March 2011 | Cigarettes for Sale Online | Premium Blog

Thursday, March 31, 2011

MASCIA: Secondhand smoke a drag on N.J. parks, beaches

There is legislation pending in New Jersey that would ban smoking in public parks and on beaches. The bill, sponsored by Sens. Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex) and Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) and Assemblywomen Valerie Vanieri Huttle (D-Bergen) and Connie Wagner (D-Bergen), is at a standstill. . . .


New Jersey currently spends $600,000 annually on tobacco prevention and cessation programs, a dramatic decline from last year's $7.6 million budget. The $600,000 is just 0.5 percent of the national Centers for Disease Control recommended $119.8 million funding. In the past three years, New Jersey has virtually eliminated its tobacco prevention program, cutting funding by 95 percent (from $11 million).

New Jersey will pay a high price with more children and teenagers smoking, more lives lost to tobacco and higher tobacco-related health care costs. Even in these difficult budget times, tobacco prevention is a smart investment that saves lives and saves money by reducing health care costs.

New Jersey ranks 46th in the nation in funding programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit . . .

Laws that prohibit smoking in public places and create smoke-free environments are the most effective approach to prevent exposure to -- and harm from -- toxic secondhand smoke.

Let's follow New York City's lead and make New Jersey's beaches and parks smoke-free. It's another step toward creating a world with less cancer. http://bit.ly/eauY5G

Saturday, March 19, 2011

3 states seek to kick habit of raising cig taxes

As some states look to tobacco tax increases to plug budget holes, a few are bucking the national trend and saying, "If you smoke 'em, we got 'em," looking at dropping the rate to boost cigarette sales.

In New Hampshire, supporters argue that reducing the tax by a dime would help the state compete with Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts, while opponents say it would still lose millions of dollars even if higher sales resulted.
. . .


Rhode Island's bill would cut its tax by $1, to $2.46 per pack compared with $3 in neighboring Connecticut. New Jersey last year considered reducing its tax 30 cents, to $2.40 per pack, but hasn't followed through.

When states raise the tax, revenue goes up even though sales decline, Chaloupka said. Over time, tobacco tax revenues gradually drop after a tax hike as smoking use declines, he said. To drive revenues back up, states have raised taxes again.

The only time tax revenues dropped after a state raised its tax was in 2006, when New Jersey raised its rate 17.5 cents, he said though the revenue decline was more likely due to adoption of a comprehensive smoke-free policy.

New Jersey raised the tax 12.5 cents in 2009 and revenue rose, he noted.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Ignoring rules of smoking cause concerns among students

The pavement of the building's entryway is decorated with chalk that reads, "Please do not smoke." And on those words stands four students smoking cigarettes before their 1:45 class on a windy winter's Tuesday.

This is a typical scene outside of not only the Education Building at Rowan University, but across the entire campus even though there is a rule against it.

"New Jersey statutes state that the right of the non-smokers to breathe clean air supersedes the right of the smokers to smoke. Rowan has adopted a policy to ban smoking inside and within 50 feet of all academic, residential, service and administrative buildings on campus," according to Rowan's student handbook. . . .


Though the dangers of second-hand smoke are known and resolutions have been passed to keep students from smoking outside of buildings around campus, it is rare that a student can walk from one class to another without being subject to the dangers of someone else's exhale.

"I feel like I have to maneuver around campus to avoid breathing in second-hand smoke every day," said Natalie Busarello, a sophomore math/science and elementary education major.

A way that can help students keep smokers away from non-smokers is to ensure smoking is not being done right outside a building, and if it is it does not go unnoticed.

According to Joe Mulligan, "If a Residential Assistant sees a resident smoking within fifty feet of a residential hall, they have the power to document the violation. The student is then required to pay a $25 fine for a first offense.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

LETTER: Choice is clear: Ban outdoor smoking

After reading your well-researched, yet only nonchalantly presented article in Sunday's section F titled "Going up in Smoke," it seems the state doesn't care much that it is spending less on anti-smoking programs that a few years ago were the best in the country. People dying as a direct result of smokers' irresponsible premeditated actions is an issue not to be shelved by our elected officials and public service agencies whose mission statement includes concern for the health and welfare of people in our communities.

If this is not a concern of any of the elected officials or public health and safety agencies, then they should all publicly state a revision of their mission statement to say they do not care about the people's health.

The numbers you report are very disturbing but focus too much on agencies using hundreds of millions of dollars for quit-smoking programs. This is truly a waste, as very few smokers voluntarily register for these programs. I never saw a line formed outside any of these classes going down the block.

A case in point is the new cancer wing of Somerville's hospital. I called asking if they are being proactive by pressuring local officials about banning smoking in public places. No, I was told, it's only a quitting program. That's almost like using a fly swatter around an angry hornet's nest . . .



Your picture of New Jersey filled with cigarette butts should be graphic enough for airhearded officials to get the pictures. I am composing an album of what our sidewalks in Somerville look like which looks like that picture. Littering is a crime in most towns and liter of this kind -- butts, packs, and ashes - is overlooked and not fined here. This is highly toxic to our environment acting as toxic teabags everytime it rains.

Time to demand responsible action from our respective officials and agencies. Call them directly with your concerns for your family's health.

Rates in N.J. on the rise

After years of mostly decline, it would appear smoking rates in New Jersey are on the rise, ever so slightly.

In its recently released State of Tobacco Control report for 2010, the American Lung Assocation says the number of adults who smoke in New Jersey rose last year to 15.8 percent. It had been 14.8 percent in the 2009 report. The 2010 report also showed the smoking rate among New Jersey high schoolers rising to 17 percent. It had been 14.3 percent. The data was culled from federal surveys through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that were done in 2009.

Such numbers would seemingly provide reason for the state to expand its anti-smoking and smoking cessation programs. But, because of the $11 billion deficit in the state budget last year, New Jersey slashed its funding for such programs in July from $7.6 million to just $600,000. This despite the state still bringing in about $1 billion in 2010 from taxes on cigarettes and a 1998 legal settlement with the big U.S. tobacco companies, and despite the state having a near total ban on indoor workplace smoking.

In light of all this, those who are passionate about combatting smoking in the Garden State are wondering what will happen to smoking rates in New Jersey in the years to come, as the tobacco companies continue to spend more than $200 million a year to market an expanding line of products here.

They wonder if state funding for effective anti-tobacco programs will ever be restored or, if in next year's budget, it will be wiped out entirely. They wonder if the number of deaths tied directly to smoking in New Jersey -- 11,201 last year -- and the economic cost on our state -- nearly $5.6 billion in 2010 -- will rise. . . .



Even through a recession in which other tax revenues have ebbed for the state, about $700 million or more each year continues to flow into the state Treasury from New Jersey's $2.70-per-pack tax on cigarettes -- the sixth highest cigarette tax in the nation.

There may be legislation on the books that called for millions to be spent on anti-smoking and smoking cessation programs from this hefty pot of cash, but there are no dictates about how money is spent in the state budgets that are passed each June.

"The budget overrides the law. . . .



Then there's the landmark settlement the big tobacco makers agreed to with state attorneys general in 1998 to put an end to all the Medicaid reimbursement lawsuits the companies were facing. Since New Jersey started receiving payments from this settlement in 2000, it has gotten no less than $220 million a year and as much as $405 million in one year.

However, the master settlement agreement with the tobacco companies doesn't mandate how states must spend that money. In New Jersey's case, then-Gov. Jim McGreevey, for his 2004 state budget, borrowed against the cash New Jersey is to receive over 25 years to help plug a $5 billion deficit that year. So those funds are gone, dedicated to paying off debt. http://bit.ly/e7wXId

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Are anti-smoking efforts going up in smoke?

After years of decline, smoking rates in New Jersey are on the rise again.

In its recently released State of Tobacco Control report for 2010, the American Lung Association says the number of adults who smoke in New Jersey rose last year to 15.8 percent, up from 14.8 percent a year earlier.

The report also showed the smoking rate among New Jersey high school students increasing to 17 percent, up from 14.3 percent. The data was culled from federal surveys through the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention that were done in 2009.

Such numbers would seemingly provide reason for the state to expand its anti-smoking and smoking cessation programs. But, because of the $11 billion deficit in the state budget last year, New Jersey slashed its funding for such programs in July from $7.6 million to just $600,000. . . .


Those who are working to combat smoking in the Garden State are wondering what will happen to smoking rates in New Jersey in the years to come, as the tobacco companies continue to spend more than $200 million a year to market an expanding line of products here.

They also are wondering if state funding for effective anti-tobacco programs will ever be restored or even wiped out entirely. And they are wondering if the number of deaths tied directly to smoking in New Jersey -- 11,201 last year -- and the economic cost to the state -- nearly $5.6 billion in 2010 -- will rise.

The state Department of Health and Senior Services says it will closely monitor new smoking figures to see if the increase was an anomaly or a new trend.
. . .


"That tobacco settlement money was for tobacco treatment and prevention," lamented Connie Greene, vice president of the Institute for Prevention with the Saint Barnabus Health System. "It was never written into the agreement that it had to be spent that way." . . .


"We're the only hospital in the state to pick up all the funding for these services," said Greene. "There are no services now throughout the state. I don't know how patients in some regions are going to get the help they need."

Jacobs says the worth of these programs is clear. Smokers trying to quit stand just a 4 percent to 5 percent chance of kicking the habit for good on their own. With medical and counseling help, like what is available at Saint Barnabus through the quit centers, smokers have a 40 percent to 45 percent chance of permanently breaking their addiction. http://bit.ly/hMLIMw

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tobacco And Kids

Children's addiction to nicotine from cigarette smoking, smokeless tobacco (chew), and cigars is a major public health problem.
The Facts about teen smoking:

  • Nearly 3 million U.S. teenagers smoke.        
  • Approximately 3,000 teenagers start smoking every day and one-third of them will die prematurely of a smoking related disease (American Cancer Society).
  • High school students who smoke cigarettes are more likely to take risks such as ignoring seat belts, getting into physical fights, carrying weapons, and having sex at an earlier age.
  • Tobacco is considered to be a "gateway drug" which may lead to alcohol, marijuana, and other illegal drug use.
  • Most adult smokers started smoking before the age of 18.
  • Tobacco use continues to be the most common cause of preventable disease and death in the United States.
  • Cigarette smoking and tobacco use are associated with many forms of cancer.
  • Smoking is the main cause of lung and heart disease.
  • Smoking worsens existing medical problems, such as asthma, high blood pressure and diabetes.
  • The earlier a person starts smoking, the greater the risk to his or her health and the harder it is to quit.
Children at MOST risk for Tobacco use:
  • have parents, siblings, or friends who smoke
  • exhibit characteristics such as toughness and acting grown up
  • deny the harmful effects of tobacco
  • have fewer coping skills and smoke to alleviate stress
  • have poor self esteem and depression
  • have poor academic performance, especially girls
  • are very influenced by advertisements that relate cigarette smoking to being thin and/or suffer from eating disorders 

What Parents can do to prevent Tobacco use:
  • Parents are role models.  If you smoke, quit.  If you have not quit, do not smoke in front of your children and tell them you regret that you started.
  • Do not allow smoking in your home and strictly enforce your No Smoking rule.
  • Ask whether tobacco is discussed in school.
  • Ask about tobacco use by friends; compliment children who do not smoke.
  • Do not allow your children to handle smoking materials.
  • Do not allow your children to play with candy cigarettes. They are symbols of real cigarettes, and young children who use them may be more likely to smoke.
  • Support school and community anti-smoking efforts and tell school officials you expect them to enforce no smoking policies.
  • Make tobacco less readily available to children and teens -- support higher taxes on tobacco, licensing of vendors, and bans on unattended vending machines.
  • Discuss with your children the false and misleading images used in advertising and movies which portray smoking as glamorous, healthy, sexy, and mature. 
  • Emphasize the short-term negative effects such as bad breath, yellowed fingers, smelly clothes, shortness of breath, and decreased performance in sports.
  • Emphasize that nicotine is addictive.
  • Help children to say "No" to tobacco by role playing situations in which tobacco is offered by peers. 

If your child or teen has already begun to use tobacco, the following steps can help him or her to stop:
  • Advise him/her to stop. Be non-confrontational, supportive, and respectful.
  • Assist his/her efforts to quit and express your desire to help.                                   
  • Provide educational materials.
  • Help your youngster identify personally relevant reasons to quit.
  • If you smoke, agree to quit with your child and negotiate a quit date.
  • Enlist the child's pediatrician or family physician to help the child stop smoking.
  • If the child is abusing other drugs and/or alcohol or there are problems with mood or other disorders, evaluation by a child and adolescent psychiatrist or other mental health professional may be indicated.