Smoking bans pick up momentum on college campuses, despite protests

George Washington University officials decided to announce the coming of an on-campus smoking ban during the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout on Nov. 15. Before they could do so, dozens of students and staff members were lighting up in protest.
The protestors chain-smoked for hours in a campus plaza on Nov. 13. They say the ban, set to start next school year, will push smokers into unsafe areas or public streets. Organizers wrote in an open letter that kicking “smokers out of outside — the absurdity here should be noted — destroys the basic freedom of everyone; from the student, to the worker, to the faculty, to the woman walking by, to the man working in a food truck.”
The three cigarette giants -- Philip Morris, Reynolds and Lorillard -- must also state that smoking is responsible for 1,200 deaths every day and that secondhand smoke kills more than 3,000 Americans a year, the Associated Press says.
U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler's ruling finalizes wording for the ads, which she ordered in 2006 after finding that the cigarette giants violated racketeering laws. She ordered "corrective statements" on five topics

THE Victorian government is facing renewed pressure to introduce statewide bans on smoking in outdoor dining areas with the Greens set to introduce a private members bill in Parliament this week.
Greens MP Colleen Hartland said the government was taking too long to introduce bans that were now in place or under way in every other Australian state and territory.

Fairfax official targets smoking in the county workforce

The first time Gerald W. Hyland of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors tried to cut smokers from the county’s payroll, more than a decade ago, it didn’t exactly go over well. His suggestion that the county stop hiring smokers brought him nothing but angry criticism.
His latest idea — forcing county employees who smoke to take classes to help them quit — isn’t gaining much support, either. This is, after all, Virginia, a state built on tobacco and the Jeffersonian ideals of limited government. Few have accused the commonwealth of being a nanny state.