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Face It: Drinking, Smoking Takes Toll on Looks

Posted 8 days ago by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Nov. 16, 2017 – Don't want to look old before your time? A new study suggests that heavy drinking and smoking – besides posing serious health risks – make people look older than they actually are. The research tracked more than 11,500 Danish adults, aged 21 to 93, for an average of nearly 12 years. Women consumed, on average, 2.6 alcoholic drinks a week, and men consumed 11.4 drinks a week. Smokers included 57 percent of the women and 67 percent of the men. Heavy drinking and smoking were associated with visible signs of physical aging and people looking older than their age. Specifically, signs of aging included earlobe creases; a grayish opaque ring around the cornea of both eyes; and yellow-orange plaques on the eyelids. Light to moderate drinking was not linked with visible premature aging, the researchers said. The study was published online Nov. 15 in the Journal of ... Read more

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Obamacare May Have Helped More Americans Quit Smoking

Posted 8 days ago by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Nov. 16, 2017 – States that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act saw a greater increase in low-income adults who quit smoking than did states that did not expand Medicaid, a new study found. Under the health care act, states that expanded Medicaid had to offer services to help people quit smoking. About 30 percent of low-income adults in the United States smoke cigarettes, which is double the national average. For the study, University of Pittsburgh researchers analyzed the responses of more than 36,000 low-income adults, ages 18 to 64, who took part in a federal government survey on health behaviors. In the 31 states that expanded Medicaid, 8.1 percent of newly covered low-income adults said they'd quit smoking in the past year, compared with 6 percent of low-income adults in states that did not expand Medicaid. The findings show that government policies meant to ... Read more

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New 'Heat-Not-Burn' Cigarettes Harm Blood Vessels: Study

Posted 10 days ago by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Nov. 14, 2017 – Heat-not-burn "cigarettes" could be as harmful to your blood vessels as traditional smokes, a new animal study suggests. Tobacco giant Philip Morris is seeking U.S. approval for one of these smoking alternative products, called iQOS. The company claims it's safer than regular cigarettes. But rats exposed to vapor from the device experienced the same decrease in blood vessel function as those exposed to cigarette smoke, said study senior researcher Matthew Springer. Impaired blood vessel function increases the risk of heart attack or stroke, and can contribute long-term to hardening of the arteries, said Springer, a professor of cardiology with the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. "I would be frankly amazed if these products were just as harmful as cigarettes in every single way, but less harmful does not equal harmless," Springer ... Read more

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Commitment Is Key for Online Quit-Smoking Groups

Posted 11 days ago by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Nov. 13, 2017 – An online social network designed to help you quit smoking can do just that, a new study finds. But the odds of quitting rise along with the level of active involvement, the researchers said. They examined the impact of BecomeAnEX.org, a social network site created by the nonprofit anti-tobacco group Truth Initiative, in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic. Network users can share information and support through blogs, forums and messages. More than 800,000 people have registered since the network was launched in 2008. The study included more than 2,600 smokers who signed up on BecomeAnEX.org. After three months, 21 percent of those who actively contributed content on the site had quit smoking, compared with 11 percent who only read others' posts and 8 percent of those who never visited the site. Researchers from the Truth Initiative and the University of Iowa ... Read more

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1 in 5 Americans Still Uses Tobacco, Gov't. Reports

Posted 15 days ago by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Nov. 9, 2017 – Americans' long love affair with cancer-causing cigarettes is fading – but not gone. One in five U.S. adults still used tobacco in 2015, and most were smokers, a new federal government study of tobacco products reported Thursday. There were 49 million tobacco users, according to the 2015 U.S. National Health Interview Survey. Of those, 42 million used either cigarettes, cigars or hookahs and water pipes. The remainder used electronic cigarettes or smokeless tobacco products such as chewing tobacco, snuff, dip, snus, and dissolvable tobacco. Tobacco use was more common among men than among women, and more common among younger adults, aged 25 to 44, than older adults, aged 65 and older. Tobacco use was also higher among certain people: those in the Midwest; those with annual household incomes under $35,000; those uninsured or on Medicaid; those with a ... Read more

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Health Tip: Stop Smoking

Posted 18 days ago by Drugs.com

-- While the harmful effects of smoking are well-documented, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reminds us of the benefits of quitting: Reduced risk of lung cancer and other types of cancer. Lowered risk of heart disease and stroke within two years of quitting. Fewer respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. Quitting may not make these symptoms go away completely, but they will not progress as quickly as if you did not stop smoking. Decreased risk of lung problems, such as deadly chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Reduced risk of infertility. Women who stop smoking during pregnancy also reduce their risk of having a low birthweight baby. Read more

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With Cigarettes Out of Favor, Many U.S. Teens Also Shun Pot

Posted 18 days ago by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Nov. 6, 2017 – Today's American teens are smoking less than ever, and the trend may be keeping many from smoking pot, too. That's the finding of a new study that tracked more than 1 million teens from 1991 to 2016. But the news wasn't all good, the researchers said. Kids who think marijuana is "safe" are more likely than their peers to use the drug. That's a concern because more and more, teenagers do believe pot is fairly harmless – and experts say it's not. The findings paint a nuanced picture. It's known that U.S. teenagers' pot use has held fairly steady over the past decade – even though kids have become increasingly more likely to believe the drug is harmless. And that's puzzling, said Richard Miech, a research professor at the University of Michigan who led the new study. There's good evidence, he explained, that when teens believe pot is safe, they're more likely to ... Read more

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Teen E-Cig Use May Lead to Regular Smoking

Posted 30 Oct 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Oct. 30, 2017 – High school students who use electronic cigarettes are more likely to start smoking regular cigarettes, a new Canadian study finds. "Youth may be trying e-cigarettes before smoking because they are easier to access: until recently, youth could legally purchase e-cigarettes without nicotine, whereas regular cigarettes cannot be sold to young people under 18 years of age," said study author David Hammond. The study included more than 44,000 students in grades 9 through 12 at dozens of schools in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Alberta. Students who used e-cigarettes within 30 days before the start of the study were more likely to have started and still be smoking regular cigarettes a year later. The finding is consistent with previous studies. However, this study also found a slight decline in the smoking rate among students. This suggests that if ... Read more

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When It Pays to Quit, More People Stop Smoking

Posted 30 Oct 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Oct. 30, 2017 – Financial rewards and personalized support can improve a smoker's chances of quitting, a new study finds. "Our results show that a successful intervention to help [low-income] individuals quit smoking should be multifaceted and focus on both assisting with resources and, when possible, providing financial incentives," said lead author Dr. Karen Lasser. She's a general internist at Boston Medical Center and an associate professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. In the study of more than 350 adults, one group of smokers was provided a "patient navigator" to help them get prescriptions for nicotine replacement products and referrals for counseling. They were also offered a monetary reward ($250) if they quit within six months. They received an additional $500 if they were not smoking after 12 months. Those who did not quit within six months ... Read more

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High-Nicotine E-Cigs May Be Gateway to Smoking for Teens

Posted 23 Oct 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Oct. 23, 2017 – Teens who vape e-cigarettes with higher nicotine levels are more likely to start smoking conventional cigarettes soon after, new research shows. "We know that teens who vape e-cigarettes are much more likely to become conventional cigarette smokers," said study lead researcher Adam Leventhal. "Our study suggests that the nicotine in e-cigarettes may be a key reason why teens who vape progress to more frequent smoking." Leventhal directs the University of Southern California Health, Emotion and Addiction Laboratory at the Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles. E-cigarettes are sold with nicotine levels ranging from zero to more than 25 milligrams of nicotine per milliliter (mg/mL). In this study, a high-nicotine device was defined as having levels at or above 18 mg/mL. Leventhal's team tracked outcomes for 181 grade-10 students from high schools in the Los ... Read more

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'Heat-Not-Burn Cigarettes' Aiming for U.S. Market

Posted 11 Oct 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 11, 2017 – A smoking mechanism that mixes the electronics behind e-cigarettes with the tobacco-burning properties of traditional cigarettes is sparking public health worries as it takes direct aim at the American market. Unlike e-cigarettes, the so called "heat-not-burn" device works by warming up tobacco to about 500 degrees Fahrenheit, producing an inhalable aerosol. By contrast, e-cigarettes function by heating a nicotine-infused liquid, minus the dangerous smoke that is emitted by tobacco-burning traditional cigarettes. The heat-not-burn innovation has not been approved for sale in the United States, but an application for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval was filed late last year. Research on the potential health impact of such devices has barely begun. A new study, though, cautions that in countries where the product is already on the market, like Japan, ... Read more

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More Hardcore Smokers Trying to Kick the Habit

Posted 11 Oct 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 11, 2017 – More "hardcore" smokers than ever are trying to extinguish their bad habit, new research suggests. "Even though they smoke more than the general population, smokers with high psychological distress have been smoking less and trying to quit more, as the overall level of smoking has decreased," said study author Margarete Kulik. She's a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco's Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education. "This shows that with effective tobacco control policies, even hardcore smokers will soften over time," Kulik said in a UCSF news release. For the study, researchers analyzed health data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Almost 120,000 smokers were asked about their daily cigarette habit and any attempts to quit smoking for at least one day over the past 12 months. The survey also included information collected on ... Read more

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Switch From Smoking to Vaping Could Save Over 6 Million U.S. Lives

Posted 3 Oct 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Oct. 2, 2017 – Millions of cigarette smokers could live substantially longer if electronic cigarettes are embraced as a replacement for tobacco during the next decade, a new study contends. As many as 6.6 million cigarette smokers could live a combined 86.7 million more years under policies that encourage them to swap their smokes for e-cigarettes, according to "optimistic" projections from cancer researchers at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Even a worst-case scenario involving e-cigarettes would still save lives, the researchers said. Under a "pessimistic" projection, 1.6 million former cigarette smokers would have a combined 20.8 million more years of additional life, the research team found. These numbers show that adopting e-cigarettes as an alternative to smoking could prove the easiest way to cause tobacco use to dwindle in the United States, said lead ... Read more

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Will an E-Cigarette Harm Your Heart?

Posted 20 Sep 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 20, 2017 – The nicotine in e-cigarette vapor may cause adrenaline levels to spike in the heart, potentially increasing risk of heart attack and sudden cardiac death, a new study reports. Electronic cigarettes have been promoted as a healthier alternative to tobacco cigarettes because they deliver vastly lower levels of carcinogens, researchers say. But laboratory studies show that e-cigarettes still could pose a threat to health because of the nicotine that the devices typically deliver, said lead researcher Dr. Holly Middlekauff. She's a cardiologist with the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. Nicotine-containing e-cigarettes appear to promote a fight-or-flight response by the sympathetic nervous system, causing a release of adrenaline that increases heart rate and reduces the amount of time between heart beats, researchers ... Read more

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HIV and Smoking a Lethal Combo for the Lungs

Posted 18 Sep 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Sept. 18, 2017 – HIV patients who take their medication but also smoke are about 10 times more likely to die from lung cancer than from AIDS-related causes, a new study estimates. Lifesaving antiretroviral drugs have improved life expectancy to the point that patients now have more to fear from tobacco than HIV, said lead researcher Dr. Krishna Reddy. "Thanks to antiretroviral medicines, people with HIV are living longer," said Reddy, a pulmonologist and critical care doctor with Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. "The bad news is that they're living long enough to get cancer." Based on the new findings, smoking cessation should be a focus of treatment, he and his colleagues said. More than 40 percent of people with HIV are smokers, a rate more than double that of the general population, Reddy said. Fatalism and depression among HIV patients often lead them to take up ... Read more

Related support groups: Smoking, Smoking Cessation, HIV Infection, Nicotine, Lung Cancer, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer, Nicorette, Small Cell Lung Cancer, Nicoderm CQ, Nicotrol Inhaler, Commit, Habitrol, ProStep, Nicotrol TD, Bronchogenic Carcinoma, Nicorelief, Nicorette DS, Nicotrol NS

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