It’s time for another round up of stories and smoking related topics in the news this week.
American Smoking Rates
Gallup has just released the results of a report into American smokers. There are 46 million regular smokers in the United States which comprises 21% of the adult population. However, there exists a great deal of variation in smoking rates between states. Kentucky is the smokiest state with 1 in 3 adults (29%) classified as smokers. At the other end of the scale, Utah has the lowest smoking rate of 10%. The presence of all those Mormons must be having a positive effect on the physical health of the state. As for their effect on the state’s spiritual health I am not willing to comment.
Apparently, due to high tobacco taxes, New York City is one of the most expensive cities in the States to buy ciggies. Yet due to a tax loophole it is possible to purchase a 10 pack carton for $40. This is because loose tobacco is taxed a lot less than tobacco in comercially made cigarettes. Shops simply purchase loose tobacco then make cigarettes on site using high speed cigarette rolling machines. The finished product is no different than cigarettes purchased in packs apart from the fact that they are much cheaper. This situation may not last as the New York City’s legal department has started legal proceedings against tobacco shops for tax evasion.
Smoking Ban in Cars?
The British Medical Association (BMA) is urging the UK government to introduce a smoking ban in motor vehicles. This follows from evidence that smoking in cars exposes non-smoking occupants to very high levels of second hand smoke. It is estimated that exposure levels are 23 times that experienced in a smoky bar. Especially vulnerable are children and the elderly. The UK has already extensive legislation banning smoking in public places and it will be interesting to see whether bans will be extended to private motor vehicles. Australia has already introduced a smoking ban in cars however this only applies if children are present.
The Great American Smokeout
The Great American Smokeout, an annual event since 1976, occurred on Nov. 17. The day helps to focus the hazards of smoking for the American public and encourages smokers to quit. Things have changed a lot since 1976. In that year 40% of people smoked and there were no smoking restrictions in public places. Smoking was socially acceptable and the health hazards of the habit were not widely known. Smoking prevalence has halved since then and restrictive legislation has stigmatised and marginalised smokers and their habit.