On Friday, 31 May 2013, Israel and the rest of the world will mark World No Tobacco Day, a campaign that has been launched on a yearly basis since 1987.
This day aims to place the plague of tobacco smoking on the international agenda, and, additionally, to increase prevention awareness and reduce mortality and morbidity from diseases caused by tobacco use.
As World No Tobacco Day approaches, the ICA is launching a new and unique project in collaboration with the Ministry of Transportation.
Thousands of driving theory test takers who are making their way along the road as new drivers are being informed and warned by the ICA to be aware of the danger inherent in smoking from an overall perspective and the risks involved in smoking while driving in particular.
The ICA will be distributing a leaflet to thousands of people who have completed the driving theory test. This is a short leaflet which conveys clear and important messages: such as the risk factor of smoking while driving, which is associated to the cause of road accidents, tobacco smoke particles and toxins that remain in the vehicle, tobacco smoke accumulation in upholstery long after the smoking stops ("thirdhand" smoking), and the toxic chemicals that comprise the cigarette.
Additionally, a sticker is enclosed in the leaflet featuring the slogan: "Cigarettes kill in many ways", recommending drivers to avoid smoking, and particularly when driving. The leaflet itself is designed in the shape of a road was designed and printed by Gitam BBDO Advertising Agency.
Many research studies conducted in Israel and throughout the globe indicate that drivers who smoke while driving are two to three times more likely to be involved in road accidents, due to distraction, or toxicity of chemicals contained in cigarettes (Can J Public Health. 1990).
According to the research scientists, smoking is a far greater distraction while driving than using handheld mobile phones (Ann Ig 2007).
According to Mrs. Miri Ziv, ICA Director General, "raising taxes on tobacco products coupled with increased enforcement of prohibition against smoking in public places, are measures of great significance, and have been proven effective in reducing overall smoking prevalence and especially among teens in different countries around the world. In view of the fact that most smokers begin smoking in their youth, and in their early 20s, raising the prices of cigarettes will have a direct impact on their consumption habits. These interventions and others will help reduce mortality and morbidity rates attributable to smoking".
On World No Tobacco Day, the ICA will be calling on many smokers who would like to kick the habit, spreading the message: take advantage of this special date to quit smoking - cigarettes or hookahs. It is in your power to significantly reduce your risk of developing the disease.
The aim of No Tobacco Day and ICA's year round activity is to combat the plague of tobacco smoking - the leading preventable cause of death in the world.
This day is also designated to encourage most of the non-smoking general population to protect themselves from passive smoking and to motivate younger and older adults alike to stand up for their right to clean air and a healthy life.
The ICA Information Center staff issues reports on the latest research studies presenting new findings on the harmful effects of smoking:
Are smokers at a higher risk of developing leukemia and does the risk decrease due to smoking cessation?
Investigators from the University of Minnesota in the United States have examined the link between cigarette smoking and the risk of developing acute myeloid leukemia - AML - and Chronic Myeloid Leukemia - CML. Similarly, the investigators examined the link between smoking cessation and the risk of developing these diseases.
Research studies in the past have already indicated a link between cigarette smoking and the risk of developing myeloid leukemia, particularly AML, among men and women, but little is known of the link between smoking cessation and the risk of developing the disease.
414 AML patients, 185 CML patients, and the control group comprised of 692 healthy subjects took part in the research study. In all three groups, participants were in the 20-79 age group, including smokers, non-smokers or ex-smokers. The smokers and ex-smokers were asked about their smoking habits.
The intensity of smoking history is measured in "pack-years": the pack-year is measured by the number of packs of cigarettes per day multiplied by the total tobacco smoking duration in years. Such that, for instance, one pack-year would be smoking one pack per day for a year, or smoking two packs per day for half a year.
The research findings showed that the more the person smokes, the greater the risk of developing AML. The risk level remains high and constant when the total tobacco smoking duration reaches 30 pack-years, whereas among smokers who have quit the habit, the risk of developing this disease diminishes with the number of years since smoking cessation occurred.
Conversely, it emerged that the risk of developing CML consistently increases the more the person smokes, and diminishes only 30 years after smoking cessation. Furthermore, based on the research study, it emerges that among those who quit smoking 30 plus years ago, the risk of developing CML and AML is identical to that of individuals who have never smoked.
In short, the investigators conclude that smoking increases the risk of developing CML and AML among men and women alike, and smoking cessation reduces the risk of developing the disease.
The research study was published in Cancer Epidemiology, May 2013 issue.
Do women who smoke during pregnancy put their daughters at greater risk of gestational diabetes and obesity later in life?
Many studies indicate that newborns exposed to smoking suffer short-term effects that include fetal growth restriction, shortened gestational length and an increased risk of perinatal mortality, as opposed to non-exposed babies. Up until recently, reports on possible long-term adverse effects have been scarce and results have been inconsistent.
A research study conducted recently at Lund University in Sweden, which monitored 80,189 pregnancies, investigated the risk of developing gestational diabetes and obesity in women who were exposed to tobacco smoke in utero.
Data were retrieved from the medical birth register of women who were born in 1982 or later, when smoking data were first registered, and who had given birth to at least one child. These women, those in first generation (G1) and their daughters, in second generation (G2), were interviewed about their smoking habits upon their first visit to the maternity clinic. The health condition of the women in G2 was documented in their medical records.
The research results indicated an increased risk of developing gestational diabetes among the women in G2, whose mothers smoked [while pregnant]. The risk of developing the disease was observed both among those who were moderately exposed and those who were heavily exposed in utero to maternal smoking. Moderate exposure was defined as 1-9 cigarettes per day, and heavy exposure was defined as >9 cigarettes per day.
The investigators also found a direct link between the mothers' smoking and the obesity of their offspring, which was measured according to the daughters' Body Mass Index, BMI. A higher risk emerged among daughters of heavy smokers, as opposed to those of moderate smokers.
In conclusion, this research study showed that women exposed to smoking during fetal life are at higher risk of developing gestational diabetes and obesity in adulthood.
This research study was published in the journal Diabetologia, May 2013 issue.
The ICA holds diverse activities marking World No Tobacco Day, such as:
The Annual School Competition on Tobacco Prevention, in memory of the late Dr. Marcus, held on Wednesday 29 May 2013 at Beit Mat, ICA Headquarters in Givatayim.
This competition featured projects related to the war on smoking which reached the finals. This competition is held in collaboration with Shefi - the Psychology and Counseling Unit of the Ministry of Education - and the League against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases, and constitutes a part of the ICA's broad-based year-round activity in schools throughout Israel.
Lectures on this subject are delivered by professional instructors who work with students and help them become opinion leaders, to introduce change within their immediate environment, and motivate friends and family to avoid smoking.
Lectures on tobacco use prevention and cessation were delivered at workplaces and public institutions as well.
During this awareness week, ICA will step up its public information campaign through the various media channels, while placing an emphasis on the harmful effects of smoking - active and passive smoking alike.
The ICA launched an advertising campaign placing an emphasis on the harmful effects of smoking among pregnant women.
This campaign warns against the implications of smoking during pregnancy, and the harm incurred to the smoker, the fetus and the newborn.
This public information ad, presented at the "Golden Fish" Advertising Competition 2012, was produced upon the initiative of the ICA and in collaboration with the BBDO Gitam Advertising Agency.