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U of M research finds kava plant may prevent cigarette smoke-induced lung cancer

New research from the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy and Masonic Cancer Center has found that consumption of the root of Piper methysticum, or kava, a plant native to the South Pacific Islands, may prevent the development of tobacco smoke-induced lung cancer.

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U of M expert: Smoking cessation programs should consider minority populations

Thursday Nov. 21 marks the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, a day active smokers are encouraged to use as a starting point for quitting. True, nationwide initiatives like this can be beneficial for participants, but a University of Minnesota researcher believes more attention is needed for minority populations.

Due to the type of cigarettes heavily favored by certain minority groups, Kola Okuyemi, M.D., director of the Program in Health Disparities Research, says their treatment programs need to be tailored separate from the majority population…

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Minnesota tobacco tax: enough to make smokers quit?

Last week, the Minnesota tobacco tax increased by $1.60 per pack, making Minnesota the sixth most expensive state in the country to buy cigarettes. This increase brings the total added cost to $2.83 per pack in taxes.

While some people are frustrated about the tax increase, others are pleased to see the added state money will help fund education. Over the next two years, a planned $2.8 billion will go to higher education, and an estimated $15.7 billion will go to K-12 education.

Tuition freezes and full-day kindergarten aside, what does the tobacco tax mean from a public health standpoint? Will smokers be deterred from buying cigarettes?

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Extreme Couponing: Big Tobacco style

I wouldn’t call myself extreme, but I do tend to let couponing direct some of my grocery shopping. Whatever brand sends me a coupon in the mail is the brand that ends up in my shopping cart.

Everyone likes a good deal, right?

Well, it seems that Big Tobacco is in on the secret, because more and more women and young people of America are being targeted with tobacco coupons.  And according to new research published in Tobacco Controltobacco companies’ aggressive coupon marketing tactics may reduce the likelihood that current smokers will quit.

The report is the first of its kind to illustrate that cigarette coupons have a negative association on smoking cessation.

“We know that raising the price of cigarettes encourages smokers to quit. Coupons are a way to bring the price down, and keep people smoking,” said Kelvin Choi, Ph.D., a research associate at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and lead author of the article. “Smokers who receive these coupons think the tobacco industry cares about their health and well-being, even though industry documents prove that they know their products are addictive and deadly.”

To arrive at his results, Choi analyzed data collected through the Minnesota Adult Tobacco Survey (MATS) Cohort Study, funded by ClearWay Minnesota, which recruited 2,436 participants who were smokers and recent quitters in 2007, and surveyed them between 2008 and 2010.

The study found:

  • Nearly half of smokers reported receiving cigarette coupons.
  • 80% of those who received coupons redeemed them.
  • Women, younger smokers and heavier smokers are disproportionately targeted by coupons.
  • Smokers who use coupons are more likely to believe that tobacco companies care about their health, do their best to make cigarettes safe and tell the truth.
  • Smokers who redeem coupons are 84% less likely to quit smoking.

Though tobacco companies are restricted from using many forms of marketing and advertising, coupons – disseminated through direct mail marketing or other promotional channels – is a legal way to reach consumers.

Next time you grab the mail, check and see if you’re a part of Big Tobacco’s target market. Higher tobacco prices encourage smokers to quit, but will price cuts courtesy of a coupon be enough to bring these same smokers back to the drug?

Watch this video by ClearWay Minnesota to see an example of the coupon redemption process.

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Smoking is hazardous to your health. But for women, it might be “11-years-shorter-lifespan” kind of hazardous.

Unless you’ve somehow avoided all forms of mass communication over the past few decades, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that smoking is bad. But for us ladies, the full hazards of smoking and the benefits of stopping are only now being truly understood. And the results are pretty grim.

Men were early adopters of smoking, with many taking up the habit by the mid-20th century.  But smoking among young women didn’t reach its popularity peak until the 1960s. Because of the time lag, it’s taken until the 21st century to fully observe the consequences of the habit in women.

Now, for the first time, recent findings from the Million Woman Study offer an examination of the long-term health effects on the first generation of women in the UK in which smoking was widespread in early adult life.

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