Why not quit smoking and live longer for 5 years?

By | News | No Comments

Quit smoking and live another 5 years!

You can still benefit significantly from quitting smoking when you’re over 60. Analysis shows of more than half a million older people has shown quitting for just five years translates into a 10% reduction in cardiovascular death.

The analysis, by the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg, showed that those who quit for five to nine years had a 16 per cent reduction. Those who managed 10 to 19 years enjoyed a 22 per cent drop in risk.

Published in the BMJ, the analysis showed that current smokers died from cardiovascular causes an average of 5.5 years earlier than those who did not smoke.

While public health messages about quitting tend to be directed at younger people, this analysis shows there is great value in directing it at older people too.

25 Body Effects that Affects Your Looks and Life when you Smoke

By | How to Quit, News | No Comments

Smoking makes You old, very old!

Which Twin Is the Smoker?

Maybe there is no fountain of youth, but there is a surefire way to make yourself look older. Smoking changes the skin, teeth, and hair in ways that can add years to your looks. It also affects everything from your fertility to the strength of your heart, lungs, and bones. Take a look at these side-by-side photos. Can you pick out the smoker? Check your pick and get a closer look on the next slide.

Tobacco’s Tell-Tale Signs

Twin B smoked half a pack a day for 14 years, while her sister never smoked. The loose skin under her eyes is typical for smokers, according to Bahman Guyuron, MD, of Case Western Reserve University. It’s one of several visible signs — shown on the following slides — that tobacco byproducts inside your body are harming your appearance. Twin B also got more sun, damaging her skin from the outside, too.

Poor Skin Tone

Smoking chronically deprives the skin of oxygen and nutrients. So some smokers appear pale, while others develop uneven coloring. These changes can begin at a young age, according to dermatologist Jonette Keri, MD, of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.  “In young nonsmokers, we don’t usually see a lot of uneven skin tone,” Keri says. “But this develops more quickly in people who smoke.”

Sagging Skin

There are more than 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, and many of them trigger the destruction of collagen and elastin. These are the fibers that give your skin its strength and elasticity. Smoking or even being around secondhand smoke “degrades the building blocks of the skin,” Keri says. The consequences include sagging skin and deeper wrinkles.

Sagging Arms and Breasts

Smoking doesn’t only damage the appearance of your face, it can also take a toll on your figure. As skin loses its elasticity, parts that were once firm may begin to droop. This includes the inner arms and breasts. Researchers have identified smoking as a top cause of sagging breasts.

Lines Around the Lips

Smoking delivers a one-two punch to the area around your mouth. First, you have the smoker’s pucker. “Smokers use certain muscles around their lips that cause them to have dynamic wrinkles that nonsmokers do not,” Keri says. Second, you have the loss of elasticity. Together, these factors can lead to deep lines around the lips.

Age Spots

Age spots are blotches of darker skin color that are common on the face and hands. While anyone can develop these spots from spending too much time in the sun, research suggests smokers are more susceptible.

In this image, the twin on the right spent decades smoking and sunbathing, while her sister did not.

Damaged Teeth and Gums

Yellow teeth are one of the most notorious effects of long-term smoking, but the dental damage doesn’t stop there. People who smoke tend to develop gum disease, persistent bad breath, and other oral hygiene problems. Smokers are twice as likely to lose teeth as nonsmokers.

Stained Fingers

Think your hand looks sexy with a cigarette perched between your fingers? If you’ve been smoking for awhile, take a good look at your fingernails and the skin of your hands. Tobacco can actually stain the skin and nails, as well as the teeth. The good news is these stains tend to fade when you quit smoking.

Hair Loss

Both men and women tend to develop thinner hair as they age, and smoking can accelerate this process. Some studies even suggest people who smoke are more likely to go bald. Researchers in Taiwan have identified smoking as a clear risk factor for male-pattern baldness in Asian men.


Even the eyes are vulnerable to tobacco’s reach. Smoking makes you more likely to develop cataracts as you age. These are cloudy areas on the lens of the eye that keep light from reaching the retina. If they cause serious vision problems, they are treated with surgery.


Psoriasis is a chronic condition that most often causes thick, scaly patches on the skin — usually on the knees, elbows, scalp, hands, feet, or back. The patches may be white, red, or silver. Recent studies suggest smokers have a greater risk of developing psoriasis.

Crow’s Feet Eye Wrinkles

Everyone gets wrinkles on the outside of the eyes eventually, but these wrinkles develop earlier and go deeper among smokers. Heat from burning cigarettes and squinting to keep smoke out of your eyes contribute to visible crow’s feet. Meanwhile, chemicals from inhaled tobacco cause internal damage to the skin structures and blood vessels around your eyes.

How Quitting Improves Your Looks

Quitting smoking can improve your appearance. As blood flow gets better, your skin receives more oxygen and nutrients. This can help you develop a healthier complexion. If you stay tobacco-free, the stains on your fingers and nails will disappear. You may even notice your teeth getting whiter.

Combating Skin Damage: Creams

When you quit smoking, you make your skin more resistant to premature aging. As for the wrinkles and age spots you already have, all is not lost. Keri, the University of Miami dermatologist, says there are products former smokers can use to make their skin look better. These include topical retinoids and antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E. She also recommends wearing sunscreen every day.

Combating Skin Damage: Procedures

For more dramatic results, some former smokers choose to have cosmetic procedures. Laser skin resurfacing and chemical peels remove outer layers of skin, where the damage is most visible. “Reward yourself with a couple of skin treatments,” Keri suggests. “When you see the benefits of better-looking skin, you may be motivated to stay nicotine-free.”

Brittle Bones

Everyone knows the lungs take a beating from smoking, but research has pinpointed additional, surprising ways that tobacco affects the body, starting with your bones. Smoking raises your risk of developing weakened bones, or osteoporosis. This  condition increases your risk for bone fractures including those of the spine, causing it to curve and leaving you hunched over.

Heart Disease and ED

Smoking affects nearly every organ in the body, including the heart. In people who smoke, the arteries that carry blood to the heart become narrowed over time. Smoking also increases blood pressure and makes it easier for blood to clot. These factors raise the odds of having a heart attack. In men who smoke, reduced blood flow can lead to erectile dysfunction.

Reduced Athletic Ability

Smoking’s impact on the heart and lungs can add up to a significant disadvantage on the track or field. Smokers tend to have a more rapid heart rate, poorer circulation, and more shortness of breath — not helpful qualities in an athlete. Whatever your favorite sport, one way to enhance your performance is to quit smoking.

Reproductive Problems

Women who smoke have a tougher time getting pregnant and giving birth to a healthy baby. Cigarettes have been linked to fertility problems. And smoking during pregnancy raises the odds of having a miscarriage, premature birth, or delivering a low-birth-weight infant.

Early Menopause

It’s something all women have in common: menopause, the phase when female hormones decline and the menstrual cycle stops for good. Most women experience this change around age 50. But smokers reach menopause an average of 1 1/2 years earlier than women who don’t smoke. The effect is strongest in women who have smoked heavily for many years.

Oral Cancer

Compared to nonsmokers, people who smoke or use smokeless tobacco products are more likely to develop oral cancer. Smokers who are also heavy drinkers are 15 times more likely to develop this form of cancer. The most common symptoms include a sore patch on the tongue, lips, gums, or other area inside the mouth that doesn’t go away and may be painful. Quitting smoking lowers the risk for oral cancer substantially within a few years.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the top cancer killer of men and women in the U.S. Of those who die from the disease, 9 out of 10 deaths are due to smoking. Cigarettes can also damage the lungs in other ways, making people more vulnerable to breathing problems and dangerous infections like pneumonia.

How Quitting Improves Your Health

In just 20 minutes, blood pressure and heart rate return to normal. Within 24 hours, your heart attack risk begins falling. In the first weeks after quitting, tiny cilia (seen here) start back to work sweeping irritants out of the lungs. Within a year, your risk of developing heart disease drops to half that of people who still smoke. And after 10 smoke-free years, you’re no more likely to die of lung cancer than someone who never smoked.

Cigarette Stench

Quitting eliminates the pervasive smell of cigarettes on your breath and in your hair and clothes. This is unattractive to nonsmokers and carries health hazards, too. The odor means that the people around you are  exposed to tobacco toxins, sometimes called “third-hand smoke.” These toxins can be especially harmful to small children.

Can You Quit?

Experts agree that giving up cigarettes is very difficult. But if you’re telling yourself it’s impossible, think again. While there are 45 million smokers in the U.S., there are at least 48 million formersmokers. If 48 million people could quit, it is doable. Just keep in mind that most people have to try more than once, and only 4%-7% succeed without help. Ask your doctor which smoking-cessation strategies might be right for you.

Smoking in movies is a known risk factor for teen smoking

By | News | No Comments

Recent studies raise concerns about the focus on smoking in films, from the US to Bollywood, according to Dr Melissa Stoneham and the JournalWatch service of The Public Health Advocacy Institute WA.

The cinematic portrayal of smoking sends an unhealthy message to youth

Melissa Stoneham writes:

Smoking in Hollywood movies is a known risk factor for teen smoking in the USA and Europe.

For many years, tobacco companies paid studios to have their products appear in movies. Even though this practice is no longer allowed, movies for young people and even some movies for children may include images of characters using tobacco.

These images are powerful because they can make smoking seem like a normal, acceptable or even attractive activity. Young people may also look up to movie stars, both on and off screen, and may want to imitate behaviours.

Despite the banning of tobacco companies paying to display their wares on the big screen, a recently published American study found that in 2011, the top box office films showed more onscreen smoking than the prior year, reversing five years of steady progress in reducing tobacco imagery in movies.

This study found that the 134 top-grossing films of 2011 depicted nearly 1 900 tobacco “incidents” (an incident is defined as one use or implied use – such as a lit cigarette –  of a tobacco product by an actor).

Total tobacco incidents per movie rose 7 percent from 2010 to 2011. Among movies rated G, PG or PG-13, smoking incidents per movie soared by 36 percent.

So let’s look at what is happening within the movie industry in India. India is the world’s largest producer of movies and produces more than 1000 movies a year in several languages.

Bollywood represents the Indian Hindi movie industry, and the worldwide viewership for their movies is estimated to be about 3 million. Bollywood movie stars in India are public figures, have large fan followings and exercise tremendous influence on the behavioural attitudes of adolescents.

A study titled “Tobacco use in Bollywood movies, tobacco promotional activities and their association with tobacco use among Indian adolescents” published recently in the journal, Tobacco Control, explored the relation between watching tobacco use in Bollywood movies and tobacco use among Indian adolescents.

The findings of the study, whose lead author is Dr Monika Arora, Head, Health Promotion and Tobacco Control, Public Health Foundation of India, confirmed that watching tobacco use in Bollywood movies and receptivity to tobacco promotional activities were both independently associated with tobacco use among adolescents in India.

The study used a cross-sectional sample of just under 4000 adolescent students (aged 12-16 years) from 12 schools selected randomly across New Delhi in 2009. The students were surveyed to assess the current and ever tobacco use status, receptivity to tobacco promotions (based on owning or being willing to wear tobacco-branded merchandise) and exposure to tobacco use in movies.

The exposure to tobacco use in movies included selecting 59 Bollywood movies (which included 45 top grossing films for the years 2006 to 2008), which were viewed by coders and tobacco use exposure in each film was recorded. Altogether the films contained 412 occurrences of tobacco use.

The study also found that those students who were receptive to tobacco promotions, or who had tobacco users as friends were significantly more exposed to movie smoking. Exposure was also significantly higher for those with higher level of sensation seeking and, surprisingly, for those with more authoritative parents.

In 2003, the Indian government enacted the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Regulation Act, which included a ban on tobacco promotion and advertising of tobacco products. In 2004, tobacco advertisements were also barred in other media. In 2005, the rules were further refined to combat smoking in films, and included measures including no character to be shown smoking, older movies to have health warnings, and other strategies to reduce the glamorisation of tobacco.

However, the ruling was condemned by filmmakers as an absurd infringement of artistic expression and challenged successfully in a court of law. In January 2009, the Delhi High Court quashed the government’s notification banning on-screen smoking on grounds that it violated the filmmakers’ fundamental rights to freedom of speech and expression.

Some suggest the legislation was simply shooting the messenger, but with 800 000 Indians dying each year from smoking-related diseases and with the recent reversal of steady progress in reducing tobacco imagery in movies, all efforts to reduce tobacco use should be pursued.

Smoking by movie stars just continues to provide the message to young people that smoking is cool, edgy and an “adult” thing to do.

Teenagers who smoke are more likely to die of heart disease

By | News | No Comments

Still, the worst off were people who started smoking in adolescence and kept up the habit their entire lives. They were twice as likely to die early as were non-smokers, according to findings published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

“The risks are cumulative,” said David Batty, who worked on the new study at University College London. “If you smoke across a life course, you’re at much higher risk than if you just smoked around the college years,” he told Reuters Health.

“The positive message is, it’s never too late to stop.”

Past research has linked early smoking to future heart disease and cancer. But those studies relied on middle-aged people remembering if and how much they smoked when they were younger – which isn’t always a reliable technique, researchers said.

Instead, Batty and his colleagues used data from an ongoing study of men who started college at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts between 1916 and 1950 and reported their cigarette use on school health exams.

They were then sent follow-up surveys related to smoking in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s.

The new study included over 28,000 men, about 10,000 of whom reported smoking as undergrads. Almost half of the participants died during an average follow-up of 53 years.

Men who reported smoking on both their college physical and follow-up questionnaires were twice as likely to die as those who never smoked. In comparison, Harvard alums who smoked as teenagers but then quit were at a 29-percent increased risk of early death.

Risks were higher for smoking-related cancers and heart disease, in particular.

“The good news is, for people who are able to quit, this is going to have profound effects on their health,” said Dr. Michael Siegel, a tobacco control researcher from the Boston University School of Public Health.

“For people who did quit smoking during the follow-up period, their risk of death dropped greatly. It doesn’t quite go back to (non-smokers’ risk), but it is significantly less,” Siegel, who wasn’t involved in the new research, told Reuters Health.

But, he added, the study also “shows the tremendous negative consequences if we don’t get people to quit.”

Siegel emphasized the importance of quit call lines as well as anti-smoking media campaigns.

“We can’t lose sight of all the current smokers out there and the fact that smoking cessation rates are really very low,” he said. About three percent of smokers quit every year, Siegel said.

According to a new study found that quitting smoking is just as hard for teenagers

By | News | No Comments

It’s hard to give up smoking, even for those who are fairly new to the deadly habit, according to a new study that found that quitting smoking is just as hard for teenagers as it is for adults.

In the study, published online Sept. 4 in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research, scientists at Brown University found that young people who are new smokers suffer nearly all of the same negative psychological effects when they try to quit as people who’ve smoked for years.

Unlike adults trying to quit, however, teens aren’t irritated by certain sounds and they are still able to feel happy. The study authors suggested their findings could help improve programs designed to help people stop smoking.

“Adolescents are showing — even relatively early in the dependence process — significant, strong, negative effects just after acute abstinence from smoking,” study lead author L. Cinnamon Bidwell, assistant professor (research) in psychiatry and human behavior at Brown’s Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, said in a university news release. “Our study shows what those specific effects are. We chose a broad array” of factors to study.

The study involved 96 teenagers, ranging in age from 13 to 19. The teens were divided into three groups: 22 nonsmokers, 27 smokers who did not change their habit, and 47 smokers who avoided cigarettes for almost a full day. The researchers noted that the teen smokers had about nine cigarettes each day for about two years.

The teens who quit for one day had their expired carbon monoxide levels measured once before they stopped smoking and again after they stopped to confirm they did not have a cigarette. After not smoking, the study revealed these teens experienced the same withdrawal symptoms, smoking urges, negative mood swings and intense cravings as those recorded in adults.

“In terms of the subjective negative reactions and the urge reactions, their patterns look remarkably similar to adults,” senior author Suzanne Colby, associate professor (research) in psychiatry and human behavior at the center, explained in the news release. “That is really interesting because they are smoking fewer cigarettes per day and they’ve just been smokers for a shorter period of time.”

The study also found the teens felt cravings for cigarettes even when not “provoked” with obvious triggers such as showing them a lit cigarette.

“They came in and their craving and negative affect were already high,” Colby said.

The teen smokers also had a stronger reaction to smoking-specific cues than their peers, according to the researchers, who suggested their findings could make smoking cessation programs targeting teens more effective.

The findings “point to withdrawal, urge . . . and negative affect” (mood) as possible treatment targets in teens, and suggest that future studies of teen smoking should look at these factors, the study authors concluded.

Smokers sleeping fewer hours and have less restful slumber than non-smokers

By | News | No Comments

According A german study at more than two thousand people unveils that smokers may get fewer hours of sleep and have less restful slumber than non-smokers.

Researchers whose work appeared in the journal Addiction Biology found that of nearly 1,100 smokers surveyed, 17 percent got fewer than six hours of sleep each night and 28 percent reported “disturbed” sleep quality.

That compared with rates of seven percent and 19 percent respectively among more than 1,200 non-smokers who were also surveyed, said lead researcher Stefan Cohrs, of Charite Berlin medical school in Germany.

“This study demonstrates for the first time an elevated prevalence of sleep disturbance in smokers compared with non-smokers in a population without lifetime history of psychiatric disorders even after controlling for potentially relevant risk factors,” Cohrs and his colleagues wrote.

The findings cannot prove that smoking directly impairs sleep, since smokers may have other habits that could affect their shut-eye such as staying up late to watch TV or getting little exercise, Cohrs told Reuters Health in an email.

But there is also reason to believe the stimulating effects of nicotine may be to blame.

“If you smoke and you do suffer from sleep problems, it is another good reason to quit smoking,” Cohrs said.

Poor sleep quality may not only make your waking hours tougher. Some studies have also linked habitually poor sleep to health problems like obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

The study included 1,071 smokers and 1,243 non-smokers who were free of mental health disorders, since those conditions may make a person both more likely to smoke and more vulnerable to sleep problems.

The researchers used a questionnaire that gauges sleep quality. Overall, more than one-quarter of smokers had a score than landed them in the category of “disturbed” sleep, meaning they had a high probability of insomnia.

Many things can affect sleep quality, and Cohrs’s team was able to account for factors such as age, weight, and alcohol abuse. Yet smoking was still linked to poorer sleep quality.

It’s still possible there are other things about smokers that impair their sleep, but Cohrs said he thinks the most likely culprit is nicotine – and the prospect of better sleep could provide smokers with an additional reason to quit.

Smoking study unveils secondhand smoke effects on children where someone recently smoked

By | News | No Comments

More than half of the children who took part in a study on exposure to cigarette smoke tested positive for such exposure, despite only a handful of their parents admitting to lighting up, according to a U.S. study.

Parents may think their children are exposed only if they’re around someone actively smoking a cigarette, or are unaware of where else their children may be breathing in smoke – but a blood test may help identify and reduce smoke exposure, said researchers at the University of California, San Francisco.

Secondhand smoke exposure in children has been tied to sudden infant death syndrome, respiratory problems, ear infections and asthma.

“What the test does is allow the doctor, in consultation with the parent, to figure out the source of exposure and then to eliminate it,” said Jonathan Winickoff, an associate professor of pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children in Boston.

Winickoff, who co-wrote an editorial accompanying the study in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, told Reuters Health the test can also identify if a child is being exposed to smoke without the parent realizing it, such as by living in an apartment building where smoking is allowed.

The researchers tested 496 blood samples left over from children, most aged one to four, to determine how many of them were exposed to secondhand smoke. The blood samples were initially taken at San Francisco General Hospital to test for lead exposure between November 2009 and March 2010.

The researchers tested the blood for cotinine, a chemical produced by the body after it is exposed to nicotine.

Overall, 55 percent of the blood samples had a measurable amount of cotinine, which meant those children had been exposed to smoke within the previous three to four days.

Only 13 percent of parents, however, admitted that their child had been exposed to secondhand smoke.

“I think parents do not understand the various sources of potential exposure,” said Neal Benowitz, one of the study’s co-authors.

The researchers reported that some parents may also believe a child has to be around someone who is smoking to be exposed – but that is not the case.

For example, children still get the effects of secondhand smoke if they spend time in a room where someone recently smoked.

Benowitz and his colleagues said testing children for cotinine could ultimately prevent diseases brought on by secondhand smoke exposure by helping detect the source.

“Once you know there is exposure then you can talk to the parent,” he added.

Testing for cotinine is currently not readily available to the general public, but Winickoff said the best approach would be to integrate cotinine testing with routine testing for lead.

The misleading, lying smoking industry

By | News | No Comments

OK, can we agree on one thing? Smoking is bad for you. In fact, it will kill you.

And so a ballot measure that discourages smoking would be a good thing, right? And if it also raised hundreds of millions of dollars for research that might cure cancer, that would be good, too, right?

Not if you believe the blather being promulgated by the tobacco industry.

The misleading, disingenuous, lying media blitz paid for by Big Tobacco’s $40 million campaign chest asserts or suggests:

— The money won’t go to cancer treatment. That wasn’t what this measure was designed to do – the funds would go toward cancer research, which is where cancer treatments are found. We don’t have a cure for cancer yet – where do opponents think that will come from?

— Somehow, all the research money will go out of state. Since California is home to 10 research facilities recognized by the National Cancer Institute as some of the best in the world, and the program will be run largely by California physicians and educators, where do they think the research funds will go – Tennessee?

— The medical community is against it – according to Dr. La Donna Porter, who shows up in television commercials in a white coat. Well, the powerful California Medical Association, along with most other medical groups, is in favor of it. And it turns out Porter is a known rent-a-doctor who shills for all kinds of spurious causes, such as the chemical industry’s defense of perchlorate, a toxic substance that is especially harmful to children. (It’s not clear whether she’s being paid for her efforts.)

— The money raised won’t “support other programs.” This one is mostly true, but why should it? The idea here is to try to cure cancer.

And it will get worse. A new TV ad features an actor portraying a scientist in a lab coat. It says the proposition will “divert money from our schools.” How? It doesn’t divert money from anybody – except smokers.

This page already has endorsed Proposition 29, which would raise the tax on a pack of smokes by $1 to pay for cancer research. And studies have shown that increasing the cost of cigarettes sharply reduces the consumption of this deadly product, which would be a welcome side-effect. What’s not to like?

But the misinformation that continues to spew from the measure’s opponents can’t go unchallenged. Misleading voters is a common trait of political advertising by giant corporations that have $40 million to spend.

This is not an income tax. It is not a general sales tax. It’s a tax that would save lives.

Don’t want to pay a tax on cigarettes? Don’t buy cigarettes.

And don’t believe all the claims by an industry selling a product that, when used correctly, will kill you.

Source: sfgate