30 September 2007

Warning: Big Tobacco Targets Women and Girls

Camel No. 9: Targeting Women and Girls - Glamour, October 2007 Issue
It comes in a shiny black box with flowery hot pink or teal borders. Camel No. 9, the name says in lettering that looks suspiciously like that of a famous perfume. "Light and luscious" reads the enticing slogan. "Loathsome and lethal" would be more accurate. Camel No. 9 cigarettes, introduced in January 2007 by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (RJR), are the latest entry in Big Tobacco's long history of marketing cigarettes to women and girls. The result has been devastating for women's health.

While RJR claims that it is marketing only to women, its advertising and promotions tell a different story. Slick ads for Camel No. 9 have run in magazines popular with girls, including Vogue, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire and InStyle. Find out Glamour, October 2007 Two-page Spread Promotion at the top. Promotional giveaways include berry lip balm, cell phone jewelry, cute little purses and wristbands, all in hot pink.

Camel No. 9 continues a long history of tobacco industry targeting of women and girls that dates back to the 1920s. In the 1960s, Philip Morris introduced the first brand specifically manufactured for women, Virginia Slims, with the marketing slogans "You've come a long way, baby," "It's a woman thing," and "Find Your Voice."

These marketing campaigns cynically equated smoking with independence, sophistication and beauty and preyed on the unique social pressures that women and girls face. Starting in the 1970s and continuing today, women have been targeted with advertising for so-called "light" and "low-tar" brands, which implied claims of reduced risk that the tobacco companies knew to be false.

In the United States, more than 21 million adult women and 1.8 million girls currently smoke cigarettes, putting them at risk for heart attacks, strokes, lung cancer, emphysema and other life-threatening illnesses. As a result, more than 178,400 women die of smoking-caused disease each year, with additional deaths caused by the use of other tobacco products such as smokeless tobacco. While smoking harms and kills both males and females, women smokers face even greater health risks from smoking than men. In the United States, smoking rates among males and females in high school are almost equal (22.9 for males and 23.0 for females), and 18.1 percent of adult women are current smokers.

18 September 2007

Your Mind Is More Powerful Than Your Addiction

Your Mind Is More Powerful Than Your AddictionThere are many books and articles written about quitting smoking and most of them have one thing in common - they talk about how difficult it is to stop the smoking habit. They mention how addictive nicotine is and how tightly smoking is tied to daily events in your life, events such as the first cup of coffee in the morning, driving the car, talking on the telephone, stressful happenings and on and on.

They discuss at length the withdrawal symptoms and side effects you may experience when you stop smoking. Any negative part of the process of becoming a non-smoker is discussed. Is it any wonder that many people fail when they try any of the methods available to help them quit?

When you decide that you want to become a non-smoker begin to prepare your mind for it. The mind is more powerful than the addiction and you can engage it to help you become successful in your efforts. Here are some steps to do that:

Check your motivation. How motivated are you to quit? If you can't honestly say that you are at least 80 percent motivated, work on your motivation. The higher your motivation the easier it is to stop smoking once and for all. Let your self talk say: "It will be wonderful when I can taste my food, enjoy fresh air, be able to breathe deeply, have hair and hands that smell fresh rather than have the odor of stale tobacco, etc." " It will be nice when I save at least $5 every day that I can use for something I really want and will enjoy." " It will be great to have the time I save by not taking smoke breaks to do something I want to do or enjoy doing." You get the idea.

Begin to give yourself positive affirmations about quitting. For instance, "I know my mind is more powerful than the nicotine habit and I can quite smoking any time I choose." or "For me to quit smoking will be as easy as it was to start smoking." or "I am doing everything I can to maintain a healthy, strong body and will avoid all negative symptoms of stopping smoking."

Let your mind grasp the idea that you no longer have a desire to smoke. Why did you start smoking in the first place? To look cool? To be a part of the group? To be rebellious? Because you didn’t have enough things to spend all your money on? Do those reasons exist now? Probably not.

Look at your need to smoke. Is there anything about smoking that you truly need that cannot be taken care of another way? If you have no need to smoke, why do it? Realize that what you do need is: deep breaths of fresh air, a healthy way to deal with stress, water to help wash the nicotine out of your body, good nutrition, exercise, sleep, fun and laughter.

There's nothing in those cigarettes that provide any of these things. Remind yourself of that as you prepare to stop. Before you begin a program to stop smoking supply as many of these as you can. It will make quitting much, much easier.

10 September 2007

Feelings

quit-smoking-FeelingsThe great post was found titled "It is possible - but...". It is a really true story, so let it be republished here without any revision:

Hi folks
I have been a non-smoker since Dec 29th 2004, so that's... 15 months or something. I was 20+ a day etc. etc. When I stopped, I drank more, ate more.

Contrary to the 'information' on this (and other) sites, NRT *IS* addictive. As addictive as cigarettes. Sorry if that offends the people who a) sell it or b) don't want to frighten quitters off trying.

Having said that, using lozenges certainly helped me in my journey but I had to face a moment of giving THEM up which was actually, on reflection, harder than stopping burning cigarettes.

The other point I want to make is that I've trawled so many of these quitting sites / govt. / NHS help resources etc. What's missing from ALL of them (tell me if this is wrong, other successful quitters) is any discussion of the real consequence of smoking. I.E. why we do it: the fact that it suppresses HOW WE FEEL so that we do not FEEL pain / sadness / joy or whatever we need not to feel.

In my experience, THAT is what hits quitters like a ton of bricks and eating more, drinking more alcohol, using NRT or even going to the gym more is usually a way of shifting the addiction to some other behavior so that we don't have to sit with those painful feelings.

Today, I am dope-free, drug-free, cigarette-free AND alcohol free. Before that, I was an ordinary, respectable professional person. When I quit smoking, the *emptiness* and *pointlessness* of life was suddenly overwhelming - but it sure as hell showed me how much work I needed to do to fix the root causes of my 'respectable' addictions.

I'm so PRO-QUIT, you wouldn't believe :-) but I'm just angry that the whole of this smoking debate doesn't face up to the REAL effects on smoking and the real roots of the addictions that keep us trapped like slaves: - FEELINGS and our need to cover them up. When you've quit, look back at the resources / websites / articles that are out there to help you quit. Ask yourself 'where does anyone show me how to deal with feelings that will come the surface; that are the reasons I - and anyone - smoked, drank and used drugs in the first place?'

Why, as a culture, do we SO steadfastly refuse to acknowledge the psychological / emotional roots of addictions?

Good luck to everyone quitting and thinking about it. It's so worth it, but only if you're ready. Not just ready to quit, but ready to face the emotional growth that has to result (unless you just transfer your addiction somewhere else). Say goodbye to slavery but be prepared to face whatever it is that you've been avoiding all these smoking years.

08 September 2007

Make sure your children know about dangers of nicotine addiction

Make sure your children know about dangers of nicotine addictionParents should help children understand that smoking is addictive, dangerous and deadly. Parents have more influence on children than anyone else, so let them know how serious the addiction to nicotine is and educate them about the risks associated with smoking. Help your kids develop a healthy self-image. If they feel confident and sure of themselves, they’ll be better able to resist social pressure to smoke.

Kids get addicted to cigarettes a lot quicker than adults. Children who have smoked only a few cigarettes experience the same symptoms of nicotine addiction as adults, who smoke heavily. A young cigarette smoker can begin to feel powerful desires for nicotine within two days of first inhaling, and about half of children, who become addicted report symptoms of dependence by the time they are smoking only seven cigarettes a month. Many kids are smoking by the time they are 11 years old, and are addicted by the age of 14.

Encourage your children to avoid picking up that first cigarette. Remember! Your input is important. Help your child build a foundation that will keep them smoke free for life. Let them know early and let them know often that smoking is addictive and deadly. Set them up for a healthy life by educating them young about the dangers of smoking.