Monday, April 26

Smokeless Tobacca --NO!

These candies look interesting and harmless, don't they? But you and I will freak out if we find our children popping them in their mouths because they are "smokelss tobacco"! Cigerettes replacements but the harmful content is exactly the same. In fact, they are more harmful and evil because they are in fact poisioned candies!
What if somebody offers your children these "sweets"? What if your children think that they are "harmless" because there is no smoke going through your lungs? What if your children are being offered these by strangers? Will they be able to tell that it is something bad for them? NO!
Dear readers of this blog, if you are as concerned as I am about this issue, do blog about it in your blogs or share the information with your friends to raise awareness in our community!
Here's more information on smokeless tobacco and here's the Minister's blog on this.
Smoking is a personal choice and I have nothing against adults who chose to do so. However, I do not want my child to fall into this possible trap, threat and a lie of a "healthier choice".
**Thanks Carmen, for the information on smokeless tobacco.
Here's some FAQ my friend forwarded me. Read on if you are interested.

FAQS on smokeless tobacco products

Q 1. What are smokeless tobacco products?
Smokeless tobacco products include:
· Snuff
o A powdered tobacco that is sniffed (nasal snuff) or sucked (oral snuff).
· Snus
o A subcategory of oral snuff that comes in convenient satchels and often with exotic flavours.
· E-Cigarettes
o An electronic cigarette, also known as an e-cigarette or personal vaporizer, is a battery-powered device that provides inhaled doses of nicotine by way of a vaporised solution.
· Tobacco candies
o A dissolvable form of tobacco, available in forms such as strips and lozenges.
· Gels
o Used like hand cream, nicotine is absorbed transdermally.
· Nicotine Water/Drinks
o A drink containing nicotine.

Q 2. What are the health implications and other concerns of these tobacco products?
Snuff & Snus

· Potential for addiction - like cigarettes, contains nicotine.
· Some products have been processed to contain reduced levels of hazardous components but not adequately studied for potential health hazards.
· Association with increased risk of oral cancer
· Strong evidence of oral lesions, including pre-cancerous lesions and gum recession.
· Youth initiation concerns as the products are milder and sweeter targeting initiating users.
· Evidence that advertising targets young and children.
· While manufacturers have been arguing strongly that e-cigarettes are less harmful relative to cigarettes and are safe to use, there has been a lack of conclusive evidence from empirical studies and research papers to prove their claims.
· Other than the presence of toxins, there are serious concerns among the public health community that e-cigarettes will sustain and even increase nicotine addiction.
· They may lead experimenting youths to try other tobacco products, including conventional cigarettes.
· E-cigarettes have begun to adopt flavouring additives. One company has recently announced their creation of ‘vitamin-enhanced’ e-cigarette cartridges, including flavours such as grape, pomegranate, bubble-gum, chocolate-chip cookie, fruit punch.
· E-cigarettes are easily available on the internet. In Singapore, e-cigarettes are currently banned locally under the prohibition of imitation tobacco products.
Tobacco candies
· Made from tobacco, these products contain nicotine which is known to cause addiction.
· The US Indiana Poison Control Center estimates per piece of these products can contain up to three times the nicotine of a cigarette Youths have been found to be more susceptible to nicotine addiction than adults. The US FDA has expressed concern about the extent to which the high nicotine content and rapid dissolution of dissolvable tobacco products may facilitate initiation of tobacco use, nicotine dependence and addiction in adolescents, and may serve as a mechanism for inadvertent toxicity in children.
· There are also concerns regarding their appeal to the under aged, as children and adolescents may find dissolvable tobacco products particularly appealing, given the brightly coloured packaging, candy-like appearance and easily concealable size of many of these products.
· In the US and Canada, flavoured tobacco products like snus and cigarillos in similarly attractive packaging have been associated with rises in youth tobacco use and smoking prevalence.
· The products are currently found only in the US, but are believed to also target the rest of the developed world in view of their falling smoking rates.
· There is no evidence on the safety of the product. No published literature is available regarding the safety of transdermal absorption of nicotine and the product’s impact on nicotine addiction.
· Of the two known brands (Nicofix and Nicogel), Nicofix has included a disclaimer on its website that “this tobacco product can damage your health and is addictive”.
· Available over the internet, and in over-the-counter pharmacies in some developed countries.
· The Malaysian Business Times published an article on 11 May 2009 about an ambitious plan by Dermtek Sdn Bhd, the exclusive distributor of Nicogel for Asia, to sell Nicogel in Singapore, and in 9 other Asia-Pacific countries.
Nicotine Water/Drinks
· Like gels, there is no evidence on the safety of the product, particularly on the ingestion of nicotine, and little research has been done on the product’s impact on nicotine addiction.
· Available over the internet, and in over-the-counter pharmacies in the US.

Q 3. Are smokeless tobacco products available in Singapore, will they become available?

· These products have widespread presence in developed countries however they are not available here in Singapore. Nonetheless, there are already tobacco products that have been modified to appeal more widely such as candy and fruit flavoured cigarettes and cigarillos.
· According to Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan’s blog, laws against smoking will soon be amended to cover the rising number of new "Smokeless tobacco" products.
· Minister also mentioned a recent Wall St Journal article that highlighted Reynolds American Inc, the maker of Camel, Pall Mall brands of cigarettes, and how they are responding to their declining cigarette sales by transforming into a company that also offers a range of smokeless alternatives, including strips, lozenges and snus.
· Minister also stated that: “Some describe the dissolvable products as tobacco candies designed to appeal to children, making them life-long addicts”.
· There are serious concerns regarding their appeal to the under aged, as children and adolescents may find dissolvable tobacco products particularly appealing, given the brightly colored packaging, candy-like appearance and easily concealable size.

Q 4. What’s the difference between smokeless tobacco products and smokeless nicotine products?

Smokeless tobacco products usually contain both tobacco and nicotine, such as tobacco candy. Such products are addictive and may have the same harmful effects as other tobacco products. Smokeless nicotine products, such as nicogel and e-cigarette, claim not to include tobacco, but their contents have not been regulated and the nicotine level may actually be higher than that of cigarettes.

Q 5. What’s wrong with nicotine-only products?

· The contents of smokeless products such as nicogel and e-cigarettes have not been regulated -the nicotine level may actually be higher than that of cigarettes
· Users may find themselves increasingly addicted to the product.
Note: Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) products also contain nicotine but have been through rigorous clinical trials prior to approval under the Medicines Act before they can be used as tobacco cessation aids. NRT’s contents and nicotine levels are strictly regulated. Usually under the advice of a healthcare professional, a person starts with a NRT product that delivers an appropriate level of nicotine based on his/her nicotine dependency. Over a period of time the nicotine level is reduced to help him/her overcome the withdrawal effects of nicotine whilst being able to break the habits associated with smoking.
Q6. Is it better that people use these products rather than smoking? At least they are not hurting other with second hand smoke?

- Although it is true that such products do not emit second- hand smoke, people are often misled into thinking these are safe alternatives
- There are still health implications and concerns about increased nicotine addiction and more importantly, the appeal these products may have to youths.

Q7. The tobacco industry and some users claim that these products are good alternatives to smoking, as they are ‘harm reduction’ products and can help smoking cessation – is this true?

- It may be true most smokeless products* do not emit harmful carcinogenic smoke, however there is a lack of evidence that such products helps in ‘harm reduction’ and can help in smoking cessation.
- The harms associated with such products should not be underestimated, especially the appeal these products may have to children & young. These products may contain very high levels of nicotine and are unregulated. They could not be seen as cessation aids as they have not been through clinical trials and may lead to increased addiction and dual use.
*E-cigarette emits vapours rather than smoke. Its contents are not regulated and it is not clear what it contains.

2 voices:

Meekfreek said...

Nicotine only products are available in the pharmacy in the form of patches and gum. Regulated dosage.

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