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Study Suggests Tough Smoking Laws Might Lower Suicide Risk

Posted 8 days ago by

WEDNESDAY, July 16, 2014 – Smoking may increase a person's risk for suicide, but high cigarette taxes and smoking restrictions in public places lower that risk, a new study suggests. Previous research has found that smokers are more likely to take their own lives than nonsmokers. This difference was attributed to the fact that smoking is common among people with psychiatric disorders, who have higher suicide rates. However, this new study suggests that smoking itself may increase suicide risk and that efforts to reduce smoking may lead to lower suicide rates. "Our analysis showed that each dollar increase in cigarette taxes was associated with a 10 percent decrease in suicide risk," study leader Richard Grucza, associate professor of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, said in a university news release. "Indoor smoking bans also were associated with ... Read more

Related support groups: Smoking, Smoking Cessation

Health Tip: Quit Smoking, Especially While Pregnant

Posted 10 days ago by

-- If you're pregnant or trying, you've probably been told not to smoke. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains how smoking can affect pregnancy: Being a smoker can make getting pregnant more difficult, and can increase the risk of miscarriage. Smoking during pregnancy can lead to problems with the placenta, which is baby's source of nourishment and oxygen during pregnancy. Smoking may lead to low birth weight or premature birth. Smoking during pregnancy may increase the risk of birth defects. Smoking while pregnant and after birth can increase the risk of SIDS. Read more

Related support groups: Smoking, Smoking Cessation

Lung Groups: Governments Should Limit or Ban Use of E-Cigarettes

Posted 14 days ago by

THURSDAY, July 10, 2014 – Governments should ban or limit the use of electronic cigarettes until more is known about their health effects, say experts from the world's leading lung organizations. The position statement was issued Wednesday by the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS), which includes more than 70,000 members worldwide. "The gravity of tobacco use on global health and the historical behavior of the tobacco industry that has included deceit about the health effects of tobacco, intentional marketing to children and manipulating nicotine levels in cigarettes to maintain addiction should prompt us to proceed cautiously," statement author Dr. Dean Schraufnagel, past president of the American Thoracic Society, said in a society news release. "Nicotine is central to lifelong addiction, and [e-cigarettes] are nicotine-delivery devices," he added. The safety of ... Read more

Related support groups: Smoking, Smoking Cessation

Combo Approach May Work Best for Smokers Looking to Quit

Posted 16 days ago by

TUESDAY, July 8, 2014 – Combining two anti-smoking approaches – the medication Chantix and nicotine patches – improves the odds you'll quit smoking over the short term, a new industry-funded study suggests. "The combination appears to be safe, although further studies are needed to confirm this," said Dr. Coenie Koegelenberg, an associate professor of pulmonology with Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Academic Hospital in South Africa. Although the dual treatment costs more than either agent separately, Koegelenberg said the drugs typically aren't used for long and will reduce overall health costs if smokers succeed in quitting. Chantix, known by the generic name varenicline, appears to help people stop smoking by interfering with the way that nicotine stimulates the brain. However, smokers who take Chantix may be at higher risk for heart attacks and stroke compared to those who ... Read more

Related support groups: Smoking, Chantix, Smoking Cessation, Nicotine, Nicorette, Nicoderm CQ, Nicotrol Inhaler, Champix, Commit, Varenicline, Habitrol, Nicorelief, Nicorette DS, Nicotrol NS, ProStep, Nicotrol TD

Quitting Smokeless Tobacco May Boost Survival After Heart Attack

Posted 23 Jun 2014 by

MONDAY, June 23, 2014 – A new study suggests that heart attack patients who stop using snus – a specific type of moist chewing tobacco that is popular in Sweden – could greatly reduce their risk of dying within a couple years. The findings don't directly prove that stopping the use of this type of smokeless tobacco actually affects cardiac health, and ethical constraints may prevent researchers from ever understanding the full value of quitting. There are other caveats, and it's not clear that quitting the main kinds of smokeless tobacco used in the United States would have the same potential effect. Still, the study "indicates that quitting snus use after a heart attack might be as equally beneficial as quitting smoking after a heart attack," said study author Dr. Gabriel Arefalk, a cardiologist at Uppsala University Hospital in Uppsala, Sweden. The health risks of smokeless tobacco ... Read more

Related support groups: Heart Attack, Smoking Cessation, Myocardial Infarction

Text Messages May Double Smoker's Odds of Quitting

Posted 8 Jun 2014 by

FRIDAY, June 6, 2014 – Text messages providing tips, reminders and advice can help smokers quit, according to a new study. Researchers found that this type of cellphone program doubles the chances that a smoker will kick the habit. "Text messages seem to give smokers the constant reminders they need to stay focused on quitting," said the study's lead author, Lorien Abroms. She is an associate professor of prevention and community health at George Washington University's Milken Institute School of Public Health, in Washington D.C. "However, additional studies must be done to confirm this result and to look at how these programs work when coupled with other established anti-smoking therapies," she said in a university news release. Traditional methods to help people stop smoking include phone counseling and nicotine replacement therapies. The study's authors pointed out that research ... Read more

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Among New Smokers, Teen Boys More Likely to Quit Than Girls: Study

Posted 3 Jun 2014 by

TUESDAY, June 3, 2014 – Teen boys who recently started smoking are more likely to quit than teen girls. And, both boys and girls who are frightened by cigarette warning labels or play team sports are more likely to quit, new research shows. The study included 620 boys and girls in Montreal, aged 12 and 13, who had recently started smoking at least occasionally. Just over 40 percent of the teens said their parents smoked, nearly 90 percent had friends who smoked and about 80 percent said they often saw their teachers or other school staff smoking. Over the five-year study period, 40 percent of the teens quit smoking. Boys were 80 percent more likely to quit than girls, and older teens were 30 percent more likely to quit than younger ones, the investigators found. Teens who said cigarette warning labels scared them were 44 percent more likely to quit, and those who played team sports ... Read more

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Viewing E-Cigarette Use May Keep Smokers From Quitting

Posted 29 May 2014 by

THURSDAY, May 29, 2014 – When young smokers see someone "vape" a smokeless e-cigarette, it may help trigger the urge to smoke a traditional cigarette, a new study finds. "There could be effects of being in the company of an e-cigarette user, particularly for young smokers," study author Andrea King, professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at the University of Chicago, said in a statement provided by the university. "For example, it's possible that seeing e-cigarette use may promote more smoking behavior and less quitting," she said. In the study, 60 young adult smokers took part in what they thought was a study about social interactions. An actor talked to them while smoking an e-cigarette or regular cigarette, and then the participants were tested about their urge to smoke. Watching someone else smoke an e-cigarette boosted the urge to smoke a regular cigarette at about ... Read more

Related support groups: Smoking, Smoking Cessation

Fewer Americans Believe E-Cigs Safer Than Tobacco Cigarettes: Study

Posted 25 May 2014 by

FRIDAY, May 23, 2014 – As they learn more about electronic cigarettes, American smokers are becoming less likely to believe that the devices are a safer choice than tobacco cigarettes, a new study finds. In 2010, nearly 85 percent of smokers believed e-cigarettes were less dangerous than traditional cigarettes, but that dropped to 65 percent of smokers in 2013, researchers report in the August issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. "This apparent decline in smokers' beliefs about reduced harm of e-cigarettes compared with regular cigarettes is perplexing against the background of advertising and media messages touting e-cigarettes as safer alternatives and cessation aids," study co-investigator Cabral Bigman, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said in a journal news release. "One possible explanation is that the increased media attention over the lack ... Read more

Related support groups: Smoking, Smoking Cessation

Can E-Cigarettes Help You Quit Smoking?

Posted 20 May 2014 by

TUESDAY, May 20, 2014 – A new study by British researchers suggests that e-cigarettes can help people stop smoking. The study found that people who wanted to quit smoking were about 60 percent more likely to succeed if they used e-cigarettes compared to would-be quitters who tried an anti-smoking nicotine patch or gum. "It appears, at least for some people, e-cigarettes are a viable method of quitting that looks comparable to, if not better than, traditional nicotine replacement therapy," said Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor of community health sciences at Boston University School of Public Health, who had no part in the study. The same 60 percent statistic held when the study authors compared the use of e-cigarettes as a quit-smoking aid to people who tried to quit using willpower alone. Smoking is a notoriously tough habit to beat, however, and quit rates were still low: Only ... Read more

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FDA Asks Public to Join Battle Against Smoking by Children

Posted 14 May 2014 by

WEDNESDAY, May 14, 2014 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration wants your help in keeping children away from tobacco. Every day, more than 3,200 Americans under the age of 18 smoke their first cigarette, and more than 700 become daily smokers, according to the agency. Complaints from members of the public about potential violations of federal laws that forbid the sale of tobacco to anyone younger than 18 can help reduce the number of young people who try cigarettes or become smokers, the FDA said. Of more than 18,000 tobacco law violations between 2009 and Sept. 30, 2013, more than half were for selling tobacco products to minors, and more than a third were for failure to ask for proper photo ID to confirm the age of a person buying tobacco products, according to the FDA Center for Tobacco Products. There are several ways you can report a possible violation of federal tobacco laws. ... Read more

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Weight Gain Fears Keep Some Smokers From Quitting

Posted 6 May 2014 by

TUESDAY, May 6, 2014 – Concerns about weight gain prevent some smokers from seeking treatment to help them quit – especially if they picked up a few pounds during previous attempts – a new study finds. Putting on extra pounds is common among smokers after they quit, with an average weight gain of 8 pounds to 14 pounds within the first year after kicking the habit, Penn State University College of Medicine researchers said. They surveyed 186 smokers who sought treatment to quit and 102 smokers who did not. The participants, who smoked at least five cigarettes a day, were asked about weight gain during previous efforts to quit and how concerned they were about putting on extra pounds if they tried to quit again. Those who did and did not seek treatment to help them quit were equally concerned about weight gain. The difference, however, was in whether or not they gained weight in ... Read more

Related support groups: Smoking Cessation

Psychiatric Side Effects of Chantix to be Reviewed in Fall: FDA

Posted 28 Apr 2014 by

MONDAY, April 28, 2014 – The mental health risks associated with the anti-smoking drug Chantix will be reviewed at a public meeting scheduled for October, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says. The meeting will feature a panel of experts who will discuss the psychiatric and behavioral side effects of the pill and how best to manage them, the agency announced Friday, The New York Times reported. In 2009, the FDA ordered drug maker Pfizer to add a black box label – the strongest safety warning – to Chantix after it was linked to hostility, aggression, depression and suicidal thoughts. There were dozens of reports of suicide and suicidal behavior among people taking the drug. Pfizer was also told to conduct further studies to assess the extent of these side effects. The company recently provided the FDA with new data about the anti-smoking drug. "Pfizer has proposed an update to ... Read more

Related support groups: Chantix, Smoking Cessation, Champix, Varenicline

Smoke-Free Laws May Help Prevent COPD Hospitalizations

Posted 25 Apr 2014 by

FRIDAY, April 25, 2014 – People who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, are less likely to be hospitalized for breathing problems if they live in an area where local laws prohibit smoking in public spaces including bars, restaurants and offices, a new study shows. "Kentuckians with COPD that live in a community with strong smoke-free laws were 22 percent less likely to be put in the hospital compared to those who were in a community with no law or a weak law," said study author Ellen Hahn, director of the Tobacco Policy Research Program at the University of Kentucky's College of Nursing in Lexington. COPD is a progressive lung disease characterized by chronic inflammation of the airways. People who have COPD often feel short of breath, or they may cough or wheeze. Medication can help control the symptoms, but there's no cure. It's currently the third leading cause of ... Read more

Related support groups: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Smoking Cessation

Cutting Cigarette Scenes From TV Shows May Have Helped Reduce Smoking

Posted 4 Apr 2014 by

FRIDAY, April 4, 2014 – Scenes of cigarette use have become less common on prime-time television shows, and it may be linked to reduced smoking rates in the United States, a new study suggests. Researchers from the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia looked at cigarette use depicted in more than 1,800 hours of popular U.S. prime-time dramas broadcast between 1955 and 2010. They also looked at smoking rates among adults during that period. Scenes involving cigarette use on such shows fell from nearly five scenes per hour of programming (excluding commercials) in 1961 to about 0.3 scenes per hour in 2010, according to the study published online April 3 in the journal Tobacco Control. After taking cigarette prices and other factors into account, the researchers concluded that one less depiction of smoking per hour over two years of prime-time ... Read more

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