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All People > Thomas3.20.2010 > Thomas3.20.2010 Blog > 2012 > May
2012

Smokers wanting to break the habit should not put too much faith in pharmaceutical aids, smoking cessation specialist Dr Hayden McRobbie says.

At Forsyth Barr Stadium on Wednesday night, Dr McRobbie addressed about 80 southern health professionals on how to improve their assistance to smokers to quit.

Speaking to the Otago Daily Times before the forum, he said some smokers had unrealistic expectations of quit-smoking aids, which needed to be supported with counselling.

Dr McRobbie spends half his year as an associate professor at the University of London's Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, where his research includes determining whether group, or one-on-one counselling, is more effective for quitting smoking.

His research takes him into some of the most deprived areas of east London.

The rest of his year is spent at the Auckland University of Technology, where he is a senior lecturer in smoking cessation.

 

Dr McRobbie said New Zealand compared extremely well with other countries' smoking cessation efforts. Its spread-out population presented difficulties for supporting people, with fewer opportunities for group work.

He was aware of only New Zealand and Finland as having goals to end tobacco smoking - New Zealand aimed for 2025, Finland 2040.

He hoped one day the "crazy" habit would be a thing of the past but admitted that, if banned, some smokers would grow their own tobacco.

It would be good to see smoking rates fall from about 20% of the population to the same rate as that of New Zealand doctors, about 3%, he said.

Dr McRobbie said GPs sometimes feared they were "nagging" their patients by addressing smoking, but the reality was most smokers desperately wanted to quit, with most trying once a year to kick the habit.

A gap in the research was helping those who had relapsed to resume their efforts. Known as the "abstinence violation effect", the challenge for the smoking cessation experts was finding ways to get quitters back on track as quickly as possible.

Dr McRobbie obtained a position at the London university in the late 1990s while travelling there.

Attorney General Linda Kelly has joined 37 states and territories along with the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) in urging 10 movie studios to adopt published policies to eliminate tobacco depictions in youth-rated movies.

Kelly and other attorneys general noted that this follows the March 8th release of a report by the U.S. Surgeon General, titled Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults, which states that “[t]he evidence is sufficient to conclude that there is a causal relationship between depictions of smoking in the movies and the initiation of smoking among young people.”

Attorneys General have been concerned about smoking in movies since at least 1998, when NAAG adopted a resolution calling on the industry to reduce tobacco depictions in feature films. That year, the groundbreaking Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) also addressed one aspect of smoking in movies, prohibiting paid product placements. However, smoking in movies has remained a negative influence on young people.

“This is a colossal, preventable tragedy,” reads the joint letter from Kelly and her colleagues from across the country. “There are specific, meaningful steps your studio can and should take to reduce this harm substantially.”

The steps that movie studios are being asked to take include:

      
  • Adopting published corporate policies that provide for the elimination of tobacco depictions in youth-rated movies
  •   
  • Including effective anti-tobacco spots on all future DVDs and Blu-ray videos of films that depict smoking
  •   
  • Certifying in the closing credits of all future motion picture releases with tobacco imagery that no payoffs were made in connection with any tobacco depictions
  •   
  • And keeping all future movies free of tobacco brand display, both packaging and promotional collateral.

“A point we made to studios nearly five years ago bears repeating: each time the industry releases another movie that depicts smoking, it does so with the full knowledge of the harm it will bring to children who watch it,” the NAAG letter reads.

The letter was signed by attorneys general from Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming, along with Washington D.C., American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The letter was sent to executives at News Corp., Sony, Viacom, CBS Corp., DreamWorks Studios, Lions Gate Entertainment, Relativity Media, Summit Entertainment, the Weinstein Company and 2929 Entertainment.

Tobacco users who want to quit are encouraged to call 1-866-QUIT-4-LIFE (1-866-784-8454) on Thursday, May 31, 2012 to help set a new record for the number of tobacco users receiving support from the Quit For Life® Program in a single day. The record-breaking attempt is part of Alere Wellbeing’s push to support World No Tobacco Day, sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Established by the World Health Organization in 1987, World No Tobacco Day is celebrated every May 31 as an annual recognition of global efforts against tobacco use. The theme of World No Tobacco Day 2012 is “tobacco industry interference.” WHO is urging countries to put the fight against the tobacco industry at the heart of its efforts to control the global tobacco epidemic. In response, Alere Wellbeing has committed to helping at least 3,000 of the tobacco industry’s customers get one step closer to overcoming their deadly addiction for good.

“Alere Wellbeing joins the World Health Organization as a leader in the global movement for tobacco freedom for all,” said Ken Wassum, Associate Director of Clinical Development and Support for Alere Wellbeing. “The tobacco industry has increased its efforts to both confound and delay tobacco control in the United States and to sell its deadly products abroad. It continues to aggressively challenge the FDA in the implementation of evidence-based initiatives by the Center for Tobacco Products, including the adoption of pictorial health warnings on cigarette packaging. As the nation’s largest provider of tobacco quitline services, Alere Wellbeing is committed to promoting barrier-free access to evidence-based tobacco cessation care.”

“Alere Wellbeing has already helped more than 235,000 tobacco users in this year alone,” said Sandy Becker, President of Alere Wellbeing. “To celebrate our ongoing commitment to tobacco cessation and in recognition of World No Tobacco Day, we are challenging ourselves to conduct more than 3,000 live interventions on May 31. In over 25 years of helping tobacco users, this will be a record number for us.”

Tobacco use is one of the leading preventable causes of death globally, and is the number one cause of preventable death and disease in the United States. The global tobacco epidemic kills nearly 6 million people each year, more than 600,000 of whom are exposed to secondhand smoke. Unless countermeasures are enacted, tobacco use will kill up to 8 million people per year by 2030, according to the World Health Organization.

Massachusetts has slashed youth cigarette smoking by more than half in the last two decades, aided significantly by higher taxes that rose to $2.51 a pack in 2008. But an underworld of tobacco products, not subject to the same level of state and federal taxation, has emerged into broad daylight: Strawberry, vanilla, and wine-flavored cigars; mango and chocolate blunt wraps; watermelon, grape, and peach snuff pouches; and dissolvable coffee- and wintergreen-flavored orbs that look like Tic Tac breath mints. Since 2003, use of these “other tobacco products,” or OTPs, by Massachusetts kids has risen from 13.3 percent to 17.6 percent of high schoolers, surpassing the 16 percent of teens who smoke cigarettes.

Detractors of the Dr. Ron Davis Smoke Free Air Law would have us believe the law is having a negative impact on Michigan. Nothing can be further from the truth. These critics are not taking the total picture into account.

They point to individual bars or restaurants that may currently be struggling. Regrettably, this is a volatile industry where three out of five establishments close or change hands within the first three years of business. In today’s economy it’s not hard to find a bar or restaurant that’s struggling; and it is the current economy that is the biggest challenge to the hospitality industry.

To claim the smoke free air law is a significant factor in these business challenges is unrealistic. The truth is people are still going to restaurants and bars now that they’re smoke free. And, they enjoy them more. According to the Department of Treasury, during the first year of the law retail eating and drinking establishments saw an increase in total sales by more than 6 percent over the previous year.

In a poll conducted in May of 2011, 74 percent of likely or active registered voters polled favored the smokefree law. That number was eight percent higher than the previous poll taken in 2009 before the law passed. This growth in favorability is not surprising considering the fact that the majority of Michiganders do not smoke (about 81 percent).

 

Additional research shows that the law is working in ways that may not be readily apparent to the average person. Eighty-five percent of restaurants studied had poor to dangerous air quality prior to the law. After the law was passed, 93 percent of these restaurants registered air quality that was good to very good. At the same time, a study of the health of employees showed decreases in six categories of respiratory symptoms and a significant decrease in cotinine (a chemical found in urine that measures exposure to secondhand smoke) in the bodies of workers. These are the true signs that the law is working just fine for Michigan.

It’s important to remember that the law’s original intent was to protect workers’ health. It’s been shown time and again that healthy workplaces are good for a state’s economy by reducing costs associated with tobacco related illnesses.

The recent attempts to amend the Dr. Ron Davis Smoke Free Air Law are nothing more than thinly veiled attempts to undo it altogether. To the 74 percent who favor the law…don’t be fooled. The road to progress and a recovery for Michigan is not lined with ashtrays and cigarette butts at your corner tavern. Our future lies with smart decisions based on fact, not political rhetoric. We need to act like a 21st century state and leverage every opportunity to make Michigan a better and safer place to live. Our smoke free workplace law is a step in the right direction. Lawmakers…. listen to your constituents. Preserve the integrity of the Dr. Ron Davis Smoke Free Air Law.

More than half of kids who were part of a new study from California tested positive for secondhand smoke exposure -- despite only a handful of their parents admitting to lighting up.

Parents may think kids are only exposed if they're around someone actively smoking a cigarette, researchers said, or are unaware of where else their children might be breathing in smoke.

They said a blood test may help identify and reduce smoke exposure.

"What the test does is allow the doctor -- in consultation with the parent -- to figure out the source of exposure and then to eliminate it," said Dr. Jonathan Winickoff, an associate professor ofpediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children in Boston.

Winickoff, who co-wrote an editorial accompanying the study, told Reuters Health the test can also identify if a child is being exposed to smoke without the parent realizing it, such as by living in an apartment building where smoking is allowed.

Secondhand smoke exposure in kids has been tied to -- among other things -- sudden infant death syndrome, respiratory problems, ear infections and asthma.
 

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco tested 496 blood samples left over from children -- most age one to four -- to determine how many of them were exposed to secondhand smoke.

The blood samples were initially taken at San Francisco General Hospital to test for lead exposure between November 2009 and March 2010. Lead exposure testing is common and part of standard pediatric care, according to the authors.

The researchers tested the leftover blood for cotinine, a chemical produced by the body after it is exposed to nicotine.

Overall, 55 percent of the blood samples had a measurable amount of cotinine, which meant those kids were exposed to smoke within the last three to four days.

Only 13 percents of parents, however, admitted their child had been exposed to secondhand smoke.

"I think parents do not understand the various sources of potential exposure," said Dr. Neal Benowitz, one of the study's co-authors from UCSF.

The researchers pointed out in their Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine report that some parents may also believe a child has to be around someone who is smoking to be exposed -- but that is not the case.

For example, kids can still get the effects of secondhand smoke if they spend time in a room where someone recently smoked.

Benowitz and his colleagues said testing children for cotinine could ultimately prevent diseases brought on by secondhand smoke exposure by helping to detect the source.

"Once you know there is exposure then you can talk to the parent," said Benowitz, who added that a doctor can ask if anyone inside the child's home or daycare smokes to identify the source.

Testing for cotinine is currently not readily available to the general public. Benowitz said it is also fairly expensive at about $90 to $100 per test, but that the price might come down as it becomes more widely used.

Winickoff said the best approach would be to integrate cotinine testing with routine lead testing.

As for what parents can do right now, Dr. Harold J. Farber, who studies smoking exposure and asthma at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, said they should keep their child away from places where people are smoking and places that allow smoking.

Farber told Reuters Health that it's also important for parents to stop smoking themselves.

"You can't be a parent who smokes and not expose your child. Keeping it away from your child isn't enough," he said.

Despite all the risks, about one in five white women still smoke cigarettes while pregnant, according to a new study.

The study, conducted bySubstance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), showed that 21.8 percent of white women aged 15 to 44 admitted to having cigarettes while having a baby. Black and Hispanic women reported lower rates at 14.2 percent and 6.5 percent respectively.

When it came to illicit drug use, 7.7 percent of pregnant black women admitted to using illicit substances,  compared with 4.4 percent of pregnant white women and 3.1 percent of pregnant Hispanic women, the study revealed.

Alcohol use was also relatively high with 12 to 13 percent of pregnant black and white women admitting to drinking. Hispanic women reported the lowest alcohol consumption rates.

“When pregnant women use alcohol, tobacco, or illicit substances they are risking health problems for themselves and poor birth outcomes for their babies,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde.

“Pregnant women of different races and ethnicities may have diverse patterns of substance abuse. It is essential that we use the findings from this report to develop better ways of getting this key message out to every segment of our community so that no woman or child is endangered by substance use and abuse,” said Hyde.

Smoking while pregnant can lead to pregnancy complications, premature birth, low-birth weight infants, stillbirth and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

 

Smoking can also cause problems with the placenta, which delivers food and oxygen to the fetus. If a mother decided to quit smoking, her fetus will get more oxygen – even with just one day of not consuming cigarettes.

Consuming alcohol while pregnant can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and a range of lifelong disorders, known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs), according to the CDC.

FASD is completely 100 percent preventable as long as a mother doesn’t drink while pregnant.

There is no known amount of alcohol that is safe to consume during pregnancy nor is there a better time to drink while pregnant.

As Popo  smokes and I don't life goes on for now so I will be grateful for this day and among my many Blessings in Life received from DECIDING to embark on this Quit Journey, I Thank the Lord for my EX Community Family and Friends! You each make my EXperience as a Quitter for Life Better, More Confident, More Rich, and More FUN! So it's time to Pay It Forward with my Know Your Enemy Series! I hope you gain something that will help you stay Focused and Determined to Pledge and keep your pledge of Not One Puff Ever! N.O.P.E.! Have a Wonderful Smoke FREE Day! If you haven't quit, yet -- read and learn about our Enemy - Nicotine! TODAY is a Great Day to Live Smoke FREE!

My name is Thomas and I Celebrate Life TODAY with 2 Years 1 Month 3 Weeks 2 Days 17 Hours on this Lifetime Quit Journey. I have saved $1767.92 just in sickerettes alone not to mention untold medical and hidden costs of smoking by not smoking 7857 sickerettes. I have also saved both the Quality and Quantity of LIFE because I have COPD/Emphysema - a chronic, progressive, incurable smoking related illness. If I can quit, you CAN, too!

Runways at Mexico s fourth largest airport have been closed due to ash from Popocatepetl volcano.

Thomas3.20.2010

Here we go again!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 May 13, 2012

El Popo continues to smoke but I won't! Thanks for your continued prayers! This was yesterday.....

Popocatepetl volcano spews a cloud of ash and steam high into the air in Puebla

Dear______,

 

I am about to make a huge change in my life for the better. I am going to quit smoking.

 I have a quit plan that I am confident with and I want to let you know what to expect for the next couple of weeks. I also want to give you some ideas on how to help me. Most people do not realize it, but nicotine is one of the hardest drugs to stop, even harder than heroin and alcohol. 

Everyone reacts to the withdrawal symptoms differently and during the first two weeks, don't expect much from me. I will not behave like my normal self. All of my energy will be focused on fighting the physical and mental cravings of smoking. I may cry, I may yell, I may ignore you. Worst of all, I may be hurtful to you, but I want you to know that is the nicotine talking, not my heart. I WILL apologize afterwards, once the poison has left my body and my mind has cleared, but for the moment, please, PLEASE remember that I love you, and do not hold my actions against me. My mind will play some very cunning tricks on me to try to convince me to start smoking again. It’s a very nasty addiction. I may rationalize that "now is not a good time to quit". I may talk about feeling a sense of emptiness and loss. My body may develop aches and pains. I may not be able to sleep. I may act like it’s all your fault. If I do, I apologize now because I don’t really mean it. 

I am doing this for me, not for you. In this one important way, I have to be selfish, so that I cannot give the nicotine a reason to put the blame on anyone else. You must not feel responsible for my discomfort or depression in any way. Even if you feel you can't stand to see me this way, whatever you do, do NOT tell me it's okay to smoke just to stop the pain. You need to be strong when I am weak, so please do not agree with any rationalizations I may come up with. I am counting on you.

 

Here are some things that will help me:

·        Hug me when I need a hug, but don't be hurt if I push you away.

·        If I tell you to leave me alone, give me space, but don't go too far...I need to know     you are near me.

·        Don't try to argue with me when I start to rationalize...silence is a more powerful message.  No matter what I say or do, a safe comment is always,” I’m proud of you.”

·        Avoid the topic of cigarettes (because I'm trying to get them off my mind), unless I bring it up first.

·        Do the best you can to act as if everything is normal. The more normal you act, the faster I will get there.

·        Consciously avoid putting me into situations where I will be in the presence of smokers. This may mean avoiding favorite restaurants or bars, or hanging out with certain friends for a while.

·        If something stressful can be put off for a couple of weeks, please try to do so. If not, please try to cushion me.If I need some kind words, tell me that you are proud of me. Tell me it will get better, that the emptiness and pain will lessen, that you love me, and that quitting is worth the effort. Tell me I am strong. Tell me you will be there no matter what I say or do.

I hope you will find these suggestions helpful because I know that you are behind me 100%. No more second-hand smoke for my loved ones and pet(s). I will be free from the prison that smoking creates for us. I will be free of the smell of stale tobacco. I am looking forward to living my new smoke-free life. I will be around longer for those I love. Not smoking will begin to improve my health immediately.

 

Thank you for loving me and helping me through this.

 

Love, _______

Thomas3.20.2010

Beating the Odds!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 May 11, 2012

image

"What's wrong with the occasional cigarette as long as your lungs don't look like down town L.A.? After all, a cigarette once in a while can't be all bad - it may be a vice but it's a legal vice and it doesn't hurt anybody - at least not like alcohol or drugs! besides nobody's perfect! Look, I just smoke a pack a week! Yea, I know about Cancer and such, but surely that's people who smoked 2 or 3 packs for 40 or 50 years not me! Heck, I was over 30 when I started smoking and I've quit now and then just to give my body a break, so I'll be O.K. Everything in moderation ain't all that bad! "

That was me talking 2 years ago, completely confident that I had successfully dodged the silver bullet by carefully playing the odds! I would be the last person on Earth to get sick from smoking-related illness! But guess what? I was wrong! Boy, was I ever wrong! Holy Smokes!!! ( pun intended)

When I woke up that beautiful Spring morning with a fever of 102 there is absolutely no way I would have predicted the path that my life was about to take! That trip to the Emergency Room (it would have to be on a Sunday!) changed my life forever! I, Thomas, was diagnosed not just with a lung infection but with Emphysema!!! The guy who was so careful to beat the odds just lost the game of poker and there's no going back! Emphysema is chronic, permanent, and progressive! Most likely, although only Our Creator knows for sure, it will be my cause of Death! How does a young (relatively) healthy (usually) active fella like me get Emphysema, for crying out loud?

What I didn't know was way more than what I did know about Emphysema and COPD!!! Oh, I'd seen the pictures of the happy retired folks puttering around in their gardens or playing with their grandkids because they were smart enough to take Advair or Spiriva! That's about it! My Grandma who lived in another State died of Emphysema when she was in her nineties but we all have to die of something, don't we? Eventually! But heck, I was 52 and had never really been sick much at all my entire adult life! I worked 60 to 80 hours a week and never thought anything of it - hard physical labor, not a desk job!

Here are some facts that I have since learned about COPD: it is an auto-immune illness. it doesn't care if you are 20 or 80 years old! It doesn't care if you smoke 2 or 3 cigs a day or 2 or 3 packs! Just one cigarette will trigger your body's defense mechanism and there you have it! About half of the folks who have COPD don't even know it! Meanwhile the damage that they are doing to their lungs can NEVER be repaired! Your body creates all kinds of mucus in your lungs and bronchials that is a perfect breeding ground for any kind of bacteria or virus you cross paths with like pneumonia! Every time you get a lung infection a bit more irreparable damage will have been done and your condition deteriorates. Because your lungs don't work so well you can inhale fairly well, but you can't exhale so well at all. What people exhale is Carbon Dioxide - you know, poison! That CO2 stays in your system and makes your whole body in a constant state of being poisoned! Because your body wants Oxygen and not CO2 your heart overworks itself trying to get enough Oxygen to where it's needed. Eventually, the heart deforms itself from working overtime! Then you have Congestive Heart Failure! Don't forget, you're still getting those lung infections from time to time! The toxins make your limbs feel like wet spaghetti so that such things as getting dressed or washing dishes become monumental tasks! When you cross a room you huff and puff like the Big Bad Wolf! And know you can't even blow out a candle - let alone blow down a house! This is my reality! Oh you remember that part about not hurting anybody but myself? What do you suppose my Family and Loved Ones are feeling knowing that I did this to myself?

Now, do you still want that occasional cigarette? You still think it won't happen to you? Do you know that people die of smoke related illnesses in their TEENS? Check out Brian's Story at www.whyquit.com! Do you know that one single cigarette can not only trigger COPD it can cause a life-altering Stroke? Do you know that one single cigarette can change your DNA permanently setting you up for Cancer? ONE CIGARETTE! Do you believe it? I am testimonial that in this business you can't beat the Odds - the Odds can beat YOU - down! Forever! Get Smart! Be honest, at least with yourself! Smoking KILLS! Every time you light a cig you are committing the little suicide! You are spitting on the Gift of LIFE that your Creator bestowed on you! Enough is enough! Stop playing the Odds! TODAY is the Right Day to become and to protect Smoke FREE for LIFE!

Thomas3.20.2010

Really?

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 May 9, 2012

You too can be a Rush Babe for America! [as in Rush Limbaugh] Find it on Facebook!

 

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.

 

The difference that a statement can make in the life of a man, woman, or child is nothing short of phenomenal.

 

Change your mind - change your life!

 

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!

https://excommunity.becomeanex.org/groups/positive-affirmations-and-support

Thousands of people from across Tayside have been helped to give up smoking as part on a new scheme.

NHS Tayside launched quit4u in March 2009 and an evaluation report on the scheme was presented at Discovery Point, Dundee, on Tuesday.

The scheme combines behavioural support, medication and financial incentives to help eligible smokers in Tayside stop smoking.

 

It was developed with help and input from smokers in the deprived target areas of Dundee and so far more than 3,000 people have signed up to the scheme.

Michael Maloney, 36, has signed up for the scheme after he suffered a massive heart attack in December 2010, attributed to his 20-a-day habit.

Both Michael and his wife Lisa, 35, who have two young sons, had smoked since their early teens but the brush with death prompted him to pledge to quit immediately. Lisa also pledged to quit, as did father Michael (snr) and several of Michael’s work colleagues at the Royal Mail where he works as a postman.

Michael said: “I got up in the morning and didn’t feel myself. As I walked down stairs I was crippled with pain and had to sit down. I then got this incredible pain between my shoulder blades. I’ve never felt pain like it.

“My inspiration to give up smoking was seeing the kids’ terrified little faces. They have always been anti-smoking and I felt bad having to put them through this, knowing I was ignoring all the warnings.”

The evaluation of quit4u found that the ‘whole package’ the scheme provides, support through smoking cessation groups or from local pharmacies, weekly ca

Comparing quit rates for quit4u with the average for smoking cessation services across Scotland, the evaluation found that quit4u had a one-month quit rate of 49.9% compared with a national average of 33.7% and a three month quit rate of 30.7% compared to the national average of 14.2%.

Following the success of quit4u in Dundee, NHS Tayside has rolled out the scheme to areas in Angus and Perth and Kinross.

Responding to the evaluation report findings, public health minister Michael Matheson said: “It’s great news that this project is really helping people in Tayside to give up smoking, and, more importantly, stop for good.

“I would encourage other health boards to look to quit4u to see if there are lessons they can learn to increase smoking cessation right across Scotland.

“Giving up smoking is the biggest single thing anyone can do to improve their health but you’re more likely to succeed if you get help, rather than relying on willpower alone.”

Smoking in bed, in a house that was not equipped with smoke detectors, was the cause of a April 20 fire in New City that killed a 75-year-old woman who became trapped in the flames.

Clarkstown detectives investigating the fire at 7 Central Ave. said Monday the blaze has been determined to be an accident. The death of Eleanor Luciano Kasamis was the first death in a structure fire in Rockland County in 2012, and the first for the county since 2009.

Police said the 10:30 p.m. blaze started in the lower level of the two-story home just a couple blocks off Little Tor Road in southern New City. The fire quickly spread to the second floor, where the victim was in her bedroom and became trapped.

On the night of the fire, investigators suspected smoking in bed make have been at the root of the fire and the probe of the fire confirmed that as the cause. Police said the victim’s son, Lou, was downstairs in the home when the fire broke out in the lower leverl and that he attempted to put the fire out himself.

 

Police said there was a delay of several minutes in calling for help. Also, police confirmed the house was not equipped with smoke detectors — a factor which police and firefighters suspected on the night of the fire.

The victim’s son, police said, tried to reach his mother but could not because of the flames and he yelled to her about the fire as he escaped the home through the front door.

Clarkstown police officers, who were the first to the scene of the fire, tried to reach the trapped woman by using a ladder to get to a second-story window. However, the fire was too intense for them to get into the house.

A volunteer firefighter who lives nearby — who is also a professional, career firefighter — was the first firefighter to reach the home and tried to get into the front door of the home, but was also forced back because of the intense flames.

By the time firefighters could get into the front door of the home, the house had sustained heavy damage and the main staircase in he home had collapsed — but the damage was hidden by smoke and flames. A New City volunteer firefighter who attempted to go up the stairs fell through the wreckage and was briefly trapped in the stairs.

He was rescued by fellow firefighters and suffered minor burns on his neck and his right ear.

A policy to ban smoking in public places such as parks, pools and playgrounds — enacted by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation last month — has come under fire from a smoker's rights group, which is threatening to sue the state.

On April 9, the state parks agency announced the new policy would create smoke-free areas around all playgrounds, swimming pools, beaches, pavilions and outdoor seating areas that are nearby concession stands.

Violators will be informed by state park staff of the smoking prohibition, with those refusing to comply being cited by State Park Police for disorderly conduct.

With the very first paragraph of the announcement boasting the agency autonomously created the ban, State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said at the time, "it makes sense to ensure all visitors have a place to go in our parks to enjoy fresh air, while also protecting children from the dangers of second-hand smoke and litter from discarded cigarette butts."

The fact that the rule was enacted by an agency instead of by the state Legislature is at the heart of the issue though, according to Audrey Silk, founder of NYC Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment.

Calling the ban unconstitutional, Silk writes in a letter to Harvey, dated May 1, "the smoking ban … likely exceeds your authority and is ripe for legal action."

In the letter, Silk quotes the non-delegation doctrine of the state Constitution, article III section 1, which states "the legislative power of this state shall be vested in the Senate and Assembly."

Silk notes in the letter that, despite the power of passing legislation being given solely to the Legislature by the constitution, the ban was "unilaterally decreed" by the Parks Department.

"As an administrative office, [the Parks Department] can only enforce an existing piece of law or act, through rule-making, to fulfill the Legislature's wishes. In this case, no such wishes exist. In fact, the Legislature has repeatedly declined to pass this specific law for over a decade. The Parks Office, therefore, not only exceeded its administrative mission, not only assigned itself legislative powers, but in fact went against the Legislatures will," Silk wrote in the letter.

In asking for the department to rescind the "wrongly imposed ban," Silk requests action be taken in 30 days upon receiving the letter, or legal action will be taken.

"These bans were imposed by bureaucratic fiat, not legislated law and on that basis alone, they're unconstitutional," she said in a press release for the potential lawsuit.

The agency hasn't responded to the letters and a spokesman confirmed state Parks has proceeded with placing signs on state park property, warning visitors of the smoking ban.

In explaining the strength of her impending case, Silk points to two previously decided cases in New York state, each of which ruled that state agencies cannot make any such law, because the law would be unconstitutional.

The decision in Justiana vs. Niagara County reads, "even where the state Legislature has provided some guidance for the restriction of smoking, the enactment of further restrictions is a task properly left to the legislative arm of government. By adopting regulations that are substantially more restrictive than existing legislation, the [agency] went beyond interstitial rule-making and into the realm of legislating."

Dan Keefe, spokesman for the Parks Department, argues that nothing the agency did was unconstitutional. "The parks and recreation law allows for us to take action to protect the welfare and safety of the public. We think we are well within our right," said Keefe.

Saying the rule will only apply to "areas that people congregate," Keefe continued, saying the rule simply "protects people, particularly children, from the health risks of second hand smoke."

Asked if he was worried about the lawsuit, or if they would change their mind on the rules implementation, Keefe said, "No, we don't think people should smoke near children in playgrounds."

David Sutton, spokesman for the tobacco company Phillip Morris, agreed with Keefe, saying the company's stance on the issue is "that there are places where smoking should not be permitted at all."

"We maintain, however, that complete bans go too far [in outdoor areas,] except in very particular circumstances, such as outdoor areas primarily designed for children," said Sutton.

While Silk doesn't attempt to argue against the intent of protecting children, she remains steadfast in her stance that the way the law was created by a state agency is the issue, not necessarily the law itself.

"If these conditions are allowed to persist among our state agencies, we might as well render the election of lawmakers, the Legislature and its process, obsolete. It's contemptible when the bedrock of our system is being tossed away," concluded Silk.

Fear of putting on weight is one of the major reasons why smokers do not give up their habit. The reasons for this weight gain are believed to be in part due to metabolic changes in the body, but until now precise details of these changes were not known. On May 8, 2012, however, a researcher from Austria told delegates at the International Congress of Endocrinology/European Congress of Endocrinology that her work had shown that changes in insulin secretion could be related to weight gain after smoking cessation.

 

Dr. Marietta Stadler, from the Hietzing Hospital in Vienna, Austria, enrolled healthy smokers on a smoking cessation programme into a study in which they underwent three-hour oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTT) while still smoking and after a minimum of three and six months after giving up. Their body composition was also measured at the same time. The researchers measured beta cell [1] secretion of insulin both while fasting and after exposure to glucose, and also looked at appetite levels in the participants by offering them a free choice buffet meal. In addition to insulin, fasting levels of a number of hormones involved in regulating energy intake and appetite were measured.

"We found that body weight and fat mass increased after three months of no smoking, by 4% and 22% respectively," said Dr. Stadler, "and after six months the increase was 5% and 35% respectively. The most striking metabolic findings were an increased first phase insulin secretion in response to glucose challenge, as well as increased carbohydrate intake in the free choice buffet after three months of non-smoking. Participants showed significant fasting insulin resistance, where the normal response to a given amount of insulin is reduced, at three months, but not at six months, while dynamic insulin sensitivity (the sensitivity to insulin in the postprandial state) assessed during the OGTT remained unchanged throughout. Neuropeptide-Y (NPY) [2] levels at fasting were increased at three months, but not at six months.

"We believe that the alterations in insulin secretion could possibly be related to the increased carbohydrate cravings and weight gain experienced by many smokers who give up. However, the increase in insulin secretion and carbohydrate intake seems to be a transient effect of stopping smoking, as these changes were not seen any more after six months, even though the participants had gained more weight."

Increased insulin secretion at three months was less pronounced in those who finally succeeded in quitting smoking for at least six months, as opposed to those who relapsed after three months. "All these factors are pointers to understanding the metabolic processes involved in weight gain after smoking cessation," said Dr. Stadler. "The more we can understand the biological basis for the phenomenon, the higher our chances of being able to control it."

The researchers now intend to match a group of non-smokers of the same age and body mass with the participants of this study in order to see whether, in comparison to non-smokers, beta cell function is altered in those who are still smoking and not just during the period when they are quitting.

"We also intend to discuss our results with experts in the field of addiction and behavioural medicine in order to gather ideas and hypotheses as to why smoking might exert these metabolic effects, in order that we can plan studies that bring together the many disciplines involved in this important field of research," Dr. Stadler concluded.

Dipstop, Inc. Sponsors Resources to Help Chewing Tobacco Users Quit and Identify Early Signs of Oral Cancer

New labor deal still allows use of smokeless tobacco by players during televised games. Players have agreed not to carry product in their back pockets when fans are in the ballpark, or use tobacco during game interviews or team functions. However, many believe ban on chewing tobacco and dip during games is needed to protect impressionable kids watching on TV.

 

 

Baseball season is in full swing, and America is once again filling the stands (over 73 million in 2011) to enjoy one of the nation’s favorite pastimes - Major Leage Baseball. Millions of our youth will watch in awe as their favorite pitcher steps up to the mound. He’ll nod at the catcher and bear down on the batter with a stare intended to shake him to his core. The hero turns his head slightly to the left and sends a thin stream of brown liquid over his shoulder as he unleashes a lightning bolt 95 mile an hour fast ball that explodes into the catchers mit before his spit even hits the ground. The stands erupt with applause. . . and thousands of kids will leave this stadium with a new resolve to be . . . just. . . like. . . him. For the next few months this drama will play out in stadiums across the country.

Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, one of the groups that led the anti-tobacco push, said that while he would have preferred a ban at games and on camera, the restrictions represent real progress.

"The new Major League Baseball contract takes an historic first step toward getting smokeless tobacco out of the ballgame, and makes significant progress toward protecting the health of big-league players and millions of young fans who look up to them," he said in a statement.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6.1% of all high school students, and 2.6% of all middle school students use chewing tobacco, also called smokeless tobacco, dip, chew, or spit tobacco. Smokeless tobacco has the same initial appeal as underage drinking and smoking, . . .a desire to be cool and to emulate people they admire. Unlike alcohol and cigarettes, its easier to start and hide because most brands are sweet and have a mint or wintergreen flavor that is hard to differentiate from gum or breath mints. Those looking for resources to help them quit can visit http://www.howtoquitdipping.org.

 

Smokeless tobacco products have been strongly correlated to the development of oral cancer. According to the centers for disease control, there are 28 suspected carcinogens in smokeless tobacco, but until recently no single compound has been conclusively proven to cause cancer. According to Silvia Balbo, a cancer researcher at the University of Minnesota the chemical, called (S)-N'-nitrosonornicotine, or (S)-NNN, "is the only chemical in smokeless tobacco proven to cause oral cancer,”.

Oral cancers are among the deadliest, killing one in five within five years of diagnosis. Oral cancers have a high mortality rate is because they are often discovered too late to render effective treatment. Many oral cancers closely resemble other routine and non-life-threatening conditions such as apthous ulcers, herpes simplex, herpes labialis, the wound left by accidentally biting the inside of your cheek, or sore spots from a poorly fitting prosthetic appliance or denture. For more information, visit http://mouth-tongue-gum-throat-cancer.com

DipStop™ Inc. was founded in 1991 to combat the critical health problems associated with smokeless tobacco by helping users break the nicotine habit. Family owned and operated in Selma Alabama, DipStop is one of several business units dedicated to the development and introduction of innovative products created to improve the health and well-being of its global customer base. Initially offered in wintergreen, cinnamon, and mint flavors, BaccOff™ straight non-tobacco chew was introduced in 1993 as the first chewing tobacco alternative with the taste, texture, and *spitability of real tobacco snuff.

*spitability - The wherewithal to expel a reasonable amount of brownish liquid from between the lips with sufficient force to roll small bugs, stir up dust, and send dogs and cats running for cover.

Cigarette-makers had man on the inside of key fire-safety group

 

The problem facing cigarette manufacturers decades ago involved tragic deaths and bad publicity, but it had nothing to do with cancer. It had to do with house fires.

Smoldering cigarettes were sparking fires and killing people. And tobacco executives didn't care for one obvious solution: create a "fire-safe" cigarette, one less likely to start a blaze.

The industry insisted it couldn't make a fire-safe cigarette that would still appeal to smokers and instead promoted flame retardant furniture — shifting attention to the couches and chairs that were going up in flames.

But executives realized they lacked credibility, especially when burn victims and firefighters were pushing for changes to cigarettes.

So Big Tobacco launched an aggressive and cunning campaign to "neutralize" firefighting organizations and persuade these far more trusted groups to adopt tobacco's cause as their own. The industry poured millions of dollars into the effort, doling out grants to fire groups and hiring consultants to court them.

 

These strategic investments endeared cigarette executives to groups they called their "fire service friends."

"To give us clout, to give us power, to give us credibility, to give us leverage, to give us access where we don't ordinarily have access ourselves — those are the kinds of things that we're looking for," a Philip Morris executive told his peers in a 1984 training session on this strategy.

The tobacco industry's biggest prize? The National Association of State Fire Marshals, which represented the No. 1 fire officials in each state.

A former tobacco executive, Peter Sparber, helped organize the group, then steered its national agenda. He shaped its requests for federal rules requiring flame retardant furniture and fed the marshals tobacco's arguments for why altering furniture was a more effective way to prevent fires than altering cigarettes.

For years, the tobacco industry paid Sparber for what the marshals mistakenly thought was volunteer work.

The Tribune discovered details about Big Tobacco's secretive campaign buried among the 13 million documents cigarette executives made public after settling lawsuits that recouped the cost of treating sick smokers. These internal memos, speeches and strategic plans reveal the surprising and influential role of Big Tobacco in the buildup of toxic chemicals in American furniture.

 

This clever manipulation set the stage for a similar campaign of distortion and misdirection by the chemical industry that continues to this day.

Andrew McGuire, a burn survivor and MacArthur "genius grant" winner, said Sparber and the National Association of State Fire Marshals for years were his nemeses as he has pushed for fire-safe cigarettes, which would stop burning when not being smoked. McGuire came up against them again when he battled for reductions in the amount of flame retardant chemicals in Americans' homes.

"He played them like a Stradivarius," McGuire said of Sparber's relationship with the fire marshals.

A founding member of the fire marshals group disputes that they were unduly influenced, but he said he regrets that the organization accepted tobacco's money.

"There is no way you can explain to the public that taking money from the tobacco industry is a good thing," said Tom Brace, who served as a marshal in Minnesota and Washington state. "And had I to do that over again, I would not do that."

Brace and the fire marshals group often were at odds with colleagues in the firefighting community who worked to scale back the use of certain flame retardants after studies showed they can make smoke more toxic.

The fire marshals organization continued promoting flame retardant products even after it was clear that the chemicals inside were escaping, settling in dust and winding up in the bodies of babies and adults worldwide.

 

The marshals continued even after flame retardants were linked to cancer, neurological deficits, developmental problems and impaired fertility.

And they continued even after government scientists showed that flame retardants in household furniture were not protecting Americans from fire in any meaningful way.

California voters will decide next month whether to increase cigarette taxes by $1 a pack, primarily to fund research on cancer and other tobacco-related illnesses.

If the excise tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products is approved, it would be the first increase for smokers in 14 years, after dozens of failed attempts in the Legislature and a defeat at the ballot box in 2006.

 

The American Cancer Society, the Lance Armstrong Foundation and other nonprofit health organizations have raised about $4.7 million to back the measure, while tobacco companies have shelled out nearly $40 million to defeat it.

Proposition 29 would raise an estimated $810 million a year, according to state officials, and give California the 16th highest tobacco tax in the nation. The Golden State currently lags behind 32 states in its per-pack tax and is one of just three states that have not raised taxes on smokers in the new millennium.

"Raising the price has been shown to be the single most effective way to deter people from smoking," said Jim Knox, a vice president at the American Cancer Society's California division. "Smoking among teens, which has been going down in California for a long time, leveled off in 2004 and is showing signs of going up. ... Public health experts tell us that $1 a pack increase will prevent 220,000 kids from ever beginning to smoke, prompt 100,000 adult smokers to quit and prevent over 300,000 premature deaths."

Since any price increase tends to curb demand, the measure would dedicate some of the money it raises to backfilling any losses in other tobacco-tax-funded programs - estimated around $75 million a year - and use the bulk of the remaining $735 million to fund new research and research facilities. Some money would also be dedicated to tobacco cessation programs and law enforcement efforts targeted at illegal tobacco sales.

Distribution of the research funds would be overseen by a committee made up of directors of cancer centers, University of California chancellors and at least one person who has suffered from a tobacco-related illness. Knox said the board is modeled after the respected National Institute of Health's system, which awards grants and loans after a peer-review process.

But the committee has come under fire by opponents of the tax increase, including the California Taxpayers Association. Spokesman David Kline said the measure would create "a new state bureaucracy that really isn't accountable to taxpayers."

Kline also argued that the state doesn't need to fund research on tobacco-related illnesses, noting that the federal government already spends $6 billion a year on the same thing.

"We support cancer research and want to find a cure as much as anyone else, but at a time that California is really struggling to pay the bills and keep the lights on, we don't think it's a good idea to duplicate federal spending," he said. "Per capita cigarette consumption is already going down consistently. ... We don't think it's necessary to use a tax structure to try and correct a problem that doesn't exist."

Knox, however, said it's increasingly difficult for researchers to secure federal funding, saying that just 10 to 15 percent of qualified projects receive NIH funding these days - down from 70 to 75 percent 30 years ago. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that about 40,000 Californians die each year from smoking-related diseases, he said, at an estimated cost of $16 billion annually, from health care and lost productivity.

"If we were to capture all the costs of tobacco, we would have to raise the tax by $10 or $15 a pack," he said. "You have out-of-state tobacco companies draining billions of dollars out of the state in profits every year."

 

He cited a UCSF study projecting that if the measure passes, $804 million that would have gone to those out-of-state companies each year will stay in the California economy.

Kline, however, said the measure could also result in taxpayer money leaving the state, because it does not prohibit the oversight committee from awarding grants to research institutions outside California.

Knox rejected that notion, noting the state's multitude of world-class research universities and the fact that the oversight committee will be dominated by university and research leaders from California.

"You have to pay attention to who is making these charges," he said. "Every cent of the No on 29 campaign has come from out-of-state tobacco companies. ... The tobacco industry has a long history of lying to the public."

Kline said his organization and others opposed to the measure are independent of tobacco companies and believes the tax is "just a really bad long-term budget strategy."

 

I'm drinking a cup of coffee! BAD! *sigh* But doing good on the rest of my nutrition and exercise plan. My goal is to make exercise so routine it's like brushing my teeth - if I skip a day I feel awkward all day! The Quit Journey taught me a lot about self-discipline and I'm using those skills on my new lifestyle changes - searching for a newer "NEW NORMAL!" LOL! A busy Know Your Enemy Day - I hope you benefit from something here....I know I did!

A popular smoking cessation medication has been under a cloud of suspicion ever since the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) published a study in July 2011 reporting “risk of serious adverse cardiovascular events associated with varenicline.” Varenicline, also known as Chantix, blocks the pleasant effects of nicotine on the smoker’s brain and lessens nicotine withdrawal symptoms.

UCSF researchers, however, question the way the previous study was conducted, and their new analysis, published May 4, 2012 in BMJ, reaches a very different conclusion.

“We found no clinically or statistically significant increase in serious adverse cardiovascular events associated with using varenicline,” said lead author Judith J. Prochaska, PhD, MPH, an associate professor in UCSF’s Department of Psychiatry and researcher with the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education. “The findings from 22 trials with more than 9,200 participants indicate a difference in risk of only 0.27 percent between those on varenicline versus placebo, or about a quarter of one percent.”

 

Prochaska identified the need for the re-analysis after reading the CMAJ publication and finding the conclusion inconsistent with the small differences within trials. Prochaska had received an “investigator-initiated research award” from Pfizer, the maker of Chantix, that spring to study use of varenicline in hospitalized smokers, many with heart disease. Prochaska says she was compelled to more closely examine the data to quantify the level of risk before using the medication on UCSF patients.

Differences in Meta-Analytic Methods

Prochaska and Joan F. Hilton, ScD, MPH, a professor in UCSF’s Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, conducted the new study, which, like the prior one, used meta-analytic statistical techniques to combine results from different trials of varenicline with tobacco users. The UCSF and prior analysis, however, differed in several fundamental ways.

The previous study, led by Sonal Singh, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University, looked at a sample size of 8,216 patients in 14 trials and reported a 72 percent (relative) increase in risk of heart attack or other serious heart problems.

 

The UCSF analysis included 22 double-blind, randomized controlled trials with 9,232 participants. More than half of the studies included participants with active or past history of cardiovascular disease. Eight trials had no events. The UCSF study found a 0.27 percent (absolute) risk difference, which it determined was neither clinically nor statistically significant.

“We identified eight separate trials with nearly 1,600 tobacco users randomized to varenicline or placebo that did not have a single serious cardiovascular event,” Prochaska said. “This information is meaningful and the Singh analysis excluded these trials.”

UCSF researchers say varenicline lasts in the body about seven days after a person stops using the medication. The new analysis examined events occurring during the drug treatment window or within 30 days after a patient stopped using the drug, rather than the entire trial period, which in many cases was a year in Singh’s study.

“The longer you follow heavy, long-term tobacco users – and in these studies, the average participant smoked a pack a day for 25 years – the more likely you will see serious cardiovascular events related to their compromised health,” Prochaska said. “In addition, 13 of the 14 studies in the Singh analysis experienced greater attrition in the placebo group than in the test group, which could inflate the treatment effect.”

 

Absolute Difference vs. Relative Difference

 

Singh’s study found that 1.06 percent of those who took varenicline had serious heart-related complications, compared to 0.82 percent of the placebo group. Although the simple absolute difference was only 0.24 percent – similar to the UCSF study finding based on meta-analytic methods – Singh’s paper reported the weighted, relative difference, which was 72 percent.

“What made the headlines is this claim of a huge increase, but it’s a relative measure; it’s a unit-less measure,” Prochaska said. “And so if you increase something small by a little bit, you can claim that it’s a 72 percent increase, but that obscures the fact that it’s still a very small risk.”

“For someone not accustomed to these measures, it might not be obvious that the 72 percent increase was relative to a very small base – interpretations the Singh study didn’t mention,” Hilton said.

The new meta-analysis provides a more comprehensive examination of varenicline by presenting and comparing the four most relevant summary measures for this type of analysis.

 

“Among these, we found that the methods used by Singh and colleagues produced the most extreme estimates of treatment effect,” said Hilton. “We identified the specific conditions under which this statistic is inflated. We recommended the summary based on the risk difference because it is methodologically appropriate in our setting and is easy to interpret.”

Smoking and Cardiovascular Risk

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among smokers. Tobacco use also increases a person’s risk of stroke, cancer and lung disease.

“One of the most important things you can do for your heart is to quit smoking,” Prochaska said. “Clinical practice guidelines recommend the use of FDA medications to quit smoking. All medications carry some risk; however, we hope the FDA and other experts compare the Singh analysis to ours to determine what action, if any, should be taken with regard to varenicline and cardiovascular risk. Tobacco is a deadly addiction, and patients need effective treatments.”

This study was supported by grants to Prochaska from the State of California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

 

Hilton is funded by federal grants and has no current funding from any pharmaceutical company.

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care.

 

For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb2012/5/prweb9478309.htm


Effective clinician-patient communication about health behavior change is one of the most important and most overlooked strategies to promote health and prevent disease. Existing guidelines for specific health behavior counseling have been created and promulgated, but not successfully adopted in primary care practice.

Building on work focused on creating effective clinician strategies for prompting health behavior change in the primary care setting, we developed an intervention intended to enhance clinician communication skills to create and act on teachable moments for smoking cessation. In this manuscript, we describe the development and implementation of the Teachable Moment Communication Process (TMCP) intervention and the baseline characteristics of a group randomized trial designed to evaluate its effectiveness. 

Methods: This group randomized trial includes thirty-one community-based primary care clinicians practicing in Northeast Ohio and 840 of their adult patients.

Clinicians were randomly assigned to receive either the Teachable Moments Communication Process (TMCP) intervention for smoking cessation, or the delayed intervention. The TMCP intervention consisted of two, 3-hour educational training sessions including didactic presentation, skill demonstration through video examples, skills practices with standardized patients, and feedback from peers and the trainers.

For each clinician enrolled, 12 patients were recruited for two time points. Pre- and post-intervention data from the clinicians, patients and audio-recorded clinicianpatient interactions were collected.

At baseline, the two groups of clinicians and their patients were similar with regard to all demographic and practice characteristics examined. Both physician and patient recruitment goals were met, and retention was 96% and 94% respectively.DiscussionFindings support the feasibility of training clinicians to use the Teachable Moments Communication Process.

The next steps are to assess how well clinicians employ these skills within their practices and to assess the effect on patient outcomes.Trial RegistrationClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01575886

Smoking cessation is beneficial for our health at any point in life, both in healthy people and in people already suffering from a smoking-related disease. Any help to quit smoking can produce considerable benefits for Public Health.The purpose of the present study is to evaluate the efficacy of the CO-oximetry technique together with brief advice in smoking cessation, in terms of reduction of the number of cigarettes or in the variation of the motivation to quit smoking at month 12 compared with brief advice alone. 

Methods: Randomised, parallel, single-blind clinical trial in a primary health care setting in Majorca (Spain).Smokers in contemplation or pre-contemplation phase will be included in the study.

Exclusion criteria: Smokers in preparation phase, subjects with a terminal illness or whose health status does not allow them to understand the study or complete the informed consent, and pregnant or breastfeeding women.The subjects will be randomly assigned to the control group (CG) or the intervention group (IG). The CG will receive brief advice, and the IG will receive brief advice together with a measurement of exhaled CO.

There will be follow-up evaluations at 6 and 12 months after inclusion. 471 subjects will be needed per group in order to detect a difference between groups [greater than or equal to] 5%.Primary outcome: sustained smoking cessation (at 6 and 12 months) confirmed by urine cotinine test.

Secondary outcomes: point smoking cessation at 6 and 12 months both confirmed by urine cotinine analysis and self-reported, reduction in cigarette consumption, and variation in phase of smoking cessation.DiscussionCO-oximetry is an inexpensive, non-invasive, fast technique that requires little technical training; making it a technique for risk assessment in smokers that can be easily applied in primary care and, if proven effective, could serve as a reinforcement aid in smoking cessation intervention activities.Trial Registration: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN67499921

Acupuncture and hypnosis have been promoted as drug-free ways to help smokers kick the habit, and there is some evidence that they work, according to a research review that looked at 14 international studies.

Researchers, whose findings appeared in the American Journal of Medicine, said that there are still plenty of questions, including exactly how effective alternative therapies might be and how they measure up against conventional methods to quit smoking.

But the alternatives should still stand as options for smokers determined to break the habit, said researchers led by Mehdi Tahiri of McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

In general, smokers who want to quit should first try the standard approaches, which include nicotine-replacement therapy, medications and behavioral counseling, Tahiri said.

"But some people are not interested in medication," he said, adding that in many cases the standard therapies had not worked. "Then I think we should definitely recommend (acupuncture and hypnosis) as choices."

Researchers found that some studies showed that smokers subjected to acupuncture were more than three times as likely to be tobacco-free six months to a year later.

Similarly, across four trials of hypnosis, smokers had a higher success rate with the therapy compared to people who had minimal help.

But there were some caveats, researchers said. The success rate was not consistent in all the tests conducted, although the broad trends pointed to the benefits of alternate treatment.

A 2008 study that ran a few sessions of laser acupuncture on 258 smokers found that 55 percent who'd received the treatment quit the habit in six months, compared with four percent who were not given the treatment.

But a 2007 study from Taiwan that looked at needle acupuncture around the ear, the area typically targeted for smoking cessation, reported a lower success rate.

Only nine percent of those who were given acupuncture had quit after six months compared with six percent who stopped smoking without the treatment.

The situation was similar across the hypnosis trials. Two studies showed a significant impact : 20 to 45 percent of hypnosis patients were smoke-free six months to a year later. The other two trials showed smaller effects.

Nonetheless, Tahiri said, there was a "trend" toward a benefit across all of the studies of acupuncture and hypnosis.

There are still definitely questions, he added, about how many sessions of acupuncture or hypnosis might be necessary, or which specific techniques are best.

Other research reviews, though, have concluded that the jury is still out on alternative therapies for quitting smoking.

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/Khhv63

  

ny debate on the tobacco and alcohol taxes is most welcome. A healthy and worthwhile debate, however, presupposes that the opposing sides uphold the truth, that one’s opinion or position is based on the facts. Alas, this is not the case.

  
   
       
  
  

Or perhaps some opinion writers might have just been misinformed. Neal Cruz’s recent column on sin tax reforms and smuggling (“Sin tax” reform bill will encourage smuggling, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 22 March 2012) is an example of a piece containing misconceptions and inaccuracies.

  

First, the claim that high prices will not discourage consumption disregards the fundamental law of demand, i.e. as prices increase, quantity demanded falls. The same is true for cigarettes and alcohol -- that a tax hike will significantly lower consumption has been proven time and again in various empirical studies.

  

Singapore has one of the highest cigarette prices in the world. The prices of cigarettes in Singapore increased by 300% from 1985-2005. According, to Theresa Yoong of Singapore’s Health Promotion Board, the impact of higher taxes was a plunge in the per capita consumption of cigarettes by 57% (from 2.15 kilograms in 1985 to 0.73 kilogram in 2005).

  

Second, although Neal Cruz’s claim that “smoking and drinking are addictions” is indisputable, asserting the ineffectiveness of price hikes is unfounded. Studies (again, numerous, e.g. Curbing the Epidemic, World Bank) have found that poor people are more price-sensitive -- which means that although these behaviors are addictive, a price increase will be a greater deterrent to them and can force them to completely abandon these activities (as opposed to “finding ways to get money to go on with the habit”). To reiterate a statement from the Woprld Health Organization, raising tobacco prices through taxes is the “most effective way to curb use” of cigarettes.

  

Third, even in countries (e.g., Thailand) with very high tax rates, sin tax revenues are significantly high. The main reason is that even as some smokers -- particularly the poor and the youth who have budget constraints -- stop smoking, those who cannot break the habit continue to buy the cigarettes even at a much higher rice. This is what price inelasticity means -- the decrease in the rate of consumption is less than the rate of the increase in prices (or taxes).

  

Further, although a price increase can serve as a temptation for illicit trade, the real determinants are the degree of corruption, government commitment and law enforcement. The Philippines is fortunate to have reformers leading the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Bureau of Customs (BoC), who are serious in combatting tax evasion, like smuggling.

  

An indication of this is that the tax administration reforms that the BIR and the BoC have put in place under the Aquino administration are now reaping dividends, as both revenue collecting agencies have recently exceeded their revenue targets.

  

Those who oppose the tobacco tax reforms cite the experience in Canada, wherein the tobacco tax hike was wrongly attributed for the increase in smuggling. What actually triggered this was the tobacco industry’s “export” strategy to force taxes back down. After taxes were lowered, a dramatic rise in youth tobacco consumption ensued, leading to a tax rollback. Despite this increase in taxes, further smuggling was prevented due to effective government commitment. The lesson we can learn from the Canadian experience is this: smuggling can be mitigated not by decreasing sin taxes but through government’s efforts in implementing strong contraband-control measures.

  

Finally, the assertion of “tobacco farmer as a victim of sin taxes” has long been debunked. A study from University of the Philippines Los Baños professor Romeo Espino found that tobacco farmers can shift to farming other crops without much difficulty. Data from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics corroborate this study, that indeed, many farmers through the years have shifted from tobacco to other crops. Furthermore, the sin tax bill will earmark 15% of incremental revenue for the exclusive use of programs to promote economically viable alternatives for tobacco farmers and workers.

  

Indeed, we must learn from the lesson of others. But learning occurs best when we learn from scientific studies and data-backed research, not unfounded claims and empty assertions.

  

Mr. Go, a summa *** laude graduate of the UP School of Economics, is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms

 A drive-thru business selling cigarettes and tobacco could move to a Route 120 site where a coffee kiosk once stood.

Ron Bykowski, the owner of the property on 3706 W. Elm St., said he has a potential lessee interested in opening up a drive-thru tobacco shop.

Bykowski and his potential lessee, Syed Najmuddin, are seeking an extension of the conditional-use permit for the drive-thru function at tonight’s McHenry City Council meeting.

In November 2007, the City Council approved the conditional use permit for the property. At the time, Bear Creek Coffee, a small coffee kiosk, sought the permit to operate a drive-thru service. The business closed in 2010.

City staff is recommending the council approve the extension request for a period of six months or before Sept. 19, pending the business’s approved building permit and certificate of occupancy.

Under the city’s zoning ordinance, the conditional-use permit that was approved for Bear Creek Coffee in 2007 automatically was revoked because the business closed for more than a year. Any request for alterations would require City Council approval or a hearing with the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Bykowski cites the economic downturn as one of the factors for Bear Creek Coffee, a franchise of Boone Lagoon Enterprises, “to go bankrupt and not pay their debts,” he wrote to city officials.

“Many [franchisees] lost a considerable amount of money, some their entire investment,” he said.

Najmuddin, of Lake in the Hills, is interested in leasing the property with the existing drive-thru kiosk to sell cigarettes and tobacco and possibly expand with coffee and soft drink sales.

[Thomas: This is in Illinois]

There are countless reasons why women who smoke should kick the habit for their health, but here's one more.

Smoking women have more hot flashes as they transition through menopause, and this is especially true for women who carry certain genes, a new study finds.

Previous research has linked cigarette smoking to earlier menopause and worse symptoms, but the study is among the first to examine the impact of smoking and genes on hot flashes.

Smokers Had More Hot Flashes

As expected, smokers in the study reported more hot flashes than women who did not smoke.

But smokers who also carried specific gene variations linked to estrogenmetabolism and susceptibility to environmental toxins had the most hot flashes of all, says researcher and ob-gyn Samantha Butts, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

Butts says knowing that smoking increases the frequency and severity of hot flashes may convince some menopausal women to give up cigarettes once and for all, even if they have tried to quit before.

About 1 in 5 women in the U.S. -- roughly 20 million women -- smokes cigarettes.

"The reason close to 20% of women still smoke is because it is really hard to quit," Butts says. "But if you tell a woman who is having terrible hot flashes that it might be because she smokes, that could make all the difference."

Menopause, Smoking, and Genes

The study included close to 300 women followed for just over a decade as part of a larger menopause study. About half the participants were African-American and half were white.

The women were still menstruating when they entered the study, and they either entered menopause or completed it over 11 years of observation.

During this time, blood samples were taken and the women were questioned about their medical and reproductive histories, as well as their menopausal symptoms and lifestyle.Women who had one or more of five gene variations linked to the metabolism of estrogen and susceptibility to environmental toxins, like cigarette smoke, had more hot flash symptoms than women without the variants. This was especially true for African-American women, Butts says.

After factoring in the impact of other hot flash risk factors, such as obesity and alcohol consumption, African-American smokers were 84% more likely to experience hot flashes at one point in the study than African-American nonsmokers. White smokers were 56% more likely to have hot flashes than white nonsmokers.

Message to Smokers: 'Stop'

While smokers in the study were about twice as likely as nonsmokers to experience hot flashes, the risk was as much as 21 times greater for smokers who carried specific gene variants, Butts says.

She adds that exposure to secondhand smoke and other environmental pollutants might also increase the frequency and severity of hot flashes in menopausal women who carry these variants.

Cleveland ob-gyn Margery Gass, MD, says that while the genetic aspect of the study is interesting, the basic message is simply that all women who smoke are at greater risk for hot flashes as they transition through menopause.

Gass is the executive director of the North American Menopause Society.

"I don't think most women who smoke know that they are at risk for earlier menopause and more severe menopause symptoms," she tells WebMD. "This is an important message to get out there and it is one more reason for women to avoid smoking."

Many asthmatic children in the United States are exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke and suffer health problems because of it, a new study shows.

"National asthma guidelines have advised avoidance of environmental tobacco smoke for patients with asthma for decades, but it is unclear to what degree these recommendations are being followed and what the impact of exposure has been in an era of increased awareness of the effects of environmental tobacco smoke exposure," study author Dr. Lara Akinbami, medical officer at the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an American Academy of Pediatrics news release.

 

The researchers analyzed data from the NationalHealth and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2003 to 2010 for 972 children aged 6 to 19 with asthma. The results showed that 53 percent of the children were exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke.After adjusting for differences in age, sex, race and poverty status, the researchers found that exposure to secondhand smoke was associated with an increased risk of having three or more visits to a doctor or emergency room due to wheezing in the past year; sleep disturbed by wheezing one or more nights a week; and exerciselimitations because of wheezing.

There was no significant association between secondhand-smoke exposure and missing school or work because of wheezing or wheezing during exercise.

The study was scheduled for presentation Monday at the Pediatric Academic Societies' annual meeting in Boston."Although this advice is certainly not new, discussing avoidance of environmental tobacco smoke with asthma patients remains critical," Akinbami said. "New tools are needed to help families achieve the goal of reducing exposure, both inside the home and in other environments."

Data and conclusions presented at medical meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

More information

The American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery has more about secondhand smoke and children.

  CHICAGO —
  
   

 An estimated 25 million Americans – including seven million children – suffer   from asthma, a chronic respiratory disease for which attacks can range from mild to life-threatening. The prevalence has been increasing over the last two decades, and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is encouraging effective management to reduce environmental triggers of the disease during Asthma Awareness Month in May.
“Asthma attacks account for nearly two million emergency room visits nationwide each year,” said IDPH Acting Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck. “It is extremely important that we continue to raise awareness about common triggers so that the disease can be effectively controlled and environmental factors, to the greatest extent possible, can be reduced.”
The annual economic cost of asthma, including direct medical costs from hospital stays and indirect costs such as lost school and work days, amounts to more than $56 billion annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). African-Americans and Latinos are also disproportionately impacted by the disease. Approximately three million Latinos are affected by asthma, with the highest rate being among Puerto Ricans – 113 percent higher than non-Hispanic whites, and 50 percent higher than non-Hispanic blacks, according to the CDC.

About 14 percent of Illinoisans suffer from asthma, and over the last 20 years, Illinois has had one of the nation’s highest asthma mortality rates. Asthma is triggered by indoor and outdoor allergens, irritants including secondhand smoke, dust mites, mold, gas-cooking stoves, wood smoke, cockroaches and other pests, and many household cleaning supplies.  
In 1999 the Illinois Asthma Program was established to develop strategic goals and long-range planning in the effort to reduce asthma in Illinois. In 2009, the 3rd Illinois Asthma Strategic Plan was released with long-range goals and solutions to reduce the burden of asthma for people with asthma and their caretakers.  
In August 2010, the Legislature passed Public Act 96-1460 making it simpler for students to carry and self-administer rescue inhalers at school. Students now need only a note from a parent or guardian, and a copy of their prescription, to keep their inhalers with them. Previously, they were also required to get written permission from a physician, a logistical hurdle that prevented many children from having ready access to their medication.  
The Illinois Asthma Partnership consists of state and federal agencies, local asthma coalitions, national non-profits, hospitals, universities, and individuals from a diverse background of professions to address statewide goals. Statewide goals include implementing interventions to identify triggers and increase asthma awareness in the workplace and in schools, and promoting the use of asthma action plans and the adoption of asthma friendly policies and practices.  
Steps toward preventing and/or reducing the occurrence of asthma attacks include:  
Talk to a doctor – Learn what triggers asthma attacks, identify triggers in the home and medications to take.  
Develop an “Asthma Action Plan” – Identify triggers, keep track of the severity of symptoms and keep medical resources handy.  
Asthma-proof your home – Manage and eliminate triggers (mold, dust mites, secondhand smoke, keep food sealed and kitchen area free of clutter to minimize pests, maintain low humidity in the home.)  
Quit smoking - When a person inhales tobacco smoke, irritating substances settle in the moist lining of the airways. These substances can cause an attack in a person who has asthma.  Call 866-Quit Yes for free tobacco cessation information.  
To read the entire Illinois Asthma Strategic Plan, and for additional resources regarding the management of environmental triggers for asthma, please visit http://www.idph.state.il.us/about/chronic/asthma.htm

Whenever my daughter and I walk by someone who is smoking we look at each other, sigh and, given no other option, hold our breath as we pass by.

We do that because we know all about the number of deadly ingredients found in cigarette smoke. We don’t blame the smoker. Chances are the smoker knows, too.

Unfortunately, the smoker has developed an addiction to the nicotine that is a natural part of the tobacco plant. What smokers might not know is that the tobacco companies that make the cigarettes are not only aware of how addictive nicotine is, but go out of their way to make it even more addictive than it already is.

It’s been proven that they add forms of ammonia to the “recipe” to break down the nicotine molecule to its’ base form, so the smoker is free-basing nicotine.

In order for the smoker to maintain this designed addiction, they are exposing themselves to many, many chemicals that are known to cause early death in a large percentage of smokers.

The sad truth is that the smoker is not the only victim of these deadly toxins. Only 15 percent of the smoke inhaled stays in the lungs. The other 85 percent is exhaled into the air, so as other people, including nonsmokers, walk through the cloud, they too are breathing the more than 60 cancer causing chemicals present in secondhand smoke.

Nonsmokers have already made the choice to live a healthier life style and should expect a certain level of security knowing they can walk around in public places, or go to work, without the concern of being poisoned.

There are some protective factors already in place.

Ten years after the “smoke-free bars” law went into effect, the “smoke-free cars with minors” law started.

This law, which has been in effect since the beginning of 2008, prohibits smoking in a motor vehicle when a minor (17 years old and under) is also in the car. A violation is punishable by a fine of up to $100.

The city of Lakeport has an ordinance that prohibits smoking “within the boundaries of any city park, playground, or recreation center” (cmc 8.44.020). A violation of this law is an infraction.

The Lake County Fair Board has assigned certain areas within the fairgrounds that are off limits to smokers in an effort to protect nonsmokers, especially children, from the damaging effects of secondhand smoke.

California is definitely moving in the right direction, but is the state doing enough?

To help you decide, you might be interested to know that for every eight smokers that die of a smoking related death, one non-smoker does too. That’s because there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

Labeled as a Class “A” carcinogen, the very moment secondhand smoke is inhaled, it starts causing damage to cells and tissue inside the body. Over a long period of time the effect can be very serious and in some cases deadly.

The EPA, the FDA and the U.S. Surgeon General have all agreed that nonsmokers need protection from being forced to breathe tainted air.

Another fact that most people might not be aware of is that the more a young person breathes secondhand smoke the more likely they are to become smokers. With each breath, they are getting nicotine into their bloodstream and sooner or later they too could become addicted to it.

There is also very strong proof that young girls suffer permanent damage to their reproductive system after inhaling secondhand smoke.

Evidence shows an increase in chances that, when older, they might have difficulty getting pregnant, have an increased chance of having miscarriages and giving birth to low-weight babies.

Living in America, people have the right to choose whether or not to smoke. Do they have the right to put nonsmokers in danger?  

We have the right to breathe clean air. Since there are more nonsmokers than there are smokers and 48 million of them are former smokers, it would make sense to me that there should be laws and rules in place to protect nonsmokers, not because they are the majority, but because of the high risk being exposed to secondhand smoke presents.So when my daughter and I walk down the street we should not have to choose to breathe or not to breathe.

As community a member, I support ordinances and policies that limit exposure to secondhand smoke while outdoors – especially in public parks, outdoor events (such as the Lake County Fair), and areas outside a local business we would like to visit.

You have an opportunity to join efforts to protect the health of our community.

If you would like more information about the health effects of exposure to secondhand smoke, or would like to be involved in local efforts to protect the health of our community, call the Lake County Tobacco Education Program, a program of Lake Family Resource Center at 707-262-1379, Extension 113.

For help to quit smoking, call the California Smokers Helpline at 800-NO-BUTTS.

Looks like I missed another Big Weekend! A Special Shout Out to Aztec for her 3 Year Anniversary and Nancy's Birthday! WHOOHOO!!! I hope you both had a Very Special Celebration!!!! I have been busy adjusting my lifestyle due to COPD! I met with a pulmonologist (more later) who put me to work! I came on this morning thinking there wouldn't be much news about smoking (surely I've already published everything there is to be said on the subject, right? BOY WAS I WRONG! So here's my Know Your Enemy Series - hope all acquire knowledge and confidence from it! Enjoy a terrfic Smoke FREE Day! Today I have 780 Smoke FREE Days - that's 2 Years 1Month 2 Weeks 2 Days 22 Hours 5 Minutes. I've saved $1752.64 and 7789 Sickerettes not smoked!!!! Only the Lord knows how much Quality and Quantity of LIFE I have regained by making a simple but challenging DECISION to pursue and NEVER GIVE UP my Life time Quit Journey!!!

These are some of the Gifts that come to mind as I CELEBRATE my QUIT:

(1) I feel more SELF-CONFIDENT because I made a choice to change my self-destructive behavior and followed through.

(2) I feel more HONEST because I am not evading truthfulness about the consequences in order to support my Smoking Addiction.

(3) I feel more SELF-RESPECT because I made a decision to QUIT SMOKING and honored that decision.

(4) I feel more SECURE because I no longer have that constant battle "I want to smoke"vs"I don't want to smoke."

(5) I feel more OPTIMISTIC because I no longer attack stress with another cigarette, I attack it with a constructive plan of action.

(6) I feel more SPIRITUAL because when I called upon my higher power for assistance I felt his/her response.

(7) I feel more DECISIVE because I saw how I can set a goal and accomplish it one day at a time each and every day.

(8) I feel more SELF-AWARE because I sense days or situations of weakness and have a winning back up plan to protect my QUIT.

(9) I feel more INTEGRATED because when my body said "I need...." my mind and spirit responded affirmatively.

(10) I feel more JOY as I experience COLLATERAL KINDNESS and CELEBRATE each and every daily VICTORY over my Smoking Addiction with my BecomeanEX friends! THANK YOU for CELEBRATING with me!!!!!!

[Hi, Exers! No time today to do my Know the Enemy Series but this one I have to post! Enjoy!]

 

 

It’s not an uncommon sight: a small group of people — some with drinks in their hands — having a cigarette just outside of a loud party. If you ask them, though, they may claim, “I don’t do this all the time,” or “Just when I’m kicking back.”

This is social smoking. Those who take part in it are thought to occupy something of a middle ground between nonsmokers and full-fledged smokers. In actuality, these almost-smokers are addicted more to the act of smoking rather than to the cigarettes themselves.

“(Quitting social smoking) is complicated … for the people that get down to let’s say, three or four cigarettes a day, or who only smoke on vacation, or only smoke when they’re drinking, they really value those cigarettes,” said Nikki Hillier, wellness and health program coordinator of the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District. “A lot of times they kind of kid themselves, and they’re in denial about the harm that they’re doing to their body.”

This is why, in a sense, it could be just as difficult to quit casual smoking than addicted smoking because of these lingering psychological effects.

Often, the case is that a few hard-core smokers are smoking at a social event, and invite their friends to do the same. While these non-committed smokers believe that it is not as big of a deal as the real thing, it can get to be less of an “I can quit anytime” and more of a perpetual “It wouldn’t hurt to just have one more” issue.

Moreover, these social smoking sessions tend to occur during parties or group functions, making it more accepted and more seemingly low-key. These parties, in many cases, do tend to connect both smoking and alcohol, a risky combination.

“When (partygoers) start to drink, their inhibitions are lower, and I think that makes it more difficult not to smoke,” Hillier said. “(Nicotine) is a very addictive substance, and so that’s where, with those lower inhibitions, people start to make some bad decisions.”

Although social smoking is in moderation, it can still also have negative health consequences.

“The more you smoke, the worse it is for you, but even light smoking can cause a lot of the health effects that regular smoking causes,” Hillier said. “So quitting is really the best option for people.”

Lighting up every once in a while could seem like it’s not a big deal at the time, but in truth it is more detrimental when begun at a young age. As the lungs are still developing, there is more to lose, health-wise.

Don’t be fooled. Don’t let the social aspect of it and its temporary nature make you think it is any easier to quit.
A closely related concept goes for smoking other types of substances — other drugs have a similar addictive effect, and they are still harmful to the lungs.

With this in mind, casual smokers themselves have their own reasons for lighting up.With this in mind, casual smokers themselves have their own reasons for lighting up.

“I actually kind of started on my own. I know a lot of people around me were doing it, and I just decided to try it out and to see how it was,” said Kasi Bowman, freshman in LAS. “And before I started, of course I had to do my research about it, but I just tried it and I guess I started to like it.”

Both Bowman and Roxanne Devriendt, freshman in DGS, began smoking their senior year of high school.

“I smoke with friends — it’s definitely a social thing, but I smoke by myself also,” Devriendt said. “Like if I have a lot of time between a class and I’m trying to waste time, I’ll go to the store and just grab a smoke.”

Another layer to the social smoking issue is that it isn’t necessarily always at parties. Rather, in many cases, casual smokers use it as a way to relieve personal stress or ruminate.

“(Casual smoking is) kind of some type of extra control over my mind and my body that is really peaceful to me,” Bowman added.
In any case, social smoking may seem like a light issue, but it should be noted that it could have unfavorable long-term effects if it goes unchecked.

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