Warning messages on US cigarette pack: your input is needed

November 23, 2010 by  
Filed under ADDICTION, CANCER, HEART AND STROKE

I haven’t held a pack of cigarettes in 20 years so I was shocked lately when I saw what’s in the packaging. It was not only the warnings in words but also pictures of cancer-ridden lungs that were shown. For many people, however, these pictures are not shocking enough.

Apparently this type of packaging is not true for all countries although the US seems to be going towards this direction.

According to the Lung Action Network of the American Lung Association (ALA):

Earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced its plan to require all cigarette packages to have stronger warnings, and—for the first time ever—picture messages that would cover the top half of the front and back of the cigarette packs. That’s 50 percent of the pack!

Under the new proposal, the FDA will also require that all cigarette advertisements have warnings covering 20 percent of the ad. We at the American Lung Association think this is a great idea.

The FDA has proposed several warnings and is asking the public to help out in making the right choice. Together with graphics, here are some of the messages that the FDA is proposing:

The ALA is actively campaigning to the public to help the FDA pick the strongest and most effective warning messages. One of these is displayed in this post.

You can send the FDA an email and say what you think and which one, in your opinion, should be used in future cigarette packaging. The packaging should not only discourage young people to start smoking but also encourage smokers to quit or seek assistance for quitting. The ALA, for example, is also proposing the nationwide hotline for smokers who want to quit, “1-800-QUIT-NOW” to be displayed prominently on the pack.

The campaign is now ongoing and goes on till January 11, 2011. Take Action Now!

Photo credit: US FDA

What’s the state of the air in your city?

May 31, 2010 by  
Filed under ASTHMA

The Americans are concerned about the oil in the Gulf of Mexico. The Europeans are worrying about the volcanic clouds coming from Iceland. But what about what is going on in your immediate environment? What is the air like in your part of the world? The American Lung Association (ALA) recently released their 2009 State of the Air report. And one of the key findings is: 28.9 million Americans live in counties where the outdoor air failed all three tests covered in the State of the Air report.

Are you one of them? Have you checked out what’s blowing in the wind in your city?

The report ranks US cities according to two of the most widespread air pollution: ozone and particulate matter levels.

And the top 10 most polluted cities according to ozone levels are:

  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside, CA
  • Bakersfield, CA
  • Visalia-Porterville, CA
  • Fresno-Madera, CA
  • Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Yuba City, CA-NV
  • Hanford-Corcoran, CA
  • Houston-Baytown-Huntsville, TX
  • San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA
  • Charlotte-Gastonia-Salisbury, NC-SC

The top 10 most polluted cities in terms of short-term particle pollution are:

  • Bakersfield, CA
  • Fresno-Madera, CA
  • Pittsburgh-New Castle, PA
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside, CA
  • Birmingham-Hoover-Cullman, AL
  • Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Yuba City, CA-NV
  • Salt Lake City-Ogden-Clearfield, UT
  • Visalia-Porterville, CA
  • Modesto, CA
  • Hanford-Corcoran, CA
  • Merced, CA
  • The top 10 most polluted cities in terms of year-round particle levels are:
  • Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
  • Bakersfield, CA
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside, CA
  • Visalia-Porterville, CA
  • Pittsburgh-New Castle, PA
  • Fresno-Madera, CA
  • Birmingham-Hoover-Cullman, AL
  • Hanford-Corcoran, CA
  • St. Louis-St. Charles-Farmington, MO-IL

 So what is wrong with California?

But of course, it’s not all bad news. The report also gives a list of the cleanest cities based on the same criteria as above.

And the cleanest 12 cities according to ozone levels are:

  • Bismarck, ND
  • Brownsville-Harlingen-Raymondville, TX
  • Coeur d’Alene, ID
  • Duluth, MN-WI
  • Fargo-Wahpeton, ND-MN
  • Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO
  • Honolulu, HI
  • Laredo, TX
  • Lincoln, NE
  • Port St. Lucie-Sebastian-Vero Beach, FL
  • Rochester, MN
  • Sioux Falls, SD

And the cleanest 10 for all year particle pollution are:

  • Cheyenne, WY
  • Santa Fe-Espanola, NM
  • Honolulu, HI
  • Anchorage, AK
  • Great Falls, MT
  • Tucson, AZ
  • Amarillo, TX
  • Albuquerque, NM
  • Flagstaff, AZ
  • Bismarck, ND

And the cleanest 10 for short-term particle pollution are:

  • Alexandria, LA
  • Amarillo, TX
  • Athens-Clarke County, GA
  • Austin-Round Rock, TX
  • Bangor, ME
  • Billings, MT
  • Bloomington-Normal, IL
  • Brownsville-Harlingen-Raymondville, TX
  • Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL
  • Champaign-Urbana, IL

So what does the dirty mean for many golden state residents and others who live in polluted areas?

Air pollution has been linked to respiratory problems, asthma, allergy and cardiovascular disorders (see our feature in Battling Asthma). Infants and children are especially susceptible.

Check out the ALA site for the following audio resources:

Photo credit: stock.xchng

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.