There has been a lot of hype and a lot of misinformation about electronic cigarettes. Contrary to popular opinion,they are not a safe alternative to smoking. There are no regulations on them and There is a currently a shocking lack of scientific data and knowledge about the ingredients in electronic cigarettes and how these may affect people in the vicinity of the user.

Here is what the Department of Transportation posted on their website:

“U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced that the Department of Transportation is proposing to explicitly ban the use of electronic cigarettes on aircraft.

“Airline passengers have rights, and this new rule would enhance passenger comfort and reduce any confusion surrounding the use of electronic cigarettes in flight,” said Secretary LaHood.

A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in today’s Federal Register would clarify that the airline smoking rule prohibits the use of electronic cigarettes and similar products, as tobacco products are now prohibited. Electronic cigarettes are designed to deliver nicotine or other substances to the smoker in the form of a vapor.

Electronic cigarettes cause potential concern because there is a lack of scientific data and knowledge of the ingredients in electronic cigarettes. The Department views its current regulatory ban on smoking of tobacco products to be sufficiently broad to include the use of electronic cigarettes.

The Department is taking this action to eliminate any confusion over whether the Department’s ban includes electronic cigarettes. The proposal would apply to all scheduled flights of U.S. and foreign carriers involving transportation to and from the U.S.

Amtrak has banned the use of electronic smoking devices on trains and in any area where smoking is prohibited. The Air Force Surgeon General issued a memorandum highlighting the safety concerns regarding electronic cigarettes and placed them in the same category as tobacco products. The U.S Navy has banned electronic cigarettes below decks in submarines. Further, several states have taken steps to ban either the sale or use of electronic cigarettes.

This NPRM proposes an explicit ban on the use of electronic cigarettes in all forms, including but not limited to electronic cigars, pipes and devices designed to look like everyday products such as pens. The ban does not include the use of a device such as a nebulizer that delivers a medically beneficial substance to a user in the form of a vapor.

The Department is also considering whether to extend the ban on smoking, including electronic cigarettes, to charter flights of U.S. carriers and foreign air carriers with aircraft that have a designed seating capacity of 19 or more passenger seats.

The rulemaking proposed today is a part of the Department’s broader effort to strengthen airline passenger rights and improve information available to the public.

Comments on the NPRM can be submitted to the Federal Docket Management System at www.regulations.gov, Docket ID No. DOT-OST-2011-0044. Public comments will be accepted through November 14, 2011″. (Source: http://www.dot.gov/affairs/2011/dot11911.html)

Join the thousands of Hoosiers who are ready to quit smoking. Stay tobacco-free for thirty-one days, from October 1 through October 31, 2011, and you’ll get better health and a chance to win extra spending money.

Enter now at www.quitnowindiana.com for your chance to win $2,500 (first prize); $1,500 (2nd prize); or $1,000 (3rd prize). Go to www.quitnowindiana.com and enter the contest now.

There has been much debate and news coverage on the public health topic of protecting the health of all Hoosiers from the dangers of secondhand smoke.  When authoring a comprehensive bill to establish a smoke-free indoor air policy in Indiana that protects all Hoosiers, one must look at certain restrictions and guidelines related to public safety.  What’s wrong with that? 

There are policies that mandate the water temperature used to wash dishes in restaurants, but no one says the government is banning the practice of cleaning dishes in cool water.  It’s a policy, not a ban. If anyone washes dishes with cool water at home, it is their prerogative, but if those dishes will be used in public, it’s unsafe; therefore the health department sets certain restrictions and guidelines.  It’s not a ban, it’s a policy.  There is a difference; it’s not simply semantics.

Webster defines the two words as follows:

Policy: A basic principle or guidelines, formulated and enforced by a governing body to direct and limit actions in pursuit of long-term goals.

Ban: To prohibit, especially by legal means; also, to prohibit the use, performance or distribution.

Protecting Hoosiers from the dangers of secondhand smoke is a public health issue that does not ban smoking.  Smokers have the legal right to smoke; however, when smoking imposes a threat to public health, elected officials must take responsibility to protect its citizens.  Smokers do not have the right to smoke anywhere, just as someone using hazardous chemicals does not have the right to use them anywhere or anytime they feel like.  Secondhand smoke is airborne, thus posing a public health threat, just as hazardous chemicals.  There are specific cleaning fluids that are not banned; however, there are policies in place to restrict how and when they may be used to protect the general public.  It’s not a ban, it’s a policy.

For 10 years, Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation (ITPC) has been working to protect Hoosiers from the dangers of tobacco, including secondhand smoke.  Yet some have misconstrued ITPC’s efforts. Public health officials, civic leaders and voters are asking for smoke-free air policies and not a ban on smoking, nor smokers.  They are demanding a smoke-free air policy that sets certain restrictions and guidelines to protect all Hoosiers from the dangers of tobacco smoke.  It’s not a ban, it’s a policy.

There are many school teachers and health care providers that smoke, but do they have the right to smoke while they are teaching or caring for children?  There are policies in place to protect our children from those dangers. Indiana needs a comprehensive smoke-free air policy and not a smoking ban.  It would be great to have elected officials, reporters and the general public to use the appropriate word and to understand the difference.

This letter appeared in the Chesteron Tribune on Jan. 26, 2011. 

Smoking in all rooms! That has been our saying for 23 years. I am sure many of you have heard this before. But as a person with a chronic illness, it has made me rethink this point of view. 

I spend a lot of time in Chemo bays watching people receive their treatments for cancer.

Recently, I sat next to a women in her mid-thirties. We started talking and I asked what type of cancer she had. “Lung and brain cancer”, she responded. “But I am not giving up!” she said with a smile and went on to tell me about her family and children. I asked what type of work she did.  She said she has been a bartender for over 14 years.

“That’s a long time!” I chuckled. “I have over 30 years in the restaurant business.” I told her that smoking and being a bartender go hand and hand, mistakenly assuming that is how she developed lung cancer.  She looked at me and said, “Funny thing is that I never smoked a day in my life!”

Even with the sound of all the equipment around us, it became quiet after that.

After sitting 8 hours in my IV chair, I had plenty of time to think things over.  I went home and started looking at old pictures from the last 23 years of my business. I realized that any of the people in those pictures could have been the young girl next to me.  It really hit home. 

So the point of this letter is simple: As of 2/1/2011, Wagner¹s in Porter will become a non-smoking establishment.  I know this will upset some of our great and loyal customers, but please try to understand. 

Do not take it out on the staff, this is my choice.  If you need to vent, please do so to me!
Thank you for your support on this matter.

David S. Wagner
Wagner¹s Ribs

ON Monday, Jan 24th, the chesterton Town Council heard public comments regarding passing a policy regarding smoking in public venues. Below is an article that appeared in the Chesterton Tribune:

Chesterton Town Council hears comments on proposed smoke free ordinance

By Kevin Nevers

Avowed smoke-free advocates outnumbered their opposites on Monday—according to the sign-in sheet at the Chesterton town hall—by 39 to 11.

But the free-choicers put up a good fight anyway, at a special meeting called by the Town Council to gather comments about a proposed smoke-free ordinance.

The Town Council took no action on the ordinance, a copy of which was at last released.

The salient points of that ordinance, as prepared by Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann:

•Smoking would be prohibited in all “enclosed public places within the town.”

•Smoking would be prohibited in all “enclosed areas within places of employment.”

•Smoking would be prohibited “within a reasonable distance from an enclosed area,” “in no event any closer than 15 feet so as to ensure that tobacco smoke does not enter establishments designated smoke-free . . . through entrances, windows, ventilation intakes, or other means.”

•But smoking would not—repeat, not—be regulated in private residences; hotel rooms designated as smoking rooms so long as no more than 30 percent of all rooms are so designated; and retail tobacco stores.

•Smoking would also not be regulated at “family-owned and operated businesses and offices in which all employees are related to the owner,” so long as “the enclosed areas of these businesses and offices are not open to the public.”

•Similarly, smoking would not be regulated in bars or private clubs, so long as they apply for and are granted an exemption.

•Smoking would be prohibited in all town-owned vehicles but not in a vehicle used by an employee of a private business so long as only that employee uses that vehicle.

•Smoking by actors on stage, as part of a performance, would not be prohibited, so long as the audience is warned prior to the start of the performance that smoking will occur.

•“To defray administrative expenses in connection with the exemption, each application shall be accompanied by a non-refundable fee of $50.”

•If approved, the ordinance would take effect on May 1, 2011.

Smoke-Free Advocates

Of the 14 persons who spoke about the proposed ordinance, eight did so in favor of it.

Patricia Carlisle, who originally broached the issue before the council last fall, said that the ordinance “would increase the qualify of life in our community and protect our children and employees.”

Kim Goldak cited numerous statistics released by the American Cancer Society to the effect that second-hand smoke is blamed for 46,000 deaths annually in the U.S. and between 200,000 and 1 million asthma attacks.

Natalie Rivio made much the same point. “Even as much as 15 minutes’ (exposure to second-hand smoke) can trigger a heart attack,” she said.

Joe Juarez and Jordan Harris, both representing the Boys and Girls Club of Porter County (BGCPC)—and accompanied by a number of children—noted that the BGCPC has made a concerted effort “to scare” kids about smoking. “We want them to know how dangerous it is,” Juarez said. “These kids are here because they want to be here. They’re very passionate about not smoking. As a town, we need to show them smoking won’t be tolerated in public places.”

Kim Eldrige, speaking on business operators’ fear that a ban would hurt their bottom lines, said that “the bars and restaurants in Chicago are full.” And she added, “I’m disappointed to see that there’s going to be some exceptions to the ban.”

Sandra Hutson, for her part, said that she dines in Valparaiso, where a smoking ban is in effect. “I go to Valparaiso to have dinner because I won’t go to eat in town.”

And Brianna Herndon, speaking on behalf of the American Cancer Society and in response to the argument about government’s infringement of personal freedoms, said that government “oftentimes” enacts such laws “for the greater good” and that “its safer to have a smoking ban.”

Free-choicers

Of the 14 who spoke, six did so in opposition to the proposed ordinance. All of them conceded the point that smoking will kill you.

Dana Malone, a business owner, made the level-playing field argument. “Until there’s a statewide ban,” she said, “it’s not fair to businesses where people can just go across the tracks to Porter.”

Ed Meroz spoke bluntly. “You’re going to hurt the town,” he said. “Business is going to drop off. People can just go across the tracks.”

Fred Blackard, manager of Flannery’s, made the free-choice argument. “People make their choice to drink and they make their choice to smoke. And businesses should have the choice. And yes, they will go across the tracks, to Porter, wherever.”

Joe Wagner, owner of the new Uncle Joe’s, agreed with Blackard. “It’s people’s choice if they’re going to drink and smoke,” he said.

Leonard Sullivan—a non-smoker—noted that cigarettes “are a legal product” and only one of the numerous factors in the heavily industrialized transportation corridor of Northwest Indiana which affect cardio-respiratory health.

And Paul Tharp—also a non-smoker—questioned the wisdom of criminalizing an activity in which 24 percent of the adult population indulges.

The Council

Member Jim Ton, R-1st, spoke for all of his colleagues when he said that no decision would be made immediately. “Tonight is for listening,” he said. “I wanted to hear all comments and we’ll proceed from there.”

Member Emerson DeLaney, R-5th, did say that he had hoped State Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, would appear to update the council on smoke-free legislation currently being considered by the Indiana General Assembly.

The following are some of the things that have been accomplished in the last 10 years since the inception of the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation agency. We really appreciate the efforts in the efforts to make Indiana a healthier place to live.

Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation

“Ten Years After: Working for a tobacco free Indiana”

Indiana’s tobacco prevention program has delivered impressive results during the past decade.

Smoking rates for high school youth have dropped by 42 percent, resulting in 49,000 fewer youth smokers. SOURCE: Indiana Youth Tobacco Survey, 2000-2008.

Adult smoking rates have decreased from 27 percent to 23 percent. This historic low rate means there are 207,000 fewer smokers in Indiana. SOURCE: Indiana Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2001-2009.

Per capita cigarette consumption in Indiana has declined by 40 percent. SOURCE: Monthly cigarette stamp and revenue reports, Indiana Department of Revenue, 2001-2009.

More than 2,000 community organizations statewide are working to help reduce tobacco use. SOURCE: ITPC Community Program Partnerships, 2009-2011.

More Hoosiers are now protected from the dangers of secondhand smoke than ever before. There are 30 smoke-free communities. SOURCE: ITPC Policy Tracking, November 2010.

The Indiana Tobacco Quitline has served over 60,000 Hoosiers since its launch in 2006.

SOURCE: Indiana Tobacco Quitline Service Reports, March 2006-November 2010.

The Quit Now Indiana Preferred Network has over 600 health care providers and more than 300 employers committed to reducing tobacco use. SOURCE: ITPC Quit Now Indiana Preferred Network, November 2010.

 Over 70 percent of Indiana’s schools have a tobacco free campus, an increase from 28 percent. (in 2000) SOURCE: ITPC Policy Tracking, November 2010.

New research shows that smoking bans spare many children with asthma from being hospitalized, a finding that suggests smoke-free laws have even greater health benefits than previously believed.

Other studies have charted the decline in adult heart attack rates after smoking bans were adopted. The new study, conducted in Scotland, looked at asthma-related hospitalizations of kids, which fell 13 percent a year after smoking was barred in 2006 from workplaces and public buildings, including bars and restaurants.

Cigarette smoke is a trigger for asthma attacks. So researchers reasoned that tracking severe cases was perhaps the best way to measure a smoking ban’s immediate effect on children.

“Acute asthma is the tip of the iceberg,” more easily tracked than less severe breathing problems, ear infections and other problems seen in children that have been linked to a caregiver’s smoking, said Terry Pechacek of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s office on smoking and health.

About 40 percent of American children who go to hospitals because of asthma attacks live with smokers - a high proportion, given that only about 21 percent of U.S. adults smoke, according to CDC statistics.

Smoking bans have become increasingly common in the United States, where 35 states and the District of Columbia have laws that bar smoking in workplaces or restaurants and bars, or both. And more than 3,100 cities and towns have their own restrictions, according to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation.

In the new report, researchers looked at emergency hospital admissions for asthma at all of Scotland’s hospitals from January 2000 through October 2009. The data was for kids age 14 and younger.

They found that hospital admissions for children’s asthma attacks were increasing by 5 percent per year before the ban, reaching about six admissions per day on average in January 2006. But afterward, children’s asthma attacks declined by 13 percent a year, falling to below five admissions per day in October 2009.

The ban largely targets places where adults work and socialize. But there seems to be a ripple effect: It made smoking less popular and led significant numbers of adult smokers to cut back or quit their habit at home, where the kids were, said Dr. Jill Pell, a study author.

Source:  http://bit.ly/dhVpl0

State health officials are extending the deadline to enter the “Quit Now Indiana” stop smoking contest – which offers a top prize of $2,500. Originally set to end on August 23rd, Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Agency announced that the deadline for contest entries is being extended to Sept. 30th. To qualify for the prize money, a person pledges to quit using tobacco for the entire month of October. Once the winners names are drawn randomly they will be tested for tobacco use. Second and third place winners will receive $1,500 and $1,000, respectively. Entrants must be at least 18 years of age, legal residents of Indiana, and regular users of tobacco. To submit an entry, participants are encouraged to go online at www.quitnowindiana.com or www.INShape.IN.gov. Locally, entry boxes are available at HealthLinc (Valparaiso), Porter Hospital (Valparaiso and Portage campuses), Porter County Health Department, North Shore Community Health Center (Scottsdale site), and Porter Starke Services (Valparaiso campus); or call Tobacco Education & Prevention Coalition for Porter County at 219-464-5480 for a form.

The Quit Now Indiana Stop Smoking Contest offers a chance for you to WIN BETTER HEALTH and be entered in the QUIT NOW INDIANA PRIZE DRAWING! State Health Officials, AmeriHealth Mercy of Indiana have teamed up to encourage Hoosiers to stop using tobacco

Prize money totaling $5,000 will be provided to the top three winners, courtesy of AmeriHealth Mercy of Indiana, the presenting sponsor of the contest. The top prize winner, who successfully quits smoking from September 1st to September 30th, 2010, and whose name is randomly drawn, will receive $2,500 as the grand prize winner. The second and third place winners will receive $1,500 and $1,000, respectively.

Indiana State Health Commissioner Greg Larkin, M.D. said, “We know there are a great many Hoosiers who are ready to quit smoking, and the ‘Quit Now Indiana contest‘ is the perfect opportunity to make a commitment to start living a healthier life. Indiana is proud of the great strides we have made recently to lower Indiana’s smoking rate and this effort falls right in line with the proven strategies that are saving lives.”

To sign up for the “Quit Now Indiana” contest, entrants must be at least 18 years of age, a legal resident of Indiana and a regular user of tobacco. The entry deadline is August 23rd. http://www.in.gov/inshape/2381.htm.

For help quitting, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW

Father’s Day is a day to celebrate dads for who they are and all of the wonderful things they do. It is also a great time for dads to remember the important role they play in influencing the choices their kids make regarding tobacco use. Unfortunately, tobacco use among men remains a serious problem: one in five men currently smoke, more than 269,600 men die every year from smoking, and 216,000 kids have already lost their dad to smoking.

Dads who smoke can celebrate Father’s Day by quitting, and all dads, whether or not they smoke, can celebrate Father’s Day by taking a number of effective actions to protect their kids from becoming another one of the tobacco industry’s addicted customers and victims. Even if they smoke, what dads say, how they act, and the values they communicate through their words and deeds has an enormous influence whether or not kids smoke. And all dads, smokers and nonsmokers alike, can also do a lot to protect their kids from secondhand smoke.

The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids encourages tobacco users to do the following:

  • Maintain a smoke-free home.
  • If you smoke, quit. If you can’t quit, keep trying. Children from families who smoke are twice as likely to become smokers themselves — but parents who try to quit and talk to their kids about the how addictive smoking is, why they want to quit, and how important it is to never start can beat those odds.
  • Educate your child about the dangers of smoking.
  • Listen to what your child says about smoking, and help them make good decisions.
  • Discuss peer pressure with your child.
  • Support federal, state, and local tobacco-prevention efforts.

The Indiana Tobacco QuitLine (1-800-QUIT NOW) can help, by offering personalized support for Indiana residents who want to quit smoking and/or other tobacco products by connecting them with trained quit coaches to guide them through the quitting process. Callers will receive ongoing professional coaching via individually scheduled calls with a quit coach personally assigned to them. This convenient and confidential service is free and available to Indiana residents in both English and Spanish. For more information, call 1-800-Quit Now.