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Outreach Program May Help Poorer Smokers Quit

Posted 2 days 1 hour ago 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

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Smoking May Make It Tougher to Quit Problem Drinking: Study

Posted 5 days ago 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

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

Posted 7 days ago 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

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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

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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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Two-Pronged Program Looks Best for Helping Smokers Quit

Posted 19 Oct 2014 by

FRIDAY, Oct. 17, 2014 – A combination of counseling and medication greatly increases smokers' chances of quitting, according to new research. The study included 1,560 adult smokers in England who made at least one attempt to quit over six months. About 45 percent used no aids to help them quit, while about 5 percent used prescription medication (nicotine replacement therapy, bupropion or varenicline) in combination with behavioral counseling. Another 21 percent used prescription medication with brief advice, and about 30 percent used over-the-counter nicotine replacement products. After six months, 23 percent of the participants were no longer smoking. Those who used the medication/counseling method were nearly three times more likely to quit than those who did not use medication or counseling. Taking a prescription medication with brief advice was also more effective than unaided ... Read more

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Smoke-Free Subsidized Housing Could Save Nearly $500 Million

Posted 3 Oct 2014 by

THURSDAY, Oct. 2, 2014 – Making all government-subsidized housing in the United States smoke-free could save nearly half a billion dollars a year in health care and housing-related costs, a new study indicates. The total annual savings of $497 million would include $310 million in secondhand smoke-related health care, $134 million in renovation costs and $53 million in smoking-related fire losses, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers said. Just banning smoking in public housing either owned or operated by a government housing authority would save $153 million a year, according to the study published Oct. 2 in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease. "This important study is further evidence that smoke-free policies are a win-win. They not only protect the public's health, but also save significant sums of money," Dr. Tim McAfee, director of the CDC's Office on ... Read more

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Anti-Smoking Policies May Also Curtail Drinking

Posted 23 Sep 2014 by

TUESDAY, Sept. 23, 2014 – Cigarette tax hikes and smoke-free policies have not only cut tobacco use in the United States, they may have led to a noticeable drop in alcohol consumption, according to a new study. Consumption of beer and hard liquor – but not wine – declined in states where strict anti-tobacco legislation was enacted over the past three decades, the study found. "The major finding is that over a 30-year time span increasing cigarette prices and strengthening smoke-free air laws has also reduced alcohol consumption per capita," said study author Melissa Krauss, a senior statistical data analyst at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. "The big message is that some very good state tobacco policies have had public health implications that go beyond what was actually intended," Krauss said. The study findings appear in the October online edition of ... Read more

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More Than One Kind of Message May Convince Smokers to Quit, Study Says

Posted 17 Sep 2014 by

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 17, 2014 – Positive messages about the health benefits of quitting smoking may help some people kick the habit, a new study suggests. Although smokers who think quitting will be difficult responded better to "loss-framed" messages about the harmful effects of smoking, researchers found smokers who believe they can quit whenever they want benefit more from "gain-framed," or positive, messages about how quitting will improve their health. The researchers concluded that using a mix of both types of messages might get more people to stop smoking. "This study shows us that leveraging both gain- and loss-framed messaging may prompt more smokers to quit," lead investigator Darren Mays, a population scientist at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, said in a university news release. Most tobacco warnings on cigarette packages in the United States and around the ... Read more

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Healthy Lifestyle Changes Linked to Reduced Risk for Dementia

Posted 17 Sep 2014 by

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 17, 2014 – Managing diabetes, quitting smoking, controlling high blood pressure, exercising and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the risk for dementia – even late in life, according to new research. The World Alzheimer Report 2014, commissioned by Alzheimer's Disease International, revealed that diabetes can increase the risk of dementia by 50 percent. The study noted that obesity and an inactive lifestyle are key risk factors for diabetes as well as high blood pressure. The researchers suggested that dementia should be included in national public health prevention and detection programs along with other major non-communicable diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. They pointed out that it's never too late in life to make healthy lifestyle changes. "While age and genetics are part of the disease's risk factors, not smoking, eating more healthily, getting ... Read more

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Smoking Banned in More Than 80 Percent of U.S. Homes: CDC

Posted 4 Sep 2014 by

THURSDAY, Sept. 4, 2014 – Four out of five U.S. homes now ban smoking inside, federal health officials reported Thursday. No-smoking-in-the-house rules jumped considerably in the past two decades – from 43 percent in 1992-93 to 83 percent in 2010-11, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Homes of nonsmokers have become even less tolerant of cigarettes, with 91.4 percent banning tobacco use indoors compared to about 58 percent roughly 20 years ago, the report said. And nearly half of homes with smokers prohibit the practice, a fivefold jump over two decades. "Considerable progress has been made in the percentage of households that have smoke-free rules," said lead author Brian King, a senior scientist in CDC's Office of Smoking and Health. Despite that progress, much remains to be done, he said, noting that only 46 percent of homes with ... Read more

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Hospital Discharge a Key Time to Help Smokers Quit

Posted 20 Aug 2014 by

TUESDAY, Aug. 19, 2014 – The weeks after a hospital discharge may be a great time to help smokers quit the habit, and one study suggests a particular program might help. The program involved giving patients free quit-smoking drugs. It also included automated phone calls that helped them manage their medications, encouraged their efforts to quit and tracked whether they might need more anti-smoking counseling. The study suggests that hospitalization – a time when smoking isn't allowed – "can be used as an opportunity for a lasting intervention for healthier living," said Dr. Peter Spiegler, director of the medical intensive care unit at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y. He was not involved in the new research. The study included almost 400 patients and was led by Dr. Nancy Rigotti, of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Patients averaged 53 years of age, and all said ... Read more

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Tough Laws Continue to Target Tobacco Sales to Minors

Posted 14 Aug 2014 by

THURSDAY, Aug. 14, 2014 – Only about 10 percent of inspected stores across the United States illegally sold tobacco products to minors during 2013, a U.S. government report says. That is half the 20 percent target rate set by a national and state effort called the Synar Amendment program to end illegal tobacco sales to youth. And it's well below the highest violation rate of nearly 73 percent reported when the program was implemented 16 years ago. The Synar program requires states and federal jurisdictions to create laws and enforcement programs to prevent the sale and distribution of tobacco products to people younger than 18. For the eighth year in a row, all states met their Synar program goals and 10 states had retailer violation rates of less than 5 percent, according to the report from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Thirty-four states ... Read more

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Many Doctors Recommend E-Cigarettes as Anti-Smoking Aid, Survey Finds

Posted 1 Aug 2014 by

FRIDAY, Aug. 1, 2014 – E-cigarettes seem to be everywhere these days, and a new study finds many U.S. doctors recommending them to smokers as a way to kick the tobacco habit. "Even in the absence of evidence regarding the health impact of e-cigarettes and other vaping devices, a third of physicians we surveyed are recommending e-cigarettes to their patients to help quit smoking," study co-author Leah Ranney, associate director of the Tobacco Prevention and Evaluation Program at the University of North Carolina, said in a university news release. The researchers cautioned, however, that more research is needed to determine if e-cigarettes are safe and if they actually help people to stop smoking. E-cigarettes work by turning various concentrations of nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals into a vapor that can be inhaled – a process also known as "vaping." Most of the nicotine in ... Read more

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Benefits of E-Cigarettes May Outweigh Harms, Study Finds

Posted 30 Jul 2014 by

WEDNESDAY, July 30, 2014 – Strict regulation of electronic cigarettes isn't warranted based on current evidence, a team of researchers says. On the contrary, allowing e-cigarettes to compete with regular cigarettes might cut tobacco-related deaths and illness, the researchers concluded after reviewing 81 prior studies on the use and safety of the nicotine-emitting devices. "Current evidence suggests that there is a potential for smokers to reduce their health risks if electronic cigarettes are used in place of tobacco cigarettes and are considered a step toward ending all tobacco and nicotine use," said study researcher Thomas Eissenberg, co-director of the Center for the Study of Tobacco Products at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. The study, partly funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, was published July 30 in the journal Addiction. Whether e-cigarettes ... Read more

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