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2016

STRIKE THAT!

It now takes over 30 times to quit!

http://www.healthline.com/health-news/quitting-smoking-expect-failure-before-you-succeed

Actually it only takes ONCE!

Just one informed time with a willingness to change your lifestyle and improve just about everything in your Life! 

We know how to do this! It's right here for anybody who wants to skip the first 29 times!

Surely that's better than 20 a day, right?

Thomas3.20.2010

Protect Your Genes

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 22, 2016

Vaping and smoking both alter these 53 genes

Smoking cigarettes alters dozens of genes in the epithelial cells that line the respiratory tract. Several of these changes likely increase the risk of bacterial infections, viruses, and inflammation. Now, scientists report that vaping alters those same genes and hundreds more that are important for immune defense in the upper airway.

“I was really surprised by these results,” says lead researcher Ilona Jaspers, professor of pediatrics, and microbiology and immunology at the UNC Medical Center. “That’s why we kept going back to make sure this was accurate.”

The finding, published in the American Journal of Physiology, suggests that inhaling the vaporized flavored liquids in e-cigarettes is not without consequences, at least on the level of epithelial cell gene expression—the critical process by which our genes give rise to proteins important for various functions in cells.

The discovery cannot yet be linked to long-term health effects of e-cigarette use or the risk of diseases usually associated with long-term cigarette smoking such as cancer, emphysema, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

“We honestly do not yet know what long-term effects e-cigarettes might have on health,” says Jaspers, who is senior author of the study. “I suspect that the effects of e-cigarettes will not be the same as the effects of cigarette smoking.”

So far, though, the evidence suggests that long-term e-cigarette use will not be harmless.

E-cigarettes have only been on the market in the United States since 2006, and usage skyrocketed just a few years ago. Many ingredients used to create the more than 7,000 flavors available in e-cigarettes were FDA approved for oral consumption, not for inhalation.

The 53 genes

To study what effects e-cigarettes have on genes that help our upper airways fight off potentially harmful pathogens, Jaspers’ lab recruited 13 non-smokers, 14 smokers, and 12 e-cigarette users. Each participant kept a journal documenting their cigarette or e-cigarette use, and researchers analyzed participant urine and blood samples to confirm nicotine levels and biomarkers relevant to tobacco exposure.

After about three weeks, researchers took samples from the nasal passages of each participant to analyze the expression of genes important for immune responses.

Visually and functionally, the epithelial layers of our nasal passages are very similar to the epithelial layers in our lungs. All epithelial cells along our airways—from our noses to the tiny bronchioles deep in our lungs—need to function properly to trap and dispatch particles and pathogens so we don’t get sick. These epithelial cells are critical for normal immune defense. Certain genes in these cells must give rise to proper amounts of proteins, which orchestrate the overall immune response. It has long been known that cigarette smoking modifies this gene expression, which is one reason researchers think smokers are more sensitive to upper respiratory problems.

Using the non-smokers as the baseline comparison group, Jaspers’ team found that smoking cigarettes decreased the gene expression of 53 genes important for the immune response of epithelial cells. Using e-cigarettes decreased the gene expression of 358 genes important for immune defense—including all 53 genes implicated in the smoking group.

“We compared these genes one by one,” Jaspers says, “And we found that each gene common to both groups was suppressed more in the e-cigarette group. We currently do not know exactly how e-cigarettes do this.”

Apples and oranges

Jaspers says her lab’s findings do not mean that smoking e-cigarettes is as bad as or worse than smoking regular cigarettes

“I think it is a mistake to try to directly compare cigarette smoking and e-cigarette use,” Jaspers says. “We shouldn’t ask ‘smoking causes cancer; do e-cigarettes cause cancer? Smoking causes emphysema; do e-cigarettes cause emphysema?'”

She says that inhaling burnt tobacco and inhaling vaporized flavored liquids are fundamentally different, and it’s more likely that e-cigarettes could induce different biological changes and play different roles in other respiratory problems.

“We know that diseases like COPD, cancer, and emphysema usually take many years to develop in smokers,” Jaspers says. “But people have not been using e-cigarettes for very long. So we don’t know yet how the effects of e-cigarette use might manifest in 10 or 15 years. We’re at the beginning of cataloging and observing what may or may not be happening.”

Next, Jaspers will study how epithelial cells in e-cigarette users respond to a flu vaccine. This, she says, could help her team measure the immune response of epithelial cells in smokers, non-smokers, and e-cigarette users.

“We just finished our collection of samples,” Jaspers says. “We’ll see.”

http://www.futurity.org/e-cigarettes-vaping-genes-1187642-2/

Thomas3.20.2010

Not Off the Hook!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 21, 2016

Just because you haven't been diagnosed with COPD or because you quit smoking and at that junction were free of COPD does not mean that you can necessarily breathe easy!

Here's the newest research about lung disease and smoking and former smokers:

No Such Thing as a Healthy Smoker

image

Smokers who think they are escaping the lung-damaging effects of inhaled tobacco smoke may have to think again, according to the findings of two major new studies, one of which the author originally titled “Myth of the Healthy Smoker.”

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or C.O.P.D., may be among the best known dangers of smoking, and current and former smokers can be checked for that with a test called spirometry that measures how much air they can inhale and how much and how quickly they can exhale. Unfortunately, this simple test is often skipped during routine medical checkups of people with a history of smoking. But more important, even when spirometry is done, the new studies prove that the test often fails to detect serious lung abnormalities that cause chronic cough and sputum production and compromise a person’s breathing, energy level, risk of serious infections and quality of life.

“Current or former smokers without airflow obstruction may assume that they are disease-free,” but that’s not necessarily the case, one of the research teams pointed out. These researchers projected that there are 35 million current or former smokers older than 55 in the United States with unrecognized smoking-caused lung disease or impairments. Many, if not most, of these people could get worse with time, even if they have quit smoking. They are also unlikely to be referred for pulmonary rehabilitation, a treatment that can head off encroaching disability.

Perhaps most important, those currently smoking may be inclined to think they’ve dodged the bullet and so can continue to smoke with impunity. Doctors, who are often reluctant to urge patients with symptoms to quit smoking, may be even less likely to recommend smoking cessation to those with normal spirometry results.

Referring to C.O.P.D., one of the researchers, Dr. Elizabeth A. Regan, said, “Smoking is really taking a terrible toll on our society.” Dr. Regan, a clinical researcher at National Jewish Health in Denver, is the lead author of one of the new studies, published last year in JAMA Internal Medicine. “We live happily in the world thinking that only a small percentage of people who smoke get this devastating disease,” she said. “However, the lungs of millions of people in the United States are negatively impacted by smoking, and our methods for identifying their lung disease are relatively insensitive.”

Even when the results of spirometry are normal, Dr. Regan added, “a lot of smokers have respiratory symptoms. They get sick often, are more likely to be hospitalized with bronchitis or pneumonia, and have evidence on CT scans of thickened airway walls or emphysema that impair breathing.”

Dr. Prescott G. Woodruff, lead author of the other study, published May 12 in The New England Journal of Medicine, said in an interview, “Smokers have much more lung disease than we previously thought. The 15 to 20 percent who get C.O.P.D. is a gross underestimate.” Too often, Dr. Regan’s team pointed out, symptoms like shortness of breath and limits on exercise are “dismissed as normal aging.”

The multicenter study headed by Dr. Woodruff, a pulmonologist at the University of California, San Francisco, found that smokers with normal findings on spirometry nonetheless are likely to have chronic respiratory symptoms like cough, phlegm, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness; lower than normal exercise tolerance; and evidence on a CT scan of chronically inflamed airways in the lungs. They also use more antibiotics to control respiratory infections and drugs called glucocorticoids to alleviate breathing difficulty. They pay more visits to doctors and emergency rooms and have more hospital admissions because of a flare-up of respiratory symptoms.

In other words, they are far more prone than nonsmokers to experiencing terrifying episodes of troubled breathing.

Of course, while lung disease is most prevalent, it is hardly the only adverse health effect of smoking, a source of noxious substances that can damage almost every organ system in the body. The list of smoking-related diseases has grown exponentially since smoking was labeled a probable cause of lung cancer 52 years ago in the first surgeon general’s report on smoking and health. The decades since have added many other deadly cancers, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, blood clots, peripheral artery disease, Type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, cataracts and macular degeneration, as well as C.O.P.D.

The new findings by the two investigative teams prompted Dr. Leonardo M. Fabbri of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy to write an editorial accompanying the New England Journal study titled “Smoking, Not C.O.P.D., as the Disease.” He explained that the results of the two studies “suggest that smoking itself should be considered the disease and should be approached in all its complexity.”

The challenge ahead, Dr. Fabbri wrote, is to identify patients with smoking-related lung damage who do not yet have obstructive disease and devise ways to treat them to reduce their symptoms and prevent flare-ups.

A clinical trial to begin later this year, sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, will examine whether treatments like use of a bronchodilator will help to alleviate symptoms in those without obstructive disease. Unfortunately, “the cost of bronchodilator medication has gone through the roof,” Dr. Woodruff said. Decades ago, people with breathing problems like asthma used aerosol bronchodilators that included chemicals called fluorocarbons. But these were banned for environmental reasons in the mid-1970s, and the replacements that drug manufacturers came up with are still not available in generic form, keeping prices high.

Dr. Woodruff said that rehabilitative exercise, one of the best treatments for C.O.P.D., should also help people with lung damage short of obstruction because it improves the ability of muscles to use available oxygen more efficiently.

To improve exercise tolerance, patients are encouraged to walk as fast as they can for as long as they can, rest, then walk some more. Most patients find this easiest to do on a treadmill, where speed and incline can be precisely regulated and the results measured. But if such equipment is unavailable or too costly to access, walking indoors or outdoors can be helpful if geared to a specific distance and speed that are gradually increased.

Most critical, of course, is for smokers with or without symptoms of lung disease to quit smoking, which can reduce the severity of respiratory symptoms and slow the decline in lung function, Dr. Regan’s team wrote. However, the team added, quitting smoking “does not eliminate the risk of progressive lung disease,” which means that the lungs of former smokers may need to be examined periodically.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/06/20/no-such-thing-as-a-healthy-smoker/

[Thomas: Have you had your Spirometry Test yet?]

Thomas3.20.2010

Take Heart!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 13, 2016

image

 

It takes a lot of courage to face Addiction and Re-claim our Lives!

People who are trapped in addiction can suffer greatly. Our obsession with Nicotine can lead to the destruction of everything we hold dear. It is eventually obvious that our addictive behavior is the source of the misery, but we may still be unwilling to change. This is because there is comfort in familiarity and change takes a great deal of courage because it is a step into the unknown. Failure to summon up the motivation to walk away from addiction can mean a death sentence so it is vital that we summon up the necessary courage to move forward.

So what is courage and how do we find it within ourselves if what we feel is fear, doubt, and anxiety?

Courage is the choice and willingness to confront agony, pain, danger, uncertainty or intimidation.Courageousness does not imply fearlessness.

Plato described courage as a sort of perseverance - being able to persevere through all emotions, like suffering, pleasure, and fear.

Aquinas thought courage denotes a certain firmness of mind being primarily about endurance, not attack. According to him, courage is more concerned to allay fear, than to moderate daring.

Tau Te Ching states that courage is derived from Love

Ernest Hemmingway famously defined courage as "grace under pressure.”

Winston Churchill stated, "Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all others."

According to Maya Angelou, "Courage is the most important of the virtues, because without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage."

Brene Brown reminds us “Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor - the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant ‘To speak one's mind by telling all one's heart.’” 

We can learn to be more courageous in life. It is a skill that people can develop by understanding that courage does not mean absence of fear. It means taking action despite the fear. We develop a beginner’s mind  - that is we are more open to new experience. Beginner’s mind means approaching new EXperiences without too many preconceived judgments and biases.

I often hear beginners talking of fear of judgment but can we also look at our own judgment about recovery and quitters?

We often believe that

-       recovery will be nearly impossible

-       relapse will be unbearably embarrassing

-       nobody will understand or support our quit journey

-       successful quitters are somehow better than we are

-       life will become a constant desire for the prohibited

-       fun will be gone forever

I’m sure you can add other beliefs or judgments to this list.

Can you set aside those preconceived concepts and open your minds and more importantly your hearts to a new different EXperience that you know not what it will bring but you know it will be EXcellent in every aspect of your Life?

It will require consistency, perseverance, willingness. And you will not be alone! You have a whole Community of folks walking the path of Recovery with you! We will remind you of the truth of your own Heart – not your hijacked Mind!

We can show you how to take personal responsibility, to learn, to grow, to become even more courageous when called upon to do so. We have faced any number of situations that tested our courage – and we stepped up and persevered!

We can tell you how we learned to become less a slave of our thoughts and fears and to live in our Hearts with Love – for ourselves and for our fellow human.

 We can help you set for yourself very small doable challenges and achieving these until you are ready to face bigger challenges. This will increase your Self –Esteem and Determination.

We were where you are now! Every bit as vulnerable, anxious, and doubtful! We didn’t get here in one fell swoop. We took baby steps! You’ve already taken the first ones – you are here – reading this! Keep taking those steps – consistently and willingly. The rest will happen day by day by day.

Listen to your Heart!

Thomas3.20.2010

Taking a Break

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 12, 2016

When I waited tables about the only way to get a break was to take a smoke - break! Actually that's one of the barriers I had to quitting smoking at the time.

Now, things have changed. people don't want a server that smells like an ashtray! AND getting a break although still difficult doesn't necessarily have to be associated with Nicotine Addiction. ["Boss, I really need a break before I kill somebody!"]

Here's something I've learned since quitting smoking 6 Years ago:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUBawr1hUwo

So whether it's at work or just Life, let's take the time to assimilate what we EXperience!

Life's too short! Don't smoke it away.....!

I never really noticed or thought about it until I quit smoking, but soon enough I realized that Nicotine Addiction not only hijacked my thoughts, it robbed me of my Emotional Health! 

To understand this better, let's see what what's really going on with Addiction to Nicotine.

With each puff on a cigarette comes a rush of pleasure, but this euphoria is short-lived. Once that nicotine runs its course, your body craves its quick return. Your instant of joy turns to long-range irritability, anxiety and addiction. Scientific evidence suggests that a few minutes of nicotine pleasure, when indulged in consistently, may eventually lead to stress and feelings of isolation due to your body's dependence on the drug.

 

Euphoria

When you inhale, you deliver a concentrated dose of nicotine into your bloodstream, which quickly enters your brain, according to a 2012 report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Your brain responds by sending a signal to your adrenal glands to release adrenaline, raising your blood pressure, respiration and heart rate. Nicotine also activates pathways in your brain that control feelings of pleasure. It increases the level of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the reward circuits of your brain to produce a sense of euphoria. This is achieved immediately and reinforced with each puff.

Irritability, Depression

When your body expels nicotine, you lose this euphoric feeling. The result is a biochemical and emotional dependence on the drug, according to a 2012 report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. As euphoric as your emotions were when you took a puff, your emotions swing the other way when the drug is removed. Smokers under nicotine withdrawal become irritable, depressed and anxious. They have trouble sleeping, are likely to want to eat to compensate for the loss of pleasure and start to crave their next cigarette. These emotions peak for the first few days a chronic smoker quits but can last for months.

Stress

Smokers are more sensitive to emotional stress than nonsmokers, according to a 2013 Gallup survey of 83,000 adults. The survey’s emotional health index asked participants about their emotions the previous day, whether they spent most of the day happy, upset or angry. The study found that smokers had an average emotional health index of 72, while nonsmokers’ average index was 81. The survey showed that 50 percent of smokers experienced significant stress the previous day compared to 37 percent of nonsmokers. Forty percent of smokers were worried the previous day compared to 28 percent of nonsmokers.

Isolation

According to the 2013 Gallup survey, only 87 percent of smokers felt they were treated with respect the previous day compared to 93 percent of nonsmokers. Smokers feel isolated, cut off from others and less able to enjoy themselves, according to the poll. Seventy-eight percent of smokers experienced enjoyment the previous day, and 77 percent smiled or laughed compared to 86 and 83 percent of nonsmokers, the poll found. Half of all bipolar patients and two-thirds of schizophrenics smoke, according to a 2014 report in the "Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine," which suggests that smoking is a habit common among those who are emotionally isolated due to mental illness.

[Source http://www.livestrong.com/article/89262-emotional-effects-smoking/]

So when we quit smoking yes, we do temporarily go through a roller coaster of emotions that we had hidden under a smoke cloud for Years! That's one of the chalenges to quitting but also a major reward for quitting because from Day one we are in the process of putting the wrong -right!

After a few short weeks we begin to feel normal euphoria - the thrill of seeing and holding a Grandchild, the awe-inspiring lift of a beautiful summer sunset, the joy of LOVE!

If we're very observant we may notice that our depression is lifting along with the smoke cloud. We no longer search for an escape from sadness or pain because those too are a natural part of Life! 

I also realized that I was less irritable. I was living Life on Life's terms! I became able to correct those situations in my Life for which I had control and to let go of that which I never had control of in the first place. All of this has a very calming effect on my Emotional Health.

I chose to become less isolated. I realized that although smoking provided a certain smokers' circle of comaraderie - I still felt a loneliness of shallow sharing of Addiction. As a Quitter I was much more capable of sorting out true rewarding Friendship from Smokers' Groups getting high together.

True Friendship is based on wanting the Best for that other person for which Addiction never qualifies Now my Friends are honest enough to gently guide me into my own best interests!

Emotional growth can be disrupting and painful but as we go through the process of Nicotine Recovery we come out through the other side our own Best Selves and our Family and Friends recognize this with profound Joy! Eventually we do too! Then we truly transform into Happy Quitters!

It's not uniquely my EXperience - it's there for any of us willing to Live the challenge of Recovery!

Thomas3.20.2010

A Good Read!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 7, 2016

A new study from the London Institute of Ethical Science (LIES) was released over the weekend and it clearly demonstrates that all previous studies have overstated the health risks of cigarette smoke.

Funded by Philip Morris International, the 2nd largest tobacco company in the world, this study casts doubt on warnings from the American Cancer Society and even the warnings federally mandated on each pack of cigarettes.

Philip Morris CEO, André Calantzopoulos could not be reached for comment, but he left the following cryptic message in a voice mail at the Mayo Clinic: "Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha."

Don't stop now! Read the article and get the rest of the story!

http://www.chicagonow.com/chicago-board-tirade/2016/06/smoking-cancer/

Thomas3.20.2010

Now!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 5, 2016

Things have changed so radically in my lifetime! We used to have to send our camera film into a company to have it developed and get it back a week later.. Now my Son can send Penelope's newset picture straight from his phone to my printer and I come home to the printed picture! WOW!

I sometimes wonder, though if it may also have changed our expectations for immediate gratification! For Example, I may have a craving and I get agitated and fearful if I can't make t go away NOW!

Or I may have pain and I have no patience to endure it! I want an opioid to make it stop NOW!

I've often wondered if that's why there is so much road rage these days! We want what we want NOW!

Perhaps we need to bring back the art of patience - of endurance - resilience!

A little waiting isn't all bad! Anticipation was half the fun of the good things like that stack of photos we waited for! And lack of resilience could be downright harmful!

When you have a craving just keep in mind that they last only a few minutes! They will not harm you in any way - but Smoking WILL! Ride the wave with resilience and you will have gained a very important skill - especially in this day and age! 

We all (well, most of us!) believed that smoking relieved our stress. I said that I couldn't quit smoking today because there's just too much stress in my Life! But this is Addictive Thinking - Nico-Lies!

Smoking adds to our stress. Smoking Cessation - after the first few Months - actually relieves stress!

But what can I do instead?

Well, how about.....

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-25120/5-mindfulness-tools-to-use-the-next-time-youre-totally-stressed-out.html

P.S. chocolate works too!