ICA launches new initiatives marking World No Tobacco Day observed throughout the globe each year on May 31, upon the initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO).
This unique day aims to place awareness of the health repercussions of the smoking epidemic on the global agenda and to increase awareness to promote prevention of tobacco-related morbidity and mortality which is the leading preventable cause of death.
New in Israel! An SMS-based smoking cessation intervention program of the Hadassah School of Public Health, in collaboration with the ICA, and the Ministry of Health. Dr. Haggai Levin of Hadassah heads this program.
The ICA in a new video clip produced by the Kids' Channel as part of the "Band" Project: "You smoke?! It's no joke!" The clip was posted on youtube and has had many views.
In addition, a new logo © (all rights reserved to the Israel Cancer Association) was produced for the ICA by the Kids' Channel; this logo will lead all ICA smoking prevention campaigns, under the tagline: "You smoke? It's no joke!"
A new ICA ad "When you smoke at home - everyone at home smokes along with you" - is aimed at cautioning viewers of the inherent dangers of "third-hand" smoking, based on scientific studies. This ad was produced on a volunteer basis by Gitam BBDO. Please click here to view ad.
"When you smoke at home - everyone at home smokes along with you"
The ICA has provided posters cautioning against the harmful effects of smoking for Student Unions that have chosen to hang them up in strategic spots on university campuses (the Academic College at Wingate, the Academic College of Emek Yezreel, Ruppin Academic Center, the College of Management - Academic Studies (COMAS) in Rishon LeZion and other academic institutions). A case in point is the poster bearing an anti-wrinkle warning: you women who smoke develop wrinkles, but it also makes it clear that: Wrinkles from smoking are the least of your worries - smoking kills!")! This poster was hung up in women's washrooms, and the poster cautioning that smoking can lead to impotence was hung up in men's washrooms.
Click here to view the poster hung up in women's washrooms
Click here to view the poster hung up in men's washrooms
New in Israel - development of SMS-based smoking cessation intervention program
Developing new approaches to help people quit smoking is an important aim in terms of public health. Smoking cessation support programs with the help of text messages to mobile phones have been found to be feasible and effective in several countries. The method is undoubtedly appropriate for implementation in Israel, a country that leads in mobile phone use.
This program is jointly developed and funded by the ICA, the Ministry of Health and the School of Public Health at Hadassah, and will encompass a system of interactive messages and numerous components of individual behavioral counseling for smoking cessation.
Participants in the program will join via the internet, while at the initial stage, they will be asked to complete personal details that will examine their suitability for the program and to describe their smoking habits.
The participants will undergo a gradual process consisting of several stages: the stage of increasing awareness of a hazardous habit, the preparatory (social/environmental/personal) stage and the smoking cessation stage and coping with withdrawal symptoms.
The program upon the initiative and under the direction of Dr. Haggai Levin, a public health physician and expert in smoking cessation of the School of Public Health, Hebrew University - Hadassah, will be spread out over three years, and shall begin to operate within the coming months.
"You smoke? It's no joke!"
A new ICA logo and clip produced by the Kids' Channel
In order to increase awareness of the harmful effects of smoking among teens, the ICA joined forces with the "Band" Kids' Channel TV show, to produce a targeted video ad relating to the harmful effects of smoking, in a language and style that speaks to teens.
The clip was produced along with contestants on the "Band" program, and Kids' Channel stars, and was recently posted on youtube. The clip also received a time slot in the broadcasting schedule of the Kids' Channel.
Additionally, a digital activity is held on the Kids' Channel website, containing an alternating viewership riddle, the contents of which have been written by the ICA.
As part of this activity, a new and unique logo was designed and launched, to lead ICA campaigns on smoking prevention under the slogan: "You smoke? It's no joke!" © (all rights reserved Israel Cancer Association).
"Thirdhand Smoking" -"When you smoke actively at home - you expose everyone at home to passive smoking"
Thirdhand smoking is a relatively new concept in the research on the harmful effects of smoking, defined by research scientist Winickoff in 2009. This concept refers to the exposure to the tobacco smoke particles and toxins can persist in the environment long after various tobacco products, such as cigarettes and hookahs, are extinguished.
The dangerous toxins remain in the surfaces of the areas where someone has smoked, and are gradually emitted back into the air, thus endangering people's health, and particularly that of babies and small children.
Studies show that thirdhand smoking attaches itself to clothing, hair, skin, dust, furniture, blinds, walls, linens, carpets and car seat upholstery and other surfaces, and these materials linger long after the tobacco product has been extinguished.
This means that when people smoke at home, in the car or anywhere else, it should be taken into account that even if non-smokers are not around at the time of smoking, the very act of smoking in shared spaces may expose them to toxic agents later on, and endanger their health.
It is a known fact that babies and children are more sensitive than adults to the harmful effects of "forced smoking" (secondhand), as well as to those of thirdhand smoking, as they breathe more air than adults, and therefore breathe in more pollutants relative to their body weight, as opposed to adults.
Children spend many hours at home, they tend to put their hands in their mouths, and they cannot choose to leave an environment in which people are smoking, or tell adults not to smoke next to them. In view of the aforesaid, it is very important to maintain a completely smoke-free environment at home, in the car, at work and in public places such as restaurants and hotels.
The ICA has launched a new ad marking World No Tobacco Day, in order to increase public awareness of the inherent dangers of thirdhand smoking. This ad was produced on a volunteer basis by the Gitam BBDO advertising agency.
The WHO FCTC (Framework Convention on Tobacco Control)
The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control was ratified by the Israeli government in 2005, with the aim of significantly and gradually reducing the prevalence of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke, and to prevent the tremendous adverse effects incurred on public health as a result.
It is estimated that today over 8,000 people die in Israel each year (of cancer related diseases in general, lung cancer in particular, cardiovascular, respiratory and other diseases). This is a shocking statistic, which highly exceeds the number of people who die as a result of road accidents, AIDS and terror attacks.
The ad is accompanied by a table that clarifies which sections of the Convention have been implemented in Israel - it may be noted that in a significant portion of the sections, there is still partial implementation of a significant portion of the sections of this Convention in Israel, or, alternately, these laws are going through the stages of the legislative process.
What has already been done?
Price hike: in recent years the Ministry of Finance raised the taxes on tobacco products several times, with the support of the Ministry of Health and the ICA.
Equalizing taxes on all tobacco products: up to 2012, taxes on tobacco products in Israel were not uniform, while the cigarette tax was higher. In 2012, changes in the tobacco tax and the tobacco products tax were approved, including Tombac (processed hookah tobacco), pipe, cigar and cigarillo tobacco, and a gradual draft began for tax equalization, to make it akin to the tax imposed on cigarettes. The tax increase will be implemented in early 2014.
Reducing the duty-exemption for tobacco products: as of January 2014, the exemption from customs duty on tobacco products was reduced from two packs to only one pack at duty free stores.
Publication ban: In Israel, since 1983, there has been a law restricting the advertising and distribution of tobacco products, which was initiated by the ICA. This law, which was amended over the years, does not impose a complete ban on advertising, as required by the Convention, but rather imposes certain restrictions, and the Economics Committee has discussed the amendment to the bill at length, according to which publication will be completely banned in all media, however in view of the strong opposition on the part of newspapers and tobacco companies, this legislation was not implemented.
Warning labels on tobacco products: In Israel there is an obligation to publish a written warning label on all tobacco products. The space available for the health warning must cover at least 5% of the surface area of the cigarette pack. In January 2014, legislative proceedings, initiated by the Ministry of Health to secure an increase in the size of the warning label appearing on the tobacco product ad [from 5%] to 30% of the ad's surface, and in addition, to include graphic warnings, were disrupted. This initiative was interrupted, due to the opposition to other sections of the bill which included, as aforementioned, imposition of a complete publication ban.
Education, communications, public education and awareness: the ICA leads the fight against the smoking epidemic on all fronts, through public information and education, at schools, public institutions, and workplaces, and conducts educational programs and public information campaigns in the media - which have been proven effective ("The Shy Ones", etc.).
Protection from exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke: the law prohibiting smoking in public places has been expanded over the years. Recently, the bill banning smoking in sports stadiums (with the exception of the balcony for smokers) was passed on its first reading to the Knesset plenum. Another bill to ban smoking in playgrounds was brought to the Knesset plenum for a preliminary reading.
Reducing tobacco dependence and encouraging cessation: since 2010, smoking cessation services have been included in the [Health Ministry's] drug basket. This service includes a smoking cessation workshop based on behavioral therapy principles, and prescription drug subsidies for those participating in workshops; the number of workshops that the healthcare funds conduct every year is on the rise; each year new moderators and consultants are trained for smoking cessation [groups]; Maccabi and Clalit healthcare funds operate a free, telephone-based tobacco cessation counseling service (quitline).
What else should be legislated and promoted?
Significant price hikes should be initiated, as was done in New York, a strategy that led to a dramatic decrease in smoking rates. It has been proven that price hikes are a most effective strategy for reducing the prevalence of smoking, and as well for reducing the number of young people who take up smoking.
Tobacco product advertising of any kind, via any media must be prohibited. It has been proven that direct and latent advertising, such as reality TV shows, movies, etc., encourage smoking, particularly among young people.
Latent advertising must be counteracted.
Large warnings should appear on cigarette packs in Israel, including photos, pursuant to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control recommendations.
There should be enforcement of smoke-free public places, and penalties should also be imposed on citizens for violation of the law. In Israel there is a lack of enforcement of laws, and legislative proceedings call for significant improvement. Without enforcement, these laws will be rendered powerless.
We must continue to endeavor to increase awareness and promote the public's current knowledge about smoking and its hazards.
We must completely cancel the customs on tobacco products in duty free stores.
The smoking cessation services should focus particularly on the Arab society, in which smoking rates are extremely high among men, and these programs should also be expanded to special groups: mentally challenged, and teens through the health and education systems (the ICA currently runs a smoking cessation workshop in conjunction with Enosh the Israel Mental Health Association).
Smoking rooms should be completely removed from indoor areas, such as restaurants and workplaces, as the Convention recommends, and smoking should be restricted in open spaces such as public parks.
Over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies should be subsidized.
Please click here to view the complete table
New Studies Courtesy of the Israel Cancer Information Center
Do laws restricting smoking in public places have an impact on public health? Three new studies which complement additional studies on the influence of laws banning smoking in public places.
A meta-analysis of 5 North American studies and 6 European studies demonstrated a significant effect of smoke-free legislation on perinatal and child health: out of 1,300,000 births, there was over 10% reduction in the number of preterm births, as well as a 10% reduction in hospital attendance for asthma. This study provides strong support for WHO recommendations to create smoke-free environments.
This article was published in the May 2014 issue of Lancet Journal.
A study conducted in California that compared smoking behaviors among 1718 current smokers, as compared to the previous year, indicated that among subjects residing in an apartment building with a total ban, a significant 2.4-fold reduction was observed in the number of subjects who smoked, and a 1.7-fold increase was observed in the number of quit attempts, as compared to areas with no home ban. Among the subjects residing in a home with a total ban, a 1.7-fold reduction was observed in the number of cigarettes that the subjects smoked, and a 1.8-fold increase in the number of quit attempts, compared to those residing in towns where there is no such ban.
This research study was published in February 2014 in Preventive Medicine Journal.
A study conducted in Portugal, evaluated the impact of a 2008 smoke-free law on indoor air quality and on workers' health in restaurants.
The researchers measured the concentrations of various compounds, including respirable suspended particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, and benzene, in 10 restaurants and compared them to measurements that were taken in the pre-ban phases. In addition, the workers answered questionnaires on exposure to secondhand smoking and various respiratory symptoms, in the pre-and post-ban phases.
The research findings indicate that the ban resulted in a significant reduction in the concentrations of all compounds that were tested, with the exception of carbon dioxide levels, apparently due to the inefficient ventilation in the restaurants. Moreover, there was a significant marked reduction in various health-related symptoms such as tracheal itching, irritated eyes and headaches, as reported by the restaurant workers.
This study may have implications for legislators and could provide a useful contribution to the implementation of additional smoke-free laws.
This study was published online in February 2014 in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene.
These results indicate that smoking bans protect non-smokers [secondhand smokers] - adults, children and newborns - in their homes and at the workplace, and also increase smokers' odds of quitting smoking.
Is there a link between maternal smoking during pregnancy and the risk of bipolar disorder in offspring?
Past studies have demonstrated the relationship between maternal smoking during pregnancy and lifetime risk for bipolar disorder in offspring, such as attention deficit disorder, disruptive behavior disorders, a high risk of substance use and antisocial traits. In a cohort study conducted at several U.S. universities, the research scientists sought to examine whether offspring exposed to maternal smoking in utero would be at increase lifetime risk for bipolar disorder - individuals with bipolar disorder suffer from disruptive behavior disorders, hyper-activity and sometimes aggression and impulsivity. Teenagers and adults who suffer from this disease exhibit high rates of smoking and substance use.
The researchers employed large-scale information databases which provided reliable data regarding bipolar and healthy patients, and about their mothers' lifestyles. The information regarding the mothers included their age, ethnicity, psychiatric history, substance use, smoking habits, alcohol consumption and maternal medical records. 214 individuals with bipolar disorder were interviewed by clinicians, to qualify their disease according to standard diagnostic criteria. Of whom 72 women and men were selected as suitable candidates for case subjects. 754 healthy individuals were selected as the control group from the information databases, and they were matched to case subjects on date of birth, sex, and the availability of archived information regarding the mothers' lifestyles.
The researchers discovered that maternal smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of lifetime risk of bipolar disorder in the newborn by 2-fold. The mother's ethnicity, psychiatric history, alcohol and caffeine consumption, or offspring birth weight, did not have an impact on this finding, nor did the number of cigarettes that the mother smoked.
The investigators indicate that this is the first study that has shown a relationship between maternal smoking during pregnancy and the risk of bipolar disorder in offspring. However, the investigators indicate that additional research studies are required to refute the possibility according to which the mother smokes as a result of a genetic disorder and that this is what in turn has had an impact on the offspring and has caused the disease.
This study was published in the October 2013 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.
Electronic Cigarette Use and Conventional Cigarette Use among U.S. Adolescents
Researchers of the University of California sought to evaluate conventional cigarette use as opposed to electronic cigarette use among US adolescents.
Electronic cigarettes are marketed in the media as a smoking cessation tool. According to various studies, many adolescents who seek to quit smoking conventional cigarettes, use e-cigarettes, however the effectiveness of an e-cigarette as a smoking cessation tool, is cast in doubt, in view of the high rates of adolescents who smoke conventional cigarettes and e-cigarettes at the same time. Similarly, other research studies that were conducted among the adult population indicated that an e-cigarette does not contribute to smoking cessation.
Investigators of the University of California, analyzed data from a representative sample of U.S. middle and high school students, who completed the 2011 and 2012 National Youth Tobacco Survey. The survey encompassed diverse questions regarding tobacco consumption and usage, smoking habits, and quit attempts.
As part of this study, data on 39,882 students from 50 states around the U.S. were examined. The investigators classified the users and smokers as follows:
Ever conventional cigarette use - 100 cigarettes (5 packs), or more during a lifetime; current conventional cigarette use - at least 100 cigarettes over the last month.
Ever e-cigarette use - one time use; current e-cigarette use- use over the last month, at least once a day.
The study results indicate that those who currently use e-cigarettes had a 7-fold increased risk of ever conventional cigarette use, and an 8-fold increased risk of current cigarette smoking.
Indeed, 45% of ever smokers of e-cigarettes, in 2011, and 62% of ever smokers of e-cigarettes in 2012 did not become regular smokers of conventional cigarettes, however, conversely, about 50% of current e-cigarette smokers, simultaneously smoked conventional cigarettes both in 2011 and in 2012.
The investigators indicate that the results of this study show that e-cigarette use does not reduce use of conventional cigarettes, and may even encourage conventional cigarette use among US adolescents.
This research study was published in the March 2014 issue of JAMA Pediatrics.