Tobacco Still Number One
Even with many new threats to our health, such as terrorism, SARS, HIV, RSV, and lots of other new “initials”, tobacco remains the number one cause of preventable disease and death in the USA. Most people think of tobacco as just causing lung cancer, but do not realize that most smokers die from heart disease. In addition, a very large percentage of smokers die from strokes, blood clots (leading to pulmonary embolus), other lung diseases (like chronic bronchitis and emphysema), and many other types of cancer.
American Academy of Pediatrics Lays It Down!
A new web page by the AAP lays down the truth about tobacco!
Click here: AAP Tobacco Facts
Here's a great list of quit-smoking resources:
Movie DVDs to Include Smoking Warnings
All new movies released on DVD that include smoking scenes and are rated G, PG or PG-13 will now include antismoking ads that will appear before the movie begins, Reuters reported July 11.
The California Tobacco Control Program and a group of six major Hollywood studios announced an agreement to place the ads with movies that could be viewed by children. The participating studios are Sony Pictures, Universal Studios, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Walt Disney Studios, and Twentieth Century Fox. The California tobacco-prevention agency will produce the ads.
"Placing these ads on DVDs will remind viewers that movies are fiction but the damage smoking does is real," said Lisa Paulsen, president of the Entertainment Industry Foundation.
The American Legacy Foundation, an antismoking group, estimates that smoking appears in 75 percent of all G, PG, and PG-13 rated films.
Advances in Prevention
There are several exciting new areas in tobacco prevention, especially in preventing exposure to second hand smoke. Many new laws are being passed that restrict smoking in areas where innocent people are exposed to the harmful effects of smoke, such as airplanes, public buildings, stores, and restaurants. Sadly, Kentucky is lagging far behind the other states in passing such laws. This is one reason why Kentucky has been consistently in the top three states for rates of lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke.
Another important advance in tobacco prevention is the development of highly effective programs to help smokers to quit the habit. Quitting can reduce the risk of dying within a relatively short period of time. Within 5-15 years of quitting, smokers have no greater risk of dying from heart attack, stroke or cancer than the rest of the population. Smokers are 7 times more likely to get lung cancer, and twice as likely to die from a heart attack, than non-smokers.
The Cooper-Clayton Program is an effective way to quit smoking.
The Cooper/Clayton Program is one of the best new quit-smoking methods, and is available free of charge at all area hospitals and at the Wellness Center at the Greenwood Mall. The program uses nicotine replacement therapy, weekly educational sessions, and weekly support groups. Most people attending the program can expect to be completely tobacco-free in about 3 months.
New labels will be required on all cigarettes in 2011
Online Help to Quit Smoking
A new web site for teens has been developed: GottaQuit.com. This is teen oriented with great graphics and up-to-date info. It also offers on-line chat with experts on quitting smoking.
We are very excited about a great new web site associated with the Mayo Clinic. It's called "Become an Ex" and the website iswww.becomeanex.org. It teaches smokers how to quit and how to re-learn your life habits in the absence of cigarettes, so you don't get sucked back into the old cigarette-smoking associations.
Another website is Quitnet.com. This is a free service from the Boston University School of Public Health. Thousands of Americans have been successful using this service.
There is a national hot-line to help get started: 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).
Smoking Teens Increase Their Risk of MS
New research from Johns Hopkins University suggests that teenagers who smoke may triple their risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) later in life, the Associated Pressreported Feb. 23, 2009.
In the first study to examine the link between MS and early smoking, lead researcher Joseph Finkelstein and colleagues analyzed data from the 2002 National Health Interview Survey. The researchers found that 19.3 percent of healthy people in the general population (435 patients) began smoking before age 17, while 32.6 percent of people with MS (87 patients) started smoking early.
Early smokers were 2.7 times more likely to develop MS than those who had never smoked; those who started smoking after the age of 17 saw no increased MS risk, the study found.
Earlier research has linked MS to smoking, and many scientists believe early-life exposure to an unidentified "mysterious factor" triggers MS. Finkelstein said that the tissue damage caused by smoking and the body's immune system response may result in early smoking predisposing individuals to MS.
Second Hand Smoke Causes Lung Cancer in your Children!
It has been well established that thousands of spouses of smokers develop lung cancer (every year!), even if they never smoked. New data shows that even the children of smokers have higher risk of lung cancer when they grow up, even if they never smoke!
Tobacco Linked to Brain Damage
New research has found a direct link between tobacco use and brain damage, Science Daily reported on June 23 (2009).
Researchers led by Debapriya Ghosh and Anirban Basu of the Indian National Brain Research Center (NBRC) said that the compound NNK, found in tobacco, incites white blood cells in the central nervous system to attack healthy cells, leading to severe brain damage.
The research focused primarily on the NNK compound that is found in all forms of tobacco. NNK is a chemical substance that becomes carcinogenic during the body's metabolic process.
In their tests, the Indian researchers found that NNK provoked an errant response from microglia, immune cells in the brain that normally attack damaged or unhealthy cells.
"This research sheds light on the processes that lead to nerve-cell damage in those who smoke cigarettes or consume tobacco products on a regular basis," said Ghosh.
Researchers believe the neuroinflammation caused by NNK may lead to disorders like multiple sclerosis.
The findings will be published in the July 2009 issue of the Journal of Neurochemistry.
Second Hand Smoke Causes Cavities
New evidence reported in the Journal of the AMA (JAMA) shows a link to children's dental cavities from second hand smoke. It is thought that the damage to the immune system that they get from second hand smoke allows cavity-causing bacteria to thrive in their mouths. Younger children were affected more than older children, the same way younger children get more colds and ear infections when exposed to second hand smoke.