The expenditure on cigarette has tripled and that on bidi and smokeless tobacco has doubled since GATS-1, the report pointed out.
Also, the Financial Express explains what the Global Adult Tobacco Survey is:
The GATS is a global standard for systematically monitoring adult tobacco use and tracking key tobacco control indicators. It was a household survey of persons aged 15 and above and was conducted in all states and two Union Territories. The first round of GATS was conducted in 2009-10. The second round of GATS was conducted in 2016-2017 by Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. The survey was conducted under the stewardship of the Ministry of Health and technical assistance was provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
This is really important news because Big Tobacco is relying heavily on increasing its presence in developing nations such as India and Indonesia (the smoking rate in Indonesia is insane). Smoking is dying out in the West because of better education about the dangers of tobacco, so Big Tobacco is pouring more of its resources during the past several years into India, Southeast Asia, Africa and South America, places that tend to have low cigarette taxes and lax rules on tobacco marketing. They would go after China, too, but the Chinese have been pretty aggressive about maintaining state control of its tobacco industry.
Teen vaping use had increased dramatically from 2011 to 2015 (from less than 2 percent to 16 percent in just four years). Why? Kids were seeing lots of advertising in teen magazines and on TV making e-cigs look cool and hip … and harmless. In the long run, despite an initial investment, they’re cheaper than cigarettes. And most of all, they used to be really easy to buy — and still are pretty easy to buy online.
From 2015 to 2016, teen vaping actually dropped a bunch, from 16 percent to 11.3 percent. That’s roughly a 30 percent decrease.
Meanwhile, teen smoking dropped to an all-time low of 8 percent (high school students). Man, when I first started this blog over on blogspot 10-12 years ago, the teen smoking rate was still 22.5 percent. It frustrated the crap out of me because year after year, it refused to drop.
Amazingly, 19 years ago, it was over 35 percent! (Thanks, Joe Camel). Now, it’s down to 8. That is roughly a 72 percent decrease in 19 years. And the combined teen smoking/vaping/chewing rate (essentially any tobacco product) is down to 20.2 percent.
the past couple of years have been frustrating, as well. While it was great to see the the smoking rate among teens dropping dramatically, the teen vaping rate was increasing during that time just as dramatically. What that meant is that roughly the same percentage of kids were still getting addicted to nicotine, but that they had just discovered a new delivery system.
Matt Myers, from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids responds: “This is unimaginable, extraordinary progress. This is a change of a cosmic nature that has the potential to dramatically impact lung cancer, heart disease, asthma and other problems.”
Robin Koval with the Truth Initiative said these latest numbers might be showing that smoking its on its way out for good. Cigarette smoking has really dropped dramatically just in the past five years for a variety of reason — the popularity of vaping, cigarette taxes, the stigma of smoking and smoking bans being the main reasons.
I want to make it clear, I don’t have a problem with adults vaping, especially if it’s helping them quit smoking. I do have a problem with teenagers getting hooked on nicotine to begin with via vaping. And I really have a problem with some of the reckless advertising being done by vaping brands. It’s still nicotine and it’s still one of the most addictive substances on the planet.
Anti-tobacco advocates had a variety of theories behind the dramatic dropoff in teen vaping (one advocate suggested that the experimental allure of e-cigs has worn off). I have a theory that I think more vendors are cracking down on selling vaping products with an ID … and more states are not allowing vaping products to be sold to teens or even to people under 21. This Washington Post article points out that the feds sent out more than 4,000 warning letters to retailers cautioning them against selling e-cigs to minors.
Anyway, it’s looking good for the moment, though the FDA has delayed implementing regulations over e-cigs … and who knows what the Trump administration is going to do on this issue. I have zero trust in them.
This is a post I started a half-dozen times over the past three years and I could never get through it. I would set it aside and then revisit it a few weeks or months later and then I still wouldn’t be able to finish.
Because it was just too hard for me to finish.
It’s a post about Ted, a longtime editor and publisher I worked for for eight years in the 1990s.
It was eight memorable years working for one of the most interesting and eccentric people you’ll ever meet in this business. I never got a chance to say goodbye to Ted. I found out from a former coworker three years ago that he had died of lung cancer at 72.
I was reminded of that this week. It has been almost exactly three years since he died.
I don’t know if Ted ever smoked. He was from the generation in which virtually everyone smoked, but I never saw him once light up a cigarette. Perhaps he smoked long ago. But, ultimately, I don’t believe it matters. No one deserves lung cancer. I watched my dad die of it 38 years ago and despite his four pack-a-day habit, he didn’t deserve that. And 15 percent of the people who die from it never smoked a single cigarette, anyway, so … so what. So, I’m not here to lecture about smoking.
Anyway, it was under Ted that I first became a sports editor. Ted had a vast amount of knowledge and interest in sports. He played basketball at Lafayette University (and my publisher at the time played basketball for the University of Texas. Wow, did I ever feel like a schmoe around those two.). He local sports for 20 years. He was a huge Mariners and Seahawks fan. I had a lot of fun taunting him with how bad the Mariners’ bullpen was in the late 1990s:
“Hey, did you see that eighth inning last night?”
(Ted’s voice) “Oh, my God, I want to kill Bobby Ayala. I swear I hate him, I want him to just die …”
Ted once made the funniest joke I’ve ever heard. We were talking about the NFL or something and he blurted out, “I swear if Hitler played the Dallas Cowboys, I’d cheer for Hitler …” (Making this very funny was the fact that Ted was Jewish.). I literally fell out of my chair laughing.
I was hired there partly to build up the sports coverage on San Juan Island. Ted was one of the few people in this business that I could actually talk hockey with.
Back in those days, if you didn’t have cable, the only TV you would get was CBC in Vancouver, so lots of people there watched the Canadian hockey they’d show from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. every Saturday night (and seven nights a week during the Stanley Cup Playoffs).
In order to write this column, I need to be honest. Ted and I used to really butt heads a lot. I mean, a lot. Because Ted often had a way of doing things that went against everything I was taught in Journalism 101 that would leave me pulling my hair out. He tended to dedicate too much space in his stories talking about the officiating, he had a real blind spot for his own biases sometimes, etc.
One of the biggest fights I remember us getting into was when I covered a state semifinal baseball game, I wrote that an outfielder made a “Ron Swoboda-ish” diving catch to get the final out in the bottom of the seventh. We had an argument that went around in circles for hours because he wanted to change it to Ken Griffey-ish because he had never heard of Ron Swoboda (I did have the edge on him on baseball). I know this must sound petty, but we went around in circles over this for literally six to eight hours. I won that battle. “Ron Swoboda-ish” stayed, but our feathers were ruffled for days afterward.
So, his pet name for me was “the Claude Lemieux of reporters.”
For those who aren’t hockey fans, Claude Lemieux (no relation to Mario) was a pesky, dirty, cheap shot player from the 1990s, the kind of guy the NHL has mostly run out of the league today. That was about the worst insult he could think to throw at me. He thought it was funny to call me Claude Lemieux because he knew it got under my skin. I would just respond, “that doesn’t even make sense.”
But through all that fighting and hair-pulling, I couldn’t help but like the man. He was wickedly funny. He had some weaknesses, sure, we all do, but he also had strengths. Things I genuinely learned from. Ted had a unique ability to sniff out quirky, off-the-wall human-interest stories like no one else I’ve ever seen. For years, I had been nothing but a pure meat and potatoes reporter, in fact, at one paper I worked at, the paper was literally nothing but board meetings and all I did was sit in commission meetings for 40 hours a week. It was pretty damn boring.
So, this is something I’ve tried to take to heart — that these are the kinds of stories that make small-town newspapers valuable to their communities. Trust me, I’m nowhere near as good at it as he was. He simply found stories that no one else could. He did it by wandering through the streets of Eastsound on his way to lunch and listening. And that was the biggest thing I learned from Ted.
At the end, despite all of our battles, when I left, we embraced and all was forgiven. We kept in touch for a few years until Ted retired and moved to Hungary for a while to research his family background (much of his family was wiped out in the Holocaust). After he moved to Budapest, I completely lost track of him. He apparently moved back to the Pacific Northwest a few years ago, but I didn’t realize that and I certainly was shocked to hear that he had become ill and quickly passed away.
That was a rough summer. A coworker of mine died of breast cancer and a good friend of mine died of complications from AIDS and then Ted, all in a period of about four weeks. He was a big part of my career and my life for eight years.
And the danger of drifting away … you don’t get to say goodbye.
I remember many, many years ago a friend of mine moved to Prague and when she came back she told me how incredibly smoky all the pubs and restaurants were there.
Eastern Europe has some of the heaviest smoking rates in all of Europe and some of the most lax smoking laws
Well, the Czech Republic finally joined most of the First World by finally banning smoking in bars and restaurants. According to the Washington Post, Slovakia is now the only EU member nation that does not have any national smoking ban.
Violating the ban is a stiff fine — the equivalent of $190. Ouch!
“Most Czechs approve the ban, but a group of lawmakers have challenged it at the Constitutional Court.
Jakub Storek, owner of the Cafe Liberal in Prague — a popular hangout among local smokers — said he opposed the ban.
“It’s hard to predict the impact at the moment,” he said. “But I guess it would be different clients coming here in the future.”
Stepan Ourecky said he would still come, but may light up outside the cafe.
“Or perhaps, I will smoke less,” the 18-year old student said.”
Only a few countries in Europe still allow indoor smoking. Portugal has weak smokefree laws and another is Austria, which is going completely smokefree in 2018. Most of the other non-smokefree countries are in the former Yugoslavia.
Lung cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer. At one time 90 percent of the people who developed lung cancer died from the disease. The number is better now, but the death rate for lung cancer is still one of the highest for any form of cancer.
The five-year survival rate today for lung cancer is still only about 17.7 percent and more than half the people who are diagnosed die within a year. However, early detection is key. Lung cancer is a bitch about metastasing to other parts of the body. If it can be caught early while still localized in the lung, the five-year survival rate jumps to 55 percent.
They haven’t found a cure, of course, but no drugs are making big progress on lung cancer, as well as prostate and breast cancers.
One of the main drugs used against a certain kind of lung cancer (that younger people and nonsmokers tend to get) is Xalkori, makde by Pfizer. This new drug is called Alecensa, made by Roche.
The AP did a big story on this last week. From the story:
“Roche’s Alecensa stopped cancer growth for 15 months longer than Pfizer’s Xalkori did in a study of 303 people with advanced lung cancer and a mutation in a gene called ALK. About 5 percent of lung cancer patients — 12,500 in the U.S. each year — have an ALK mutation, especially younger people and nonsmokers who get the disease.
Alecensa kept cancer from worsening for 26 months versus 11 months for Xalkori. It also penetrates the brain better: Only 9 percent of those on it had their lung cancer spread to the brain during the first year of treatment versus 41 percent of those on Xalkori. Serious side effects and deaths were less common with Alecensa.
The federal Food and Drug Administration approved it in December 2015 for ALK-related lung cancers that worsened despite trying Xalkori. The new study tested it as initial treatment and is aimed at getting full approval for that.
Xalkori is around $10,000 a month and Alecensa about $12,500.”
So, this drug extends the life of lung cancer patients by two years on the average.
Look at the price tag, though. Imagine trying to pay for that without medical coverage.
Obviously not a cure, but maybe making a dent in that terrible survival rate. Incredible with the advances in treating cancer, especially childhood leukemia, that they have made so little progress in treating lung cancer. I think that is partly because of the stigma that continues to surround lung cancer compared to other kinds of cancer.
Another promising front is immunotherapy with drugs such as Keytruda (this is an esperimental drug taken by Jimmy Carter when he was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer a few years ago and he’s still kicking). I’ve written about this before.
The overall response rate (ORR) of 45% reported for pembrolizumab (Keytruda) first-line is unprecedented, Dr Soria said. Together with the superior progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS), as well as the better tolerability, when compared with chemotherapy, these findings indicate that pembrolizumab is now “the new gorilla” in the treatment of (non-small cell lung cancer), and probably a new standard of care, he said.
There was also good news on the breast cancer and prostate cancer fronts. A new drug called Zytiga delayed cancer growth for 18 months for men with advanced prostate cancer, while a drug called Lynparza helped delay breast cancer growth for seven months.