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Stubbed out!

Joe Camel has gone up in smoke! The controversial cigarette icon puffed his last butt last summer after tobacco companies and state officials agreed to forbid the use of human models and cartoon characters in cigarette ads. Anti-smoking activists claimed Joe Camel enticed children to smoke.

But the most amazing part of the historic deal (which, at press time, was under review by Congress) is that tobacco executives conceded cigarettes can harm smokers.

What made them fess up? One reason was Jeffrey Wigand, a scientist and former tobacco executive. brigand had testified that the cigarette company he once worked for hid evidence that nicotine, an oily liquid produced by tobacco leaves, can be addictive.

Nicotine acts like morphine and codeine, explains Doug Jorenby of the Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention. It stimulates the brain to produce dopamine, one of the body's "feel good" chemicals. Dopamine creates a "high" that keeps smokers puffing pack after pack. (See "Feeling Blue?" on p. 12, for more about brain chemistry.)

The agreement between tobacco companies and state officials would gradually reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes. It would also force tobacco companies to spend millions of dollars promoting anti-smoking programs aimed at teens.

Why so much attention to teen smoking? Studies show that 80 percent of smokers take their first puff before their 18th birthday. Each day, 6,000 teenagers in the United States light up their first cigarette, according to the Centers for Disease Control. And teen smoking is on the rise.

RELATED ARTICLE: FAST FACT

One cigarettes contains from 7 to 9 milligrams of nicotine. If taken all at once, 60 milligrams of nicotine can kill an adult.

FAST FACT

Every day, about 1,160 people die from smoking-related diseases. That's the same as three jumbo jets crashing with no survivors.

FAST FACT

Cigarette smoke contains more than 3,600 different chemicals, including 43 identified carcinogens, or cancer-causing agents.
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Title Annotation:tobacco companies and state officials agree to further limit cigaret ads
Author:Costello, Emily
Publication:Science World
Date:Oct 6, 1997
Words:317
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