Tobacco Info

From Tobacco Info No. 2 - September 2010
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Research update by OTRU


The Ontario Tobacco Research Unit (OTRU) is an Ontario-based research network that is recognized as a Canadian leader in tobacco control research, monitoring and evaluation, teaching and training and as a respected source of science-based information on tobacco control. In each issue of Tobacco Info, OTRU will write a review of the latest groundbreaking tobacco studies around the world. More information can be found on


Framework Convention on Tobacco Control


The American Journal of Public Health published a feature issue on tobacco including a focus on systems theory and tobacco. Marcus and colleagues found that NGO participation in the Framework Convention Alliance and membership in GLOBALink, a tobacco control online community, were predictors of early ratification of the Framework Convention. In the Journal of Public Health Policy, Blouin and Dubé of Carleton University also applied the lessons of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to diet-related chronic disease, and suggest that a global policy response is necessary to deal with the multinational actors and interests in obesity prevention.


Smokeless tobacco


In Tobacco Control, Mejia, Ling and Glantz use a simulation model to explain the potential health impact of smokeless tobacco promotion as part of harm reduction strategy in the US. They conclude that it is very unlikely that smokeless tobacco promotion would have any significant health impact, but that it would not result in overall health benefits at the population level.


Hardcore smokers


Michelle Costa and colleagues report, in Nicotine and Tobacco Research, that the prevalence of “hardcore” smokers represents between 0 and 13% of the population of Ontario, depending on how hardcore is defined. Few smokers are both highly nicotine dependent and have no intention to quit. In Addiction, Gundle, Dingel and Koenig examine tobacco industry documents to suggest that the industry supported genetic research into nicotine addiction, with the hope to relieve industry responsibility for tobacco-related disease. They suggest that the tobacco industry will look into using genetic research to define “safe smokers.”


Smoking in psychiatric institutes


Canadian researchers make the case for excluding tobacco use from psychiatric institutions in the Journal of Addiction Psychiatry, suggesting that, for too long, tobacco has been accommodated, despite its toll as the leading cause of death among people with psychiatric and substance use disorders. They call for more hospitals to join Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in going smoke-free. In Australia, Wye, in the Journal of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing, found that many nurse managers are still reluctant to provide nicotine dependence treatment to smokers in psychiatric settings. Hajek, Taylor and McRobbie suggest, in Addiction, that not treating smoking can be detrimental and that smoking may overall generate or aggravate negative emotional states. They examined the longitudinal changes in stress levels of participants in a stop smoking trial after quitting smoking, and found that quitters recorded a significantly larger decrease in stress than those who continued smoking.


Second-hand smoke


Pam Kaufman and co-authors from the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit, in the journal Health and Place, identify factors that influence where people smoke outdoors, and the impact of smoking on people who use outdoor public places. Through direct observation and semi-structured interviews, they found that 37% of smoking at the various sites observed was within nine metres of an entrance, and that non-smokers found the smoking to be problematic. Other factors related to outdoor smoking locations include shelter, convenience, the social culture of smoking, visibility and the presence of non-smokers. Good news on second-hand smoke came from a report in Pediatrics which showed that fewer kids are being exposed to smoke in the home. Singh and colleagues reported that, overall, about 5.5 million American children, or 7.6%, were exposed to second-hand smoke in the home in 2007, down from 35% in 1994. Winickoff, Gottlieb and Mello, in the New England Journal of Medicine, also called for regulation of smoking in public housing in order to protect more children from second-hand smoke.


– by Michael Chaiton