smoking

From local courtrooms to the U.S. Supreme Court, thousands of lawsuits are on the docket in Florida for 2018. In the first of a three-part series on some of the higher-profile cases, it’s the limbo involving 2016’s Amendment 2.

Seventy one percent of voters approved expanding Florida’s existing medical marijuana law beyond those who are terminally ill and with less than a year to live. Amendment-2 includes patients with HIV/AIDS, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Lou Gehrig’s, Crohn’s and Parkinson’s diseases, among others.

Amid a legal battle about the issue, a Senate Democrat on Thursday filed a proposal that would undo a ban on patients smoking medical marijuana.

Bill Would Allow Local Smoking Regulations In Parks

Oct 20, 2017
Pixabay

A Senate Republican wants to allow cities and counties to be able to regulate smoking in public parks.

The use of electronic cigarettes by middle and high school students in the United States has dropped for the first time since the federal government started tracking the use of these products by young people.

The number of teenagers using e-cigarettes fell from 3 million in 2015 to 2.2 million in 2016, according to a report published Thursday in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Appeals Court Deals Blow To Tobacco Companies

May 19, 2017
Wikimedia Commons

More than a decade after the Florida Supreme Court opened the floodgates for lawsuits against tobacco companies, an Atlanta-based appeals court this week rejected arguments that could have helped shield cigarette makers in legal battles about smoking-related illnesses and deaths.

Sandra Averhart reports on Florida's Tobacco-Free week.

As part of Tobacco Free Florida Week, the Florida Department of Health is encouraging residents to ‘kick the habit’ by focusing on the ‘cost of smoking,’ both physically and financially, to help make their point, the Health Department’s Tobacco Free Florida education and prevention program is out with a public service announcement that invites viewers to “step into The Smoker’s Store,” where one can see the true cost of smoking.

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California's decision to legalize marijuana was touted as a victory for those who had argued that the state needed a system to decriminalize, regulate and tax it.

But the new law, approved by voters on Nov. 8, also could be a boon to the tobacco industry at a time when cigarette smoking is down and cigarette companies are looking for ways to expand their market, according to researchers in Los Angeles County and around the state.

AMA Creates New Policies To Curb Smoking Among Young Adults

Nov 18, 2016
Pixabay

The American Medical Association has adopted new policies to prevent tobacco use in young adults.

Supreme Court Turns Down Appeal In Tobacco Case

Aug 31, 2016
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to take up an appeal by a woman who sued tobacco companies after her husband died of cancer following decades of smoking.

Court Rules Against Tobacco Companies On Ban Question

Aug 11, 2016
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A state appeals court Wednesday rejected arguments by two tobacco companies that part of a landmark Florida Supreme Court ruling amounts to an improper ban on selling cigarettes.

It's become an emotional debate: Do e-cigarettes help people get off regular cigarettes or are they a new avenue for addiction?

Until now, there has been little solid evidence to back up either side. But a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could help fill that void.

For the first time, the Food and Drug Administration has ordered a major tobacco company to stop selling several types of cigarettes.

The FDA on Tuesday ordered the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company to stop selling four products: Camel Bold Crush, Vantage Tech 13 and the regular and menthol versions of Pall Mall Deep Set Recessed Filter cigarettes.

Associated Press

More teenagers are trying electronic cigarettes, known as e-cigarettes, according to a study by the University of Florida. Researchers found that teens who use e-cigarettes are more likely to use other tobacco products.

E-cigarettes produce vapor from a liquid that comes in a variety of flavors, like bubble gum and cotton candy. The liquid can be bought with or without nicotine.

Researchers say older people are turning to e-cigarettes to quit their smoking habit, while teens like them for recreational use.

Wikimedia Commons

America's biggest tobacco companies say they are ready and willing to pass along factual public health information about cigarettes.

But they say they will not go along with being forced to underwrite an ad campaign that would have the companies brand themselves as liars.

Orlando Woman Shares Anti-Smoking Message (VIDEO)

Sep 24, 2014

 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a new ally in its graphic anti-smoking campaign.

Even though the CDC's “Tips from Former Smokers” ads are aimed at adults, Felicita Soto of Orlando says she hopes kids will get the message.  She started smoking when she was in the sixth grade. 

A bill to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors gained legislative support this week, according to the Miami Herald.

Reps. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, and Doc Renuart, R-Ponte Vedra Beach, sponsored the House version, which won approval from its first committee. The Senate version, (SB224), passed through two committees, including Appropriations.

Several cities also have made it illegal to sell e-cigarettes to minors, the Herald reports. 

Saying it is "the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health," the CEO of CVS Caremark announced Wednesday that the company's 7,600 pharmacies will stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products by Oct. 1.

Larry Merlo also said CVS will try to help those who want to quit smoking with a "robust national smoking cessation program" at its locations.

The teen smoking rate in Florida is at a record low, according to a new national report. As the Orlando Sentinel reports, the national rate is 15.8 percent; Florida’s is much lower at 8.6 percent. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids says Florida’s anti-tobacco campaign is so effective they point to as a “model.” 

Lots of studies have shown that cigarette smoke isn't good for a fetus. So many pregnant women use nicotine gum or skin patches or inhalers to help them stay away from cigarettes.

A few years ago, Megan Stern became one of those women. "I smoked heavily for the first seven weeks of my pregnancy because I didn't know I was pregnant," she says. "It was an accidental pregnancy, and I found out while I was in the emergency room for another issue."

Electronic cigarettes are sparking lots of skepticism from public health types worried they may be a gateway to regular smoking.

But the cigarettes, which use water vapor to deliver nicotine into the lungs, may be as good as the patch when it comes to stop-smoking aids, a study finds.

Smokers who used e-cigarettes in an attempt to quit the old-fashioned kind of cigarettes did about as well at stopping smoking as the people who tried the patch.

After six months, 7.3 percent of e-smokers had dropped cigarettes, compared to 5.8 percent of people wearing the patch.

Doctors do make a difference when it comes to keeping children and teenagers from taking up tobacco. This may sound like a no-brainer, but until recently there wasn't strong evidence that anti-smoking efforts by pediatricians and other primary care doctors make a difference.

Public health advocates have lobbied hard in recent years to clear restaurants, bars and other workplaces of tobacco smoke, and the winds seem to be at their back.

Already, 36 states and the District of Columbia have enacted some version of an indoor smoking ban to protect the health of workers and patrons, and many local communities in other states have followed suit.

Courtesy of Grossman family

When Laura Grossman died of lung cancer in 1995, the 38-year-old had smoked for more than half her life, having gotten hooked at 15.  On Wednesday, a Broward jury said R.J. Reynolds should pay $37.5 million in damages, according to the Orlando Sentinel.  The tobacco company is expected to appeal. 

A federal task force is planning to recommend that millions of smokers and former smokers get a CT scan annually to look for early signs of lung cancer.

The 16-member US Preventive Services Task Force gives that lung cancer screening test a grade of B, which puts it on the same level as mammography for women between the ages of 50 and 74.

Most smokers want to quit. But how to nudge them in that direction is up for debate.

The health law allows new individual and small group health plans to charge smokers up to 50 percent higher premiums next year.

Luke Johnson / Tampa Tribune

Electronic cigarettes, which substitute water vapor for smoke, are growing in popularity, with new stores popping up all around. The Tampa Tribune reports that more than 20 percent of adult smokers across the country have tried “e-cigarettes,” which are not regulated by the FDA and contain varying amounts of nicotine and come in all kinds of flavors. Public health officials say they haven’t been adequately tested, but some former smokers swear by them. 

Florida’s infant mortality rate has dropped to 6 per 1,000 live births, the Associated Press reports. In a separate story, the smoking rate for U.S. adults has dropped to 18 percent, after hovering around 20 percent for years, the AP reports.  

Smoking is expensive, and not just for the person buying the cigs. Employers are taking hard looks at the cost of employing smokers as they try to cut health insurance costs, with some refusing to hire people who say they smoke.

But figures on the cost of smoking have been rough estimates at best, with a very general estimate of $193 billion a year nationwide.

Researchers now say they're got much tighter focus on the number: $5,800 per smoker per year.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

A state-funded smoking cessation program has been a huge success, Florida health officials say. As the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports, Tobacco Free Florida has helped 72,000 smokers quit since the program launched in 2007. 

 

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