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CIGoutlet Tobacco News
American cigarette manufacturers have filed a lawsuit against the FDA.
The largest US tobacco companies filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the District of Columbia against the Federal Office of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
read more ...05/04/15
Interesting facts about cigarettes, countries - tobacco leaders.
Every minute in the world are sold about 8-10 million cigarettes and daily 13-15 billion cigarettes.
read more ...04/01/15
Anti-smoking campaigns run to extremes.
It is strange to what can bring the foolishness of anti-smoking crusaders in their attempts to impose all the rules of a healthy lifestyle, even if they lead to a violation of all norms, artistic freedom and civil society.
read more ...03/03/15
Science v Advertising - Smoking


A chemistry teacher from Melbourne, Phil Ponder, gets angry when he sees multi-national tobacco companies trying to get young people to smoke. Whenever he can, he tries to educate young people about the dangers of smoking and at times he sings his message

Robyn Williams: On June 26th, 1954, a paper was published in the British Medical Journal signed by the now legendary Dr Richard Doll. He was then in his 30s. Now Sir Richard Doll is in his 90s and with our own Howard Florey, must have saved more lives than anyone you can think of. Richard Doll, you see, exactly 50 years ago, published his study of smoking and doctors. Half of those born between 1900 and 1930 were killed by their habit. It was the very first time that smoking was linked scientifically to lung cancer. Sir Richard has now published his latest research on smoking, also in the BMJ, showing that the effects are worse, much worse, than those he revealed half a century ago. Why Sir Richard hasn’t won a Nobel Prize is beyond my comprehension. It is in this context that I introduce Philip Ponder. He’s a schoolteacher in Melbourne, of chemistry, in fact. He and William of Ockham now celebrate the 50th anniversary of the publication of the Doll paper, with this reflection. Philip Ponder: It is a fact of life that there will always be human beings who, without any protection, indulge in unsafe and unnatural practices that can lead to painful, incurable illness and premature death. No, this is not a talk about AIDS, it is about smoking. Now don’t get me wrong; I believe all adults have the right to indulge in self-destructive behaviour if they so choose. Good heavens, I ride a bicycle to school; need I say more? However, my hackles rise when I see multinational tobacco companies doing their level best to get our young people addicted to their poisonous weed before the youngsters have a chance to make a rational decision about this abnormal habit. These ruthless companies need to do this in order to replace their older customers who have given up and/or died. Consequently, I feel obliged as an educator to try to do something, however ineffectual, to persuade my charges that smoking is not a sensible thing to do. Why do so many fail to recognise the bizarre nature of setting fire to vegetable matter and deliberately inhaling the resulting concentrated pollution? I have a song that I like to sing to the adolescents in my charge that contains all three of the basic elements of every single children’s song. In the 1960s American folk group Peter, Paul and Mary decided that these are as follows: The first element is simplicity, so that the child can understand the song. The second element is pathos, to prepare the child for later traumatic experiences. And the third element is repetition, to give the child a false sense of security. Fortunately for you listeners, Dr Robyn Williams has very wisely deemed that it is inappropriate for me to sing on National Public Radio. However, I would like to read a verse or two when it becomes relevant during this talk. Let’s start with: I can’t believe you’d want to breathe in smoke, The pollution ought to make you choke. You’re a candidate for cancer and you know the answer, You’d have to be stupid to smoke. No, that isn’t the way to go. Adolescents don’t seem to identify with oldies’ diseases unless they have a close relative who is suffering from one and many, particularly boys, are quite apathetic about pollution, especially if it comes from hotted-up cars. Drug addiction, on the other hand, still seems to carry negative connotations with most students. So let’s start with a couple of scientific facts. Firstly, nicotine is a powerful insecticide. Second, nicotine is more addictive than heroin. Studies have shown that about 80% of regular smokers are physically addicted to the nicotine in their cigarettes whereas only about 40% of regular heroin users actually become physically addicted. So here is a question that I would like you to consider very carefully. Could it not be deemed stupid to allow oneself to become addicted to an insecticide? Now some people say they need a fag, Can’t survive without their hourly drag. But is it really funky to be a nicotine junky? You’d have to be stupid to smoke. Now I have no trouble accepting that many people find smoking pleasurable. But then, I’m sure heroin addicts also receive pleasure when they shoot up. There doesn’t seem to be much point in using a mind-altering drug if you don’t get a ‘pleasure hit’. However, much of the ‘pleasure’ of cigarette smoking comes simply from the relief of nicotine-withdrawal symptoms. Call me a wowser if you must, but I can’t see that this is a desirable form of hedonism. And I grant you, smoking is a very efficient way to get mind-altering drugs such as nicotine, marijuana, cocaine, or heroin into the bloodstream and hence to the brain. But there are so many side effects. Let’s leave aside the tar and other carcinogens that are introduced into delicate lung tissues. Let’s not mention the anti-social nature of burning vegetable matter in public, or the litter created by all those cigarette butts. Instead, let’s focus on carbon monoxide intake. I like to explain that a haemoglobin molecule is like a choo-choo train with four empty carriages. The blood carries it to the lungs and under normal circumstances, four oxygen molecules climb on board. (We now call it oxyhaemoglobin). The train then whizzes around the body until it reaches a cell that is clamouring for oxygen. The oxygen molecules then hop off and are used up in energy-releasing respiration or other desirable biochemical processes. The train (once again called haemoglobin) proceeds back to the lungs and the cycle repeats. What an admirable scenario nature has designed for us. Now consider what happens if carbon monoxide enters the lungs. A carbon monoxide molecule is almost exactly the same size as an oxygen molecule and, by some inexplicable quirk of nature, it seems to take priority over oxygen when it comes to getting into those haemoglobin carriages. Now when the carbon monoxide-laden haemoglobin train arrives at a cell there is some serious rejection. ‘Go away’, say the cells, ‘we’ve got no use for that carbon monoxide muck. Come back when you’ve got some oxygen’. The train then continues on its pathetic, pointless journey. This is the insidious nature of carbon monoxide poisoning. The carbon monoxide itself doesn’t do the body any direct damage, but if a high enough percentage of haemoglobin molecules become engaged in the useless transport of this substance, then not enough will be available for oxygen transport. The body is then likely to suffer from oxygen-deprivation. Cigarettes are designed to smoulder, to burn slowly. Tobacco companies even add fire retardants to assist with this. Consequently there is incomplete combustion of the organic material and this invariably results in the production of carbon monoxide. The level in cigarette smoke is unlikely to reach toxic proportions, but it still clearly affects the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. Since it inevitably leads to a decrease in stamina, no serious athlete would consider such a performance-impairing activity as smoking. One can only conclude that any high profile sportsman who smokes either does not regard himself as a serious athlete, or believes that his sport does not require optimum stamina. Perhaps this is true for spin bowlers in cricket! And while we are on the subject, I find it astonishing that highly paid professional sportsmen are permitted by their employers to over-indulge in a recreational drug that is mind-altering, decidedly performance-impairing and potentially addictive. But I digress. A consideration of ethanol abuse by sportsmen is best left to another time. Let’s return to nicotine abuse. At last we have a possible means of getting the attention of many adolescent boys. They should not even consider smoking if they are serious about performing at their best for the footy team, or any other sport. Combine this performance-impairing function with the fact that smoking is one of the leading causes of impotence in men, and you have a double-barrelled weapon to fire at ‘the jocks’. Furthermore, with this decreased oxygen-carrying capacity, it is hardly surprising that the heart has to work harder in its efforts to meet the demands of oxygen-starved cells. Little wonder that smokers suffer from increased blood pressure and consequent high risk of heart attacks and strokes. But what about the girls? Arguments relating to their sporting prowess will only appeal to a relatively small number and impotence is clearly not a relevant factor. Maybe vanity is their weak point. Many young ladies spend a lot of money on cosmetics and hairdressing. Why would they want to detract from the effect by allowing their hair and clothes to smell like a dirty ashtray and their faces to become prematurely lined? Would I take a smoking lover? No way! Who’d want to kiss a stinking ashtray? Their hands are brown and stained and their energy is drained; You’d have to be stupid to smoke. It never ceases to amaze me that there are so many people who still openly and shamelessly flaunt their drug addiction in public. Surely this ludicrous activity should be restricted to behind the shelter shed where it belongs. Why is there is so little sense of embarrassment about their addiction? The answer, I suspect, lies in the fact that cigarettes are so heavily promoted in our society that most people have become conditioned to regard this weird behaviour as being ‘normal’. Where did it all start? A few hundred years ago it was common for wealthy men to take their nicotine hit in the form of snuff, a substance made from powdered tobacco. This they snorted up their noses, just like snorting cocaine today. However, because it probably made people sneeze too much, the habit went out of fashion, and smoking became the more popular method for nicotine ingestion. During the First World War, troops were given cigarettes with their rations. The miserable wretches needed some sort of drug to take their minds off the awful predicament of trench warfare and for some reason the generals must have decided that alcohol was not suitable for soldiers on the front line. With so many new addicts, it is little wonder that the tobacco industry flourished after 1918. Long before tobacco advertising was (supposedly) banned, cigarette manufacturers realised that the powerful media of film and television were available as a means of promoting their nicotine delivery vehicles. And that is how they view their product: ‘We are in the nicotine delivery business’ was one of the brutally honest lines from the film ‘The Insider’ that starred Russell Crowe as Dr Jeffrey Wigand and Al Pacino as the 60 Minutes producer. Some film stars have been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to smoke in their films, although many more are nicotine addicts themselves and actually find it difficult to act without a cigarette in their hands. Scriptwriters will often add gratuitous smoking scenes, presumably not done gratis. A cunning feature more recently added involves a hero or heroine being confronted with smoking in a non-smoking area and making some off-the-cuff joke about it. It is clear that the implication is meant to be, ‘Ha, ha, what sort of pathetic dork would make a fuss about such a normal activity?’ This is a big issue in the United States and you can find relevant sites by typing ‘Hollywood + smoking’ into a search engine on the net. Julia Roberts, in particular, has come under a lot of pressure for being such a poor role model for adolescent girls. Sometimes a particular brand is there as a paid product placement, but I suspect the industry in general provides a lot of money to ensure that smoking is seen as often as possible. The aim is to trick people into thinking that it is just ‘a natural part of life’. Students can be made aware of this devious ploy and should be suspicious that smoking scenes in movies and TV shows may well be paid advertisements for smoking in general. Hopefully they will be capable of reacting in a cynical way, and I would love to see the day when large groups of them start chanting ‘chimney, junky’ every time an actor lights up on screen. So you kids who think you’re playing pranks, Your stink sticks make money for Yanks. If their ads have sucked you in, you must be pretty dim. You’d have to be stupid to smoke. If all else fails, teachers should approach this topic with a sense of humour. While I’m on yard duty I like to sing to members of my school’s ‘Smoker’s Club’ as I get them to clean up their cigarette butts. It fair cracks them up! So let’s finish with one more rousing chorus: You’d have to be stupid to smoke Stinking like a chimney’s no joke. Burning all your money really isn’t funny, You’d have to be stupid to smoke. Oops, sorry Robyn, I got a bit carried away there. Robyn Williams: I noticed. Never mind. You can’t stop chemistry teachers from breaking out in song and dance, especially if they come from Melbourne. Philip Ponder from Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School. And I bet his pupils have fun when they’re not puffing fags and being told off, that is. Fifty years since Sir Richard Doll published the paper in the British Medical Journal on the hazards of smoking. Next week, Chris Forbes-Ewan on what you eat down on the icel. I’m Robyn Williams.

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