Nicotine

Prenatal exposure to smoke and alcohol may increase the risk of children developing conduct problems in adolescence, researchers said.

Conduct disorder (CD) is a mental disorder where children demonstrate aggressive behaviour that causes or threatens harm to other people or animals such as bullying or intimidating others, often initiating physical fights, or being physically cruel to animals.

The findings, led by researchers from the King’s College London, showed that exposure to smoke and alcohol, especially during foetal development, may lead to some epigenetic changes — chemical modifications of DNA that turns our genes on or off — particularly in genes related to addiction and aggression, leading to conduct problems in children.

One of the genes which showed the most significant epigenetic changes is MGLL — known to play a role in reward, addiction and pain perception.  Previous research have revealed that conduct problems are often accompanied by substance abuse and there is also evidence indicating that some people who engage in antisocial lifestyles show higher pain tolerance. The researchers also found smaller differences in a number of genes previously associated with aggression and antisocial behaviour.

“There is good evidence that exposure to maternal smoking and alcohol is associated with developmental problems in children, yet we don’t know how increased risk for conduct problems occurs”.

These results suggest that epigenetic changes taking place in the womb are a good place to start,” said Edward Barker from King’s College London. The results highlight the neonatal period as a potentially important window of biological vulnerability, as well as pinpointing novel genes for future investigation.

For the study, published in the journal Development and Psychopathology, the team measured the influence of environmental factors previously linked to an early onset of conduct problems, including maternal diet, smoking, alcohol use and exposure to stressful life events. They found epigenetic changes in seven sites across the DNA of those who went on to develop early-onset of conduct problems. Some of these epigenetic differences were associated with prenatal exposures, such as smoking and alcohol use during pregnancy.

Source: http://www.thehealthsite.com/news/prenatal-exposure-to-smoke-alcohol-may-increase-behaviour-problems-in-kids-ag0617/ Published: June 13, 2017 

(Comment by NDPA:  Some shocking figures from the USA in this article)

In 1964 the Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health began a movement to shine the bright light on cigarette smoking and dramatically change individual and societal views. Today, most states ban smoking in public spaces.

Most of us avoid private smoky places and sadly watch as the die-hard huddle 15 feet from the entrance on rainy, snowy or frigid coffee breaks. Employers often charge higher health insurance premiums to employees who smoke, and taxes on cigarettes are nearly triple a gallon of gas. Yet, some heralded progressive states have passed referendums to legalize the recreational use of a different smoked drug.

Now, more than 50 years later, another very profound statement has been made in the introduction to the recent report, “Substance misuse is one of the critical public health problems of our time.”

“Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health,” was released in November 2016 and is considered to hold the same landmark status as that report from 1964. And maybe, just maybe, it will have the same impact.

Many key findings are included that are critical to garnering support in the health care and substance abuse treatment fields. But the facts are just as important for the general public to know:

— In 2015, substance use disorders affected 20.8 million Americans — almost 8 percent of the adolescent and adult population. That number is similar to the number of people who suffer from diabetes, and more than 1.5 times the annual prevalence of all cancers combined (14 million).

— 12.5 million Americans reported misusing prescription pain relievers in the past year.

— 78 people die every day in the United States from an opioid overdose, nearly quadruple the number in 1999.

— We have treatments we know are effective, yet only 1 in 5 people who currently need treatment for opioid use disorders is actually receiving it.

— It is estimated that the yearly economic impact of misuse and substance use disorders is $249 billion for alcohol misuse and alcohol use disorders and $193 billion for illicit drug use and drug use disorders ($442 billion total).

— Many more people now die from alcohol and drug overdoses each year than are killed in automobile accidents.

— The opioid crisis is fuelling this trend with nearly 30,000 people dying due to an overdose on heroin or prescription opioids in 2014. An additional roughly 20,000 people died as a result of an unintentional overdose of alcohol, cocaine or non-opioid prescription drugs.

Our community has witnessed many of these issues first hand, specifically the impact of the heroin epidemic. The recent Winnebago County Coroner’s report indicated that of 96

overdose deaths in 2016, 42 were a result of heroin, and 23 from a combination of heroin and cocaine.

We know that addiction is a complex brain disease, and that treatment is effective. It can manage symptoms of substance use disorders and prevent relapse. More than 25 million individuals are in recovery and living healthy, productive lives. I, myself, know many. Most of us do.

Locally, the disease of addiction hits very close to many of us. I’ve had the privilege of being part of Rosecrance for over four decades, and I have seen the struggle for individuals and families — the triumphs and the tragedies. Seldom does a client come to us voluntarily and without others who are suffering with them. Through research and evidence-based practices at Rosecrance, I have witnessed the miracle of recovery on a daily basis. Treatment works!

If you believe you need help, or know someone who does, seek help.  Now. Source: http://www.rrstar.com/opinion/20170304/my-view-addiction-is-public-health-issue-treatment-works.  4th March 2017

Illegal cigarettes and alcohol seized by police have been turned into electricity at a special recycling plant Almost 150,000 cigarettes and tonnes of illegal alcohol seized during raids in Lincolnshire have been turned into electricity.

The substances were taken to a specialist recycling centre where the cigarettes were broken down and the energy fed into the National Grid.

The counterfeit liquid is mixed with foodstuffs and enzymes to create gas. This gas is then burned to produce electricity, which is then also fed into the National Grid

Emma Milligan, principal trading standards officer at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “Tackling the sale of counterfeit and illegal cigarettes and alcohol is a priority. Some cigarettes are not self-extinguishing and therefore extremely dangerous.

“Illegal brands, such as Pect and Jin Lings, don’t comply with the UK safety standard of Reduced Ignition Propensity, meaning they don’t go out when not actively being smoked.”

She explained that many bottles of alcohol were seized for non-payment of duty, while others were seized as they were counterfeit or fake and potentially very dangerous. They can contain industrial alcohol which is unfit for human consumption.

Emma said: “The cigarettes and alcohol being destroyed today have been seized in several operations involving Lincolnshire Trading Standards and Lincolnshire Police. Tobacco detection dogs are often involved, supported by the Smoke Free Alliance.

“With such potential dangers to the public, it’s vital that these products are taken off the streets. I’m glad we can put the cigarettes and alcohol to use in a productive way.

“If you do suspect anyone of selling cheap, illegal cigarettes or alcohol, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 to avoid tragic cases in the future.”

Source: at http://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/illegal-alcohol-and-cigarettes-seized-by-police-turned-into-electricity/story-30016023-detail/story.html#B9POiDF9gKweB85K.99

Filed under: Nicotine,Social Affairs :

The Smoking Cessation Leadership Center recently had a fascinating, although alarming, web symposium that highlighted the link between cigarette smoking and mental illness. The most important message was that smokers with mental illness are becoming a sizeable percentage of those who continue to smoke in the United States.

Among the highlights from the discussion:

  • More than 1 in 3 adults (36%) with a mental illness smoke cigarettes, compared with about 1 in 5 adults (21%) with no mental illness.
  • About 3 of every 10 cigarettes (31%) smoked by adults are smoked by adults with mental illness.
  • Smoking-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, lung disease, and cancer are among the most common causes of death among adults with mental health conditions.

 

What’s more, the prevalence of smoking among those with a serious mental illness is not decreasing. According to the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), an annual study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2011 42% of adults with a serious psychological distress status smoked cigarettes, about the same percentage as in 1998. No wonder smoking is the number one cause of death in people with mental illness or addiction.

The panel of experts, which included Dr. Corinne Graffunder, Director of the Office on Smoking and Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Dr. Jill Williams, Director of the Division of Addiction Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry at the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, had a number of suggestions for local communities to consider. In the first place, they stressed the importance of challenging the perception that smoking helps with anxiety and depression, which of course it does not, and informing smokers about the mental health benefits associated with quitting.

Just increasing awareness of high smoking rates among those with mental health conditions, and providing factual information about smoking cessation, will help. Currently, only 1 in 4 mental health treatment facilities offers quit smoking services. That has to change. We know that smoking inhibits recovery from illnesses, from being financially stable, from finding and holding a job, and from securing housing. These issues are only exacerbated among the mentally ill.

The Smoking Cessation Leadership Center is encouraging healthcare and mental health professionals, including pharmacists, to include tobacco cessation treatment as part of their overall mental health treatment. Targeted efforts are needed to increase quit attempts and cessation rates. The Center offers outreach materials specifically aimed at this vulnerable population, including print ads, editorial content, digital banners, ad web content, and a downloadable poster; quit guide, and toolkit. Visit http://smokingcessationleadership.ucsf.edu for more information.

Source: http://www.nohealthdisparities.org/ newsletter   13th August 2016 

 

The Smoking Cessation Leadership Center recently had a fascinating, although alarming, web symposium that highlighted the link between cigarette smoking and mental illness. The most important message was that smokers with mental illness are becoming a sizeable percentage of those who continue to smoke in the United States.

 

Among the highlights from the discussion:

  • More than 1 in 3 adults (36%) with a mental illness smoke cigarettes, compared with about 1 in 5 adults (21%) with no mental illness.
  • About 3 of every 10 cigarettes (31%) smoked by adults are smoked by adults with mental illness.
  • Smoking-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, lung disease, and cancer are among the most common causes of death among adults with mental health conditions.

 

What’s more, the prevalence of smoking among those with a serious mental illness is not decreasing. According to the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), an annual study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2011 42% of adults with a serious psychological distress status smoked cigarettes, about the same percentage as in 1998. No wonder smoking is the number one cause of death in people with mental illness or addiction.

 

The panel of experts, which included Dr. Corinne Graffunder, Director of the Office on Smoking and Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Dr. Jill Williams, Director of the Division of Addiction Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry at the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, had a number of suggestions for local communities to consider. In the first place, they stressed the importance of challenging the perception that smoking helps with anxiety and depression, which of course it does not, and informing smokers about the mental health benefits associated with quitting.

 

Just increasing awareness of high smoking rates among those with mental health conditions, and providing factual information about smoking cessation, will help. Currently, only 1 in 4 mental health treatment facilities offers quit smoking services. That has to change. We know that smoking inhibits recovery from illnesses, from being financially stable, from finding and holding a job, and from securing housing. These issues are only exacerbated among the mentally ill.

 

The Smoking Cessation Leadership Center is encouraging healthcare and mental health professionals, including pharmacists, to include tobacco cessation treatment as part of their overall mental health treatment. Targeted efforts are needed to increase quit attempts and cessation rates. The Center offers outreach materials specifically aimed at this vulnerable population, including print ads, editorial content, digital banners, ad web content, and a downloadable poster; quit guide, and toolkit. Visit http://smokingcessationleadership.ucsf.edu for more information.

 

Source: http://www.nohealthdisparities.org/ newsletter   13th August 2016

leonard-nimoy-5774458356-1-bynimoy

Photo:Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons*

 “Live long and prosper.” The Vulcan salute is immediately identifiable with the actor Leonard Nimoy  and his most famous character, Mr. Spock. The  beloved cultural icon was admired for his sterling character on Star Trek and off-screen as well. In  recent years and up until his last few months, while  suffering the debilitating effects of a respiratory illness, he took steps to ensure that others would indeed “live long and prosper” by speaking clearly about the role that smoking played in the illness that caused his death.

Nimoy started smoking, like many, when he was young. He managed to quit more than 30 years before his death, but not early enough to prevent the respiratory disease that took his life late February. Nimoy took great pains to show us that cigarettes are a deadly addiction – encouraging followers on Twitter to quit or never start. While he was just one of the 480,000 people in the U.S. who will die prematurely from tobacco-related diseases in 2015, he will surely be among the most well-known and widely missed by an admiring public. That makes the steps took to tell his story so vital.

Tobacco is one of the toughest addictions to overcome and by far the most deadly product available. About 14 million major medical conditions in the U.S. can be blamed on smoking. Yet, despite that inescapable fact, more than 42 million Americans still smoke.

And it isn’t just smoking. Smokeless tobacco products, like those used by sports legend,Tony Gwynn, and other professional baseball players, are linked to oral cancer and other illnesses. Like Nimoy, Gwynn was outspoken before his death last year in naming chewing tobacco as the cause of his cancer. His efforts to speak the truth give meaning to the efforts of a coalition working to eliminate tobacco consumption on and around American baseball fields. Knock Tobacco Out of the Park will succeed, in part, because icons like Gwynn and Nimoy shared their stories and demonstrated the painful cost of tobacco-related illness.

The glamour and appeal of smoking and the power of nicotine addiction are forces that we work to counter every day at Legacy. Even that first cigarette does damage to your body and can spur a life-long addiction and struggle. Nimoy could not imagine what would happen to him five decades after he smoked his first cigarette. By sharing his story, he may help other smokers comprehend the illness and death that lie in wait for them.

As fans remember Leonard Nimoy and Tony Gwynn for cherished memories and contributions to our shared culture, we celebrate them as ambassadors of truth and of knowledge in the fight to build a future where illness and death, caused by the use of tobacco, are things of the past.

Source: www.drugfree.org 18th March 2015

Attempts to tackle sales threat by framing criticism of smoking as fundamentalist fanaticism are outlined in cache of documents from 1970s until late 1990s

The tobacco industry attempted to reinterpret Islamic teaching and recruit Islamic scholars in a bid to undermine the prohibition on smoking in many Muslim countries, an investigation has shown.

Evidence from archived industry documents from the 1970s to the late 1990s shows that tobacco companies were seriously concerned about Islamic teaching. In 1996, an internal document from British American Tobacco warned that, because of the spread of “extremist views” from fundamentalists in countries such as Afghanistan, the industry would have to “prepare to fight a hurricane”.

We had tobacco industry lawyers actually developing theological arguments’ Prof Mark Petticrew

BAT and other companies, which were losing sales in affluent countries where anti-smoking measures had been introduced, devised strategies to counter this perceived threat to sales in places such as Egypt, Indonesia and Bangladesh, which have large populations of young people who smoke.

The industry was concerned that the World Health Organisation was encouraging the anti-smoking stance of Islamic leaders. A 1985 report from tobacco firm Philip Morris squarely blamed the WHO. “This ideological development has become a threat to our business because of the interference of the WHO … The WHO has not only joined forces with Moslem fundamentalists who view smoking as evil, but has gone yet further by encouraging religious leaders previously not active anti-smokers to take up the cause,” it said.

 A No Smoking sign in Syria Photograph: Alamy

A Moslem who attacks smoking generally speaking would be a threat to existing government as a ‘fundamentalist’ who wishes to return to sharia law,” says one of the archive documents. It adds: “Our invisible defence must be the individualism which Islam allows its believers … smoking and other signs of modern living should encourage governments to a point at which it is possible quietly to suggest their benefits.”

It adds: “With Islam we might ask what other aspects of modern living are similarly open to extremist demands for prohibition under strict interpretation of sharia: motion pictures, television, and art depicting the human being? Use of electronic amplification by muezzin calling from a minaret? The education of women?” the document says.

The earliest fatwa against tobacco was in 1602, but many scholars believed smoking cigarettes or taking tobacco in water pipes or other forms was harmless until evidence of the dangers to health began to emerge in the mid 20th century. Jurists pronounced that tobacco use was makrooh(discouraged). In many Islamic countries, a harder line was taken, with smoking prohibited on the grounds that the Qur’an does not permit self-harm or intoxication.

The WHO negotiated the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, starting in 1999, in response to what it describes as the “explosive increase in tobacco use”. The convention, which outlines strategies intended to reduce demand, was adopted in 2003.

This is an issue to be handled extremely gingerly and sensitively’

BAT internal document

A report in 2000 from the Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (Cora) department at BAT after the first international negotiations said: “It appears that the WHO’s efforts to link religion (specifically Islam) with issues surrounding the use of tobacco are bearing fruit … We will need to discuss separately how we might understand and manage this aspect in line with the Cora strategy.”

The tobacco industry attempted to re-interpret anti-smoking Islamic teachings. A 1996 BAT memo suggests identifying “a scholar/scholars, preferably at the Al Azhar University in Cairo, who we could then brief and enlist as our authoritative advisers/allies and occasionally spokespersons on the issue.

We agreed that such scholars/authority would need to be paired up with an influential Moslem writer/journalist … such advice would present the most effective and influential opinion able to counter extremist views, which are generally peddled by Islamic fundamentalist preachers largely misinterpreting the Koran … This is an issue to be handled extremely gingerly and sensitively … We have to avoid all possibilities of a backlash.”

Tobacco industry lawyers were also involved in this attempt at revision. A presentation from 2000, prepared by the firm Shook, Hardy and Bacon, gave an overview of the background to Islam and smoking, with slides stating that there is no prohibition on smoking in the Qur’an – and that “making rules beyond what Allah has allowed is a sin in itself”.

Prof Mark Petticrew from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who led the research, said he was amazed by what researchers had found in the archives. “‘You couldn’t make it up’ comes to mind,” he said. “The thing that jumps out at me from all this is the fact that we had tobacco industry lawyers actually developing theological arguments. That was pretty surprising.”

A document suggest Philip Morris wanted to try to recruit Islamic scholars at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. A representative of the Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers’ Council “agreed to make exploratory contact”, it says. Petticrew and his team do not know whether they were successful. “We couldn’t find the papers,” he said.

The tobacco industry is still heavily promoting smoking in countries such as Bangladesh and Egypt, which are predominantly Muslim and have high proportions of smokers.

Its marketing is generally adapted to the “not overly devout”, says the study. The authors call for further research to find out how the industry had approached other faiths.

The launch of the Faith Against Tobacco national campaign by Tobacco Free Kids and faith leaders in the US, for example, brings together Christianity, Islam, Judaism and other faiths ‘to support proven solutions to reduce smoking’. Understanding efforts by the industry to undermine the efforts of other faith communities brings to light a broader strategy to marginalise tobacco control in diverse communities, and refocuses the problem on tobacco-related health harms,” says the paper.

BAT told the Guardian. “This study, which concerns material written nearly 20 years ago, does not represent the views, policies and position of British American Tobacco. We are a global business that holds itself to strict standards of business conduct and corporate governance, manufacturing and marketing our products in accordance with domestic and international laws and observing the cultural and religious beliefs in the 200 countries in which we operate.”

Philip Morris did not respond to the Guardian’s request for comment.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/apr/20/

Filed under: Nicotine,Social Affairs :

Abstract

INTRODUCTION AND AIMS:

This study aims to evaluate the feasibility and effects of a group cessation program for cannabis and tobacco co-smokers.

DESIGN AND METHODS:

Using a repeated-measures design with pre-, post- and six months follow-up assessments, feasibility (intervention utilisation, safety and acceptability) and changes in substance use behaviour and mental health were evaluated. The intervention consisted of five to six group sessions and was based on current treatment techniques (e.g. motivational interviewing, cognitive-behavioural therapy, and self-control training). In total, 77 adults who used cannabis at least once weekly and cigarettes or similar products at least once daily participated in the study.

RESULTS:

Within nine months, the target sample size was reached. Treatment retention was 62.3%, and only three participants discontinued treatment due to severe problems (concentration problems, sleeping problems, depressive symptoms, and/or distorted perceptions). In total, 41.5% and 23.4% reported abstinence from cigarettes, cannabis or both at the end of treatment and the follow-up, respectively. The individual abstinence rates for cigarettes and cannabis were 32.5% and 23.4% (end of treatment) and 10.4% and 19.5% (follow-up), and 13% (end of treatment) and 5.2% (follow-up) achieved dual abstinence validated for tobacco abstinence. Over the study period, significant decreases in tobacco and cannabis use frequencies and significant improvements in additional outcomes (drinking problems, symptoms of cannabis use disorder, nicotine dependence, depression and anxiety) were achieved.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS:

The evaluated intervention for co-smokers is feasible regarding recruitment, intervention retention and safety. The promising results regarding substance use and mental health support a randomised controlled trial to evaluate effectiveness.

Source:  Drug Alcohol Rev. 2015 Jul;34(4):418-26. doi: 10.1111/dar.12244. Epub 2015 Feb 11.

Abstract

 

Background

The disease risks from cigarette smoking increased in the United States over most of the 20th century, first among male smokers and later among female smokers.  Whether these risks have continued to increase during the past 20 years is unclear.

 

Methods

 We measured temporal trends in mortality across three time periods (1959–1965, 1982–1988, and 2000–2010), comparing absolute and relative risks according to sex and self-reported smoking status in two historical cohort studies and in five pooled contemporary cohort studies, among participants who became 55 years of age or older during follow-up.

 

Results

For women who were current smokers, as compared with women who had never smoked, the relative risks of death from lung cancer were 2.73, 12.65, and 25.66 in the 1960s, 1980s, and contemporary cohorts, respectively; corresponding relative risks for male current smokers, as compared with men who had never smoked, were 12.22, 23.81, and 24.97.

In the contemporary cohorts, male and female current smokers also had similar relative risks for death from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (25.61 for men and 22.35 for women), ischemic heart disease (2.50 for men and 2.86 for women), any type of stroke (1.92 for men and 2.10 for women), and all causes combined (2.80 for men and 2.76 for women). Mortality from COPD among male smokers continued to increase in the contemporary cohorts in nearly all the age groups represented in the study and within each stratum of duration and intensity of smoking.

Among men 55 to 74 years of age and women 60 to 74 years of age, all-cause mortality was at least three times as high among current smokers as among those who had never smoked. Smoking cessation at any age dramatically reduced death rates.

 

Conclusions

The risk of death from cigarette smoking continues to increase among women and the increased risks are now nearly identical for men and women, as compared with persons who have never smoked. Among men, the risks associated with smoking have plateaued at the high levels seen in the 1980s, except for a continuing, unexplained increase in mortality from COPD.

 

Source:  N Engl J Med 2013;368:351-64.

Filed under: Nicotine,USA :

The Food and Drug Administration recently announced it intends to require warning labels and child-resistant packaging on liquid nicotine products such as those used in e-cigarettes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the popularity of e-cigarettes has resulted in a number of cases of nicotine poisoning in recent years.

Jonathan Foulds, professor of public health sciences at  Penn State College of Medicine, says nicotine poisoning is not a new problem. “There is a long history of very young children getting a hold of their parents’ tobacco,” he says. “The most common scenario is that a toddler consumes something, and the parents don’t know how much. Then they call the poison control center or end up in the emergency room.”  In the best case that leads to anxiety, and possibly unpleasant investigations for the families, and in the worst case it could lead to loss of consciousness or death for the child, Foulds says.

He adds any substance that could be harmful to children should come in a childproof container. “There are hundreds of cases of poisoning from cigarettes every year, and so all nicotine products, including cigarettes, should be in childproof packages.”  Nicotine replacement lozenges and other novelty smokeless tobacco products that resemble candy can also be dangerous.

The liquid used in e-cigarettes is often flavored – anything from strawberry to cookies’n’cream – and may therefore smell appealing to children who come across it.

“All nicotine is a poison as are all tobacco products containing nicotine, so people using any of them should take great care to keep them out of reach of kids,” Foulds says.

A nicotine overdose usually makes a person sweaty, clammy, dizzy and nauseous. It proceeds to vomiting and loss of consciousness. It can also lead to death.  Luckily for most children, nicotine doesn’t taste good, so most do not continue to consume it once they have had a taste. But with the highly concentrated liquid nicotine, a child who drinks even a small amount could end up with a lethal dose.

Foulds says the proposed measures alone won’t solve the problem. He adds consumers need to be vigilant about using provided childproofing measures and making sure that any substances that could be harmful to children stay out of reach: “Simply put, nicotine is a poison and consumers need to take responsibility for keeping it away from children, whether it is in a childproof container or not.”

Source:  Newsroom:  Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center   23-Jul-2015

Cigarette warning labels with images depicting diseases caused by smoking help young adults learn about the dangers of lighting up, new research suggests. A study appearing in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine suggests graphic images accompanying written health warnings on cigarette packs may help people better understand and increase their concern about how smoking can harm their health.

“Our outcomes suggest that focusing on enhancing understanding and knowledge from smoking warning labels that convey true consequences of smoking may not only influence motivation directly – both in terms of quitting and prevention of smoking – but may actually drive the emotional experience of the label, which we know is an important predictor of motivation,” Renee Magnan, an assistant professor of psychology at Washington State University, Vancouver, said in a news release.

Magnan added that this was a preliminary study, but it suggested such labels could contribute to larger anti-smoking education campaigns. Researchers took two groups of people between the ages of 18 and 25, which included both smokers and non-smokers, and asked, via an online survey about how much they learned about the harms of smoking from different warning labels.

Participants were shown labels highlighting the negative impacts of lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, impotence, eye disease, neck, throat and mouth cancers and vascular disease, some of which were accompanied by images of the disease. Some labels included pictures that showed the disease, while others were text only.

Young adults in both groups said the labels paired with images did a better job at giving them better understanding, more knowledge, caused more worry and did a better job at discouraging them from smoking than the text alone.

The only exceptions were images of a cigarette held limply in a hand, which was supposed to represent impotence, and an IV in someone’s hand, which was meant to show a long illness, both of which received similar ratings to the corresponding text-only warning.  Magnan said in the news release she wanted to do this study because not much research has been done on whether people learn anything from the labels, although an increasing amount of evidence suggests images on warning labels may help discourage smoking. Magnan’s research was conducted with colleague Linda D. Cameron of the University of California-Merced.

As part of the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a final rule in 2011 requiring tobacco companies to include color graphics on cigarette packets warning consumers of the negative health implications of smoking. In August 2012, this rule was overturned by the government after it was challenged by several tobacco companies, who claimed such graphic warnings would violate the tobacco industry’s right to free speech. This decision was upturned by the Supreme Court in 2013, giving the FDA permission to enforce graphic warnings on cigarette packets.

Source:   CADCA’s online newsletter, April 9, 2015 

December 16, 2014

At the end of a year that has seen further tragic deaths from addiction and new designer drugs that put young people at risk, today’s results from the 2014 Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey of drug use among adolescents provide a dose of welcome optimism. No major drug use indicators increased significantly between last year and this year; use of alcohol, cigarettes, and illicit and prescription drugs either held at the same level or, in many cases, declined among American teens.

Particularly heartening was the fact that students’ marijuana use has not increased in the past two years: This year, 21.2 percent of seniors, 16.6 percent of 10th graders, and 6.5 percent of 8th graders used marijuana in the past month—high percentages, but not significantly different from 2013. Cigarette and alcohol use (including binge drinking) continued their steady downward trend that we’ve seen for several years now. Abuse of prescription opioids also declined since 2013 and is down by a third to a half over the last 5 years (depending on the opioid and the grade).

We have also seen diminished abuse of inhalants by the youngest teens, who historically are most likely to abuse these readily available substances, as well as diminished abuse of over-the-counter drugs like cough syrups. And although synthetic cannabinoids like “K2” and “Spice” (also known as “synthetic marijuana”) have only been tracked in the survey for the past two years for all three grades, use of these very dangerous and unpredictable drugs is also down from last year.

Although there are no doubt many possible contributing factors to these trends, I like to think that prevention messages are making an impact. Teens are getting the message from various sources that drugs are not good for their developing brains, and there are much better, healthier, and more enjoyable ways to spend their time.

An exception to the good news may be teens’ perception of the risks associated with marijuana. Although use has not increased since 2012, the numbers of teens who believe marijuana is not harmful continued the steady decline we have seen for a decade; this perception of safety could be linked to the drug’s greater visibility and public debates over its legality and its possible uses as medicine.

The survey also showed that edibles are popular among teen marijuana users, especially in states that have legalized medical marijuana. Forty percent of seniors who had used marijuana in the past year in medical marijuana states reported having consumed it in an edible form, versus 26 percent in non-medical marijuana states. With edible marijuana products there is a great danger (to both adults and kids) of ingesting high doses of THC without intending to, making it very important that these products be properly regulated and labeled.

Scientists and policymakers may endlessly debate the degree of long-term harm marijuana poses, but while there is much we still do not know about the drug’s effects, all available evidence points to significant interference in brain development when marijuana is initiated early and used heavily. In 2014, 5.8 percent of 12th graders reported daily or near-daily use of marijuana, which may impact this segment of youth for the rest of their lives. (With the collaboration of other NIH institutes, NIDA is planning a major longitudinal study that will examine the effects of teen marijuana and other drug use more closely over the next decade.)

A brand-new area of concern reflected in the MTF survey is the surprisingly high use of e-cigarettes, which were included for the first time in this year’s survey (thus trend data are not available). The survey showed 17.1 percent of seniors, 16.2 percent of 10th graders, and 8.7 percent of 8th graders report past-month use of these devices, whose health effects are at this point virtually unknown.

Although e-cigarettes don’t burn tobacco and thus produce no tar, there may be other harmful chemicals in the vapor they produce, and products that deliver nicotine (which depend on the fluid used) can be addictive. Thus it will be very important in coming years to monitor e-cigarette use by young people and learn more about their health effects.

While overall the MTF data this year are encouraging, we of course cannot relax our efforts in educating teens about the dangers of the drugs they encounter now and will continue to encounter as they grow older. The message should be clear and unequivocal: For teens and young adults, whose brains are still not finished maturing and thus can be readily altered in their development by any substance exposure, there are simply no safe drugs.

The largest recent US national survey of drink and drug problems shows that outside the addiction treatment clinic, remission is the norm and recovery common. After 14 years half the people at some time dependent on alcohol were in remission, a milestone reached for cannabis after six years, and for cocaine after just five.

SUMMARY Among the US general adult population, and for each of nicotine, alcohol, cannabis and cocaine (including crack), this study sought to estimate the time from onset of dependence to remission, the cumulative probability of remission in different racial/ethnic groups, and to identify factors related to the probability of remission.

It drew its data from the National Epidemiological Survey of Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) conducted in 2000–2001, which focused on drinking disorders but also asked about other forms of drug use and psychological problems. The aim was to interview a representative sample of civilian, non-institutionalised adults aged 18 and over living in households and group residences such as college halls, boarding houses and non-transient hotels. About 8 in 10 of the sample responded to the survey yielding 43,093 respondents. The featured report investigated the subgroups who had some time in their lives been dependent on nicotine (of which there were 6937), alcohol (4781), cannabis (530) or cocaine (408).

Dependence was defined as meeting the dependence criteria of the applicable version of the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM manual, DSM-IV. ‘Lifetime’ dependence was diagnosed if the respondent reported having experienced at least three specific signs of this syndrome within the same 12-month period at some point in their life. The age this first happened for any particular substance was the onset year, while the remission year was based on the age when the respondent’s answers indicatedthey had last stopped meeting dependence criteria for the drug, and had continued to do so for at least a year until interviewed for the survey – essentially, the most recent (at least so far) lastinglysuccessful remission. It was on this basis that the study calculated remission rates for individual substances and related them to the time between the onset of dependence and remission.

Main findings

Proportion of dependent users in remission

Within a year of first becoming dependent, 3% each of smokers and drinkers were in remission and remained so until they were surveyed. For cannabis the figure was nearly 5% and for cocaine, nearly 9%. After ten years the proportions in remission had risen to 18% for nicotine, 37% for alcohol, 66% for cannabis and 76% for cocaine  chart. It could be estimated that by the end of their lives 84% of formerly dependent smokers would be in remission, 91% for alcohol, 97% for cannabis and 99% for cocaine. About 26 years after first becoming dependent, half the people at some time dependent on nicotine were in remission, a milestone reached for alcohol after 14 years, for cannabis six years, and for cocaine five years.

Once other factors had been taken in to account, for each of the substances, men who had been dependent at some time were significantly less likely than women to be in remission, especially in respect of the two illegal drugs, cannabis and cocaine; for every 10 women only about six men were in remission from dependence on these drugs. Black Americans once dependent on nicotine or cocaine were less likely to be in remission than white Americans – for cocaine, half as likely. After four years, about 50% of whites had sustained remission from dependence on cocaine; African Americans took nine years to reach the same milestone.

About 80% of people at some time dependent on nicotine or alcohol and almost all those once dependent on cannabis or cocaine had also at some time met diagnostic criteria for another psychiatric disorder, including conduct (antisocial behaviour in early life) and personality disorders. Once other factors had been taken in to account, people who had met criteria for conduct disorder were much more likely than others to have overcome their dependence on cannabis. In contrast, a diagnosis of a personality disorder was associated with a lower probability of remission from cannabis (and also alcohol) dependence. Having once experienced mood and anxiety disorders was unrelated to remission from dependence on any of the four substances.

The authors’ conclusions

The general picture is that the vast majority of people in the USA once dependent on nicotine, alcohol, cannabis or cocaine stop being dependent at some point in their lives, and this happens after fewer years for cannabis or cocaine than for nicotine or alcohol. Black Americans stay dependent longer on nicotine and cocaine than white Americans, and probabilities of remission are associated with social and psychological characteristics and dependence on other substances. However, the fact that that many people once dependent were no longer at the time of the survey should be interpreted with caution given the irregular course of addictions punctuated by remissions and relapses; their remission may have been temporary. Possible explanations for these findings are considered below.

More than two thirds of remissions from cannabis and cocaine dependence occurred within the first decade after onset of dependence, but only a fifth for nicotine and a third for alcohol. These differences may be explained in part by how quickly adverse physical, psychological and social consequences become apparent. For instance, the risk of early cardiovascular problems is much higher among individuals dependent on cocaine than among those dependent on nicotine or alcohol. Behavioural disturbances resulting from cannabis or cocaine dependence and their illegal status impose stronger social pressures to remit. The pervasive availability of alcohol and nicotine also means pervasive environmental prompts to using the drugs. Particularly for nicotine, perceived immediate benefits including anxiety and stress reduction, improved cognitive performance, and weight control, may initially outweigh perceived potential harms from long-term use.

Consistent with previous studies, black Americans once dependent on cocaine were less likely to remit than their white counterparts. Psychosocial factors that commonly affect black populations, including discrimination and lower levels of social capital, have been recognised as barriers to remission and triggers to use or relapse; genetic factors may also contribute.

Men were less likely than women to remit from dependence, perhaps because substance use is more damaging (physically, mentally and socially) for women, heightening motivation to stop using. Feelings of guilt and concerns about substance use during pregnancy and child-rearing may also play a particular part in prompting remission among women.

Individuals who met criteria for a personality disorder were less likely to remit from alcohol or cannabis dependence. This may be because characteristics of these disorders such as being impulsive, intolerant to stress, anxious, and craving new experiences, also predispose to substance use, and these characteristics tend to persist.

Among the limitations of the study were that it omitted institutionalised individuals including prisoners. People whose substance use led to their early death would also have been missed, as may some with severe but non-fatal consequences. These omissions may have caused an overestimation of the probability of remission across the entire population. The study also had no information on the number and duration of remission episodes over an individual’s lifetime; it could only relate other factors to the latest of these remissions.

 

 COMMENTARY The good news from this analysis is that, in the US context, rather than continued dependence, remission is the norm. Most people overcome or grow out of their dependence on the drugs analysed by the study – for cocaine and cannabis, after just five or six years, and for alcohol, after 14, and over their lives people continue to remit until nearly all are no longer dependent. But at least in respect of drinking, there are a set of multiply problematic drinkers who despite treatment, take many more years to stop being dependent. The findings on black versus white Americans suggest that remission rates depend on socioeconomic factors; sampled at another period in the USA’s economic cycles or in respect of drugs used predominantly by more or less advantaged sections of the population, remission rates too might differ, and look more or less like the chronic disease model.

The data presented in the featured article did not show whether the user ‘in remission’ had simply become dependent on another drug. Within the set of illegal drugs and medicines, this seemed uncommon, because the total remission rate was so high. But it seems more than possible that some who matured out of illegal drug use instead took up heavy drinking, in social and legal terms, a dependence easier to live with as an adult.

Remission rates looking forward

An acknowledged weakness of the featured report is that it asked respondents to recall changes which may have happened many years ago. However, the survey was repeated about three years later when 87% of the people who still qualified for the survey were re-interviewed. The follow-up offered an opportunity to see how many dependent at the time of the first survey had recovered three years later. These analyses seem only to have been done for drinking, for which they confirm that most people cease to be dependent though most too continue to experience drink-related problems and to sometimes drink heavily, and remain vulnerable to relapse. This average impression results from the pooling of dramatically different trajectories, from older multiply problematic alcoholics who usually do not remit despite treatment, to youngsters who generally quickly remit without formal help. Details below.

Among the re-interviewed sample were 1172 of the 1484 people who had been dependent on alcohol in the year before the first interview three years before. Nearly two thirds were longer dependent in the year before the follow-up interview. So complete was their recovery that a fifth of those previously dependent had in the past year experienced no indications of abuse or dependence; of these, three quarters were still drinking. About 11% not only had no symptoms, but were exclusively drinking within low-risk guidelines, evenly split between those drinking moderately and those not drinking at all.

But this broad-brush picture hid substantial variation in the fates of different types of dependent drinkers. At one extreme were the most severely affected drinkers with multiple psychological problems and on average about nine years of dependence behind them, two thirds of whom were still dependent at the second interview. At the other were young adults and older drinkers with few complicating psychological disorders and few years of dependent drinking. For most of these the dip in to dependence was a phase which (at least for time being) was over by the the second interview, when just under 30% were still dependent.

At least for the three years between the surveys, remission was very stable. Among the re-interviewed sample were 1772 of the 2109 who three years before had been in “full remission” from past dependence on alcohol, meaning that even though they may sometimes have drunk above low-risk guidelines, for the past 12 months they had reported no symptoms of alcohol abuse or dependence. Of these just 5% had slipped back to being dependent in the year before the second interview, though a third who had been drinking above low-risk guidelines had re-experienced some symptoms of alcohol abuse or dependence. Most stable in their recovery were the abstainers, of whom just 1 in 50 experienced such symptoms. The much greater stability of recovery in abstainers and low-risk drinkers was confirmed when other factors had been taken in to account, but was not apparent among the younger adults in the sample.

Treatment’s impact

Few dependent drug users recover through treatment and fewer still dependent on alcohol – in theNESARC survey on which the featured analysis was based, of those no longer dependent on alcohol,just 24% had at any time been in any kind of treatment for their drinking problems. Over two thirds of those who achieved more complete forms of recovery also did so without treatment.

While this shows that in the USA, treatment is generally not needed to recover from substance dependence, treatment may still make recovery more likely. In respect of dependence on alcohol, one analysis of data from the NESARC survey was consistent with formal treatment promoting recovery characterised by abstinence or low-risk drinking and no symptoms of abuse or dependence, but another and perhaps more reliable analysis found no such association.

Both however found that when treatment had been accompanied by attendance at 12-step mutual aid groups, recovery was more likely – especially abstinent recovery. These analyses could not however disentangle the possible effects of the motivation and conditions which drive someone to seek help, from the effect of actually receiving that help. Complicating the picture is the fact in this survey, the most severely affected and multiply comorbid drinkers with many years of dependence behind them were far more likely to seek treatment than less severely affected types of dependent drinkers. Despite seeking help, they were by a large margin the ones most likely to still be dependent when the survey was repeated three years later.

What about heroin and other opiates?

A notable omission from the illicit drugs included in the featured report was heroin and other opiates. Fortunately these were the subject of the greatest number of relevant studies in another review of follow-up studies of remission from dependence on amphetamine, cannabis, cocaine or opiate-type drugs. It included only studies of general populations or people who entered treatment in the normal way rather than enrolling in treatment trials.

Across the ten studies relevant to opiate-type drugs, every year on average between 22% and 9% of people were either abstinent or no longer dependent; the higher figure is the average of the proportions remitted among people who could be followed up, while the lower estimate includes cases who could not be followed and assumes they are still dependent. Generally the subjects were patients in treatment. Based mainly on patients in treatment, corresponding figures for cocaine were between 14% and 5%. The single study (from the USA) of a general population sample of cocaine-dependent people found that 39% had remitted four years after initially surveyed. For cannabis, the estimate was 17% per annum based on general population surveys and assuming people not followed up were still dependent.

In accordance with the featured article, such figures imply that within 10 years most dependent users of these drugs will no longer be dependent and may have entirely ceased use.

Racial differences reflect socioeconomic status

An analysis of data from the NESARC survey showed that taking alcohol and other drugs together, the longer dependence careers of black versus white Americans was associated with their having less social and socioeconomic resources, signified by fewer being married and fewer having completed their schooling. Once these were taken in to account, racial differences were no longer significant. The implication is that it is not race as such which makes the difference, but the position black people tend to occupy in US society. Given the same disadvantages, white Americans has dependence careers just as extended as black Americans.

Diagnostic system affects remission rate

Much in this analysis depends on the definitions used in the survey. Specifically, the probability of remission equates to the probability that someone will for at least the past 12 months have dropped below experiencing three or more dependence symptoms together in respect of the same drug. From the same survey, it is known for alcohol that many will still be consuming heavily, experiencing symptoms of dependence such as withdrawal and compulsive use, and suffering poor physical and mental health (1 2). They may be remitted from their dependence, but not according to most understandings, ‘recovered’.

Had the line been drawn elsewhere, the chances of remission might have been substantially lower – for example, as commonly in NESARC reports on drinking (1 2 3 4), if remission had been defined as non-problem moderate use or abstinence.

The latest version of the DSM manual (DSM-5) softens this binary system by diagnosing a substance use disorder when at least two symptoms are present in the same 12 months, and rating this as moderate if there were two or three, severe if four or more. ‘Abuse’ and ‘dependence’ are now subsumed within this continuum. The change seems likely to bring many more less severely affected people under the same substance use disorder umbrella as the three-symptom population investigated by the featured analysis. Their remission rates too may differ.

It is also theoretically possible that ‘remission’ may partly reflect the lack of noticeable change or struggle as with the years dependence becomes more deeply embedded and dominant in one’s life, and the change processes probed by some diagnostic questions cease to be live issues – not a sign of recovery, but of the lack such a prospect and the narrowing of life to substance use. For example, having plateaued in their use levels, long-term dependent users may no longer (or not for the past 12 months) have found themselves needing to take more of the drug to feel the desired effects, or taking more than they intended. Perhaps too in the past they had tried unsuccessfully to stop using, or had at least persistently wanted to, but now no longer tried or even wanted to. Ensuring a steady supply of drink or drugs they made no attempt to interrupt would minimise experience of withdrawal. They may also have no important interests and activities left to sacrifice to their dependence – all among the symptoms used to diagnose dependence.

Some findings from NESARC are consistent with this possibility. In the three years between the first interview and the re-interview, the alcohol dependence symptoms which fell away most often and most consistently across different types of drinkers were “taking alcohol often in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended”, “a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control use”, and withdrawal.

Similarly, young adult dependent drinkers tend not to endorse the dependence symptom relating to inability to stop drinking or cut back, presumably because they have yet to try.

Related analyses

This data from the featured report has been reanalysed to show that for each of these drugs, the probability that someone would have ceased being dependent remained the same no matter how long ago they had first become dependent. For the author this falsified theories which assume that the longer it lasts, the deeper dependence becomes embedded in neural circuits or lifestyles.

The survey on which the featured article was based and other US national surveys were among those included in a synthesisof hundreds of studies of remission and recovery from substance use problems. This too concluded that “Recovery is not an aberration achieved by a small and morally enlightened minority of addicted people. If there is a natural developmental momentum within the course of [these] problems, it is toward remission and recovery”.

Last revised 24 October 2013. First uploaded 19 October 2013

Source:  Probability and predictors of remission from life-time nicotine, alcohol, cannabis or cocaine dependence: results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions.

Lopez-Quintero C., Hasin D.S., Pérez de los Cobos J. et al.
Addiction: 2011, 106(3), p. 657–669.

AS the e-cigarette industry booms, poison control workers say the number of children exposed to the liquid nicotine that gives hand-held vaporizing gadgets their kick also has spiked. 

More  than 2,700 people have called the US’ poison control so far in 2014 to report an exposure to liquid nicotine, more than half of those cases in children younger than six, according to national statistics. The number shows a sharp rise from only a few hundred cases just three years ago.

The battery-powered electronic vaporizers often resemble traditional cigarettes and work by heating liquid nicotine into an inhalable mist. The drug comes in brightly coloured refill packages and an array of candy flavours that can make it attractive to young children, heightening the exposure risk and highlighting the need for users to keep it away from youngsters.

“With kids, the exposure we’re seeing is usually parents or family members leave out refill bottles that they try and open,” said Ashley Webb, director of the Kentucky Regional Poison Control Center.

Poison control workers often see a spike in calls with new and growing products, Webb said. The number of e-cigarette users has climbed to several million worldwide, and the devices have become the centre of an industry that has grown in the last four years from about $US82 million to $US2.5 billion ($A88.72 million to $A2.70 billion) in annual sales, at least $US500 million of which comes from liquid nicotine.

Despite the recent increase, liquid nicotine exposures are still less than half of traditional cigarettes, but e-juice is potentially more toxic, said Robert Bassett, a medical toxicologist in Philadelphia. “It would be really hard for a child to eat a whole pack of cigarettes, but now we’re dealing with these very, very concentrated forms you get more than a pack of cigarettes in a small, ingestible amount,” Bassett said.

Bassett consulted on the case of a 10-month-old boy who drank from a refill bottle while his mother’s back was turned. The toddler recovered within hours, but he had vomited, and his heart was pounding when he was brought to the emergency room.  “Unfortunately, with little kids it’s hard,” Bassett said. “They simply can’t tell you what they’re feeling.”

Liquid nicotine also stands out because it doesn’t have to be swallowed to be harmful. Skin exposure can be toxic. Officials are calling for child-resistant caps, which many manufacturers have already begun using, but there is no uniform protocol.

The e-cigarette industry doesn’t face the strict government regulations on traditional smokes that aim to keep them away from children, including prohibitions on lolly or fruit flavours. The US Food and Drug Administration has proposed issuing regulations, but no rules have been drafted.

 Source: www.news.com.au  23rd October 2014 

Filed under: Nicotine :

Smoking and the breast cancer risk gene BRCA2 combine to “enormously” increase the chance of developing lung cancer, a study of 27,000 people has suggested.  The research, published in the journal Nature, found the gene could double the likelihood of getting lung cancer.

And some men and women faced a far greater risk, a team at the Institute of Cancer Research in London said.  Cancer Research UK suggested drugs targeted at breast cancer may work in some lung cancers.

The links between variants of the BRCA genes and breast cancer are well established – a diagnosis led Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie to have a preventative double mastectomy – but it has also been linked with an increased risk of other cancers affecting women such as ovarian cancer and prostate cancer in men.

The study compared the genetic codes of people with and without lung cancer. Smokers have 40 times the chance of developing lung cancer, but those with a BRCA2 mutation were nearly 80 times more likely, the analysis showed. A quarter of those carrying the mutation, and who also smoke, will go on to develop lung cancer, the research team said.

“It is a massive increase in the risk of developing lung cancer,” said Prof Richard Houlston from the team.   “There is a subset of the population who are at very significant risk. “The most important thing is reducing smoking; it is so bad for other diseases, as well as [increasing] the risk of lung cancer.”

Mutations to the BRCA genes stop DNA from repairing itself effectively.

“In the context of smoking there is such an enormous amount of DNA damage that any loss of DNA repair is going to be an issue,” Prof Houlston added.

The discovery could mean treatments that are being developed for breast cancer may also work in some cases of lung cancer.  “We’ve known for two decades that inherited mutations in BRCA2 made people more likely to develop breast and ovarian cancer, but these new findings show a greater risk of lung cancer too, especially for people who smoke,” said Prof Peter Johnson, Cancer Research UK’s chief clinician.

“Importantly this research suggests that treatments designed for breast and ovarian cancer may also be effective in lung cancer, where we urgently need new drugs.   “But, with or without one of these genetic flaws, the single most effective way to reduce the risk of lung cancer is to be a non-smoker.”

Source: bbc.co.uk/news/health   1st June 2014

 

Find out what exactly is in a cigarette. SmokeFreeForsythe.org

Over 3,200 Americans under the age of 18 smoke their first cigarette every day, and most of them are unaware of what they are getting into. Many new smokers may not realize how quickly their new habit can lead to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, lung diseases, and certain types of cancer. If you’re looking for an explanation as to why cigarette smoke results in more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States, look no further than its ingredients. The average cigarette contains upward of 600 different ingredients on top of over 7,000 chemicals produced by cigarette smoke. Where these ingredients and chemicals also show up may shock some smokers into quitting once and for all.

“One of the issues with cigarettes is that they have hundreds of added ingredients, not just what is naturally in the tobacco plant,” environmental health scientist with Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Dr. Luz Claudio told Medical Daily in an email. “What complicates this even more is that when these chemicals burn, they form other chemicals that may have additional effects on health.” While tobacco companies like R.J. Reynolds insist that a lot of the ingredients found in cigarettes are also found in Food and Drug Administration-approved foods and beverages, a few of these ingredients are also found in products that you would never think to put in your body otherwise. Take for example arsenic, an inorganic substance found in wood preservatives and rat poison. On the FDA’s Established List of Harmful and Potentially Harmful Constituents in Tobacco Products and Tobacco Smoke, arsenic’s dangers include: carcinogen, cardiovascular toxicant, and reproductive or developmental toxicant.

Some of cigarettes’ harmful ingredients and chemicals are more familiar, such as carbon monoxide, which can be found in car exhaust fumes, and nicotine, also found in insecticides. There’s also formaldehyde, a cancer-causing ingredient of embalming fluid. Others may not seem so dangerous by name alone like cadmium, an active ingredient in batteries, or hexamine, sometimes found in barbecue lighters. Approximately 70 of the chemicals and ingredients found in a cigarette are considered carcinogenic, meaning they have the potential to cause cancer. Almost all of these ingredients can lead to death in some way or another.

“Cigarette smoke can affect the flow of oxygen within our bodies in two ways,” pulmonologist specializing in pulmonary rehab with City of Hope, Dr. Brian Tiep told Medical Daily. “First, carbon monoxide grabs on to the hemoglobin molecule, which prevents the transport of oxygen through red blood cells. Secondly, cyanide hinders tissue’s ability to take up and utilize oxygen. Tissue cannot function without this steady flow of oxygen.” According to the American Cancer Society, cigarette smoke accounts for at least 30 percent of all cancer-related deaths in the U.S. This includes 87 percent of lung cancer deaths among men and 70 percent of among women. Cigarette smoke can also lead to certain lung diseases including emphysema, bronchitis, and chronic airway obstruction. There are currently more than 16 million Americans suffering from a disease that was caused by smoking. If appropriate prevention strategies are not put in place to curb the number of young Americans who pick up smoking, an estimated 5.4 million people under the age of 18 will die prematurely due to a smoking-related illness.

Source: www.medicaldaily.com  30th April 2014

Addiction makes it difficult for people to look beyond immediate gratification to the longer term consequences of their actions. Accordingly, patients in drug abuse treatment are often coached to make and rehearse mental associations between situations that trigger drug cravings and the problems that are likely to ensue from succumbing to them. The cognitive behavioral programs that incorporate this strategy generally are effective, but researchers have shed little light on the neurological basis for their efficacy—until now.

In a study led by Dr. Kevin N. Ochsner of the Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at Columbia University, smokers reported milder cigarette cravings when they thought about smoking’s harmful effects while viewing smoking cues than when they focused on its pleasures. Brain imaging correlated the reductions in craving with altered activity levels in regions associated with emotional regulation and reward.

Mental Adjustment Alters Brain Activity

Dr. Ochsner and colleagues recruited smokers as study subjects because smoking accounts for more illness and death than any other addiction. To gain insight on the smokers’ ability to regulate cravings in general, the team also investigated their responses to cues for high-fat food.

The participants were 21 men and women who had smoked for 10 years, on average, and were not trying to quit. In preparation for the study, the participants practiced turning their thoughts to rewarding effects of cigarettes or high-fat food consumption when given the instruction “NOW” and to negative effects when given the instruction “LATER.” In the study itself, the researchers gave each participant 100 such instructions, in random order, each followed by a 6-second exposure to a screen image of either cigarettes or food. Then, after a 3-second delay with the screen blank, the participant reported how much he or she desired to smoke or eat, on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 5 (very much).

The power of thinking about negative effects proved to be considerable. The participants reported 34 percent less intense urges to smoke and 30 percent less intense food cravings after the LATER instruction compared with the NOW instruction.

Brain scans taken during the experiment showed how concentrating on long-term negative consequences alters brain activity to reduce craving. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the participants’ whole brain revealed increased activity levels in areas—the dorsomedial, dorsolateral, and ventrolateral regions of the prefrontal cortex (PFC)—that support cognitive control functions, such as focusing, shifting attention, and controlling emotions. Activity decreased in regions that previous studies have linked with craving; these areas include the ventral striatum and ventral tegmental area, which are parts of the reward circuit; the amygdala; and the subgenual cingulate. Individual participants who reported larger reductions in craving exhibited these changes to a more marked degree. A specialized mediation analysis of the images found that the increase in PFC activity drove the decrease in ventral striatum activity, which, in turn, fully accounted for the reduction in craving.

“These results show that a craving-control technique from behavioral treatment influences a particular brain circuit, just as medications affect other pathways,” says Dr. Steven Grant of NIDA’s Division of Clinical Neuroscience and Behavioral Research.

The researchers noted that the study participants reduced their smoking and food cravings to the same extent, even though smoking cravings were initially more intense. This finding suggests that calling undesirable consequences to mind has potential to help people overcome a variety of unhealthy urges.

Scans Show Effects of Craving Regulation in the Brain When study participants thought of the long-term negative consequences of cigarette consumption (after receiving the instruction “LATER”), rather than short-term pleasures (“NOW”), they reduced their craving. Brain scans showed increased activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex—a region critical to setting goals, planning, and controlling behavior—which, in turn, inhibited the ventral striatum, part of the reward pathway that generates craving. Text Description of Scans Show Effects of Craving Regulation in the Brain Graphic

Healing Perspectives

“Cognitive reappraisal—mentally changing the meaning of an event or object to lessen its emotional impact and therefore alter the behaviors it triggers—is a strategy that helps a variety of problems,” says Dr. Ochsner. Cognitive-behavioral therapists train patients to use this approach, among others, to cope with negative emotions, stress, and substance cravings. Dr. Ochsner says, “People may not realize that they can control cravings or emotions using cognitive strategies—for example, thinking of negative consequences and distracting and distancing oneself—but patients can learn these techniques and then must continue to apply them over time.”

Dr. Ochsner says there is broad scientific interest in the neurobiological mechanisms underlying cognitive control over thoughts and emotions that promote unhealthy behaviors. Such studies generally find that although there is some overlap in the regions of the PFC engaged when people exert cognitive control, different areas seem to support different strategies for the regulation of emotional responses.

“The mediation analysis that Dr. Ochsner and colleagues conducted is unique among imaging studies and is a particular strength of this research,” says Dr. Grant. “Because the researchers examined the interaction of brain regions, the results provide a perspective on the neural circuits involved in cognitive control of craving.”

Dr. Grant suggests two important next steps in this area of research: identifying why some people have more problems than others in controlling the desire for cigarettes and determining whether brain activity predicts the ability to quit smoking.

Sources

Kober, H., et al. Prefrontal-striatal pathway underlies cognitive regulation of craving. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107(33):14811–14816, 2010. Kober, H., et al. Regulation of craving by cognitive strategies in cigarette smokers. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 106(1):52–55, 2010.  NIDA Notes April 19, 2012

Each day almost 600 children are taking up the habit, putting themselves at a much greater risk of lung cancer and other diseases.

More children are starting to smoke in London than anywhere else

Almost 600 children aged under 16 take up smoking every day in the UK, research has suggested.  A survey of secondary school pupils in years 7 to 11 (children mostly aged 11-15) estimated there were 207,000 new child smokers between 2010 and 2011.  The Health and Social Care Information Centre said the figures, published in the journal Thorax, were particularly high in London.

“Each day, 67 children, more than two classrooms full, start smoking in London,” said the experts, who included specialists from Cancer Research UK and Imperial College London.

An estimated 463 children start smoking every day in England, with 50 in Scotland, 30 in Wales and 19 in Northern Ireland.

The experts said: “Smoking is among the largest causes of preventable deaths worldwide. The present data should help to raise awareness of childhood smoking and to focus attention on the need to address this important child protection issue.”

People who start smoking before the age of 15 have a higher risk of lung cancer than those who start later, they said. The team also pointed to “compelling evidence” that young people are susceptible to branding and advertising and are influenced by the depiction of smoking in films. The experts said: “Legislation is needed to counter the efforts of the tobacco industry, but this requires political will by legislators at both national and local levels.” Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said: “Although the thought of nearly 20 classrooms full of children taking up smoking every day should be shocking, the sad thing is that it comes as no surprise.

“It is even sadder to think that, at current rates, half of these children are likely to eventually die as a result of their habit if they continue smoking.”

Source:  news.sky.com  Thursday 05 December 2013 

Filed under: Nicotine,Youth :

Abstract

Background

Exposure to tobacco and alcohol imagery in films is strongly associated with uptake and consumption of both tobacco and alcohol in young people. In an analysis of popular UK films over the 20 years from 1989 to 2008, we have previously documented substantial tobacco and alcohol content in films marketed to children and young people. In view of increasing awareness of the potential harm of this exposure, this study was undertaken to assess whether these exposures continue to be prevalent in more recent films, by analysing the most popular films in the years 2009—11.

Methods

Occurrence of tobacco (tobacco use, implied use, tobacco paraphernalia, and tobacco brand appearances) and alcohol (alcohol use, inferred alcohol use, other alcohol reference, and alcohol brand appearances) imagery was measured by 5-min interval coding in the 15 most commercially successful films in the UK in each year from 2009 to 2011. Each 5-min period of film was coded as positive for each category of tobacco or alcohol imagery, or both, if at least one such incident occurred during the 5-min period.

Findings

All of the 45 most popular films for 2009—11 were rated by UK film classifiers as suitable for youth audiences (those aged younger than 18 years). Any tobacco was present in a third of all films (15 of 45), whereas any alcohol was present in more than four-fifths (37 of 45 [82%]). Tobacco use occurred in 11 films, and alcohol use occurred in 26. Tobacco branding was infrequent, but two brands, Marlboro and K & J, were clearly identifiable. Alcohol branding was far more frequent, occurring in 22% (ten of 45) of films, with the most frequently occurring brands being Jagermeister, Singha, and Budweiser. When combined with earlier findings using the same methods in films from 1989 to 2008, tobacco was present in 65% (225 of 345) of films, and alcohol in 86% (295 of 345) of films. Tobacco content in each of the coded categories decreased between 1989 and 2010, but increased again in 2011, largely as a result of two films: The King’s Speech and Sherlock Homes: a Game of Shadows. Alcohol content fluctuated over the 23 years, without any significant decline overall (p>0·05). Overall, the most commonly represented tobacco brands were Marlboro, Silk Cut, and Embassy, and the most common alcohol brands were Budweiser, Miller, and Coors.

Interpretation

Although conventional tobacco promotion is heavily restricted in the UK, tobacco imagery continues to be evident in films classified for and popular with youth audiences. The amount of tobacco content in films has decreased over the years but increased again in 2011. Alcohol advertising and promotion remains largely self-regulated in the UK, and there has been no appreciable reduction in any alcohol depictions in youth classified films. UK film regulators are aware of the effects of film content on youth audiences, but in practice do not seem to consider either tobacco or alcohol imagery in the age classification process of films suitable for young people.

Funding

This research was done as part of the research undertaken by AL as part of a research fellowship funded by the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies, which is a UKCRC Centre of Public Health Research Excellence. Funding was from the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Medical Research Council, and the Department of Health.

Source:  The Lancet, Volume 382, Issue , Page S66, 29 November 2013

National figures on smoking prevalence are available, but the researchers wanted to estimate smoking uptake among children, to provide some baseline data to inform efforts for preventive measures, and focus attention and resources on what is “essentially a child protection issue.”

This is because taking up smoking at a young age is an even greater risk to health than starting later in life, they say. Smoking at a young age affects lung development and boosts the risk of progressive lung disease (COPD).

And people who start smoking before the age of 15 run a higher risk of developing lung cancer than those who take up the habit later on, even if the cumulative number of cigarettes smoked is smaller, they add.

The researchers based their analysis on data taken from the 2011 ‘Smoking, drinking and drug use among young people in England’ survey, which targets schoolchildren in England between the ages of 11 and 15 every year.

Questionnaires were completed by 6519 children in 219 schools. And by comparing the numbers of current smokers — regular and occasional — with smoking rates among the same age band surveyed the previous year, the researchers were able to estimate the numbers of new 11 to 15 year olds starting to smoke in 2010-11 in the UK.

To calculate the number of new child smokers for each locality, this estimate of 207,000 was then split across geographical areas according to population size and smoking prevalence among adults, on the assumption that there would be more child smokers where the proportion of adult smokers was high. Parental smoking is one of the strongest predictors of smoking among children.

The researchers then used population and adult smoking prevalence data for each of the four UK countries to calculate the number of new child smokers for each locality.

The analysis indicated that among the 3.7 million children aged between 11 and 15 in the UK, an estimated 463 start smoking every day in England, with the equivalent figures for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, 55, 30, and 19, respectively.

Of 74,000 children in this age group in Birmingham, nine take up smoking every day, while the daily tally in London is 67 out of 458,000 children in this age group.

The authors acknowledge that as their figures are calculated from survey data, they can only be approximate, but the fact that they are regional might be more helpful to healthcare professionals and regulators, they say.

Smoking rates among both adults and children are falling in the UK, but the figures are still high, so the pressure needs to be kept up to reduce smoking further, say the authors.

This means increasing taxation, curbing smuggling, and running well-funded anti-smoking media campaigns, as a well as banning smoking in cars and introducing plain packaging to reduce children’s exposure to branding, they say.

“Smoking is among the largest causes of preventable deaths worldwide,” they write. “The present data should help to raise awareness of childhood smoking and to focus attention on the need to address this important child protection issue,” they conclude.

Source:  www.sciencedaily.com  4th Dec. 2013

Filed under: Health,Nicotine,Youth :

Schizophrenia affects approximately 1% of the general population. It is characterized by positive symptoms, such as delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized speech, and negative symptoms, including blunted affect, reduced motivation, and poor social relationships.1 In addition, studies have consistently identified neurocognitive deficits as clinically relevant core features that affect 75% to 85% of schizophrenia patients and that may serve as critical indices of social functioning, treatment strategies, and functional outcomes.2 Neurocognitive dysfunction is observed across several domains, including working memory, attention, executive function, response inhibition, and processing speed.3

Approximately 50% of patients with schizophrenia will have a comorbid lifetime substance use disorder.4 Tobacco and cannabis are the most commonly used substances among these patients.5 The presence of a substance use disorder has been associated with alterations in neurocognitive performance.5,6 While previous studies have found positive effects of nicotine and tobacco smoking on neurocognition in schizophrenia, the effects of cannabis on neurocognitive function in schizophrenia are inconsistent and inconclusive.7,8

The aim of this article is to evaluate the effects of nicotine and cannabis on neurocognitive function in individuals with schizophrenia and to review potential pharmacological treatment strategies.

Nicotine and tobacco 

Persons with schizophrenia are more likely to smoke cigarettes and to be-gin smoking at a younger age, extract more nicotine from each cigarette, have a preference for higher-tar cigarettes, and have reduced smoking cessation rates.9 Hypotheses have been proposed to explain comorbid smoking behaviors in these patients. The self-medication hypothesis suggests that schizophrenia patients smoke, in part, to alleviate negative symptoms, dysphoric mood, and neurocognitive impairments by ameliorating a dysfunctional dopamine system.10 The addiction vulnerability hypothesis suggests that genetic and neurobiological factors associated with schizophrenia (ie, alterations in nicotinic acetylcholine receptors [nAChRs] and central dopamine systems) may predispose schizophrenia patients to nicotine addiction.11

Examining the effects of tobacco smoking on neurocognition in schizophrenia is crucial because it may help clarify the rationale for high consumption of tobacco products and inform treatment interventions. Table 1 summarizes the significant findings on the effects of nicotine on neurocognition in persons with schizophrenia. A recent cross-sectional study by Wing and colleagues6 found smoking history and current smoking status to be associated with neurocognition in schizophrenia. Patients without any history of tobacco smoking performed worse than former and current smokers with schizophrenia on neurocognitive tasks that assess processing speed, attention, and response inhibition.

A study of the effects of prolonged (up to 10 weeks) smoking abstinence on visuospatial working memory in patients with schizophrenia and controls found that the patients had impaired visuospatial working memory.12 Subsequently, a study by Sacco and colleagues7 examined visuospatial working memory under conditions of overnight smoking abstinence. They found that smoking abstinence specifically impaired visuospatial working memory in schizophrenia patients but not in controls. Abstinence-induced neurocognitive deficits were restored following restart of smoking. The effects of restarting smoking were blocked by treatment with the nAChR antagonist mecamylamine, which suggests that these pro-neurocognitive effects were dependent on nAChR stimulation.

On the basis of these studies, there is consensus that cigarette smoking may transiently enhance visuospatial working memory and attention in schizophrenia. Whether these pro-neurocognitive effects extend to other domains has not been studied extensively in the literature. While a few studies of cigarette smoking in patients with schizophrenia have found positive effects on tasks that involve sensory gating, motor speed, processing speed, working memory, and executive function, other studies have demonstrated no significant differences in neurocognitive performance apart from modest improvements on attentional and spatial processing tasks.6,13-15 Interestingly, the studies that reported modest effects used brief, general neurocognitive batteries, which are not as sensitive as more comprehensive batteries.14,15

Comparative analyses across studies may be difficult to interpret because of methodological differences. For instance, while some studies have participants abstain from smoking for 2 hours, other studies have participants refrain from smoking overnight or for up to 7 days.15 This may create discrepancies among samples because individuals with schizophrenia who can maintain abstinence for 7 days may represent a less neurocognitively vulnerable subgroup of patients, even more so than patients who are able to refrain from smoking for shorter periods, also hypothesized to be inherently less susceptible to neurocognitive deficits.6 Furthermore, several studies do not provide comprehensive information concerning confounders and use small samples, lack control groups, and employ cross-sectional designs without consideration of longitudinal outcomes. These limitations should be addressed in future studies to provide a more uniform picture about the effects of tobacco use and neurocognitive function in schizophrenia.

Cannabis (marijuana)

Epidemiological studies indicate high rates of cannabis use disorders among individuals with schizophrenia, with lifetime prevalence of 13% to 64%.16 Evidence from longitudinal studies shows an increased risk of schizophrenia and psychotic symptoms following heavy cannabis use.17 Previous studies have proposed self-medication with cannabis to remedy symptoms of schizophrenia.18 In contrast to these studies, recent data show that cannabis misuse often occurs before the onset of psychosis and that psychotic and affective symptoms worsen after cannabis use.19

Two recent meta-analyses have addressed the relationship between cannabis use and neurocognition in schizophrenia. Yücel and colleagues25 published a meta-analysis that focused on the effects of cannabis on neurocognition in patients with established schizophrenia. Our group recently examined the same relationship while controlling for the confounding influence of other substance use disorders. Findings from both meta-analyses show superior neurocognitive performance among cannabis-using patients versus non-using patients.

Schnell and colleagues20 investigated the impact of cannabis use disorders and patterns of consumption on neurocognition in a large sample of schizophrenia patients. The cannabis-using group performed better on tests of verbal and working memory, visuomotor speed (Digit Symbol Test), and executive function. More frequent cannabis use was associated with better performance in attention and working memory tasks. Jockers-Scherübl and colleagues26 evaluated the effects of long-term cannabis consumption on neurocognition in schizophrenia patients and controls. Schizophrenia patients performed significantly better than controls on a test of psychomotor speed, while control cannabis users showed impaired performance. Results were even more pronounced when patients began regular cannabis consumption before the age of 17.

Indeed, patients with comorbid cannabis use disorders may belong to a subgroup of schizophrenia patients with better premorbid adjustment and socialization.27 Drug-seeking individuals may possess essential skills required in communicating with drug dealers and negotiating the subculture required to procure illicit drugs; such traits have been associated with higher neurocognitive capacities among those with schizophrenia.28

Findings from other studies show no significant difference in neurocognitive performance between schizophrenic cannabis users and non-users across various cognitive domains, including decision making, while others report worse performance on tasks assessing verbal learning and memory, executive function, working memory, and semantic fluency among cannabis-using patients.29,30

While positive effects of cannabis may be unexpected, they should also be interpreted with caution. The majority of studies assessing this relationship employed cross-sectional designs. Longitudinal studies that examine the effects of cannabis on neurocognition in schizophrenia are needed to determine the true effects of cannabis on core symptoms associated with the illness.

Future studies should control for potential confounding variables, such as premorbid IQ and other substance use, especially tobacco, given its modulating role on neurocognitive processes. How investigators define cannabis-using status should also be uniform across studies. Furthermore, the amount of cannabis used should be taken into account, by using indices that capture cumulative consumption, such as joint-years. Thus, both confounding factors and methodological differences between previous studies may be responsible for the discrepant findings across studies.

Treatment strategies 

Pharmacotherapies that target the nAChRs, which mediate the reinforcing properties and neurocognitive effects of nicotine in smokers, may have therapeutic effects on neurocogni-tive dysfunction in schizophrenia.7,12 Several promising nAChR agents, including galantamine (an allosteric modulator of central nAChRs), DMXB-A (α7-selective agonist), TC-5619 (a selective α4β2 nAChR agonist), and varenicline (α4β2 partial agonist), have been studied in patients with schizophrenia.31-34 A recent study by Hong and colleagues35 found that varenicline treatment in stable, medication-compliant schizophrenia patients for 8 weeks (1 mg/d) improved sensory gating, startle reactivity, and executive function. However, there were no significant effects on other neurocognitive domains, such as spatial working memory, sustained attention, and processing speed.

Cannabinoid antagonists or partial agonists have also been suggested to improve neurocognition in patients with schizophrenia given that cannabinoids increase prefrontal norepinephrine, acetylcholine, dopamine, and glutamate levels. Verrico and colleagues36 established that acute administration of a synthetic CB1 receptor agonist selectively decreased medial prefrontal cortical dopamine turnover in rodents. Thus, caution needs to be used because cannabinoid agonism may increase neurocognitive deficits in patients with schizophrenia by exacerbating frontal cortical dopamine, a critical neurotransmitter involved in neurocognitive processes.

Although there are reports of improved attention, processing speed, and executive function with cannabis use in schizophrenia, negative effects on other domains of neurocognition, such as immediate memory, have also been reported.37 Are these probable benefits worth the trade-off for impairments across certain aspects of memory? Coulston and colleagues37 argue that indeed the trade-off may be beneficial because high-order prefrontal brain processes could, in turn, help patients compensate for other neurocognitive shortfalls (eg, memory). Future investigations are required to determine whether specific neurocognitive components are more beneficial to functioning in schizophrenia than other components.

The second most abundant cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD) constitutes up to 40% of cannabis extracts.38 Recently, CBD has been deemed as a safe and efficacious treatment option for schizophrenia.38 Comparable to typical neuroleptics and unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD has been found to induce proneurocognitive, anxiolytic, and antipsychotic effects.38 A recent functional MRI study showed that THC and CBD exerted opposite effects on activation in the striatum, hippocampus, amygdala, superior temporal cortex, and occipital cortex.39 The researchers also found that pretreatment with CBD averted the induction of psychotogenic effects typically produced by THC.

Understanding the mechanisms by which nicotine and cannabis influence neurocognition in schizophrenia may help guide future rehabilitation strategies. The best approach may be an integrative one that combines pharmacotherapy with psychosocial interventions (eg, neurocognitive enhancement therapies). The development of novel agents that target neurocognitive dysfunction in substance-dependent schizophrenia patients is an important endeavor, given the clinical importance of tobacco and cannabis use in schizophrenia.

Conclusions 

Future research should consider comorbid substance dependence among persons with schizophrenia in order to eliminate confounding variables that distort the association between smoking (eg, nicotine or cannabis) and neurocognitive performance. It is also important to consider whether neurocognition is altered in a general manner or whether specific neuropsychological parameters are affected differently by nicotine and cannabis.

The general consensus on the effects of nicotine on neurocognition in schizophrenia seems to be that nicotine transiently improves spatial working memory and sustained attention. On the other hand, the effects of cannabis on other domains of neurocognition remain unclear. Future studies are required to evaluate the true nature of this relationship.

Clinicians who treat patients with schizophrenia need to be aware of several caveats. While the research suggests opposite effects of nicotine and cannabis on neurocognitive function in patients with schizophrenia, treating comorbid tobacco and cannabis dependence should be a priority, given their negative health effects. In addition, when neurocognitive assessments of patients with schizophrenia are conducted, knowledge of tobacco and cannabis use status is important in interpreting the test results. The findings that constituents of tobacco (nicotine) and cannabis (CBD) may have therapeutic effects on neurocognition in schizophrenia hold promise for the development of novel treatments for cognitive dysfunction in persons with schizophrenia.

Source:  www.psychiatrictimes.com  14th Oct. 2013

American middle and high school students seem increasingly taken with electronic cigarettes — and that alarms health officials who worry the devices will turn teenagers to regular cigarettes, according to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

The battery-powered electronic devices are marketed as safer and more socially acceptable than regular cigarettes and come with “flavor cartridges” — cherry, chocolate and lime and coconut, to name a few — that could appeal to youngsters.

Teenagers’ use of the electronic devices — sometimes call e-cigs — in 2012 was about double what they reported in 2011.

About 10 percent of high school students reported they’d used the e-cigarettes in 2012 along with 3 percent of middle-schoolers.

The devices do not contain tobacco, so they are not regulated like traditional cigarettes and can be purchased by minors.

But health officials said they still deliver nicotine and other chemicals and can serve as the proverbial gateway to regular cigarettes and all of their known health hazards. They also say the devices have not been well studied, so there may be other health risks that are yet unknown.

“The increased use of e-cigarettes by teens is deeply troubling,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, in a statement. “Nicotine is a highly addictive drug. Many teens who start with e-cigarettes may be condemned to struggling with a lifelong addiction to nicotine and conventional cigarettes.”

Source: Erie Times-News, October 3,2013

Filed under: Nicotine,Youth :

American middle and high school students seem increasingly taken with electronic cigarettes — and that alarms health officials who worry the devices will turn teenagers to regular cigarettes, according to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

 

The battery-powered electronic devices are marketed as safer and more socially acceptable than regular cigarettes and come with “flavor cartridges” — cherry, chocolate and lime and coconut, to name a few — that could appeal to youngsters.

 

Teenagers’ use of the electronic devices — sometimes call e-cigs — in 2012 was about double what they reported in 2011.

 

About 10 percent of high school students reported they’d used the e-cigarettes in 2012 along with 3 percent of middle-schoolers.

 

The devices do not contain tobacco, so they are not regulated like traditional cigarettes and can be purchased by minors.

 

But health officials said they still deliver nicotine and other chemicals and can serve as the proverbial gateway to regular cigarettes and all of their known health hazards. They also say the devices have not been well studied, so there may be other health risks that are yet unknown.

 

“The increased use of e-cigarettes by teens is deeply troubling,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, in a statement. “Nicotine is a highly addictive drug. Many teens who start with e-cigarettes may be condemned to struggling with a lifelong addiction to nicotine and conventional cigarettes.”

 

Source: Erie Times-News, October 3,2013

Anyone who has ever walked into a “non-smoking” hotel room and caught the distinct odor of cigarette smoke will not be surprised by the findings of a new study: When a hotel allows smoking in any of its rooms, the smoke gets into all of its rooms, the study suggests.

Nicotine residues and other chemical traces “don’t stay in the smoking rooms,” says Georg Matt, a psychologist from San Diego State University who led the study, published Monday in the journal Tobacco Control. “They end up in the hallways and in other rooms, including non-smoking rooms.”

The study found smoke residue on surfaces and in the air of both smoking and non-smoking rooms in 30 California hotels where smoking was allowed. Levels were highest in the smoking rooms, but levels in non-smoking rooms were much higher than those found at 10 smoke-free hotels.

Volunteers who stayed overnight in the smoking hotels also ended up with sticky nicotine residues on their fingers, whether they stayed in smoking rooms or not. Urine tests found additional evidence of nicotine exposure in those who stayed in smoking rooms, but not those who stayed in the non-smoking rooms.

The research comes as smoke-free hotels are becoming more common, though not as common as smoke-free bars and restaurants. Many large chains, including Marriott, Westin and Comfort Inn, have gone smoke-free and hotels must be smoke-free by law in four states and 71 cities and counties, according to the Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation. Nearly two-thirds of hotels responding to a recent survey by the American Hotel & Lodging Association said they were smoke-free, though just 39% of economy hotels said so.

The reason many hotels still offer smoking rooms is that some domestic and international travelers still want them, says Kathryn Potter, senior vice president of marketing and communications for the hotel association, based in Washington, D.C. “I have family members (and) friends who book hotels based on where they can smoke,” Potter says.

About one in five U.S. adults still smoke, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Matt says his study suggests non-smokers should choose only hotels with no smoking. He says it’s likely that non-smoking guests are routinely exposed to second-hand smoke seeping under doorways and moving through ventilation systems as people smoke elsewhere in hotels. Yet the study also shows widespread contamination with what researchers call “third-hand smoke,” the pollutants left behind on furniture, drapes, carpets and in the air, long after cigarettes are extinguished.

Matt says it is possible people are sneaking cigarettes in some of the smoke-free rooms, but other research shows second- and third-hand smoke can travel through homes and apartment buildings.

Second-hand smoke is linked with health effects, including asthma attacks, heart disease and lung cancer, according to the CDC. The effects of third-hand smoke are not as clear.

“We do know third-hand smoke contains many of the same toxins we find in second-hand smoke,” Matt says. “When the smoke disappears, the danger does not end.”

Source: USA TODAY   May 13, 2013

Filed under: Health,Nicotine,USA :


Cigarette smoking and cannabis use overlap—over 90 percent of people who have used cannabis are cigarette smokers or have smoked at least once in their lives. A new large study from Australia reveals that cigarette smoking is linked to how early a person is exposed to cannabis or begins using it and also to a person’s initial experiences with the drug. The study, of nearly 4,000 Australian twins and siblings between ages 21 and 46, found that regular cigarette smokers were more likely to report both an earlier opportunity to use cannabis and trying the drug at an earlier age. Regular cigarette smokers also reported more positive initial experiences with cannabis (e.g., enjoying the taste and experiencing pleasant reactions like relaxation) and were more likely to smoke cannabis a second time within a week of their first try. This study points to the importance of viewing cannabis use within the context of tobacco use. It also suggests the possibility that the ongoing decline in cigarette smoking among youth could potentially bring corresponding reductions in cannabis use, although such a trend is not yet apparent in national data.

Source:  www.drugabuse.gov  Jan.2013

Smoking prevention in schools reduces the number of young people who will later become smokers, according to a new review published in The Cochrane Library. World-wide, smoking causes five million preventable deaths every year, a number predicted to rise to eight million by 2030. The researchers analyzed data from 134 studies, in 25 different countries, which involved a total of 428,293 young people aged 5-18. Of these, 49 studies reported smoking behavior in those who had never previously smoked. The researchers focused on this group because it offered the clearest indication of whether smoking interventions prevent smoking. Although there were no significant effects within the first year, in studies with longer follow up the number of smokers was significantly lower in the groups targeted by smoking interventions than in the control group. In 15 studies which reported on changes in smoking behavior in a mixed group of never smokers, previous experimenters and quitters, there was no overall long term effect, but within the first year the number smoking was slightly lower in the control group. The analysis revealed two key points: • School programs designed to discourage young people from smoking appear to be effective at least one year after their use. • Programs that included social skills training were more effective than those that just provided information or training on resisting peer pressure. “This review is important because there are no other comprehensive reviews of world literature on school-based smoking prevention programs,” Julie McLellan, one of the authors of the review based at the Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, wrote in the journal. “The main strength of the review is that it includes a large number of trials and participants. However, over half were from the United States, so we need to see studies across all areas of the world, as well as further studies analyzing the effects of interventions by gender.”

Source: ‘Smoking’ reported in www.cadca.org 2nd May 2013


Abstract

Objectives To determine the prevalence of recent alcohol, nicotine or cannabis use in young persons presenting for mental healthcare.

Design A cross-sectional study of young people seeking mental healthcare completed self-report questionnaires regarding their use of alcohol, nicotine or cannabis.

Setting Data were collected from two sites as part of the national headspace services programme.

Participants 2122 young people aged 12–30 years provided information as part of a patient register; a subset of N=522 participants also provided more detailed information about their patterns of alcohol use.

Outcome measures Prevalence levels of recent alcohol, nicotine or cannabis use within relevant age bands (12–17, 18–19 and 20–30) or primary diagnostic categories.

Results The rates for use at least weekly of alcohol for the three age bands were 12%, 39% and 45%, and for cannabis 7%, 14% and 18%, respectively. The rates of daily nicotine use for the three age bands were 23%, 36% and 41%. The pattern of alcohol use was characterised by few abstainers as well as many risky drinkers. Age of onset across all three substances was approximately 15 years. Individuals who used any of the three substances more frequently were likely to be older, male or have psychotic or bipolar disorders.

Conclusions Frequent use of alcohol, nicotine or cannabis in young people seeking mental healthcare is common. Given the restricted legal access, the patterns of use in those aged 12–17 years are particularly notable. Reductions in substance use needs to be prioritised within services for at-risk young people.

Source: BMJ Open 2013;3:e002229 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-002229

Cigarettes and alcohol serve as gateway drugs, which people use before progressing to the use of marijuana and then to cocaine and other illicit substances; this progression is called the “gateway sequence” of drug use. An article in Science Translational Medicine by study author Denise Kandel, PhD, of the Mailman School of Public Health; and Amir Levine, MD; Eric Kandel, MD; and colleagues at Columbia University Medical Center provides the first molecular explanation for the gateway sequence. They show that nicotine causes specific changes in the brain that make it more vulnerable to cocaine addiction — a discovery made by using a novel mouse model.

Alternate orders of exposure to nicotine and cocaine were examined. The authors found that pre-treatment with nicotine greatly alters the response to cocaine in terms of addiction-related behavior and synaptic plasticity (changes in synaptic strength) in the striatum, a brain region critical for addiction-related rewards. On a molecular level, nicotine also primes the response to cocaine by inhibiting the activity of an enzyme?histone deacetylase?in the striatum. This inhibition enhances cocaine’s ability to activate a gene called FosB gene, which promotes addiction.

The relationship between nicotine and cocaine was found to be unidirectional: nicotine dramatically enhances the response to cocaine, but there is no effect of cocaine on the response to nicotine. Nicotine’s ability to inhibit histone deacetylase thus provides a molecular mechanism for the gateway sequence of drug use.

Nicotine enhances the effects of cocaine only when it is administered for several days prior to cocaine treatment and is given concurrently with cocaine. These findings stimulated a new analysis of human epidemiological data, which shows that the majority of cocaine users start using cocaine only after they have begun to smoke and while they are still active smokers. People who begin using cocaine after they’ve started smoking have an increased risk of cocaine dependency, compared with people who use cocaine first and then take up smoking.

“These studies raise interesting questions that can now be further explored further in animal models,” said Dr. Kandel, a professor of Sociomedical Sciences at the Mailman School. “Do alcohol and marijuana — the two other gateway drugs — prime the brain by the same mechanism as nicotine? Is there a single mechanism for all gateway sequences, or does each sequence utilize a distinct mechanism?”

The results also emphasize the need for developing effective public health prevention programs encompassing all nicotine products, especially those targeted toward young people. Effective interventions not only would prevent smoking and its negative health consequences but could also decrease the risk of progression to chronic use of illicit drugs.

Source: ScienceDaily (Nov. 2, 2011)

Say goodbye to the drug-fuelled raver and hello to the clean-living ecowarrior. Teenagers are changing and, for perhaps the first time in history, their parents approve.

Rates of drug- taking, drinking and smoking among children have plummeted in the past decade. Girls, it seems, are more likely to emulate the polite, studious Hermione Granger, played by Emma Watson in the Harry Potter films than wild-child party girls like Peaches Geldof in her heyday.

Among 11 to 15 year olds, the proportion who admitted to having taken drugs fell from 29 per cent in 2001 to 17 per cent in 2011. Regular smokers of at least one cigarette a week halved from one in 10 to one in 20. The number who said they had drunk alcohol in the past week was down from 26 per cent to 12 per cent.

Experts said a “profound shift” had taken place in the new generation’s attitude to drink and drugs. The findings were based on a survey of 6,500 children aged 11 to 15 at secondary schools in England, conducted between September and December 2011.

Tim Straughan, the chief executive of the NHS Health and Social Care Information Centre, said: “The report shows pupils appear to be leading an increasingly clean-living lifestyle and are less likely to take drugs as well as cigarettes and alcohol. All of this material will be of immense interest to those who work with young people and aim to steer them towards a healthier way of life.”

Siobhan McCann, of the charity Drinkaware, said: “While the decline in the number of children trying alcohol is good news, the report still shows there are 360,000 young people who reported drinking alcohol in the past week alone. Parents are the biggest suppliers of alcohol to young people aged 10 to 17 and also the biggest influence on their child’s relationship with drink.”

Drug-taking, drinking and smoking increases with age, the study found. Among 11-year-olds, fewer than one in 30 said they had taken drugs in the past year, compared with almost one in four 15-year-olds.

Cannabis was the most popular drug but its use fell during the decade. In 2011, one in 13 young people said they had smoked it, compared with one in seven in 2001.

Drug use was found to be highest in southern England and lower in the Midlands and the North. The proportion of children saying they had smoked cigarettes at least once was the lowest since the survey was first carried out in 1982 – reflecting the pressure created by anti-smoking laws. Even so, one in five said they had tried cigarettes and one in 20 did so regularly.

In 2001, one in five teenagers said they drank alcohol at least once a week. By 2011, that proportion was down to one in 14. Miles Beale, of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said: “The increase in the number of young people who have never drunk alcohol, and the fact those who do drink appear to be drinking less, suggests that the messages about the risks of underage consumption are being heard.”

‘Most of us think of our future, and drink won’t help’
Rosie Brighton, 13, Watford

“I know a few people my age that drink but not many. When you look at people that turn up for school hung-over, not caring and not getting the grades, it is off-putting. Most of us are working hard to get good exam results because we look at the high unemployment rates and think we’ll need all the help we can get. We’re thinking about our future, and drink is not going to help that.

“I don’t know anyone who smokes or takes drugs. A lot of people are afraid of how mad their parents would be if they were caught. I think health authorities and schools have to educate children about drugs early. I had my first lesson in school about drugs in Year 6, but have been made aware of the dangers by my mum.”

Source: The Independent July 2012

New research from BioMed Central’s journal Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy, and reported in Medical News Today, found a link between traumatic childhood experience, especially for women, and adult smoking patterns. Researchers suggest that treatment and strategies to stop smoking need to take into account the psychological effects of childhood trauma.

Traumatic childhood experiences can range from emotional, physical, and sexual abuse to neglect and household dysfunction and affect a large range of people. In one of the largest studies of adverse childhood experiences (ACE), more than 60 percent of adults reported a history of at least one event. ACEs are thought to have a long term effect on the development of children and can lead to unhealthy coping behavior later in life.

Since psychiatric disorders, including depression and anxiety, are known to increase the risk of smoking, researchers across the U.S. collaborated to investigate the effects of psychological distress on the relationship between ACE and current adult smoking. The ACE
questionnaire was completed by over 7000 people, about half of whom were women.

Even after adjusting the data for factors known to affect a person’s propensity for smoking, such as their parents smoking during the subject’s childhood, and whether or not they had drunk alcohol in the previous month), women who had been physically or emotionally abused were 1.4 times more likely to smoke. Having had a parent in prison during childhood doubled chances of women smoking.

“Since ACEs increase the risk of psychological distress for both men and women, it seemed intuitive that an individual experiencing an ACE will be more likely to be a tobacco cigarette smoker. However, in our study, ACEs only increased the risk of smoking among women. Given this, men who have experienced childhood trauma may have different coping mechanisms than their female counterparts,” notes Dr Tara Strine, who led this study.

Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/247797.php. July 2012

Filed under: Nicotine,Youth :

Nicotine appears to be a “gateway” drug that primes the brain to be susceptible to cocaine, according to a new study in mice.  The researchers say if further studies show the findings apply to humans, a decrease in smoking rates in young people would be expected to lead to a decrease in cocaine addiction, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The study found mice exposed to nicotine in drinking water for at least seven days showed an increased response to cocaine. The researchers also looked at data on cocaine use among a group of high school students, and found 81 percent of those who started using cocaine did so in a month when they were smoking tobacco.

The findings appear in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
Previous studies have shown that most illegal drug users report using tobacco products or alcohol before they started illicit drug use, according to a news release by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which funded the study. Until now, studies have not shown a biological mechanism through which exposure to nicotine increases vulnerability to illegal drug use, the release notes.

“Now that we have a mouse model of the actions of nicotine as a gateway drug this will allow us to explore the molecular mechanisms by which alcohol and marijuana might act as gateway drugs,” lead author Eric Kandel, MD, of Columbia University Medical Center, said in the release. “In particular, we would be interested in knowing if there is a single, common mechanism for all gateway drugs or if each drug utilizes a distinct mechanism.”

Source:   www.drugfree.org.  4th Nov.

Filed under: Cocaine,Nicotine,Youth :

Removing branding and wrapping cigarettes in plain packaging helps remove the appeal of smoking according to new a Cancer Research UK-funded study published in Tobacco Control.
The researchers found that more women than men smoked less and found smoking less enjoyable when using the plain packs.

Some smokers also claimed that they would be more likely to attempt quitting if all cigarettes came in the dark brown unbranded packs used in this study.
In the first study of its kind nearly 50 young adult smokers used non branded cigarette packets in normal everyday situations for two weeks. The researchers then compared the reaction to this packaging to the reactions of using regular packs for two weeks.
The plain brown packs were given a fictional name with standard branding and the health warning “Smoking Kills”. Twice weekly questionnaires were followed up with face to face interviews for more in depth analysis of reaction.
Plainly wrapped cigarettes were rated negatively against the original packs. Taking out the cigarettes less often, handing out cigarettes less frequently and hiding the pack more were all reported as a result of the plain packaging.
Dr Crawford Moodie, the study’s lead author based at the University of Stirling, said: “Despite the small size of this study it adds an important real world dimension to the research on the way smokers respond to plain packaging. The study confirms the lack of appeal of plain packs, with the enjoyment and consumption of cigarettes being reduced. We’re now looking to build on this research to understand more about the impact of packaging on smokers.”
The UK government is expected to begin a public consultation on the future of tobacco packaging later this year.
Australia should be the first country in the world to wrap cigarettes in plain packaging. The Australian government has announced that all tobacco must be sold in plain packaging from July 1, 2012. Picture health warnings will also cover 75 per cent of the front and 90 per cent of the back of packs.
Jean King, Cancer Research UK’s director of tobacco control, said: “While a small study, this research provides important insights into the power of cigarette packaging. Colourful and slickly designed packs are one of the last remaining avenues for tobacco companies to market their deadly product, so it’s interesting to see what might happen if and when this is removed. It’s important to remember that smoking remains the single biggest preventable cause of death in the UK, so preventing more people from starting and helping smokers to quit is vital. We look forward to the possibility of removing the silent salesman of cigarette packets.”

Source: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/ 8th Sept. 2011

 

 

Smoking is an important risk factor in brain shrinkage and a decline in brain function in later years, a new study suggests. The study found smoking, along with high blood pressure, diabetes and excess weight, all contributed to potentially dangerous changes in the brain that could lead to a decline in mental functioning as soon as 10 years later. The study appears in the journal Neurology.
HealthDay reports the study included 1,352 people without dementia whose average age was 54. Each person was weighed, measured, given blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes tests and underwent brain MRI scans over 10 years. The researchers found smokers lost brain volume overall and in the hippocampus—the part of the brain which converts short-term memory into long-term memory—at a faster rate than nonsmokers. They were also more likely to have a rapid increase in small areas of damage to the brain’s blood vessels.
Study author Charles DeCarli, M.D., of the University of California at Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center, said in a journal news release, “Our findings provide evidence that identifying these risk factors early in people of middle age could be useful in screening people for at-risk dementia and encouraging people to make changes to their lifestyle before it’s too late.”

Source: ThePartnership @drugfree.org. Aug.2011

Electronic cigarettes, or “e-cigarettes,” are crude drug delivery systems for refined nicotine that pose unknown risks, two experts write in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers from the American Legacy Foundation’s Steven A. Schroeder National Institute for Tobacco Research and Policy Studies write that e-cigarettes have more in common with asthma inhalers than with cigarettes, according to Science Daily.
E-cigarettes are designed to deliver nicotine in the form of a vapor, which is inhaled by the user. They usually have a rechargeable, battery-operated heating element, a replaceable cartridge with nicotine or other chemicals and a device called an atomizer that converts the contents of the cartridge into a vapor when heated. E-cigarettes often are made to look like regular cigarettes.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in April that it would regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products, not as drug-delivery devices.
Last year, the FDA lost a court case after it tried to treat e-cigarettes as drug-delivery devices, which must satisfy stricter requirements than tobacco products, including clinical trials to prove they are safe and effective. FDA tests found that the liquid in some e-cigarettes contained toxins besides nicotine, as well as cancer-causing substances found in tobacco. Some public health experts say the level of the cancer-causing agents is similar to those found in nicotine replacement therapy, which contains nicotine extracted from tobacco.
The authors list several safety concerns about e-cigarettes. They note that the devices do not reliably deliver nicotine, and have not been sufficiently studied in the same way the FDA requires other smoking-cessation drugs and devices to be evaluated. Therefore, smokers who try to use e-cigarettes to help them quit smoking are likely to find them ineffective because of their variable nicotine content and unreliable delivery, they say.
They also note that smokers may use e-cigarettes in places where traditional tobacco smoking is not allowed, thus encouraging them to keep smoking instead of quitting. E-cigarettes also may become a smoking “starter” product for young people. E-cigarette cartridges can be bought over the Internet with flavors such as chocolate and grape, they write.

Source: DrugFreee.org 21st July 2011

Women who smoke while pregnant should be aware that they are increasing the chance their baby will be born malformed, say experts.
The risk for having a baby with missing or deformed limbs or a cleft lip is over 25% higher for smokers, data show. Along with higher risks of miscarriage and low birth weight, it is another good reason to encourage women to quit, say University College London doctors.
In England and Wales 17% of women smoke during pregnancy. And among under 20s the figure is 45%. Although most will go on to have a healthy baby, smoking can cause considerable damage to the unborn child.
Missing limbs
Researchers now estimate that each year in England and Wales several hundred babies are born with a physical defect directly caused by their mother’s smoking. Every year in England and Wales around 3,700 babies in total are born with such a condition. The experts base their calculations on 172 research papers published over the last 50 years, which looked at maternal smoking and birth defects.
The findings, from 174,000 cases of malformation and 11.7 million healthy births, revealed that smoking increased the risk of many abnormalities. The chance of a baby being born with missing or deformed limbs is 26% higher, and cleft lip or palate is 28% more likely.
Similarly, the risk of clubfoot 28% greater, and gastrointestinal defects 27% more. Skull defects are 33% more likely, and eye defects 25% more common. The greatest increase in risk – of 50% – was for a condition called gastroschisis, where parts of the stomach or intestines protrude through the skin. Professor Allan Hackshaw, who led the research, suspects many women who smoke while pregnant do not know about these risks.
“There’s still this idea among some women that if you smoke the baby will be small and that will make it easier when it comes to the delivery. “But what is not appreciated is that smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of defects in the child that are life-long.”
Women should quit smoking before becoming pregnant, or very early on, to reduce the risks
He said very few public health educational policies mention birth defects when referring to smoking and those that do are not very specific – this is largely because of past uncertainty over which ones are directly linked. “Now we have this evidence, advice should be more explicit about the kinds of serious defects such as deformed limbs, and facial and gastrointestinal malformations that babies of mothers who smoke during pregnancy could suffer from,” he said.
Of the 700,000 babies born each year in England and Wales, around 120,000 babies are born to mums who smoke. Amanda Sandford of Action on Smoking and Health said: “This study shows some of the worst outcomes of smoking during pregnancy. Pregnant smokers will be shocked to learn that their nicotine habit could cause eye or limb deformities in their baby.
“There is clearly a need to raise awareness of these risks among girls and to ensure pregnant women are given all the support they need to help them quit smoking and to stay stopped after the birth.” Basky Thilaganathan of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said women who struggled to quit should at least cut down on how much they smoke.
Professor Hackshaw said the risk was likely dose-related – meaning the more a woman smokes, the bigger the risk to her unborn child.

Source: www.bbc.co.uk 12th July 2011

This study sets out to broaden the evidence base by running a trial, based in UK general practice, where only brief support was available for participants while they compared nicotine nasal spray to placebo. It was based in 27 general practices and there was a total of 761 heavy smokers (at least 15 cigs/day for at least 3 years) who received brief support and 12 weeks of treatment with either nicotine nasal spray or placebo. The primary outcome was biochemically-verified complete abstinence from smoking throughout weeks 3-12.

The results showed that nicotine nasal spray more than doubled the number who successfully stopped smoking (15.4% vs 6.7%) from weeks 3-12 giving an odds ratio of 2.6 (95% CI 1.5-4.4). Although many reported minor irritant adverse effects it was noted to be particularly effective amongst those who were highly dependent on nicotine.

SMMGP comment: Tobacco harm reduction strategies is a neglected area although we know
that replacing smoking with a smokeless delivery system for the primary drug, nicotine, can reduce risks by about 99%, about the same as abstinence. Because smoking is so popular, the total health benefits from tobacco harm reduction dwarf those from any other area of HR.
There is an increasing array of nicotine replacement therapy options and this study shows one effective way of delivery. One interesting facet was the tiny number (0.2%) that went on to achieve abstinence if they were still smoking at one week. This infers that it may be worth prescribing a single week of nicotine nasal spray and reassessing abstinence. It?s a relatively small, inexpensive punt and it can double the chance of abstinence for that individual – even without the more comprehensive smoking cessation services which some prescribing is based around.

Source: Stapleton JA, Sutherland G. Addiction 2011;106:824-832

A single 15-minute exposure to nicotine caused a long-term increase in the excitability of neurons involved in reward, according to a study published in The Journal of Neuroscience. The results suggest that nicotine and cocaine hijack similar mechanisms of memory on first contact to create long-lasting changes in a person’s brain.
“Of course, for smoking it’s a very long-term behavioral change, but everything starts from the first exposure,” said Danyan Mao, PhD, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chicago Medical Center. “That’s what we’re trying to tackle here: when a person first is exposed to a cigarette, what happens in the brain that might lead to a second cigarette?”
Learning and memory are thought to be encoded in the brain via synaptic plasticity, the long-term strengthening and weakening of connections between neurons. When two neurons are repeatedly activated together, a stronger bond forms between them, increasing the ability of one to excite the other.
Previous research in the laboratory of Daniel McGehee, PhD, neuroscientist and associate professor in the Department of Anesthesia & Critical Care at the Medical Center, discovered that nicotine could promote plasticity in a region of the brain called the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Neurons that originate in the VTA release the neurotransmitter dopamine, known to play a central role in the effects of addictive drugs and natural rewards such as food and sex.
“We know that a single exposure to physiologically relevant concentrations of nicotine can lead to changes in the synaptic drive in the circuitry that lasts for several days,” said McGehee, senior author of this study. “That idea is very important in how addiction forms in humans and animals.”
In the new experiments, Mao monitored the electrical activity of VTA dopamine neurons in slices of brain dissected from adult rats. Each slice was bathed for 15 minutes in a concentration of nicotine similar to the amount that would reach the brain after smoking a single cigarette. After 3-5 hours, Mao conducted electrophysiology experiments to detect the presence of synaptic plasticity and determine which neurotransmitter receptors were involved in its development.
Mao discovered that nicotine-induced synaptic plasticity in the VTA is dependent upon one of the drug’s usual targets, a receptor for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine located on the dopamine neurons. But another element found necessary for nicotine’s synaptic effects was a surprise: the D5 dopamine receptor, a component previously implicated in the action of cocaine. Blocking either of these receptors during nicotine exposure eliminated the drug’s ability to cause persistent changes in excitability.
“We found that nicotine and cocaine employ similar mechanisms to induce synaptic plasticity in dopamine neurons in VTA,” Mao said.
While the subjective effects of nicotine and cocaine are very different in humans, the overlapping effects of the two drugs on the reward system of the brain may explain why both are highly addictive substances, the researchers said.
“We know without question that there are big differences in the way these drugs affect people,” McGehee said. “But the idea that nicotine is working on the same circuitry as cocaine does point to why so many people have a hard time quitting tobacco, and why so many who experiment with the drug end up becoming addicted.”
The overlap between nicotine and cocaine effects at the D5 receptor may also offer a novel strategy for preventing or treating addiction. However, currently-known blockers of the receptor also block another dopamine receptor, D1, that is important for normal, healthy motivation and movement.
“This dopamine receptor is attractive as a potential target,” McGehee said. “The real challenge is to tweak the addictive effect of drugs like nicotine or other psychostimulants without totally crushing the person’s desire to pursue healthy behavior.”
Future research will also focus on whether repeated exposure to nicotine, as would occur in a regular smoker, changes the drug’s effects on synaptic plasticity in the VTA. In the meantime, the current study builds evidence that addictive drugs appropriate the neurobiological tools of learning and memory to create long-term changes in brain reward pathways.
“It’s all fitting with the overriding idea that changes in synaptic strength are part of the way these drugs motivate behavior in a persistent way,” McGehee said.
The study, “Nicotine Potentiation of Excitatory Inputs to Ventral Tegmental Dopamine Neurons,” will be published May 4, 2011 by The Journal of Neuroscience. In addition to Mao and McGehee, Keith Gallagher of the University of Chicago is a co-author.
The research was supported by grants from the Women’s Council of the Brain Research Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

Source: University of Chicago Medical Center (2011, May 4). Nicotine and cocaine leave similar mark on brain after first contact. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 8, 2011, from http://www.sciencedaily.com¬ /releases/2011/05/110503171745.htm

Exposure to second hand smoke has a direct, measurable impact on the brain—and the effect is similar to what happens in the brain of the person doing the smoking. In fact, exposure to this secondhand smoke evokes cravings among smokers, according to a study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health.

The study, published in Archives of General Psychiatry, used positron emission tomography to demonstrate that one hour of secondhand smoke in an enclosed space results in enough nicotine reaching the brain to bind receptors that are normally targeted by direct exposure to tobacco smoke. This happens in the brain of both smokers and non-smokers.

Previous research has shown that exposure to secondhand smoke increases the likelihood that children will become teenage smokers and makes it more difficult for adult smokers to quit. Such associations suggest that secondhand smoke acts on the brain to promote smoking behavior.

“This study gives concrete evidence to support policies that ban smoking in public places, particularly enclosed spaces and around children,” said Arthur Brody, M.D., of the University of California at Los Angeles Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and corresponding author for the article

Source: www.cadca.org 5th May 2011

A public-smoking ban in Australia has led more parents to smoke at home, raising health risks for kids, researchers say.
The research from the Australian National University’s Research School of Social Sciences concluded that “bans in recreational public places can perversely increase tobacco exposure of nonsmokers … Children seem to be particularly affected. The level of cotinine (a nicotine by product measurable in saliva) in children considerably increases as a result of bans in public places.”
Public smoking bans tend to “displace smokers to private places where they contaminate nonsmokers,” said authors Jerome Adda, Ph.D., and Francesca Cornaglia, Ph.D., visiting scholars from University College London.

Source: Medical Post April 4 2006

Abstract

Objective To examine the association between smoking and risk of invasive breast cancer using quantitative measures of lifetime passive and active smoking exposure among postmenopausal women.

Design Prospective cohort study. Setting 40 clinical centres in the United States. Participants 79?990 women aged 50–79 enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study during 1993–8. Main outcome measures Self reported active and passive smoking, pathologically confirmed invasive breast cancer.

Results In total, 3520 incident cases of invasive breast cancer were identified during an average of 10.3 years of follow-up. Compared with women who had never smoked, breast cancer risk was elevated by 9% among former smokers (hazard ratio 1.09 (95% CI 1.02 to 1.17)) and by 16% among current smokers (hazard ratio 1.16 (1.00 to 1.34)). Significantly higher breast cancer risk was observed in active smokers with high intensity and duration of smoking, as well as with initiation of smoking in the teenage years. The highest breast cancer risk was found among women who had smoked for =50 years or more (hazard ratio 1.35 (1.03 to1.77) compared with all lifetime non-smokers, hazard ratio 1.45 (1.06 to 1.98) compared with lifetime non-smokers with no exposure to passive smoking). An increased risk of breast cancer persisted for up to 20 years after smoking cessation. Among women who had never smoked, after adjustment for potential confounders, those with the most extensive exposure to passive smoking (=10 years’ exposure in childhood, =20 years’ exposure as an adult at home, and =10 years’ exposure as an adult at work) had a 32% excess risk of breast cancer compared with those who had never been exposed to passive smoking (hazard ratio 1.32 (1.04 to 1.67)). However, there was no significant association in the other groups with lower exposure and no clear dose response to cumulative passive smoking exposure.

Conclusions Active smoking was associated with an increase in breast cancer risk among postmenopausal women. There was also a suggestion of an association between passive smoking and increased risk of breast cancer.

Source: BMJ 2011; 342:d1016

Admiral Regina M. Benjamin, released a new report that shows that tobacco smoke, even occasional smoking or secondhand smoke, damages the human body and leads to disease and death.

The 700-page report, “A Report of the Surgeon General: How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease-The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking,” finds that cellular damage and tissue inflammation from tobacco smoke are immediate, and that repeated exposure weakens the body’s ability to heal the damage.

Even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can cause cardiovascular disease and could trigger acute cardiac events, such as heart attack. The report describes how chemicals from tobacco smoke quickly damage blood vessels and make blood more likely to clot. The evidence in this report shows how smoking causes cardiovascular disease and increases risks for heart attack, stroke, and aortic aneurysm.

The report also explains why it is so difficult to quit smoking. According to the research, cigarettes are designed for addiction. The design and contents of current tobacco products make them more attractive and addictive than ever before. Today’s cigarettes deliver nicotine more quickly and efficiently than cigarettes of many years ago.

You can read the full report at www.surgeongeneral.gov. Last week, CADCA hosted a webinar on tobacco cessation and smoking prevention. A recording of this session, as well as the PowerPoint presentations used during the session, can be accessed online.

Source: www.cadca.org Dec. 2010

 

Teens may smoke to “self-medicate” against depression, but researchers in Canada say smoking may increase depressive symptoms in some adolescents.

Lead author Michael Chaiton of the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit of the University of Toronto and co-author Jennifer O’Loughlin of the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre say the study involved 662 high-school teenagers who completed as many as 20 questionnaires from grades 7-11 about their use of cigarettes to affect mood.

Study participants were divided into groups of: teens who never smoked; smokers who did not use cigarettes to self-medicate, improve mood or physical state; and smokers who used cigarettes to self-medicate. Study participants were asked to rate on a rating scale depressive symptoms such as: felt too tired to do things; had trouble going to sleep or staying asleep; felt unhappy, sad, or depressed; felt hopeless about the future; felt nervous or tense; and worried too much about things.

Smokers who used cigarettes as mood enhancers had higher risks of elevated depressive symptoms than teens who had never smoked, researchers concluded.

Source: Journal of Addictive Behaviors.Sept 2010

A new study from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA suggests that increasing cigarette taxes could be an effective way to reduce smoking among individuals with alcohol, drug or mental disorders.

The study, published online in the American Journal of Public Health, found that a 10 percent increase in cigarette pricing resulted in an 18.2 percent decline in smoking among people in these groups.

The findings demonstrate that increasing cigarette taxes could be a way to curb smoking, which is still the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, according to the study’s lead author, Dr. Michael Ong, an assistant professor of medicine in the division of general internal medicine and health services research at the Geffen School of Medicine.
“Whatever we can do to reduce smoking is critical to the health of the U.S.,” said Ong, who is also a researcher at UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center. “Cigarette taxes are used as a key policy instrument to get people to quit smoking, so understanding whether people will really quit is important.

Individuals with alcohol, drug or mental disorders comprise 40 percent of remaining smokers, and there is little literature on how to help these people quit smoking.”

Prior research on the effect of cigarette pricing on smoking, which had been conducted using information from 1991, suggested that individuals with mental illness were less likely than other individuals to quit due to price increases. Unlike that research, however, the current study expanded the research to include people with alcohol and drug disorders.

The researchers based their work on data from 7,530 individuals from the 2000-01 Healthcare for Communities Household Survey. Of those, 2,106 people, or 23 percent, had alcohol, drug or mental disorders during the previous year. Of that group, 43.8 percent were smokers — a much higher proportion than among rest of the population.

Though the researchers found that people with alcohol dependence did not cut down on cigarettes when prices rose, people with binge-drinking problems, substance-use disorders and mental disorders were significantly more likely to quit smoking if prices rose, as would occur with a cigarette tax increase.

While the study does suggest that increasing cigarette prices through taxation could reduce smoking among individuals with alcohol, drug or mental disorders, the authors note that further study is needed to determine if recent cigarette price increases have reduced smoking among individuals with such disorders, and whether the identified association is causal.

Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases June 3, 2010

It is well-known that maternal smoking during pregnancy can have long-term effects on the physical health of the child, including increased risk for respiratory disease, ear infections and asthma. New research shows that prenatal smoking also can lead to psychiatric problems and increase the need for psychotropic medications in childhood and young adulthood.

Finnish researchers found that adolescents who had been exposed to prenatal smoking were at increased risk for use of all psychiatric drugs especially those uses to treat depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and addiction compared to non-exposed youths. The study was presented Tuesday, May 4 at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

“Recent studies show that maternal smoking during pregnancy may interfere with brain development of the growing fetus,” said Mikael Ekblad, lead author of the study and a pediatric researcher at Turku University Hospital in Finland. “By avoiding smoking during pregnancy, all the later psychiatric problems caused by smoking exposure could be prevented.”

Ekblad and his colleagues collected information from the Finnish Medical Birth Register on maternal smoking, gestational age, birthweight and 5-minute Apgar scores for all children born in Finland from 1987 through 1989. They also analyzed records on mothers’ psychiatric inpatient care from 1969-1989 and children’s use of psychiatric drugs.

Results showed that 12.3 percent of the young adults had used psychiatric drugs, and of these, 19.2 percent had been exposed to prenatal smoking.

The rate of psychotropic medication use was highest in young adults whose mothers smoked more than 10 cigarettes a day while pregnant (16.9 percent), followed by youths whose mothers smoked fewer than 10 cigarettes a day (14.7 percent) and unexposed youths (11.7 percent).

The risk for medication use was similar in males and females, and remained after adjusting for risk factors at birth, such as Apgar scores and birthweight, and the mother’s previous inpatient care for mental disorders.

Smoking exposure increased the risk for use of all psychotropic drugs, especially stimulants used to treat ADHD (unexposed: 0.2 percent; less than 10 cigarettes/day: 0.4 percent; and more than 10 cigarettes/day: 0.6 percent) and drugs for addiction. An increased risk for use of drugs to treat depression also was seen (unexposed: 6 percent; less than 10 cigarettes/day: 8.6 percent; and more than 10 cigarettes/day: 10.3 percent).

“Smoking during pregnancy is still quite common even though the knowledge of its harmful effects has risen in recent years,” Ekblad concluded. “Recent studies have shown that smoking during pregnancy has negative long-term effects on the health of the child. Therefore, women should avoid smoking during their pregnancy.”

Source: MediLexicon International Ltd 6th May 2010
American Academy of Pediatrics


The brain’s nucleus accumbens (NAC) is a core region of the mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic system and is interconnected with the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and the prefrontal cortex. The mesocorticolimbic system is thought to be central to the reinforcing effects of many drugs and plays an important role in addiction. A new study has found that alcohol abuse elevated the expression of a distinct set of genes in the NAC and VTA, while nicotine blunted this effect in the VTA.

Results will be published in the July 2010 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.

“In spite of their differences in pharmacology, alcohol and tobacco consumption are often intimately linked,” said Traute Flatscher-Bader, a postdoctoral research fellow at The University of Queensland and corresponding author for the study. “Nonetheless, the molecular mechanisms that underlie alcohol and nicotine abuse, and particularly their co-abuse, are still incompletely understood.”

“One thing that researchers have encountered is that it is often difficult to find ‘pure’ alcoholics, that is, alcoholics that only abuse alcohol and nothing else,” agreed Simon Worrall, director of postgraduate coursework programs in molecular biology at The University of Queensland. “Many alcoholics are poly-drug abusers, with the most common other drug being nicotine. Thus, many studies which have studied the effects of alcohol on the brain and other organs have been compromised because they have not taken account of the effects of nicotine addiction which is often superimposed on the effects of alcohol addiction.”

In the first part of the current study, Flatscher-Bader and her colleagues used DNA microarray technique to study the expression of many thousands of genes in the brains of non-smoking and smoking alcoholics and non-drinking smokers.

“We examined the impact of alcoholism and smoking on gene expression in the NAC in 20 chronic alcohol abusers and controls with and without recent smoking history,” said Flatscher-Bader. “The results revealed that in this brain region, the abuse of alcohol and nicotine had distinct effects on the expression of genes. In addition, altered expression of a number of genes was associated with both alcohol and nicotine abuse. Within the latter group was a set of genes which play a crucial role in a molecular pathway regulating cell structure.”

The researchers then went on to investigate in more detail the altered expression of six selected genes within the pathway regulating cell structure in two brain regions, using 30 cases comprised again of smoking and non-smoking controls and alcohol abusers. For this part of the study they used the method called “real time polymerase chain reaction.”

“This expanded investigation revealed that one of the genes, called RHOA, was elevated by alcohol abuse and its highest expression was evident in the smoking alcoholics in both brain regions,” said Flatscher-Bader. “The RHOA gene had previously been implicated in the initiation of tobacco smoking. In the NAC, the expression of a further four of the six selected genes was increased by alcohol abuse. Interestingly, the highest expression for each of the genes in the NAC was in the smoking alcoholics. In the other brain region called the VTA, alcohol abuse had a similar effect and elevated the expression of all six selected genes. In contrast to the NAC, however, concurrent smoking dampened the induction of five of these alcohol-sensitive genes in the VTA.”

“Many studies have analyzed the changes in gene expression in this brain system to try to untangle the molecular pathology of alcohol addiction,” said Worrall, “but this is amongst the first to take into account the effect of co-administration of nicotine with alcohol.

Flatscher-Bader stressed that there are several cell types in the brain and there are several steps between gene expression and impact on cell structure and function. “It has to be emphasized that our study is important as a first step in identifying molecular pathways underlying the effects of alcohol abuse and smoking and their co-joint abuse on the human NAC and VTA, “she said. “It now needs to be tested if our findings are, indeed, associated with changes to neuronal structure and function.”

“A better understanding of the molecular basis of withdrawal may help in the development of new treatments to ameliorate the symptoms,” added Dr Worrall. “Not many previous studies took into account the potential effects of nicotine addiction that may be superimposed on top of those from alcohol, so these results may help clinicians better use present therapy/drugs to treat patients abusing both alcohol and/or nicotine and may also lead to the development of new drugs.”

Source: www.medicalnewstoday.com 5.5.2010

The brain’s nucleus accumbens (NAC) is a core region of the mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic system and is interconnected with the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and the prefrontal cortex. The mesocorticolimbic system is thought to be central to the reinforcing effects of many drugs and plays an important role in addiction. A new study has found that alcohol abuse elevated the expression of a distinct set of genes in the NAC and VTA, while nicotine blunted this effect in the VTA.

Results will be published in the July 2010 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.

“In spite of their differences in pharmacology, alcohol and tobacco consumption are often intimately linked,” said Traute Flatscher-Bader, a postdoctoral research fellow at The University of Queensland and corresponding author for the study. “Nonetheless, the molecular mechanisms that underlie alcohol and nicotine abuse, and particularly their co-abuse, are still incompletely understood.”

“One thing that researchers have encountered is that it is often difficult to find ‘pure’ alcoholics, that is, alcoholics that only abuse alcohol and nothing else,” agreed Simon Worrall, director of postgraduate coursework programs in molecular biology at The University of Queensland. “Many alcoholics are poly-drug abusers, with the most common other drug being nicotine. Thus, many studies which have studied the effects of alcohol on the brain and other organs have been compromised because they have not taken account of the effects of nicotine addiction which is often superimposed on the effects of alcohol addiction.”

In the first part of the current study, Flatscher-Bader and her colleagues used DNA microarray technique to study the expression of many thousands of genes in the brains of non-smoking and smoking alcoholics and non-drinking smokers.

“We examined the impact of alcoholism and smoking on gene expression in the NAC in 20 chronic alcohol abusers and controls with and without recent smoking history,” said Flatscher-Bader. “The results revealed that in this brain region, the abuse of alcohol and nicotine had distinct effects on the expression of genes. In addition, altered expression of a number of genes was associated with both alcohol and nicotine abuse. Within the latter group was a set of genes which play a crucial role in a molecular pathway regulating cell structure.”

The researchers then went on to investigate in more detail the altered expression of six selected genes within the pathway regulating cell structure in two brain regions, using 30 cases comprised again of smoking and non-smoking controls and alcohol abusers. For this part of the study they used the method called “real time polymerase chain reaction.”

“This expanded investigation revealed that one of the genes, called RHOA, was elevated by alcohol abuse and its highest expression was evident in the smoking alcoholics in both brain regions,” said Flatscher-Bader. “The RHOA gene had previously been implicated in the initiation of tobacco smoking. In the NAC, the expression of a further four of the six selected genes was increased by alcohol abuse. Interestingly, the highest expression for each of the genes in the NAC was in the smoking alcoholics. In the other brain region called the VTA, alcohol abuse had a similar effect and elevated the expression of all six selected genes. In contrast to the NAC, however, concurrent smoking dampened the induction of five of these alcohol-sensitive genes in the VTA.”

“Many studies have analyzed the changes in gene expression in this brain system to try to untangle the molecular pathology of alcohol addiction,” said Worrall, “but this is amongst the first to take into account the effect of co-administration of nicotine with alcohol.

Flatscher-Bader stressed that there are several cell types in the brain and there are several steps between gene expression and impact on cell structure and function. “It has to be emphasized that our study is important as a first step in identifying molecular pathways underlying the effects of alcohol abuse and smoking and their co-joint abuse on the human NAC and VTA, “she said. “It now needs to be tested if our findings are, indeed, associated with changes to neuronal structure and function.”

“A better understanding of the molecular basis of withdrawal may help in the development of new treatments to ameliorate the symptoms,” added Dr Worrall. “Not many previous studies took into account the potential effects of nicotine addiction that may be superimposed on top of those from alcohol, so these results may help clinicians better use present therapy/drugs to treat patients abusing both alcohol and/or nicotine and may also lead to the development of new drugs.”

Source: www.medicalnewstoday.com 5.5.2010

A Canadian-led international study finds that the causes of a heart attack are the same for people throughout the world, with cigarette smoking one of the main risk factors, the “There hasn’t been a study like this ever in the world,” said lead investigator Dr. Salim Yusuf, head of the Population Health Research Institute at McMaster University in Hamilton. “The risk factors that we’ve been able to measure account for 90 percent or more of heart disease. The impact of these risk factors in developing heart disease is global. It’s there in every ethnic group, in men, in women, in every region of the world, in young and old. It means we should be able to prevent the majority of premature heart attacks in the world.”

The research concluded that cigarette smoking and a poor ratio of bad to good cholesterol contribute to two-thirds of all heart attacks worldwide.

The five-year study involved 30,000 people in 52 countries. About half of the participants had suffered a heart attack. They were compared to an equal number of people with no heart disease, matched for age, sex, and city of residence.

“So now we’ll say: What causes the risk factor, not what causes the disease. And from a public-health point of view, there should be no more wallowing about that we need more information. We’ve got it,” said Dr. Sonia Anand, a specialist in vascular medicine and a member of the McMaster research team.

The latest figures show that 15 million people died from heart attacks worldwide in 1998. “The important issue is that the risk factors outlined in this study, the vast majority of them are modifiable,” said Toronto cardiologist Anthony Graham, a spokesman for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. “And what it suggests is that tobacco control is going to be as important in the developing world as it is in the western world.”

The study’s findings are published in issue of the British medical journal
Source: The Lancet. Sept. 11 2004

Filed under: Health,Nicotine :

New research suggests that people who smoke and drink heavily are more at risk for oral cancer, the Researchers from King’s College in London, England, found an increase in oral cancer among men and women in their 20s and 30s who smoke and binge drink.

The researchers said that when tobacco smoke combines with alcohol, it produces dangerous levels of cancer-causing chemicals that attack the lining of the mouth.

“Our data show that smoking, drinking and poor diet are major risk factors, and that the younger people start smoking and drinking, the higher the risk,” said Newell Johnson, a professor of oral pathology at King’s College

Source: Daily Telegraph, London reported Nov. 9.2004

SMOKERS who suffer damage to a particular part of their brains appear to be able to quit their nicotine habit easily – a discovery that might open new avenues of addiction research.
A study of smokers who had suffered brain damage of various kinds after a stroke showed that those with injuries to a part of the brain called the insula were in many cases able to quit smoking quickly and easily – saying they had lost the urge to smoke altogether.
The insula receives information from the body and translates it into subjective feelings such as hunger, pain and craving, including craving for drugs.
However, the insula has not attracted much attention in studies on drug addiction, according to the research in the latest edition of the journal Science.
Deliberately damaging people’s insulas is not considered a realistic treatment option, because the risks are too great and the insula also has a role in many essential functions, such as the desire to eat.
But in the long term, the authors said, drugs might be developed to target the insula.
Other techniques for affecting the insula might in future also include electrical stimulation, already used in patients with depression. However, current techniques cannot penetrate the brain deeply enough to reach the insula.
The study was inspired by the experience of a man who had smoked 40 cigarettes a day before his insula was damaged in a stroke. He quit smoking immediately after, telling researchers his body “forgot the urge to smoke”.
Additional reporting: The Times

Source: news.com.au January 27th 2007

Fact sheet September 2006

Overall Mortality
• Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.1 Cigarette smoking causes an estimated 438,000 deaths, or about 1 of every 5 deaths, each year.2,3 This estimate includes approximately 38,000 deaths from secondhand smoke exposure.2

• Cigarette smoking kills an estimated 259,500 men and 178,000 women in the United States each year.2

• More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined.2,4

• On average, adults who smoke cigarettes die 14 years earlier than nonsmokers.5

• Based on current cigarette smoking patterns, an estimated 25 million Americans who are alive today will die prematurely from smoking-related illnesses, including 5 million people younger than 18.6
Mortality from Specific Diseases
• Lung cancer (124,000), heart disease (108,000), and the chronic lung diseases of emphysema, bronchitis, and chronic airways obstruction (90,000) are responsible for the largest number of smoking-related deaths.2

• The risk of dying from lung cancer is more than 22 times higher among men who smoke cigarettes and about 12 times higher among women who smoke cigarettes compared with never smokers.7

• Since 1950, lung cancer deaths among women have increased by more than 600%.1 Since 1987, lung cancer has been the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women.1

• Cigarette smoking results in a two- to three-fold increased risk of dying from coronary heart disease.7

• Cigarette smoking is associated with a ten-fold increased risk of dying from chronic obstructive lung disease.6 About 90% of all deaths from chronic obstructive lung diseases are attributable to cigarette smoking.1,7

• Pipe smoking and cigar smoking increase the risk of dying from cancers of the lung, esophagus, larynx, and oral cavity.8 Smokeless tobacco use increases the risk for developing oral cancer.8,9
References
1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Women and Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health; 2001. Available at: http://http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/sgr/sgr_forwomen/index.htm. Accessed December 2006.

2. CDC. Annual Smoking–Attributable Mortality, Years of Potential Life Lost, and Productivity Losses — United States, 1997–2001. MMWR 2005: 54(25) 625-628. Available at http://0-www.cdc.gov.mill1.sjlibrary.org:80/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5425a1.htm. Accessed: September 2006.

3. CDC. Health United States, 2005 With Chartbook on Trends in the Health of Americans. ( PDF–119KB) Hyattsville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, National Center for Health Statistics; 2006. Accessed September 2006.

4. McGinnis J, Foege WH. Actual causes of death in United States. Journal of American Medical Association 1993;270:2207–2212.

5. CDC. Annual smoking-attributable mortality, years of potential life lost, and economic costs—United States, 1995–1999. MMWR 2002; 51(14):300–303. Accessed September 2006.

6. CDC. Perspectives in disease prevention and health promotion, smoking-attributable mortality and years of potential life lost—United States, 1984. MMWR 1997;46:444–451. Available at: http://0-www.cdc.gov.mill1.sjlibrary.org:80/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00047690.htm. Accessed February 2004.

7. Novotny TE, Giovino GA. Tobacco use. In: Brownson RC, Remington PL, Davis JR (eds). Chronic Disease Epidemiology and Control. Washington, DC: American Public Health Association; 1998;117–148.

8. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Reducing the Health Consequences of Smoking—25 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 1989. DHHS Pub. No. (CDC) 89–8411. Available at: http://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/NN/B/B/X/S/. Accessed September 2006.

9. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Using Smokeless Tobacco: A Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General, 1986. Bethesda, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service. NIH Pub. No. 86–2874. Accessed September 2006.
Note: More recent information may be available at the CDC’S Office on Smoking and Health Web site: http://0-www.cdc.gov.mill1.sjlibrary.org:80/tobacco.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Office on Smoking and Health. tobaccoinfo@cdc.gov Sept.2006

Filed under: Health,Nicotine :

Summary

DURHAM, N.C. — Within the mind of every smoker trying to quit rages a battle between the higher-order functions of the brain wanting to break the habit and the lower-order functions screaming for another cigarette, say researchers at Duke University Medical Center. More often than not, that cigarette gets lit.
Brain scans of smokers studied by the researchers revealed three specific regions deep within the brain that appear to control dependence on nicotine and craving for cigarettes. These regions play important roles in some of the key motivations for smoking: to calm down when stressed, to achieve pleasure and to help concentration.
“If you can’t calm down, can’t derive pleasure and can’t control yourself or concentrate, then it will be extremely difficult for you to break the habit,” said lead study investigator Jed E. Rose, Ph.D., director of the Duke Center for Nicotine and Smoking Cessation Research. “These brain regions may explain why most people try to quit several times before they are successful.”
Understanding how the brain responds to cigarette cravings can help doctors change nicotine cessation treatments to address all three of these components of withdrawal, Rose said. Drugs or therapies that target these regions may help smokers stave off the cravings that often spoil their attempts to quit.
The team’s findings are now online in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology. The research was funded by Phillip Morris USA.
Approximately one in five Americans smokes. Even though 70 percent of smokers report that they would like to quit, only 5 percent do so successfully.
In this study, the researchers manipulated the levels of nicotine dependence and cigarette craving among 15 smokers and then scanned their brains using positron emission tomography, or PET scans, to see which areas of the brain were most active.
Three specific regions of the brain demonstrated changes in activity when the smokers craved cigarettes versus when they did not.
One region that lights up, called the thalamus, is considered to be the key relay point for sensory information flowing into the brain. Some of the symptoms of withdrawal among people trying to quit stem from the inability to focus thoughts and the feeling of being overwhelmed, and could thus be explained by changes in this region, according to the researchers. The researchers found that changes in this region were most dramatic among those who said they smoked to calm down when under stress.
Another region that lights up is a part of the pleasure system of the brain. Changes in this region, called the striatum, were most notable in people who smoked to satisfy craving and for pleasurable relaxation, the researchers said.
A third region that lights up, called the anterior cingulate cortex, is vital to cognitive functions such as conflict, self regulation, decision making and emotion. People whose brain scans showed the most differences in this region also reported that they smoked to manage their weight.
“This knowledge gives us new clues about brain mechanisms underlying addiction to cigarettes and could allow us design better methods to help smokers quit,” Rose said.
Rose and his colleagues are now planning to perform brain scans on smokers undergoing nicotine replacement therapy, such as the nicotine patch, to determine how these treatments affect the same regions of the brain.
Other researchers participating in the study were Frederique M. Behm, Alfred N. Salley, James E. Bates, R. Edward Coleman, Thomas C. Hawk and Timothy G. Turkington.

Source: www.dukemednews March 2007


* Popular and clinical lore support the strong connection between smoking and alcohol consumption.

* Adolescent smokers appear to have a greater vulnerability to developing alcohol-use disorders.

* Results indicate that smoking “primes” the brain for subsequent addiction to alcohol and possibly other drugs.

Both academic studies and casual observation support the view that smokers tend to drink, and drinkers tend to smoke. New research using nationally representative data from the U.S. finds that smokers – particularly adolescent smokers – clearly have a greater vulnerability to alcohol-use disorders (AUDs) than do non-smokers.

Results are published in the December issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

“Smoking and alcohol – separately, or together – account for more than 20 percent of deaths in the United States,” said Richard A. Grucza, an epidemiologist at Washington University School of Medicine and corresponding author for the study. “Cigarettes and alcohol are also known to be ‘gateway’ drugs, that is, the overwhelming majority of illegal drug users begin their use with one or both of these legal drugs.”

“We have known about the link between cigarette smoking and alcohol use for a while, but we have not really asked the question, as the authors here asked, whether use of one could increase the vulnerability of becoming addicted to the other,” said Kevin W Chen, associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

“Ours was the first,” added Grucza, “to examine quantity of drinking in relationship to smoking and AUDs. Our central questions were: Can this association be explained by the fact that smokers are heavier drinkers, or is there something else going on? In other words, do smokers appear to be more sensitive to the effects of alcohol?” The short answer appears to be yes.

Researchers examined data from an aggregate of 2002 through 2004 U.S. National Surveys on Drug Use and Health. Randomly selected, household-dwelling adolescents and young adults (n=74,836) were selected from the non-institutionalized and civilian American population and queried about their drinking and smoking practices.

Results indicate that smokers – particularly adolescent smokers -have a greater vulnerability to AUDs than do non-smokers.

“In general, smokers were at more than a 50 percent higher risk, although the differences were larger in younger adolescents and among light drinkers,” said Grucza. “For example, among 15- to 17-year-olds who drank fewer than eight drinks in the month before the survey, more than 20 percent reported an AUD, compared with about five percent among the non-smoking group with the same level of drinking. We conclude that, although smokers do drink higher rates of alcohol, this alone does not explain their higher vulnerability to AUDs.”

Grucza said that these findings go beyond the popular view that bad behaviors like smoking and drinking to excess simply tend to “go together,” especially during adolescence. “It seems that smoking makes the adolescent brain more vulnerable to other addictions,” he said. “Addictive drugs all act on a part of the brain that is described as the ‘central reward circuitry.'” Once this system is exposed to one drug, the brain may become more sensitive to the effects of other drugs, as demonstrated by a number of rodent studies.

“Studies like this will set up an alert – for those who consider adolescent smoking tolerable – to rethink the issue, or perceive the problem differently,” noted Chen. “Although we do not know the exact causal relation between the two, the damage to our health is so severe that we need to create a more objective image to reject both smoking and drinking among adolescents.”

“Ours is the first study to – establish a correlation between adolescent smoking and AUDs that cannot be explained by heavier drinking,” said Grucza. “Now we, and hopefully others, need to investigate whether or not smoking actually causes adolescents to be more susceptible to AUDs. Our results are in line with an emerging literature that shows adolescence may be a unique window of vulnerability for addictions development. If it is proven that nicotine directly impacts vulnerability to alcoholism and other addictions, then that is a new, strong message to add to the health-education arsenal. However, even if this correlation is completely non-causal, these results can help to identify kids who are at risk for AUDs.”

Source:Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. (ACER) Article Date: 30 Nov 2006 – 13:00 PDT

Filed under: Addiction,Alcohol,Nicotine :

Research in Archives of Dermatology observed the effect by looking at the upper part of the inner arm in smokers and non-smokers.

Previous studies have focused on the face, where skin can also be damaged by exposure to the sun.

But the University of Michigan, Ann Arbour, team say this study shows smoking alone makes the skin age, which may help persuade some to quit.

The researchers photographed 82 people’s upper inner right arms.

Participants were aged 22 to 91. Such a wide age range was used in order to record the natural state of old and young skin.
There is strong evidence suggesting cigarette smoke has a negative effect on the appearance of skin
Indy Rihal, British Skin Foundation

Half of those studied had a history of smoking and had smoked, on average, for 24 years.

The number of packs of cigarettes they smoked ranged from a quarter of a packet to four packs per day.

The team created a nine-point scale to measure damage to skin which is not exposed to the light.

In those aged over 65, there was almost a two-point difference between smokers and non-smokers.

In the over-45s, the difference was around a point.

Writing in Archives of Dermatology, the researchers led by Dr Yolanda Helfrich, said: “We found that the number of packs of cigarettes smoked per day, total years of smoking and pack-years of smoking [an average of packs per day over the number of years of smoking] were correlated with the degree of skin aging.

“After controlling for age and other variables, we found that only packs of cigarettes smoked per day was a major predictor of the degree of photo-protected skin ageing.”

Evidence ‘mounting up’

Dr Helfrich said: “Previous studies have shown that smokers have a greater degree of skin ageing, but those have looked at facial skin.

“There are some sceptics who said the sun was having some of the effect.

“We have demonstrated that there was a significant degree of damage just from smoking.”

She added: “The evidence is certainly mounting up that smoking is not good for you. This just adds to all of that.”

She said more research was needed to show exactly how smoking damaged the skin.

Indy Rihal, of the British Skin Foundation, said: “In addition to UV light from the sun and sun beds, cigarette smoke is a main environmental factor that causes changes in the skin often associated with ‘looking old’ such as coarse wrinkling and a sallow, leathery texture.

“There is strong evidence suggesting cigarette smoke has a negative effect on the appearance of skin.

“Smoking enhances an enzyme in the skin, matrix metalloproteinase-1, resulting in increased collagen breakdown and diminished collagen production. The overall effect causes wrinkling and inelasticity.

“In addition the constriction of tiny blood vessels in the skin caused by smoking reduces the oxygen supply to the skin negatively affecting skin health and appearance in general.”

Amanda Sandford, of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) said: “This study provides further evidence of the detrimental effects that smoking can have on the skin.

“No amount of anti-ageing cream will remove the wrinkles caused by cigarettes so the best way for smokers to avoid the wrinkled prune look is to stop smoking.”

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/health/6466041.stm

Published: 2007/03/21 00:03:21 GMT

© BBC MMVII

Research Summary
A pair of new studies find that smokers take many more sick days annually than nonsmokers and perform worse when they are on the job, Bloomberg News reported March 29.
A Swedish study by Petter Lundborg and colleagues from Free University of Amsterdam found that smokers took an average of 34 sick days per year, compared to 20 per year for people who never smoked and 25 per year among former smokers.
Sweden has one of the highest rates of sickness absence in the industrialized world; in the U.S., the average worker takes off nine days annually for illness. “The results suggest that policies that reduce and/or prevent smoking may also reduce the number of days of sick leave,” wrote Lundborg.
In a study of women in the U.S. Navy, San Diego State University researcher Terry Conway and colleagues found that smokers were more likely to be discharged for medical reasons, bad behavior, misconduct, drug misuse and personality disorders. Smokers also were more apt to resign from the Navy before serving their full terms, and were paid less.
However, noted Conway, “Cigarette smoking might simply be a marker for other underlying factors such as nonconformity and high risk-taking, that contribute to poorer performance.”
The research was published in the journal Tobacco Control.

Source: Bloomberg News March 29 2007


Research Summary

Smoking among young adults has plummeted since California implemented a groundbreaking tobacco-control plan 12 years ago, according to new research from the University of California at San Diego.

The California Tobacco Control Program, established in 1989, has been credited with reducing smoking among all adult smokers, but the decline among young adults has been especially striking, researchers said. Notably, cessation rates among young Californians were higher than among young adults in New York and New Jersey, which have similarly high tobacco prices but lack comprehensive stop-smoking campaigns, as well as compared to young adults in tobacco-growing states (TGS).

“We were surprised to find that, since the advent of the California campaign, young people have increased their rate of quitting by 50 percent, far more than their older counterparts,” said study author Karen Messer, Ph.D. “It used to be that smokers over age 50 were the ones quitting because they understood the health consequences of smoking …
“These young adults have grown up in a tobacco-controlled climate, where smoking isn’t the norm and isn’t socially supported. We may be seeing the first generation who believe it’s not cool to smoke, which could pay huge dividends in their future health.”

Another UCLA study focused on tobacco consumption trends. “We found that there is a national trend of declining cigarette consumption for all age groups, but the most significant by far was observed in California smokers over age 35,” noted researcher Wael K. Al-Delaimy, M.D., Ph.D.
“The data suggest that — compared with states with no tobacco control initiatives (TGS) or states with an increased cigarette price as the principal tobacco control measure (NY/NJ) – California’s comprehensive tobacco control program is more effective in decreasing cigarette consumption for those over age 35.”

Source: journal Tobacco Control April 2007

A prescription-only pill with a high success rate in helping people to quit smoking is to become available on the NHS after a decision yesterday by the government’s drugs watchdog.
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence gave draft approval for the health service to provide varenicline, which is manufactured by Pfizer under the brand name Champix. Trials showed the twice-daily pill provided relief from cravings and withdrawal symptoms experienced by smokers in the weeks after quitting.

The manufacturers said it also reduced the satisfaction smokers would get from cigarettes in the event of a relapse.
During the trials, 44% of smokers had quit by the end of a 12-week course. This compared with a 30% success rate for the anti-smoking drug Zyban and 18% for smokers who were given a placebo.
The recommended 12-week course of treatment costs about £163.80.
Giving draft approval allows NHS trusts or professional bodies to register objections before a decision in July. NHS trusts would then have three months to make funding available. A spokeswoman for Nice said: “Having looked at all the evidence, our independent committee has concluded that varenicline appears to be a good way to help people who want to quit smoking.”
Robert West, professor of health psychology at University College London, said: “This guidance gives smokers who are serious about stopping another choice from a good range of clinically proven treatments. Smokers who combine treatments with the right support…could significantly increase their odds of successfully quitting for life.”

Source Thursday May 31, 2007 The Guardian


Nicotine reaches the brain as quickly as 10 seconds after inhalation, triggering feelings of pleasure, increasing heart rate and raising blood pressure.
But alongside the nicotine, smokers breathe in a deadly cocktail of chemicals including arsenic, formaldehyde and polonium.
“Cigarette smoke contains at least 69 different cancer-causing chemicals and thousands of other poisons which can increase the risk of several different types of cancer,” said Ed Yong of Cancer Research.
“Nicotine itself doesn’t cause cancer, it just keeps the smokers hooked,” he added.
Tobacco is so addictive that doctors writing in the Lancet medical journal this year said it should be classified as an illegal drug, on a par with amphetamines and barbiturates.
The government says 70 per cent of smokers want to give up but are held back by the power nicotine has over them.
Only one in five who try quitting manage to abstain for a year, while just three per cent succeed in breaking the habit by willpower alone, according to statistics compiled by health charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH).
One in six smokers say they light up within five minutes of waking up, with half having their first cigarette inside the first 30 minutes of the day.
The government says 106,000 people die a year in Britain from smoking-related illnesses.
From July 1 smoking is banned in enclosed public spaces across all of the United Kingdom when England introduces its own prohibition to match those already in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
But while this may help many adults give up, there are some groups who will need much greater assistance, says ASH.
Around a quarter of all adults smoke but among the most disadvantaged, such as single parents on benefit, the rates are as high as 70 per cent.
“It’s a response to stress,” said ASH director Deborah Arnott. “If your life is very stressful then smoking seems to help in some way.”
She said such disadvantaged groups should be prescribed nicotine patches for longer periods than the usual maximum of 12 weeks to help them quit.
“It’s the nicotine they are addicted to, but it’s the smoke that’s killing them,” she said.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown cut the value added tax on nicotine replacement products to five per cent in his last budget as chancellor of the exchequer.
The tax break will last for a year but ASH says the price reduction should be made permanent to help the most addicted and disadvantaged.

Source: www.smh.com.au June 30, 2007

Filed under: Addiction,Nicotine :

November 9, 2006

Men diagnosed with cancer are less likely to survive the disease if they were smokers or heavy drinkers. Smoking and drinking are well-known risk factors for cancer, but researchers have begun looking into how these addictions affect survivability, as well. Researcher Young Ho Yun and colleagues at the National Cancer Center in Goyang, South Korea tracked 14,578 cancer patients for about nine years and compared mortality data to patients’ history of smoking and alcohol use.
The researchers found that former smokers were more likely to die from any kind of cancer than nonsmoking cancer patients, possibly because smoking causes tumors to grow more aggressively. Smokers also may be less likely to get cancer screening tests, the authors noted, so their disease is often further advanced when treatment begins.
Among patients with head, neck, or liver cancer, heavy drinkers were more likely to die than nondrinkers, with risk increasing with consumption levels.
“Our findings suggest that groups at high risk of cancer need to be educated continually to improve their health behaviors — not only to prevent cancer, but also to improve prognosis,” the study authors noted.

Source: Journal of Clinical Oncology Nov. 1, 2006.

Reference:
Park, S.M., Lim, M.K., Shin, S.A., Yun, Y.H. (2006) Impact of Prediagnosis Smoking, Alcohol, Obesity, and Insulin Resistance on Survival in Male Cancer Patients: National Health Insurance Corporation Study. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 24(31): 5017-5024.

The truth youth anti-smoking campaign has the power to save hundreds of thousands of lives and billions of dollars in smoking related health care costs and productivity losses, according to the Citizens’ Commission to Protect the Truth, a group composed of every former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare and Health and Human Services with the exception of Michael Leavitt; every former U.S. Surgeon General; and every former Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine indicated that the medical care costs averted by the truth® campaign – due to prevention of smoking – were far greater than the costs of the campaign itself and found that for every dollar invested in truth®, it is estimated that society saved over $6.80. The study focused on the period of 2000–2002. During this period of time, the truth® campaign has been credited with reducing the number of children and teen smokers by 300,000.
We believe that if the truth® campaign continues for another five years (2009-2014) with similar effectiveness, there will be up to 500,000 fewer youth smokers with savings of up to $9.0 billion in future medical costs.
The Commission based its analysis on the findings of the study presented in the May 2009 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, which found that the decrease in the number of youth who initiated smoking as a result of truth® during the period of 2000–2002 may result in averting up to $5.4 billion in future medical costs.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-third of young smokers will die prematurely from smoking-related diseases. Since 80% of adult smokers began using tobacco products before the age of 18, the hundreds of thousands of children who opt not to smoke because of their exposure to truth® will almost certainly not become adult smokers.
“Ending smoking by American children and teens is crucial to the health and cost of healthcare to our nation. The truth® campaign provides a return on investment that would make the greediest corporate CEOs salivate. The truth® campaign is one of the most effective investments in the history of public health,” said Joseph A. Califano, Jr., Commission Chairman and former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare who started the national anti-smoking campaign in 1978. “truth® is the only national smoking prevention campaign not directed by the tobacco industry which exposes the tactics of the tobacco industry, the truth about addiction, and the health effects and social consequences of smoking.”
The American Legacy Foundation’s life-saving truth® campaign is the largest national youth smoking prevention campaign and an extraordinary public health story. The campaign is a national peer-to-peer intervention that works. In its first two years, truth® was responsible for 22% of the overall decline in youth smoking—a decrease which represents approximately 300,000 fewer smokers. Peer reviewed studies, both old and new, underscore that truth® can inoculate teens against tobacco addiction. The truth® campaign’s successes are unassailable.
Source : Citizens Commission to Protect the Truth April 19, 2009

Nicotine addiction relies on brain receptors that have been difficult to fully study and characterize. Scientists at the University of Colorado in Boulder have demonstrated that an immunolabeling technique can effectively analyze receptor subunits.

Background: Nicotine’s effects on the brain are triggered upon its binding to nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, each of which consists of five subunits: two alphas, one beta, one delta and one gamma. Different combinations of these subunits produce different receptor subtypes, which may vary in their pharmacology, biophysical properties, and distribution. To more fully understand how to interfere with nicotine’s effects in the brain, scientists must first understand where these different receptors are and how they work. Two of the most important subunits, a4 and b2, have been hard to study because current study methods can only locate the fully assembled receptor unit. Researchers wanted to know if an alternative strategy of immunolabeling (i.e., using antibodies to tag individual proteins), which has been fraught with technical challenges, would be able to identify, map, and quantify separate subunits.

Study Design: Scientists at the University of Colorado worked with brain sections of mice genetically engineered to express particular a4 and b2 subunit combinations. Using a sensitive immunolabeling technique, they explored the expression of the a4 and b2 subunits at both the gene and protein levels. Additional mice strains, missing the subunits under study, were used as controls.

What They Found: The two predominant nicotinic receptor subtypes (a4 and b2) were reliably detected using immunolabeling. Expression of the a4 subunit protein was almost universally dependent on b2, whereas most, but not all, b2 subunit protein expression was a4-dependent.

Comments from the Authors: Immunolabeling using specific antibodies offers a powerful approach for mapping the distribution of nicotine receptor subunits and can produce reliable quantitative results.

What’s Next: Similar studies can be designed to locate other nicotine receptor subtypes. In many cases, the antibody recognition sites are inside the cell membrane. It will likely take alternative biochemical approaches to uncover these less accessible sites. A better understanding of receptor composition and function may eventually have important implications for developing interventions at the receptor level.

Source: The study, led by Dr. Paul Whiteaker of the Institute for Behavioral Genetics at the University of Colorado, Boulder, with Dr. Jon Lindstrom of the University of Pennsylvania, was published in volume 499, number 6, pages 1016-1038 (2006) of the Journal of Comparative Neurology.

Research Summary
There is compelling evidence that second hand smoke can trigger heart attacks, according to a new report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), and people with heart conditions are urged to avoid exposure to tobacco smoke, the Associated Press reported Oct. 15.
The report, requested by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said there is no safe level of exposure to second hand smoke, and that people with cardiovascular disease could risk heart attack with less than an hour’s exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, which restricts blood vessels and increases clotting.
“If you have heart disease, you really need to stay away from second hand smoke. It’s an immediate threat to your life,” said researcher Neal Benowitz of the University of California at San Francisco.
Benowitz added that everyone, in fact, should avoid second hand smoke, since many people who have heart disease are not aware of the problem if they have never had a heart attack. “Even if you think you’re perfectly healthy, second hand smoke could be a potential threat to you,” he said.
“The evidence is clear,” said CDC head Thomas Frieden. “Smoke-free laws don’t hurt business … but they prevent heart attacks in non-smokers.”
Researchers found “clear and consistent” evidence that smoking bans cut the rate of heart attacks, according to statistician Stephen Feinberg of Carnegie Mellon University, a member of the IOM committee that compiled the report.
Source: Associated Press Oct.15th 2009

Filed under: Health,Nicotine :

Research Summary
A recent University of California at Riverside study found that second hand smoke from tobacco can lead to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which can cause fat to accumulate in the liver of people even if they drink moderately or don’t drink alcohol at all.
Researchers studied mice exposed to second hand smoke for a year and found that fat accumulated in their liver cells, a sign of NAFLD.
The researchers focused their attention on two main fat metabolism regulators that are also found in human cells: the protein that stimulates synthesis of fatty acids in the liver and AMPK (adenosine monophosphate kinase), which regulates that protein. They found that AMPK activity is inhibited when exposed to second hand smoke, leading the other protein to synthesize more fatty acids. The result is NAFLD, according to the report.
“Our study provides compelling experimental evidence in support of tobacco smoke exposure playing a major role in NAFLD development,” said Manuela Martins-Green, who led the study.
Source: Journal of Hepatology September 2009.

Filed under: Health,Nicotine :

The heart attack rate fell 10 percent in England and 14 percent in Scotland after the U.K. countries imposed bans on public smoking, the Similar results are expected from a study in Wales.
“We always knew a public smoking ban would bring rapid health benefits, but we have been amazed by just how big and how rapid they are,” said John Britton, director of the U.K. Center for Tobacco Control Studies at Nottingham University. The research is expected to boost calls for further curbs on secondhand smoke, such as banning smoking in cars with children.
“Exposure to cigarette smoke induces rapid changes in blood chemistry, making it much more prone to clotting,” explained Ellen Mason, a senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation. “In someone who has narrowed or damaged coronary arteries, smoke exposure can tip the balance and cause a heart attack.”
The findings echo those in other nations where public smoking has been banned, such as France, Ireland and Italy.

Source: Sunday Times reported Sept. 13th.2009

Filed under: Health,Nicotine :

Research Summary
A genetic study has found that children who were exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to develop lung cancer as adults, according to researchers from the National Cancer Institute and the Mayo Clinic.
Childhood exposure to secondhand smoke raised lung-cancer risk even among study subjects who never smoked themselves. Researchers drew their conclusions in part from analysis of a gene called MBL2, known to increase susceptibility to respiratory diseases.
Source: Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention. December 2009

Research Summary
Continuing to use nicotine patches or gums after cancer surgery — to say nothing of smoking — makes chemotherapy less effective, according to researchers at the University of South Florida.
The Associated Press reported April 2 that a study of lung-cancer patients found that nicotine appears to protect cancer cells from chemotherapy drugs like gemcitabine, cisplatin, and taxol. Srikumar Chellappan of the University of South Florida and colleagues studied the impact of nicotine on non-small cell lung cancer, the most common form of the disease.
“Our findings are in agreement with clinical studies showing that patients who continue to smoke have worse survival profiles than those who quit before treatment,” the study noted. “They also raise the possibility that nicotine supplementation for smoking cessation might reduce the response to chemotheraputic agents.”
Source: The research appears in the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Reported in Join Together April 2006

Filed under: Health,Nicotine :

Babies born to women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have heart defects that are not related to genetics, Reuters reported April 9.
Researcher Sadia Malik of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and colleagues compared more than 3,000 infants born with heart defects to a similar group of infants without heart problems. They found that heart defects were more common among children of women who smoked during the month before they became pregnant or during the first trimester of their pregnancy. Moreover, the risk of babies being born with heart problems was higher when mothers smoked more.
“If even a fraction of congenital heart defects and other birth defects could be prevented by decreasing maternal tobacco use, it would result in improved reproductive outcomes and a saving of millions of health care dollars,” the researchers said.
Source: April 2008 issue of the journal Pediatrics.

A new study found a link between secondhand smoke and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), the Toronto Globe and Mail reported Feb. 21.
The study was conducted by researchers at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children and the University of Maryland.
In analyzing 44 SIDS deaths, researchers found twice the amount of nicotine levels in the lung tissue of babies whose parents acknowledged that they were smokers than in babies who died of other causes.
“It’s biochemical proof that smoke is associated with SIDS,” said Gideon Koren, lead investigator and senior scientist at the hospital’s research institute. “Some parents may feel guilty, and probably we underestimate the contribution of smoking to the risk of SIDS.”
Koren said additional research is needed to determine which of the toxic substances in tobacco smoke increases the risk for SIDS.
The study’s findings also are raising questions as to whether parents should be held responsible for exposing their babies to tobacco-filled air at home.
“In light of this new research, we and other agencies will be looking at it and rethinking our position to see if a stronger position is more feasible,” said Gail Vandermeulen of the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies.
Source: Journal of Pediatrics February. 2002

The children of women who smoke during pregnancy are at increased risk of suffering strokes or heart attacks later in life, a new study concludes.
Reuters reported March 2 that children of smokers — studied as young adults — were found to have thicker walls around the carotid arteries in their necks, making them more vulnerable to stroke and heart attacks. Children of women who smoked the most during pregnancy had the thickest arterial walls, researchers found.
“There is the possibility that the compounds in tobacco smoke go through the placenta and directly damage the cardiovascular system of the fetus,” said researcher Cuno Uiterwaal at the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands. “The damage appears to be permanent and stays with the children.”
Source: Findings presented at a recent American Heart Association conference in Orlando. March 5, 2007

A study from the United Kingdom finds that children of mothers who smoke have smaller lung volumes and are more at risk for serious lung disease later in life, Reuters reported Feb. 26.
The study by researchers at the University of Bristol and the University of Glasgow involved 2,000 men and women in their 30s, 40s, and 50s whose parents smoked and took part in a study in the 1970s.
After conducting respiratory tests, the researchers found that children of mothers who smoked had smaller lungs, regardless of whether they also smoked. In addition, these children were more at risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). If they themselves smoked, the risk was as high as 70 percent.
“Our results suggest that the effects of maternal smoking on lung size are permanent,” said Dr. Mark Upton, lead author of the study.
Children from households where the father smoked, but not the mother, showed poorer lung function, but not as great as those whose mothers smoked.
Source: American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Feb. 15, 2004

Children exposed to secondhand smoke at home are more likely to carry the streptococcus pneumonia bacteria in their nose and throat, according to Israeli researchers.
A study involving more than 200 children and their mothers found that 76 percent of children exposed to secondhand smoke carried the bacteria in their noses and throats, compared to 60 percent of those not exposed to smoking. The bacteria can cause minor illnesses like ear infections or more dangerous conditions like sinusitis, pneumonia, and meningitis.
Among the mothers, 32 percent of smokers carried the bacteria, compared to 15 percent of nonsmokers exposed to tobacco smoke and 12 percent of nonsmokers not exposed to secondhand smoke.
“Since carriage in the nose is the first step in causing disease, the increased rate of carriage suggests more frequent occurrence of the disease. Indeed, active and passive smoking are associated with increased rate of respiratory infectious diseases,” said lead study author David Greenberg, M.D. “This should definitely encourage the parents not to smoke in the presence of their child, especially if this child has predisposing factors such as asthma.”
Source: Clinical Infectious Diseases. April 1, 2006

Researchers have found that infants as young as three months old accumulate nicotine and carcinogens in their bodies when they are exposed to tobacco smoke, the Guardian reported May 12.
Authors of the study — the first to test smoking exposure on children so young — said that parents who smoking around infants could raise children’s’ risk of addiction, cancer, and other health problems later in life. “The take-home message is that parents should not smoke around their children, because they will suffer from the exposure,” said Stephen Hecht of the University of Minnesota cancer center.
The study of 144 children (ages three months to one year) who lived with family members who smoked found that 98 percent had nicotine in their urine, and 93 percent had cotinine, a marker for nicotine metabolism. Further, 47 percent of the infants had detectable levels of NNAL, a carcinogenic metabolite of cigarette smoke.
“Persistent exposure to environmental tobacco smoke in childhood could be related to cancer later in life,” said Hecht
Source: Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention. May 2006

Infants with at least one parent who smokes have higher levels of a nicotine metabolite in their bodies than the children of nonsmokers, the Guardian reported June 19.
Researchers from the University of Leicester and Warwick Medical School said the study showed that smoking parents are turning their infants into passive smokers, putting them in danger of breathing problems and crib death. “Babies and children are routinely exposed to cigarette smoke by their [caregivers] in the home without the legislative protection available to adults in public places,” the authors stated.
Babies whose mothers smoked had cotinine levels four times higher than children whose parents were both nonsmokers, while babies with fathers who smoked had cotinine levels twice as high.
Cotinine levels were higher among babies who shared a bed with their parents, and during the winter. “Higher cotinine levels in colder times of year may be a reflection of the other key factors which influence exposure to passive smoking, such as poorer ventilation or a greater tendency for parents to smoke indoors in winter,” the authors said.
Source: Archives of Diseases in Childhood. June 2007

Research Summary
Within five years of quitting former female smokers have no greater risk of dying from coronary heart disease than nonsmokers, according to a new study.
HealthDay News reported May 6 that while risk for other smoking-related health problems lingers longer, heart health seems to bounce back more quickly.
Lung-cancer risk persisted 30 years after quitting, however, and former smokers face higher odds of dying from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease for more than 20 years after quitting, the study found.
The study was conducted by researcher Stacey Kenfield of the Harvard School of Public Health and colleagues. “It’s never too early to stop, and it’s never too late to stop,” said Kenfield.
“This shows the power of quitting smoking,” said Jay Brooks, study co-author and chairman of hematology/oncology at Ochsner Health System in Baton Rouge, La. “We’ve known this for a number of years, but the beauty of this study is it is a very large and well-studied group of people. When I tell people to quit smoking, I say the effect of the heart precedes that of the lungs. If you’ve smoked, you need to be cognizant that you’re still at an increased risk of lung cancer.”
Source: May 7, 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Filed under: Health,Nicotine :

 

• Compared to 12- and 13-year olds who have frequent family dinners, those who have infrequent family dinners are six times likelier to use marijuana, four times likelier to use tobacco, and three times likelier to use alcohol.
• Compared to teens who attend religious services at least weekly, those who never attend services are more than twice as likely to try cigarettes, and twice as likely to try marijuana and alcohol.
• Compared to teens who have frequent family dinners, those who have infrequent family dinners are one and a half times likelier to report getting grades of C or lower in school. 

 

Source: www.casacolumbia.org   Sept.2009


A recent study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health has revealed that women who continue to smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have children with behavioral problems. Disturbances caused can show signs as early as when the child is three years old.
For the sake of the study, over 14,000 mothers and child pairs were observed. The pairs were picked from the millennium cohort study. All the children observed had been born between 2000 and 2001. Professor Kate Pickett from the Hull York medical school, University of York, carried out the research.
Mothers, who were categorized as light or heavy smokers with regards to the number of cigarettes they smoked each day during pregnancy, were given a questionnaire which required them to score their children’s behavior. While 12.5% women said they smoked lightly and 12.4% said they had stopped smoking altogether when pregnant, 10% admitted to smoking heavily all throughout the term.
Based on the data collected, the study confirmed that children whose mothers smoked heavily were two times more prone to behavioral problems, a thing which kept going down as the number of cigarettes smoked during pregnancy went down. According to the study, smoking when pregnant, damages the developing structure and functioning of the fetus’s brain. Boy fetuses are more prone to damage.
Source:www.topnews.net.nz 3/11/2009

Men diagnosed with cancer are less likely to survive the disease if they were smokers or heavy drinkers, Reuters reported Nov. 7.
Smoking and drinking are well-known risk factors for cancer, but researchers have begun looking into how these addictions affect survivability, as well. Researcher Young Ho Yun and colleagues at the National Cancer Center in Goyang, South Korea tracked 14,578 cancer patients for about nine years and compared mortality data to patients’ history of smoking and alcohol use.
The researchers found that former smokers were more likely to die from any kind of cancer than non-smoking cancer patients, possibly because smoking causes tumors to grow more aggressively. Smokers also may be less likely to get cancer screening tests, the authors noted, so their disease is often further advanced when treatment begins.
Among patients with head, neck, or liver cancer, heavy drinkers were more likely to die than non-drinkers, with risk increasing with consumption levels.
“Our findings suggest that groups at high risk of cancer need to be educated continually to improve their health behaviors — not only to prevent cancer, but also to improve prognosis,” the study authors noted.
The research appears in the Nov. 1, 2006 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

A tiny genetic mutation is the key to understanding why nicotine–which binds to brain receptors with such addictive potency–is virtually powerless in muscle cells that are studded with the same type of receptorBy all rights, nicotine ought to paralyze or even kill us, explains Dennis Dougherty, the George Grant Hoag Professor of Chemistry at Caltech and one of the leaders of the research team. After all, the receptor it binds to in the brain’s neurons–a type of acetylcholine receptor, which also binds the neurotransmitter acetylcholine–is found in large numbers in muscle cells. Were nicotine to bind with those cells, it would cause muscles to contract with such force that the response would likely prove lethal. Obviously, considering the data on smoking, that is not what happens. The question has long been: Why not?

“It’s a chemical mystery,” Dougherty admits. “We knew something subtle had to be going on here, but we didn’t know exactly what.” That subtlety, it turns out, lies in the slight tweaking of the structure of the acetylcholine receptor in muscle cells versus its structure in brain cells.
The shape of the acetylcholine receptor, and the way the chemicals that bind with it contort themselves to fit into that receptor, is determined by a number of different weak chemical interactions. Perhaps most important is an interaction that Dougherty calls “underappreciated”–the cation-π interaction, in which a positively charged ion and an electron-rich π system come together.

Back in the late 1990s, Dougherty and colleagues had shown that the cation-π interaction is indeed a key part of acetylcholine’s ability to bind to the acetylcholine receptors in muscles. “We assumed that nicotine’s charge would cause it to do the same thing, to have the same sort of strong interaction that acetylcholine has,” says Dougherty. “But we found that it didn’t.”
This would explain why smoking doesn’t paralyze us; if the nicotine can’t get into the muscle’s acetylcholine receptors, it can’t cause the muscles to contract.

But how, then, does nicotine work its addictive magic on the brain? It took another decade for the scientists to be able to peek at what happens in brain cells’ acetylcholine receptors when nicotine arrives on the scene. Turns out that in brain cells, unlike in muscle cells, nicotine makes the exact same kind of strong cation-π interaction that acetylcholine makes in both brain and muscle cells. “In addition,” Dougherty notes, “we found that nicotine makes a strong hydrogen bond in the brain’s acetylcholine receptors. This same hydrogen bond, in the receptors in muscle cells, is weak.”

The cause of this difference in binding potency, says Dougherty, is a single point mutation that occurs in the receptor near the key tryptophan amino acid that makes the cation-π interaction. “This one mutation means that, in the brain, nicotine can cozy up to this one particular tryptophan much more closely than it can in muscle cells,” he explains. “And that is what allows the nicotine to make the strong cation-π interaction.”

Dougherty says the best way to visualize this change is to think of the receptor as a box with one open side. “In muscle cells, this box is slightly distorted, so that the nicotine can’t get to the tryptophan,” he says. “But in the brain, the box is subtly reshaped. That’s the thing: It’s the shape, not the composition, of the box that changes. This allows the nicotine to make strong interactions, to become very potent. In other words, it’s what allows nicotine to be addictive in the brain.”

“Several projects in our labs are converging on the molecular and cellular mechanisms of the changes that occur when the brain is repeatedly exposed to nicotine,” adds study coauthor Henry Lester, the Bren Professor of Biology at Caltech. “We think that the important events begin with the rather tight and selective interaction between nicotine and certain receptors in the brain. This Nature paper teaches us how this interaction occurs, at an unprecedented level of resolution.”
Dougherty notes that these findings might one day lead to better drugs to combat nicotine addiction and other neurological disorders. “The receptor we describe in this paper is an important drug target,” he says. “It might help pharmaceutical companies develop a better drug than nicotine to do the good things nicotine does–enhance cognition, increase attention–without being addictive and toxic.”

Source: Xiu et al. Nicotine binding to brain receptors requires a strong cation–π interaction. Nature, March 26, 2009; DOI: 10.1038/nature07768 Science Daily 29.03.09

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) released a report today, co-edited by University of Minnesota professor Barbara Loken, that reaches the government’s strongest conclusion to date that tobacco marketing and depictions of smoking in movies promote youth smoking. “There is now incontrovertible evidence that marketing of tobacco, and the depiction of smoking in the movies, promote youth smoking and can cause young people to begin smoking,” said Loken, professor of marketing at the Carlson School of Management and one of the report’s five scientific editors.
The 684-page monograph, “The Role of the Media in Promoting and Reducing Tobacco Use,” presents definitive conclusions that a) tobacco advertising and promotion are causally related to increased tobacco use, and b) exposure to depictions of smoking in movies causes youth smoking initiation. The report also concludes that while mass media campaigns can reduce tobacco use, youth smoking prevention campaigns sponsored by the tobacco industry are generally ineffective and may even increase youth smoking.
“The role of marketing in the success of the tobacco companies is conclusive,” according to Loken. “The report’s recommendations offer the best approach to employ marketing techniques and the media to help prevent a further increase in youth smoking.”
The NCI report reaches six major conclusions:
1. Cigarettes are one of the most heavily marketed products in the United States.
2. Tobacco advertising targets psychological needs of adolescents, such as popularity and peer acceptance. Advertising creates the perception that smoking satisfies these needs.
3. Even brief exposure to tobacco advertising influences adolescents’ perceptions about smoking, smokers, and adolescents’ intentions to smoke.
4. The depiction of cigarette smoking is pervasive in movies, occurring in 75 percent or more of contemporary box-office hits, with identifiable brands in about one-third of movies.
5. A comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising and promotion is an effective policy intervention that prevents tobacco companies from shifting marketing expenditures to permitted media.
6. The tobacco industry works hard to impede tobacco control media campaigns, including attempts to prevent or reduce their funding.
“This direct link between marketing and tobacco use is very powerful.” Loken said, “Anti-tobacco ads before films and a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising are two effective strategies found to curb effects of tobacco images on youth. Now we need to use marketing to steer youth and others away from tobacco.”
The report provides the most current and comprehensive analysis of more than 1,000 scientific studies on the role of the media in encouraging and discouraging tobacco use. The report is Monograph 19 in the NCI’s Tobacco Control Monograph series examining critical issues in tobacco prevention and control. Research included in the review comes from the disciplines of marketing, psychology, communications, statistics, epidemiology and public health.Source: National Cancer Institute Report. National Press Club Release 21 August

Filed under: Nicotine,Youth :

New research suggests that it takes less exposure to tobacco to increase the risk of colorectal cancer among women than men.
Researchers Joseph C. Anderson, M.D., of the University of Connecticut and Zvi A. Alpern, M.D. of Stony Brook University conducted a large cross-sectional study, analyzing data on patients who underwent colonoscopies. Utilizing a measurement called “pack years” — determined by multiplying the number of cigarettes smoked per day by the number of years smoked — researchers compared the amount of tobacco exposure in men and women to increased colorectal cancer risk.
The analysis, controlling for age, body mass index and family history, showed that women who smoked up to 30 pack-years had an 82 percent greater risk for significant colorectal neoplasia than nonsmoking women, while men who smoked up to 30 pack-years showed 21 percent greater risk than nonsmoking men. Female smokers faced double the risk or more of colorectal cancer if they smoked less than 30 pack years, while men achieved the same level of risk only when they smoked more than 30 pack years.
The study was presented at the American College of Gastroenterology’s annual scientific meeting.
 
Source: Reported in Join Together Oct. 7 2008

Research SummaryJust as smoking causes hardening of the arteries, quitting smoking can improve arterial health, although recovery from arterial stiffness may take up to a decade, Reuters reported March 19.
Researcher Noor Ahmed Jatoi and colleagues compared current smokers, ex-smokers and people who never had smoked. “We categorized ex-smokers according to how long they were off cigarettes — under one year, more than one but less than 10 years and more than 10 years,” said Jatoi.
The researchers found that arterial health improved over with time once smokers quit, but only reached normal levels after more than a decade of abstinence.
The study was published in the journal Hypertension.

Source: Reported in Join Together March 23 2007

Filed under: Nicotine :
Research Summary
Continuing to use nicotine patches or gums after cancer surgery — to say nothing of smoking — makes chemotherapy less effective, according to researchers at the University of South Florida.
The Associated Press reported April 2 that a study of lung-cancer patients found that nicotine appears to protect cancer cells from chemotherapy drugs like gemcitabine, cisplatin, and taxol. Srikumar Chellappan of the University of South Florida and colleagues studied the impact of nicotine on non-small cell lung cancer, the most common form of the disease.
“Our findings are in agreement with clinical studies showing that patients who continue to smoke have worse survival profiles than those who quit before treatment,” the study noted. “They also raise the possibility that nicotine supplementation for smoking cessation might reduce the response to chemotheraputic agents.”
The research appears in the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 

Source:Reported in Join Together April 2006

 

PURPOSE: To determine the risk for malignant primary adult-onset glioma (MPAG) associated with cigarette smoking and other lifestyle behaviors in a large, multiethnic, managed-care cohort. METHODS: The study population included a cohort of 133,811 subscribers to the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program of Northern California who had received a multiphasic health checkup and questionnaire between 1977 and 1985, were at least 25 years old at their start of follow-up, and had no prior history of benign or malignant brain tumors. In this cohort, patients were followed for up to 21 years for the development of MPAG. RESULTS: Risk for MPAG among women increased with increasing packs of cigarettes smoked per day (p-for-trend = 0.04), adjusting for cigar and pipe smoking, patient age, sex, race, education, alcohol use and coffee consumption. A similar pattern was not observed for men. Individuals who smoked marijuana at least once a month, adjusting for cigarette smoking (packs smoked per day) and for the factors noted above, had a 2.8-fold (CI = 1.3-6.2) increased risk for MPAG. Relative risk for MPAG increased with increasing consumption of coffee (p-for-trend = 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Cigarette smoking was associated with an increased risk for MPAG among women but not among men. Individuals who smoked marijuana at least once a month had an increased risk for MPAG, although no dose-response relation was observed. Drinkers of >7 cups of coffee per day had a 70% increased risk for MPAG and smaller risk elevation for lower consumption. Alcohol usage was not associated with an increased risk for MPAG.
Source:   J Neurooncol. 2004 May;68(1):57-69

Filed under: Health,Nicotine :

In a new study, researchers have determined that prenatal exposure to cigarette smoking, when combined with a specific genetic variant, places children at increased risk for aggressive behavior and other behavioral problems.
The study, led by scientists at the Institute for Juvenile Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago, identified a long-lasting influence on a child’s behavior precipitated by the monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) gene variant in conjunction with prenatal exposure to tobacco. MAOA is an enzyme which regulates key neurotransmitters in the brain. 
The genetic variant responsible for increased risk of behavioral problems differs between boys and girls, researchers said. In boys exposed to tobacco smoke prenatally, the low-activity MAOA (MAOA-L) gene variant was associated with increased disruptive social interactions, aggressive behavior, and serious rule-violating.
Among girls, the high-activity MAOA (MAOA-H) gene variant was associated with increased disruptive behavior. In addition, girls with both the MAOA-H variant and prenatal exposure to cigarette smoke had an increased “hostile attribution bias” — a tendency to perceive anger in a range of facial expressions — that was not seen among boys.
There was a higher risk of disruptive behavior for both boys and girls the more their mother smoked during pregnancy, according to the study.
“The tendency to over-perceive anger suggests the possibility that the combination of prenatal tobacco exposure and the MAOA risk variant affects the brain’s processing of emotional cues,” said Lauren Wakschlag, the study’s principal investigator. “Clearly, close attention to sex differences in these patterns will be critical for future studies,” she said.

Source:Join Together. March 16th 2009

Cigarette smoking is more strongly associated with head and neck cancers than drinking alcohol, according to a new study. The study found that smoking is responsible for a quarter of head and neck cancers among individuals who do not drink alcohol.

At least 75 percent of head and neck cancers are caused by a combination of cigarette smoking and drinking alcohol, but researchers have not known the individual contributions of these risk factors because people who smoke are more likely to drink than the general population and vice versa. In a new study, researchers sought to tease out the independent effect of each risk factor on head and neck cancer development.
Mia Hashibe, Ph.D., of the International Agency for Cancer Research in Lyon, France, and colleagues examined head and neck cancer risk among smokers who never drank alcohol and people who drink but never used tobacco products. They pooled data from 15 case–control studies, which included 10,244 head and neck cancer patients and 15,227 controls. About 16 percent of the patients and 27 percent of the controls never drank, and about 11 percent of the patients and 38 percent of the controls never smoked.
Cigarette smoking was associated with an increased risk of head and neck cancer–especially cancer of the larynx–among patients who never drank alcohol. About 24 percent of head and neck cancers were due to smoking among patients who never drank.
Drinking alcohol was also associated with greater risk of head and neck cancers among never smokers, but mainly for patients who drank three or more drinks per day. They had twice the risk of head and neck cancers as people who never drink. Only seven percent of head and neck cancers were due to drinking among never smokers.
“The major strength of our pooled analyses was assembly of a very large series of never users of tobacco and never drinkers among head and neck cancer patients and control subjects, which allowed us to examine head and neck cancer risks in detail and to explore differences in risks by cancer subsite, geographic region, and sex,” the authors write.
 
Source:  Journal of the National Cancer Institute  2007, May 16.  99: 777-789

Filed under: Alcohol,Health,Nicotine :

Research Summary
Teenagers expect and want adults to discourage them from using tobacco, according to new research from the
Researcher Maria Nilsson evaluated the impact of an anti-smoking program, Tobacco-Free Duo, which started in 1993. The program targets children between the ages of 13-15 and includes adults supporting the teenagers in staying tobacco-free.
Nilsson found that smoking rates declined among adolescents in the program over a seven-year period, while no corresponding change was observed at the national level. In addition, one in four tobacco-using adults participating in the program stopped smoking in order to take part.
“Children expect adults to work against tobacco. They say this is important and that grown-ups can make a difference by showing a clear and positive commitment,” said Nilsson.
Survey results on 15-year-old smokers showed that close relationships with caring adults played an important role in getting teenagers to smoke less or stop smoking all together.
Source: Promoting Health in Adolescents: Preventing the Use of Tobacco. Umea University in Sweden, Science Daily reported May 5.

Filed under: Nicotine,Youth :


Smoking appears to be associated with an increased risk of acute and chronic pancreatitis, according to a new report. In addition, the risk of developing the disease may be higher in those who smoke more.

The occurrence of pancreatitis (an inflammation of the pancreas usually characterized by abdominal pain) has increased in recent decades, according to background information in the article. Acute and chronic pancreatitis are believed to be commonly caused by gallstone disease and excessive alcohol use, respectively. Studies have suggested that smoking may be associated with damage to the pancreas, but since smoking may be associated with alcohol use and risk of gallstone disease, it is difficult to note whether smoking is an independent risk factor for the disease.

Janne Schurmann Tolstrup, M.Sc., Ph.D., of the National Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Copenhagen, and colleagues analyzed results from physical examinations and lifestyle habit self-administered questionnaires of 17,905 participants (9,573 women and 8,332 men) to determine if smoking was associated with an increased risk of acute or chronic pancreatitis independent of alcohol consumption and gallstone disease. Participants were followed up for an average of 20.2 years.

“Overall, 58 percent of the women and 68 percent of the men were current smokers, 15 percent of the women and 19 percent of the men were ex-smokers and 28 percent of the women and 13 percent of the men had never smoked,” the authors write. “Participants who at baseline reported smoking or being previous smokers had higher risks of developing acute and chronic pancreatitis compared with non-smokers.” By the end of the study, 235 participants (113 women and 122 men) had developed acute (160 cases) or chronic (97 cases) pancreatitis, with some participants having developed both. About 46 percent of pancreatitis cases were attributable to smoking in this group.

Although alcohol intake was associated with increased risk of pancreatitis, the risk of pancreatitis associated with smoking was independent of alcohol and gallstone disease.
“Apart from the epidemiologic evidence of an association between smoking and development of acute and chronic pancreatitis, a biological effect of smoking seems plausible because both animal studies and human studies have demonstrated changes of the pancreas and in pancreatic functioning after exposure to tobacco smoke,” they conclude.
This study was supported by grants from the Danish National Board of Health and the Danish Medical Research Council.

Source: Tolstrup et al. Smoking and Risk of Acute and Chronic Pancreatitis Among Women and Men: A Population-Based Cohort Study. Archives of Internal Medicine, 2009; 169 (6): 603 DOI: 10.1001/archinternmed.2008.601 ScienceDaily (Mar. 28, 2009)

Filed under: Health,Nicotine :


ScienceDaily (Jan. 29, 2005) — Children who are exposed to environmental tobacco smoke (passive smoking) are at a higher risk of developing lung cancer as adults, says a paper in this week’s BMJ.

Those children exposed to passive smoking on a daily basis and for many hours are the most vulnerable – facing over treble (3.63) the risk of those who grew up in smoke-free environments.
Children experiencing passive smoke a few times a week are one and a half (1.45) times more likely to develop lung cancer, and those exposed daily but not for many hours faced twice (2.08) the risk.
In one of the most comprehensive studies into passive smoking of its kind, researchers looked at 303,020 people across Europe who had never smoked, or had stopped smoking by at least ten years. Within this group, 123,479 provided information on exposure to passive smoke, and researchers followed these participants’ progress for an average of seven years.
Of those who had known exposure to passive smoke (but were not smokers themselves), 97 had developed lung cancer, 20 more had upper respiratory cancers such as cancer of the larynx, and 14 died from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease during the seven follow-up years.
Former smokers faced up to twice the risk of respiratory diseases from passive smoke than those who’d never smoked. This may be because their lungs are already damaged, making them more at risk to the effects of environmental tobacco smoke, say the researchers.
This study significantly reinforces previous research into the cancerous effects of passive smoke, the authors conclude.

Source: British Medical Journal (2005, January 29). Passive Smoking In Childhood May Increase Risk Of Lung Cancer In Later Life. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 12, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com¬ /releases/2005/01/050128223746.htm

A new report from Perth’s Telethon Institute for Child Health Research has found a strong link between childhood ear infections and exposure to tobacco smoke.

The families of 100 Aboriginal children and 180 non-Aboriginal children participated in the Kalgoorlie Otitis Media Research Project, allowing the collection of social, demographic, environmental and biological data to investigate the causes of otitis media (middle ear infections). The children had regular ear examinations from birth until 2 years of age.
Chief Investigator Dr Deborah Lehmann, who heads the Institute’s infectious diseases research, said ear infections were the most common reason that young children see a doctor and can cause life-long problems.

“Up to 20 per cent of children have more than three ear infections between 1 and 2 years of age. If their hearing is damaged, it can seriously affect their educational outcomes and social circumstances in adulthood,” Dr Lehmann said.
“In Aboriginal children, these ear infections typically start at a younger age, are much more common and more likely to result in hearing loss.”
Key findings from the project include:
  Otitis media was diagnosed at least once in 74% of Aboriginal children and 45% of non-Aboriginal children.
  64% of Aboriginal children and 40% of non-Aboriginal children were exposed to environmental tobacco smoke.
  If we eliminated exposure to tobacco smoke we estimate that we could reduce ear infections by 27% in Aboriginal children and 16% in non-Aboriginal children
  The impact of passive smoking in the home on ear infections was reduced if the children also attended day care.
Dr Lehmann said there is evidence that passive smoking can increase the adherence of bacteria in the respiratory passages and depress the immune system.
“These results highlight the importance of reducing children’s exposure to passive smoking, and this is particularly important for Aboriginal people where the rates of both smoking and otitis media are high,” she said.

“Few Aboriginal children have access to formal childcare despite studies showing that it is an effective way to improve early development and educational outcomes for disadvantaged children. The fact that it could also reduce the burden of ear infections in Aboriginal children adds weight to calls for appropriate childcare facilities to be provided.”
The results are published in the latest edition of the Medical Journal of Australia.

Source: Telethon Institute for Child Health Research (2008, May 19). Ear Infections In Children Linked To Passive Smoking. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 12, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com¬ /releases/2008/05/080519110703.htm

Marijuana worsens breathing problems in current smokers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a new study.  The study found that among people 40 and older, smokers were two-and-a-half times as likely as nonsmokers to develop COPD, while smoking cigarettes and marijuana together boosted the odds of developing COPD to three-and-a-half times the risk of someone who did not smoke either cigarettes or marijuana–in other words, adding marijuana smoking to cigarette smoking increased the risk by one-third, says Wan Tan, M.D., of St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia.
The odds of cigarette smokers having any respiratory symptoms was 2.36 times that of nonsmokers, while the odds of someone who smoked both cigarettes and marijuana having respiratory symptoms was 18 times that of someone who smoked neither–an eightfold jump in risk, Dr. Tan says.
“This study suggests an interaction between cigarettes and marijuana smoking. These findings have not been reported before, and they have a big public health implication,” Dr. Tan says.
A majority of cigarette smokers in the study were also marijuana smokers. In both younger and older adults in the study, 30% smoked both cigarettes and marijuana. Among younger cigarette smokers, 76% also smoked marijuana, while 58% of older cigarette smokers also smoked marijuana.
The findings come from a study of 648 adults ages 18 and older who answered questions on smoking, including their cigarette and marijuana use, and respiratory symptoms. Study subjects ages 40 and older had lung function tests.
The Vancouver researchers decided to study both marijuana and cigarette smoking because both cigarette and marijuana smoking is prevalent in their area, says Dr. Tan. They found that 49% of participants ages 18 to 39 and 46% of those 40 and older had smoked marijuana at least once. Among 18-39 year-olds, 17% said they currently smoked marijuana, compared with 13% in the 40+ age group. In the younger group, 31% said they had ever smoked cigarettes, and 16% were current smokers. In the 40+ group, 52% were ever-smokers while 16% were current smokers.

Source: American Thoracic Society (2007, May 23). Marijuana Worsens COPD Symptoms In Current Cigarette Smokers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 12, 2009

A new study finds that the development of bullous lung disease occurs in marijuana smokers approximately 20 years earlier than tobacco smokers.  A condition often caused by exposure to toxic chemicals or long-term exposure to tobacco smoke, bullous lung disease (also known as bullae) is a condition where air trapped in the lungs causes obstruction to breathing and eventual destruction of the lungs.
At present, about 10% of young adults and 1% of the adult population smoke marijuana regularly. Researchers find that the mean age of marijuana-smoking patients with lung problems was 41, as opposed to the average age of 65 years for tobacco-smoking patients.
The study “Bullous Lung Disease due to Marijuana” also finds that the bullous lung disease can easily go undetected as patients suffering from the disease may show normal chest X-rays and lung functions. High-resolution CT scans revealed severe asymmetrical, variably sized bullae in the patients studied. However, chest X-rays and lung functions were normal in half of them.
Lead author Dr. Matthew Naughton says, “What is outstanding about this study is the relatively young ages of the lung disease patients, as well as the lack of abnormality on chest X-rays and lung functions in nearly half of the patients we tested.”
He added, “Marijuana is inhaled as extremely hot fumes to the peak inspiration and held for as long as possible before slow exhalation. This predisposes to greater damage to the lungs and makes marijuana smokers are more prone to bullous disease as compared to cigarette smokers.”
Patients who smoke marijuana inhale more and hold their breath four times longer than cigarette smokers. It is the breathing manoeuvres of marijuana smokers that serve to increase the concentration and pulmonary deposition of inhaled particulate matter – resulting in greater and more rapid lung destruction.

Source: Respirology .Blackwell Publishing (2008, January 27). Marijuana Smokers Face Rapid Lung Destruction — As Much As 20 Years Ahead Of Tobacco Smokers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 12, 2009

New research suggests that smoking increases the production of osteopontin in the lungs, which contributes to the development of smoking-related lung disease.
Prasse et al. report their findings in the May 2009 issue of The American Journal of Pathology.   Nearly one billion people worldwide smoke tobacco products. Long-term exposure to compounds found in smoke can lead to both cardiovascular and lung disease. Although lung exposure to cigarette smoke leads to immune cell recruitment and tissue fibrosis, how cigarette smoke causes these changes is largely unknown.
To determine if osteopontin, a molecule that attracts immune cells, mediates cell recruitment in smokers, Prasse et al. compared osteopontin levels from smokers with different types of lung diseases, healthy smokers, and healthy non-smokers. They found high levels of osteopontin expression in patients with interstitial lung disease, whereas healthy smokers had lower levels, and healthy non-smokers produced no osteopontin. Osteopontin expression could be stimulated directly by nicotine treatment.
In addition, expressing osteopontin in rat lung resulted in recruitment of immune cells, resulting in symptoms similar to smoking-related interstitial lung diseases. These results indicate that osteopontin may be pathogenic in smoking-initiated lung disease.
The article from Prasse et al “suggest[s] that chronic nicotine stimulation induced by cigarette smoking promotes macrophage and Langerhans cell accumulation in the lung via an increase in [osteopontin production].” Osteopontin and cellular receptors for nicotine may therefore be new targets for treating smoking related lung disease.

Source: American Journal of Pathology (2009, May 2). New Mediator Of Smoking Recruits. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 12, 2009,

Filed under: Health,Nicotine :

Alcoholics who smoke appear to lose more brain mass than alcoholics who don’t smoke, according to a study at the San Francisco VA Medical Center.

It is already well-known that the brains of long-term alcoholics atrophy and shrink, the study authors say, but the new findings are the first evidence that cigarette smoking might contribute to that atrophy, particularly in grey matter of the parietal and temporal lobes.
Fifty to 90 percent of alcoholics also are smokers, according to Dieter Meyerhoff, PhD, a radiology researcher at SFVAMC and the principal investigator of the study
“Just looking at the amount of tissue mass lost due to either drinking or smoking, alcoholics who smoke show a greater loss in some regions of the brain compared to alcoholics who don’t smoke,” says Meyerhoff, who also is a professor of radiology at the University of California, San Francisco.
The study, which was published in the August 2005 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, compared 37 recovering alcoholics between the ages of 26 and 66 with a control group of 30 healthy light drinkers. The researchers used magnetic resonance imaging, a safe, non-invasive imaging technique, to measure brain volumes of the study participants.
They discovered that the more severe the tobacco habit, the greater the brain injury. “In smoking alcohol-dependent individuals, smaller regional [brain] volumes are related to greater cigarette-smoking severity,” according to the study findings, with severity measured by level of nicotine dependence, cigarettes smoked per day, and years of smoking.
The alcoholics (24 smokers and 13 non-smokers) averaged around 400 drinks per month for three years prior to the study; the light drinkers (seven smokers and 23 non-smokers) averaged between four and 11 drinks per month before the study and had no history of alcohol abuse or dependence. The alcoholics were sober for approximately one week before the study began.
The study uncovered no apparent differences in brain volume between smoking and non-smoking light drinkers.
Another key finding was that among non-smoking alcoholics, there was a direct relationship between brain volume and cognitive function: the higher the volume, the better the function. However, no such relationship was apparent among smoking alcoholics, according to co-author Timothy Durazzo, PhD, an associate radiology researcher at SFVAMC. Nor has such a relationship been measured before in previous studies on alcohol abuse and brain volume, he says.
“And this makes us wonder if what has been reported in the literature of alcoholism could have been obscured or distorted by combining smokers and non-smokers in the same studies,” Durazzo adds.
In their paper, the researchers speculate that smoking “disrupts these [brain] structure-function relationships,” possibly through its detrimental effects on brain volume or on brain neurochemistry.
Meyerhoff and his co-authors emphasize that their results are retrospective — that is, they discovered the apparent effects of smoking during statistical analysis of the participants in an earlier study they conducted on alcoholism and its effects on the brain. They then went back, re-classified each study participant as smoking or non-smoking, and analyzed brain volumes accordingly.
The authors say that if replicated in other studies, their results will raise several potentially important questions. The first is whether recovering alcoholics should also be treated for smoking — and if so, at what point during their treatment. At present, alcohol treatment programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous do not discourage smoking or even address the issue, they say.
Beyond that, says Durazzo, there is the potential effect of smoking on cognitive dysfunction, which is common among older long-term alcoholics. “Right now, our study participants are relatively young, around 50,” he notes. “But will the combination of smoking and drinking, or continued smoking during abstinence from alcohol, put them at greater risk for cognitive dysfunction as they age?” Finally, says Meyerhoff, there is the question of whether smoking has an effect on physical recovery from alcohol abuse. “In alcoholics who stop drinking, we know that there is recovery from at least some of these injuries to the brain — but is this recovery affected by continued smoking?” Meyerhoff and his team are conducting a study to explore that question right now.
In the future, the researchers plan a prospective study that will use MRI to compare brain volumes between smoking and non-smoking light drinkers and smoking and non-smoking alcoholics, with the hope of replicating the results of their current retrospective study.

Source: University of California – San Francisco (2005, September 29). Smoking Seems To Increase Brain Damage In Alcoholics. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 31, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com¬ /releases/2005/09/050929081514.htm

A new global study has found that lifestyle risk factors such as alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking are important risk factors for bowel cancer. Researchers have shown that people who consume the largest quantities of alcohol (equivalent to > 7 drinks per week) have 60% greater risk of developing the cancer, compared with non-drinkers.

Smoking, obesity and diabetes were also associated with a 20% greater risk of developing bowel cancer – the same risk linked with consuming high intakes of red and processed meat.
Approximately one million new cases of bowel (colorectal) cancer are diagnosed worldwide each year, and more than half a million people die from this type of cancer. In Australia alone, it is the most commonly occurring cancer with more than 12,000 new cases diagnosed each year.
According to lead researcher Associate Professor Rachel Huxley at The George Institute, the most startling finding of this study was, “The strong, and largely, unknown association between high intakes of alcoholic beverages with risk of colorectal cancer. Most people probably know that being overweight and having poor dietary habits are risk factors for the disease, but most are probably unaware that other lifestyle risk factors such as alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking and diabetes are also important culprits.”
Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council recommend individuals shouldn’t be drinking more than two standard drinks per day.
On a positive note, researchers also demonstrated that physical activity lowered an individual’s risk of the disease but surprisingly, there was little evidence to indicate that high intakes of fruit and vegetables were protective against bowel cancer.
“These findings strongly suggest that a large proportion of colorectal cancer cases could potentially be avoided by making relatively modest lifestyle adjustments such as drinking less, quitting smoking, eating healthily and being a little more active”, said Associate Professor Huxley. “Such changes would also have huge benefits in terms of reducing an individuals’ risk of developing other major forms of illness including cardiovascular disease.”
The study reviewed more than 100 published studies that had reported on the association between major and modifiable risk factors for colorectal cancer including alcohol, smoking, diabetes, physical activity and various dietary components.

Source: Parkin DM, Bray F, Ferlay J, et al. Global cancer statistics, 2002. CA Cancer J Clin 2005;55:74-108.

Filed under: Alcohol,Health,Nicotine :

New research suggests that the combination of drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes increases the risk of throat and stomach cancers.
Researchers investigated risk factors for three kinds of cancers: esophageal adenocarcinoma (throat cancer), gastric cardia adenocarcinoma (stomach cancer) and esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (which resembles head and neck cancer).
Past studies have linked cancer of the esophagus to drinking and smoking, but the new research found that people who drank four glasses of alcohol daily had five times the risk of developing esophageal squamous cell carcinoma than nondrinkers. Smoking was related to increased risk of developing all three types of cancer, with risk of throat cancer the most elevated.
“It appeared that current smokers have the highest risks, and former smokers have an intermediate risk compared with never-smokers,” said study author Jessie Steevens, an epidemiologist at Maastricht University in the Netherlands.
The findings were presented at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.
Source: Reuters November 17, 2008

Filed under: Alcohol,Health,Nicotine :
Researchers led by Debapriya Ghosh and Anirban Basu of the Indian National Brain Research Center (NBRC) said that the compound NNK, found in tobacco, incites white blood cells in the central nervous system to attack healthy cells, leading to severe brain damage.
The research focused primarily on the NNK compound that is found in all forms of tobacco. NNK is a chemical substance that becomes carcinogenic during the body’s metabolic process.
In their tests, the Indian researchers found that NNK provoked an errant response from microglia, immune cells in the brain that normally attack damaged or unhealthy cells.
“This research sheds light on the processes that lead to nerve-cell damage in those who smoke cigarettes or consume tobacco products on a regular basis,” said Ghosh.
Researchers believe the neuroinflammation caused by NNK may lead to disorders like multiple sclerosis.
The findings will be published in the July 2009 issue of the Journal of Neurochemistry.

 

Filed under: Health,Nicotine :

Nicotine is thought to exert its effects on the brain by binding to receptors in the brain called nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). However, tobacco smoke contains thousands of chemicals besides nicotine, some of which may also bind to the nAChRs or cause molecules normally found in the body to bind to these receptors. To study the effects of denicotinized cigarettes—cigarettes from which nicotine has been removed—on a specific type of nAChR (a4b2* nAChRs), researchers funded in part by NIDA used a brain imaging technique known as positron emission tomography (PET) to visualize these receptors in the brains of smokers during withdrawal and after smoking either low-nicotine or denicotinized cigarettes. Before the PET imaging, all volunteers stopped smoking for approximately 2 days. The volunteers underwent an hour of PET imaging while still undergoing withdrawal and then were assigned to perform one of three activities: smoke a low-nicotine cigarette, smoke a denicotinized cigarette, or not smoke; they then underwent approximately 4 more hours of PET imaging. Withdrawal symptoms were monitored during all imaging sessions. The imaging results showed not only that “inhalation of nicotine during cigarette smoking is solely responsible for occupancy of brain a4b2* nAChRs,” but also that the imaging “demonstrated significant a4b2* nAChR occupancy from smoking a denicotinized cigarette,” state the authors. This result challenges the assumption that denicotinized cigarettes do not affect the brain’s nicotine receptors, the authors further explain. Interestingly, whether or not the receptors were occupied did not correlate with withdrawal symptoms, indicating that factors other than nicotine binding to the receptors play a role in the relief of withdrawal symptoms provided by smoking.

Source: Brody et al. Brain nicotinic acetylcholine receptor occupancy: Effect of smoking a denicotinized cigarette. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2009;12(3):305–316.

Men diagnosed with cancer are less likely to survive the disease if they were smokers or heavy drinkers, Reuters reported Nov. 7.
Smoking and drinking are well-known risk factors for cancer, but researchers have begun looking into how these addictions affect survivability, as well. Researcher Young Ho Yun and colleagues at the National Cancer Center in Goyang, South Korea tracked 14,578 cancer patients for about nine years and compared mortality data to patients’ history of smoking and alcohol use.
The researchers found that former smokers were more likely to die from any kind of cancer than non-smoking cancer patients, possibly because smoking causes tumors to grow more aggressively. Smokers also may be less likely to get cancer screening tests, the authors noted, so their disease is often further advanced when treatment begins.
Among patients with head, neck, or liver cancer, heavy drinkers were more likely to die than non-drinkers, with risk increasing with consumption levels.
“Our findings suggest that groups at high risk of cancer need to be educated continually to improve their health behaviors — not only to prevent cancer, but also to improve prognosis,” the study authors noted.
The research appears in the Nov. 1, 2006 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Filed under: Alcohol,Health,Nicotine :

A new Harvard study concludes that smokers with multiple sclerosis (MS) experience more rapid progression of the disease than non-smokers, Reuters reported July 14.
Smokers also were 2.4 times more likely to have a progressive form of MS rather than the relapsing/remitting type, and 2.5 times more likely to have developed secondary progressive MS after an initial diagnosis of the relapsing/remitting version of the disease. Researchers found that smokers had more disability, severe disease and brain atrophy than non-smokers with MS, and had a greater degree of damaged brain tissue and brain atrophy over time.
Researcher Alberto Ascherio of the Harvard School of Public Health put a positive spin on the findings, noting that MS patients who quit smoking could slow progression of the disease.
Source: Archives of Neurology. July 2009

Filed under: Health,Nicotine :


By Patrick Zickler
NIDA NOTES Staff Writer

Smokers who want to quit can get help with a variety of treatments, including counselling, nicotine replacement therapy (patches, gum, lozenges, or inhalers and medications. Some smokers use these treatments and succeed; for many. however, the discomfort of withdrawal and craving for nicotine lead to relapse. Recent NIDA funded research suggests that our genes may partly explain this variable success.

The research evaluated the effect of an enzyme, designated CYP2B6, on craving and relapse. This enzyme breaks down nicotine in the brain. Some peoples’ genes produce a more active form of the enzyme. while others have a less active form. Dr. Caryn Lerman at the NIDA- and NCI supported Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Centre (TTURC) at the University of Pennsylvania, found that among smokers enrolled in a smoking cessation program, those with the genetic variant that decreases activity of CYP2B6 reported greater craving than did those with the more active form of the enzyme. Moreover, those with the less active enzyme were 1.5 times more likely to resume smoking during treatment.

The same enzyme helps break down bupropion, an antidepressant medication that acts on the brain’s dopamine system—where nicotine exerts much of its addictive influence—and helps some smokers quit. Dr. Lerman, along with colleagues at Georgetown University in Washington, DC., the State University of New York at Buffalo, and Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, also investigated the relationship of CYP2B6 activity with bupropion treatment. They found that bupropion nearly tripled the success rate for women with the less active enzyme.

These findings provide initial evidence that smokers who have decreased CYP2B6 activity experience greater craving for nicotine than those with the more active form of this enzyme,” Dr. Lerman says. “Perhaps of greater interest is the preliminary evidence that, among women, bupropion may overcome the effect this genetic predisposition has on relapse.”

Genes, Treatment, and Abstinence

Most people—about 70 percent of the U.S. population—inherit two copies of the ‘C’ variant of the gene that influences CYP2B6 activity. The rest of the population inherits from one or both parents the less common form of the gene—the “T’ variant associated with decreased CYP2B6 activity. Among the 426 participants (232 men, 194 women) in the TTURC study, 128 (29.6 percent) had one or two copies of the T form of the gene. All participants received counselling to quit smoking; 229 received bupropion (300 mg/day) and 197 received placebo throughout the 10-week study. The participants provided weekly reports on craving and smoking rates. Abstinence (7 consecutive days without smoking) was verified with blood tests. At the end of treatment, participants who received counselling and bupropion had higher abstinence rates than those who received counselling and placebo. With one exception. participants with the less active enzyme had lower abstinence rates than those with the more active enzyme. Women with the less active enzyme who received bupropion showed the largest treatment effect, with 54 percent achieving abstinence, up from a 19-percent rate among women in the placebo group, notes Dr. Lerman.

This study suggests that properly selected treatment matched to a patient’s characteristics can improve a smoker’s chance of quitting

Theories To Explain Outcomes

The higher abstinence rate with bupropion for women with the lower activity enzyme may he due, in part, to reduced susceptibility to low moods that accompany nicotine withdrawal; overall. women reported more negative feelings than did men when asked to rate their mood during withdrawal. “This rate may reflect better management of the negative moods and craving that abstinence can create. But more study is needed to clarify the mechanisms by which bupropion influences smokers’ success in quitting”, Dr. Lerman says.
Researchers theorize that the association between the less active enzyme and increased craving could be the result of nicotine’s remaining longer in the brains of smokers with the less active enzyme. When nicotine lingers in the brains of these smokers, it may change their brain cells more profoundly than those of smokers with the more active enzyme. If so, the changes might produce more severe addiction marked by more intense craving during abstinence and increased risk of relapse.

“This study offers additional evidence of the important role genes play in smoking and treatment,” says Dr. Joni Rutter of NIDAs Division of Neuroscience and Behavioural Research, ‘While illustrating the increased craving and vulnerability to relapse that may be associated with inherited traits, it also suggests that properly selected treatment matched to a patient’s characteristics in this case, Bupropion for some women can improve a smoker’s chance of quitting.’

Source:Lerman, C., et al. Pharmacogenetic investigation of smoking cessation treatment, Pharmacogenetics
12(8):627-634, 2002.

A comprehensive report on smoking and health released by the U.S. Surgeon General finds that smoking causes diseases in nearly every organ of the body.

When the first Surgeon General’s report on smoking was published 40 years ago, it concluded that smoking was a definite cause of cancers of the lung and larynx in men and chronic bronchitis in both men and women. Later reports concluded that smoking caused cancers of the bladder, esophagus, mouth and throat; cardiovascular diseases; and reproductive effects.

The new report, “The Health Consequences of Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General,” finds that cigarette smoking is also linked to leukemia, cataracts, periodontitis, pneumonia, acute myeloid, abdominal aortic aneurysm, and cancers of the cervix, kidney, pancreas, and stomach.

“We’ve known for decades that smoking is bad for your health, but this report shows that it’s even worse than we knew,” said U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona. “The toxins from cigarette smoke go everywhere the blood flows. I’m hoping this new information will help motivate people to quit smoking and convince young people not to start in the first place.”

According to the report, smoking kills an estimated 440,000 Americans each year. Furthermore, the economic toll linked to smoking is $157 billion each year, with $75 billion spent on direct medical costs and $82 billion in lost productivity.

“We need to cut smoking in this country and around the world,” said HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson. “Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death and disease, costing us too many lives, too many dollars, and too many tears. If we are going to be serious about improving health and preventing disease, we must continue to drive down tobacco use. And we must prevent our youth from taking up this dangerous habit.”

Source:“The Health Consequences of Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General,” May 2004
Filed under: Health,Nicotine :

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Watching a favorite movie star smoke appears to encourage teen girls to adopt the habit themselves, according to new findings released Tuesday.

Investigators found that girls who said their favorite celebrity was someone who had smoked in at least two recent movies were almost twice as likely to start smoking within the next three years as girls whose favorite stars did not smoke in films.

“Really, smoking in movies is just an effective form of marketing,” study author Dr. John Pierce told Reuters Health .

Pierce, based at the University of California in San Diego, added that it is also common for teens to copy their favorite stars’ clothing, hair and jewelry. Those habits are easy to alter as styles evolve, he said, but once teens become hooked on smoking, “that is something that’s very hard to change.”

Pierce noted that the tobacco industry has argued that it does not pay for actors to smoke on screen, and actors do it simply because it makes them feel more comfortable.

If that is the case, then one could argue that the stars themselves are responsible for encouraging teens to smoke, and should be held accountable for that, Pierce noted.

“If it’s the stars, and they’re liable, then they’d better watch out,” he said.

To investigate whether watching stars smoke on-screen influences teens to do the same, Pierce and his colleagues asked 3104 never-smokers between the ages of 12 and 15 to name their two favorite female stars and two favorite male movie stars.

The researchers reviewed the stars’ movies during the past 3 years, and counted them as smokers if they puffed during at least two films. They then re-interviewed teens three years later, to see how many had started smoking.

When Pierce and his team first contacted teens in 1996, the most popular stars among teen girls were Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock and Leonardo DiCaprio. Favorite actors for boys were Pamela Anderson, Sandra Bullock and Demi Moore. More than 40 percent of girls and 30 percent of boys had favorite stars who smoked.

Favorite stars who did not smoke on-screen included Jim Carrey, Tom Hanks and Tom Cruise.

Although girls appeared to be influenced by the smoking habits of favorite stars, boys were not, the authors report in the American Journal of Public Health.

They note that research has shown that boys tend to prefer action movies, which tend to include less smoking by stars, while girls prefer more smoke-filled romances and dramas.

Pierce explained that his team also measured each child’s susceptibility to smoking — defined as being unwilling to rule out the option of future smoking. This removed the possibility that only those who were susceptible to smoking would have a favorite star who smoked on-screen, he said.

Dr. Stanton Glantz of the University of California in San Francisco, who was not an author of the paper, noted that research shows that the more teens see people smoke, the more likely they are to pick up the habit. The latest findings suggest that policymakers should strictly limit teens’ exposure to on-screen smoking, he said.

Restricting smoking to R-rated movies would apply “the same rules that Hollywood applies to saying the F-word,” Glantz said.

SOURCE: American Journal of Public Health, July 2004.

Almost a third (29%) of Welsh girls aged 15 to 16 admit they smoke on a weekly basis, a new study by the National Public Health Service for Wales has revealed. Among boys of the same aged, 20% admitted to smoking regularly. The report examined a range of determinants of health including alcohol, drug use, socio-economic background, exercise and diet.

The South Wales Echo report includes a case study of one 28-year old who started smoking at the age of 14. She comments: “When I was 16 I was going out more and I would smoke about a pack a week. By the time I was 19 I was smoking about five packs a week. Of course I regret it now – my face is a prune! I wish I had never smoked because it’s really hard to stop and I could die of lung cancer.”

South Wales Echo, 3/8/04
Filed under: Nicotine,Youth :

Merseyside’s first non-smoking pub has registered “record breaking-profits.” The Ring O’Bells in West Kirby barred smoking in June 2003.

Since then alcohol sales have risen 60 percent and food takings have doubled. The pub’s kitchen had to be refitted to cater for the demand.

Landlord Alan Jones said: “We lost some custom, which was a concern. But our profits have proved us right.”

Source: Liverpool Echo, 18 August 2004

A new survey reveals that one in five mothers smoke while pregnant. The habit causes low birth-weight babies with dramatically increased chances of mental impairment, disability and sudden death as infants. Baby health charity Tommy’s conducted the poll.

Smoking is also linked to ectopic pregnancy.

Source: The Sun, September 6, 2004

Children with asthma who have at least one parent who smokes are twice as likely to have asthma symptoms all year long compared with children of non-smokers, according to researchers from the University of Michigan (U-M) Health System.The involved in-depth telephone interviews with 896 parents of asthmatic children ages 2 to 12 years old in 10 states. “We set out to look at children who have seasonal asthma symptoms, but found that a substantial percentage have symptoms year-round,” said Kathryn Slish, a researcher in the U-M Department of Pediatrics. “We looked more closely and found a strong relationship between parents’ smoking status and the likelihood that their child would have problems all year long.”

“The only other factor that was associated with year-round symptoms was Medicaid insurance coverage,” added Cabana.

With well-publicized information that secondhand smoke can trigger asthma in children, Slish said, “it’s astounding that so many parents smoke around their asthmatic kids, and don’t stop even though their children are having trouble breathing all year.”

The researchers recommended that pediatricians, family physicians, and nurses address the subject of smoking with the parents of any child diagnosed with asthma and to provide resources to encourage them to quit.


The study’s findings were presented May 4 at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting.

Source: University of Michigan (U-M) Health System.

A Canadian-led international study finds that the causes of a heart attack are the same for people throughout the world, with cigarette smoking one of the main risk factors, the “There hasn’t been a study like this ever in the world,” said lead investigator Dr. Salim Yusuf, head of the Population Health Research Institute at McMaster University in Hamilton. “The risk factors that we’ve been able to measure account for 90 percent or more of heart disease. The impact of these risk factors in developing heart disease is global. It’s there in every ethnic group, in men, in women, in every region of the world, in young and old. It means we should be able to prevent the majority of premature heart attacks in the world.”

The research concluded that cigarette smoking and a poor ratio of bad to good cholesterol contribute to two-thirds of all heart attacks worldwide.

The five-year study involved 30,000 people in 52 countries. About half of the participants had suffered a heart attack. They were compared to an equal number of people with no heart disease, matched for age, sex, and city of residence.

“So now we’ll say: What causes the risk factor, not what causes the disease. And from a public-health point of view, there should be no more wallowing about that we need more information. We’ve got it,” said Dr. Sonia Anand, a specialist in vascular medicine and a member of the McMaster research team.

The latest figures show that 15 million people died from heart attacks worldwide in 1998. “The important issue is that the risk factors outlined in this study, the vast majority of them are modifiable,” said Toronto cardiologist Anthony Graham, a spokesman for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. “And what it suggests is that tobacco control is going to be as important in the developing world as it is in the western world.”

The study’s findings are published in issue of the British medical journal

Source: The Lancet. Sept. 11 2004
Filed under: Health,Nicotine :

New research from the University of California (UC) Davis School of Medicine and Medical Center found that cancer death rates among African-American males would decline by almost two-thirds if their exposure to cigarette smoke was eliminated.

“African-American men have had the highest cancer burden of any group in this country for decades,” said study author Bruce Leistikow, associate professor of epidemiology and preventive medicine at the UC Davis School of Medicine and Medical Center. “This study demonstrates, for the first time, that this excess cancer burden can be clearly linked to smoking. Smoke exposure appears responsible for African-American males’ high overall cancer mortality rates, not just their lung cancers.”

By analyzing data, Leistikow determined a correlation between annual smoke exposure and non-lung-cancer death rates for black males in the United States for the years 1969 through 2000. “During two decades of a steep rise, and a subsequent decade of steep fall, U.S. black male smoke exposures and non-lung-cancer death rates have moved in near-perfect lockstep up and down. The associations are very strong and have been consistent year-by-year for over 30 years,” Leistikow said.

Leistikow’s research found that smoking exposure is responsible for more than half the non-lung-cancer death rate in African-American males, and up to two thirds of their overall cancer death rate.

“This means that if black-male smoking exposures fall dramatically, that alone is likely to erase the great majority of their cancer burden,” said Leistikow. “Going back to the low black-male cancer burdens seen before the cigarette epidemic appears possible. Indeed, New York and, less so, California appear to be well on their way there.”

The study’s findings are published in the May 2004 issue of the journal Preventive Medicine.

Source:University of California (UC) Davis School of Medicine and Medical Center; Apr 2004.
Filed under: Health,Nicotine :

New research from Sweden has shown that smokers puff clouds of poison in to the air which can seriously affect the breathing around them. The discovery has prompted ASH to urge the government to ban indoor smoking in workplaces. Swedish scientists found that endotoxins, which are made by bacteria and occur naturally in the air, are produced by tobacco smoke in high concentrations. Tobacco is known to contain over 4,000 chemicals, including 50 substances known to cause cancer. Low concentrations of endotoxins are not harmful and may even play a role in protecting people against allergies. However, in high concentrations, endotoxins can cause serious inflammatory reactions in the respiratory tract, leading to bronchitis and asthma. The researchers also concluded that tobacco endotoxins appeared to be the most aggressive among the various types that exist. ASH spokeswoman Amanda Sandford noted that the research could lead to a greater understanding of how tobacco smoke can trigger respiratory diseases such as asthma: “There are lots of sources of pollution we don’t have much control over, but we can control tobacco smoke in enclosed areas,” she said. She added that the study reinforced the need for a ban on smoking ban on indoor places.

Source: Morning Star, Times, 23 August, 2004

For recovering alcoholics and ex-smokers, as well as former users of illicit drugs, the mundane trappings of their addictions—ice cubes, ashtrays, straws, needles—exert a strong, long-lasting power to trigger relapse. A new University of Michigan study, published in the current (October 2001) issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, provides experimental evidence supporting a neurological explanation for why cues as innocent as the sound of ice cubes tinkling in a glass can cause “recovered” addicts to experience dangerous drug cravings. “Drug use is known to sensitize’ certain neural systems within the brain, causing changes that are relatively permanent,” says U-M psychologist Kent C. Berridge, co-author of the study with U-M psychologist Cindy L. Wyvell. “This study shows that the brain is vulnerable to cues that trigger irrational ‘wanting,’ even after a long period of remaining drug-free, once sensitized by prior drug use or exposure.” The research was supported by the National Science Foundation and by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
For the study, Wyvell and Berridge designed an experiment with rats that eliminated several alternative explanations, such as withdrawal symptoms, learned habits or drug pleasure, for the increase in compulsive drug-seeking that is commonly triggered in human addicts by encounters with drug cues.

First, in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms, they trained the rats to press a lever to get a reward of sugar pellets, not an addictive drug. They also taught the rats to associate a 30-second tone with getting sugar pellets, without needing to press the lever. Then they sensitized one group of rats by administering a series of amphetamine injections, while injecting controls with a saline solution. Next, the researchers waited 10 to 14 days to make sure both groups were drug-free, then resumed the experiment. While the rats pressed the lever in hope of getting the sugar reward, they were presented intermittently with the sound cue, to assess the cue’s ability to trigger excessive pursuit of reward.

In the sensitized rats, the cue triggered excessive wanting,” says Berridge. “Whenever a sugar cue (a sound) occurred, rats pressed in a frenzy on a lever that had previously earned them a sugar reward.” In fact, the researchers found that sensitized rats pressed the lever 200 percent more than rats in the control group, an increase equivalent to the behaviour produced in other rats by injecting amphetamine directly into their brains. This showed that sensitization of the brain and direct drug activation of the brain’s dopamine reward-craving system amplified equally the ability of reward cues to trigger excessive ‘wanting.” “Much more remains to be done before we understand how this process works in humans, with drug rewards such as cocaine and heroin, and to a lesser extent, alcohol or nicotine,” says Berridge. ‘But this study is an important step, because it provides the first pure demonstration that neural sensitization causes a specific process— irrational cue-triggered ‘wanting’ for reward—that is a plausible psychological mechanism for relapse. These results from animals based on a natural sugar reward this may be a useful step toward understanding brain mechanisms of cue-triggered relapse in human drug addiction”

Source:  Cindy L. Wyvell. Journal of Neuroscience , Oct 2001.

New research suggests that a combination of two genes is linked to whether a person can quit smoking and remain tobacco-free through the years.The study by researchers from the Tobacco Use Research Center of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine involved 418 smokers who received either bupropion or a placebo with seven sessions of behavioral group counseling. The researchers tracked the smoking status, abstinence symptoms and side effects of participants weekly, as well as at the end of treatment and six months later.The study found that certain variants of the SLC6A3 dopamine transporter gene and the DRD2 dopamine receptor gene resulted in higher abstinences rates and longer relapse times than other variants of these genes.

“While previous research has examined the effects of genes related to dopamine, a chemical in the brain associated with reinforcing the effects of nicotine, this study provides the first evidence that genes that alter dopamine function may influence smoking cessation and relapse during treatment,” said lead author Caryn Lerman, Ph.D., associate director for Cancer Control and Population Science at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania and professor in Penn’s School of Medicine and the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

Lerman said the study’s findings could lead to more effective smoking cessation methods. “Future smoking cessation studies should evaluate genetic predisposition, as well as the influence of psychological and environmental factors that may promote relapse,” she said.

The study’s findings are published in the October issue of Health Psychology. 2003

Source: Science Daily reported Oct. 3.2003
Filed under: Nicotine :

Nursing students are more likely to smoke cigarettes and to be nicotine dependent than medical students, says a study published in Chest (2003;124: 1415 – 20). A survey of more than 500 students in Philadelphia, USA, showed that four times as many nursing students smoked cigarettes as medical students, and twice as many students were former smokers. The rate of smoking among medical students had fallen in the past decade, and those who did smoke were less nicotine dependent than their nursing counterparts.


Source: The Lancet, 18 October 2003

Filed under: Nicotine :


US researchers investigated 3,122 patients with previous MI or stable angina and found that those who smoked were two and a half times more likely to suffer sudden cardiac death than those who had never smoked. However those who had given up were not at increased risk.

Source: General Practitioner, 3 November 2003

Filed under: Health,Nicotine :

A government report on America’s children shows that violent crime, smoking, and heavy drinking among U.S. teenagers are all on the decline, Reuters reported July 18.
However, more children are overweight than ever, the report found. “Most people, about two-thirds, believe that crime is going up among America’s children,” said Dr. Duane Alexander, director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. “The picture painted by this report, based on actual data, paints the opposite picture. “According to the report released by the National Institutes of Health, the Census Bureau, and other agencies, victims reported 413,000 juvenile crimes in 2002, which translates into 17 violent crimes per 1,000 juveniles aged 12 to 17.”This is a 67-percent drop from the 1993 high, and the lowest rate recorded since the national victimization survey began in 1973,” the report stated.The report also found that fewer children are being killed by guns. Last year, firearms were involved in 19 percent of deaths among 15- to 19-year-olds.Exposure to secondhand smoke also fell, the report said, and fewer teens smoked. As recently as 1994, 88 percent of children ages 4 to 11 were exposed to secondhand smoke. The latest report found that rate had dropped to 64 percent. Daily smoking by youth dropped to the lowest rate since 1975, and heavy drinking among teens also declined.source:Reported in Join Together Online. 7.21.2003

Filed under: Alcohol,Nicotine,Youth :

Women who smoke are more likely to go through an early menopause, new research has confirmed.   Women smokers may experience the change of life more than two years earlier than non-smokers.  The latest study, published in the journal Reproductive Biomedicine Online, suggest smoking actually harms a woman’s ovaries and affects her fertility.
Researchers from the Civitanova Marche General Hospital in Italy studied 350 women attending the hospital’s menopause clinic.They found that the menopause started at around 47 years of age for smokers compared with 49 years, six months, for non-smokers.Women who had stopped producing eggs before the age of 46 were more likely to be smokers.

                                               Source: Daily Mail, 6/2/04.  http://www.rbmonline.com/4DCGI/Article/Detail?38%091%09=%201149%09 

Filed under: Nicotine :

The Observer notes growing concern over the impact of cigarette smoking in films. Anti-smoking campaigners, backed by Britain’s largest cancer charity, claim the age classification of films should be as sensitive to smoking as to offensive language and obscenities.

‘We are not arguing for a total ban on smoking in films,’ said Deborah Arnott, director of ASH. ‘But there is strong evidence of a causal link between stars’ smoking behaviour and teenage smoking.’

Some of Hollywood’s biggest names, including Zeta-Jones, Nicole Kidman and Pierce Brosnan, have been criticised after recent research showed that smoking on screen is at its most prevalent for 50 years. Nearly 80 per cent of Hollywood films given a 12 rating feature some form of tobacco use while half of all children’s and PG-rated films depict smoking, according to a survey of 775 Hollywood films. 

British Board of Film Classification guidelines now say films with a PG rating must not contain references to illegal drugs or drug use. It also forbids films with a 15 classification from depicting ‘imitable techniques’ such as emphasising fighting or easily accessible lethal weapons, like knives. However, the guidelines contain no references to cigarettes, which kill 120,000 people each year in the UK. ‘There is surely a strong case for upgrading the age classification of a film to at least 15 if it features smoking by aspirational role models for young people, as this is clearly imitable and dangerous behaviour,’ said Arnott.

 Source:http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,6903,1168901,00.html

Filed under: Nicotine :

Seeing actors smoke on-screen can raise the risk of young people starting to smoke, suggests a new study that also concludes that many kids decide to smoke based solely on the behaviour of cinematic role models. The Associated press reported June 9 that researchers from Dartmouth Medical School studied 2,600 children ages 10 to 14, all nonsmokers when the study started in 1999. Each was rated by their exposure to smoking in movies. A follow-up survey found that even when controlling for other factors, the youths who were highly exposed to smoking in movies were three times more likely to start smoking themselves, compared to those students whose exposure to on-screen smoking was rated as low.

The researchers said that 52 percent of those who started smoking seemed to have been primarily influenced in their decision by on-screen smoking. In an accompanying commentary, researcher Stanford Glantz said that movies that depict smoking should be rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America.

Source:Dalton, M., Sargent, J., Beach, M., Titus-Ernstoff, L., Gibson, J., Ahrens, M., Tickle, J., & Heatherton, T. (2003)
 Effect of viewing smoking in movies on adolescent smoking initiation: a cohort study. The Lancet, 361(9373).


Filed under: Nicotine :

Smoking among U.S. high school students has fallen to about one in five the lowest level in at least a generation in a drop-off the government attributes to anti-smoking campaigns and higher cigarette taxes.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday that nearly 22 percent of high school students said they were smokers in 2003. That is down from more than 36 percent in 1997, and the lowest level since the CDC began keeping track in 1975. The drop was so dramatic that for the first time in more than two decades, the percentage of high school smokers is lower than the percentage of adult smokers. That was seen as an especially encouraging sign by the government.

In fact, the CDC study found that anti-tobacco efforts have been successful across the board, from curbing the number of first-time smokers to reducing the ranks of the heaviest smokers.”We are reaching all the youth. If we can stop youth from becoming addicted smokers, eventually we can stop this epidemic,” said Terry Pechanek, associate director of science for the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “We’re making the progress we’ve been working toward for the last 40 years.”

Dr. John Banzhaf III, who helped mastermind lawsuits against the tobacco industry, said the study illustrates “probably the most dramatic progress which has been made in terms of any public health problem, at least in recent memory.” “The question would be whether we have the political will to continue to do it,” said Banzhaf, executive director of Action on Smoking and Health and professor of public interest law at George Washington University Law School.The CDC said that anti-tobacco efforts such as TV ads and school campaigns have been highly successful. Some of the programs were funded by the $206 billion settlement that tobacco companies and states reached in 1998.

Another big reason fewer teenagers are lighting up is the cost of a pack of cigarettes, the CDC said. The agency said cigarette prices went up 90 percent from 1997 to 2003, mostly because of tax increases. Students were classified as current smokers if they had lit up in the preceding 30 days.The study found that the percentage of heavy smokers those who lit up 20 days or more per month fell to 9.7 percent from 16.8 percent in 1999.Also, fewer students are trying cigarettes: A little more than 58 percent of students in 2003 said they had tried smoking, down from more than 70 percent in 1999.Still, the government noted that other studies recently have warned that the rate of decline in student smoking may be slowing.

The CDC blamed that on several factors, including more depictions of smoking in movies and a near doubling of spending on
tobacco advertising from cigarette makers ($5.7 billion in 1997 to $11.2 billion in 2001). Also, states are spending less money from the tobacco settlement on smoking prevention.Trend-setting states that had well-funded programs and subsequent decreases in student smoking now have had those programs crippled by budget cuts, causing a rise in student smoking rates in those areas, said Matt Barry of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.Philip Morris spokeswoman Jennifer Golisch said the nation’s No. 1 cigarette maker is “very happy” about the study’s results. “As a manufacturer of a product intended for adults, we believe we have a responsibility to help prevent kids from smoking,” she said.

Golisch said Philip Morris does not place its cigarettes in movies or on TV, though some filmmakers or TV producers have used
Philip Morris products without its permission. She also said the company is spending less on cigarette advertising, in part because of restrictions contained in the tobacco settlement.

Source:http://abcnews.go.com/wire/Living/ap20040618_504.html; 18/Jun/2004

Filed under: Nicotine :

Wearing a nicotine patch can boost memory and stop forgetfulness in older people according to a new study by researchers in to old age. Previous evidence found that nicotine might benefit people with a variety of disorders, including schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The latest study is the first to examine the effect of the drug on people with age-associated memory impairment (AAMI), a common condition among the elderly.
In a small study of over 60s the researchers found that using a standard memory test, four weeks of nicotine treatment halved decision times.  Doctors point out that none of the people on the trial had any form of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s, but some memory loss is normal with ageing. While receiving nicotine, patients assessments of their own memories also showed a small but significant improvement, say researchers at Duke University in Durham, USA. Experts think patches could be used over short periods of time for memory enhancement, without a person having to wear a patch regularly.

 Source: Daily Mail, 27 January 2004

 

Filed under: Nicotine :

In an experiment to test the availability of cigarettes online, four adolescents were able to buy tens of thousands of cigarettes online from dozens of websites, the Durham Herald-Sun reported Sept. 9. The four children, ages 11 to 15, were taking part in a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study when they used credit cards and money orders to try to buy cigarettes from 55 Internet vendors. Over a four-month period in 2001, they succeeded 94 percent of the time using credit cards and 90 percent of the time using money orders. Just one package was marked as containing tobacco products, and only one required an adult signature for delivery. A number of vendors sent free cigarettes and promotional materials to the children.

“Although it is against the law for stores to sell cigarettes to minors in every state in America, there is currently no federal law that bans Internet and mail-order cigarette sales to minors,” lead study author Kurt Ribisl said. “Congress has been considering legislation to ban cigarette sales to minors for more than four years. This study clearly shows that Internet cigarette vendors are not adequately verifying the age of their customers and that federal action is urgently needed.” In the wake of the report, Rep. Marty Meehan (D-Mass.) introduced legislation to regulate Internet cigarette sales and collect excise takes on such sales.

There are now at least 353 online cigarette retailers, and their sales could top $5 billion by the end of 2005, Ribisl said. Most are located in low-tax states like Virginia, North Carolina. One of the biggest online retailers is New York‘s Seneca Indian tribe, which sells cigarettes tax-free from its reservation.

Source: Ribisl, K., Williams, R., & Kim, A. (2003) Internet Sales of Cigarettes to Minors,
Journal of the American Medical Association, 290(10): 1356-1359.
Filed under: Nicotine,Youth :

New data indicates that youth in Washington are taking the advice offered in the anti-tobacco ads being run by the Washington State Department of Health. According to the latest report from Sedgwick Rd., the Seattle advertising agency that created the ads, 80 percent of Washington youth had seen the anti-smoking advertisements. Furthermore, 94 percent of those who had seen the ads said they gave them good reasons not to smoke.

“The effectiveness of our advertising efforts lies in the extensive investigation we did with Washington state youth about what catches their attention most,” said Terry Reid, manager of the state Department of Health Tobacco Prevention and Control Program. “Our ads speak directly to youth who are at risk for smoking, with messages specifically designed to get their attention and give them the hard facts.”
The ads are part of the state’s comprehensive Tobacco Prevention and Control Program, which began in July 2000. The campaign also includes radio, print, and Web-based ads, community outreach, support services, and school-based education programs. Since the start of the state wide campaign, the number of Washington 10th-graders who smoke has dropped by 40 percent. “We’re creating real and lasting change in Washington,” said Secretary of Health Mary Selecky. “Still, we have more work to do; about 55 kids start smoking every day in our state. Our new ad campaign will help us reach more youth so we can convince them to quit smoking or never start.”

Source:    JTO Online May 2004

Filed under: Nicotine,Youth :

Britain‘s largest tobacco company British American Tobacco (BAT) stands accused of adding sweeteners to cigarettes in an underhand attempt to entice youngsters to smoke, reports the Independent. Apparently, BAT whose products include Lucky Strike and Rothmans has been conducting scientific trials on animals in Canada. The additives that are believed to have been tested include chocolate, wine, cocoa, maple syrup and vanilla.
The experiment has drawn a furious response from Director of ASH, Deborah Arnott. “Adding sweets to tobacco is appalling. It shows that we need more tobacco regulation to prevent anything being added that could make tobacco more attractive, or smother, or easier to use. These are the sort of ingredients that could make cigarettes more attractive to children, why would they want to test these sort of additives?” she asked.

The controversial trials were outlined in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology. BAT admitted it had indeed commissioned the work to see if cigarettes with additional ingredients had different effects on health compared to cigarettes without additives. The study, conducted over a 90 day duration and used laboratory rats in Canada because testing tobacco on live animals in Britain has been outlawed since 1997.
 
A BAT spokesman admitted that food additives such as cocoa butter and liquorice are already used in brands such as Lucky Strike to add a subtle taste. The spokesman added: “The amounts are tiny but they allow you to play very subtly with the taste of cigarettes. They (the additives) are handy, they are useful, they are food-type ingredients.”

Source: The Independent, 3 June 2004.
Link: http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/health_medical/story.jsp?story=527695

 

Filed under: Nicotine :

Strong evidence for the link, but public awareness lags While most people and many patients attending eye clinics recognise many adverse health hazards of tobacco smoking, they remain largely unaware of its link with blindness. Although smoking is associated with several eye diseases, including nuclear cataract w1 w2 and thyroid eye disease, w3 the most common cause of smoking related blindness is age related macular degeneration, which results in severe irreversible loss of central vision. Current treatment options are of only partial benefit to selected patients. Identifying modifiable risk factors to inform efforts for prevention is a priority. A risk factor is generally judged to be a cause of disease if certain causality criteria are fulfilled.w4 Applying commonly used criteria w4 to available evidence provides strong evidence of a causal link between tobacco smoking and age related macular degeneration. The strength of association is confirmed in a pooled analysis of data from three cross sectional studies, totalling 12,468 participants, in which current smokers had a significant threefold to fourfold increased age adjusted risk of age related macular degeneration compared with never smokers.

 

1 By way of comparison, although the relative risks associated with smoking for lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are In excess of 20, the relative risk for ischaemic heart disease in men is only 1.6.w5 Consistency of effect is demonstrated as smoking was the strongest environmental risk factor for age related macular degeneration across these three different study populations in Australia, North America, and Europe. 2 3 4 A temporal relation between exposure and outcome was established through long term follow up in these cohorts. 5 6 7 A dose-response relation between exposure to smoking and age related macular degeneration is demonstrated as the risk of early disease increases with number of pack years.6 7 Finally, this causal association is biologically plausible, as age related macular degeneration may reflect accumulated oxidative damage in the retina and smoking is known to impede the protective effects of antioxidants and to reduce macular pigment density. 8 Owen et al estimated 214 000 UK residents to have visual impairment (best visual acuity 6/18-3/60 Snellen) and 71 000 individuals to be blind (better eye visual acuity < 3/60 Snellen) because of age related macular degeneration. 9 We estimate that 53 900 United Kingdom residents older than 69 years may have visual impairment because of age related macular degeneration attributable to smoking of whom 17 800 are blind (see table and methods on bmj.com).1 9 w6  w9 Randomised controlled trials examining whether smoking cessation interventions reduce incidence or progression of smoking related diseases are problematic.

Observational studies show a protective effect of smoking cessation on the development of age related macular degeneration, as former smokers have an only slightly increased risk of age related macular degeneration compared with never smokers.1 The reversibility of this association in smokers with age related macular degeneration in one eye has important implications for prevention of late macular involvement in the second eye. In addition, continuing smoking is associated with poorer outcome after photocoagulation with argon laser.10 Continued smoking could perhaps also adversely affect the long term response to newer treatments such as photodynamic therapy. Robust evidence indicates that smoking cessation support results in higher abstinence rates.w8 Guidelines recommend that smokers are referred to professional smoking cessation services and should generally be offered nicotine replacement therapy.w8 Many diabetes, cardiac, and respiratory.

 

NHS clinics now incorporate smoking cessation support into their services and ophthalmology or optometry services could follow likewise. The acceptability of this intervention among eye care personnel in the United States is high, but time and knowledge constraints may hinder implementation.11 Primary smoking prevention is perhaps even more important. In New Zealand, publicity about smoking and blindness resulted in increased telephone calls to the national Quitlinew9 and a television campaign incorporating the (slightly modified) Australian eye advertisement (www.quitnow.info.au/script/eye.html) was considered more successful than other advertisements relating smoking to stroke and heart disease (N Wilson, personal communication, 2003). A sustained public health campaign in the United Kingdom is warranted to increase awareness of the ocular hazards associated with smoking, “North West Action on Smoking and Health” (www.nwash.co.uk) has launched a leaflet describing these risks alongside user friendly advice on smoking cessation. The Royal College of Ophthalmologists supports this initiative. More novel, varied, and specific pack warnings of the impact of smoking on health,w10 including eyesight, might help as primary prevention efforts. Warnings targeted at specific concerns may be more effective than current general statements—”Smoking is a major cause of blindness” has been suggested.12 The finding that smokers develop age related macular degeneration around 10 years earlier than non-smokers5 could also be a potent message in public awareness campaigns.

Tobacco smoking is the prime modifiable risk factor for age related macular degeneration. Evidence indicates that more than a quarter of all cases of age related macular degeneration with blindness or visual impairment are attributable to current or past exposure to smoking. Patients, health professionals, and the public will benefit from greater awareness of this causal association. Smoking cessation advice should be introduced and evaluated. Similarly, research examining the behaviour of smokers as a result of acquired knowledge about smoking and the risk of visual impairment or blindness could usefully inform public health campaigns. Policy initiatives based on these concepts are now clearly needed.

 

Source: Simon P Kelly, consultant ophthalmic surgeon,Bolton Hospitals NHS Trust, Bolton BL4 0JR(simon.kelly@boltonh-tr.nwest.nhs.uk) et al. Centre for Vision Research,
 
Westmead Hospital, Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia

 

 

Filed under: Health,Nicotine :

Researchers at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., found that people who drink are more likely to smoke because even small amounts of alcohol enhance the pleasurable effects of nicotine. The study on human volunteers provided a physiological explanation for why people smoke more in bars. The research also supports statistics that found that individuals addicted to alcohol smoke more than others. In addition, smokers are 10 times more likely than nonsmokers to suffer from alcohol addiction. The researchers said the findings may also explain why people who have quit smoking often relapse when drinking alcohol.

Source:The study was published in the February/March 2004 issue of the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research.


Filed under: Nicotine :

Regularly smoking cannabis can cause an addiction to nicotine in cigarette smokers who were previously not addicted, a study has found. Teenagers who smoke cannabis daily for at least a month are four times more likely to become addicted to nicotine by the time they reach their 20s. Weekly cannabis use increases the likelihood three-fold and monthly cannabis use doubles the risk of nicotine addiction, the study of 2500 young people discovered. The findings are based on the Victoria Adolescent Health Cohort Study, conducted by George Patton and Susan Sawyer from the Royal Children’s Hospital Centre for Adolescent Health and the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.

Professor Sawyer, director of the centre, said that for teenagers who smoked tobacco but showed no signs of nicotine addiction, a “powerful predictor” of subsequent nicotine dependence was cannabis use. Professor Sawyer said that not only should we be concerned about cannabis use for all its negative effects, but we should also have real concerns that those using high levels of cannabis were much more likely to develop nicotine dependence, leading to a lifetime of illness.

The study’s finding contravenes the traditional “gateway theory” that suggests drug use starts with tobacco then progresses to alcohol, cannabis and, finally, more illicit drugs. The study suggests a “reverse directionality”. “People are smoking tobacco at the same time (as cannabis) and are inadvertently getting high levels of nicotine, and it is the nicotine that they’re co-smoking which is driving the nicotine addiction,” Professor Sawyer said. The study also found that female users of cannabis on a daily basis were eight times more likely to suffer high levels of depression than non-cannabis users.

The results will be presented today at a mental health conference at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. Mental health experts at the conference yesterday said there was also a link between cannabis and psychosis. David Castle, from the Mental Health Research Institute, said most people who became psychotic after using cannabis had an underlying vulnerability to mental disorders. But most people who used cannabis moderately or infrequently were unlikely to experience psychosis. Wayne Hall, from Queensland University’s Institute for Molecular & Bioscience, said 60% of people in their 20’s have used cannabis and 10% of cannabis users developed a dependency on the drug.

Source: By Carol Nader www.theage.com.au August 17, 2004

Smokers under the age of 40 are five times more likely to have a heart attack than non-smokers, with women at an even higher risk, new research has shown. A study of almost 23,000 non-fatal heart attacks, based on data from the WHO, found that four-fifths of victims aged 35-39 were smokers.The research published in the journal Tobacco Control puts paid to the notion that only older smokers are at risk from cardiac disease. Experts from the National Public Health Institute in Helskinki studied a group of 132,000 men and women between the ages of 35 and 64 from 21 countries around the world.Of the 23,000 people who had suffered non-fatal heart attacks between 1985 and 1994, 800 were under the age of 40.Of these, 80% were smokers.

Tim Bowker, associate medical director of the British Heart Foundation,said: “This should be a profound warning to younger smokers that they are putting themselves at risk of having a heart attack before they even reach middle age.”

Source:The Times, Daily Mail, Daily Express, Metro, 24/8/04

Filed under: Health,Nicotine,Youth :

Women who smoke are more likely to go through an early menopause, new research has confirmed. Women smokers may experience the change of life more than two years earlier than non-smokers. The latest study, published in the journal Reproductive Biomedicine Online, suggest smoking actually harms a woman’s ovaries and affects her fertility. Researchers from the Civitanova Marche General Hospital in Italy studied 350 women attending the hospital’s menopause clinic. They found that the menopause started at around 47 years of age for smokers compared with 49 years, six months, for non-smokers. Women who had stopped producing eggs before the age of 46 were more likely to be smokers.

Source:Daily Mail, 6/2/04Abstract of research can be viewed at:
http://www.rbmonline.com/4DCGI/Article/Detail?38%091%09=%201149%09

Filed under: Health,Nicotine :

 

Most states that have tough antismoking laws are seeing smoking-related death rates fall among 30- to 39-year-olds, according to a new study. Yahoo News reported Aug. 20 that the study looked at smoking in this age group because it best represented the impact of stop-smoking efforts undertaken over the last five to 25 years. Researchers found that the lung-cancer death rate was lowest in states with strong antismoking programs, like California and Arizona, and highest in states with poor stop-smoking efforts, like Mississippi, Alabama, and Kentucky.

Lung-cancer death rates fell 19 percent in California during the study period, and 28% in Oregon – another state with a strong antismoking campaign. At the same time, the death rate rose 34%in Kentucky – the state with the weakest antismoking measures – 29%t in Missouri, and 25% in West Virginia. “Where you have high tobacco-control efforts you have low lung-cancer death rates,” said lead researcher Ahmedin Jemal, Ph.D. “But what’s most interesting is that the death rates decreased in most states with strong tobacco-control programs, but increased in states with low tobacco-control efforts.” Smoking causes 82% of lung-cancer deaths.

Source: Journal Cancer Causes and Control. August 2003

 

 

Filed under: Nicotine :

A University of Wisconsin-Madison study finds that 90% of college students who smoked daily and 50% of occasional smokers were still smoking four years after graduating, dispelling the belief that most college-aged students can quit within a few years. The study involved 647 freshmen and sophomores enrolled in an introductory psychology class at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Students were categorized based on their smoking behavior. Four years later, 548 of the students participated in a follow-up study. The results found that only 13% of the daily smokers had quit, 28% had become occasional smokers, and 59% remained daily smokers. Among occasional smokers, 51% had stopped smoking, 35%remained occasional smokers, and 14% had become daily smokers.

Of the non-smokers, 89 percent remained non-smokers, 11% had become occasional smokers and none were daily smokers. The report recommended that more smoking-cessation interventions be focused on college students. “Because their smoking status seems more changeable than adults, college students may be more receptive to smoking cessation,” said Michael Fiore, director of the University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention. Progression. “Plus, the relatively confined nature of the college environment might be an excellent setting for implementing both policy and individual interventions.” Fiore added, “Helping students to develop realistic expectations about smoking and to find other ways to cope with negative feelings may be helpful in reducing dependence upon smoking. This is critical since we know that half of those who become daily lifetime smokers will be killed prematurely by a disease directly caused by their smoking.”

Source: Journal Health Psychology. April 2004

 

 

Filed under: Nicotine,Youth :

Michigan is seeing an increase in its smoking-cessation class attendance after a recent statewide tobacco tax hike began encouraging a number of residents to quit, the “It influenced me to keep quitting because I’m paying more money for the cigarettes,” said Dennis Straub of Holton. “The price of cigarettes is so high now.” Ed Parsekian, a health educator who runs the free smoking cessation classes for the Muskegon County Health Department, uses the $1.25 tax increase on cigarette packs as an incentive for people to quit smoking. “Look at the money you spend at the end of the month on cigarettes,” Parsekian told a recent group. The total cigarette tax is now $2, with a pack costing about $4.65.

Source: Muskegon Chronicle reported July 27. 2004

Filed under: Nicotine :

Teenage schoolgirls are drinking and smoking more than boys, as fears rise that “ladette” alcohol culture is seeping down into the younger generation. The report, conducted by Schools Health Education Unit (SHEU) revealed that 44% of girls aged 14-15 have had at least one alcoholic drink the week before the research was undertaken, compared with 42% of boys.

The “ladette” culture is thought to be been driven by a desire to copy behaviour previously associated with boys, and accentuated by celebrities such as DJ Sara Cox and singers Charlotte Church and Britney Spears. The SHEU study also found 26% of girls aged 14-15 and 16% of boys said they had smoked in the previous week.One possible explanation for the girls’ behaviour might be revealed to other questions in the SHEU report. Boys generally have a higher self-esteem, are more satisfied and worry less than girls.

Filed under: Nicotine,Youth :

Researchers at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine have used positron emission tomography (PET) to reveal the mechanism through which bupropion, a smoking cessation drug, works in the brain to reduce cigarette cravings.

The scientists used PET imaging to examine brain activity in bupropion-medicated and unmedicated smokers who were exposed to smoking cues, such as the sight and feel of a cigarette. They were able to show that in the presence of bupropion, brain cells in the anterior, cingulate cortex—a region known to be involved in drug craving—do not activate in response to cigarette-related cues. Until now, scientists and clinicians knew the drug reduced the urge to smoke, but the central nervous system process by which it did so was unknown.

Bupropion is marketed as Zyban for smoking cessation.

Thirty-seven otherwise healthy smokers participated in the trial. Seventeen received bupropion for an average of 5.6 weeks; 20 were unmedicated. All participants underwent two PET scanning sessions. During the PET scans, the people either watched a smoking-oriented video and held a cigarette, or viewed a nature video and held a neutral object, like a pen. The researchers also assessed the participants’ cravings for cigarettes through analysis of scores on the Urge to Smoke Scale. Bupropion-treated smokers had lower “Urge to Smoke” scores than untreated smokers. They also reported smoking fewer cigarettes per day.

WHAT IT MEANS: This study increases our understanding of the basic nervous system mechanisms involved in drug craving, and how cues like smelling and seeing a cigarette can drive the impulse to smoke. A more complete understanding of these mechanisms can aid in the development of more effective treatment strategies.

The NIDA-funded study, by Dr. Arthur Brody and his colleagues.

Source: Was published online in the April 2004 issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging

Filed under: Nicotine :

One critical aspect of drug addiction is the effect of conditioned cues on drug-seeking behavior. Scientists at the University of Wisconsin–Madison have reported that adolescent and adult rats exhibit different behaviors in response to nicotine and nicotine-related environments, suggesting there are molecular differences in adolescent and adult rat brains.

The researchers examined how injections of nicotine stimulated movement in rats. Over 10 days, the scientists injected nicotine or saline into 16 adolescent and 16 young adult male rats. Immediately following the injections, they placed the rats in plastic chambers and observed their movements for 90 minutes.

The stimulant properties of nicotine caused rats in both groups to walk or run more, but the drug had a greater overall effect on adults. It also significantly increased rearing (standing on hind legs), a sign of curiosity and exploring, in adults. But the scientists’ key finding was that adolescent rats, when re-exposed to the plastic chamber following a saline injection, failed to show any enhanced motor activity in the absence of nicotine. The adult rats, on the other hand, did exhibit drug-induced cue conditioning as evidenced by increased movement in the drug-paired environment following a saline injection. The scientists speculate that the drug-associated conditioning seen in adult rats is associated with specific brain regions and circuitry that may not be mature in adolescent rats.

WHAT IT MEANS: These findings are an important step toward understanding the biological effects of nicotine on the adolescent brain, and suggest that plasticity—the ability of the brain to form new connections between nerve cells, a process that occurs predominantly during youth—may be partly responsible for differences between adolescents and adults regarding drug-seeking behaviors. This study implies that the development of brain systems involved in drug abuse may begin in adolescence.

Source:Lead author Terri Schochet and her colleagues published this NIDA-supported study in the
online version of the April 2004 issue of Psychopharmacology.

Filed under: Nicotine :

Vitamin A deficiency could be the factor that triggers emphysema in smokers, suggests an American study. Rats fed a vitamin A-deficient diet developed emphysema, a condition found mainly in smokers. The result could explain why smokers who eat a good diet develop lung disease less often than those with poor diets.
Source: The Times, 30 July 2004

Filed under: Health,Nicotine :

BLOOMINGTON, IN – A new report by the Indiana Prevention Resource Center at Indiana University Bloomington presents promising findings on adolescent use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Most of Indiana’s adolescents continue to make the healthy decision to avoid drug use, but some of the findings signal a need for increasing prevention efforts statewide.

Here are some of the findings from the 14th annual survey of alcohol, tobacco and other drug use by Indiana children and adolescents:

• Cigarette use in all grades showed a steady decline
• Fewer adolescents chose to use marijuana
• Ninth- through 12th-graders did less binge drinking
• Smokeless tobacco use increased in all grades except 12th
• Older adolescents reported more use of club drugs than younger cohorts
• Inhalant use among sixth- through 11th-graders increased

The 2004 results, which can be found at www.drugs.indiana.edu/survey/atod/index.html, are based on surveys completed by 91,577 students in grades six through 12, attending 297 schools in Indiana. The purpose of the survey is to help state and local entities coordinate prevention programs by providing them with current information regarding adolescent use of these unhealthy and in some cases illegal substances. The annual survey is funded by the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, Division of Mental Health and Addiction.

For the most part, illicit drug use by Hoosier adolescents is continuing a slow decline that began five to six years ago. E. Lisako Jones-McKyer, survey director for IPRC and assistant professor in IUB’s Department of Applied Health Science, which is part of the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, said that state and local entities have made improving adolescent health their top priority and that these trends mirror their efforts. The “Afternoons R.O.CK. in Indiana” program is an example of this collaboration.

Coupled with these positive trends is the need to increase prevention efforts among lower grades for all categories, Jones-McKyer said. She noted that inhalant use increased in all grades except 12th. Among younger adolescents, she said, the rates have risen to levels reported in the late 1990s.

“It is my belief that youth’s knowledge of products that can be used as inhalants has expanded exponentially in recent years,” Jones-McKyer said. “Results in this year’s survey suggest a need to address prevention efforts in this realm.”

She said another significant finding is the decreased use of cigarettes but increased use of smokeless tobacco.

“This finding suggests the need to broaden prevention efforts beyond cigarettes to include all tobacco products,” she said.

Mohammad R. Torabi, Chancellor’s Professor and chairperson in the Department of Applied Health Science as well as IPRC’s interim director, said the successes identified in this year’s report should be celebrated but more work lies ahead.

“While Indiana has made great progress in the past 10 years, we still have a long way to go,” Torabi said. “Knowing that children and adolescents are the most important asset of our state, it is imperative that we continue to monitor drug use among this group and continue comprehensive drug education, along with enforcement of policies for ultimately eliminating these problems.”

The following is a summary of the survey results broken down by substance. From the early to mid-1990s, Indiana saw a dramatic increase in drug use among its youth. This usage peaked in 1996, followed by a slow and steady decline among youth in most age groups.

Tobacco use a mixed bag

Cigarette smoking rates continued to decline, albeit slightly, but the survey found an increase in the use of smokeless tobacco. The use of smokeless tobacco increased in every grade except 12th. The monthly usage reported ranged from 1.3 percent of sixth-graders to 8.7 percent of high school seniors.

The continued decline in cigarette smoking pleases public health experts because cigarettes are considered a “gateway drug,” which can lead to the use of other drugs. Smoking rates are the best statistical predictor of other types of drug use by children and adolescents. The percentage of students who reported smoking at least one cigarette in the last month ranged from 5.4% of sixth-graders to 27.4% of seniors. The percentage of seniors smoking at least once a month decreased 1.4% from the previous year.

Drug use down

Indiana prevalence rates for marijuana and most other illicit substances are still higher than the rates reported in 1991 and 1992. However, the data from the past five to six years indicate that in general, illicit use of most drugs by youth is slowly yet steadily declining. Monthly marijuana use ranged from 2.5% of sixth-graders to 18.3% of seniors.

Alcohol use rate continues to decline Monthly use of alcohol declined more than 4 percentage points among 12th graders and for the second consecutive year is more than 5 percentage points below the national rate. Binge drinking rates among ninth- through 12th-graders showed signs of decline and finally dropped below the national rates. Monthly alcohol use rates ranged from 9.8% for sixth-graders to 42.2% for 12th-graders.

Similar to findings in the 2003 report, however, alcohol use among sixth- to eighth-grade students does not show signs of decreasing. Rates of binge drinking among sixth- and seventh-graders increased, though they are still much lower than two years ago.

“Club drugs” potential trends

This is the third year in which students were asked about usage of the “club drugs” ecstasy (MDMA, 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine), GHB (gamma hydroxy butyrate) and Rohypnol (flunitrazepam). Since 2000, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of police encounters with the club drugs. The 2004 survey found that rates of club drug use in all grades have either stabilized or declined. Older students are still more likely to use the drugs, indicating that use of these substances is still age-dependent and associated with accessibility. As suggested in reports from the past three years, club drug rates should be closely monitored in order to ensure timely prevention efforts.

Inhalant use increases For the third year, inhalant use increased among all grades except 12th. Among younger adolescents, the rates have reached levels reported in the late 1990s. The percentage of students who reported using inhalants at least once in the last month ranged from 1.8% of 12th-graders to 4.7% of eighth-graders. On average, 3.5% of the students reported using an inhalant in the last month, compared to 5.1% who reported a monthly usage in 1996.
Source: newsinfo.iu.edu, 2004

Filed under: Alcohol,Nicotine,Youth :

While most people and many patients attending eye clinics recognise many adverse health hazards of tobacco smoking, they remain largely unaware of its link with blindness. Although smoking is associated with several eye diseases,including nuclear cataract and thyroid eye disease, the most common cause of smoking related blindness is age related macular degeneration, which results in severe irreversible loss of central vision. Current treatment options are of only partial benefit to selected patients. Identifying modifiable risk factors to inform efforts for prevention is a priority.

A risk factor is generally judged to be a cause of disease if certain causality criteria are fulfilled. Applying commonly used criteria to available evidence provides strong evidence of a causal link between tobacco smoking and age related macular degeneration. The strength of association is confirmed in a pooled analysis of data from three cross sectional studies, totalling 12,468 participants, in which current smokers had a significant threefold to fourfold increased age adjusted risk of age related macular degeneration compared with never smokers. By way of comparison, although the relative risks associated with smoking for lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are in excess of 20, the relative risk for ischaemic heart disease in men is only 1.6. Consistency of effect is demonstrated as smoking was the strongest environmental risk factor for age related macular degeneration across these three different study populations in Australia, North America, and Europe.

A temporal relation between exposure and outcome was established through long term follow up in these cohorts. A dose-response relation between exposure to smoking and age related macular degeneration is demonstrated as the risk of early disease increases with number of pack years. Finally, this causal association is biologically plausible, as age related macular degeneration may reflect accumulated oxidative damage in the retina and smoking is known to impede the protective effects of antioxidants and to reduce macular pigment density.

Owen et al estimated 214 ,000 UK residents to have visual impairment (best visual acuity 6/18-3/60 Snellen) and 71.000 individuals to be blind (better eye visual acuity < 3/60 Snellen) because of age related macular degeneration. We estimate that 53,900 United Kingdom residents older than 69 years may have visual impairment because of age related macular degeneration attributable to smoking of whom 17 800 are blind (see table and methods on bmj.com).

Randomised controlled trials examining whether smoking cessation interventions reduce incidence or progression of smoking related diseases are problematic.Observational studies show a protective effect of smoking cessation on the development of age related macular degeneration, as former smokers have an Only slightly increased risk of age related macular degeneration compared with never smokers. The reversibility of this association in smokers with age relatedmacular degeneration in one eye has important implications for prevention of late macular involvement in the second eye. In addition, continuing smoking is associated with poorer outcome after photocoagulation with argon laser. Continued smoking could perhaps also adversely affect the long term response to newer treatments such as photodynamic therapy.

Robust evidence indicates that smoking cessation support results in higher abstinence rates. Guidelines recommend that smokers are referred to professional smoking cessation services and should generally be offered nicotine replacement therapy. Many diabetes, cardiac, and respiratory NHS clinics now incorporate smoking cessation support into their services and ophthalmology or optometry services could follow likewise. The acceptability of this intervention among eye care personnel in the United States is high, but time and knowledge constraints may hinder implementation.

Primary smoking prevention is perhaps even more important. In New Zealand, publicity about smoking and blindness resulted in increased telephone calls to the national Quitline and a television campaign incorporating the (slightly modified) Australian eye advertisement (www.quitnow.info.au/script/eye.html) was considered more successful than other advertisements relating smoking to stroke and heart disease (N Wilson, personal communication, 2003). A sustained public health campaign in the United Kingdom is warranted to increase awareness of the ocular hazards associated with smoking, “North West Action on Smoking and Health” (www.nwash.co.uk) has launched a leaflet describing these risks alongside user friendly advice on smoking cessation. The Royal College of Ophthalmologists supports this initiative. More novel, varied, and specific pack warnings of the impact of smoking on health, including eyesight, might help as primary prevention efforts. Warnings targeted at specific concerns may be more effective than current general statements—”Smoking is a major cause of blindness” has been suggested. The finding that smokers develop age related macular degeneration around 10 years earlier than non-smokers could also be a potent message in public awareness campaigns.

Tobacco smoking is the prime modifiable risk factor for age related macular degeneration. Evidence indicates that more than a quarter of all cases of age related macular degeneration with blindness or visual impairment are attributable to current or past exposure to smoking. Patients, health professionals, and the public will benefit from greater awareness of this causal association. Smoking cessation advice should be introduced and evaluated. Similarly, research examining the behaviour of smokers as a result of acquired knowledge about smoking and the risk of visual impairment or blindness could usefully inform public health campaigns. Policy initiatives based on these concepts are now clearly needed.
Source:http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/328/7439/537;March 2004.

Filed under: Nicotine :

Chronic, heavy drinking has been found to harm the brain; the study examined the added effects of smoking on alcohol-dependent individuals. About 80% of chronic drinkers involved in the study said they smoked regularly.

For the study, magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging was used to measure common brain metabolites in 24 drinkers who were in treatment and 26 light drinkers. Of the individuals in treatment, 14 were smokers. Among light drinkers, 7 smoked.

“While the effects of cigarette smoking on the heart, lungs, central and peripheral vascular systems, and its carcinogenic properties have been studied for many years in humans, very little is known about its effects on the brain and its functions,” said Timothy Durazzo, a neuropsychologist and neuroscience researcher at the San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center and corresponding author for the study. “A mere handful of studies indicate that chronic cigarette smoking by itself has adverse effects on brain structure and cognitive functioning. However, to date, we are not aware of any published studies using magnetic resonance imaging the brain damage found in alcoholics in treatment is entirely from chronic excessive alcohol consumption or from being smokers, as well.”

“Results indicate that chronic cigarette smoking increases the severity of brain damage associated with alcohol dependence,” continued Durazzo. “That is, the combined effects of alcohol dependence and chronic smoking are associated with greater regional brain damage than chronic alcoholic drinking or smoking alone. Our studies show that this exacerbation of the alcohol-induced brain damage is most prominent in the frontal lobes of individuals studied early in treatment.”

Durazzo said the damage to the brain’s frontal lobes could compromise the success of treatment and recovery. That part of the brain is responsible for multiple functions of everyday life, including a person’s ability to accurately judge or anticipate the consequences of their actions.

The study found that cigarette smoking alone caused damage to neuronal viability and cell membranes in the midbrain and on cell membranes of the cerebellar vermis.

“These brain regions are involved in fine and gross motor functions and balance and coordination,” said Durazzo. “We also observed that higher smoking severity among smoking recovering alcoholics was associated with lower N-acetylaspartate levels in lenticular nuclei and thalamus, areas also involved in motor functions.”
Source: of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. December 2004

Filed under: Nicotine :

An international team of researchers concludes that smokers under the age of 40 are at high risk for heart disease, the BBC reported Aug. 24.

According to the study, smokers under age 40 are five times more likely to have a heart attack than their nonsmoking peers.

“Although young people may acknowledge the well-documented fact that cigarette smoking is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, they, and even physicians, may think that this is only a concern in older age,” said Dr. Markku Mahonen of the KTL National Public Health Institute in Helsinki, Finland. “There is a particular need for public-health programs and anti-smoking campaigns targeted at young people to keep them healthy, and specifically from our results, to prevent the particular tragedy of heart attack at a young age.”

For the study, researchers used data from the World Health Organization international monitoring study of cardiovascular disease (MONICA) and risk factors. They also examined records of non-fatal episodes of heart disease that occurred between 1985 and 1994.

Dr. Tim Bowker of the British Heart Foundation said the study should serve as “a profound warning to younger smokers that they are not only damaging their health for later years and cutting their lives short, but are also putting themselves at a significantly higher risk of having a heart attack before they even reach middle age. This evidence should encourage young smokers to think about today, not just tomorrow.”

The study’s findings are published in the journal Tobacco Control.

Source: BBC Aug 24 2004-08-28
Filed under: Nicotine,Youth :

New research finds that cigarette smoking caused damage to multiple regions of the brain. The study also shows increased brain damage among smokers who consume alcohol, Medical News Today reported Dec. 15.

Chronic, heavy drinking has been found to harm the brain; the study examined the added effects of smoking on alcohol-dependent individuals. About 80% of chronic drinkers involved in the study said they smoked regularly.

For the study, magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging was used to measure common brain metabolites in 24 drinkers who were in treatment and 26 light drinkers. Of the individuals in treatment, 14 were smokers. Among light drinkers, 7 smoked.

“While the effects of cigarette smoking on the heart, lungs, central and peripheral vascular systems, and its carcinogenic properties have been studied for many years in humans, very little is known about its effects on the brain and its functions,” said Timothy Durazzo, a neuropsychologist and neuroscience researcher at the San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center and corresponding author for the study. “A mere handful of studies indicate that chronic cigarette smoking by itself has adverse effects on brain structure and cognitive functioning. However, to date, we are not aware of any published studies using magnetic resonance imaging the brain damage found in alcoholics in treatment is entirely from chronic excessive alcohol consumption or from being smokers, as well.”

“Results indicate that chronic cigarette smoking increases the severity of brain damage associated with alcohol dependence,” continued Durazzo. “That is, the combined effects of alcohol dependence and chronic smoking are associated with greater regional brain damage than chronic alcoholic drinking or smoking alone. Our studies show that this exacerbation of the alcohol-induced brain damage is most prominent in the frontal lobes of individuals studied early in treatment.”

Durazzo said the damage to the brain’s frontal lobes could compromise the success of treatment and recovery. That part of the brain is responsible for multiple functions of everyday life, including a person’s ability to accurately judge or anticipate the consequences of their actions.

The study found that cigarette smoking alone caused damage to neuronal viability and cell membranes in the midbrain and on cell membranes of the cerebellar vermis.

“These brain regions are involved in fine and gross motor functions and balance and coordination,” said Durazzo. “We also observed that higher smoking severity among smoking recovering alcoholics was associated with lower N-acetylaspartate levels in lenticular nuclei and thalamus, areas also involved in motor functions.”

Source:December 2004 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
Filed under: Nicotine :

A recent Yale study shows that marijuana use and smoking tobacco lead to similar health problems. University researchers have found that smoking marijuana is correlated with an increased risk of conditions similar to those produced by smoking tobacco and can compound health problems resulting from smoking tobacco. Brent Moore, a professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, led the study, which was published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

“What we found is that marijuana use is associated with a number of self-reported respiratory symptoms including chronic bronchitis, frequent phlegm production, shortness of breath, a frequent wheezing, chest sounds without a cold, and pneumonia,” Moore said.

While about 11 million Americans have used marijuana within the last month and 4 million are daily users, Moore said, the study focused on people who had reported using the drug at least once in the past 30 days and 100 times within their lifetime.

Some research subjects smoked tobacco in addition to marijuana, as 77% of marijuana users in the United States also smoke tobacco, said Richard Moser, a research psychologist at the National Cancer Institute and a co-author of the paper.

“It turns out that a lot of the marijuana smokers also smoke tobacco,” Moser said. “What we did, though, is statistically control for the number of cigarettes, and even controlling for the number of cigarettes we still found that marijuana use was associated with these respiratory problems.”

After controlling for gender, age, current asthma and tobacco cigarettes used per day, marijuana use was associated with greater odds of respiratory ailments, according to the study.

There is a greater risk of symptoms for people who smoke both tobacco and marijuana, Moore said.

The data for the study was collected from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. During a three-year period, the survey will create a statistical model for general health in the nation, said Bill Crews, a spokesman for the survey.

By relying on the Census 2000 data and its updates, the survey is designed to collect data from a range of rural, urban and suburban counties and a diverse array of participants of different ages, races, sexes, ethnicities and incomes, Crew said.

“What makes this study unique is that it is using a national sample,” Moser said.

Moore said researchers hope the study will raise awareness of the consequences of marijuana use.

“Hopefully [the study] will lead physicians to basically ask more about whether people smoke marijuana,” Moore said.
Source: www.yaledailynews.com Wednesday, January 19, 2005

This interesting study was specifically looking at the “stepping-stone” or “gateway” sequences that link the use of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and cocaine. The study included information from 44,624 individuals age 12 to 25 years, and was based primarily on “exposure opportunity.” This did not mean seeking out drugs, but rather being exposed to an opportunity to use drugs at a party or a friends home, etc.

The authors, Wagner and Anthony state: “Results indicated that users of tobacco and alcohol were more likely than nonusers to have an opportunity to try marijuana and were more likely to actually use marijuana once a marijuana opportunity had occurred. Opportunity to use cocaine was associated with prior marijuana smoking. Among young people with a cocaine opportunity, those who had used marijuana were more likely to use cocaine than were those with no history of marijuana use.”

Reference: American Journal of Epidemiology, Vol. 155, No. 10, 2002, Wagner and Anthony.

New research suggests that people who smoke and drink heavily are more at risk for oral cancer, the Researchers from King’s College in London, England, found an increase in oral cancer among men and women in their 20s and 30s who smoke and binge drink.

The researchers said that when tobacco smoke combines with alcohol, it produces dangerous levels of cancer-causing chemicals that attack the lining of the mouth.

“Our data show that smoking, drinking and poor diet are major risk factors, and that the younger people start smoking and drinking, the higher the risk,” said Newell Johnson, a professor of oral pathology at King’s College

Source: Daily Telegraph, London reported Nov. 9.2004

A University of Wisconsin-Madison study finds that 90% of college students who smoked daily and 50% of occasional smokers were still smoking four years after graduating, dispelling the belief that most college-aged students can quit within a few years.

The study involved 647 freshmen and sophomores enrolled in an introductory psychology class at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Students were categorized based on their smoking behavior. Four years later, 548 of the students participated in a follow-up study.

The results found that only 13% of the daily smokers had quit, 28% had become occasional smokers, and 59% remained daily smokers. Among occasional smokers, 51% had stopped smoking, 35% remained occasional smokers, and 14% had become daily smokers.

Of the non-smokers, 89% remained non-smokers, 11% had become occasional smokers and none were daily smokers.

The report recommended that more smoking-cessation interventions be focused on college students. “Because their smoking status seems more changeable than adults, college students may be more receptive to smoking cessation,” said Michael Fiore, director of the University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention. Progression. “Plus, the relatively confined nature of the college environment might be an excellent setting for implementing both policy and individual interventions.”

Fiore added, “Helping students to develop realistic expectations about smoking and to find other ways to cope with negative feelings may be helpful in reducing dependence upon smoking. This is critical since we know that half of those who become daily lifetime smokers will be killed prematurely by a disease directly caused by their smoking.”

Source:  April 2004 issue of the journal Health Psychology
Filed under: Nicotine,Youth :

Parents who smoke around their young children more than triple their kids’ risk of getting cancer later in life, a new study concludes.

Forbes reported Jan. 28 that the study found that children exposed to their parents secondhand smoke on a daily basis also have an elevated risk of developing other respiratory problems compared to kids growing up in a smoke-free home. The study looked at 123,000 people in 10 European nations, tracking them for an average of seven years.

Cancer risk was highest among former smokers, as opposed to those who never smoked. Researchers suggested that cumulative exposure to cigarette smoke – regardless of the source – raised the risk of getting cancer.

Source: Jan. 28 2004 issue of the British Medical Journal.
Filed under: Nicotine,Youth :

While parents of children with asthma take many steps to change environmental factors to improve their child’s breathing, a study shows that they often overlook cigarette smoking in the house, one of the major triggers of asthma, Reuters reported Aug. 17. The study by Michael Cabana, M.D., a pediatrician at the University of Michigan, found that 25% of the parents surveyed had a smoker who lived in the same house as the child with asthma, but did nothing to ban smoking inside the house. The study’s findings are published in the August 2004 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Source:Reuters reported Aug. 17 2004.

New Zealand and U.S. researchers found that non-smokers who lived with a smoker were 15% more likely to have died during a three-year study period than those who never smoked and lived with non-smokers, the Times of London reported April 5.

The study, conducted by researchers at the Department of Public Health at Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences and the Harvard School of Public Health, compared census data from 1981 and 1996, which included information about smoking behavior, with mortality statistics over the following three years.

“The results from this study add to the weight of evidence of harm caused by passive smoking and support steps to reduce exposure to other people’s smoke — in the home and in other settings,” the researchers said.

The study’s findings are published in the online version of the British Medical Journal.

Source:Times of London reported April 5 2004.

Nationwide efforts to protect the public against the health effects of secondhand smoke have prompted college and university administrators to adopt more restrictive smoking policies. The implementation of smoke-free residence hall policies imposed little economic burden. Positive impacts were noted in several key areas, including decreased damage to residence hall buildings, increased student retention, and improved enforcement of marijuana policies.

To read the final report and case studies from this project, see the link below.
http://www2.edc.org/cchs/legacy/

Source: Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC);55 Chapel Street Newton, MA 02458-1060
Filed under: Nicotine :

A new study finds that tobacco companies are encouraging college students to start smoking by sponsoring parties and handing out free cigarettes, according to the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH).

For the HSPH College Alcohol Study (CAS), a random sample of 10,904 students enrolled in 119 of the country’s four-year colleges and universities were taken. Students at all but one college reported attending a tobacco-industry sponsored social event on or off campus in 2001. Free cigarettes were distributed at events held at bars, clubs, and on-campus college parties.

Nancy Rigotti, M.D., director of the Tobacco Research and Treatment Center of Massachusetts General Hospital, said the students who attended the tobacco promotions were more likely to be current smokers, and that the events appeared to encourage students to start smoking. Of the 78% of students who did not smoke regularly before age 19, the current smoking prevalence rate was 23.7% among those who had attended a promotional event, compared with 11.8% among those who had not.

“By distributing cigarettes and sponsoring these events in bars and on college campuses, the tobacco industry promotes the idea that cigarettes are an essential part of young adults’ social lives,” said Rigotti, who led the study.

Study author Henry Wechsler, Ph.D., director of the HSPH College Alcohol Study, added that, “These findings should serve as a wake-up call to college and university administrators. The evidence that these events may influence a non-smoking young person’s decision to start smoking is a good reason they should be alert to tobacco-industry sponsorship of these events and take appropriate action on their campuses.”

Source:American Journal of Public Health.January 2005
Filed under: Nicotine,Youth :

Youth smoking rates in the U.S. would be up to 14% lower today if states had followed federal recommendations on spending for tobacco prevention and cessation, researchers say.

Ascribe reported Jan. 25 that the study from Bridging the Gap, a policy research program at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), found strong evidence of a connection between state investments in prevention and the rates at which kids smoke.

“If states had spent just the minimum amount recommended by [the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], youth smoking nationally would have been between 3 and 14% lower than was observed during the 10-year period that we examined,” said UIC economist John Tauras, the study’s lead author. “Furthermore, with so many states now making big cuts in tobacco control as a way of dealing with budget shortfalls, what our study predicts is that a substantial decrease in funding will lead to a significant increase in adolescent smoking.”

Researchers compared tobacco consumption data from the annual Monitoring the Future survey to per-capita prevention spending by states. “State investments in tobacco control, even at current levels, are reducing youth smoking,” Tauras said. “What our study is saying is that if states would move closer to the CDC recommended amounts, they could have a much greater impact. Conversely, when we see estimates that states may be actually cutting some $90 million from tobacco-control efforts, then we need to understand that the cost will come in the form of more kids starting to smoke.”

The authors pointed out that the tobacco industry spends 14 times more marketing tobacco than states do to try to curb consumption. Only three states have spend the minimum amounts recommended by CDC for tobacco prevention. In 2005, states will receive nearly $20 billion from the 1998 nationwide tobacco settlement and cigarette taxes, but spend just $1.6 billion on tobacco control.

Source: American Journal of Public Health February 2005
Filed under: Nicotine,Youth :

A study from the United Kingdom finds that children of mothers who smoke have smaller lung volumes and are more at risk for serious lung disease later in life, Reuters reported Feb. 26.

The study by researchers at the University of Bristol and the University of Glasgow involved 2,000 men and women in their 30s, 40s, and 50s whose parents smoked and took part in a study in the 1970s.

After conducting respiratory tests, the researchers found that children of mothers who smoked had smaller lungs, regardless of whether they also smoked. In addition, these children were more at risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). If they themselves smoked, the risk was as high as 70%.

“Our results suggest that the effects of maternal smoking on lung size are permanent,” said Dr. Mark Upton, lead author of the study.

Children from households where the father smoked, but not the mother, showed poorer lung function, but not as great as those whose mothers smoked.

Source:Reuters reported Feb. 26.2004

A Canadian-led international study finds that the causes of a heart attack are the same for people throughout the world, with cigarette smoking one of the main risk factors, the “There hasn’t been a study like this ever in the world,” said lead investigator Dr. Salim Yusuf, head of the Population Health Research Institute at McMaster University in Hamilton. “The risk factors that we’ve been able to measure account for 90 percent or more of heart disease. The impact of these risk factors in developing heart disease is global. It’s there in every ethnic group, in men, in women, in every region of the world, in young and old. It means we should be able to prevent the majority of premature heart attacks in the world.”

The research concluded that cigarette smoking and a poor ratio of bad to good cholesterol contribute to two-thirds of all heart attacks worldwide.

The five-year study involved 30,000 people in 5A2 countries. About half of the participants had suffered a heart attack. They were compared to an equal number of people with no heart disease, matched for age, sex, and city of residence.

“So now we’ll say: What causes the risk factor, not what causes the disease. And from a public-health point of view, there should be no more wallowing about that we need more information. We’ve got it,” said Dr. Sonia Anand, a specialist in vascular medicine and a member of the McMaster research team.

The latest figures show that 15 million people died from heart attacks worldwide in 1998. “The important issue is that the risk factors outlined in this study, the vast majority of them are modifiable,” said Toronto cardiologist Anthony Graham, a spokesman for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. “And what it suggests is that tobacco control is going to be as important in the developing world as it is in the western world.”

The study’s findings are published in issue of the British medical journal 

Source:  The Lancet.  Sept. 11 2004
Reductions in state-sponsored anti-tobacco advertisements may provide short-term savings, but increased smoking and smoking-related diseases may result in long-term costs for states. Using national and state-based data sets, including Nielson media research, state tobacco control policy data, and Monitoring the Future surveys, to compile data for 51,085 students in grades 8, 10, and 12, a team of NIDA-funded researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago examined the relationship between tobacco-related beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors and exposure to state-sponsored, televised, anti-tobacco advertising.

Researchers found that students living in states with at least one televised, state-sponsored ad held greater anti-smoking attitudes and beliefs and were less likely to smoke than students who were not exposed to anti-tobacco ads.  In addition, higher Targeted Rating Points (TRPs)-a national rating system that estimates frequency and reach of advertising to 12 to 17 year olds-were associated with significantly greater odds of holding anti-smoking attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.

 


<>WHAT IT MEANS:  Televised, state-sponsored, anti-tobacco media campaigns positively influence anti-smoking attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors in U.S. youth, and may be an effective strategy for preventing and reducing smoking in youth.·

Source: Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine. July 2005 issue

Filed under: Nicotine,Youth :

New research suggests that people who smoke and drink heavily are more at risk for oral cancer, the Researchers from King’s College in London, England, found an increase in oral cancer among men and women in their 20s and 30s who smoke and binge drink.

The researchers said that when tobacco smoke combines with alcohol, it produces dangerous levels of cancer-causing chemicals that attack the lining of the mouth.

“Our data show that smoking, drinking and poor diet are major risk factors, and that the younger people start smoking and drinking, the higher the risk,” said Newell Johnson, a professor of oral pathology at King’s College

Source: Daily Telegraph, London reported Nov. 9.2004

Filed under: Alcohol,Health,Nicotine :

Tobacco companies designed so-called “light” and “slim” cigarettes to appeal to women’s desire to lose weight, and even considered adding appetite suppressants to cigarettes to make them more marketable, Reuters reported May 31.

A study of tobacco company documents by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found that cigarette makers spent a lot of time and energy determining what made smoking appeal to women. For example, industry researchers found that women were often torn between the desire to smoke and health worries such as what might happen to their family if they got sick. Other documents said that women smoked to deal with “neuroticism.”

“How unfortunate that the industry used these findings to exploit women and not help them,” wrote Jack Henningfield of Johns Hopkins University and colleagues, in a commentary that accompanied the study. “Cigarette designs and ingredients were manipulated in an effort to make cigarettes more palatable to women and to complement advertising allusions of smooth, healthy, weight-controlling, stress-reducing smoke.”

“These internal documents reveal that the tobacco industry’s targeting of women goes far beyond marketing and advertising,” said study author Carrie Murray Carpenter.

The study was published in the June 2005 issue of the journal Addiction

Source: Reuters May 31 2005
Filed under: Nicotine :

Researchers pondering the higher cancer rate among black smokers — who tend to smoke fewer cigarettes than whites — say that a preference for menthol cigarettes may be the cause, the New York Times reported Aug. 30.Researchers led by Carolyn C. Celebucki of the University of Rhode Island said that black smokers prefer menthol cigarettes by a ratio of two-to-one, the exact opposite of white smokers. The study also found that “light” or “ultralight” menthol cigarettes had far more menthol than other menthol cigarettes.

Previous studies have shown that menthol allows smokers to take longer and deeper drags on cigarettes, possibly raising cancer risk. “The way that people smoke, you keep pulling on the cigarette until you get your fix,” said study co-author Geoffrey Ferris Wayne of the Harvard School of Public Health.

Another new study fund that blacks who smoked menthol cigarettes had higher levels of cotinine, a nicotine byproduct, than other smokers.

 

Source: Nicotine & Tobacco Research. Aug. 1, 2005
Filed under: Nicotine :

Countering the notion that teen smokers are a stubborn, tough-to-reach population, a new study finds many do want to quit and will utilize Web sites designed to help them escape nicotine’s grip.

University of Rochester researcher Dr. Jonathan D. Klein and colleagues surveyed 418 teens in Monroe County, N.Y., before the launch of the teen-focused antismoking Web site, www.gottaquit.com. The researchers then surveyed 259 of these kids one year after that launch.

Twenty-five percent, or one in every four teen smokers polled in the second survey, said they had visited the site, compared with just 4 percent of the nonsmokers.

“This was a study to see whether the teens received the messages, to see who went to the Web site, and to see if they went for cessation information. We did not study whether they actually quit because of their use of the Web site,” Klein said. The study appears in the October issue of the journal Pediatrics.

“This was the first time the campaign was studied,” noted Klein, an associate professor of pediatrics at the university. “This was a local campaign funded by some of the [state] tobacco settlement money in New York.”

“Some local data had shown us that most adolescents — although addicted and saying they want to quit and have in fact tried to quit — don’t think about going to their physician or getting self-help,” he added.

When surveyed before the campaign, 15 % of the 418 teens who answered said they had smoked in the past 30 days. In the follow-up survey, 13.5 % of 259 teens said they had smoked in the past month.

Of this group, 90 % of the recent smokers in the first survey and nearly 94 % of those in the later survey said they considered themselves a smoker, and the majority – 87 % and 73 %, respectively – said that they wanted to quit.

Experts believe that getting teens to stop smoking early on is key to preventing them from becoming long-term adult smokers. About 80 % of adult smokers begin smoking before they reached age 18, experts say, and in this study the average age of first smoking was just 14. According to Klein, each day in the United States about 2,000 U.S. teens become established smokers.

The Gotta Quit site, designed to appeal to teens, is colorful and includes tips on how to quit, information on the dangers and other data.

Another expert, Thomas Valente, director of the Master of Public Health Program at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, in Los Angeles, said the study has some methodology flaws, with a lack of comparability between the first survey sample and the second.

But he emphasized that a Web site alone, while it may be valuable and attract teen smokers, won’t be enough to help them quit.

“It takes multiple methods and multiple media,” he said. “No one medium, whether a Web site, poster or workshop, is going to do it.”

“Parents [of teen smokers] should give support and there should be peer support,” he said. Teens who want to quit would do well, he said, to hang with kids who don’t smoke or who have quit.

Parents can also offer teen smokers non-health-related incentives to quit, Valente said. There’s the romantic angle, with studies suggesting smoking makes people less attractive to others. Alternatively, adding up the monetary costs of smoking over a lifetime can also discourage teens and motivate them, he said.

Jonathan D. Klein, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor, pediatrics, University of Rochester, Rochester, N.Y.; Thomas W. Valente, Ph.D, director, The Master of Public Health Program, department of preventive medicine, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles.  Reported in Pediatrics October 2005

More information To learn more, visit GottaQuit.com .

SOURCE: TUESDAY, Oct. 4 (HealthDay News)
Filed under: Nicotine,Youth :

Objective: To examine preschoolers’ attitudes, expectations, and perceptions of tobacco and alcohol use.

Design: Structured observational study. Children used props and dolls to act out a social evening for adults. As part of the role play, each child selected items from a miniature grocery store stocked with 73 different products, including beer, wine, and cigarettes, for an evening with friends.

Setting: A behavioral laboratory at the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Dartmouth College.

Patients: One hundred twenty children, 2 to 6 years old, participated individually in the role-playing. .

Main Outcome Measure: Whether or not a child purchased cigarettes or alcohol at the store.

Conclusions: The data suggest that observation of adult behavior, especially parental behavior, may influence preschool children to view smoking and drinking as appropriate or normative in social situations. These perceptions may relate to behaviors adopted later in life.”

“We postulate that positive expectations developed early in life that link tobacco and alcohol use with social settings may prompt individuals to smoke or drink when they are old enough to find themselves in similar social situations.”

“However, our study is the first to demonstrate that preschool children possess social cognitive scripts of adult social life in which the use of alcohol and tobacco play central roles. Children not only demonstrated their knowledge of alcohol and tobacco, but their behavior indicated that they have assimilated it as part of their understanding of how adults socialize.”

“Adults are often reluctant to introduce the topic of alcohol or tobacco to young children because they are afraid that it may be too suggestive. Others do not believe that children think about tobacco or alcohol at such a young age. However, the results of this study demonstrate that expectations regarding the use of cigarettes and alcohol. The data suggest that observation of adult behavior, especially parental behavior, may influence preschool children to view smoking and drinking as appropriate or normative in social situations.”

This research suggests an even more profound effect of parental behavioral on future choices of their children than earlier predicted

Source ARCH PEDIATR ADOLESC MED/VOL 159, SEP 2005: Madeline A. Dalton, PhD; Amy M. Bernhardt, MEd; Jennifer J. Gibson, MS; James D. Sargent, MD; Michael L. Beach, MD, PhD; Anna M. Adachi-Mejia, PhD; Linda T. Titus-Ernstoff, PhD; Todd F. Heatherton, PhD


Filed under: Alcohol,Nicotine,Youth :

Cigarette smokers know how hard it is to quit, and now it seems scientists understand why. New research coming out of the University of Pennsylvania has found that nicotine triggers the same brain pathways that give opiate drugs, like heroin, their addictively rewarding properties.

The study, led by Dr. Julie Blendy of the college’s Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center, looked into the effects of nicotine on mice, the relationship between nicotine and environment, and this particular reward pathway. Researchers also said their findings suggest more effective ways that opiate blockers can be used to help smokers curb their nicotine habits.

Nicotine’s hold on smokers is believed to be due to its effects on brain levels of dopamine, which is linked to feelings of happiness and comfort, the study reports. Researchers also observed that nicotine-addicted mice preferred to stay in the chamber where they had previously received a nicotine fix, reinforcing the belief that certain situations and environments can trigger a desire to light up.

The nicotine-addicted mice showed a rise in levels of a protein called CREB, which is linked to the brain’s response to many drugs. Levels rose not only when the mice were given nicotine, but also when they were in a place where they had been given nicotine in the past.

Mice given the drug Naloxone, which reverses the effects of heroin and other similar drugs, blocked both those responses, leading medical experts to explore the possibility of using opioid-blocking drugs to treat nicotine addiction. “Given the results reported here, clinical studies designed to evaluate administration of opioid antagonists just prior to cues associated with smoking could lead to a more promising treatment regimen,” the researchers wrote in their report.

The highly addictive nature of nicotine has made it difficult for millions of Americans to quit smoking, including a growing number of teens. More than 90 % of people age 10 to 22 who use tobacco daily have experienced at least one symptom of nicotine withdrawal when they tried to quit, the CDC reports, and approximately three-quarters of them say they smoke because “it’s really hard to quit.”   Among 12 – 18-year-old smokers, 64 % have tried to ditch the cigs, while 74 % have seriously thought about it. In a 1992 Gallup poll, 70 % of people 12 to 17 who smoke said they would never have started if they could choose again.

Recently, the tobacco industry has come under heavy fire from Congress, which is considering a bill that would ban the sale of flavored cigarettes, which some see as being targeted toward youths (see ‘Candy- Flavored Cigs Could Go The Way Of Joe Camel If Lawmakers Get Their Way’).

In June 2000, a judge ruled that R.J. Reynolds, the same company that introduced the world to cartoon character Joe Camel, must change its ad-placement policies and pay a $20 million penalty for breaching a 1998 settlement that prohibited ‘indirectly targeting’ teens with its ads.

In other advertising developments, popular magazines including Newsweek, Time, Sports Illustrated and People have agreed to eliminate tobacco ads from copies distributed to elementary, junior high and high schools, the New York Attorney General’s office announced Tuesday (June 21).

Meanwhile, the Department of Justice is currently suing six of the largest cigarette manufacturers for $10 billion (down from its original proposal of $130 billion) for decades of illegal and harmful practices, including concealing the health risks and addictive nature of its products. The government claims the companies should fork over the money to help 45 million Americans quit smoking.

Source: June 16 2005 issue of the scientific journal Neuron.


More than a third of America’s 46 million adult

Dr. Athina Markou and her colleagues used this experimental technique, known as intracranial self-stimulation, to assess animals’ discomfort from nicotine withdrawal and evaluate the role of mGluII receptors in withdrawal.

smokers try to stop each year, but fewer than 10 % succeed. Some relapse because they cannot tolerate the discomfort and craving associated with nicotine withdrawal. In recent animal studies, NIDA-supported scientists identified sites on some brain cells that appear to be key promoters of the negative psychological symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. The sites, called glutamate receptors, are part of the communication network that uses the neurotransmitter glutamate as a chemical messenger.

Neurobiologists have previously shown that glutamate helps produce the good feelings smoking causes. When nicotine attaches to receptors on cells in the brain’s ventral tegmental area (VTA), the cells release glutamate, which in turn triggers other VTA cells to release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that produces pleasure. Dr. Athina Markou of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in La Jolla, California, and colleagues reasoned that just as glutamate surges caused by nicotine give rise to smoking pleasure, glutamate depletion related to nicotine abstinence might underlie the displeasure of withdrawal. The researchers speculated that when nicotine is withdrawn after chronic use, the feedback system that restores glutamate to normal levels following surges could overshoot its mark, resulting in a glutamate dearth—and symptoms of depression and irritability.
To test this idea, Dr. Markou and Dr. Paul Kenny at TSRI, along with Dr. Fabrizio Gasparini of Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research in Basel, Switzerland, focused on a specific group of glutamate receptors called group II metabotropic glutamate (mGluII) receptors. These inhibitory receptors are key components of the glutamate feedback system: They detect high glutamate levels and signal glutamate-producing cells to reduce their activity to bring the levels back down. Inactivating the mGluII receptors interrupts this process, leaving glutamate levels high. The researchers hypothesized that if they inactivated rats’ mGluII receptors while subjecting the animals to nicotine withdrawal, the plunge in glutamate levels may be avoided, and the animals’ withdrawal symptoms attenuated.

The scientists implanted tiny pumps under the skin on the backs of adult male rats. The pumps dispensed a nicotine solution that maintained high nicotine levels equivalent to those produced in a human who smokes 30 cigarettes per day. After the rats had been exposed to nicotine for 7 days, the investigators removed the pumps, depriving the animals of nicotine and thus leading to nicotine withdrawal. Then, after 18 hours of withdrawal, half the rats were injected with a chemical that blocks the action of mGluII receptors, in effect switching off the inhibitory feedback signals to the glutamate-producing cells. Over the next 72 hours the scientists evaluated the rats at regular intervals using a technique, called intracranial self-stimulation (see “Asking a Rat, ‘How Do You Feel?'”), that measures withdrawal-like depression in laboratory animals. As the scientists had predicted, the rats with active mGluII receptors exhibited significant discomfort; the withdrawal discomfort rapidly dissipated in those in which mGluII receptors were turned off.

To help confirm the association between mGluII receptors and withdrawal-like symptoms, Dr. Markou’s team treated nicotine-dependent rats with a compound that stimulates the same receptors. In these animals, activation of the inhibitory glutamate loop triggered discomfort comparable with that in nicotine withdrawal.

“Other research has shown how nicotine changes

Rats that had been exposed to nicotine for 7 days showed discomfort 12 hours after withdrawal from nicotine. Rats that were injected, at 18 hours into withdrawal, with a compound that blocked mGluII receptors showed no increase in withdrawal-associated discomfort. (Discomfort measurement technique is described in “Asking a Rat, ‘How Do You Feel?'”). Untreated rats experienced increasing discomfort through 24 hours of withdrawal.

regulation of excitatory glutamate signalling,” Dr. Markou says. “Our study helps explain how nicotine also commandeers inhibitory glutamate circuits. The altered function of the mGluII receptors appears to mediate, at least partly, the depression like aspects of nicotine withdrawal.” The effect, she explains, is a carrot-and-stick influence strong enough to thwart the most sincere attempts to quit smoking. “Nicotine provides a positive effect through the excitatory circuits, making smoking a rewarding and reinforcing experience. Now we see that nicotine has a similarly powerful aversive effect through the inhibitory circuits, making withdrawal an unpleasant experience.”

The role of mGluII receptors in withdrawal suggests that these receptors might also offer a target for therapeutic intervention, Dr. Markou adds. “Easing the depression like aspects of withdrawal would significantly decrease discomfort and make it easier for people to maintain abstinence and resist the temptation to relapse to smoking.”

Source:Kenny P.J.; Gasparini, F.; and Markou, A. Group II metabotropic and alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionate (AMPA)/kainate glutamate receptors regulate the deficit in brain reward function associated with nicotine withdrawal in rats. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 306(3):1068- 1076, 2003. [Full Text]

Women trying to get pregnant may be less likely to succeed if they are exposed to secondhand smoke, according to a new study.

The Associated Press reported May 25 that a study of 225 women seeking fertility treatment found that smokers and nonsmokers who lived with a smoker were half as likely to get pregnant as nonsmokers who did not live with a smoker.

The study group included 39 smokers, who smoked an average of 11 cigarettes per day, as well as 40 smokers who lived with other smokers and 146 women who did not smoke and lived with nonsmokers.

“We found that embryo quality and fertilization rates were similar in the three groups, but there was a significant difference in the pregnancy rates per embryo transfer, with the nonsmokers achieving around 48 %, the smokers around 19% and the side-stream smokers 20%,” said lead author Michael Neal, who led a team of researchers from Canada’s McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences.

It was unknown, however, whether secondhand smoke hurt the chances of getting pregnant among women who don’t require interventions like in-vitro fertilization. Women with fertility problems may be particularly sensitive to secondhand smoke, researchers said.

Source:T The journal Human Reproduction. Reported by Associated Press May 2005

The rate of breast cancer among young female smokers is double the rate among nonsmokers, and nonsmokers who are exposed to tobacco smoke also are at elevated risk, according to Canadian researchers.

The Toronto Globe and Mail reported June 3 that premenopausal women who smoke are far more likely to get breast cancer, and that women exposed to tobacco smoke as children or adults had virtually the same risk as smokers — even if they themselves had never smoked.

“Essentially, we see a doubling of risk,” said researcher Kenneth Johnson of the Public Health Agency of Canada. About 20 % of breast-cancer cases occur in premenopausal women. Scientists speculate that the toxins in cigarette smoke affect estrogen levels, which could explain why both smokers and those exposed to secondhand smoke share a similar risk of getting breast cancer.

The study, a meta-analysis of previously published articles, was published in the.

Source: International Journal of Cancer June 2005
Smoking cigarettes cuts an average of 11 years off the life expectancy of women, compared to three years for men, according to a new study from the Netherlands.

Reuters reported Jan. 31 that the study by the research group CBS for the Dutch government concluded that lung-cancer cases among women have risen over the past few decades in step with an increase in female smoking. Further, Dutch women with lung cancer died, on average, at age 70, while their healthy peers had a life expectancy of 81.

Men had a life expectancy of 76, but lung-cancer victims lived an average of 73 years.

“Women who died from lung cancer were younger than men who died from the same cause. This means the harmful effects of smoking are more serious for women than for men,” the study concluded.

Source :Reuters reported Jan 31, Netherlands.

AMSTERDAM – Cigarette smoking is more harmful to women than to men, cutting more than a decade off female smokers’ life expectancy but much less for their male peers, Dutch government research suggested today.

Statistics agency CBS said a comparison of the numbers of Dutch who died of lung cancer in 2003 and smoking trends showed the habit cut a Dutch woman’s life expectancy by 11 years, versus three for a man.

“Women who died from lung cancer were younger than men who died from the same cause. This means the harmful effects of smoking are more serious for women than for men,” it said, but did not suggest a reason for the difference.

Cigarette smoking is believed to be one of the main causes of lung cancer as well as other cancers and lung diseases.

The CBS said a rise in lung cancer among Dutch women since the 1970s correlated with an increase in smoking by women.

On average, female lung cancer sufferers died at age 70 versus an average life expectancy for Dutch women of 81.

Male lung cancer sufferers lived to an age of 73 on average, compared with an average expectancy of 76 years for Dutch men.

The CBS said life expectancy for men in the Netherlands has increased by about five years since the 1970s as they have smoked less.

“The fall in cases of lung cancer among men can be attributed to their smoking habits,” it said. Source: Reuters News Service Jan. 31, 2005, 9:28AM

Source: Reuters News Service Jan. 31, 2005, 9:28AM
Hong Kong law requires graphic health warnings on cigarette packs, but antismoking advocates say Philip Morris is trying to obscure those warnings by marketing plastic sleeves that fit over cigarette packs, the Associated Press reported Nov. 6.

The reusable plastic sleeve features an image of the Marlboro Man playing a guitar; World Health Organization policy advisor Judith Mackay called the product a “cynical attempt” to “reintroduce some glamour back into the sale of cigarettes.”

“It’s absolutely against the spirit of the law, which is to do away with imagery that makes these packets more attractive to young people,” she said in comments that were echoed by Wan Wai-lee, executive director of the Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health.

A Hong Kong spokesperson for Philip Morris said the sleeves were not meant to be reused, adding: “It’s something that we do to offer our consumers more choice.”

Source: Associated Press Nov. 2005

Nicotine-replacement patches, gums, and inhalers may increase the risk of birth defects in early pregnancy, according to Spanish researchers.

Reuters reported Jan. 2 that study author Maria Morales-Suarez-Varela and colleagues from the University of Valencia found that female smokers who used nicotine-replacement therapies during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy experienced a higher rate of birth defects. In fact, nicotine patch, gum, and inhaler users were more likely to have children with birth defects than women who smoked during pregnancy, according to the study of 76,768 women.

Researchers speculated that the nicotine from patches and other anti-craving devices may be absorbed differently by the body, raising perinatal health risks.

Source: Morales-Suárez-Varela, M. M., et al. (2006) Smoking Habits, Nicotine Use, and Congenital Malformations. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 107: 51-57.
Filed under: Health,Nicotine :

Lighting up: the smoke from someone else’s cigarette may be more toxic than your own

A report in Tobacco Control (2005;14: 396-404[Abstract/Free Full Text]) describing the research conducted by Philip Morris Tobacco in the 1980s says: “The tobacco industry has vigorously challenged the link between secondhand smoke and lung cancer, including funding of research published in 2003 challenging the evidence linking secondhand smoke and lung cancer. However, while it publicly challenged the link, Philip Morris Co privately performed extensive in vivo toxicological testing of sidestream smoke at its secret Institut für Biologische Forschung (INBIFO) in Germany.” It found that inhaled fresh sidestream smoke, which makes up around 85% of secondhand smoke, is four times more toxic per gram of total particulate matter than inhaled mainstream smoke.

“The number, variety, and results of the fundamental toxicological experiments done by Philip Morris at INBIFO are without parallel in the open scientific literature. These studies were neither published nor revealed to the government in… hearings by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration.”

The authors say that although exposure to secondhand smoke causes lung cancer and 53 000 deaths a year in the United States, few data exist in the open literature on the toxicology of fresh sidestream smoke.

In the study the authors, from the University of California at San Francisco, analysed research they found among 40 million pages of tobacco industry documents that were made public as a result of litigation against tobacco companies.

They say that between 1981 and 1989 the German centre did at least 115 studies of sidestream smoke. The centre’s research showed that sidestream condensate caused two to six times more tumours per gram than mainstream condensate. The research also showed that inhaled fresh sidestream cigarette smoke is about four times more toxic per gram of total particulate matter than mainstream cigarette smoke.

Sidestream tar also caused two to six times more tumours per gram when painted on the skin of mice. Fresh sidestream smoke was found to inhibit normal weight gain in developing animals and, at low levels, to cause damage to the respiratory epithelium. Damage to the epithelium increased with longer exposure. The toxicity of whole sidestream smoke was found to be higher than the sum of the toxicities of its major constituents.

The authors say the research used full flavour cigarettes and may underestimate the toxicity of sidestream smoke from current cigarettes. They say evidence shows that sidestream smoke from filtered “light” cigarettes, which now constitute most of the market, is significantly more toxic than that from full flavour cigarettes.

Source: PAT SULLIVAN/AP/EMPICS. 17 December BMJ 2005;331:1425
Filed under: Health,Nicotine :

At least 188,000 fewer New Yorkers were smoking two years after the city banned indoor smoking and hiked cigarette taxes, according to the city health department.

An annual city survey found that 18.4 percent of adult New Yorkers smoked in 2004, down from 19.2 percent in 2003 and 21.6 percent in 2002.

The smoking tax hike took effect in 2002; the indoor-smoking ban went into place in 2003. In the decade prior to the laws, the city’s smoking rate had remained relatively unchanged.

The dropoff was especially pronounced among young women: smoking among females ages 18 to 24 fell 40.5 percent from 2002 to 2004.

The city also gives out free nicotine patches to those trying to quit.

Source: Associated Press June 9 2005
A new report says that a drop in state spending on youth tobacco prevention efforts in recent years corresponded with a leveling-off of youth smoking rates after previous declines.

HealthDay News reported Oct. 27 that states spent an increasing amount of money on TV antismoking campaigns between 1999 and 2002 — funded by the 1998 nationwide tobacco settlement — but spending fell 28 percent between 2002 and 2003 as states diverted the money to cover budget deficits. Researchers said the shift could be part of the reason why youth smoking declines leveled off between 2002 and 2004, after falling steadily since 1997.

“It does seem that the more [states] spend on tobacco-control programs, the greater the impact,” said David Nelson of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Office on Smoking and Health. “States need to support anti-tobacco activities. One of the key components is a media presence.”

“This is an inevitable result of the cuts to state tobacco-prevention programs that we’ve see over the last several years,” said Danny McGoldrick of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “States never did a good job of allocating their tobacco-settlement dollars and their tobacco tax dollars to programs to reduce tobacco use. They’ve done even a worse job in the past few years.”

McGoldrick said states could make a real difference if they spent even 10 percent of their tobacco-settlement funds on youth smoking prevention.

Source: The research appears in the Oct. 28, 2005 issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Brothers and sisters are more powerful role models than friends or parents when it comes to teenage drinking and smoking, research has shown.

Researchers from The University of Queensland and University of Washington have proved that tobacco and alcohol use by older siblings increases the odds of similar behaviour from younger siblings by three to five times.

University of Washington Sociologist Dr Abby Fagan studied the contributions and influence of parents, siblings and peers on teen drug use.

Dr Fagan used data from 1370 Brisbane teenagers, who’ve been part of one of the world’s longest running health studies — the Mater-University of Queensland Study of Pregnancy.

The teenagers were interviewed between 1995 and 1997 at 14 years old and were asked about how often they drank and smoked and also about their family relationships.

On average, 13 percent of younger siblings reported smoking and 36 percent reported drinking, but rates increased when older siblings also reported substance use.

About 10 percent of younger siblings with non-smoking older siblings used tobacco, compared to 40 percent of those whose older siblings smoked.

Likewise, younger sibling alcohol use increased from 25 to 53 percent when older siblings reported drinking.

“The results underscore the need to include siblings, or at least address issues relating to sibling relationships and influences, in prevention efforts,” Dr Fagan wrote in her study, published in the latest American Journal of Drug Issues.

“Currently, most tobacco and alcohol prevention programs target individuals for change or are aimed at improving parent-child communication and interactions.

“If siblings are more powerful role models than parents, however, sibling and their potential influences on each other should be a primary focus of intervention.”

Maternal depression also had a significant effect on adolescent substance use.

Dr Fagan’s paper was co-written with UQ’s Mater Study founder, Professor Jake Najman.

The Mater Study was started in 1981 as a health and social study of 7223 pregnant women.

Dr Fagan is a former UQ researcher who recently finished a two-year fellowship with UQ’s School of Social Science.

Source: Professor Najman Research Australia www.researchaustralia.com.au 14.1.2006
Filed under: Alcohol,Nicotine,Youth :

Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure costs nearly $10 billion per year, according to a recent economic analysis of the costs of excess medical care, mortality, and morbidity related to ETS exposure in the United States. Slightly more than one-half (54%; $5.2 billion) of these costs stem from cardiovascular effects, such as coronary heart disease, while nearly one-third (32%; 3.1 billion) are incurred from respiratory problems, such as asthma and chronic pulmonary disease. The authors note that “while the effects of ETS are subtle in comparison to active smoking, the number of people exposed is so large that the costs are substantial” (p. 2). They also express concern that “young children of smoking mothers continue to be exposed at a higher level than any other group of nonsmokers, and the reductions in exposure for this segment of the population are small” (p. 26).

NOTE: ETS is defined as the exposure of a nonsmoker to the combustion products of cigarettes and other tobacco products.

SOURCE: Adapted by CESAR from Behan DF, Eriksen MP, Lin Y. Economic Effects of Environmental Tobacco Smoke, Society of Actuaries, 2005. Available online at http://www.soa.org/ccm/content/areas-of-practice/life-insurance/research/economic-effects-of-environmental-tobacco-smoke-SOA.
Among young adolescents, aggression is linked to a likelihood of experimenting with cigarettes or marijuana for the first time, while impulsivity confers a greater risk of trying alcohol, a new study shows.

However, the researchers found no association between attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and substance-use initiation.

Dr. Monique Ernst of the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland and her colleagues sought to determine whether a psychiatric diagnosis like ADHD or behavioral measures such as level of aggression or impulsivity might influence the risk that a child would try pot, cigarettes or alcohol for the first time. They followed 78 12-14-year old boys and girls, 50 of whom had been diagnosed with ADHD.

Four years after the study had begun, 37 of the participants had not tried substances, 41 had tried at least one, and 29 had experimented with more than one. Just three cases could be defined as substance abuse, as opposed to substance use.

Kids who used tobacco were more aggressive and hyperactive and had more trouble with attention and learning than nonsmokers, the researchers report in the medical journal Pediatrics. Statistical analysis found that a child’s level of aggressiveness was independently tied to tobacco use. Aggression also independently predicted marijuana use.

The only characteristic associated with trying alcohol was impulsivity. This suggests, the investigators note, that there may be different biological factors that make a person vulnerable to starting to use a particular substance.

The researchers also found that aggressive teens were more likely to use substances heavily and to try more substances.

However, Ernst and her colleagues found that children with ADHD, ADHD plus conduct disorder, depression or anxiety were no more likely to try substances than their peers without a psychiatric diagnosis. The team suggests that it may make more sense to identify at-risk teens by looking at the severity of certain behavioral symptoms, rather than any particular psychiatric diagnosis.

“Substance-use initiation confers vulnerability for later substance abuse, and a better understanding of its behavioral predictors can help to shape preventive measures at both the individual and societal levels,” they conclude.

SOURCE: Pediatrics, June 2006.
Exposure to all kinds of tobacco, such as smoking it, chewing it and bubble pipes significantly raise a person’s chances of having a heart attack, say researchers from McMaster University, Ontario, Canada.

There are about 1.3 billion smokers in the world – more than four fifths of them live in developing countries. You can read about this study in the medical journal The Lancet.

This study, of 27,000 people in 52 countries, looked beyond just the harmful effects of simply smoking tobacco. It looked various ways of consuming tobacco, from smoking, chewing, second-hand smoke, to smoking it through a water pipe. They compared 12,400 patients who had had a heart attack to 14,000 who were healthy (never had a heart attack or cardiovascular disease).

The researchers found that:

— Smoking tobacco triples your heart attack risk

— Smoking just 8 cigarettes a day doubles your heart attack risk

— Chewing tobacco doubles your heart attack risk

— Light smokers (less than 10 cigarettes per day) who give up return to normal non-smoking risk of heart attack after 3 to 5 years

— Heavier smokers (more than 20 cigarettes per day) who give up have a 22% higher heart attack risk 20 years after they quit

— 22 hours per week exposure to second-hand smoke (passive smoking) raises heart attack risk by 45%

Study leader, Professor Salim Yusuf, said “Since the risks of heart attack associated with smoking dissipate substantially after smoking cessation, public health efforts to prevent people from starting the habit and promote quitting in current smokers, will have a large impact in the prevention of heart attacks worldwide.”

Even though heavy smokers may still have remnants of heart attack risk after many years, their risk drops massively as soon as they quit, say the researchers.

The researchers concluded that any form of tobacco consumption contributes significantly to acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) risk. All forms of tobacco use should be discouraged.

Tobacco use and risk of myocardial infarction in 52 countries in the INTERHEART study: a case-control study Prof Koon K Teo MB , Stephanie Ounpuu PhD, Steven Hawken MSc, MR Pandey MB, Vicent Valentin MD, David Hunt MD, Rafael Diaz MD, Wafa Rashed MD, Rosario Freeman MD, Lixin Jiang MD, Xiaofei Zhang MD and Prof Salim Yusuf DPhil on behalf of the INTERHEART Study Investigators

 

Source: medicalnews today 31st August 2006
Filed under: Health,Nicotine :
It takes smoking at least two-and-a-half cigarettes to fill up all of the brain’s nicotine receptors and make smokers feel satiated, and the feeling of satisfaction soon wears off, researchers say.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported Aug. 7 that researchers using brain-imaging techniques were able to show that while it takes just a single puff of a cigarette to fill 30 percent of the nicotine receptors in the brain, and three puffs to fill 70 percent, filling all the receptors takes longer.

Experts said the study, conducted by researchers at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA using PET scans, indicates that even just a few puffs on a cigarette can be reinforcing enough to drive the urge to continue smoking.

“Although many smokers endorse a desire to quit, very few are able to do so on their own, and fewer than half are able to quit long-term even with comprehensive treatment,” said NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow. “This study helps explain why … The central findings of the study suggest that typical daily smokers need to have these nicotine receptors almost completely saturated throughout the day, which drives the almost uncontrollable urge to keep smoking.”

“Imaging studies such as this can add immensely to our understanding of addiction and drug abuse,” added Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., director of the National Institutes of Health. “These findings suggest that drug therapies or vaccines for smoking cessation need to be extremely potent to compete with nicotine, which binds so readily to these receptors.”

Reference: Brody, AL, et al. (2006) Cigarette Smoking Saturates Brain Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 63(8): 907-914.

Source: Archives of General Psychiatry. August 2006

Study: Preventing Youths From Smoking Even Once May Be VitalMay 25, 2006 (WebMD) A new study shows that 11-year-olds who smoke just one cigarette are more likely to become regular smokers by the time they’re 14 years old.

 

“It may be that preventing children from trying even one cigarette is an important goal, and prevention efforts could usefully be focused at the earliest ages,” write University College London’s Jennifer Fidler, Ph.D., and colleagues.

Fidler’s team also writes that one-time smoking may have a “sleeper effect,” or a period in which youths who have smoked one cigarette may be particularly vulnerable to becoming regular smokers.

The study comes on the heels of a CDC report showing that, worldwide, nearly two in 10 students aged 15-17 years report currently using a tobacco product (9 percent are cigarette smokers; 11 percent use other tobacco products). Those figures are published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Young Novice Smokers

Fidler and colleagues studied more than 5,800 students from 36 London schools.

The study started when the students were 11 years old and ended when they were 16. The group was diverse in terms of ethnicity and income.

Every year, the students completed surveys about whether they had ever smoked and, if so, how often they smoked. They also provided saliva samples that were tested for cotinine, a chemical marker of nicotine.

The students didn’t have to participate in any of those tests. About a third had complete data for all five years; Fidler’s team focused on those 2,041 students.

When those students were 11 years old, 206 reported having smoked just one cigarette. They were twice as likely to start smoking regularly by age 14 than their peers who reported never smoking cigarettes at age 11.

‘Sleeper’ Effect

“Our results show that progression from experimenting with one cigarette (being a ‘one-time trier’) to current smoking can take up to three years,” write Fidler and colleagues.

“However, we have also shown that, between trying an early cigarette and regular smoking uptake, there may be a protracted period of dormancy when no reported smoking occurs,” they continue.

The researchers suggest that that dormancy “may be termed a ‘sleeper effect,’ a personal propensity or vulnerability to smoke that may not become manifest without additional triggers.”

The reason for that effect isn’t clear, note Fidler and colleagues. They suggest three possible explanations:

• One cigarette may set the stage, biologically, for vulnerability to smoking.

• Smoking a first cigarette may break down social barriers to smoking.

• Personality traits, in certain situations, may nudge one-time smokers towards regular smoking.

Study’s Limits

The researchers note some limits to their study.

• Only adolescents took part, so the data doesn’t show if the findings apply to adults.

• The students may not have reported their smoking habits accurately. However, Fidler’s team notes that previous studies have shown that adolescents are generally reliable in reporting their smoking habits.

• Fidler’s team also isn’t sure that the findings apply to other groups of students, though they point out that their group was socially and ethnically diverse.

• Finally, the study doesn’t look at younger kids. It’s possible that the “sleeper” period might start earlier than age 11.

Further studies of younger children and young adults would help clarify how some youths progress from one-time smokers to regular smokers, note Fidler and colleagues.

SOURCES: Fidler, J. Tobacco Control; June 2006, Vol. 15: pp. 205-209. CDC, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, May 26, 2006; Vol. 55: pp. 553-556. News release, BMJ Specialist Journals. News release, CDC.

Smoking damages the body’s ability to break down and renew skin, say researchers at Nagoya City University Medical School in Japan. They found that, when skin is exposed to smoke collagen breaks down 40 per cent more rapidly and believe that this, combined with a lack of new collagen to replace it, is the main cause of early wrinkles and a sallow complexion. However, a reformed smoker’s skin will improve within a few weeks of quitting, due to the improved oxygen Levels in the body.

Source: Here’s Health March 2001

A plant-derived medication that has been used to treat tobacco dependence in Eastern Europe for 40 years may be effective for smoking cessation, but it remains largely unnoticed in English-language literature, according to a review article in the same issue.

Cytisine is an alkaloid found in a plant known as the golden rain tree, or Cytisus laburnum. It has been used for decades as a smoking cessation drug in Eastern European countries, according to background information in the article.

Jean-Francois Etter, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the University of Geneva, Switzerland, reviewed the literature on the effect of cytisine on smoking cessation. Ten studies were found, and all were conducted in Bulgaria, Germany, Poland and Russia between 1967 and 2005.

“Research conducted during the past 40 years suggests that cytisine is effective for smoking cessation,” Dr. Etter reports. “Thus, an apparently effective smoking cessation drug that has been used for decades in Germany and Eastern European countries remained unnoticed in other countries.”

Most of the articles reviewed by Dr. Etter were never cited in English-language literature. Recent reviews of the efficacy of smoking cessation drugs omitted cytisine, and little research on the drug has been conducted in recent years.

Dr. Etter suggests the omission may be explained because studies on the efficacy of cytisine were not published in English and because the available research is based on studies that do not conform to current standards in conducting and reporting drug trials.

“An apparently effective treatment for the first avoidable cause of death in developed countries remained largely unnoticed, despite research published during the past 40 years,” he concludes. “How many other effective drugs are there for which efficacy remained unnoticed because existing trials were not published in English in Western countries?” (Arch Intern Med. 2006;166:1553-1559. Available pre-embargo to the media at http://www.jamamedia.org.)

Source http://www.jamamedia.org. Aug. 2006
New research shows that men who smoke and have high blood pressure are 26 times more likely to be impotent than non-smokers, HealthScout reported May 21.

Furthermore, the research by Dr. John Spangler of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center showed that quitting makes only a small difference. Former smokers with hypertension were still 11 times more likely to be impotent than non-smokers.

“Everybody knows that smoking is a contributory factor to impotence, but it’s not really known how much. It’s nice to have a number when you’re a physician seeing a patient,” said Spangler.

Spangler explained that smoking causes clogging of the arteries in the pelvis area, which reduces the flow of blood to the genitals. In addition, chemicals in tobacco may also affect the body’s regulation of the male hormone testosterone.

Source: Annual conference of the American Society of Hypertension in San Francisco May 2001

The recent death of Dana Reeve has focused attention on a disturbing trend: young nonsmoking women dying of lung cancer.The Indy Channel reported March 7 that Indiana University School of Medicine oncologist Larry Einhorn said that such cases were almost nonexistent 30 years ago, but more common today. He said that secondhand smoke may be a factor.

“The same amount of tobacco exposure is more likely to lead to the changes that cause lung cancer in a woman than the male counterpart who gets the same secondhand exposure. Now, why that is, no one knows,” Einhorn said. “It’s sometimes too easy to say that this could be due to secondhand smoke. Probably some of the cases are due to secondhand smoke, but I would guess that the majority of them are unknown as to why these young healthy women like Dana Reeve develop this terrible disease and then succumb to lung cancer.”

About 15,000 nonsmoking women die of lung cancer annually. Reeve, 44, the widow of actor Christopher Reeve, died earlier this week.

CBS-2 in Chicago noted that lung cancer among female smokers also is on the rise. “More women die annually from lung cancer than breast and ovarian cancer combined,” said Dr. Jyoti Patel of Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Cancer experts say that genetics or hormones may also play a role in female susceptibility to the disease.

 

Source: Indy Channel March 7th 2006
Filed under: Health,Nicotine :

A drug recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as an aid to smoking cessation appears effective both short and long-term for smokers trying to quit, according to two reports in the August 14/28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States and worldwide. Currently available pharmacotherapies for smoking cessation include nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) – such as gum, skin patches, tablets, nasal spray and inhalers – and the antidepressant drugs bupropion hydrochloride and nortriptyline hydrochloride. These have shown limited success rates, with success at one year averaging approximately seven percent to 30 percent, according to background information in the articles.

The new drug varenicline tartrate mimics the effects of nicotine to help offset cravings, and in the presence of nicotine it helps suppress some of the reinforcing effects of smoking.

Mitchell Nides, Ph.D., of Los Angeles Clinical Trials, and colleagues with the Varenicline Study Group conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the efficacy, tolerability and safety of varenicline for smoking cessation. Healthy smokers aged 18 to 65 years were randomly assigned to receive varenicline in a dosage of .3 milligrams once daily, 1 milligram once daily, or 1 milligram twice daily for six weeks, plus placebo for one week; to 150 milligrams of sustained-release bupropion hydrochloride twice daily for seven weeks; or to placebo for seven weeks.

The authors report that varenicline, in combination with brief behavioral counseling, was more effective for short and long-term smoking cessation than placebo.

“Efficacy improved as the dose increased, with varenicline tartrate, 1 milligram twice daily, providing the highest rates of continuous abstinence across all treatment groups, including bupropion,” they write. Four-week continuous quit rates were 48 percent for varenicline, 1 milligram twice daily; 37.3 percent for varenicline, 1 milligram daily; 33.3 percent for bupropion hydrochloride; and 17.1 percent for placebo. Long-term quit rates from four weeks to one year were 14.4 percent for the group that received varenicline, 1 milligram twice daily, vs. 4.9 percent for placebo.

“In this study, varenicline tartrate, 1 milligram twice daily, effectively helped subjects quit smoking, with response rates three times higher than those for placebo while demonstrating a good tolerability profile in this population of smokers who on average had smoked approximately 20 cigarettes per day for approximately 24 years,” the authors write. “Efficacy was maintained in the non–drug treatment phase through week 52. The significant reductions in craving and in some of the rewarding effects of smoking seen with varenicline tartrate, 1 milligram twice daily, may assist in promoting abstinence and preventing relapse,” they conclude

In an accompanying article, the same research team reports that varenicline taken over 12 weeks was effective in helping smokers quit, and was generally well tolerated.

Cheryl Oncken, M.D., of the University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, and colleagues studied 647 patients to evaluate the efficacy, safety and tolerability of four varenicline dose regimens–two with titrated, or progressive, dosing over the first week, and two with a non-titrated, or fixed, dosing schedule, for promoting smoking cessation. Healthy smokers aged 18 to 65 years randomly received varenicline, .5 milligrams twice daily non-titrated, .5 milligrams twice daily titrated, 1 milligram twice daily non-titrated, 1 milligram twice daily titrated or placebo for 12 weeks, then with a 40-week follow-up period to assess long-term efficacy.

“In this study, treatment with varenicline tartrate at doses of .5 milligrams and 1 milligram twice daily, was associated with significantly higher smoking cessation rates compared with placebo,” the authors report. At weeks nine to 52, the abstinence rates were 22.4 percent in the 1-milligram group, 18.5 percent in the .5-milligram group and 3.9 percent in the placebo group.

Among those who were treated with varenicline, 16 percent to 42 percent experienced nausea. Reports of nausea were lower among those who received progressive dosing.

“In summary, varenicline tartrate (.5-milligram and 1-milligram doses taken twice daily for 12 weeks) significantly improved short- and long-term abstinence rates compared with placebo,” the authors conclude. “Future studies are warranted to compare the efficacy of varenicline to other smoking cessation pharmacotherapies and to determine whether a longer duration of medication treatment improves smoking cessation rates.”

The results of the studies by the Varenicline Study Group demonstrate that varenicline is a novel medication to aid in smoking cessation, writes Bankole A. Johnson, D.Sc., M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, in an accompanying editorial. Dr. Johnson also summarizes other approaches to treating nicotine addiction now in development, including medications and a vaccine. “In sum, pharmacological and immunological studies are opening up new vistas for safe, efficacious and potent treatments for nicotine dependence,” he writes. “Molecular genetic studies also are investigating how to identify those individuals vulnerable to becoming nicotine dependent and, once they are dependent, the treatments that might work best for them. All these advances will deliver real aid to craving.

Source: Arch Intern Med. 2006;166:1571-1577 http://www.jamamedia.org. Aug. 2006
A Scottish ban on smoking in public places has been hailed as a success after the first survey of its effects revealed a more than 99 per cent rate of compliance.

Of the 15,540 pubs, hotels, bars and restaurants inspected by councils, 99.4 per cent were complying with the ban.

Since the bill came into force in March, just three fixed penalty notices have been issued to premises that have broken it.

“A smoke-free Scotland is looking forward to a healthier future,” said Scottish health minister Andy Kerr.

“A future where Scots live longer, families stay together longer and our young people are fitter and better prepared to make the most of their ambitions.

“It is a future that we can all look forward to and Scotland should be proud that it’s leading the way in the UK.”

Almost three quarters of people interviewed said that they believed that the ban was successful.

The results follow a Cancer Research UK study which revealed that 24 per cent of people said that they were more likely to go out to smoke-free bars and restaurants.

A further 45 per cent said that they would be going out the same amount as before the ban and just ten per cent said that they would be going out less.

A similar ban is to be introduced in the UK next year and Wales is considering opting-in to the legislation.

Source: Cancer Research UK News Archive online June 2006
Smoking may make the task of recovering from alcohol addiction more difficult, researchers say.

Fox News reported March 17 that a study found that smoking appears to slow down improvements in brain function and health in recovering alcoholics.

Researchers used MRIs to scan the brains of 25 alcoholics, including 14 smokers. They found that brain function and health improved substantially after a month of abstinence, but less so among smokers.

“This study suggests that for better brain recovery, it may be beneficial for alcoholics in early abstinence to stop smoking as well,” said lead researcher Dieter Meyerhoff of the University of California at San Francisco. “This may be a lot to ask from an alcoholic individual going through drastic brain-chemical imbalances in early recovery. But it may lead to faster brain recovery.”

Source: The research appears in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research .March 20, 2006
Filed under: Alcohol,Nicotine :
Children of fathers who smoke may be at higher risk of developing childhood leukemia, even when fathers quit smoking prior to conception, Reuters reported June 28.

A study led by University of California researchers found that paternal smoking appeared to raise the risk of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in children, and might also be linked to an elevated risk of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Maternal smoking, on the other hand, did not seem to be related to leukemia risk among children.

Researcher Jeffrey S. Chang and colleagues noted that the findings on AML were based on a small group of research subjects, but said the study could provide an incentive for men to quit smoking.

Source: American Journal of Epidemiology .June 2006

In a study conducted in Liverpool and Manchester in 1992, 33% of 14-15 yr. olds in North West England had tried drugs – 59% had been offered drugs.

(Source: Alcohol Education and Research Council 1993)

In rural East Sussex, a study of 2,000 children showed that 25% of the boys and 17% of the girls had tried drugs by the age of 15 years.

(Source: East Sussex Health Authority, the Home Office 1993)

In England and Wales over 50% of the 45,000 people in prison are addicted to drugs.

(Source: Addictive Diseases Trust, 1994)

In the UK, 450 children start smoking every day.

(Source: Smoking and the Young , Royal College of Physicians 1992)

Between 9,000 and 13,000 practising doctors may be addicted to drugs and/or alcohol

(Source: Health & Fitness. March 1997)

The total cost to the National Health Service (GP consultations, outpatients visits, inpatient visits, prescriptions) for smokers is £6l0 million plus, per annum. Prescriptions alone account for £1 million per week.

(Source: The Smoking Epidemic: A Prescription for Change. Health Education Council /993)

A drug that Duke University Medical Center researchers have successfully used to help some people quit smoking may also help curb cocaine cravings, according to studies conducted in rats.

The drug mecamylamine, used in combination with nicotine to help reduce the urge to smoke cigarettes, has now been shown in animal studies to reduce their self-administration of cocaine.  Rats that were trained to press a lever in order to get cocaine no longer pressed it with the same frequency after they were given mecamylamine, said Edward Levin, lead author of the study.  When injected with mecamylamine, the mice infused cocaine 11 times per hour, versus 19 times per hour when they received a placebo injection of saline – a reduction of more than 40 percent.  “It’s always very exciting when a drug used for one addiction has implications for a broader range of addictive drugs,” said Levin, whose study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.  Mecamylamine is an older medication originally used to treat high blood pressure.  Researchers now know it blocks some of nicotine’s ability, and potentially that of other drugs, to generate feelings of pleasure in the brain.  Levin said it works by occupying specific sites, called “nicotinic receptors,” on nerve cells where nicotine would normally act.  When mecamylamine blocks these receptors, nicotine can no longer exert its full action, that of stimulating the release of dopamine.  Dopamine is the primary brain chemical involved in generating pleasure.  Drugs like nicotine, alcohol and cocaine all increase available amounts of dopamine and thereby increase the pleasure sensation, said Jed Rose, chief of the Nicotine Research Program at Duke and study co-author.  Eventually, the brain may prefer the drug over natural rewards like food or sex, and hence, the person can become addicted.  Mecamylamine blocks the action of nicotine, and potentially cocaine, by lowering the net amount of dopamine available in the brain.  While cocaine still boosts available levels of dopamine, its overall amount is decreased because mecamylamine has plugged up some of the nicotinic receptor sites where the brain would naturally be activating its own dopamine.  “In other words, the brain has its own chemical, acetylcholine, that stimulates the release of dopamine.  Mecamylamine comes along and occupies some of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor sites and prevents them from activating dopamine,” Rose said.  “So the net effect is that less dopamine is being produced, even when cocaine comes along and boosts dopamine levels through a different pathway.”  Rose said the person still desires nicotine or cocaine, but the desire is weakened because the brain is no longer being flooded with dopamine.  “Mecamylamine reduces desire, but it doesn’t quench it,” he said.  “Yet given how few medications there are to combat serious addictions, even a medication that reduces craving can be of significant benefit.”  Already, mecamylamine has proven to be of significant benefit in helping people quit smoking.

In earlier Duke studies, Rose demonstrated that using a patch with nicotine and mecamylamine together helped 40 percent of smokers quit for at feast one year, while only 15 percent of smokers were able to do so using the patch alone.  The researchers expect mecamylamine to be approved for smoking cessation sometime this year.

Rose et al. International Behavioural Neuro Science Society, April, 2000.

New research from Sapparo, Japan, suggests that youngsters who smoke, suffer significant damage to their hearts and blood vessels at a  much earlier age than had previously been thought; even though they appeared healthy on standard cardiac diagnostic tests.
                                                                                                                                                 Source:  The Times, 18 June 2002

Researchers examined the relationship between self-esteem and smoking behavior among Japanese elementary and junior high school students.  Students (2090) in fourth to ninth grade from three elementary schools and two junior high schools in the Hyogo and Nigata prefectures completed an anonymous questionnaire.  Self-esteem was measured using the Harter Perceived Competence Scale, the Pope Self-Esteem Scale, and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale.  Results indicate that never-smokers had higher cognitive, family and global self-esteem, but lower physical self-esteem than ever-smokers.  Grade and gender were significantly associated with self-esteem, showing a decrease of self-esteem with increases in grade and a higher level of self-esteem among boys than girls.  The results suggest that effective smoking prevention programs for Japanese early adolescents should be integrated into more comprehensive health education or health promotion programs including self-esteem enhancement training.
                                                                        ‘Relationship Between Self-Esteem and Smoking Behavior Among Japanese early Adolescents:
                                                                 Initial Results from a Three-Year Study,” Journal of School Health Source Id: 69(7).280-284, 1999
                                                                                                    Authors: Kawabata, T., Cross, D., Nishioka, N., Shimai, S. 16 Nov. 1999
 

Filed under: Nicotine,Youth :

ATLANTA (AP) – Smoking among high school students in the USA dropped in 1999 for the first time since the government began keeping track at the start of the decade.  But nearly one in 10 children are already smoking cigarettes in middle school.
A nationwide survey of 7,529 high schoolers in September and October found that 28.4% reported using tobacco products in the preceding month.
In 1997, 36.4% of students said they had smoked in the preceding month.  At the time, teen smoking was on the rise, from 34.8% in 1995 and 27.5% in 1991, the first year the CDC started keeping track.
The drop in smoking rates had been expected because tobacco companies raised cigarette prices about 45 cents a pack last year to help pay for the $206 billion national settlement.
As part of the settlement, billboard ads for cigarettes were banned and the tobacco industry was barred from running advertisements with cartoon characters such as Joe Camel that anti-smoking activists say are aimed at youngsters.  In many places, cigarette billboards have been replaced by signs with anti-smoking messages.
For the first time ever, the CDC also surveyed middle school students about smoking, questioning about as many middle-schoolers as high school students.
9% of the students in grades six through eight said they had smoked cigarettes.  Nearly 13% said they had used some tobacco product – including chewing tobacco, pipes and cigars.
The study also found that the wide gap in smoking rates between white and black high school students does not exist among middle-schoolers.
The proportion of  blacks smoking in high school was nearly 16% – half the percentage of white smokers.  But in middle school, both racial groups were about 9%.
Though it is too soon to tell, this could signal the end of a 25-year trend in which blacks started smoking later than whites.
                                                                                                            Report of Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 28 Jan. 2000

Filed under: Nicotine,Youth :

Some brands of cigarette are likely to be far more habit-forming than others because of the amount of highly addictive “freebase” nicotine they produce. Scientists have found wide differences between different cigarette brands in the amount of freebase nicotine. which is quickly absorbed Through the lungs and carried in the bloodstream to the brain. Just as smoking ‘crack” causes vapourised cocaine to reach the brain within seconds, freebase nicotine also has an almost instantaneous effect on the central nervous system, making addiction more likely.

The researchers, from the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, compared Ii cigarette brands available in the US and found that some contained between I and 20 times higher levels of freebase nicotine than expected. Brands were compared with a laboratory “reference’ cigarette containing I per cent freebase nicotine. The results ranged from 1 per cent or 2 per cent to 36 per cent for a speciality brand called American Spirit. The popular Marlboro brand contained up to 9.6 per cent freebase nicotine. Other well-known brands included Camel (2.7 per cent), Winston (5 to 6.2 per cent) and Gauloises Blondes (5.7 to 7 per cent).

Professor James Pankow who led the study reported in the journal Chemical Research in
Toxicology, said: “During smoking, only the freebase form can [ from a particle into the air in the respiratory tract. Gaseous nicotine is known to deposit super-quickly in the lungs. From there, its transported rapidly to the brain. “Since scientists have shown that a drug becomes more addictive when it is delivered to the brain more rapidly, freebase nicotine levels in cigarette smoke are thus at the heart of the controversy regarding the tobacco industry’s use of additives such as ammonia and urea.” A 1997 study led by Professor Pankow linked ammonia additives in tobacco with increased freebase nicotine levels in cigarettes. Separate measurements were made of the first three puffs and about eight subsequent puffs. In many cases, the freebase content was higher in the first puffs. Marlboro, for instance, had a freebase nicotine level of 9.6 per cent in the first three puffs and 2.7 per cent in later puffs.
Source: Author James Pankow Reported in Chemical research in Toxicology, 2003

Filed under: Addiction,Nicotine :

Teen Smoking

Teenage tobacco users are 14 times more likely to use marijuana than their nonsmoking peers, according to a new report from the American Legacy Foundation and the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse.WCBV-TV reported Sept. 16 that the study of 2,000 teens ages 12 to 17 found that 84 percent of pot smokers were regular users of tobacco.Researchers concluded that cutting teen smoking in half could cut pot use by 16 to 28 percent.

Experts also warned parents to be on the lookout for marijuana use if their kids are already smoking tobacco.
 

                                                                                         Source:Report from the American Legacy Foundation and the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. Reported on WCBV-TV Sept 16th 2003
Filed under: Nicotine,Youth :

People who smoke heavily seem to suffer memory loss in middle age according to a new study from Great Britain. Researchers found that people in their 50s who smoked more than 20 cigarettes a day had poorer verbal- memory and visual-speed skills. Researchers said the participants were too young to determine whether the declines would lead to serious cognitive problems in old age. But smoking has been identified as a risk factor for dementia because it restricts blood flow in the brain and raises the risk of narrowed arteries and mini-strokes. The researchers plan to continue to measure the memory skills of this group as they get older.
Source: Richards, M., Jarvis, M., et al American Journal of Public Health June 2003

Two 11-year-olds in every classroom are using drugs, according to official figures which show a rise’ in cocaine use among school leavers. Amid controversy about David Blunkett’s drugs strategy, data published by the Government’s statistical service showed that six per cent of 11-year-olds used drugs during 2001. The figure rose to 39 per cent among 15-year-olds, while a fifth of 11- to 15-year-olds in England used drugs in 2001 Cannabis was the most frequent drug used, with 13 per cent of 11- to 15-year-olds smoking.
Peter Walker, adviser on drugs to the National Association of Head teachers, said, You show me a head teacher that says they haven’t got a drug problem and I will show you a liar. I mean infant schools, primary schools and secondary schools.
Source: Daily Telegraph, Womack, July 2002

Youngsters who smoke cigarettes are more likely to use marijuana than those who don’t smoke, according to a study released Tuesday. The report by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University and the American Legacy Foundation said young cigarette smokers are 14 times more likely to try pot. Eighty-four percent of the kids who have tried marijuana have smoked cigarettes within the past 30 days. The study focusing on 12- to 17-year-olds also found those who smoke cigarettes are six times likelier to be able to buy marijuana in an hour or less and 18 times likelier to say most of their friends smoke pot.

“Pot is a significant presence in the lives of teenage smokers,” said Joseph Califano Jr., president of the addiction center. “If kids are regularly smoking, you should be concerned they are smoking pot.” Califano said anti-tobacco campaigns can make help reduce pot smoking among young Americans and urged the Bush administration to educate people on the dangers of tobacco use.Young people perceive a link between cigarette smoking and pot use: When asked whether they think that a kid who smokes cigarettes is more Likely to use pot, 77 percent responded yes.

The study found:

–Among those who acknowledge having tried marijuana, those who do not smoke cigarettes are likelier to have tried pot only once.
–Teens who have tried pot and are current cigarette smokers are 60 percent likelier to be repeat marijuana users.
–Fifty-five percent of those who are current cigarette smokers report more than half their friends use marijuana.
–Among the kids who have tried pot, 57 percent first smoked cigarettes; 29 percent never smoked cigarettes; and 13 percent either tried pot and cigarettes at the same time or tried pot before cigarettes.

In the survey by QEV Analytics, 1,987 teenagers and 504 parents of teenagers were interviewed between April 30 and July 14 over the telephone. The margin of error for the 2003 survey is plus or minus 2 percentage points.
Source: Report by National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia university.
Reported by association press Sept 2003

Augusta, June 3,2003… Main’s House of Representatives voted 95-47 to join California, Delaware, New York, and Connecticut in passing smoke free workplace legislation for ALL workers. The bill now goes to the full Senate where it’s expected to pass. Earlier this month the Legislative Health and Human Services Committee voted 12-1 in favour of the legislation.

Gov. John Baldacci, director of communications, has also indicated support for the measure. Having already passed smoke free restaurant legislation four years ago, Maine has seen the benefit of smoke free laws. Consequently, opposition to this years smoke free bar proposal has been minimal.

“We’re tired of working in an environment that is not safe or healthy,” said Rep. Leila Percy, a Phippsburg Democrat who works as a singer and bandleader in the haze of clubs that serve alcohol.Rep. Roger Landry said that after his decade-long battle against cancer, he puts health concerns over personal freedoms cited by the bill’s opponents.

To become the 5th smoke free state, Maine will have to compete with Massachusetts and Rhode Island which are also in final stages of smoke free workplace legislation for ALL workers (including restaurant and bar workers).

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
Source: www.smokefree.org

Filed under: Legal Sector,Nicotine,USA :

The greatest cause of disease and death in every developed country and most developing countries is tobacco addiction. The World Health Organization estimates that tobacco addiction kills 5 million people worldwide each year, including more than 400,000 Americans. In effort to combat this worldwide plague, the World Health Organization (made up of 192 member countries) voted unanimously last week to adopt the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The Convention urges countries to eliminate tobacco advertising, establish bigger/stronger warning labels, raise cigarette prices, and adopt smoke free workplace laws.

France announced that it is raising cigarette prices by 25% and will continue to do so until prices reach 7 euros ($8.40) per pack. Currently, cigarettes cost about 4 euros ($4.80) per pack. The last price hike resulted in a 10% decline in youth smoking. In addition new cigarette warning labels have gone into effect in Europe covering 1/3 of both the front and back of a pack of cigarettes. Canada and Brazil have strong picture based warning labels. Ireland and Norway have announced that restaurants and bars will be smoke free next year. Finland currently has smoke free casinos.

In the U.S., four entire states— CA, DE, NY, and CT– have gone totally smoke free (including restaurants, bars, and casinos). Hundreds of cities have also gone totally smoke free, including four of the most popular tourist destinations— New York, Los Angeles, Boston, and San Francisco. Canada and Australia continue to lead the world in smoke free workplace legislation.

In Japan the densely populated Chiyoda Ward went smoke free outdoors last year in response to growing complaints from residents about sidewalks and roads littered with cigarette butts and clothes being burned by cigarettes. Mayor Masami Ishikawa himself a smoker backed the ordinance, saying he believes it is no longer possible to rely on smokers to voluntarily stop throwing cigarette trash on the street.

Although there is much to be done, it is obvious that the world is taking action to prevent another generation of tobacco addiction and disease. Five million deaths a year are simply too much to ignore.
Source: smoke Free Educational services, www.corpwatch.org, June 2003

British scientists have found more evidence to show that people with asthma should not smoke. Researchers at the University of Glasgow say smoking can interfere with asthmatics’ medication.Speaking at a European Respiratory Society conference in Vienna, they said it can increase the risks of breathing problems or an asthma attack. The researchers said the findings highlight the need to encourage asthmatics who smoke to quit.
Figures suggest that 40% of people with asthma aged between 16 and 44 smoke. This is much higher than the general population, where 32% of people in this age group smoke.
Source: BBC Online, 30 September 2003

Bristol has the highest number of lung cancer deaths in the south west attributable to smoking, according to a new report. Figures issued by South West Public Health reveal the area has the highest figure in the region for premature deaths in men aged 36-69, from lung cancer which is likely to be linked to smoking.

Some 91% of lung cancer deaths in men are blamed on smoking, while for women the figure is 80%. One doctor said the high figure might be a direct result of Imperial Tobaccos decision to offer 40 free cigarettes a week to its employees in the city until production ended in the 1980s.

Dr Julia Verne of South West Public Health said: A proportion of these lung cancer deaths n well be attributable to that .But we also see high rates of death due to lung cancer in all inner city areas and we need a comprehensive programme to try and help people give up smoking.”
A spokesman for Imperial Tobacco said the company would not comment on what it took to be speculation.
Source: BBC Online, 25 September 2003

Filed under: Health,Nicotine :

Pollution inside homes and offices can be up to double the level recorded outdoors, new research has revealed. Tests carried out for the European commission show that levels of the chemical Benzene are twice as high indoors as outside. The toxin, found in both fitted carpets and cigarette smoke, is a major cause of leukaemia.
It is thought the chemical could be responsible for up to six million cases of the disease across Europe. Despite fears that industrial pollution and fumes produced by heavy traffic pose the biggest environmental threat to health, the study by the commission found that plastics, furniture, computers, carpets and cigarette smoke are causing an increase in the number of people suffering from allergies. The research suggests a combination of tobacco smoke, asbestos, radon and benzene released in buildings could be causing an increase in cancer rates.
Source: Daily Mail, Evening Standard, 1 October 2003

The impact of smoking on the risk of developing coronary heart disease
(CHD) has been hugely underestimated, a 20 year landmark study has found. Researchers said the risk was nearly four fold higher in non smokers with high exposure to passive smoke, such as cigarette smoking by a partner, compared with non smokers with low exposure.

Study lead Professor Peter Whincup, professor of cardiovascular epidemiology at St Georges Hospital Medical School, London, said the effect of passive smoking by someone you live with was originally thought to increase the risk of CHD by 30 percent. The study followed 2,105 non smoking men from the British Regional Heart Study and measured levels of cotinine in their blood, Of these, 308 suffered a major CHD event during follow up.

During the first five years of follow-up, patients with the highest level of cotinine in the blood had nearly 4 times the risk of having a cardiac event compared with those who registered the lowest levels of nicotine.

Dr Mike Kirby, a GP and member of the Primary Care Cardiovascular Society, said GPs and practice nurses could use the results to call passive smokers in for a cardiac risk assessment. “The results are quite useful because it gives us something definite to tell the patients and in this evidence-based environment, it could be used to focus our resources, he added.

Source: Pulse, 29 September 2003

Study finds cannabis and tobacco equally bad

 Smoking cannabis is as bad for your lungs as smoking cigarettes.
Smoking both cannabis and tobacco narrowed people’s airways even more than smoking only one of the substances. The study involved examining how much breath about 900 people aged 18 to 26 could expel forcefully from their lungs. People who smoked cannabis and tobacco expelled less air in a second than non-smokers and took longer to expel all the air from their lungs because their airways had narrowed slightly.
Airflows decreased even more when people smoked both cannabis and tobacco. Smokers breathing and airways were effected by the tar in tobacco. Cannabis had similar levels. The study group members were examined three times in eight years. While all were healthy and differences in their airflows subtle, the figures highlighted a trend , professor Taylor said.
The researchers interest was sparked by cannabis use increasing significantly in most developed countries in the past three decades and people increasingly questioning if it was worse than smoking tobacco.
Professor Taylor said the study was complex because group members lung development was at different stages. Lungs grew and became more efficient during childhood and adolescence , then efficiency started naturally declining in the mid 20s.
The study would continue when the people were aged 32-37.

Source: Professor Robin Taylor, Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development
study reported in New Zealand Herald Aug 2002

Japan Tobacco, the worlds third largest tobacco group, will launch six new cigarette brands in Japan next month as it prepares for increasing
competition from rival Philip Morris.It will be. the first time JT has launched so many products at once, reflecting its new strategy of aggressively launching products and premium brands to increase its share in its mainstay market. JT commands 73 per cent of the Japanese market but its share is steadily declining.

Source: www.search.ft.com

Women are twice as likely as men to devdop lung cancer from smoking, scientists have found.New research has suggested that gender can determine whether a smoker contracts the disease – which kills 80 per cent of sufferers within a year of diagnosis.
A woman smoker’s risk of lung cancer is just over double that of a man, once age and cigarette consumption are taken into account, according to preliminary results from Cornell University, New York.
But some experts, however, were sceptical of the figures. which are based on 77 cases. Sir Richard Peto, of Cancer Research UKs Cliinical Trials Service Unit in Oxford, said: “This is a very small study and its conclusions may well be wrong, Its simply not true that men and women who smoke have very different lung cancer rates.”Women have been smoking almost as much as men for some time in Britain and North America, but while the national death rates from lung cancer early middle age are now nearly as high among women as among men, they are not higher”
In 2001, 2O,350 men and 13040 women died of lung cancer. It is the second most common male cancer (after prostate) and the third most common female cancer (after breast and bowel), and the biggest killer of both sexes.

Source: The Times, 2 December 2003

Filed under: Health,Nicotine :

More than half of non-smoking employees are exposed to tobacco smoke in UK workplaces, new research suggests.Pressure group ‘Smoke Free London’ said around eight million non-smokers, many working in bars and restaurants, breathed in tobacco smoke at work. Three million of these worked every day in premises where smoking was permitted.The survey, of 2,000 people, found 88% of those asked – including 91% of non-smokers – want legislation to regulate workplace smoking.At present there is no statutory legislation that directly regulates smoking during working hours. But employers do have a statutory duty to maintain and provide a working environment which is safe and free from health risks.
Judith Watt, a spokeswoman for SmokeFree London, said legislation was needed to protect employees. She said “Second-hand smoke is the only proven human carcinogen that is unregulated during working hours.
“Thanks to a 1992 EU Directive, all workers are entitled to breathe smoke-free air during breaks, but are not protected while actually working. This is a crazy situation and one that needs tackling urgently.”

Source: Financial Times BBC Online, November 2003

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