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Smoking Cessation Blog

Health Tip: How Smoking Affects Your Heart

Posted 1 day 14 hours ago by

-- Most people realize that smoking causes cancer, but it can also wreak havoc on your heart, experts say. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute says smoking: Damages blood cells, heart function and blood vessels Increases the risk of hardening of the arteries, which restricts blood flow. Increases the risks of heart disease, which occurs when plaque builds up in the arteries. Read more

Related support groups: Smoking, Smoking Cessation, Cardiovascular Risk Reduction

2 of 3 Smokers Will Die Early If They Don't Quit, Research Shows

Posted 2 days 14 hours ago by

TUESDAY, Feb. 24, 2015 – Two-thirds of smokers will die early from their habit if they don't quit, a new study suggests. The findings indicate that it's never too late to quit smoking, one expert said. Researchers analyzed data from more than 200,000 people taking part in a study conducted by the Sax Institute in Australia. The study is a long-term investigation of healthy aging. "We knew smoking was bad, but we now have direct independent evidence that confirms the disturbing findings that have been emerging internationally," Emily Banks, scientific director of the Sax study and a researcher at the Australian National University, said in an institute news release. "Even with the very low rates of smoking that we have in Australia, we found that smokers have around threefold the risk of premature death of those who have never smoked. We also found smokers will die an estimated 10 years ... Read more

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Health Tip: Ready to Quit Smoking?

Posted 6 Feb 2015 by

-- Smoking can lead to a number of serious health problems, from cancer to heart disease. And quitting the habit can foster immediate and longer-term health benefits. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains these essential steps to quitting smoking: Choose an exact date to quit. Find ways to deal with cravings by talking with your doctor, participating in a telephone "quitline" or joining a support group. Call on friends and family for support and encouragement. Take medication to help you quit, carefully following all label instructions. Read more

Related support groups: Smoking Cessation

It Pays for Moms-to-Be to Stop Smoking

Posted 28 Jan 2015 by

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 28, 2015 – Financial incentives help pregnant women quit smoking, a new study shows. Smoking is the leading preventable cause of illness and death among mothers and babies in developed countries, the researchers say. "This study provides substantial evidence of a very promising and potentially cost-effective new intervention to add to present health service support," the researchers wrote. The study included 612 pregnant smokers in the United Kingdom who were randomly assigned to one of two groups. One group received hundreds of dollars in shopping vouchers if they stopped smoking. The women in the other (control) group received usual care to help them quit smoking, including counseling and free nicotine replacement therapy for 10 weeks. Overall, 23 percent of the women in the financial incentive group quit smoking, compared with 9 percent of those in the control group, ... Read more

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Efforts to Curtail Tobacco Use Stalled in 2014, Report Says

Posted 21 Jan 2015 by

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 21, 2015 – Little to no progress is being made in curtailing tobacco use in the United States, a new report from the American Lung Association contends. The Surgeon General's 1964 report raised the red flag about the dangers of smoking. Tobacco, however, still claims nearly 500,000 lives each year and costs up to $333 billion in health care expenses and lost productivity in the United States, says the lung association's annual report for 2014. "Despite cutting U.S. smoking rates by half in the last 51 years, tobacco's ongoing burden on America's health and economy is catastrophic," said Harold Wimmer, president and CEO of the American Lung Association. "Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death and it impacts almost every system in the body, contributing to lung cancer, heart attacks, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and even sudden ... Read more

Related support groups: Smoking Cessation

'Metabolizer Test' Might Someday Take Guesswork Out of Quitting Smoking

Posted 12 Jan 2015 by

MONDAY, Jan. 12, 2015 – Quitting smoking is notoriously tough, and some smokers may try different approaches for years before they succeed, if ever. But new research suggests that someday, a simple test might point smokers toward the quitting strategy that's best for them. It's been long theorized that some smokers are genetically predisposed to process and rid the body of nicotine more quickly than others. And now a new study suggests that slower metabolizers seeking to kick the habit will probably have a better treatment experience with the aid of a nicotine patch than the quit-smoking drug varenicline (Chantix). The finding is based on the tracking of more than 1,200 smokers undergoing smoking-cessation treatment. Blood tests indicated that more than 660 were relatively slow nicotine metabolizers, while the rest were normal nicotine metabolizers. Over an 11-week trial, participants ... Read more

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Could Quitting Smoking Be Easier for Women Just After Ovulation?

Posted 8 Jan 2015 by

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 7, 2015 – Women who want to quit smoking need every advantage they can get. Now, a new study finds that timing a quit attempt around certain points in the menstrual cycle may increase the chances of success. According to background information from the study, only about one in 10 smokers who quit are still smoke-free after a year, and women have a tougher time quitting than men, even if they smoke the same amount as men. In the new study, Canadian researchers tracked outcomes for 34 men and women who smoked more than 15 cigarettes a day. They found that the women's craving for nicotine was strongest during their periods. That may be because declines in levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone boost nicotine withdrawal symptoms and also boost the activity of brain circuits associated with craving, the researchers said. The results suggest that women who want to ... Read more

Related support groups: Smoking Cessation

Some Expert Tips to Help Smokers Finally Quit in 2015

Posted 5 Jan 2015 by

THURSDAY, Jan. 1, 2015 – Quitting smoking is a common New Year's resolution, and the American Lung Association has some tips that might help smokers make 2015 the year to really kick the habit. Smokers trying to quit should consider: It's never too late. Although quitting as soon as possible is best, avoiding cigarettes at any age will improve your health and help you live longer. If you're not buying cigarettes, you'll have more money in your pocket. By quitting, you may inspire other smokers to do the same. Learn from the past. If you were unsuccessful in quitting in the past, don't be discouraged. You can apply those experiences in a new attempt to quit. Learn from your mistakes, and let them help you achieve success in the future. Don't go it alone. If you've decided to quit, enlist the support of friends and relatives. Sharing your experiences can help ease your burden. Other ... Read more

Related support groups: Smoking, Smoking Cessation

How to Avoid a Smoking Relapse Over the Holidays

Posted 30 Dec 2014 by

TUESDAY, Dec. 30, 2014 – The holidays can cause former smokers to reach for a cigarette, experts warn. But if you expect temptation, you'll be better prepared to fight it, they say. The group NYC Treats Tobacco, led by the NYU School of Medicine's department of population health, offers several steps former smokers can take to stay smoke-free until the holiday hoopla subsides: Think back. Reformed smokers craving a cigarette should try to remember why they quit in the first place. Write down the top three reasons for quitting and post this list in a visible place to serve as a reminder and motivator to not smoke. Be proactive. Expect temptation to smoke. Have a plan in place that outlines how to handle triggers, such as alcohol or overeating, which can lead to cigarette cravings. Instead, be prepared with low-calorie snacks, gum or water. Have a plan for all possible triggers. Don't ... Read more

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Cheap Natural Compound May Help Smokers Quit

Posted 18 Dec 2014 by

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 17, 2014 – The naturally occurring plant compound cytisine may be more effective than nicotine replacement therapy in helping smokers quit, a new study suggests. Cytisine, an acid-like chemical found in the seeds of the golden rain tree, has been used in Eastern Europe for decades to help smokers quit, researchers say. But it's not widely available. "Cytisine is one of the most affordable smoking cessation medicines available," said lead researcher Natalie Walker, an associate director of the Center for Addiction Research at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. "It is much cheaper than nicotine patches, gum and/or lozenges and other smoking cessation medicines," she said. "However, currently cytisine is only sold in a number of countries in Eastern and Central Europe. It is important that cytisine become more widely accessible and available." For the study, Walker ... Read more

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Outreach Program May Help Poorer Smokers Quit

Posted 15 Dec 2014 by

MONDAY, Dec. 15, 2014 – A new type of outreach program was effective in helping poorer Americans quit smoking, researchers say. People with low incomes in the United States have higher rates of smoking, according to the authors of the study. They also have more smoking-related diseases, and seem to have greater difficulty quitting, the researchers noted. Despite these factors, little research has focused on ways to help poorer Americans to quit smoking, the study authors said. The new study included low-income adult smokers in the Boston area who were randomly selected to receive either usual care from their usual health care providers or to take part in a program to help them quit smoking. The program included telephone-based counseling. It also provided free nicotine-replacement therapy for six weeks. In addition, the program offered referrals to community-based resources to address ... Read more

Related support groups: Smoking, Smoking Cessation

Smoking May Make It Tougher to Quit Problem Drinking: Study

Posted 12 Dec 2014 by

FRIDAY, Dec. 12, 2014 – Smoking might hamper treatment for alcohol abuse, a new study indicates. "The data suggest that smoking is associated with difficulties in alcohol treatment. Tobacco smokers had shorter treatment durations and were less likely to have achieved their alcohol-related goals at discharge relative to their nonsmoking counterparts," study leader Kimberly Walitzer, deputy director and senior research scientist at the Research Institute on Addictions at University at Buffalo, said in a university news release. "This should be a major concern for treatment providers, as the majority of people with alcohol disorders are, in fact, smokers," she added. Researchers examined data from more than 21,000 adults who sought alcohol abuse treatment at outpatient clinics in New York State. Compared with men, women who seek treatment for problem drinking are slightly more likely to ... Read more

Related support groups: Smoking, Smoking Cessation, Alcoholism

Anti-Smoking Campaign Successful and Cost-Effective, CDC Says

Posted 10 Dec 2014 by

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 10, 2014 – A national anti-smoking campaign featuring tips from former smokers was highly successful and cost-effective, a new study reports. The 2012 Tips From Former Smokers campaign spent $480 per smoker who quit and $393 per year of life saved, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found. "Our mission is to protect the public health, and the 2012 Tips ads did this by motivating 1.6 million smokers to make a quit attempt," study co-author Dr. Tim McAfee, director of the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health, said in an agency news release. "In addition, our responsibility is to spend public dollars as wisely and efficiently as possible." A widely accepted limit for the cost-effectiveness of a public health program is $50,000 per year of life saved, according to the agency. The CDC noted that the cost-effectiveness of anti-smoking campaigns can ... Read more

Related support groups: Smoking Cessation

U.S. Adult Smoking Rate Drops to New Low: CDC

Posted 26 Nov 2014 by

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 26, 2014 – Fewer American adults are smoking cigarettes than ever, health officials said. In fact, the rate of cigarette smoking has dropped from about 21 percent in 2005 to 18 percent in 2013. That means the number of cigarette smokers dropped from 45.1 million to 42.1 million, despite the increasing population, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However,"we still have a long way to go, and if we don't bend the curve down faster, over 5.5 million kids who are alive today will die prematurely from tobacco-related disease," said Dr. Tim McAfee, director of the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health. Smoking is a major – and modifiable – risk factor for death and disease, he said. "Smoking has a major impact on people's lives," McAfee said. "If you're a smoker you're at risk of dying 11 to 12 years earlier than if you are not a smoker," ... Read more

Related support groups: Smoking, Smoking Cessation

Even With a Little Weight Gain, Quitting Smoking Is Still Healthier Choice

Posted 18 Nov 2014 by

TUESDAY, Nov. 18, 2014 – Fear of unhealthy weight gain can be a factor holding smokers back from quitting the habit. But a new study finds that even if you do add a few pounds once you quit, your post-cigarette health is still much better than if you'd kept on smoking. "This study is important for smokers to understand," said Patricia Folan, director of the Center for Tobacco Control at North Shore-LIJ Health System in Great Neck, N.Y. "The weight gain that may accompany quitting smoking does not equal the overwhelming health consequences of continued smoking," said Folan, who was not involved in the new research. The study was led by Dr. Hisako Tsuji, of the Health Promotion Department in Osaka, Japan. Her team tracked health outcomes for more 1,300 adults who quit smoking and compared them to more than 2,800 ongoing smokers. The participants averaged 54 years of age and were followed ... Read more

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