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Smoking Cessation Blog

CDC Launches New Round of Graphic Anti-Smoking Ads

Posted 5 days ago by

THURSDAY, March 26, 2015 – U.S. health officials on Thursday released a new round of graphic anti-smoking ads featuring former smokers living with the ravages of tobacco. The new ads highlight the benefits of quitting for the families of smokers and the importance of giving up cigarettes completely, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Bottom line, these ads will save lives and they will also save money," CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said during a news conference Thursday. Tobacco is "public health enemy number one," Frieden said. "More than 1,000 Americans per day are killed by tobacco – nearly 500,000 every year." Yet 42 million Americans still smoke, according to the CDC. Most Americans who smoke want to quit, he said, and "ads like these help them quit. We know that these ads have saved tens of thousands of lives and prevented hundreds of millions of ... Read more

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Plain Packaging Laws Might Spur Smokers to Quit

Posted 12 days ago by

THURSDAY, March 19, 2015 – Legislation that strips cigarette packaging of all brand-specific design may boost the number of smokers who want to try quitting, a new Australian survey reveals. Researchers polled more than 5,000 Australian adults between 2012 and 2013. During that time, an Australian law was implemented requiring that all tobacco packaging be standardized and carry large graphic images warning of the dangers of cigarettes. Ireland and Britain also have passed laws requiring plain cigarette packing. The survey, published March 18 in Tobacco Control, focused on Australian smokers aged 18 to 69. The findings "provide some of the strongest evidence to date" that such laws up the likelihood that smokers will try to quit or at least contemplate kicking the habit, the survey team said in the news release. All participants were contacted twice over the course of a month. Some ... Read more

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Health Tip: Taking Care of Your Aging Skin

Posted 12 days ago by

-- Your skin has different needs as you age, and the products, skin care regimen and treatments may need to change. The Cleveland Clinic offers these tips: Wear sunscreen when outdoors, even if it's cloudy. Quit smoking, which can hasten skin aging. Follow a nutritious, balanced diet. Consider anti-aging topical products. Prescription and over-the-counter products are available. Read more

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E-Cigarette Ads Linked to Tobacco Cravings

Posted 15 days ago by

MONDAY, March 16, 2015 – Television ads for e-cigarettes trigger cravings for cigarettes in current and former smokers, a new study found. The study included more than 800 daily, occasional and former smokers who watched e-cigarette ads and then completed a survey to assess their smoking urges, intentions and behaviors. Regular smokers who saw ads with people using e-cigarettes (vaping) had a greater urge to smoke than regular smokers who did not see the ads, the study found. And former smokers who saw e-cigarette ads were less confident that they could stay away from cigarettes than those who did not see e-cigarette ads. The study was published online March 11 in the journal Health Communication. "We know that exposure to smoking cues such as visual depictions of cigarettes, ashtrays, matches, lighters, and smoke heightens smokers' urge to smoke a cigarette, and decreases former ... Read more

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Raise Legal Smoking Age to 21, U.S. Expert Panel Says

Posted 19 days ago by

THURSDAY, March 12, 2015 – Raising the legal age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21 would save hundreds of thousands of lives and substantially reduce the number of smokers in the United States, a new report finds. Such a change would result in 249,000 fewer premature deaths among people born between 2000 and 2019, and 12 percent fewer smokers by 2100, according to the report released Thursday by the Institute of Medicine (IOM). "The public health benefits of raising the age to 21 are substantially greater than raising it to 19," said Richard Bonnie, chair of the IOM committee that wrote the report, and a professor of medicine and law at the University of Virginia. The IOM is an independent panel of experts that advises the federal government on public health issues. According to the report, increasing the minimum age to 21 would prevent or delay 15- to 17-year-olds from taking up ... Read more

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Health Tip: How Smoking Affects Your Heart

Posted 25 Feb 2015 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

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

Posted 24 Feb 2015 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

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'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

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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

Related support groups: Smoking, Smoking Cessation

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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