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Ex-smokers live longer than those who haven't kicked the habit, no matter what age group you look at, according to a new report.

"This fact calls for effective smoking cessation programs that are likely to have major preventive effects even for smokers aged 60 years and older," German researchers write in Archives of Internal Medicine.

Their report, which summarizes the findings of 17 earlier studies, is the first to review the link between smoking and death in seniors in particular.

"Even older people who smoked for a lifetime without negative health consequences should be encouraged and supported to quit smoking," say the researchers, led by Dr. Hermann Brenner of the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg.

They found that smokers 60 years and older were 83 percent more likely to die at any given age compared with people who never smoked. While the link was weaker in the oldest people, it remained considerable even in those aged 80 and over.


Smoking researcher Dr. Prabhat Jha from St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto pointed to a British study, for instance, that followed doctors for half a century and found 59 percent of non-smokers were alive at age 80 compared to 26 percent of smokers.

In a commentary accompanying the German analysis, Dr. Tai Hing Lam of the University of Hong Kong said the findings show one in two elderly smokers will be killed by tobacco.

"Most smokers grossly underestimate their own risks," he wrote. "Many older smokers misbelieve that they are too old to quit or too old to benefit from quitting."

The studies in the current review lasted anywhere from three to 50 years and had anywhere between several hundred and more than 877,000 participants. All are based on observations of differences between current, former and never-smokers over time, which means there is no certainty that tobacco, itself, is responsible for the difference in death rates.


But the German researchers believe that's plausible because the chemicals in tobacco are known to cause cell damage and people who smoke more have shorter lives than those who smoke less.

Jha, who heads the Center for Global Health Research at St. Michael's, said the new report might overestimate the hazards of being a former smoker and underestimate the benefits of quitting.

That's because former smokers involved in the studies might have quit due to illness, thereby increasing their chances of early death, Jha told Reuters Health by email.

"Quitting works at any age," he said, "but is especially effective if people quit before disease."

According to the British study of doctors, he said, those who quit before age 40 had nearly the same death rates as those who never smoked.


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Eating a lot of fruits and vegetables may help smokers quit, according to a new study.

Tobacco contains nicotine, a highly addictive drug, in addition to the 69 chemicals known to cause cancer. All major medical institutions acknowledge that quitting smoking greatly increases a person's health prospects.

Nicotine is the most abundant psychoactive drug in tobacco products that produces dependence. Nicotine can produce both excitation and stimulation along with relaxation at the same time, making it a very attractive drug for addictive personalities. Both smoking tobacco and smokeless tobacco (chewing, dipping) can lead to nicotine dependence. Chewing and dipping tobacco is placed between the lip and gums or in the cheek. Nicotine dependence is the most common form of chemical dependence in the United States. Research suggests that nicotine is as addictive as heroin, cocaine or alcohol. Examples of nicotine withdrawal symptoms include irritability, anxiety, difficulty concentrating and increased appetite.

Many different approaches are used to help smokers quit. The pharmacological approach often contains various nicotine replacement therapies, such as the patch, nicotine gum or lozenges, or even a nicotine inhaler. Some alternative therapies include certain herbal combinations, such as kava and chamomile, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and relaxation therapy. Some individuals simply pick a quit date and stick with it.

In a new study, researchers conducted a population-based study on a random selection of 1,000 smokers at least 25 years-old to evaluate the potential effects fruit and vegetable consumption may have on smoking intensity and dependence over the course of 14 months.

The researchers found that participants who ate more fruits and vegetables smoked fewer daily cigarettes, scored lower on the Nicotine Dependence Syndrome Scale and lasted a longer period of time without smoking. Furthermore, participants who ate the most fruits and vegetables were over three times more likely to successfully refrain from smoking for at least 30 days by the 14 month follow-up period than those who ate the least.

The authors concluded that eating a lot of fruits and vegetables may be beneficial for smokers trying to quit. Well-designed clinical trials are needed to further evaluate these findings.

Many other integrative therapies have been studied for their potential effects on smoking habits. Sensory cues associated with cigarette smoking can suppress certain smoking withdrawal symptoms, including the craving for cigarettes. Inhalation of black pepper essential oil may reduce cravings and physical symptoms associated with cigarette smoking withdrawal. Additionally, early research indicates that auricular acupressure may help with quitting smoking. Further research is needed to confirm these results.

“Fathers who smoke pass on damaged DNA to their children – raising the risk of cancer,” the Daily Mail has warned.

The Mail’s story was based on a small study of predominantly Greek families, whose lifestyle and genetic make-up were analysed to detect whether parental smoking before and during pregnancy led to DNA damage in their newborn babies.

Mothers smoking during pregnancy and fathers smoking before pregnancy were the two most relevant factors to predicting the level of genetic damage in the newborn.

The Mail’s suggestion that this DNA damage could increase the child’s risk of cancer is slightly misleading. This study did not investigate whether the DNA damage had any effect on the infants’ cancer risk, or their risk of any other disease.

Smoking during pregnancy is already known to harm the unborn child. This study suggests that fathers who smoke regularly before conception may also damage their children (at a genetic level), but stops short of proving this or demonstrating how paternal smoking may affect the health of the infant.


Where did the story come from?

The study was carried out by a collaboration of international researchers led by a team at the University of Bradford. The work was funded by the European Union Integrated Project NewGeneris and the study was published in the peer-reviewedJournal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

The researchers wanted to investigate the possible roles of exposure to environmental and lifestyle toxins (such as tobacco smoke) before and during conception and pregnancy. They wanted to see how these might affect the DNA of newborn babies. However, this study did not investigate whether the DNA damage had any effect on the infants’ cancer risk, or their risk of any other disease. Similarly, the proposed link between fathers smoking and DNA damage to their children needs further investigation before we can be sure such a link exists.


What kind of research was this?

This was a cohort study that examined the blood of mothers and their babies as well as the blood and sperm of the babies’ fathers to see whether genetic damage was passed on from either parent to the newborn and which, if any, lifestyle factors were associated with this inherited damage.

A cohort study is an appropriate way to investigate this phenomenon. It means you can be certain that the lifestyle and environmental exposures came before the pregnancy. However, it is difficult to prove cause and effect with this type of study because the role of genetics and environmental exposure is difficult to disentangle.


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People regularly exposed to secondhand smoke may have increased risks of dying from various causes, a long-term study from China suggests.

Researchers found that compared with adults who lived and worked in smoke-free environs, those exposed to secondhand smoke were more likely to die of heart disease or lung cancer over 17 years.

And they were also more likely to die of stroke or the lung disease emphysema -- two diseases that have had relatively weaker links to secondhand smoke.

The findings, which appear in the medical journal Chest, cannot definitively prove that secondhand smoke is the culprit. But the researchers were able to account for some other key factors, like a person's age, education, job, and blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

And the links between secondhand smoke and mortality remained, say the researchers, led by Dr. Yao He of Chinese PLA General Hospital in Beijing.

"This is exactly the type of study design you want to see," said Joanna Cohen, director of the Institute for Global Tobacco Control at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

Cohen, who was not involved in the research, pointed out that the study followed people over many years, and it found evidence of a "dose-response" relationship -- meaning people's risks climbed as their secondhand smoke exposure increased.

Those things are considered key in building the case for a cause-and-effect relationship.

A number of studies have found that non-smokers who regularly breathe in other people's tobacco smoke have an increased risk of developing heart disease or certain cancers, including lung tumors.

In the U.S., the most recent Surgeon General's report said there was "suggestive" evidence that secondhand smoke might boost people's risk of stroke and emphysema, also known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD.


But the evidence was considered insufficient to say there was a "causal relationship," Cohen noted.

"This type of study," she said, "is important for adding to evidence of a causal relationship."

Cohen also said it was "huge" that the information was coming from China. "It's the country with the most number of smokers," she pointed out. And, she said, it is trailing other nations in anti-smoking education and tobacco control.

The current findings are based on 910 adults who were followed over almost two decades.

At the start, 44 percent said they lived with a smoker, while 53 percent said they inhaled secondhand smoke at work.

Over the following years, 249 study participants died. And the risks of death from heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and emphysema were all two to three times higher among people exposed to secondhand smoke.


Among men, for example, 11 percent of the 271 men exposed to secondhand smoke died of stroke. That compared with 6.5 percent of the 168 men who lived and worked in smoke-free surroundings.

The numbers of people who died of each specific cause were fairly small, which is a limitation.

"When numbers get small," Cohen said, "it makes it more difficult to get a precise estimate" of risks.

But she said the results do support evidence that secondhand smoke may boost the risks of not only heart disease and certain cancers, but stroke and emphysema as well.

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Monday June 26 Day 829

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 26, 2012

TODAY is THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY of my Recovery! Just for TODAY I pledge N.O.P.E. and N.E.F.!

[ N.O.P.E. = Not One Puff Ever! ]

[ N.E.F.= Never Ever Forget!!! ]

I will protect my Quit NO MATTER WHAT!

Are you ready to pledge?

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