Saturday, August 22, 2015

Smoking vs Vaping (in a nutshell)

This just about sums it up ---

Monday, June 22, 2015

How Much Time You Save by Not Smoking Cigarettes

Great infographic from my friends at Quitter's Circle.

Here's what they have to say about smoking and time:

 "It takes 6 minutes, on average, to smoke a cigarette. While this number may not seem like very much—I mean, hey, what’s 6 minutes of your day—smoke breaks can add up to days, weeks and months of your life. About 20% of smokers smoke one pack of cigarettes per day, and 7% smoke more than a pack a day."

Enjoy the Infographic and let me know your thoughts...

Hawaii to raise legal smoking age to 21

With the growing popularity of e-cigarettes, Hawaii has decided to raise the legal age of smoking to 21.  Hawaii will become the first state in the country to do this.  There are real fears in the community and the nation that the growing popularity of e-cigarettes is encouraging teenagers to develop a taste for tobacco whereby the e-Cigarette becomes somewhat of a gateway drug.  The governor of Hawaii, David Ige, recently signed a bill that will raise the smoking age to 21.

Governor Ige said. “Raising the minimum age as part of our comprehensive tobacco control efforts will help reduce tobacco use among our youth and increase the likelihood that our keiki [children] will grow up tobacco-free.” 

When this law goes into effect, first offence is $10 and then up to $50 for subsequent offences. (total effing joke, but I'll touch on this in a minute)

Hawaii has found that 86 percent of their smokers got started when they were kids and so limiting access may help reduce that number.  

Many states have gone up to 19 years old as the legal age, but Hawaii is the first to go to 21.  

This new push got started after researchers at the University of Hawaii reported that 30 per cent of 14- to 16-year-olds had experimented with e-cigarettes.  The concern is that this would then encourage them to consider smoking conventional cigarettes. 

Opponents to the law have the following logic summed up by Democratic Representative Angus McKelvey, "I can't stand cigarette smoking. It’s disgusting, but to tell somebody you can go and fight for your country and get killed but you can't have a cigarette, that’s the thing. You can enter a contract. You're an emancipated adult in the eyes of the constitution, but you can't have a cigarette anymore."

And now for my 2 cents on this well intentioned law...  It's all stupid.  10 bucks is the fine for a first offence?  That's less than a pack of cigarettes in NYC!  And the average cost of a pack of cigarettes in Hawaii is...  wait for it...  $9.55.  So I get busted once it costs me a pack.  Twice, a carton and guess what?  I'm still smoking!  That's right.  I started smoking full time when I was 17.  My friends bought me cigarettes.  It was the easiest thing to get.  If you really want to have an impact, first offence needs to be volunteering in a cancer treatment center and education on the real effects of smoking.  When I was a teenager I felt immortal and also felt cancer just didn't apply to me.  You think a $10 fine is going to dissuade someone from smoking?  Cmon...  maaaaaaan!  Wake up.  

Also, allow me to comment on McKelvey's missed mark.  I'd be curious to see if Angus supports lowering the legal age of drinking to 18...  

BOTTOM LINE:  Free society, free market, free economy.  Raising the legal age to 21 one may have an impact.  Then again, it may also do about jack squat.  A committed smoker, is going to find a way.  Period.  A committed smoker had made a decision.  You want to help these kids make an educated decision and become fully aware of the effects of smoking...  At any age!

Cigarette smoking STILL kills 345,962 Americans each year

Cigarette smoking is STILL responsible for at least 345,962 cancer deaths in the U.S. each year, according to a new study reported on in The Portland Press.

How are people dying? About 45 percent of those deaths are the result of cancers of the lung, bronchus and trachea. Researchers in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine reported on the study findings. Another 15 percent of the deaths are due to colorectal cancer, 11 percent are due to pancreatic cancers and 6 percent are due to liver cancers.

Scientists have determined that there are 12 types of cancer that can be caused by smoking. When these 12 cancers are pooled together, nearly half of all these cancer related deaths – 48.5 percent – can be blamed on cigarette smoking.

Lung cancer, obviously, has the strongest link to smoking. The researchers estimate that 83 percent of lung cancer deaths in men and 76 percent of lung cancer deaths in women are the result of smoking. 

Smoking has also played a huge role in cancers of the larynx. Fully 93 percent of larynx cancer deaths in women, along with 72 percent of larynx cancer deaths in men, are due to cigarette use.

The next tier includes esophageal cancer (with 51 percent of deaths tied to smoking), mouth and throat cancers (47 percent of deaths due to smoking) and bladder cancer (45 percent of deaths linked to smoking).  Yes, bladder cancer!

In another group are liver cancers, uterine and cervical cancers and stomach cancers, with 24 percent, 22 percent and 20 percent of deaths attributable to smoking, respectively.

Rounding out the list are kidney cancer (with 17 percent of deaths due to smoking), myeloid leukemia (15 percent of deaths traced to smoking), pancreatic cancer (12 percent of deaths linked to smoking) and colorectal cancer (10 percent of deaths tied to smoking).

To come up with these figures, the researchers – from the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center – combined data from the 2011 National Health Interview Survey, the Cancer Prevention Study II and five studies that are known as the Pooled Contemporary Cohort.

The people that were included in the analysis were all at least 35 years old, and they were more educated and less racially diverse than Americans as a whole.

This new analysis does not include other forms of tobacco use, such as cigars and pipes.  Nor did the study account for exposure to second-hand smoke, which is believed to be responsible for about 5 percent of lung cancer deaths.

But even with these limitations, the take-home message is pretty clear.  The researchers were quoted as saying, “Continued progress in reducing cancer mortality, as well as deaths from many other serious diseases, will require more comprehensive tobacco control.”

I think the research is clearer than that however and that is this.  With this awareness, anyone who continues to smoke is committing what I like to call "passive-aggressive suicide."  In this day and age, making the conscious decision to smoke and allow a continued addiction to nicotine is no different than playing Russian Roulette and for you Hunger Games fans out there, these odds will NEVER be in your favor.

If you're on the hook and you got this monkey on your back, there is a way out.  Take a look at a book called How To Stop Smoking Without Killing Anyone.  This book will empower you and give you complete control over nicotine and cigarettes.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Omega-3 supplements help reduce nicotine craving

A new study released by the University of Haifa shows that taking omega-3 supplements lowers the craving for nicotine and even reduces the number of cigarettes that people smoke in a day

"The findings of this study indicated that omega-3, an inexpensive and easily available dietary supplement with almost no side effects, reduces smoking significantly," said Dr Sharon Rabinovitz Shenkar

Cigarette smoking is already tied to cardiovascular dysfunction, immune system dysfunction and
omega-3 reduces nicotine craving
obviously cancer.  But did you know it also reduces the levels of essential fatty acids in the brain?

This current study used 48 smokers between the ages of 18 - 45.  The subjects were smoking at least 10 cigarettes a day and were at an average of 14.  They were diagnosed as having a "moderate" dependency on nicotine.  Sounds like addiction to me, but what do I know?  The smokers in the study had an average age of 29 and had all been smoking for at least 10 years.

The smokers were split into two groups.  One group got omega-3 capsules, the second group received a placebo.

The victims participants were asked to take 5 capsules a day for 30 days and at no time were they asked to stop smoking.  The levels of nicotine craving and consumption were checked using a series of scales regarding various aspects related to smoking urges, such as lack of control over tobacco use, anticipation of relief and satisfaction from smoking, and to the number of cigarettes smoked each day.

These levels were measured at the start of the study, then 30 days after the start of the treatment and then once more after 60 days.

During the study when the participants were tested, they had them abstain from smoking for 2 hours and then were exposed to smoking-related cues and images in order to fire up the cravings for nicotine.

The findings showed that while no difference was found between the groups at the beginning of the study, after thirty days the smokers who had taken omega-3 reduced their cigarettes by an average of two a day (an eleven-per cent decrease), even though they were not asked to change their smoking habits in any way.

After another 30 days of not taking anything, cigarette cravings did increase slightly but, and this is the important part, still remained significantly lower than at the initial level.

What this means is that the craving to smoke cigarettes did not return to the baseline original level even a month after not taking the supplement.

The researchers reported that the group receiving the placebo did not show any significant changes either way in their craving levels or in the number of cigarettes they smoked a day during the sixty days.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Menthol cigarettes may be even riskier - no safer than regular tobacco

(Reuters Health) - Menthol cigarettes might taste better than regular tobacco but are no safer and might lead to more severe lung problems, a new study suggests.

Smokers who reported using menthol cigarettes had more trips to the emergency room and more hospitalizations or treatment for severe worsening of their lung disease compared to people smoking regular tobacco, the study found.

These worsenings, or “exacerbations,” might include difficulty breathing or a major increase in phlegm that lasts for days.

“We were surprised that menthol smokers, compared to non-menthol cigarette smokers, reported more severe exacerbations and had a greater odds of experiencing severe exacerbations,” said Dr. Marilyn Foreman of the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, one of the study authors, in an email to Reuters Health.

She and her colleagues compared 3,758 menthol smokers and 1,941 regular smokers, ages 45 to 80, who smoked at least 10 packs of cigarettes per year. The menthol smokers were slightly younger and more likely to be female and black, they found.

At first glance, it seemed that the menthol smokers had less chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and they were less likely to have chronic cough or chronic sputum production and less likely to use medications to help them breathe.

Overall, the two groups had similar frequencies of COPD exacerbations during the average 18-month period of the study, according to the report of the study in the journal Respirology.

But the menthol smokers had more frequent severe exacerbations: 0.22 per year, versus 0.18 per year among smokers of regular tobacco cigarettes.

The menthol smokers also did worse on a test of how far they could walk in six minutes, and they were more short of breath than people who smoked regular cigarettes.

When the researchers took other patient factors into account, such as age and other diseases, there were no longer any differences between the menthol and regular tobacco smokers in lung function, exercise capacity, or breathing problems.

There was still, however, a 29 percent higher risk of severe lung disease exacerbations with use of menthol cigarettes.

The researchers think menthol might have an anesthetic effect on the airways, and as a result, it might take longer to recognize that smokers’ lung disease is worsening, said Foreman.

She and her colleagues admit, though, that their study can’t prove menthol is responsible for making smokers’ lung problems worse.

“In general in the article, the people who smoked menthol cigarettes were different, younger, more likely to be African-American and female,” Dr. Sean Forsythe said in a phone interview with Reuters Health.  “So maybe the differences weren’t due to menthol but were due to the fact that the patients were different.”

Forsythe, who is division director of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois, said that while exacerbations appeared to be worse for the menthol smokers, only a longer study could say for sure.

“That’s the type of thing where only following these patients for a year and a half is going to become a bit misleading,” said Forsythe, who wasn’t involved with Foreman’s study.  “If you’re looking for some of these bigger outcomes in the COPD world, maybe you need to follow them longer,” he added.

Foreman pointed out frequent exacerbations might end up having a long-term effect.

“Frequent exacerbations do affect quality of life and may result in greater loss of lung function over time,” said Foreman.

Both agreed the results send an important message to smokers.

“If one thinks that smoking menthol cigarettes is safer, that’s completely inaccurate,” said Forsythe.

It would be as if there were a group of people slowly poisoning themselves with arsenic and then you would compare if cherry flavored arsenic was safer.

“It’s still arsenic,” said Forsythe.

SOURCE: Respirology, October 19, 2014.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

There is no safe way to smoke

Lung cancer takes more lives than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined. Regardless of the device used, smoking is not healthy.

Smoking and secondhand smoke causes lung cancer, low birth-weight babies, ear infections and asthma. Help break the cycle. Talk to your health care provider about smoking cessation.

There are 600 ingredients in cigarettes that create more than 7,000 chemicals when burned, according to the American Lung Association. Sixty-nine of these chemicals causes cancer. Some of the chemicals and the places you might routinely find them include:

• Acetone — nail polish remover

• Acetic acid — hair dye

• Ammonia — household cleaners

• Arsenic — rat poison

• Benzene — rubber cement

• Butane — lighter fluid

• Cadmium — battery acid

• Carbon monoxide — car exhaust fumes

• Formaldehyde — embalming fluid

• Hexamine — lighter fluid

• Lead — batteries

• Naphthalene — moth balls

• Methanol — rocket fuel

• Nicotine — insecticides

• Tar — used for paving roads

• Toluene — paint

For those who claim that e-cigarettes are not as harmful, please consider that:

• In February, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reported 215 calls to the poison center related to e-cigarettes. The Federal Drug Administration also has reports of hospitalizations resulting in pneumonia, congestive heart failure, seizures, hypotension, disorientation and other health problems related to e-cigarettes.

• In September, Dateline NBC reported e-cigarette use by American high school students with Cloud 9, a synthetic drug sold at gas stations. It elicits heart attack symptoms and is responsible for many hospitalizations.

• The World Health Organization is currently recommending a ban on indoor use of e-cigarettes, as well as sales and advertising targeting youth. E-cigarette devices expel nicotine, formaldehyde, nickel, acrolein and other harmful substances.

• Hookah bar devices expel nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide and other carcinogens, which cause cancer. Many of the devices have more nicotine and release more carbon monoxide and smoke than cigarettes. Improperly cleaned, these devices spread communicable diseases.

In summary, there is no healthy smoking device. They all cause cancer. In order to stop this epidemic we must become smarter consumers, both for those we love and for ourselves. Smoking not only affects the smoker; it affects anyone that takes in secondhand smoke, and every person near and dear to the smoker who will deal with the deathly consequences.

The next time you think you want to smoke, ask yourself if you would consume any of the aforementioned chemicals. I doubt you will say yes.

Contributing Columnist October 19, 2014  Belinda Blair is an oncology nurse navigator at Baptist Health Lexington.