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About 46 million American adults smoke cigarettes, but most smokers are either actively trying to quit or want to quit. Since 1965, more than 49 percent of all adults who have ever smoked have quit smoking.

  • After one year off cigarettes, the excess risk of coronary heart disease caused by smoking is reduced by half. After 15 years of abstinence, the risk is similar to that for people who’ve never smoked.
  • In 5 to 15 years, the risk of stroke for ex-smokers returns to the level of those who’ve never smoked.
  • Male smokers who quit between ages 35 to 39 add an average of 5 years to their lives. Female quitters in this age group add 3 years. Men and women who quit at ages 65 to 69 increase their life expectancy by 1 year.

More than four in five smokers say they want to quit. And each year about 1.3 million smokers do quit. With good smoking cessation programs, 20 to 40 percent of participants are able to quit smoking and stay quit.

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For the first time on record, the rate of new cancer cases and the cancer death rate are both falling in this country. There appear to be several reasons why this is happening, but perhaps the most important is also the simplest: Over the past several decades, men started smoking less.

Here’s the big new cancer report, compiled by researchers from the American Cancer Society, the CDC and other august institutions.

Between 1996 and 2005, the rate of new cases and deaths fell for the three most common cancers in men — lung, colorectal and prostate — and for two of the three most common cancers in women — breast and colorectal. Lung cancer deaths among women were basically flat during the period, and the rate of new cases inched up.

The most telling data points we saw (helpfully highlighted in this Q&A) showed how closely connected smoking is with death from lung cancer (the leading cancer killer). Utah, which has the nation’s lowest smoking rate and the lowest rate of lung cancer deaths; Kentucky, which has the nation’s highest smoking rate, also has the highest rate of lung cancer deaths — more than three times greater than Utah’s.

For some the results underscore that preventing rather curing cancer should be our top priority. “The whole cancer establishment has been focused on treatment, which has not been terribly productive,” John C. Bailar III, of the National Academy of Sciences, told the Washington Post. “I think what people should conclude from this is we ought to be putting most of our resources where we know there has been progress, almost in spite of what we’ve done, and stop this single-minded focus on treatment.”

Health profoundly improves once a person
stops smoking. In this video Mayo Clinic Physicians provide examples of
healing that occurs once a person stops smoking and the many benefits
to staying …

Bottom line, quitting smoking is the best decision you can make. 


The U.N. General Assembly has ordered Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to put an end to smoking at U.N. headquarters in New York, widely seen as a tobacco safe haven in an otherwise smoke-free metropolis. The assembly told Ban to implement a ban on smoking and on the sale of tobacco products inside the building, Enrique Yeves, spokesman for General Assembly President Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, told reporters on Thursday.

He said the demand came in a nonbinding resolution passed unanimously by the 192 U.N. member states earlier this week. “It is up to the secretariat now … to decide what kind of realistic measures can be taken for this to be implemented,” Yeves told reporters. Word of the General Assembly’s anti-smoking resolution had yet to reach all corners of the 40-story building. In the U.N. Delegates Lounge, a cloud of cigarette smoke hovered over clusters of diplomats and U.N. staff puffing tobacco and sipping coffee. Several of them told Reuters they had not heard of the resolution but added that they doubted Ban would succeed.

Although the United Nations is headquartered in New York, a statewide smoking ban does not apply to the Manhattan compound because it is considered international territory. Ban’s predecessor Kofi Annan tried to ban smoking at the U.N. skyscraper in 2003. But his anti-smoking drive failed as many diplomats and U.N. staff simply ignored the “no smoking” signs that appeared throughout the building.

U.N. officials say that smoking in the 60-year-old skyscraper is discouraged but not officially banned. Other U.N. agencies in New York with offices outside the U.N. secretariat building have successfully banned smoking on their premises. The top envoy from Britain, which co-sponsored the General Assembly resolution, welcomed the new anti-smoking drive. “I think as part of our effort to modernize the U.N., it’s important that the United Nations keeps up with the standards in the rest of the world,” Ambassador John Sawers told Reuters.

“Smoking has been banned in the United Nations in Geneva,” he said. “We look forward to doing the same here in New York.” The key is that the genesis of stopping smoking on the largest of stages and scales needs to begin at the UN and New York and then it needs to trickle down to the smallest of places so that everyone understands how important it is that they stop or quit smoking or realize that they should have never started.

From the department of the obvious comes this advice.

If you smoke and you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, it’s especially important to kick the habit now. The toxic chemicals inhaled when you smoke are easily passed to the unborn baby.

The American Pregnancy Association offers these suggestions to help you stop smoking during pregnancy:

  • Make a list of all of the health benefits of quitting for yourself and your baby.
  • Replace smoking with healthier habits, such as having a snack or a cup of tea with your newspaper, instead of a cigarette.
  • Surround yourself with nonsmokers.
  • Have a friend or family member ready to call when you need support.
  • Ask your doctor for ways to help you quit, including tips on which smoking cessation aids are safe for you and baby.
  • Set a goal date for quitting.

 

Pay-for-Performance Gets Doctors to Push Smoking Cessation

Paying providers of health care to refer patients for help in quitting smoking really makes a difference.

A study, appearing in the current issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, looked at programs that tie physician pay to the quality of care. The key measure was clinics’ referrals of patients in Minnesota to a tobacco quit line. Researchers compared clinics that were paid bonuses for making such referrals — $5,000 for 50 referrals and $25 for each referral beyond the initial 50 — to clinics that didn’t have a financial incentive.

It turned out that the clinics that were in the pay-for-performance program made 1,483 referrals to the quit line, an average of 11.4% of their patients who were smokers. Those that didn’t have the chance to earn extra money made 441 referrals, an average of 4.2% of their smokers.

The researchers, led by Lawrence An of the University of Minnesota, noted some important factors for success beyond cold cash. For one, Minnesota health plans collaborated to make the referral process easy for the clinics. The clinics were also rewarded regardless of what health plan their patients belonged to, meaning that they could make the same recommendation to all smokers.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, which funded the study and payments to the clinics with money from a tobacco settlement, decided along with a number of other Minnesota health plans to continue with the program around smoking cessation, albeit with lower financial awards, a spokeswoman tells us.

 

 

Women who smoke have heart attacks nearly 14 years earlier than women who don’t smoke, Norwegian doctors reported in a study presented to the European Society of Cardiology. For men, the gap is not so dramatic; male smokers have heart attacks about six years earlier than men who don’t smoke.

“This is not a minor difference,” said Dr. Silvia Priori, a cardiologist at the Scientific Institute in Pavia, Italy. “Women need to realize they are losing much more than men when they smoke,” she said. Priori was not connected to the research.

Dr. Morten Grundtvig and colleagues from the Innlandet Hospital Trust in Lillehammer, Norway, based their study on data from 1,784 patients admitted for a first heart attack at a hospital in Lillehammer.

Their study found that the men on average had their first heart attack at age 72 if they didn’t smoke, and at 64 if they did.

Women in the study had their first heart attack at age 81 if they didn’t smoke, and at age 66 if they did.

After adjusting for other heart risk factors like blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes, researchers found that the difference for women was about 14 years and for men, about six years.

Previous studies looking at a possible gender difference have been inconclusive.

Doctors have long suspected that female hormones protect women against heart disease. Estrogen is thought to raise the levels of good cholesterol as well as enabling blood vessel walls to relax more easily, thus lowering the chances of a blockage.

Grundtvig said that smoking might make women go through menopause earlier, leaving them less protected against a heart attack. With rising rates of smoking in women – compared with falling rates in men – Grundtvig said that doctors expect to see increased heart disease in women.

“Smoking might erase the natural advantage that women have,” said Dr. Robert Harrington, a professor of medicine at Duke University and spokesman for the American College of Cardiology.

Doctors aren’t yet sure if other cardiac risk factors like cholesterol and obesity also affect women differently.

“The difference in how smoking affects women and men is profound,” Harrington said. “Unless women don’t smoke or quit, they risk ending up with the same terrible diseases as men, only at a much earlier age.”

We spend an inordinate amount of time telling people, no, pleading with people to quit smoking. The point being that is important for smokers to realize that quitting smoking is the name of the game because it kills you and it hurts others. With that in mind here are 11 thoughts and facts about second hand smoke you probably did not know,

  • Secondhand smoke has been classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a known cause of cancer in humans (Group A carcinogen).
  • Secondhand smoke exposure causes disease and premature death in children and adults who do not smoke. Secondhand smoke contains hundreds of chemicals known to be toxic or carcinogenic, including formaldehyde, benzene, vinyl chloride, arsenic ammonia and hydrogen cyanide.
  • Secondhand smoke causes approximately 3,400 lung cancer deaths and 22,700-69,600 heart disease deaths in adult nonsmokers in the United States each year.
  • Nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke at work are at increased risk for adverse health effects. Levels of secondhand smoke in restaurants and bars were found to be 2 to 5 times higher than in residences with smokers and 2 to 6 times higher than in office workplaces.
  • Since 1999, 70 percent of the U.S. workforce worked under a smoke-free policy, ranging from 83.9 percent in Utah to 48.7 percent in Nevada.  Workplace productivity was increased and absenteeism was decreased among former smokers compared with current smokers.
  • Eighteen states – Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Washington and Vermont – as well as the District of Columbia prohibit smoking in almost all public places and workplaces, including restaurants and bars. Montana and Utah prohibit smoking in most public places and workplaces, including restaurants; bars will go smokefree in 2009. New Hampshire prohibits smoking in some public places, including all restaurants and bars. Four states – Florida, Idaho, Louisiana and Nevada – prohibit smoking in most public places and workplaces, including restaurants, but exempt stand-alone bars. Fifteen states partially or totally prevent (preempt) local communities from passing smokefree air ordinances stronger than the statewide law. Iowa, Nebraska and Oregon have passed legislation prohibiting smoking in almost all public places and workplaces, including restaurants and bars, but the laws have not taken effect yet.
  • Secondhand smoke is especially harmful to young children. Secondhand smoke is responsible for between 150,000 and 300,000 lower respiratory tract infections in infants and children under 18 months of age, resulting in between 7,500 and 15,000 hospitalizations each year, and causes 430 sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) deaths in the United States annually.
  • Secondhand smoke exposure may cause buildup of fluid in the middle ear, resulting in 790,000 physician office visits per year.  Secondhand smoke can also aggravate symptoms in 400,000 to 1,000,000 children with asthma.
  • In the United States, 21 million, or 35 percent of, children live in homes where residents or visitors smoke in the home on a regular basis. Approximately 50-75 percent of children in the United States have detectable levels of cotinine, the breakdown product of nicotine in the blood.
  • Research indicates that private research conducted by cigarette company Philip Morris in the 1980s showed that secondhand smoke was highly toxic, yet the company suppressed the finding during the next two decades.
  • The current Surgeon General’s Report concluded that scientific evidence indicates that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Short exposures to secondhand smoke can cause blood platelets to become stickier, damage the lining of blood vessels, decrease coronary flow velocity reserves, and reduce heart rate variability, potentially increasing the risk of heart attack.

This is tough to watch but it cannot help but drive the point home that if you continue to smoke, you will end up like the person in this video. As we has maintained from day one of this blog, does not care how you quit, whether it’s with our product or not, we just want you to quit.

From the department of the obvious we have the following: Young women who smoke are twice as likely to have a stroke as their nonsmoking peers, according to a new study. And the more cigarettes a woman smokes per day, the bigger her risk.

The study was published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association. The researchers, who studied women ages 15 to 49, found that women who smoke one to 10 cigarettes per day increase their stroke risk 2.2 times. Women who smoke 11 to 20 cigarettes per day increase stroke risk 2.5 times, while those who smoke 21 to 39 per day increase stroke risk more than fourfold. The heaviest smokers — those who smoke 40 or more cigarettes per day — increase their risk 9.1 times.

The study followed 466 women who had suffered their first strokes. A comparison group consisted of 604 women of similar age, race, and ethnicity who had not had a stroke. A detailed smoking history was obtained during face-to-face interviews. Women were classified according to their smoking status as never-smokers, former smokers, or current smokers.

“Our study adds strong evidence that cutting down helps reduce stroke risk, but quitting is unquestionably the best option,” researcher John Cole, MD, assistant professor of neurology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, says in a news release.

In 2005, an estimated 21% of American women aged 18-44 were cigarette smokers, according to researchers. The good news is that when women stop smoking, their risk of having a stroke decreases. Stroke risk decreases significantly three years after smoking stops. After five years of being smoke-free, former smokers have the same risk of stroke as never-smokers. And the earlier that smokers quit, the better. People who quit smoking prior to age 35 can have the same life expectancy as those who have never smoked.

The researchers point out that media campaigns and high prices for tobacco products help curb smoking rates among young people. “Our study supports the need to target smoking as a preventable and modifiable risk factor for cerebrovascular disease in young women,” they write.

 

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