WashU Expert: Time for tobacco-state politicians to make ‘adult choice’ on Pacific trade agreement

If Republican senators from tobacco-growing southern states believe in social responsibility, they would fully explore the TransPacific (TPP) trade agreement’s potential impact on countries around the world, including provisions that influence the ability of American tobacco corporations to flood the globe with cheap, cancer-causing cigarettes, suggests the author of a book on the history, social costs and global politics of the tobacco industry.

Internet, social media expose youth to tobacco

Although tobacco companies are barred by law from advertising their products to children, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine have found that many teens and pre-teens are getting tobacco advertisements and promotions through social media outlets or text messaging on mobile phones. More than one in 10 children under 18 reported receiving tobacco coupons or promotions on their Facebook or MySpace pages or in text messages.

Tobacco laws for youth may reduce adult smoking

States that want to reduce rates of adult smoking may consider implementing stringent tobacco restrictions on teens. Washington University researchers discovered that states with more restrictive limits on teens purchasing tobacco also have lower adult smoking rates, especially among women.

Study looks at discrimination’s impact on smoking

Smoking, the leading preventable cause of mortality in the United States, continues to disproportionately impact lower income members of racial and ethnic minority groups. In a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health, Jason Q. Purnell, PhD, assistant professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, looked at how perceived discrimination influences smoking rates among these groups. “We found that regardless of race or ethnicity, the odds of current smoking were higher among individuals who perceived that they were treated differently because of their race, though racial and ethnic minority groups were more likely to report discrimination,” he says. 

New book examines impact of U.S. tobacco industry

WUSTL anthropologist Peter Benson’s new book, Tobacco Capitalism, examines the impact of the transformation of the U.S. tobacco industry on farmers, workers and the American public. The book reveals public health threats, the impact of off-shoring, and the immigration issues related to tobacco production, specifically in the rural, traditional tobacco-growing areas of North Carolina. “There are whole groups of people — farmers and farm workers — in our society who dedicate themselves to growing a crop that is vilified,” Benson says.

Strike tobacco out of baseball and start with World Series, public health expert says

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and other legislators are calling for baseball players to stop using chewing tobacco on the field and in front of their fans. “This is an important public health issue,” says Douglas Luke, PhD, director of the Center for Tobacco Policy Research at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. “Not only is smokeless tobacco use hazardous, but young people who use smokeless tobacco are more likely to also start smoking cigarettes.” Luke notes that smokeless tobacco use is a growing problem, particularly for the youngest baseball fans.

Easing FDA tobacco advertising rules around schools could cripple law, new study finds

The FDA, through the new Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, is considering banning outdoor tobacco product advertising at various distances from schools and playgrounds. The tobacco industry is challenging these rules on First Amendment grounds, arguing that they would lead to a near complete ban on tobacco advertising in dense urban areas. A new study by the Center for Tobacco Policy Research (CTPR) at Washington University in St. Louis found that a 1000-foot buffer would still allow for tobacco ads. Smaller buffer zones of 350 feet may result in almost no reduction of outdoor tobacco advertising.

Comprehensive tobacco control policies a key step in reducing Missouri’s high tobacco use rate

p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {margin:0in 0in 0.0001pt;font-size:12pt;font-family:’Times New Roman’;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} Missouri has one of the highest statewide smoking averages in the country, more than 23 percent. And racial and ethnic minorities, people with lower incomes and education levels, Medicaid recipients and the LGBT community smoke or experience secondhand smoke at a rate significantly higher than the state average. These findings are highlighted in a recent report by the Center for Tobacco Policy Research (CTPR) at Washington University in St. Louis. The report, “Who is Most Affected? Tobacco-Related Disparities in Missouri,” identifies statewide differences related to who is smoking, who is exposed to secondhand smoke and who is quitting. 

Regulation of tobacco products favors big tobacco, makes U.S. farms less stable

In an attempt to reinvent itself as a “responsible corporate citizen,” tobacco company Philip Morris has begun an unlikely support of regulation of tobacco products by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. However, a new study by Peter Benson, Ph.D., assistant professor of anthropology in Arts & Sciences, shows that proposed FDA regulation fails to address the suffering of migrant tobacco workers, the prevalence of smoking and the redistribution of leaf production to the developing world.
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