In a study published in open access journal BMC Public Health, researchers have unveiled that US adults have very less knowledge about the chemical components of cigarette smoke. Awareness about chemical components remained low irrespective of the fact that they have earlier looked for relevant information.
Study researchers have suggested that the FDA should widen up its messaging activities level so that people could get information about the components present in cigarette smoke. This information is especially very important for tobacco product use and health risks associated with them.
Study’s lead researcher Marcella Boynton said that majority of the US population wants to have an easy access to information with regard to chemicals present in cigarettes and other tobacco products. Boynton said that they were quite surprised to know that the group, young adults and smokers, they were thinking to have least interest in looking out for the information were found to be the ones who have mostly looked out for the same.
The researchers have carried out a nationally representative telephone survey in which 5,014 US adults aged 18 and above took part. In order to ensure that the sample reflected smokers, young adults and minority groups, the survey oversampled high smoking/ low income areas.
The researchers mentioned that among the groups were people living in poverty, having lower education and sexual minorities.
The research paper has unveiled that 27.5% have admitted to look for information on tobacco products and tobacco smoke. It is important to know what is present in these products as they are poisonous and cancer-causing.
Out of the adults, 37.2% were young adults and 34.3% were smokers. In the case of non-smokers and elderly, 26% have reported that they have looked for information on tobacco components. Majorly, people were not having awareness of components present in cigarette smoke than nicotine.
More than 50% of the respondents said that they would prefer having relevant information on cigarette packs and 28.7% said that they prefer checking the information online. It means that people are interested in knowing about the tobacco constituent.
If there is interest it can definitely improve public health in the US, where tobacco is leading cause of preventable death and disease. Boynton mentioned, “By making tobacco chemical information available to the public and tobacco industry practice more transparent, those seeking this information may be less likely to start smoking and more likely to quit because they will be better informed”.
As the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the FDA was given the responsibility to regulate the tobacco industry. The authority was expanded to include tobacco products.
The FDA has started educational campaigns with an aim to increase public awareness of potential health harms associated with tobacco products. The researchers even asked the participants about if they have ever heard of the FDA and whether it could regulate tobacco products.
Majority of the US adults, 94.6% reported of having heard of the FDA. The majority of smokers, 66.6% and non-smokers, 65.0% believed that the FDA could effectively regulate tobacco products. More research work is needed to monitor public response to FDA communications and changing patterns of tobacco use.
“Marcella Boynton, first author of the research paper, said: “The majority of the U.S. public wants easy access to information about chemicals in cigarettes and other tobacco products. Surprisingly, our results reveal that groups one might presume to be the least psychologically motivated to look for this information, young adults and smokers, were more likely to say that they had previously looked for this information,” according to a news report published by Science Daily.
“By making tobacco chemical information available to the public and tobacco industry practice more transparent, those seeking this information may be less likely to start smoking and more likely to quit because they will be better informed about the toxic chemicals present in tobacco products.”
According to a story published on the topic by HNGN News, “Ten years ago, the Surgeon General concluded there is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke exposure,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “We’ve made great progress in protecting many Americans from secondhand smoke exposure, but millions of Americans, especially those living in southeastern states, are still unprotected from this completely preventable health hazard.”
“Smoke-free laws provide a low-cost, high-impact benefit to the public’s health,” said Corinne Graffunder, Dr.P.H., director of CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “These laws substantially improve indoor air quality, help smokers quit, prevent youth and young adults from starting to smoke, change social norms about the acceptability of smoking, and reduce heart attack and asthma hospitalizations among non-smokers.” The number of states with comprehensive smoke-free laws increased from zero in 2000 to 26 by 2010, including the District of Columbia.
A report published in PR News Wire revealed, “Comprehensive smoke-free laws prohibit smoking in all indoor areas of worksites, restaurants, and bars. The number of states (including the District of Columbia) with comprehensive smoke-free laws increased from none in 2000 to 28 by June 9, 2016. Despite this progress, only two states (North Dakota and California) have achieved comprehensive smoke-free status since 2010. With California’s removal of exemptions in their smoke-free law on June 9, nearly 60 percent of Americans are now covered by comprehensive smoke-free laws at the state or local level, up from less than three percent in 2000. ”
Exposure to secondhand smoke causes heart disease and lung cancer, which together kill more than 41,000 American non-smokers every year. And even brief exposure to secondhand smoke harms health. Completely eliminating indoor smoking is the only way to fully protect non-smokers. Separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air, and ventilating buildings cannot eliminate secondhand smoke exposure.