Do you need a reason to stop smoking? Consider these research findings
Smoking Increases Dementia
If you don’t want to be senile when you grow older, you might want to quit based upon the following report, "Smoking spikes dementia" reported by the Boston Herald staff on Thursday, September 6, 2007. A recent client of mine said that just the thought of being senile was enough to cause her to quit. How about you? Here’s the report:
People who smoke are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or dementia than nonsmokers or former smokers, according to a study in the current issue of “Neurology” magazine.
The study, conducted in the Netherlands, followed 7,000 people age 55 and older for an average of seven years.
During that time, 706 of the participants developed dementia. Smokers were 50 percent more likely to develop dementia than people who never smoked or quit before the study started.
A 2006 analysis of 19 similar studies reached the same conclusion, according to the March issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Those studies measured a combined 26,374 participants who were followed from two to 30 years.
Dr. Monique Breteler, the author of the recent study, said smoking increases the risk of disease in the brain’s blood vessels, increases oxidative stress which damages cells and can lead to hardened arteries.
Breteler said similar damage is seen in Alzheimer’s patients. She said oxidative stress can be eliminated by antioxidants, but “smokers have fewer antioxidants.” (Source: Boston Herald )
The Myth of a Few Cigarettes are Harmless
Some persons like to fool themselves (and others) by thinking that their smoking just a few cigarettes a day is relatively harmless. This research reported on September 22, 2005 by the BBC News Story, “A few cigarettes a day ‘deadly'” indicates otherwise:
Smoking just one to four cigarettes a day almost triples a person’s risk of dying of heart disease, according to Norwegian researchers. Their work suggests the health impact is stronger for women and that even “light” smokers face similar diseases to heavier smokers, including cancer.
The team tracked the health and death rates of almost 43,000 men and women from the mid 1970s up to 2002. Their findings appear in the journal Tobacco Control.
Compared with those who had never smoked, the men and women who smoked between one and four cigarettes a day were almost three times as likely to die of coronary artery disease.
Among women, smoking one to four cigarettes daily increased the chance of dying from lung cancer almost five times.
Men who smoked this amount were almost three times as likely to be killed by lung cancer.
However, due to the relatively small number of men that this applied to in the study sample, this finding could have been due to chance.
So-called “light” smokers were also found to have a significantly higher risk of dying from any cause – 1.5 times higher generally – than those who had never smoked, when researchers looked at deaths among those studied over the duration of the research.
Death rates from all causes rose as the number of cigarettes smoked every day increased.
The researchers believe their conclusions are accurate, even though they had to estimate the projected impact of smoking one to four cigarettes for five years in those light smokers who had smoked for less time.
This indicated that the risk of death from coronary artery disease for both sexes would have been 7% higher, and the risk of lung cancer would have been 47% higher in women.
A significant proportion of the light smokers had also increased their daily consumption over the period of the study. However, this had not exceeded nine cigarettes a day.
Author Dr Kjell Bjartveit also pointed out that it was not possible to tell from the findings what impact sporadic smoking – such as a few cigarettes on a Saturday night out – might have on health.
Dr Ken Denson of the Thame Thrombosis and Haemostasis Research Foundation questioned the validity of the figures.
He said other large studies had not found that smoking fewer than 10 cigarettes daily increased the risk of heart disease.
‘No safe level’
Amanda Sandford from Action on Smoking and Health said the conclusions were clear.
“This study should dispel the myth once and for all that smoking just a few cigarettes a day won’t do you any harm.
“Quite simply, there is no safe level of smoking.”
A spokesman from the British Medical Association said: “All smokers are putting their health on the line when they smoke – even if they only define themselves as social smokers.
“The only way to protect smokers from heart disease, cancer and other killer diseases is to quit completely.”
The Department of Health estimates 106,000 people die every year in the UK as a direct result of smoking. It said quitting was the only way to avoid the serious health risks.
Jean King of Cancer Research UK said: “Although more research is needed, this study suggests that the health implications for ‘light smokers’ are much more serious than previously thought.
“This is particularly worrying as a third of smokers in the UK – an estimated 3.7 million people – smoke less than 10 cigarettes a day.” (Source: BBC Article )
Just one cigarette can harm DNA, Surgeon General says
Even brief exposure to tobacco smoke causes immediate harm to the body, damaging cells and inflaming tissue in ways that can lead to serious illness and death, according to the U.S. Surgeon General’s new report on tobacco, the first such report in four years.
While the report, out today, focuses on the medical effects of smoke on the body, it also sheds light on why cigarettes are so addictive: They are designed to deliver nicotine more quickly and more efficiently than cigarettes did decades ago.
Every exposure to tobacco, from occasional smoking or secondhand smoke, can damage DNA in ways that lead to cancer.
“Tobacco smoke damages almost every organ in your body,” says Surgeon General Regina Benjamin. In someone with underlying heart disease, she says, “One cigarette can cause a heart attack.”
About 40 million Americans smoke 20% of adults and older teens. Tobacco kills more than 443,000 a year, says the 700-page report, written with contributions from 64 experts.
Cigarette smoking costs the country more than $193 billion a year in health care costs and lost productivity.
Recent changes in the design and ingredients in cigarettes have made them more likely to hook first-time users and keep older smokers coming back, Benjamin says. Changes include:
Ammonia added to tobacco, which converts nicotine into a form that gets to the brain faster.
Filter holes that allow people to inhale smoke more deeply into the lungs.
Sugar and “moisture enhancers” to reduce the burning sensation of smoking, making it more pleasant, especially for new cigarette users.
“This is the first report that demonstrates that the industry has consciously redesigned tobacco products in ways that make them even more attractive to young people,” says Matthew Myers of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
David Sutton, a spokesman for Altria, parent company of Philip Morris USA, declined to comment until he had time to study the report. (Source: USA Today Article)
Smoking While Pregnant Affects the Health of Your Baby
If you smoke while pregnant, you are impacting the health of your unborn child. While the following study reports findings on the relation of smoking to physical deformities, the report is also of value for its mention of the numerous other effects of smoking on the unborn. This report is cited from CBS News on January 11, 2006:
“Women have one more reason not to smoke during pregnancy.”
Smoking during pregnancy may boost a woman’s chances of having a baby with abnormal fingers and toes. Those problems include webbed feet, extra toes or fingers, and missing toes or fingers.
Those rare conditions are more common among babies born to women who smoked during pregnancy, a new study shows.
Heavy smoking carried the highest risk, but lighter smoking was also an issue. The findings are not supported by other research studies, which have found no association.
“This study shows that even minimal smoking during pregnancy can significantly increase the risk of having a child with various toe and finger defects,” says Benjamin Chang, MD, in a news release. Chang and colleagues’ study appears in the January Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
Smoking During Pregnancy
Smoking is a well-known health hazard for people of all ages, including babies born to mothers who smoke. Doctors urge everyone — male or female, young or old — not to smoke or to quit smoking.
In adults, smoking raises the odds of heart disease, cancer, stroke, high blood pressure, and other serious health problems.
When women smoke while pregnant, they’re more likely to miscarry, have a stillborn child, give birth prematurely, and have a baby with low birth weight and/or lung problems. According to the CDC’s latest statistics, 11 percent of pregnant women in the U.S. are smokers. That number is smaller than in the past.
The Chang study is based on national data from nearly 7 million U.S. babies born in 2001 and 2002.
The researchers focused on 5,171 babies born with abnormal hands or feet and without other birth defects such as spina bifida, heart malformations, or genetic abnormalities such as Down syndrome. They also noted how much, if at all, the mothers had smoked.
Compared with nonsmokers, women who smoked up to 10 daily cigarettes while pregnant were 27 percent more likely to give birth to a baby with abnormal fingers or toes.
Women who smoked 11-20 cigarettes daily while pregnant were 38 percent more likely than nonsmokers to have babies with abnormal fingers or toes. Those who smoked more than 21 cigarettes daily were 57 percent more likely than nonsmokers to have babies with those birth defects.
In other words, though most babies were born without any limb abnormalities, the more cigarettes a woman smoked during pregnancy, the greater her odds of having a child with abnormal fingers or toes.
The researchers made adjustments for other factors that could make the birth defects more likely. But they didn’t know how long the smokers had smoked cigarettes.
The researchers note that that their study doesn’t prove that smoking was to blame for the babies’ abnormal fingers and toes. They also note that other research studies have not demonstrated a similar association with smoking.
SOURCES: Man, L. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, January 2006; vol 117: pp 301-308. WebMD Medical Reference provided in collaboration with The Cleveland Clinic: “Smoking During Pregnancy.” WebMD Medical News: “Older Moms Among Latest Birth Trends in U.S.” News release, American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
By Miranda Hitti. Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD . © 2005, WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.
(Source: CBS News Story )
Smoking Linked to Mid-Life Memory Loss: Study
The study by Severine Sabia and colleagues of France’s Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale reviewed data from 10,308 London-based civil servants age 35 to 55 who took part in a study between 1985 and 1988.
The researchers said that they found strong links between smoking and cognitive and memory problems later in life.
"First, smoking in middle age is associated with memory deficit and decline in reasoning abilities," they wrote in a report in the June 9 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.
"Second, long-term ex-smokers are less likely to have cognitive deficits in memory, vocabulary and verbal fluency.
"Third, giving up smoking in midlife is accompanied by improvement in other health behaviors.
"Fourth, our results … suggest that the association between smoking and cognition, even in late midlife, could be underestimated because of higher risk of death and non-participation in cognitive tests among smokers."
"During the past 20 years, public health messages about smoking have led to changes in smoking behavior," they wrote.
"Public health messages on smoking should continue to target smokers of all ages."
(Source: Breitbart.com article )
CHANTIX? Reconsider! FDA Warns of Neuropsychiatric Ill-Effects Associated with Chantix
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today issued a Public Health Advisory to alert health care providers, patients, and caregivers to new safety warnings concerning Chantix (varenicline), a prescription medication used to help patients stop smoking.
On Nov. 20, 2007, FDA issued an Early Communication to the public and health care providers that the agency was evaluating postmarketing adverse event reports on Chantix related to changes in behavior, agitation, depressed mood, suicidal ideation, and actual suicidal behavior.
As the agency’s review of the adverse event reports proceeds, it appears increasingly likely that there may be an association between Chantix and serious neuropsychiatric symptoms. As a result, FDA has requested that Pfizer, the manufacturer of Chantix, elevate the prominence of this safety information to the warnings and precautions section of the Chantix prescribing information, or labeling.
(Source: Feb 01 2008 FDA News )
Cancer Risk of Nicotine Gum and Lozenges Higher than Thought
Nicotine chewing gum, lozenges and inhalers designed to help people to give up smoking may have the potential to cause cancer, research has suggested.
Scientists have discovered a link between mouth cancer and exposure to nicotine, which may indicate that using oral nicotine replacement therapies for long periods could contribute to a raised risk of the disease. A study funded by the Medical Research Council, led by Muy-Teck Teh, of Queen Mary, University of London, has found that the effects of a genetic mutation that is common in mouth cancer can be worsened by nicotine in the levels that are typically found in smoking cessation products.
(Source: TimesOnline article )
Other Smoking Research Findings
On average, smoking reduces adult life expectancy by 14 years, according to the Center for Disease Control.
Approximately 438,000 premature deaths occur each year as a result of smoking
There is an increased risk of impotence. Men concerned about their performance in the bedroom should stop lighting up suggests a study that links smoking to a man’s ability to get an erection. The study of nearly 5,000 men showed that men who smoked more than a pack a day were 60 percent more likely to suffer erectile dysfunction, compared with men who never smoked.