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22 July 2010

New smoking fee may help to kick the habit

Beginning in the fall, a $50 per semester surcharge will be added to the university health insurance plan of students who smoke.
Students will need to fill out a form on myUM stating whether they are a smoker. Those who confirm that they are smokers, as well as those who do not fill out the form, will be charged the $50.
This will be the first year that students will be charged an additional fee for smoking. University of Miami staff and faculty have been paying a smoking surcharge since 1992.
Under staff and faculty’s 2010 medical plan, smokers’ monthly premium for medical coverage will be increased by $40, and if their spouse/domestic partner is a smoker, their monthly premium will be increased by $40 as well.
Rising junior Shayla Malauulu is on the UM health insurance plan and is currently a smoker.
“I understand that it may be more expensive to cover smokers, but college students aren’t likely to get sick because we haven’t been smoking for long,” she said. “I’m already on my way to quitting and plan to be completely smoke-free by this fall.”
Jennifer S. Cohen, executive director of health plan administration for UM, said that statistics show how costly smoking can be.
“According to the American Cancer Society, smoking-related medical costs averaged more than $100 billion each year between 2000 and 2004,” Cohen said. “This translates to $2,247 in extra medical expenses for each adult smoker per year as of 2004. These additional expenses are for cancer, cardiovascular disease, etc.”
Rising junior Laura Costa is also a smoker, though she is not covered by the student health insurance.   She believes, however, that the surcharge will ultimately be beneficial.
“I think it’s a good thing because if you’re on the school’s health insurance, you should understand that they’re just taking precautions in case something bad happens,” she said. “I think it’ll help people realize that they need to quit smoking.”
In filling out the insurance papers, students are on their honor to be honest about their smoking habits.
Lying, however, may have consequences.
“Students will be referred to the Dean of Students Office for suspected cases of dishonesty,” said Dr. Howard Anapol, director of student health services.
UM’s main campus is taking small steps toward becoming a smoke-free campus, following the example of the Miller School of Medicine campus, which went completely smoke free on March 2.
The university also provides numerous resources to aid students who want to quit smoking and avoid the fine.
The “Be Smoke Free” program offers free “Quit Smoking Now” classes at the wellness center. The classes offer resources for smokers interested in kicking the habit.
Smoking Cessation Services is another option available to help students quit smoking.
Medical providers are available to help with smoking cessation for all students eligible to receive care at the Student Health Services and smoking cessation aids, including nicotine replacements and other medications.
These are free for those on the UnitedHealthCare Student Health Insurance plan.
Rebecca Zimmer may be contacted at rzimmer@themiamihurricane.com.

Beginning in the fall, a $50 per semester surcharge will be added to the university health insurance plan of students who smoke.Students will need to fill out a form on myUM stating whether they are a smoker. Those who confirm that they are smokers, as well as those who do not fill out the form, will be charged the $50.This will be the first year that students will be charged an additional fee for smoking. University of Miami staff and faculty have been paying a smoking surcharge since 1992.Under staff and faculty’s 2010 medical plan, smokers’ monthly premium for medical coverage will be increased by $40, and if their spouse/domestic partner is a smoker, their monthly premium will be increased by $40 as well. Rising junior Shayla Malauulu is on the UM health insurance plan and is currently a smoker.“I understand that it may be more expensive to cover smokers, but college students aren’t likely to get sick because we haven’t been smoking for long,” she said. “I’m already on my way to quitting and plan to be completely smoke-free by this fall.”Jennifer S. Cohen, executive director of health plan administration for UM, said that statistics show how costly smoking can be.“According to the American Cancer Society, smoking-related medical costs averaged more than $100 billion each year between 2000 and 2004,” Cohen said. “This translates to $2,247 in extra medical expenses for each adult smoker per year as of 2004. These additional expenses are for cancer, cardiovascular disease, etc.”Rising junior Laura Costa is also a smoker, though she is not covered by the student health insurance.   She believes, however, that the surcharge will ultimately be beneficial.“I think it’s a good thing because if you’re on the school’s health insurance, you should understand that they’re just taking precautions in case something bad happens,” she said. “I think it’ll help people realize that they need to quit smoking.”In filling out the insurance papers, students are on their honor to be honest about their smoking habits.Lying, however, may have consequences.“Students will be referred to the Dean of Students Office for suspected cases of dishonesty,” said Dr. Howard Anapol, director of student health services.UM’s main campus is taking small steps toward becoming a smoke-free campus, following the example of the Miller School of Medicine campus, which went completely smoke free on March 2.The university also provides numerous resources to aid students who want to quit smoking and avoid the fine.The “Be Smoke Free” program offers free “Quit Smoking Now” classes at the wellness center. The classes offer resources for smokers interested in kicking the habit.Smoking Cessation Services is another option available to help students quit smoking.Medical providers are available to help with smoking cessation for all students eligible to receive care at the Student Health Services and smoking cessation aids, including nicotine replacements and other medications.These are free for those on the UnitedHealthCare Student Health Insurance plan.


Rebecca Zimmer may be contacted at rzimmer@themiamihurricane.com.

One thought on “New smoking fee may help to kick the habit

  1. The new Tobacco Prohibition

    I would like to take the time to tell the entire community about a falsehood so big that everyone who believes in freedom should be appauled.
    This falsehood is so big it resonates from historical fact forward to this day. This falsehood is so big billions of dollars have been spent to make it believable to those of us who dont take the time to look up the facts.
    We all remember reading about alcohol prohibition,but did you know there was also tobacco prohibition going on before alcohol became such a target of the last nanny staters.
    Our great grandparents lived thru prohibition and the great depression,they also lived thru tobacco prohibition.

    Heres a time line starting in 1900,dont be surprised to see the same thing playing out today nearly 100 years later.

    1901: REGULATION: Strong anti-cigarette activity in 43 of the 45 states. “Only Wyoming and Louisiana had paid no attention to the cigarette controversy, while the other forty-three states either already had anti-cigarette laws on the books or were considering new or tougher anti-cigarette laws, or were the scenes of heavy anti- cigarette activity” (Dillow, 1981:10).

    1904: New York: A judge sends a woman is sent to jail for 30 days for smoking in front of her children.

    1904: New York City. A woman is arrested for smoking a cigarette in an automobile. “You can’t do that on Fifth Avenue,” the arresting officer says.

    1907: Business owners are refusing to hire smokers. On August 8, the New York Times writes: “Business … is doing what all the anti-cigarette specialists could not do.”

    1917: SMOKEFREE: Tobacco control laws have fallen, including smoking bans in numerous cities, and the states of Arkansas, Iowa, Idaho and Tennessee.

    1937: hitler institutes laws against smoking.This one you can google.

    Now onto the falsehood……

    We have been told for years by smoke free advocates that second hand smoke is the cause of everything from johnnys ear ache to cousin ED’S lung cancer. But wheres the proof!!!

    Remember they claim 50,000 deaths a year yet,there are no bodys not even mass graves of the dead to second hand smoke.We await the names of these victims.

    A simple stroll down historys road say 10 years or so and we start to get at the truth……

    A federal Judge by the name of osteen got a case dropped in his lap in North Carolina,the case was that of EPA’S study on second hand smoke/environmental tobacco smoke.The judge an anti-tobbaco judge by reputation spent 4 years going thru the study and interviewing scientists at EPA and came to the conclusion :

    JUNK SCIENCE

    ”EPA’s 1992 conclusions are not supported by reliable scientific evidence. The report has been largely discredited and, in 1998, was legally vacated by a federal judge.Before its 1992 report, EPA had always used epidemiology’s gold standard CI of 95 percent to measure statistical significance. But because the U.S. studies chosen[cherry picked] for the report were not statistically significant within a 95 percent CI, for the first time in its history EPA changed the rules and used a 90 percent CI, which doubled the chance of being wrong.

    This allowed it to report a statistically significant 19 percent increase [a 1.19rr] of lung cancer cases in the nonsmoking spouses of smokers over those cases found in nonsmoking spouses of nonsmokers. Even though the RR was only 1.19–an amount far short of what is normally required to demonstrate correlation or causality–the agency concluded this was proof SHS increased the risk of U.S. nonsmokers developing lung cancer by 19 percent.”

    The EPA fought to have Osteen’s decision overturned on technical grounds, ignoring the multitude of facts in the decision. They succeeded in 2002 on the narrowest of technicalities. The fourth circuit court of appeals ruled that because the report was not an official policy document Osteen’s court did not have jurisdiction. In their appeal the EPA did not answer a single criticism in the 92 page report, nor challenge a single fact put forth by Judge Osteen. Not one.

    Although the anti-smoker movement was already established, this report was used, and continues to be used, to bolster their claim that SHS is a killer.
    http://knol.google.com/k/second-hand-smoke #

    So here we find that second hand smoke was made a political scapegoat by EPA.Lets not forget how EPA has reworked the global warming studys just this last summer. Where its top scientists paper was rebuked because it didnt carry the EPA’S stand that global warming was real.

    The political shenanigans surrounding SHS/ETS go deep not only with the government and its health agencies but also to the big pharmaceutical companies and non-profit orginizations aka ACS,ALA,AHA and a meriad of others. All lobbying for smoking bans and their weapon of choise Propaganda paid for by big pharma and tax dollars. Studys made to order that second hand smoke is deadly. Take a memory note here too,over 250 studys on shs/ets have found it safe.

    Yet a simple look at the chemistry shows us that its:

    About 90% of secondary smoke is composed of water vapor and ordinary air with a minor amount of carbon dioxide. The volume of water vapor of second hand smoke becomes even larger as it qickly disperses into the air,depending upon the humidity factors within a set location indoors or outdoors. Exhaled smoke from a smoker will provide 20% more water vapor to the smoke as it exists the smokers mouth.

    4 % is carbon monoxide.

    6 % is those supposed 4,000 chemicals to be found in tobacco smoke. Unfortunatley for the smoke free advocates these supposed chemicals are more theorized than actually found.What is found is so small to even call them threats to humans is beyond belief.Nanograms,picograms and femptograms……
    (1989 Report of the Surgeon General p. 80).

    Now, how odd that when we search the smoke free activists sites not one of them mentions that water vapor and air are the main components of second hand smoke. Is this just a fluke or an outright omission to further their political healthscare against the general public.

    The last informative tid bit I have for you is what does OSHA have to say about all this secondhand smoke stuff.

    Here is where it gets interesting,it seems John Banzhaf, founder and president of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) decided to sue OSHA to make a rule on shs/ets not that OSHA didnt want to play ball with him,its just that the scientific facts didnt back up a rule to start with.

    Now for a rule to happen Osha has to send out for comments for a period of time and boy did the comments fly in, over 40,000 of them….Osha has whats called PEL’S and limits for an 8 hour period of exposure to chemicals in indoor environments…[epa is in charge of outdoor air]some smoke free groups have tried to use 30 minute air samples using epa monitoring to create a air borne healthscare.

    The actual standard to use is OSHA’S

    The EPA standard is to be used for OUTSIDE ambient air quality and it is the average over a period of 3 years.

    The proper standard to compare to is the OSHA standard for indoor air quality for respirable particulate (not otherwise specified) for nuisance dusts and smoke. That standard is 5000 ug/m3 on a time-weighted average (8 hours a day, 5 days a week) and is intended to be protective of health over an average working life of 30 years!

    This is where second hand smoke really becomes a joke,remember its nearly 90% water vapor and air…..now lets get to the facts of toxicology and dose makes the poison:

    According to independent Public and Health Policy Research group, Littlewood & Fennel of Austin, Tx, on the subject of secondhand smoke……..

    They did the figures for what it takes to meet all of OSHA’S minimum PEL’S on shs/ets…….Did it ever set the debate on fire.

    They concluded that:

    All this is in a small sealed room 9×20 and must occur in ONE HOUR.

    For Benzo[a]pyrene, 222,000 cigarettes

    “For Acetone, 118,000 cigarettes

    “Toluene would require 50,000 packs of simultaneously smoldering cigarettes.

    Acetaldehyde or Hydrazine, more than 14,000 smokers would need to light up.

    “For Hydroquinone, “only” 1250 cigarettes

    For arsenic 2 million 500,000 smokers at one time

    The same number of cigarettes required for the other so called chemicals in shs/ets will have the same outcomes.

    So,OSHA finally makes a statement on shs/ets :

    Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)…It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded.” -Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Sec’y, OSHA, To Leroy J Pletten, PHD, July 8, 1997

    WHAT! DILUTED BELOW PERMISSABLE LEVELS

    By the way ASH dropped their lawsuit because OSHA was going to make a rule and that rule would have been weak and been the law of the land,meaning no smoking bans would ever have been enacted anywhere,simply because an open window or a ventilation system would have covered the rule.

    Let me also tell you that the relative risk for shs/ets by the SG report of 2006 was a 1.19 ”EPA study is whats used to call it a carcinogen”……milks is a 2.43 and that glass of chlorinated water your about to drink is a 1.25 yet these things aren’t determined to be a carcinogen….The gold standard in epidemiology is a 3.0….Now had the SURGEON GENERAL included 2 other shs/ets studys the relative risk for disease from shs/ets would have been nearer a.60-.70 meaning it would have a protective effect against ever getting disease.

    But,what each of us has is years and years of exposure and the knowledge that our kids all grew up around shs and generations of others,yet we are here alive not dead from a lousy 30 minute exposure to shs as stanton glantz tries to claim…..thats another story and its just as crazy as all the rest of smokefree’s claim about shs/ets.

    Oh! have you heard the one about ”laugh” thirdhand smoke or third hand drinking.
    Like I said their claims border beyond that of any reasonable persons commomsence.

    The next time you see a healthscare claim
    consider the source.Especially if it comes from a government or non profit agency!

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