Are you ready, yet?
Make the Leap TODAY! What better day than leap Day?
When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. Lao Tzu
If you're reading this and still smoking it's because you know that it's past time to quit smoking.But just like all of us who have Successfully Quit you are full of uncertainty and anxiety. We all were! You are no different in this aspect than any addict.So what can you do? Well, for me, Knowledge is POWER! So I came here and I read a lot of Blogs, especially those written by the EXperts who have Successfully Quit for Months and even Years and stay here simply to help show us the way!!! How fortunate! Real People who were right where you are now and ARE right where you want to be! So they told me to prepare my QUITTITUDE! They told me to change my PERSPECTIVE! They told me to find a NEW FOCUS! And they told me to READ:
and Allen Carr's book - "The Easy Way To Stop Smoking" - free download - http://joga.365.lt/Allen-Carr_Easy-Way-To-Stop-Smoking_Download-free-PDF-EBook
Now, how simple can they make it for us? They have just laid out every single thing I need to know right here! I don't even have to search for it! And they told me that if I have any questions, doubts, frustrations, lost feelings, to come right back here pronto - before I make a stupid mistake and ASK FOR HELP and somebody would get back to me immediately 24/7! You know what? They DID! They have been here for me in each and every stage of this Quit Journey! That's what this Community is all about - PEOPLE HELPING PEOPLE save their own LIVES! There is nothing you've told yourself about smoking and quitting that they haven't either said themselves or heard before - Nothing! They can help you BECOME AN EX for LIFE!!!!! My name is Thomas and I have 712 Smoke FREE Days because I LISTENED and I LEAPED! YOU CAN, TOO!
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost...I am hopeless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I'm in the same place.
But it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in...it's a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
I walk down the same street.
There is a hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
I walk down another street.
Are you tired of climbing out of that hole yet?
The binds between North Carolina and the tobacco industry have been strong and long. From tobacco farms to cigarette production, the Tar Heel state's history is as closely aligned with the crop as any.
To receive assistance quitting tobacco including free tobacco cessation products, call QuitlineNC at (800) QUIT-NOW or (800) 784-8669.
But history has taken a turn in recent years.
The tobacco buyout program, master settlement agreement and new legislation banning the use of cigarettes in public places like bars, restaurants and hospitals means tobacco isn't the "golden leaf" that it once was in North Carolina's economy, and officials can focus on providing tools to help those who want to kick the habit.One such tool is a program called QuitlineNC. Funded by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, QuitlineNC provides many resources including "quit coaches," medications and support 24 hours a day through a toll-free telephone line. A one-time transfer of funds to the department from the former N.C. Health and Wellness Trust Fund is helping keep QuitlineNC afloat through the end of June, but funding for the program may be in jeopardy when state legislators tweak the budget in the short session.
"That's why I say there's never been a time (like now) to quit," said Ann Houston Staples, director of public education and communication with the Tobacco Prevention and Control branch of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
Staples said those who want to quit can call QuitlineNC any hour of the day and talk with an intake operator. They can then talk with a quit coach to create a plan.
"Let's say you're planning for a quit that will happen in two weeks," Staples said. "Your quit coach will call you on your quit date to give you encouragement and set up additional appointments where you can touch base with your quit coach. It's an ongoing relationship where they're backing you up, giving you advice and there to help you get through the difficult early weeks."
Thousands of North Carolinians have used QuitlineNC since its inception several years ago.Staples is encouraged that trends show young North Carolinians are saying no to tobacco in record numbers. She said that strong media campaigns are making a difference as well as education on the local level. But parents are still the biggest influence.
"One thing is clear. The No. 1 risk factor for smokers is someone in the household who is a smoker," Staples said.Parents who are quitting or who have quit can be a good role model for their children. But even those who still smoke can talk to their children and let them know how they regret starting to smoke and how hard it is to quit.
"They can still have a positive impact on their kids," Staples said.
The Arizona Smokers’ Helpline announced today, that they are now offering a free iPhone app that will help people kick their smoking habit. Call It Quits combines all of the recommended tools that help you quit for good: peer support, instant access to a quit coach, and progressive goal-setting. The app is also available through the ASHLine Facebook page.
“This new app is ideal for the fast-paced world we live in and is an aid to any ‘quit smoking’ attempt,” said Stephen Michael, director of the ASHLine. “It is another way to help smokers stop smoking and a direct line to our quit coaches. It has many benefits like goal tracking and is the only app that provides the instant ‘call a coach’ feature, which is really important because the average smoker has multiple cravings a day lasting between 30 to 90 seconds.”
Doctors believe that a strong support base is key to battling any addiction. Call It Quits provides this in the form of a profile function where users upload their picture and create a community of friends who are also quitting. Users have the convenience of texting or emailing their family, friends or quit coach instantly when they need support. The app also awards stars and badges on the users Facebook page so friends can celebrate milestones.
“Providing support goes a long way in helping smokers quit. Whether they’re making a first attempt to quit, have stopped smoking for a month or have been quit for years and now relapsed, it is a constant battle to quit and stay quit,” said Wayne Tormala, Arizona Department of Health Services Bureau Chief for Tobacco and Chronic Disease. “The Call It Quits app will go where smokers go; ready to help whenever they need it.”
The Arizona Smokers’ Helpline offers free telephone quit coaching at 1-800-55-66-222 and free online quit coaching services at ASHLine.org, and information about all FDA-approved over-the-counter and prescription medications, which are all equally important components for an effective cessation program.
Call It Quits joins the ranks of numerous smoke cessation Apps on the market including, Quitter,LIVESTRONG MyQuit Coach, and Smoke Out. Technology is being used more and more to fight nicotine addiction. Earlier in the year The National Cancer Institute, with the help of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, launched a cessation program using text messaging to get teens to kick the habit.
Early last century, smoking was considered very much a man’s pursuit.
Silent films tended to depict only promiscuous women or prostitutes with cigarettes, and in a 1920 survey, British women’s consumption of cigarettes was considered too low to even record.
But as the Second World War drew near, tobacco firms began seeking new customers – and women were the obvious target.
Breath of fresh air? An early 1930s advert (left) claiming cigarettes help you lose weight. In the 1960s, adverts like this Benson and Hedges one (right) suggested smoking showed a woman's independence and modernity
Advertisers homed in on women’s desire to keep slim, creating the illogical link between smoking and beauty that still persists.
The new advertisements were typically placed in women’s magazines, with one of the first, for Lucky Strike cigarettes in the early 1930s, urging women to ‘Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet’.
The advert said smoking meant ‘you will avoid over-indulgence in the things that cause excess weight, and maintain a modern graceful form’.
In the post-war years adverts suggested smoking was a feminine activity that showed women’s independence and modernity, and often depicted wives sharing cigarettes with their husbands.
Special cigarettes targeted at women were developed.
One brand, De Reszke Minors ‘Red Tips for Red Lips’ – advertised with a picture of film star Gracie Fields – boasted a red tip, which the manufacturers said ‘prevents lipstick from showing on a cigarette, and helps men to preserve their beautiful illusions’.
Craven ‘A’ cork-tipped cigarettes, meanwhile, were promoted with the claim that ‘they do not readily cause finger stain or interfere with make-up’.
By 1968, tobacco giant Philip Morris had launched Virginia Slims, which played upon both the ‘feminine’ appearance of the thinner-than-normal cigarettes, and the continuing belief that smoking helped you slim.
And in the 1970s, when more than half of young women smoked, magazines often featured cigarette adverts promoted with offers of saving stamps towards ‘free gifts’ of household goods – so women could feel they were providing for their families while smoking.
HACKENSACK, N.J. — New Jersey fire officials say an 82-year-old homeless man with emphysema accidentally caused a car explosion when his cigarette ignited gas from a leaking oxygen tank inside his vehicle.
The Record reports four people — the man, two police officers and Fire Department Lt. Stephen Lindner — were hurt in Tuesday’s explosion in Hackensack. Lindner and the officers escaped serious injury, while the man only suffered superficial injuries.
Officials say Lindner was approaching the smoke-filled car with a hose when it exploded. Moments earlier, an employee of a nearby store had pulled the man from the car.
Fire Chief Matt Wagner told the newspaper the man, who wasn’t identified, uses about a tank of oxygen a day and was storing them and his other possessions in his car.
Now that's what I call "loving my killerettes!"
Hi, it's me again! Time to remind you that if you have ever smoked a sickerette, and we all have, then you need to find out if you contracted Chronic Bronchitis or Emphysema! Next time you see your Doctor, tell him/her that you want a Spirometry Test! This is a simple test that will detect signs of lung damage. It's as easy to take as a drunk driver's test, inexpensive and you get the results immediately! Why is it so important? First, because 1/2 of all those who have COPD ( a combination of Chronic Bronchitis, Emphysema, and /or Asthma ) don't even know it!!! Second, because early diagnosis can make all the difference for the Quality and Quantity of your life! You see, COPD is a chronic, progressive, incurable smoke-related illness. Contrary to most people's beliefs, it is not caused by smoking! It is caused by your own body's reaction to smoking! And there is a genetic factor! Some of us are born with a protein difficiency which gives us a very high potential for contracting COPD. So this isn't about blame!!!! It's about protecting what lung capacity you do have!
What are some symptoms to look for? To begin with, that Smoker's Cough! It's a good sign that you have Chronic Bronchitis. Those little hairs in your bronchial tubes called cilia are all literally burned off! Well, they have a function - to keep your airways clear of viruses and bacteria, as well as other debris. When they don't work or are now inexistent, you cough - Smoker's Cough! The bronchials develop a hard scar and lose their flexibility. Your body hates that so it sends Mucus to soothe the throat which clogs the airway which causes you to cough! Any mucus (phlegm) that you spit up [ yes, I know this is nasty but we have to talk facts, folks! ] that is any color than clear is a very bad sign and you need to see your Doctor pronto!
That mucus - even when clear - is a lovely little breeding ground for viruses and bacteria such as "colds", "flus" and pneumonia. I put them in quotations because many of us misinterpret and minimize upper Respiratory Infections! These infections can very easily crawl around in their nice, warm, slimy bed of mucus and go straight to your lungs. Lungs are made up of a series of little tiny balloons called alveoli. They hang on little airways like grapes on a vine. Each one contracts and expands when you breathe. They take the Carbon Monoxide out and send the Oxygen to your heart. Well, those little balloons get damaged by those infectious bugs. They get stretched out of shape and wobbly. Then you can inhale but you can't exhale. You feel short of breath just climbing stairs, walking around, doing normal household chores! And NO it's no just a normal part of getting older! Check it out with your Doctor!Your lungs become over-inflated. That's Emphysema. The balloons will never ever get their shape back! All anybody can do, short of lung transplant is to preserve what you have!
That's why early diagnosis of COPD is very important! There are many things you can do to protect your lungs - if you know that you have to! #1 of course, is quit smoking TODAY! You also need to stay away from those viruses and bacteria - not easy! Vaccinations and extreme hygiene help a great deal but are rather inconvenient! You need to EXercise! Your heart is a muscle and because of the impurity of the air it gets, it is constantly overworked! Make it as strong as you can! Also, the diaphragm is the muscle you use for breathing! It can be EXercised! Nutrition and Weight Control are also very important! Being too thin or too heavy each carry their own set of dangers! And learn to breathe more efficiently! COPDers who are unaware are in extreme danger of lack of Oxygen! Oxygen is necessary to your brain (as well as every single other part of your body!) That doesn't mean that you need immediate Oxygen tanks and tubes - but if you do, it's downright suicidal not to use them! When you are diagnosed early, you can learn more effective ways to breathe! Treat related illnesses such as Sleep Apnea! Sleep Apnea isn't just an inconvenience, it works your heart too hard and damages your brain! See your Doctor immediately when you get an infection! Once you have been diagnosed - take your medicine as directed! These medications are protecting your lungs - and thus, your heart and brain!
Most important, please take these diagnosis very seriously! Those who don't go downhill very, very quickly! They cost their families untold pain and financial distress! They die verrrrrrrrry slooooowly! By being proactive you can live a perfectly functional, adjusted life for a very long time! I am Stage II and can work, play, walk, breathe, and basically go about my business with some adjustments! Stage III is much more intense and Stage IV is downright miserable!
Research and Development is finally taking off and protecting your lungs now could yes, in our lifetimes lead to much better treatments and hope for the future! It's up to us to stay as healthy as we can as long as we can and give those processes of R & D a chance to run their course! We can't put our heads in the sand and we don't need to despair! We need to learn, live, pray and HOPE!
CORTLAND - Lakeview High School students have created a new anti-tobacco program.
Called S.T.A.N.D., each Wednesday for a half-hour during February high school students teach sixth-graders at Lakeview Middle School the dangers of tobacco use.
Jane Jackson, school nurse and program adviser, said S.T.A.N.D. (Stopping Tobacco and Nicotine Dependency) is an updated version of an American Cancer Society anti-smoking program.
Jackson said sixth-graders are the target audience.
Chris Marsco, a junior instructing the program, said he tries to show the younger students the dangers of tobacco use in all of its forms.
"Many of the students look up to us when we are there sharing the information. I hope we are able to make an impression on them," he said.
Marsco said at first the students were quiet but soon began to open up and ask questions.
"Often they are shocked at some of what they learn about what can happen when you are addicted to tobacco," he said.Megan Goedeker, a junior, said she likes being able to provide information and help change lives so that the younger students will make the right decisions.
Goedeker said she believes the program helps make a difference.
"It's a great club to be associated with," she said.
Jackson said the school started with the American Cancer Society's program, but three years ago re-wrote and updated the program with a new curriculum to customize it for Lakeview Middle School.
Jackson said last year's sixth-graders held a contest to name the program, and one student submitted S.T.A.N.D.
She said children often see tobacco on television, movies, advertising and in their own homes. "Too often, no one addresses what it does to your body," she said.
Program topics include costs of tobacco, effects of smokeless tobacco, addiction, and cancer-causing agents in cigarettes.
Principal Nancy Krygowski said it is important to get the information to the students at an early age so they can see the health problems that occur because of tobacco.
"The sixth-graders do look up to them and listen to what they are telling them. When they go to high school they realize those students have taken a stand against tobacco," Krygowski said.
Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.
When you know what you want,and you want it badly enough,you'll find a way to get it .
May you live all the days of your life.
Keep your heart open to dreams. For as long as there's a dream, there is hope, and as long as there is hope, there is joy in living.
One of the things I keep learning is that the secret of being happy is doing things for other people.
I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over, and I've seen the Promised Land.
Martin Luther King Jr
Want to feed your Quititude more? Join Our Positive Affirmations for Success Group! It really makes a difference!
For those of you who are new to this site, I have taken on the theme KNOW YOUR ENEMY! I post articles from the internet on smoking-related subjects for perusal by our Community so that you (1) know the danger of smoking to yourself (2) know the danger of smoking for your loved ones and pets (3) know what you can do about it (4) see world trends and whether you live in New Zealand, India, or Colorado Nicotine Addiction and it's way out are the same! You CAN quit and NO, it does not have to be the hardest thing you've ever done in your life! In fact, when folks take that point of view, their chances of success are reduced! You have been given very effective resources by our EXperts and Friends who deal in SUCCESS! It's up to you to pick up the gauntlet and run with it! The main thing is to know that you do have the key and the power to succeed! READ, study, be involved, and LIVE!
My name is Thomas and I have been quit 1 Year, 11 Months, 6Days, 22 Hours. I also have COPD which is a chronic progressive debilitating smoking related illness with no cure! Be smarter than me! Quit TODAY before you smoke your killerette! It only takes one and you'll never know which one it was!
Some researchers say the growth of nicotine substitutes is clouding the only real way to give up cigarettes - make a firm decision and go cold turkey. Health reporter Martin Johnston looks at the evidence
Former smoker Scotty Darnill hoped nicotine skin patches would help him quit cigarettes. But for him, they turned out to be useless.
"I actually found I carried on smoking. That was six or seven years ago. I was starting to think 'I've had enough of smoking' and I always kept thinking about those withdrawal symptoms that everyone talks about, that I needed something just to cover it, so I got the patches at the chemist.
"It made no difference to me. I still smoked," says the 46-year-old from Pukekohe, who sells leases for trucks and is a volunteer fireman.
"I was hoping it would take away the feeling that I needed to have a smoke - and it probably wasn't until I stopped last year that I realised that that feeling actually for me wasn't the craving but the habit."
Darnill quit at 4.30pm last September 9. He chewed a few pieces of nicotine gum - given to him by a workmate - but disliked them, so didn't continue with the 12-week course recommended by the makers. Quitline gave him a prescription, which he never filled.
Instead, he credits what he considers his cold-turkey success to a making a clear decision and the support of other, anonymous quitters on a Quitline internet blog site.
His quitting method puts him in a controversial majority of ex-smokers. Controversial because some tobacco control researchers, such as Simon Chapman, are questioning the effectiveness of cessation drugs, now central to many state-funded quit programmes, and urge that more emphasis be placed on unassisted quitting.
They cite a paper in the journal Tobacco Control last month by Hillel Alpert, of Harvard University, on study findings that ex-smokers relapsed at equivalent rates whether or not they used nicotine replacement therapy to help them quit.
"Before these [drugs] were invented in the early 1980s, the American Cancer Society said more than 30 million people had quit in the 1960s and 70s," Chapman, professor of public health at Sydney University, told the Weekend Herald. "There will be hundreds of millions of people around the world in the 60s and 70s who quit unaided.
"Now, with the messages about how we quit smoking, the opposite applies. Most of the messages say if you want to quit smoking, you shouldn't try to do it yourself; you should use pharmacotherapies like nicotine replacement therapy."
"I'm not saying they don't work and are no good to anybody; just that the message has become very distorted, that 'you won't be able to do it by yourself', that 'you need to use these products'," says Chapman, who is planning an interviews-based study of unaided quitting.
He and Macquarie University colleague Ross MacKenzie lamented in a medical journal how unhelpful it was that quitting had become medicalised and that this risked distorting public awareness of how most people quit, "to the obvious benefit of pharmaceutical companies".
"Furthermore, the cessation research literature is preoccupied with the difficulty of stopping. Notably, however, in the rare literature that has bothered to ask, many ex-smokers recall stopping as less traumatic than anticipated."
They cite a large British study from the 1980s, prior to quitting drugs becoming available: 53 per cent of the ex-smokers reported it was "not at all difficult" to stop, 27 per cent that it was "fairly difficult" and the rest found it very difficult. Other research had found that at least two-thirds of ex-smokers had stopped unaided.
Darnill says his decision to quit was "like an awakening. What the hell am I doing this for? It doesn't achieve anything. I just didn't like being addicted."
Before stopping, he smoked at least 25 cigarettes a day, Holiday Reds. He took up the habit in his late teens.
Cigarette cravings lasted for a month after he quit. Harder to withstand were the habits, the almost unconscious rituals that for nearly 40 years had woven the practices of smoking into virtually every part of his daily life.
"You get to work in the morning, you have a smoke - coffee, smoke; lunch, smoke; on the phone. I would always do my phone calls outside so I could have a smoke."
After he quit, when his cellphone rang he found himself standing up and walking towards the door befor in and reminded him: "hang on, I don't do that anymore".
He admits it was difficult sticking to his decision in the first month, during which he got "a wee bit snappy - my wife will tell you that". Linda is a non-smoker and dislikes smoking.
But it was all about changing the details of his life. In the past when he tried to quit, he wasn't clear in his mind why he wanted to.
"You're always looking for an excuse to have a cigarette when you stop if you're not 100 per cent in your mind.
"Let's say you had a really stressful day at work and you think, 'I'll just have that one cigarette, it will make it better'. Well that starts you again, you're gone.
"So this time I made sure I stayed positive in my attitude towards it and didn't try to find an excuse. If it was a stressful day at work or we had a bad job at the Fire Brigade, I just learned to deal with it. In the past you would have a smoke, thinking that it relaxed you. Well, actually it didn't and I found just sitting down and having a glass of water, that was five minutes away from the computer or whatever I'm dealing with, actually is just as good."
In 2010, the Government predicted its tax-take from tobacco next year, following the 33 per cent-plus excise increase - its key quit-smoking policy - would exceed $1.3 billion. But that falls well short of the Health Ministry's estimate that smoking's health costs are around $1.9 billion. Smoking-related illnesses kill up to 5000 people a year.
The Government, which is committed to New Zealand's becoming smokefree by 2025, spends about $67 million a year on tobacco control, including $9 million for Quitline and its phone counselling service.
Nearly $13 million goes on nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and $14.5 million on three other smoking cessation drugs - Champix, Zyban and nortriptyline - although Pharmac says these figures exclude "confidential rebates", patient contributions and pharmacy costs.
There are uncertainties around how many smokers use NRT, because of gaps in the recording of their health identification numbers, but it was probably around 210,000 in the last financial year. That's nearly a third of adult smokers - it is estimated that 650,000 or around 20 per cent of the adult population smoke.
Adults' smoking prevalence has declined greatly since 1976, when it was 36 per cent, but has dropped little since 1992, when it was 23 per cent.
Given this small reduction since NRT was subsidised in 2000, is it a good taxpayer investment?
"Absolutely," says Karen Evison, the Health Ministry's head of tobacco control.
She explains the apparently limited effect of NRT on smoking prevalence by pointing to people continuing to take up the habit (although mid-teen prevalence is declining) and the "relatively minor" use of the drug until 2008/9.
That was when the rules were changed to give quitters subsidised access to NRT on a doctor's prescription; previously the subsidy was only available through the Quitline. It was also when health workers were required under the Government's revamped health targets to ask hospital patients if they smoked, encourage smokers to quit and offer quitting treatment.
NRT use has been increasing since then, but there have been no national smoking surveys since 2009, so whether it has reduced will not been known for several months.
But Evison says "strong anecdotal evidence" - localised studies with small samples - indicates "we are making a difference".
One is from Middlemore Hospital's emergency department. Of 86 recent patients who had been smokers and recalled receiving quitting advice at the ED, 17 reported they had reduced their smoking and 51 had attempted to quit.
At four weeks, 26 were smokefree and 14 were still smokefree after three months.
The dispute over NRT's effectiveness is essentially about research methods.
The strong supporters of using quitting medicines say they at least double the chances of a smoker's being smokefree at 12 months follow-up, from - depending on the study - 3 to 8 per cent cold-turkey, to 15 to 20 per cent.
Auckland University researcher associate professor Chris Bullen says there is a "huge weight of evidence" for this superior effectiveness of the medicines, from good quality clinical trials in which patients are randomly allocated, to treatment with a new therapy or either standard care or a placebo - so-called randomised, controlled trials.
"We are getting around 20 per cent here in New Zealand with the Quitline service and with our randomised trials which [compare] people who have a new intervention, and usual care," says Bullen, the director of the university's Clinical Trials Research Unit.
Chapman, however, asserts that the clinical trials of quit drugs, many of which were funded by drug companies, produce unrealistically positive results.
Participants tend to be highly motivated people, compliance with medication is higher than in the general population, the mentally ill, typically a hard-core smoking group, are excluded, and nicotine addicts in the placebo arm of a trial will soon know they are not getting their nicotine and will often have a high relapse rate.
Bullen responds: "We conduct our randomised controlled trials for smoking cessation interventions [such as patches and very-low-nicotine cigarettes] in very much a real-world setting.
"We have recruited participants through callers to the Quitline, so the intervention is run through the Quitline, just like the normal service. We try and make the interventions a pretty minimal change to what people would usually get."
"We are not tainted by industry funding; our work is public-good funded ... by the Health Research Council.
"Randomised controlled trials eliminate the risk of most of the biases that you get in some of these non-randomised studies such as the one Alpert reports on."
Criticisms of the Alpert paper include that because its participants chose their quitting method rather than being randomly allocated either to cold-turkey quitting or to NRT, the NRT users might have been affected, for instance, by factors that predisposed them to relapsing and which were not measured.
"You might choose to use NRT if you have tried numerous times before [to quit] but haven't succeeded," says Hayden McRobbie, a British quit-smoking specialist and academic, a colleague of Bullen's and co-author of New Zealand's Smoking Cessation Guidelines.
"That may be a factor of tobacco dependence, but also of other things not measured, for example living with smokers, being in lower socio-economic groups."
He says the Alpert paper doesn't lead to the conclusion that NRT is useless. "My reading of that paper was that relapse rates didn't differ between groups. You wouldn't expect relapse rates to differ. NRT is used primarily short-term. The goal in the short-term is to increase quit rates. We know people are still going to relapse over time. We don't have good interventions to prevent relapse."
One point where there is agreement is the value of encouraging smokers to make quit attempts, because of research evidence of just how many attempts long-term smokers make before they stop permanently. Typically 20 attempts by the age of 40, according to McRobbie.
"I tell my patients stopping smoking is like learning to ride a bicycle. Some people learn quickly. Others get on, fall off, ride a bit, fall off."
The theory is that "tension" factors like tax hikes, gruesome warnings on tobacco packets, plain packaging (forthcoming in Australia and under consideration here) and restrictions on where people can smoke all increase the motivation to quit. The official line then is to increase the quitting rate by providing treatment for those who want it.
Scotty Darnill didn't want it, but still he is loving the changes in his life from quitting.
"I'm enjoying the taste of food again. I'm looking at different foods, fruits and vegetables, where before I would be quite happy just having a big hamburger. Strawberries taste a hell of a lot better than they used to.
"Your sense of smell is the other thing that comes back. I have learned how much a smoker stinks after they have had a cigarette. It's not nice."
About 17-18 percent of adults in the United States continue to smoke.
Smoking is not only is the major cause of lung cancer, the nation’s number one cancer killer, but it also responsible for as many as 30 percent of all coronary heart disease deaths in the United States each year.
Here's a quick list of do's and don'ts that may help you help your smoker:
• Talk the smoker out of smoking the cigarette
• Express pleasure at the smoker's efforts to quit
• Encourage smoke-free home policies
• Support attempts to quit
• Nag the smoker
• Complain about smoking
• Shun the smoker
• Shame or guilt the smoker
If you want a loved one to stop smoking and you feel tempted to nag, you may want to try to extinguish your impulse. You might be doing more harm than good, a Winship Cancer Institute expert says. Reinforce positively and try not to nag, advises Carla Berg, a member of Winship’s Cancer Prevention and Control program and a professor in the Rollins School of Public Health. And, remember that your role as a loved one to help a non-smoker quit is very important, Berg says.
"In fact, supportive behaviors have been associated with initial smoking cessation, while negative or critical behaviors have been associated with earlier relapse," says Berg.
This is important to keep in mind especially during Heart Month, Berg says, when many smokers are trying to quit.
"About 17-18 percent of adults in the United States continue to smoke, and we want to do everything we can to help them stop," Berg says. Smoking is not only is the major cause of lung cancer, the nation’s number one cancer killer, but it also responsible for as many as 30 percent of all coronary heart disease deaths in the United States each year. Smoking is a major risk factor for more than two dozen other cancers, including head and neck cancer, bladder cancer and stomach cancer.
Berg says an important component can be providing support to someone who is trying to quit. In fact, the initiation, maintenance and cessation of smoking are strongly influenced by other family members. Smokers are more likely to marry smokers, to smoke the same number of cigarettes as their spouse, and to quit at the same time. Smokers who are married to nonsmokers or ex-smokers are more likely to quit and remain abstinent.
In addition, married smokers have higher quit rates than those who are divorced, widowed or have never married. Research shows that support from the spouse and from other family members and friends is highly predictive of successful smoking cessation. In particular, supportive behaviors such as talking the smoker out of smoking the cigarette, and reinforcement, such as expressing pleasure at the smoker's efforts to quit, predict successful quitting. Negative behaviors, like nagging and complaining about smoking, are predictive of relapse.
In addition, encouraging the establishment of smoke-free homes reduces exposure to secondhand smoke among all people living with smokers. Because secondhand smoke exposure has been found to have detrimental effects on the cardiovascular health of people living with smokers, particularly children in homes where smoking occurs, promoting smoke-free homes is critical. Research also shows that creating smoke-free homes encourages attempts to quit smoking and reduces cigarette consumption among smokers.
Question: What role does secondhand smoke play in a pet's health?
Answer: It has been difficult to prove many associations with secondhand smoke (SHS) in pets because we can't ask the pet themselves. However, we know it can increase the risk of some cancers.
In addition, the smoke sticks to the pets' hair, which means when they groom themselves the smoke will be eaten as well as breathed.
As vets, we can tell when an owner smokes because their pet smells strongly of stale smoke. I met one owner who realized the effect that smoking was having on her cat when she found the cats bed was stained with nicotine.
Question: What specific problems have arisen from secondhand smoke? How serious can they be?
Answer: We know that SHS exposure increases the risk of nose and lung cancers in dogs and lymphoma (cancer of the white blood cells) in cats. It also may have a role in mouth cancer in cats and changes the cells in the lungs of dogs.
In cats, lymphoma has a poor prognosis, with cats rarely surviving more than six months even with aggressive chemotherapy. Nasal cancer in dogs requires radiation therapy and even then the cancer is likely to recur.
Question: Do pets face the same kinds of problems as humans who are exposed to SHS or are they worse? Is lung cancer or respiratory problems a big issue?
Answer: Dogs and cats do not get the kind of heart disease that humans get; however, cats are prone to asthma and dogs are prone to allergic skin disease.
Lung cancer is relatively uncommon in cats and dogs, but we do know that in dogs the incidences increase when an owner smokes.
Question: Are some breeds more vulnerable than others?
Answer: Not really, although smaller dogs may be bathed more frequently than larger breeds. This might affect how much smoke remains on their coats and was, therefore, able to be ingested.
Question: What kind of monitoring should a veterinarian do to determine if SHS is affecting his/her patient?
Answer: I think the most important thing a vet can do is to ask the owner about SHS exposure when performing routine health checks. Owners can reduce the effect on their pet by only smoking outdoors or, of course, by giving up completely.
Owners tend not to think about the effect that they habit is having on their pet, so it is the vet's responsibility to ensure that the pet has the fresh air it deserves. This should be routine for all pets, but every vet knows that you can smell a pet whose owner smokes as soon as it enters the room and that is a sign that exposure is significant.
Question: You are now studying nicotine levels in the hair of dogs. Can you generally tell us how many animals are involved and what you are finding?
Answer: My study, which is being presented at the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) conference in Birmingham, England, next April, used hair from 38 dogs. We found that the levels of nicotine in dogs exposed to SHS were similar to those found in children in smoking homes.
Reducing the amount of exposure by smoking outdoors significantly reduced the amount of nicotine in the hair and is a valuable way of reducing exposure to the toxins in cigarette smoke.
A rainbow of fruit-flavored blunts, cigars and cigarillos line the shelves behind the counter at the Eustis Mobil convenience store on U.S. Highway 441.
Tobacco users have their pick: apple, grape, peach and more. But a movement is gaining steam across the state against flavored tobacco. Local officials argue the candylike taste and shiny, colorful wrappers are meant to attract children and get them hooked on tobacco products.
About 100 resolutions — including several in Central Florida — have been adopted across the state, urging businesses to stop selling fruit- and liqueur-flavored tobacco, including cigars, chew and snuff.
"Youth perceive these products as safe because of the candy flavor," said Dr. Bonnie Sorensen, director of the Volusia County Health Department.
Although flavored products look "benign," Sorensen warned they're as addictive as regular cigarettes. As part of the movement against flavored tobacco, she has talked to public officials in several Volusia cities, including Port Orange, which has passed a resolution asking businesses to quit selling it. Kissimmee, St. Cloud and Lake Maryhave also passed resolutions.
Lake County this month became the latest Central Florida government to join the effort after Health Department officials cited a 2010 survey that found one in five middle- and high-school students reported using flavored tobacco. Of more than 40 convenience stores examined, health officials said all were carrying flavored tobacco products.
In Orange, more than 150 stores were surveyed, and all carried a variety of flavored tobacco, said Mary Petiprin, tobacco-prevention specialist with the county's Health Department. One in six kids from 11 to 17 reported using flavored tobacco, which they get from older teens, Petiprin said. She plans to approach city and county officials about adopting the resolution in a month or two. Osceola Health Department officials are working with county officials on a similar resolution.
Flavored cigars have been around for years. However, dozens of new flavors have been introduced into the market, Sorensen said. Tobacco pellets that resemble Tic Tac mints and nicotine-laced toothpicks also are available, she said. Many of these products have been creeping into local neighborhood convenience stores in the past two to three years, Sorensen said.
Tobacco pellets and snus, a form of smokeless tobacco, are produced by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. but are not targeted to children, said John Singleton, communications director of the parent company, Reynolds American Inc. He said R.J. Reynolds, the second-largest cigarette maker in the U.S., is working with middle schools nationwide to prevent kids from smoking.
"We're aligned with the purpose of this effort," Singleton said. "We have a different way of going about it, though."
State and local officials should be working on enforcing laws that prohibit minors from smoking and imposing stricter punishment for people who sell or provide kids with tobacco rather than ban flavored tobacco, Singleton said.
Others also question the need for resolutions, which have no teeth. Local officials can't outlaw tobacco in their communities, so they're at the mercy of retailers to snuff out flavored products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has the authority to regulate tobacco, banned flavored cigarettes, except for menthol, in 2009. Petiprin the federal government needs to take other flavored-tobacco products as a serious threat to kids.
But Lake County Commissioner Jennifer Hill, who voted against the resolution earlier this month, called it a "slippery slope" for local governments to request retailers not to sell flavored tobacco. She asked whether chocolate wine and cotton-candy vodka would be next on the hit list.
Jeff Baker, owner of the Eustis convenience store, said it'll be tough to persuade businesses that already are prohibited from selling tobacco to minors to voluntarily throw out fruity items, which also legally can only be sold to adults.
"It doesn't make sense," he said, adding that such responsibility lies with the parents.
However, Petiprin said parents often don't realize their kids are using flavored tobacco. The shiny and colorful candylike wrappers can be deceiving, she said.
Roberta Hurtado, 17, of Orlando said she didn't know candy-flavored tobacco existed until she heard about it in the Students Working Against Tobacco program at Pine Castle Christian Academy. Roberta, the group's president, then started to pay more attention to the juicy flavors on her visits to stores.
"It's like Starbursts," Hurtado said of the variety, which included strawberry, cherry and orange. "I can't believe companies are so desperate for users that they would target children. To mess with the health and minds of children, that's dirty."
We all know smoking isn’t healthy, but we tend to think in terms of smokers themselves. Sure, we’re all familiar with the phrase secondhand smoke, but how do we really feel about how it affects us and those around us?
“What Would You Do?” decided to find out. We hired actors to play parents with a newborn in one hand and a cigarette in the other. We were curious to see what beachgoers on the boardwalk in Long Branch, N.J., would do when they saw parents smoking just above their “baby” — played by a doll. While one man was concerned enough to offer a healthy suggestion — see preview below — others couldn’t see through the smoke.
According to the Surgeon General, concentrations of many known carcinogenic and toxic chemicals are higher in secondhand smoke than in the smoke inhaled by smokers, and breathing secondhand smoke for even a short time can immediately cause adverse effects on the cardiovascular system. Babies and young children are especially at risk, because their bodies and lungs are still developing, making them more susceptible to toxins.
very year, about 150,000 infants are exposed to secondhand smoke with some potentially harmful effects. Babies, whose mothers smoke while pregnant and babies exposed to secondhand smoke after birth are more likely to die from sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS. They may also experience increased risk of bronchitis, pneumonia and ear infections. Exposure to secondhand smoke can also cause already asthmatic children to suffer more-frequent and severe attacks.
There are different ways of approaching the subject on a site like this with addiction as the theme. One way is to be specific that this is a Buddhist site, a Catholic site, a Muslim site, an Atheist site, etc... Another way is to say that this site would prefer that you park your "religion" at the front door. Another alternative is to Welcome spirituality in whatever manifestation it might present in your addiction recovery. I always understood that it was this third option that was the norm for this site. If you are Jewish and wish to express your quit in Jewish language I would welcome that self-expression with an open heart and I believe that the majority of us would also. I happen to be Christian. I couldn't express myself atheistically any more than an atheist could express their spirit in my language. But I cannot divorce myself from my soul while maintaining my Integrity. As far as my own quit journey has manifested in me Integrity is a Very Important gift I receive from living Addiction FREE! FREE to be ME without hiding behind a smoke cloud! Now how can I do that while excizing my most truthful being from me and parking it at the front door? I AM a spiritual being and I express that part of me in the only language I know - not because it is in any way superior to your spirit but because it's MY TRUTH! I respect YOUR TRUTH! All I ask is that you respect mine or if you really can't - feel free to skip over my blogs because chances are good I'll say something about my perception of me and my World that will offend you - and that is NOT my purpose! Tolerance is all I ask! Tolerance is what I offer!
So that Self-Empowering Voice.... needs feeding! Where's the Positive Thinking Store? And everything is FREE! Take all you want! If you came across a good one, leave it for others - it comes back to you 10 fold!
TODAY is a Great Day to LIVE Smoke FREE!
pharmacists at eight of the drugstore chain's convenient Louisville locations are partnering with Passport Health Plan, a local Medicaid health plan, on a new smoking cessation program which launched in early January 2012. The program is free to Walgreens customers and Passport members and aims to improve the community's health by giving smokers the tools, resources and ongoing clinical pharmacist counseling to help achieve their cessation goals.
Participating Walgreens pharmacists and technicians have undergone specialized training provided by the Kentucky Cancer Program at the University of Louisville's James Graham Brown Cancer Center. The program provides further education on tobacco treatment, and helped in the development of Walgreens formal, 12-month process for helping those interested in tobacco cessation.
"The harmful effects of tobacco use are well-documented, and by working closely with our community pharmacists who people know and trust, we hope to encourage more smokers under Passport Health Plan to improve their health through this free program to help them quit," said Greg Baker, Walgreens pharmacy supervisor for Louisville. "The cessation process can be very challenging. We believe the ongoing dialogue with pharmacists, who are among the most accessible health care professionals in the community, can be an effective tool in working with and supporting people to overcome those challenges."
"Smoking and tobacco use are complex problems that require different approaches to adequately address," said Stephen Houghland, M.D., chief medical officer for Passport Health Plan. "We believe that addressing this critical driver of negative health outcomes in as many areas where our members are, and with people they trust, is a great opportunity to truly make a difference in their health and quality of life."
Passport Health Plan members identified as tobacco users can enroll by visiting one of the eight participating Walgreens pharmacy locations. Upon enrollment, pharmacists will work with patients through a multi-step process that includes:-- Information and education on smoking cessation
-- Cessation options and tools, products and therapies
-- Regularly-scheduled patient follow up for the next 12 monthsWalgreens will be sharing program results with Passport Health Plan on a monthly basis and will also be measuring the program's effectiveness for individuals enrolled over a six- and 12-month period.
"We applaud Walgreens for stepping up to help patients in two districts of Kentucky and Southern Indiana end tobacco use, in this pilot initiative," said Celeste T. Worth, Professional Education and Training Manager at the Kentucky Cancer Program. "We are pleased to work with Walgreens pharmacies in their efforts to help customers get the medications and counseling they need to successfully overcome nicotine addiction."
Every year around 157,000 children aged 11-15 start smoking - that's enough to fill 5,200 classrooms or make up nearly 14,000 junior football teams.
These shocking figures, revealed in a new analysis by Cancer Research UK, highlight the ongoing scale of the tobacco problem, and underline the importance of sustained action to discourage young people from starting to smoke, including by introducing plain packaging for all tobacco products as soon as possible.
And almost one million children - those aged 15 and under - in the UK have tried smoking at least once - around 27 per cent of children.
Preventing young people from being tempted to try smoking is vital as eight out of ten adult smokers start before they turn 19.
Children who smoke just one cigarette by the age of 11 are around twice as likely to take up smoking over the next few years than those who do not experiment with smoking.
We already know that for children aged 12 in 2009 1 per cent smoked regularly, 2 per cent smoked occasionally and 2 per cent said they used to smoke.
A year later in 2010 it has been calculated that among the same age group of children, now aged 13, 3 per cent smoked regularly, 2 per cent smoked occasionally and 4 per cent said they used to smoke.
Starting to smoke at a young age carries additional risks of lung damage.
Half of all long term smokers will die from tobacco related illness. Around 100,000 people are killed by smoking in the UK each year.
That is why Cancer Research UK is petitioning the government to bring in plain packaging of tobacco so children are less likely to be seduced by the sophisticated marketing techniques designed to make smoking attractive to youngsters.
Jim Richardson, 56, from Prudhoe in Northumberland started smoking when he was about 15 and was diagnosed with advanced and inoperable lung cancer in 2010. Father of four Jim is now desperate to help prevent more young people from starting smoking."I started smoking because it was considered cool," he said. " Back then, my friends thought it odd if people didn't smoke. I smoked about 20 a day but I quit cigarettes when I was 21 after the birth of my first son Jimmy. But I didn't stop smoking. Instead I switched to cigars because I was lured in by the persuasive advertising campaign 'Happiness is a Cigar Called Hamlet.' I honestly thought they were mild and not harmful.
"In 2010 I woke up one morning full of aches and pains which I assumed was the start of flu. I'd always been very fit so I decided to nip it in the bud by going to the doctor. My GP was concerned by some blood tests so I had an X-Ray which revealed a shadow on the lung and this turned out to be lung cancer.
"The toughest day of my life was sitting each of my children down and telling them I had lung cancer. I have three grandchildren too and I was devastated that I might not see them growing up. My prognosis was pretty poor but I began treatment immediately.
"To my absolute joy and gratitude the treatment seems to be working. Looking at the CT scans I know that the chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy reduced my cancer to a tiny fraction of its size and I feel as if I've been given a second chance.
"I know first-hand how horrific lung cancer is and how it's almost always preventable by not smoking in the first place. My wife Di and I run children's day nurseries and out-of-school clubs in Hexham and Prudhoe caring for young children. I would hate to think that any of the hundreds of children we have looked after might ever go through what I have because they were tempted by one glitzy packet attempting to make smoking look cool. I've worked out that I've spent £90,000 on a habit that was slowly killing me. There's absolutely nothing cool about that."
All forms of tobacco have health risks associated with them including cigars.
Jean King, Cancer Research UK's director of tobacco control, said: "Far too many young people start smoking every year. We must act to bring this number down.
"The tobacco industry spends a great deal of money on designing cigarettes and their packets so they seem glamorous, appealing, fashionable and attractive in an effort to recruit more customers. With advertising outlawed, the cigarette packet is now the most important marketing tool the tobacco industry has.
"Our research has shown that selling all cigarettes in standardised packs will help reduce the appeal of smoking and give children one less reason to start smoking."
Call it chewing tobacco, smokeless tobacco, snuff, pinch or dip - but don't call it harmless.
Feb. 19-25 is National Through with Chew Week and an excellent time to call attention to smokeless tobacco use in Nebraska, said Marlo Roberts, Community Connections Tobacco Free Lincoln County Coalition coordinator.
"Smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to smoking," Roberts said. "It is even more habit forming because it contains a higher concentration of nicotine than cigarettes."
Unfortunately use of chewing tobacco is making a comeback among young people, especially young women, Roberts said. According to the 2010 Nebraska Youth Risk Behavior Survey of 9-12 grade students, 10 percent of Nebraska high school males used smokeless tobacco within the past 30 days. Nebraska's combined male and female total is 6 percent.
"Kids get into using smokeless tobacco through experimentation," Roberts said. "Young girls use it because it can be hidden. It is also easier to steal than cigarettes."
Thursday, Feb. 23, is the Great American Spit Out. Adults can set an example by giving up tobacco that day.
"I don't know of any single adult who smokes who wants their child to use tobacco," Roberts said.
Smokeless tobacco can cause oral cancer, especially in the cheeks, neck and gums, Robert said. It can also lead to other problems, such as mouth sores, gum recession, tooth decay, bad breath and permanently discolored teeth.
"Using smokeless tobacco is more common in Nebraska than the nation as a whole," Roberts said. "Young adults who try it for the first time are often drawn by the flavors, mint, vanilla or apple and milder tastes."
Community Connections Tobacco-Free Lincoln County is a collaborative effort that focuses on keeping youth from starting to use tobacco, reducing access to tobacco products and increasing awareness on the dangers of secondhand smoke.
"We are not the 'tobacco *****,'" Roberts said. "We are working to change this health issue."
Funding for Tobacco-Free Lincoln County comes from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services/Tobacco Free Nebraska Program as a result of the tobacco master settlement agreement.
I usually don't do this but I'm going to link 2 articles together because Women need to know what to expect:
Focus: In your opinion, why is tobacco smoking so wide-spread although everybody knows how armful it is?
Borislav Atsev: Tobacco smoking has been existing for a long time. It has become part of the civilised world. Of course, industry has also played its part, since it is a highly profitable business. Another reason lies in the fact that people use cigarettes to relieve stress or made a habit of something they enjoy.
Focus: What would you say to a smoker in order to scare him off of the habit?
Borislav Atsev: Cigarettes are one of the causes for some of the most serious diseases of our time. Lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchitis, cardiovascular diseases are a curse directly related to tobacco smoking.
About 20% of all deaths from cardiovascular diseases are smoking-related. It has been proven that smoking a pack of cigarettes daily doubles the risk of heart diseases, compared to that of non-smokers. Women who smoke and take contraceptive pills have an eight times higher risk of heart attack. And what is worse – it is not only smokers who suffer, but all people around them. Passive smoking could have really dire consequences. There is data for the USA, where 35,000 non-smokers die annually from cardiovascular diseases caused by passive smoking.
Focus: Is it true that passive smoking is even more harmful than active one?
Borislav Atsev: Yes, it is, especially for children. They are exposed to tobacco smoke from a tender age. In addition, the longer you smoke, the higher risk gets.
Focus: Does it matter if people smoke in the room in which they sleep?
Borislav Atsev: Of course, it matters. The higher concentration of tobacco smoke in the air causes more serious problems and increases the risk for one’s health.
Focus: What would you say to pregnant women and mothers who smoke?
Borislav Atsev: I would say that risk, especially the risk for the fetus, is extremely high, as smoking decreases oxygen flow to the heart of not only the mother, but of the unborn baby too. And the baby’s organs are not fully-developed. This could lead to serious innate diseases and could also mean that the child will be more disposed to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases in the future.
Focus: What would be better for a pregnant woman and her fetus – if she quit smoking or if she just limited it to a certain degree?
Borislav Atsev: She should quit smoking altogether.
Focus: What types of cancer could tobacco cause?
Borislav Atsev: The question whether tobacco causes any kind of cancer is still a matter of discussions. Nonetheless, it is a fact that lung cancer cases are most frequent among smokers. Tobacco could additionally cause ulcer and gastrointestinal diseases. Cardiovascular diseases come second. We should also mention larynx cancer, gingival recession, etc.
Focus: And how exactly does tobacco affect said organs?
Borislav Atsev: Tobacco decreases oxygen flow which leads to lower oxygen supply. It has to be noted that oxygen is vital for all cell processes. Additionally, this results in higher blood pressure and heart rate, as well as increased blood clotting.
Focus: Is polluted air in the city as harmful for lungs and heart as cigarettes?
Borislav Atsev: Of course, it is. There is no exact statistical data, but polluted air harms as much as, if not even more than, cigarettes.
Focus: Does harm from smoking depend on the smoker’s lungs volume?
Borislav Atsev: No, every person has his own smoke sensitivity.
Focus: What is the most efficient way to give up smoking?
Borislav Atsev: There are lots of ways to give up smoking, but in order to do it one should be bot. Family and friends contributes towards higher motivation. People often say they will quit smoking on a certain date but they still need the willpower to do it on the exact date.
And another thing – it would help if the smoker wrote a list of reasons to quit smoking and read the list every day. Reasons could be lung cancer, heart attack, breathing problems, coughing, etc. There is a certain psychological effect from reading this every day. Additionally, the smoker could write a list of reason why he is smoking and what he does when smoking. It is important that he stopped smoking in the moments he is used to doing it. He might light a cigarette or two in other moments but he should forget about the times he usually smokes. The smoker should go and do something in this time, like have a walk, or run, or swim. Of course, some people use gums, nicotine patches, or artificial cigarettes. It helps in some cases.
It is also nice if people at home showed their intolerance to the smoker and made him go out to smoke. The same should happen at work. Smokers could also start drinking more liquids, but not alcoholic ones or coffee, as they generally prompt towards smoking.
It should be noted that the willingness to return to smoking is usually strongest in the first 10 to 14 days. After that the problems, like edginess and lack of concentration, start gradually fading away. But until that 10-14 day period passes, he should constantly remind himself the harms caused by smoking.
Lastly, smokers should also know that, after 15 years without a single cigarette, the risk of cardiovascular diseases is pretty much the same with that of someone who has never smoked. In other words, this is an additional motivation of having a chance to reduce risk to the levels for non-smokers.
Women having heart attacks are less likely than men to get immediate treatment and more likely to die in the hospital, says a groundbreaking new study that tracked more than 1.1 million patients.
Women are less likely to get immediate treatment to stop the heart attack in its tracks: clot-busting drugs, balloon procedures to open the arteries or bypass surgery, the study says. Partly because of such delays, 15% of female heart attack patients die in the hospital, compared with 10% of men. Delaying care can be fatal. "Time is muscle," says study author John Canto of the Watson Clinic and Lakeland Regional Medical Center in Florida. "And muscle is life."The study actually may underestimate the gender gap, because many female heart attacks never make it to the hospital, says Cam Patterson, chief of cardiology at theUniversity of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, who was not involved in the study.
Women are less likely to be properly treated, even when they have similar symptoms to men, according to the analysis in today's Journal of the American Medical Association, which included patients from 1994 to 2006.
In many cases, however, both doctors and patients may fail to realize the seriousness of the situation.
Forty-two percent of women never experience the classic heart attack symptom of chest pain or pressure, compared with 31% of men, the study says. That's especially true for women younger than 55, Canto says. In the short-term, heart attack patients without chest pain or discomfort are almost twice as likely to die as those who have that classic symptom, the study says.
Women without chest pain may develop shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, light-headedness and pain in the back or jaw, according to the American Heart Association. Women who develop sudden, crippling fatigue — such as the feeling that they can't tidy the kitchen without a rest — may face imminent danger of a heart attack, says cardiologist Nieca Goldberg, medical director of NYU Langone Medical Center's Tisch Center for Women's Health.
Groups such as the American Heart Association have tried for years to educate women about these symptoms. The study suggests that, in spite of such campaigns, many women and their doctors fail to recognize these symptoms — or the need for immediate treatment, Goldberg says.It's possible, Canto says, that there are genetic or biological reasons that make heart attacks in young women more lethal than attacks in older men. "If a young woman is premenopausal and she is experiencing a heart attack, something is seriously wrong," he says.
Canto says it's too early to change medical guidelines based on his study alone. He hopes other researchers will try to replicate his study, to see if his findings hold up. But several heart experts say the findings should be taken seriously.
"It's been sinking in to cardiologists for a while that women having heart attacks are more likely to have symptoms other than the classic chest pain syndrome that we see in the movies," Patterson says. "I was shocked, though, at how closely this was associated with worse outcomes and more cardiac death in women with heart attacks. This study makes me worried that we still don't get it."
Doctors or emergency responders may not take women's symptoms seriously, says Suzanne Steinbaum, director of women and heart disease at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York and an American Heart Association spokeswoman.
"Women are coming in saying they're nauseous, they're fatigued, they're sweating, and doctors say, 'You're fine,' " she says. "Doctors will say it's anxiety and it's all in your head."
Yet women also may not take their heart symptoms seriously enough, she says.
"We have a tendency to downplay what we're feeling," Steinbaum says. "If you say to your doctors, 'It's probably in my head,' then the person who is listening starts dismissing it. If you think you're having a heart attack, say it. And if you're wrong, then you're wrong."
Fewer than 20% of people who seek medical help for a heart attack are actually having one, Canto says.Goldberg says both men and women should know their cholesterol levels, blood pressure and blood sugar . "We should use this study as an eye-opening bit of news to these women," she says. Because many young women never see a cardiologist, she says obstetrician-gynecologists could screen patients for heart disease by running simple tests and measuring patients' weights. That's especially important in light of new research, released last week, suggesting that pregnant women who develop gestational diabietes or a complication called pre-eclampsia have a much higher risk of later developing heart disease, Goldberg says.
"We are doing a miserable job of educating women about their risk of heart disease," Patterson says. "When I ask my wife what is she most afraid of, she says breast cancer. And yet she is six times more likely to die of a heart attack. We have a desperate message to share about the risk of heart disease in women of all ages." USA Today
Thank You, EX Admin!
Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. -Martin Luther King, Jr.
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
Viktor E. Frankl
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.
Freedom is never dear at any price. It is the breath of life. What would a man not pay for living?
Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry is own weight, this is a frightening prospect.
There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.
Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.
George Washington Carver
Freedom from effort in the present merely means that there has been effort stored up in the past.
Freedom means you are unobstructed in living your life as you choose. Anything less is a form of slavery.
What does freedom mean to you? Do you really think you are free? Free to light up that sickerette in your home if you darn well want to? Freedom to smoke in your car, by golly! Isthatyour idea of freedom? Freedom to, ye, even kill yourself one puff at a time!
Or do you feel like a slave to your addiction? "Nicotine dependency is a brain "want" disease. The "want" felt for that next cigarette is born of slavery not choice. Feed the "want" and bondage continues. Say "no" and the process of freeing yourself can at last begin, a slow yet steady journey into entire days where never once do we want for nicotine."
"Try recalling what it was like before getting hooked, the beauty of going days, weeks, and months without once wanting to smoke? Can you remember the calm and quiet mind you once called home? If honest, the answer is no, you can't. None of us could. That's what drug addiction is all about, about quickly burying all memory of the comfort we left behind."
"Nicotine addiction is about living a lie. Hijacked "want" pathways pound home the falsehoods that smoking nicotine defines who we are, gives us our edge, helps us cope and that life without it would be horrible. Lies, all lies. In fact, within 2-3 weeks we discover that everything we did while nicotine's slave can be done as well as or better without it."
"Although we each invented a long list of reasons to explain why we'd smoke that next cigarette, there was really only one reason. We did so because we had to, because a rising tide of anxieties would begin to hurt if we didn't."
"There was always only one nicotine dependency recovery rule determining the outcome for all. It's called the Law of Addiction and it states, "Administration of a drug to an addict will cause re-establishment of chemical dependence upon the addictive substance." Like the alcoholic taking a sip, just one puff of nicotine and all our healing gets flushed like a toilet. "One is too many, a thousand never enough.""
"Studies show that just one puff and within ten seconds up to 50% of the brain's "want" pathway receptors become occupied by nicotine. While most walk away from relapse feeling like they've gotten away with smoking just once, it isn't long before their brain is soon begging for more. There was always only one rule, no nicotine just one hour, challenge and day at a time."
"Freedom is our birthright. We can begin experiencing entire days where we never once want to smoke nicotine. After the first such day, they become more and more common, until they become our new sense of normal."
"It isn't that we loved or liked smoking but that we didn't like what happened when we didn't smoke, up to 72 hours to empty the body of nicotine and reach peak withdrawal." That's why even the thought of quitting fills us with fear and doubt.
Imagine a day of liberation where we discover that years of fears about coming home were unwarranted, that we can become that person that Our Creator intends for us to be - living life abundantly - free from addiction. "Imagine lots of extra time, money, improved breathing, enhanced smell and taste, fewer root canals, less hair and vision loss, and a permanent end to ash and the stink. Most of all, imagine not dying by our own hand, of enjoying up to 5,000 extra sunrises."
"Why allow a mountain of needless anticipation fears and anxieties to build and fester when there has will never be a better moment to reclaim your freedom than here and now?"
"Knowledge is power. It allows us to become vastly smarter than our addiction is strong. Visit WhyQuit.com to download free stop smoking books, watch free counseling videos or visit Freedom from Nicotine, our free online support group." Read The Easy Way by Allen Carr. Check out quitsmokingonline.com
"Remember, you can gain your true freedom so long as no nicotine enters the body. There was always only one rule that if followed provides a 100% guarantee of success to all, no nicotine just one hour, challenge and day at a time."
*Check out this site and watch Joel’s videos www.whyquit.com
*There is an online course which will help you. http://www.quitsmokingonline.com
*Allen Carr’s Ebook, this book will be a great asset to you Click here to download Allen Carr's Ebook http://joga.365.lt/Allen-Carr_Easy-Way-To-Stop- Smoking_Download-free-PDF-EBook
"Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.
Take what you need as much as you want! If you wish to leave an afffirmation - personal, quotation, scripture, anything that lifts you up, feel FREE! This is how we retrain our brains!
Results from an International Tobacco Control (ITC) United States Supplemental Survey, published recently in the journal BMC Public Health , reveal that smokers strongly favor decreasing the addictiveness of cigarettes.
Lead investigator Andrew Hyland, PhD, Chair of the Department of Health Behavior at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI), and his team, surveyed 678 smokers between November 2009 and January 2010 on their attitudes and beliefs about the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (FSPTCA). In 2009, the Act was signed into law, authorizing the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) authority to control the manufacturing, marketing and sale of tobacco products, with a mandate to reduce tobacco-related disease and death.Dr. Hyland explained:
"These baseline data were collected shortly after passage of the FDA law and prior to enactment of specific regulatory measures. These initial levels of support or opposition for specific policy measures are useful to inform policy development and highlight the need to continue to educate smokers and the public at large about the purpose behind the regulations."
The survey findings revealed, that:
Dr. Hyland comments:
"To date, little is known about the attitudes toward the FDA's new role in regulating tobacco products. Our research found that most smokers were supportive of efforts to make tobacco products less addictive, to ban advertising, and to better inform the public about health risks."
The ITC United States Survey started in 2002 and has been conducted almost every year in conjunction with ITC surveys in Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia, who are part of the global ITC Project. The project performs similar surveys in over 20 countries, which combined, account for over half of the world's population, in order to assess the affects of tobacco control policies, including warning pictures, higher taxes on tobacco products, advertising and promotion bans as well as smoke-free laws.
Dr. Hyland states:
"We are in the process of comparing our data on support for tobacco-control policies in the U.S. to support what we've found in other countries. This will allow us to understand tobacco use and the potential of FDA policies to reduce tobacco use not only here in the U.S. but throughout the world."
Smoking is responsible for several diseases, such as cancer, long-term (chronic) respiratory diseases, andheart disease, as well as premature death. Over 440,000 people in the USA and 100,000 in the UK die because of smoking each year. According the US CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), $92 billion are lost each year from lost productivity resulting from smoking-related deaths.
Of the more than 2.4 million deaths in the USA annually, over 440,000 are caused by smoking.
Smoking is the largest cause of preventable death in the world. Recent studies have found that smokers can undermine the health of non-smokers in some environments.
90% of lung cancer patients developed their disease because of smoking. Lung cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer deaths in the world. Smokers also have a significantly higher risk of developing:
According to Cancer Research UK, one person dis every 15 minutes in Great Britain from lung cancer.Smoking also raises the risk of cancer recurrences (the cancer coming back).
Scientists say there are over 4,000 compounds in cigarette smoke. A sizeable number of them are toxic - they are bad for us and damage our cells. Some of them cause cancer - they are carcinogenic.
Tobacco smoke consists mainly of:
"Cigarette smoking is the most important risk factor for young men and women. It produces a greater relative risk in persons under age 50 than in those over 50." A female smoker who is also on the contraceptive pill has a considerably higher risk of developing coronary heart disease and stroke compared to women using oral contraceptives who don't smoke.
Every year, almost 1,000 smokers and non-smokers are killed in home fires caused by cigarettes and other smoking materials. The U.S. Fire Administration is working to help prevent home fire deaths and injuries caused by smoking materials. Fires caused by cigarettes and other smoking materials are preventable. You can make a difference!
If you smoke or live with someone who smokes, learn the facts. A lit cigarette accidentally dropped onto a chair or bed, or hot cigarette ashes or matches tossed away before they are completely out, can cause a large fire in seconds.
Putting out a cigarette the right way only takes seconds, too. It is up to you to make sure your cigarette is put out, all the way, every time.
One-in-four people killed in home fires is not the smoker whose cigarette caused the fire.
I used to have an old Plymouth Horizon that was bound to break down every single time I took it out anywhere! Go to church, break-down! Go to the store, break-down! Go to work, break-down! Since I barely know a doorknob from a head light I took the car to a mechanic and $500 later he told me the motor was fine! Cool! I'm so excited! I haven't had a reliable car in Months at this point! So I hop in, drive off and 3 blocks away, break-down! O.K., then! I call the mechanic and ask him, "Hey, buddy, what's up?" He calmly told me that he had fixed the motor perfectly but the pump was shot! Well then, let's fix the pump (can't remember if it was a water pump or a fuel pump or whatever!) ! Some $200 later, I pick up the car and drive off and make it 5 blocks, break-down! ARGH!!! Mr. Mechanic says, "Well, yes! I fixed the pump but that doesn't mean that you battery works!" Well, Sir, I say, why didn't you say so? "You didn't ask!" And just how much will that cost me? ......anyway, you get the idea! LMAO!
When we quit smoking, sometimes we're just like that! We think that life is going to be a bed of roses! Smooth riding! Well, not so fast! Life continues to happen! Stress still needs fixing! The kids still drive me to the brink! My job still expects way too much for way too little pay! This is a New Normal as my Friend YaYa says! It doesn't mean that quitting smoking - which does by the way cure a myriad of bad will make everything in your life run smoothly! It means that at least you can count on that much going right! It's up to you to fix the rest! So don't blame your quit because you argued with your spouse, bailed your kid out of trouble again!, bit your tongue off at work yesterday! Life happens! But smoking sure as heck won't make any of those other things better!
I'm sure glad I don't have that da#@ car anymore! (Or that mechanic!) LMAO!!!!
Quit smoking 5 days ago after a year of preparing for it. I'm using an e-cig to help me though it. What I can't find is any good information on e-cigs. Am I just replacing one bad habit with another? Isn't any better for me than a real cigarette?
Ads that subtly promote the smoking cessation drug Champix (known as Chantix in the U.S.)are popping up in downtown Montreal, but the campaign is raising concerns after a recent study linked the drug to heart problems.
The drug, manufactured by Pfizer, is the subject of three Health Canada safety advisories.
The warnings involve reports of possible adverse reactions includingdepression, hostility, and increased risk of suicide.
Champix, the brand name for varenicline, was developed by Pfizer andapproved for use in Canada in January 2007.
The drug is designed to reduce the pleasure of smoking and the withdrawal symptoms that often make people resume the habit.
A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in July found people taking the drug had a 72 per cent higher risk of developing serious heart problems.
Health Canada launched a safety review in June after an American study raised concerns about risks for patients with cardiovascular disease.The ads in question feature the words “I did it!” on a green background with the drug’s website tagged underneath.
In Canada, as long as an ad doesn’t specify the disease or condition a drug is supposed to treat, it’s legal, even if the drug has been flagged for review by Health Canada.
In the U.S., stricter advertising standards prohibit Pfizer from using the same marketing for the drug.
In an emailed statement, Pfizer said the ads comply with all federal regulations.
"The campaign was also reviewed and approved by Advertising Standards Canada (ASC) as part of their pre-clearance service," the statement reads."The goal of the CHAMPIX direct-to-consumer campaign is to encourage an open dialogue between consumers and health-care professionals.
"During the course of this dialogue, issues surrounding the appropriateness of a given medication or treatment will be discussed between the health-care professional and the patient."
Barbara Mintzes, a professor of epidemiology at the University of British Columbia, said the ads are "outrageous," given the side-effect concerns that have been identified.
She is calling on Health Canada to shut down the company’s direct-to-consumer marketing.
"I was very upset to see the ads," she said.
“When there are serious safety signals about a drug, those drugs should not be advertised to the public."In a statement released last month, Health Canada said it has now completed its review, which found a “slightly increased number of patients” experienced serious heart-related problems compared to the placebo group.
It concluded that Champix is an effective aid for quitting smoking and its benefits outweigh the risk.
Health Canada noted that "smoking by itself is a major known risk factor for cardiovascular disease and that patients with cardiovascular disease can benefit greatly from quitting smoking."
The amount of weight likely to be gained varies depending on whether you are young or old, male or female, and if you are already overweight, said Panagiotis Kasteridis, Ph.D., a post-doctoral research associate in theDepartment of Agriculture and Resource Economics at the University of Tennessee.
Kasteridis and colleague Steven T. Yen, Ph.D., evaluated data from the 2004-2005 and 2009-2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey, from 349,000 current and former smokers who answered questions about smoking, health behaviors, and their body mass index (BMI).
The study found that quitting smoking was associated with a small increase in BMI and that this effect increased over time. Young women gained about 2.3 percent in BMI within a month after quitting smoking, up to a maximum of 5.2 percent between 3 and 6 months after quitting.
This pattern was similar in young men and older women and men, although the maximum increases took longer in those groups. The largest BMI increase occurred in older women, whose BMI increased by more than 8 percent, or about 13 pounds, over 10 years after quitting.
"The results are particularly encouraging for young individuals. The effects of quitting on BMI are considerably lower among young men and women," Kasteridis said. "The price that must be paid, in terms of weight gain, to enjoy the health benefits of smoking cessation is trivial."
"Our results also suggest that the effects of smoking cessation in the overweight and obese population – the groups that may be more concerned about gaining weight – are modest and similar to those in the normal weight population," Kasteridis reported.
This study is valuable because it looked at the effects of stopping smoking on several different categories of people, said Norman Edelman, M.D., chief medical officer at the American Lung Association. "The bottom-line finding is that the increase is quite small, especially in an obese person."
"Smoking cessation is clearly of great importance in health," Edelman said. "It improves health outcomes and does not seem to add enough weight to make a significant difference."
More information: Kasteridis P., Yen S.T. (2012). Smoking cessation and body weight: Evidence from the behavioral risk factor surveillance survey.Health Services Research, In Press.
— Dr. Bernard Leech of Conemaugh Family Medicine Center has been known to ask patients if he can prescribe medicine that costs $7 a day and causes shortness of breath, raises blood pressure and heart rate, reduces oxygen levels, contains cancer-causing chemicals and will ultimately cause death.
When patients balk, he points out that he just described their smoking habit.
Although smoking is often associated with an increased risk of cancer, tobacco is also the No. 1 risk factor for heart disease.
“Cigarettes increase your risk of atherosclerosis,” Dr. Jeanne Spencer, Memorial Medical Center family medicine residency program director said at the Family Medicine Center.
Atherosclerosis refers to the buildup of fats as plaque on artery walls. Atherosclerosis in the arteries of the heart can lead to heart attacks.
“Nicotine causes vasoconstriction, which is when the blood vessels spasm and close down a bit,” Spencer said. “If they tighten down when they are already narrowed (by atherosclerosis), you are in bigger trouble.”
Smoking also increases the heart rate, but cuts down on the amount of oxygen pushing carbon monoxide and other waste materials into the bloodstream, said Michelle George, Memorial’s tobacco cessation/prevention program coordinator.
And while the local medical experts stress the hazards of tobacco use, they understand the challenge quitting presents.
In 1988, a report by Surgeon General C. Everett Koop compared characteristics of tobacco addiction to heroin and cocaine addiction.
“It is never going to be easy,” Leech said. “Ultimately, it boils down to empowering the individual to make that change. Our job is to assist them to that goal.”
George says there are three aspects to the smoking addiction: Nicotine addiction, habit and emotion. Successful quitters have to break free from all three sides of the dependency triangle.
Nicotine replacement therapy can help ease quitters through the withdrawal, she added.
The second issue is breaking the smoking habit, which requires changes in routine, George said.When do you smoke?” she asks. “When you get up in the morning? When you’re driving a car? You can modify your life-style. Take your coffee back to the bedroom and read the paper.”
Spencer put it this way:
“Try to change the routine.
“Don’t sit in your smoking chair at smoking time and think you are not going to smoke.”
The third area, emotional dependency, also requires a change in routine. Smokers often light up when they feel stressed.
“See what you can do in place of going out and having that cigarette,” George said.
‘Ready to quit’
Memorial and Somerset Hospital each offer tobacco cessation classes that encourage participants to quit smoking by showing the health benefits and offering strategies for success.
Tools include nicotine replacement products such as patches and chewing gum.
But a study published last month in the scientific journal Tobacco Control casts some doubt on the value of replacement therapy.
The study by Harvard Medical School’s Center for Global Tobacco Control and the University of Massachusetts found those using the replacement therapy were just as likely to relapse as those who quit “cold turkey.”
Local cessation advocates believe more study is needed and continue to suggest nicotine replacement as a tool.
“It helps get them through that relapse,” George said. “The patches help them not have as severe withdrawal symptoms. But they have to be ready to quit.”
Dr. Matthew Masiello, director of the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at Windber Research Institute, said the study and the patches illustrate misconceptions.
“We have to put it into context,” Masiello said. “There has to be a level of education accessible to use the products effectively. These patches will work if you use them effectively.
“These studies tell us we have to stop thinking that the product is going to be it for us. You need to be working toward the optimal environment. You can’t think the product is going to change all of your environment.”
The experts had several tips they like to share with smokers who want to quit.
George and Spencer both urge smokers to set a quit date.
As the date approaches, remove ashtrays and stashes of tobacco from the house.
“Getting people around you to quit helps a lot,” Leech said.
“That way you are not exposed to it.”
Above all, be committed, Spencer said.
“Most people try three times before they actually quit,” she said. “If they fail on the first try, we tell them to just do it again.”
‘Learn and live’
Masiello’s tobacco-prevention advice took a different direction.
“Get a high school education,” Masiello said. “I know that sounds absurd, but we have seen the research: The higher education level you obtain, the better you are going to take care of yourself.
“We need to do a better job of keeping kids in high school.”
It won’t be long before many Americans have additional incentives to quit, Masiello predicts.
“Businesses are going to stop hiring smokers,” he said. “We now see 80 percent of the people don’t smoke.”
Employees who smoke drive up a company’s health-care costs and increase absenteeism, he said.
Masiello applauded Geisinger Health Care system’s new policy to stop hiring tobacco users, as of Feb. 1.
All job applicants – including full-time and part-time positions, volunteers and students enrolled in the system’s schools – are now required to complete urine testing.
Geisinger is not the first company to adopt a similar policy, which is legal in 20 states.
More employers are bound to join the cause, Masiello said.
“You are not affecting people’s rights,” he said. “You are helping them get healthy.”
Women trying nicotine replacement therapy to quit smoking while pregnant might find that they end up with a fussy baby, according to an observational study.
Women who used nicotine replacement therapy -- patches, gum, or inhaler -- saw an adjusted odds ratio of infantile colic of 1.6 (95% CI 1-2.5, P=0.03), reported Ioanna Milidou, MD, of Aarhus University Hospital in Aarhus, Denmark, and colleagues in the March issue of Pediatrics.
By comparison, smokers' babies were at 30% higher risk of colic than those not exposed to any source of nicotine in the population-based birth cohort study.
Nicotine replacement therapy has been considered a safer alternative to continued smoking in pregnancy and thus seen increasing use among pregnant women, Milidou's group explained.
These results shouldn't be considered a contraindication for nicotine replacement therapy for women who can't stop smoking without it, they cautioned.
But the risk seen does warrant more investigation into safety for use in pregnancy, they added.
Infantile colic generally resolves on its own eventually, but until it does the paroxysms of hours of crying and fussing every day for weeks on end "pose a burden on the affected families and may even trigger violent behavior toward the child," Milidou and colleagues noted.
Since smoking is a known risk factor, the researchers examined the role of nicotine among 63,128 mother-child pairs in the prospective Danish National Birth Cohort.
Interviews with the mothers during pregnancy and six months after delivery indicated that 23.8% smoked while pregnant.
A further 0.3% (207) had used nicotine replacement therapy without resorting to cigarettes and 2% (1,245) had both used it and smoked while pregnant.
The overall rate of colic, defined as three or more hours of crying and fussing a day for at least three days a week unrelated to teething or known illness, was 8%.
But that proportion went up to 9% for smokers and to 11% for nicotine replacement therapy users.
After full adjustment for parental sociodemographics, coffee consumption, maternal age, and binge drinking, the odds of colic were the same whether infants had been exposed to nicotine replacement therapy alone or with prolonged smoking during gestation, at a statistically significant 1.6 versus no exposure.
Together with the similar magnitude of risk after exposure to smoking alone, "this finding indicates that nicotine may be the component in tobacco smoke responsible for the increased risk for infantile colic," the researchers concluded.
Some suggest that the link between smoking and colic is almost entirely due to uncontrolled confounding, they noted but pointed to the similar results in their adjusted and unadjusted analyses.
Exposure to smoke from the father or partner didn't have any impact on the likelihood after adjustment for the mother's smoking status.
The researchers cautioned that their observational study couldn't rule out unmeasured or residual confounding, and that the number of women who used nicotine replacement exclusively was small.
A causal role for nicotine is plausible, they suggested, because it interferes with serotonin in the developing brain and intestinal system, along with gastrointestinal vasoconstriction that would increase bowel motility.
A Florida man trying to kick the smoking habit was puffing on an electronic cigarette when a faulty battery caused it to explode in his mouth, taking out some of his front teeth and a chunk of his tongue and severely burning his face, fire officials said Wednesday.
"The best analogy is like it was trying to hold a bottle rocket in your mouth when it went off," said Joseph Parker, division chief for the North Bay Fire Department. "The battery flew out of the tube and set the closet on fire."
Fire Chief Joseph Miller said the victim contacted the department on Wednesday to thank firefighters and told them he was recovering at a hospital in Mobile, Ala., and anticipated being released later in the day. Officials have not publicly identified him, citing department policy. But a Facebook page under the name of 57-year-old Tom Holloway of Niceville was filled with well-wishers commenting on the injury and database searches matched his address on the fire report with his name.
Holloway was in his office at home when the device exploded, leaving behind burned chair cushions, pictures, carpet and office equipment. A scorched battery case found on a piece of melted carpet appears to be one for a cigar-sized device, the report said. Those in the house with him rushed to his aid in the smoke-filled room and tried to put the fire out with salt, the report said.
Holloway and his family members didn't immediately answer The Associated Press' requests for interviews.
Investigators do not know the brand of cigarette, type of battery or age of the device, Parker said. It appears the battery was rechargeable lithium because a recharging station and other batteries were in the room, he said. Parker has forwarded information about the blaze to the fire marshal's office to include in any databases on the devices. But Parker said he has yet to hear of any similar instances.
Holloway agreed to let firefighters take the burned case and other, undamaged cases with them as examples for reporting to a national database, according to the report. But Holloway has asked for the burned case back. Parker said it could be used as evidence in any litigation, although Holloway did not indicate why he wanted it returned, Parker said.
Thomas Kiklas, co-founder of the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, said the industry knows of no problems with the cigarettes or batteries exploding.
Kicklas said the rigid, plastic cigarettes include a small battery and cartridge. The battery is designed to generate an electric charge when the device is inhaled. The charge sets off vapor in the cigarette tube. The nicotine-filled mist gives the taste and experience of smoking without the smoke.
Kiklas cited a federal report that found 2.5 million Americans used electronic cigarettes last year.
"There have been billions and billions of puffs on the cigarettes and we have not heard of this happening before," he said.
Fire officials said the victim told them that he was trying to stop smoking, which is why he was puffing on the electronic version. However, the industry does not claim electronic cigarettes allow smokers to kick the habit, just that they are a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes because they have fewer chemicals, Kiklas said.
The Food and Drug Administration posted a warning about the cigarettes on its website in October saying that e-cigarettes were addictive, could contain dangerous chemicals like nicotine and might encourage kids to try other tobacco products.
In 2010, the agency sent letters to some e-cigarette makers for violations of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act including "violations of good manufacturing practices, making unsubstantiated drug claims and using the devices as delivery mechanisms for active pharmaceutical ingredients," according to the FDA website.
Holloway is a photographer, motorcycle enthusiast and Vietnam-era veteran, according to his Facebook page.
Not all tobacco is smoked and "chew" or the new dissolvable tobacco can actually be harder to quit than cigarettes, said Tim Zeleski, project coordinator for Tobacco Free Hall County.
"Smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to smoking and is even more habit forming because it contains a higher concentration of nicotine than cigarettes," Zeleski said. This week - Sunday through Saturday - is national Through With Chew Week.
"There is no good part of tobacco usage. It is all harmful," he said. "Smokeless tobacco can cause oral cancer, especially in the cheeks, gums and throat."
The state's rural and western heritage makes more Nebraskans try "chew" and other smokeless tobacco at an early age, Zeleski said.
"Smokeless tobacco use is more common in Nebraska than the nation as a whole," he said. "Young adults who try smokeless tobacco for the first time are often drawn by the flavors: mint, vanilla or apple, and milder tastes."
He said another trend on the rise locally and nationally is the use of chew by high school wrestlers because they believe it can help them quickly lose weight before a tournament weight check-in due to excessive spitting.
"Losing a pound or two of water weight is much easier than losing a pound of actual fat weight," Zeleski said. He said they have spoken with local athletes who have tried this and they noted how difficult it was to quit using smokeless tobacco, even after using it for just a short while.
"Tobacco companies know that, if they can get a kid even psychologically addicted before they are 18, there is over an 80 percent chance that they are going to be a career tobacco user," he said. "That is why tobacco companies have our kids in their crosshairs because they have to replace 450,000 people every year who die from using tobacco products."
According to the 2010 Nebraska Youth Risk Behavior Survey of ninth- through 12th-graders, 10 percent of Nebraska high school males used smokeless tobacco within the past 30 days. Nebraska's combined total of male and female smokeless tobacco users is 6 percent.
Zeleski said more and more girls and women are becoming smokeless tobacco users as products become available to make it more discreet.
The newest way to use tobacco is dissolvable tobacco products, sometimes called "candy tobacco." It is a smokeless tobacco that can be placed between the lip and gum, like chew, but is completely dissolvable in 10 to 15 minutes, and there is no need to spit.
The dissolvable tobacco comes is a variety of forms, including an "orb," which looks a little like a Tic Tac mint; a flat sheet resembling breath strips; and even sticks that can be chewed on a like a toothpick.
Zeleski said because the tobacco product can be hidden in a cheek or other place, friends and even co-workers may not know you are using it.
"(Tobacco companies) try to make it look socially acceptable and pleasant," he said, adding that all smokeless tobacco can lead to oral problems, such as mouth sores, gum recessions, tooth decay, bad breath and permanently discolored teeth.
One very dangerous problem with the dissolvable tobacco products is that children who get hold of them can mistake them for candy, and Zeleski said there are cases in which children have died after overdosing on nicotine.
"Nicotine itself in its natural state is a nerve poison," he said. "That is why it is used in insecticide."
Although the tobacco companies state that each orb contains about the same amount of nicotine as a cigarette, Zeleski said the amount of nicotine is inconsistent. Even a "pinch" of chewing tobacco is different for each person or even each time.
Just like an alcoholic, he said, the tobacco user creates a "base line" of nicotine that they need to keep from going through withdrawal symptoms.
"Maybe during a time of stress you give yourself a bigger pinch, and pretty soon that bigger pinch is the norm. That's how much you have to use all the time," Zeleski said.
Zeleski said people also can call the local Tobacco Free Hall County for tips on ways to quit. He suggests first educating yourself on why you want to quit so it is easier to keep with it and then going to your physician to find out more about nicotine-replacement products.
Tobacco smoking is one of the most dangerous – yet popular – addictions and vices of all time. The practice of smoking has altered throughout history but today it is a widely accepted habit across the globe.
Over the past few years there have been many attempts to regulate smoking to reduce the number of deaths it causes every year, through direct and passive smoking. Estimations suggest there are 1.1 billion smokers worldwide and according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), smoking is responsible for more deaths than any one single illness, disease or disability. The WHO also believes that by the year 2020, the number of smoking-related deaths will reach 10 million.
The current trend among government and health organisations across the world is to limit who can smoke and when and where they can smoke, measures which are part of the WHO’s Tobacco Free Initiative. Age restrictions have been in place in many countries for years, but recently these have been strengthened and extended. What we are also starting to see is the emergence of smoking ‘bans’. The introduction of these new laws prevents people from smoking in certain areas. For example, offices, work vehicles, public parks, bars and restaurants. Authorities are also trying to implement various restrictions regarding tobacco packaging rules about how tobacco products can be displayed in shops.
Here’s an example of some of the most notable tobacco laws in place in countries across the world:
Although there is no national smoking ban currently enacted in the US, it’s thought 50 percent of states have imposed regulations regarding smoking in workplaces, bars and restaurants. However, states in the South are thought to be tailing behind the rest with seven having not imposed such bans. In May 2011 New York even banned smoking in some outdoor spaces, most notably parks, beaches, promenades and in Times Square. Golf courses and sports centres are also affected by the law.
Major smoking laws came into play in the UK between 2006 and 2007. By 1 July 2007, all public spaces (workplaces, work vehicles, bars, clubs and eateries) were designated smoke free areas. Currently the only restrictions prohibiting smoking in outdoor areas in England is in railway stations, bus stations and phones boxes. Scotland was the first to introduce the ban in March 2006, in spaces that were enclosed by more than 50 percent. In Wales, public ‘No Smoking’ signs must be displayed in both English and Welsh languages. In September 2011 cigarette machines were banned from pubs and clubs too. In 2007 the legal age for buying tobacco products in the UK rose from 16 to 18-years-old.
Australia was the first country in the world to enact a law which required all cigarettes and other tobacco-related products to be sold in plain packaging as of December 2012. From then, packaging will be a dark matte brown as standard. Smoking bans vary according to state, but many enclosed public places are smoke-free and there are a number of restrictions in place regarding smoking in vehicles in an attempt to protect children from the effects of second-hand smoke.
New Zealand’s first smoking ban was put in place in 1876 when smoking was prohibited in the Old Government Building in Wellington, but this due to fire concerns as it was the world’s second largest wooden building. Laws preventing smoking in indoor workplaces and hospitality venues came into force in 2004 and studies have found compliance is relatively high. Some outdoor smoking laws are also in place, in school grounds and stadiums, outside some hospitals and on two university campuses.
Although smoking has been banned in all public places in France, designated ‘smoking rooms’ are allowed if they adhere to strict regulations. However, various media reports have suggested enforcement of the bans is fairly lax and French residents deliberately flout the restrictions. In early 2011 it was even reported regulations regarding the promotion of tobacco and smoking were loosened, over concerns the law was affecting the French culture after a number of iconic figures appeared on posters without their trademark cigarettes.
It was not until January 2011 that restrictive smoking laws were imposed in Spain but they are now thought to be some of the strictest in Europe. All inside public spaces are now smoke-free and smoking rooms in pubs and restaurants are not allowed. Smoking on TV programmes is also prohibited. In prisons, psychiatric hospitals and retirement homes smoking areas are available but employees are forbidden from entering them.
In October 2000, South Africa was among the first countries in the world to impose a ban on smoking in public places, including bars and restaurants. However, smoking in a small, well ventilated outside area at these locations is permitted. In 1995 a ban was enforced disallowing those aged under 16 to buy tobacco products, but the government is currently looking at extending this to the age of 18. Tobacco advertising and sponsorships have also been banned, as has the sale of single cigarettes and the distribution of free tobacco.
DEAR ABBY: "Dwayne," my boyfriend of eight years, insists on smoking in his bedroom. In our last apartment he'd fall asleep with a lit cigarette and ended up burning holes in our couch, numerous blankets and pillows as well as the carpet. When we moved, Dwayne assured me he had stopped, but a month ago I noticed his blanket and mattress have burn holes and so does the carpet by his bed.
We live together with our 6-year-old son and, needless to say, I'm scared to death Dwayne will burn this place down. I have talked to him about it numerous times. All he does is yell and say it won't happen because cigarettes are "safer now."
I have discussed this with our landlord to no avail. I thought about calling social services, but I don't want to get him in trouble. I could really use some good advice. - SCARED FOR MY LIFE IN MILWAUKEE
DEAR SCARED: Because Dwayne is unwilling to be more responsible, it's time to consider your son's safety and your own. Your boyfriend is not only addicted to tobacco, he is also misguided. If cigarettes were "safer now" there wouldn't be burn holes in his bedding and the area surrounding where he sleeps. If moving isn't feasible, at least make sure there are working smoke detectors in your apartment and an extra one outside Dwayne's bedroom door.
Frankly, it would be healthier for you and the boy if Dwayne didn't smoke at all in your apartment because the Environmental Protection Agency has classified secondhand smoke as a Group A carcinogen. To verify this, and get further information, contact the American Cancer Society (800-227- 2345) or the American Heart Association (800-242-8721).
Another 100 Days!
On my 100 day milestones I reflect on my quit journey and do my best to reflect on where I've been and glimpse where I might be going nEXt! This day my theme is having the Courage to Live Well! Here are some affirmations on Courage that I find appropriate to my Celebration!
Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I'll try again tomorrow. ~Mary Anne Radmacher
Courage is reckoned the greatest of all virtues; because, unless a man has that virtue, he has no security for preserving any other. ~Samuel Johnson
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear. ~Ambrose Redmoon
Every man has his own courage, and is betrayed because he seeks in himself the courage of other persons. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Every day you either see a scar or courage. Where you dwell will define your struggle. ~Dodinsky
Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. ~Winston Churchill
Sometimes even to live is an act of courage. ~Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Courage is doing what you're afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you're scared. ~Edward Vernon Rickenbacker
Courage can't see around corners, but goes around them anyway. ~Mignon McLaughlin
Sometimes the biggest act of courage is a small one. ~Lauren Raffo
Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. ~C.S. Lewis
The courage of life is often a less dramatic spectacle than the courage of a final moment; but it is no less a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy. ~John F. Kennedy
Courage is the power to let go of the familiar. ~Raymond Lindquist
Courage, in the final analysis, is nothing but an affirmative answer to the shocks of existence. ~Kurt Goldstein
No one has yet computed how many imaginary triumphs are silently celebrated by people each year to keep up their courage. ~Henry S. Haskins
For without belittling the courage with which men have died, we should not forget those acts of courage with which men have lived. ~John F. Kennedy
Courage is fear that has said its prayers. ~Dorothy Bernard
Courage is to feel the daily daggers of relentless steel and keep on living. ~Douglas Malloch
Have the courage to live. Anyone can die. ~Robert Cody
When I was diagnosed with COPD, I received a lot of messages from people - everything from Be assertive! Make the most of what you have left to You're nothing more than a Zombie, the Living Dead, you might as well give up on living and smoke yourself into the grave! After EXamining these options, I chose to live! I took my last puff 6 days later, joined this site, listened to the long-term quitters and put my all into making the most of my life! I barely got started with my new Smoke FREE lifestyle and for the first time in my life, I was laif-off! So instead of running head-long into self-destruction, I used many of the lessons I had learned as an EXer to help me focus on getting a new job! In my case, it meant that at the age of 52, I had to change careers, start at the bottom of the food chain, face not knowing anything and open myself up to learning from scratch. 10 Months into my quit journey, I lost my Best Friend and GodMother! I was devastated and left without my anchor! I allowed myself to grieve openly and to share myself like I'd never done before! (If you haven't noticed, I most often hide myself behind articles and affirmations (almost did that again today!) The place she left open in my heart can never really be filled but I've learned to live, I 've learned to get out of bed each day even when I think I can't and courageously take a shower, brush my teeth, and walk out the front door. Fake it till you make it! What a road map for courage! Sharing on BecomeanEx has EXposed me to many different people all with one goal - living life abundantly smoke FREE! Some of my dearest friends here have unfortunately not stayed on track. Some have disappeared and some have even passed away! That's the risk you take when you friend so many people! I'm learning to live with it but it isn't easy!
There can be no vulnerability without risk; there can be no community without vulnerability; there can be no peace, and ultimately no life, without community.
M. Scott Peck
Taking the nEXt step forward takes courage, but taking that step with a smile on your face, is the Valor that comes with spiritual growth, belief in the Almighty, with true pure LOVE: LOVE of God, LOVE of self, and LOVE for our fellow human! Lord, give me the Courage to LMAO!
Joanne speaks even now of educating people about COPD and since she's giving you a real life look at what COPD means to a very young 54 year old Wife, Mother, Friend she would want me to give some info that ALL SMOKERS should know about COPD! Anybody that has a history of smoking should be aware of a test called spirometry. I never heard of this thing till I was ALREADY diagnosed with COPD! But half of people with COPD have not yet been diagnosed and like all chronic diseases early diagnosis is critical to positive outcomes! Well, here goes:
If you have a chronic productive cough ( with sputum anything but clear), shortness of breath, wheezing, and/or smoker's raspy voice, especially AFTER you quit smoking, then you should ask your doctor to give you a spirometry test! COPD is an auto-immune illness - that means your body attacks itself! COPD doesn't care how old you are, how much you smoke (or smoked), or how many years! My doctor KNEW I had constant coughing for years and still never suggested I take the test - I had to tell him that I wanted it! (found out about the test on the internet!) That's because my lungs were overinflated. If you ever hear a doctor say that your lungs are overinflated they mean you have emphysema and you darn well better get a spirometry test! It's best for anybody who's cough doesn't clear up after 6 weeks quit to get this test! Most likely your doctor has this machine in his office and can do the test that very day and the results are instant. It doesn't cost much to take the test either and it will tell you if you are inhaling and most important exhaling properly! You just breathe as hard and fast into a tube as you can and the machine measures the air that comes out and compares it with what can be expected for your height, weight, and age. So if you are even a little suspicious that something just isn't right - Ask your doctor if you can take this test! You want to know as soon as possible if everything's fine or not! Almost 40% of COPD is missed by Primary Care Physicians so advocate for yourself! Demand the test!
WHAT IS COPD?
People with COPD have more than one of Asthma, Chronic Bronchitis and/or Emphysema which makes you cough a lot and very, very hard! You have shortness of breath because you can't inhale or exhale properly! Because you can't exhale completely, the CO and CO2 that is normally exhaled stay in your body as a toxin that enters the cells of the extremities and you lose arm and leg function. Also, vision can be affected because of the toxicity. What's more, you are more prone to every viral and bacterial infection that comes along - easier to catch and more intense and prolonged symptoms. Each infection increases the cycle of damage and vulnerability. Ther is no cure but there is a lot that a patient can do to slow the progress of the disease. Most important is Quit Smoking Now! It's very important to find a pulmonary rehab and join it so they can teach you how to clear those nasty CO toxins from your system! And stay active - all this can be very depressing but the depression adds to the immobility which adds to the debility etc, down, down, down! All that has to be fought with upward action - POSITIVE THINKING and CONTROL the disease - don't let it control you! There is a lot of HOPE and it starts with the QUIT!
Take what you need as much as you want! If you wish to leave an afffirmation - personal, quotation, scripture, anything that lifts you up, feel FREE! This is how we retrain our brains!
February 14 is here. This is the time where we celebrate the love of family and friends, something that we wish could go on forever. For some, this time may be cut short. Cigarette smoking increases the chance of heart attack and stroke. Smokers are more than twice as likely to have a heart attack than non-smokers. Smoking reduces the oxygen levels in your blood, increases blood pressure and thickens blood which increases the likelihood of a blood vessel to burst or become clogged.
The good news is that help is available. We have motivational tips available to help you through a craving, as well as numerous informational blogs that can be easily found on the following members' pages:
Somebody is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week to personally answer your Blog. Just title the Blog HELP! and we'll come running.
Don’t become another victim of tobacco industry tactics. Take the steps today to live longer and enjoy a healthier smoke FREE Life. Do it for your Heart! Do it for your Lungs! Do it for LIFE!
Cold turkey may be the best way to kick the smoking habit for good. A new study by Harvard University's Center for Global Tobacco Control shows that while nicotine patches, gum, and inhalers help ease smokers' cravings early on, they can backfire in the long run.
Researches located nearly 800 smokers who had recently quit and followed them for five years, recording what cessation strategies they used. After two years, one third of the participants had relapsed; after four years, another third had.
Those who tried nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs), either on their own or with the advice of a counselor, were just as likely to fail as those who quit without such help. What's more, heavy smokers who used NRTs unsupervised were actually twice as likely to relapse as those who went with pure willpower.
Though many short-term clinical trials have suggested that NRTs are effective, the newstudy shows that what happens in the real world is very different. This is interesting because smokers may think NRTs are a magic pill because they address nicotine addiction, but nicotine is only part of the reason people smoke. So what is the best way? In few words, without the proper personal commitment to quit, smokers are likely to relapse.
If you want to change your life you must change your mind. The only way to change your mind is to reprogram it by blasting your brain with statements that will produce your desired behaviour.
It only takes three days to overcome the physical part of tobacco addiction. The rest is in your head. Make no mistake the mental part of kicking any addiction including tobacco is not easy. Remember it takes time... It took time for you to become mentally dependant on tobacco, it will take time to become independent. You should know this -- affirmations are NOT the same as willpower.
Addiction to tobacco begins by choosing to use, recovery begins the same way -- choose to quit. Addicts must take responsibility for their recovery. Own it. Having a self-inflicted tobacco addiction does not absolve you of your behaviour.
The physical part of addiction recovery is not very important.What is important is dealing with the compulsion, the craving, that happens even when you know you're going to destroy yourself.
Can affirmations help? Yes, they can. Science is proving that when you change your mind, your brain physically changes too. The effects of long term tobacco abuse can be overcome.
To quit smoking is possible. It might not seem like it when you're craving, when you're at the bottom of the barrel, when you're at the end of your rope. Don't wait till your doctor announces the 'C' word to you. Start your quit smoking program. Do it now, do it today!
Nothing is forcing you to smoke. Your genes, your personality, your awful past, your family -- nothing. Abusing tobacco is voluntary, purposeful behavior.The only cause of your addiction -- both physical and mental is the thoughts that you habitually think that tell you in a thousand different ways 'Have a smoke'.
The need to smoke exists totally in your mind -- it is the result of your thoughts and nothing else. To quit smoking you absolutely must change your thoughts.
The fastest and most effective smoking cessation method to change your thoughts is by using affirmations. The result will be cessation from smoking without the need for pills, patches, or any other gimmick. Do you want relief from tobacco? Do you want your life back again? Include affirmations in your smoking cessation routine. Have you heard that saying, "Don't feed the Monster?" Well, I have a saying, too! Feed your FREEDOM LOVING Voice!
Join Our Positive Affirmations for Success Group and Visit it often! And if you come across a Great Affirmation, please leave it there for others! It's the nourishment that keeps on giving!
Make that Voice that wants to be FREE from Addiction stronger! Drown out the addictive messages!
So show your heart some loving this Valentine's Day; it's also American Heart Month. Here are five simple things you can do to improve your heart health, courtesy of Jill Baney, a nurse practitioner with Lutheran Medical Group:
•Don't smoke or use tobacco, and that includes inhaling second-hand smoke.
Smoking can cause narrowing of the arteries, as well as build-up of plaque in coronary arteries that can cause a heart attack. Women who smoke and take birth-control pills are at increased risk of stroke or heart attack.
If you've tried to quit and not stuck with it, don't give up: If you have been able to quit for a period of time on previous attempts, you are more likely to succeed when you try again.
Any activity is good, whether it be walking, running, gardening or walking the dog.
Walking is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to exercise. Try to walk for at least 30 minutes a day. If you can't do 30 minutes at once, walk for 10 minutes three times a day. And if you can't do 10 minutes, start with five minutes.
Walking at a faster pace also is better for you than walking slowly. Try to push yourself so you are walking at a fast pace but still can carry on a conversation without being short of breath.
•Eat a heart-healthy diet.
Reduce your intake of saturated and trans fats, which means cutting back on red meat, fatty dairy products, deep-fried foods and packaged snacks. Read the ingredient labels on foods and avoid those containing partially hydrogenated oils.
Watch your portions at mealtime. If you need to cutback in a lot of areas of your diet, pick one area and work on it before taking on another.
Limit your alcoholic beverages to no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women. One drink equals 4 ounces of wine, 8 ounces of beer or one shot or mixed drink.
•Learn your body-mass index.
It's a measure of your health based on weight and height. You can find body-mass index (BMI) calculators on the Web. Unless you are extremely muscular, a BMI of 25 or more means you are overweight; a score of 30 or more means you are obese.
Another measure: Waist diameter should be less than 40 inches for a man and less than 35 inches for a woman.
If you need to lose a lot of weight, set small goals initially, such as losing 10 percent of your current total. Lowering your weight will reduce blood pressure and the risk of diabetes.
•Get health screenings.
Know what your numbers are for blood pressure. Ideal is less than 120/80. You can get blood pressure checked for free at machines in many pharmacies, or at local fire stations. If you find your blood pressure creeping up, see your doctor.
Get blood cholesterol checked at least every five years beginning at age 20. It establishes a baseline number and warns you if your numbers change.
Get a diabetes screening at least every few years beginning at age 30 to 35.
ATLANTA — Smokers not only have more problems with their teeth than non-smokers, they also go to the dentist less often.
Those are the findings of a new government survey, released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC looked at 2008 survey responses from more than 16,000 adults ages 18 through 64.
More than a third of smokers reported having three or more dental problems, ranging from stained teeth to jaw pain, toothaches or infected gums. That was more than twice as much as people who never smoked.
But 20 percent of the smokers said they had not been to a dentist in at least five years. Only 10 percent of non-smokers and former smokers had stayed away that long, the study found.
Smokers seem to be aware their dental health is worse “but they’re not doing anything about it,” said Robin Cohen, a CDC statistician who co-authored the new report.
Why not? Half of the smokers said they could not afford to see a dentist, a much higher proportion than non-smoking adults who didn’t go.
The report did not provide data on income or health insurance. But another CDC survey found smoking rates are higher among those with low incomes — nearly 30 percent of Americans with incomes below the federal poverty level say they are current smokers, while fewer than 19 percent of people with higher incomes are smokers.
A 2000 Surgeon General’s report found that smoking can lead to poorer dental health by, for example, impairing the body’s ability to fight off infections in the mouth. Tobacco use has also been associated with oral cancers.
Middle-age men who smoke may be setting themselves up for rapid cognitive decline, researchers found.
Current smoking conferred the equivalent of 10 years of aging on global cognition and executive function among men, Séverine Sabia, PhD, of University College London, and colleagues reported online in theArchives of General Psychiatry.
This effect might be expected to lead to dementia later in life, they noted.
Although their analysis of the Whitehall II cohort study of British civil servants couldn't address that risk, other evidence from studies in the elderly has increasingly linked smoking and dementia.
Because the process that leads to dementia appears to start decades before clinical diagnosis, smoking cessation efforts need to target individuals at all ages, Sabia's group concluded.
Smoking didn't appear to have the same impact on women's brains, perhaps because the women studied in the Whitehall II cohort didn't smoke as heavily as the men, the researchers suggested.
Their analysis of the long-running cohort study included 5,099 men and 2,137 women tested for cognition starting at an average age of 56 with two subsequent assessments over the next 10 years.
Over that time period, the average 55-year-old man saw a decline of 0.34 on a standardized 1-point scale for global cognition along with a drop of 0.28 in memory and 0.39 in executive function z-score.
Those who were current smokers had an average additional 0.09 to the cognitive decline and 0.11 to executive function decline compared with those who never smoked (both P<0.05).
Adding 10 years of age accelerated cognitive decline to a similar degree.
Men lost 0.10 more in global cognition and 0.10 more in executive function from 65 to 75 than from 55 to 65.
Quitting cigarettes cut down the impact but didn't eliminate it until more than 10 years had passed.
Recent cessation was still associated with 0.08 more executive function decline over 10 years on the z-score scale than was seen in never smokers (P<0.05).
Every 10 pack-years of smoking history added 0.009 to mean 10-year cognitive decline and 0.01 to mean 10-year executive function decline, again statistically significant.
None of the associations were significant among women.
Adjusting for other factors like alcohol consumption, diet, and physical activity as well as cholesterol, blood pressure, and history of stroke or heart disease didn't attenuate the association for men.
Accounting for dropout from the study and death added about 10% to the impact of smoking on cognition, suggesting that the association, "particularly at older ages, is likely to be underestimated owing to higher risk of death and dropout among smokers," the researchers noted.
They cautioned that their cohort covered a wide socioeconomic range but may not generalize to the entire population, especially the unemployed and blue-collar workers.
Other limitations were self-reported smoking and lack of ascertainment of dementia, although that's unlikely before age 55.
Moreover, "cognitive tests and age-specific norms for detecting 'abnormal' cognitive decline do not yet exist," Sabia's group added. "Thus, it is difficult to quantify the clinical significance of our findings."
When we accept tough jobs as a challenge to our ability and wade into them with joy and enthusiasm, miracles can happen.
So many new names and also some folks returning! Yea! You are embarking on a tremendous adventure! You can see it as overwhelming or you can come prepared and look at it as the Greatest Adventure of your LIFE! This is the journey that brings you face to face with.....YOU! Your God - given Self has been in there the whole time, occasionally begging you to let him (or her) out! You've heard that Voice that gnaws away at you... "I really should quit smoking! I know this is bad for me!" Part of the launching of the Quit Journey is simply a matter of turning your focus toward that Voice and away from your Addictive Voice! Our addiction has literally driven grooves into our brain but it has never 100% been able to shut out the God - given Voice! Never! It has just drown it out with noise! You and I (like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz) always had the ruby slippers! We just have to realize it that we do! "There's no place like home!", she says! Well, our Mantra goes something like this, "There's nobody like me!"
"There's nobody like me!" Turn the volume up! Listen to that Voice! All it wants is to get to the person you really can be because you have always been - you just didn't know it! Isn't that miraculous? But you also see what I mean about being tremendous, as well! Am I going to like me? YES, YOU ARE! You will learn to love that part of yourself that doesn't want or need to hide under a smoke cloud!
So how do I turn the volume up? It seems like my addiction is screaming in my ear 24/7! It may seem that way but in reality that Nico-Voice is only lasting a few minutes during withdrawal and less and less each and every day that I live Smoke FREE! Have you heard that saying, "Don't Feed the Monster?" In other words, Keep them away from your face! Well, the opposite is true too, "Feed the God - given Voice!" That's why we insist that you READ, READ and READ some more! You will be feeding the Voice! That's also what Positive Affirmations do! They FEED the VOICE! I have collected Positive Affirmations literally for years - long before I began my Quit Journey. Aztec also collects and posts Positive Affirmations daily because she's nuturing your God -given Self! If you tune into yourself, you'll begin to notice when you are hungry for this kind of nourishment! Then you can go to Our Group, Positive Affirmations for SUCCESS any time day or night and replenish your FREEDOM LOVING God - given Self!
That Voice will be telling you why you want to stay clean! It will given all the reasons and motivation you need to Succeed! It will give you the strength you need when you're having a bad day or when you're having a good day but the Nico-Voice is too loud! Most important of all, feeding the Voice will creat new grooves in your brain and eventually those grooves will be deeper and more natural than the nico-grooves! Your whole effort becomes easier! Your Miracle Happens!
Washington, D.C. (February 2, 2012) — America’s biopharmaceutical research companies are working on 54 medicines to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a report released today by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). These exciting therapies are in late-stage development, meaning they are either in clinical trials or awaiting review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Today, more than 13 million American adults suffer from COPD, one of the most common lung diseases in the U.S. COPD is a progressive lower respiratory disease that encompasses two main conditions – chronic bronchitis and emphysema – COPD is characterized by obstructed airflow to the lungs that interferes with normal breathing. People with COPD may be limited in their ability to work, exercise and perform routine activities.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the number of patients with COPD is increasing. In addition to those who have been diagnosed with the disease, 12 million Americans likely have COPD without knowing it.
"Early detection of COPD is imperative, as effective treatment can change the course and progression of this devastating disease," said PhRMA President and CEO John J. Castellani. "The promising new therapies highlighted in this report illustrate how emerging scientific approaches to treating respiratory diseases such as COPD offer great hope to improve and save the lives of future patients."
America’s biopharmaceutical researchers are exploring various new ways to attack COPD. Examples of such approaches include:
An adult stem cell therapy that targets a protein in the blood that is often elevated in COPD.
A monoclonal antibody that acts on IL-1 receptors involved in the inflammatory component of COPD.
A medicine that targets the underlying inflammation in COPD.
More than 120,000 Americans die from COPD each year, making it the third leading cause of death in the U.S. In addition to the disability inflicted upon millions of patients, COPD costs the nation approximately $49.9 billion annually, including direct and indirect healthcare costs, according to the NIH.
While smoking is the main risk factor for COPD, and nearly 90 percent of COPD deaths are caused by smoking, other causes include air pollution, second-hand smoke, occupational dusts and chemicals, hereditary and childhood respiratory infections.
America’s biopharmaceutical research companies are devoted to the discovery and development of medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier and more productive lives. In fact, the biopharmaceutical sector invests roughly eight times the estimated R&D spending per employee in all manufacturing industries. This commitment to R&D helps to save and improve lives of patients around the world, promote American jobs and strengthen the U.S. economy.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $49.4 billion in 2010 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $67.4 billion in 2010.
The Smoking Deaths billboard isn't famous. It's not the Hollywood sign or Rodeo Drive. Tourists don't come to town clamoring to see Disneyland, Grauman's Chinese Theatre and a billboard that counts up annual smoking deaths. But if you live in West L.A. anywhere near the 405, you know the sign. You've seen it looming over Santa Monica Boulevard, quietly toting up the number of Americans who've kicked the bucket after years of sucking on cancer sticks.
The Smoking Deaths billboard is black, with big white letters that say "Smoking Deaths This Year." Underneath is a digital readout with a number that increases by one every minute or so. I usually pass it on my way to the gym or the self-serve frozen yogurt place. If there are 250,000 smoking deaths when I drive by, there might be 250,050 when I drive back.
The number you see up there is approximate, of course. Nobody's calling hospitals to check the cancer wards. Still, it's something to know that about 50 Americans died from lung cancer or heart disease or emphysema or chronic airway obstruction while I was struggling to bench-press all of 60 pounds, or choosing between Butterscotch, Forest Berry and Original Tart.
A guy named William E. Bloomfield put up the billboard in 1987. A former smoker himself, he got rich putting coin-operated washers and dryers in apartment buildings and college dorms. He said he wanted people to see the real cost of smoking. He didn't anticipate the other, more upbeat public service the billboard would perform. I bet no one did.
My friend Eric J. Lawrence first told me about New Year's Eveat the Smoking Deaths sign. Every year, just before midnight on Dec. 31, Eric walks the few blocks from his apartment to the billboard where a small crowd gathers, waiting. At 12, right on the dot, the digit on the far left of the counter changes to zero. And then the next one turns to zero, and the next, until all six digits are zeros. Then the zeros start disappearing one at a time, until all that's left is one zero. Zero smoking deaths and counting. Everyone cheers. For a minute there on the sidewalk, Eric told me, it's like Times Square.
I've never been a big fan ofNew Year's Eve. The forced merriment makes my teeth hurt. I don't see the charm of the end of a calendar year, when everyone grudgingly vows to lose weight and be a better person only to wind up older, fatter and meaner 12 months later. I've never been tempted to join the millions who huddle together shivering, in one city center or another, on the dubious principle that if enough people do something unpleasant at the same time, that makes it worthwhile. But New Year's Eve at the Smoking Deaths billboard sounded like something I could get behind.
There was no one around when I got to the sign this New Year's. Just drivers speeding down Santa Monica. Around 11:45, an SUV drove up. A group of twentysomethings got out. They were excited and a little drunk. They said they'd always wanted to see the sign turn over and this year they'd finally gotten themselves organized to come. Soon more people arrived: an older couple whose family tradition was to bring their daughter to watch the sign change; a woman with a nose ring who wondered if the whole event was an urban legend. Eric was there too; he'd made it with just minutes to spare.
There was someone else I hadn't expected to see: Abundio Mireles, a middle-aged guy with a mustache who works for the sign company. It turns out the sign doesn't reset itself automatically. Every year, Abundio climbs up to the roof of the small commercial building that supports the billboard, accesses the computer at the base of the sign and sets the counter back to zero. He uses his cellphone to time it. He says as long as he's been doing it, almost 20 years now, there have always been people standing there in the street, waiting.
By midnight, about 30 celebrants had assembled, drawn by curiosity, tradition or the mild perversity of using this particular timer to usher in the New Year. They watched as the huge counter on the billboard slowly turned from 420,127 to six brightly lit zeros, and then to one zero. Some people cheered. The mood was light. Even the sign seemed to join the party: For this brief moment, there was not one smoking death in America.
And then, inevitably, the counter turned over. One death. Then two. Then three. After that, people walked home or drove away. Other cars kept stopping, though. More drivers got out and took photos. By the time I left, the death toll was up to 18.
Los Angeles is sometimes caricatured as a city with no center, a vast hive of individuals driving around isolated and rudderless. Yet on certain significant occasions, some of those individuals find ways to forge rituals and communities. They improvise if they have to. Because even malcontents who shun champagne and party hats on New Year's Eve still seek out a memorable experience to be shared with strangers.
That's how I see the Smoking Deaths billboard. It's modest, and a bit on the morbid side, but as the centerpiece of an end-of-year ritual, it really works. Something about the way that counter turns over at midnight feels strangely like a rebirth. It's a fresh start, a brief reprieve from grim reality. As much as a billboard counting smoking deaths can be, it's like spring.
Quitting smoking isn't easy - but it is simple.
Just stop smoking. Don't attempt to quit, or try to quit - just quit.
Decide to put it behind you, never to be resumed. Replace the habit of smoking with the habit of not smoking.
Three things help. The urge to smoke is not constant - a desire comes, then it passes. Each urge comes a little later than the previous one. And, each urge is a little less strong than the one before. Don't picture the rest of your life without smoking, just deal with one urge at a time.
When I was 29, I confronted the mountain of medical evidence that linked smoking with many health problems and decided I could no longer include it in my life and consider myself an intelligent person.
Since then the evidence against tobacco use has continued to grow almost exponentially.
I picked a day two weeks away and told everyone it was the date on which I was going to quit. I stopped my 50-cigarettes-a-day habit and have never looked back. This year I will turn 79. I know that if I had not quit smoking I wouldn't be here today to write this letter.
Barry Donnelly, Ottawa
ISLAMABAD - World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged governments to protect the public from exposure to secondhand smoke by implementing smoke-free air policies in all enclosed public spaces. In its call to action, WHO commemorates 10 years since the two holy cities of Makkah and MAdina were declared smoke-free by releasing the report entitled Tobacco-free cities for smoke-free air: A case study in Mecca and Medina.This report is pivotal for other cities and countries looking to take forward their smoke-free air agenda. The success of the Mecca and Medina initiative may trigger action, particularly in the Muslim world, and thus contribute to worldwide protection from exposure to secondhand smoke, said a statement issued by the world Health Organisation (WHO) Islamabad office. Tobacco-free cities for smoke-free air is one of nine case studies of cities that have engaged in the process of becoming smoke-free. It provide lessons learnt in relation to political commitment for local action towards smoke-free air for their citizens and the role of civil society in urging the government to take action, helping them to build effective partnerships and to conduct awareness campaigns that benefit enforcement and maximize compliance.Recent studies prove that secondhand smoke exposure increases the risk of coronary heart disease by 25%-30% and the risk of lung cancer in non-smokers by 20%-30%.Some 600 000 non-smokers die every year from exposure to secondhand smoke. “There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke,” says WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, Dr Hussein A. Gezairy. “Only a full smoking ban in all enclosed public workplaces, including catering and drinking establishments, and all public buildings and transport can protect the health of employees and non-smokers”. “The guidelines for Article 8 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control clearly indicate that even the best ventilation systems cannot remove smoke pollutants and are ineffective in protecting from secondhand smoke,” the Regional Director adds. “The Convention is the most powerful tool that can help countries know exactly what to do to protect their people from exposure to secondhand smoke”.A recent study shows that 38% of children, 35% of women and 24% of men are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke in the Eastern Mediterranean Region. Although there is existing legislation that bans smoking in public places in many countries of the Region, enforcement and compliance are weak even when total bans exist.“There is a need for more stringent mechanisms,” says Dr Gezairy. “Half measures are not enough. Designated smoking areas should not be allowed”. Reports show that smoke-free air policies improve health, reduce tobacco consumption, are popular with both non-smokers and smokers and have no negative economic impact on the hospitality sector.
Bobbie DeRamus doesn't remember things as well as she did. She's been diagnosed as being in the early stage of Alzheimer's disease, a neurological disorder devastating to short-term memory. So she thinks about the distant past. One memory that keeps coming back is when she spoke up for a ban on indoor smoking.
DeRamus, 86, of Roseburg suffered severely from the secondhand cigarette smoke she inhaled at work in the 1970s and '80s. She testified several times in front of a state Senate committee when legislators were considering what became the Oregon Indoor Clean Air Act.
The ban on indoor smoking in public buildings except in designated areas went into effect in 1983, the same year DeRamus left her job as a bookkeeper for Children's Services Division in Roseburg due to the damage secondhand smoke had done to her body.
The ban provoked strong feelings. In a Gallup poll in 1983, 55 percent of smokers agreed they should refrain from smoking around nonsmokers. But 39 percent disagreed, and about 30 percent did not believe that secondhand smoke was hazardous to nonsmokers.
The sponsor of the Indoor Clean Air Act, state Sen. Rod Monroe, D-Portland, recalled recently that there was strong public support for segregating smoking in public buildings.
Monroe said a petition drive in 1980 received 60,000 signatures, just 5,000 short of the number needed to place an initiative on the ballot. In 1981, the Legislature passed the Indoor Clean Air Act, which went into effect two years later.
Monroe said many citizens testified before a Senate committee led by Sen. Frank Roberts, D-Portland, about the effects of secondhand smoke. He said the 1981 act was a turning point in public attitudes about smoking. The ban has since been expanded to include private workplaces, restaurants and even bars.
“Today, smokers have a hard time finding a place to smoke,” he said. “Back then, it was the other way around.”
DeRamus is proud that her testimony was a part of making that happen.
“I think I helped a lot of people, especially people allergic to smoke. I'm pretty proud of that,” she said. “I was glad for the people that were allergic to smoke and anybody else that had to put up with it.”
It was no easy task. She faced down a lobbyist from the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company at a hearing and endured ridicule from coworkers, said her husband, Donald E. DeRamus, whose memories are crystal clear.
Donald DeRamus, a 92-year-old World War II veteran, said Bobbie DeRamus spoke three times before the Senate committee considering the anti-smoking law in 1981.
The third time, he recalled, she was seated across the aisle from the tobacco lobbyist, who disputed every comment she made about the effects her coworkers' cigarette smoke had on her. The lobbyist claimed her health problems were just coincidental and unrelated to her exposure to secondhand smoke.
“He was an obnoxious fellow trying to make her feel like a country bumpkin that just crawled out of the woodpile,” Donald DeRamus said.
Monroe said he remembers the lobbyist, who was a doctor from Virginia. He said he and Roberts grilled the doctor about the effects of secondhand smoke. When the doctor continued to deny secondhand smoke was harmful, Roberts asked whether smoking was harmful. When the doctor hemmed and hawed about that, Monroe said, the doctor lost credibility.
“It just shot his whole testimony down out of the water, and the bill was passed unanimously,” he said.
The U.S. surgeon general had warned in 1972 about the hazards of secondhand smoke. For Bobbie DeRamus, the effects were severe. They included bronchitis, migraines and sinus infections.
Donald DeRamus remembers a low point when he carried his wife into the emergency room at Douglas Community Hospital with dangerously low blood pressure. The doctor on duty was future governor John Kitzhaber.
Eventually, an irregular heartbeat caused by her allergy to smoke forced her to quit her job.
Monroe recalled that some people were smoking at the hearings on the bill. Gov. Victor Atiyeh, who was a chain smoker, signed the act after a compromise was reached which removed private workplaces from the bill, Monroe said.
Bobbie DeRamus said her coworkers were less than sympathetic to her desire to have a smoke-free workplace. Managers isolated her in a room with no windows. She said co-workers tormented her by smoking in the room when she wasn't there and leaving cigarette butts in the wastebasket and ashes in a drawer.
“Due to the very impolite employees, my room wasn't that nice,” she said.
Kelly Klanecky, 56, of Roseburg was a young file clerk in the Children's Services office and said she remembers several smokers harassing DeRamus.
One in particular smoked a black cigar and blew smoke in DeRamus' face, and another put a cigarette butt in a tray on her desk, Klanecky said.
“I felt like she was really targeted and alone,” Klanecky said. “We tried to support her when we could.”
DeRamus said she still doesn't understand why her co-workers treated her the way they did. “I never did anything but get sick from that smoke.”
She did have friends in the office. She said one in particular, Eileen Schroeder, who has since died, walked with her during breaks when many other employees smoked. Schroeder accompanied her to one of the Senate hearings and testified herself about the effects of secondhand smoke.
“It bothered her, too,” Bobbie DeRamus said, “but it didn't put her to bed like me.”
Klanecky called DeRamus a “trailblazer” and said she was one of the key proponents of the indoor-smoking ban from Douglas County.
“She was such an amazing lady because it was a time when everyone smoked,” Klanecky said. “With her courage and fortitude, she was really a precursor to the state banning smoking in state offices.”
DeRamus worked for Children's Services for 10 years and retired when a doctor told her to choose between her job or her life. Less than one year later, she got a pacemaker. She's now on her third pacemaker.
All 50 states today have indoor smoking bans of some kind, according to the American Cancer Society.
Said Donald DeRamus: “She's proud she lived long enough to see it go nationwide.”
Texting while driving, speeding and back-seat hanky-panky aren't all that parents need to worry about when their kids are in cars: Add secondhand smoke to the list.
In the first national estimate of its kind, a report from government researchers says more than 1 in 5 high school students and middle schoolers ride in cars while others are smoking.
This kind of secondhand smoke exposure has been linked with breathing problems and allergy symptoms, and more restrictions are needed to prevent it, the report says.
With widespread crackdowns on smoking in public, private places including homes and cars are where people encounter secondhand smoke these days. Anti-smoking advocates have zeroed in on cars because of research showing they're potentially more dangerous than smoke-filled bars and other less confined areas.
The research, from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was released online Monday in Pediatrics.
The study is based on national surveys done at public and private high schools and middle schools. Students were asked how often they rode in cars while someone was smoking within the past week. The most common answer was one or two days. The smoker could mean other kids or parents; the study didn't specify.
A CDC fact sheet suggests even small amounts of secondhand smoke can be risky.
"There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke," the CDC says.
Overall, 22 percent of teens and pre-teens were exposed to secondhand smoke in cars in 2009, the latest data available. That figure declined gradually during the decade, from 40 percent in 2000, the study found. But still, the numbers of kids still facing the risks "is certainly problematic," said CDC researcher Brian King, the study's lead author.
"The car is the only source of exposure for some of these children, so if you can reduce that exposure, it's definitely advantageous for health," King said.
The CDC advises parents to not allow smoking in their homes and cars, and says opening a car window will not protect kids from cigarette smoke inside.
Measures banning smoking in cars when children are present have been enacted in a handful of states and proposed in several others. The study authors say similar bans should be adopted elsewhere.
American Academy of Pediatrics: www.aap.org
Confidence on the outside begins by living with integrity on the inside - Brian Tracy
Just in case you're new here today and haven't heard, we are JUNKIES! I am and YOU ARE, Too! Here's the difference between us and those guys jonesing for a fix! When you have QUIT SMOKING you break the cycle of dishonesty that says anything to "justify" my next hit! You know, "Oh I don't smoke much, everybody deserves a vice!", or "just one won't hurt!", or (I love this one!)" I can quit any time I want!" (and here's the other half!) "I can't quit - I've tried a dozen times!" There are an infinite number of LIES that we tell ourselves in order to give in to that next craving and keep the Monster happy!
Now, once you stay quit for a good while,that smoke cloud rises and you are left standing there in all your natural beauty! The REAL YOU! The Rose with thorns! You have to learn to live with yourself just as God intends for you to be! You have to become INTEGRATED! You can't run for a cig and hide behind the smoke any more! This is YOU! And it's a Great Opportunity to look at yourself - really take a good look! - and say "I like what I see!" There's a person with so much courage (s)he kicked the addiction for LIFE! There's a person who had FOCUS, who had DETERMINATION, who RESPECTS themself, who HONORS their DECISIONS! That's a darm AWESOME PERSON! You set a Goal and made it happen even though you were afraid, anxious, upset, disoriented! You made it happen! YOU DID THAT! WOW! If you could do that you can do all kinds of things! You have EXcellent reason to be CONFIDENT because you have INTEGRITY! Now, seriously, folks, how many people do you know who can say that? Feel PROUD of YOURSELF!
Checking for clogged arteries doesn't help inveterate smokers kick the habit if they are already in a quit-smoking program, Swiss researchers have found.
Yet that's sometimes the justification when doctors recommend the expensive scan, called carotid plaque screening, which experts say has no proven benefits in people without symptoms of heart disease.
"When people get a very good smoking cessation program, carotid plaque screening does not add anything," Dr. Nicolas Rodondi, who led the new study, told Reuters Health.
Some previous research had suggested that showing people dire pictures of cholesterol buildup, or plaque, in their arteries might be the stick they need to make healthy changes to their lifestyle.
But at least for smokers, the new study slashes those hopes.
"It proves that in trying to motivate smokers to quit, this strategy is not going to be useful," said Dr. Patrick O'Malley of the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Maryland, who wrote an editorial about the findings.
During carotid plaque screening, doctors use ultrasound to get a picture of the arteries that supply blood to the brain. The procedure is gaining popularity both in the U.S. and in Europe, but it's not clear that it actually helps patients.
"There is absolutely no proven benefit," O'Malley told Reuters Health. "It's still a promising test, but it is being overutilized in practice."
While some organizations currently recommend the routine carotid plaque screening, the government-backed U.S. Preventive Services Task Force advises against it when people have no symptoms of heart disease.
Scans vs. counseling
The new study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, is based on more than 500 long-time smokers aged 40 to 70 who all wanted to quit and had no symptoms of heart disease.
All of them had six sessions of counseling over a year, plus a phone call, nicotine patches and brochures on smoking cessation. In addition, half were randomly chosen to be screened for carotid plaque, which most turned out to have.
Although smoking contributes to plaque, which is a risk factor for heart attack and stroke, the ultrasound pictures didn't seem to have any effect.
After one year, a quarter of those who got screened had been smoke-free for at least a week based on their own reports as well as breath analyses. For those who didn't get screened, the number was 22 percent -- a difference that could easily be chalked up to chance.
And whether or not people had plaques visible on the scans didn't make a difference either.
Smokers are a different breed, they tend to have a different psychological profile," said O'Malley. "They are more recalcitrant."
According to Rodondi, carotid artery screening costs $400 in Switzerland -- about the same as six sessions of quit-smoking counseling with a doctor.
And while the scan may not be worth its price tag, the smoking cessation program is, he added.
"We are very successful with the smoking cessation program," Rodondi told Reuters Health. "When smokers try to stop smoking by themselves they only get a five-percent smoking cessation rate at one year."
In an earlier study, O'Malley found that heart scans don't seem to be of much help in changing risk factors for heart disease either.
While he said it's still possible that medical scans might motivate some non-smokers to lead healthier lives, he said the new technology mostly distracts from establishing a good rapport between doctors and smokers -- something that might ultimately help them kick the habit.
"It's just difficult -- It's an addiction," O'Malley said. "But I think people underestimate the value of building a relationship with patients and a longitudinal plan."