Both adults and adolescents who smoke have reported difficulties sleeping, and young children exposed to tobacco smoke have poorer sleep quality. Recent research has found that children with asthma have more parent-reported sleep issues when exposed to tobacco smoke. The study, "Associations Between Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Sleep Patterns in Children, " in the February issue of Pediatrics (appearing online Jan. 18), examined 219 children enrolled in an asthma intervention trial who were regularly exposed to secondhand smoke. Researchers found that exposure to secondhand smoke can be associated with sleep problems among children with asthma, including difficulties falling asleep, more sleep-disordered breathing and increased daytime sleepiness. Sleep efficiency has been shown to improve with effective asthma treatment, but study authors feel that the reduction or elimination of secondhand smoke can have significant impact on physical and emotional health and school performance among the pediatric population.
The latest annual lifestyle survey has found that the overall smoking rate among adults in 2008 remained at 21%, the same rate as in 2007. However, there was a small increase in smoking among people in routine and manual groups, which is a particular concern as this will further widen health inequalities. Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH commented: "These results are disappointing but not disastrous. The overall trend is still in the right direction but it does show the need for a new comprehensive tobacco strategy. Smoking is still the major cause of preventable ill health and premature death. We urge the Government to publish the new tobacco strategy that was promised before Christmas." Notes  General Lifestyle Survey 2008. ONS. http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Product.asp?vlnk=5756. Source ASHP
The Citizens Council of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which provides public input into the Institute's work, has published a report on its meeting to discuss smoking and harm reduction. The public is now invited to comment on the Council members' views on the theoretical strategy of harm reduction with regard to smoking - an approach not currently used in the UK. This includes the pros and cons of promoting the switch to alternative products such as medicinal nicotine, alongside supporting smokers to quit. NICE has not been asked to produce guidance on harm reduction in smoking. However, should guidance be requested on this topic, the views of the Citizens Council on issues which should be taken into account will be helpful to inform NICE's independent committees. Whereas smoking cessation strategies are familiar - helping smokers to quit both smoking and their reliance on nicotine completely - the concept of harm reduction in smoking has a different focus.
The BMA has praised the government on the work it has done so far on tobacco control and has welcomed the new strategy to tackle smoking addiction in England, launched yesterday (Monday 1 February 2010). BMA Head of Science and Ethics, Dr Vivienne Nathanson, said the strategy "will set the scene for a smokefree society, save lives and protect health". She added: "Smoking causes almost 90, 000 deaths every year in England alone and costs the NHS millions of pounds annually. The cost to individuals, their families and employers is substantially more. "While UK tobacco control policies are some of the most stringent in Europe, more than one in five adults still smokes and many individuals continue to take up the habit. The BMA believes the government should and could do more and today's tobacco strategy shows the will exists to tackle this major public health issue. "Measures like banning vending machines, improving NHS Stop Smoking Services, tackling tobacco smuggling and maintaining awareness campaigns to encourage smokers to quit will pave the way for a smokefree society.
New research from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine may help more smokers keep their New Year's resolution by helping them quit smoking. Extended use of a nicotine patch 24 weeks versus the standard eight weeks recommended by manufacturers boosts the number of smokers who maintain their cigarette abstinence and helps more of those who backslide into the habit while wearing the patch, according to a study which will be published in the February 2 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine. "Our data suggest that the many smokers who relapse while trying to quit will be especially helped by extended treatment, which appears to make it easier for smokers to 'get back on the wagon' after a small smoking slip, instead of having it turn into a full-blown relapse, " says lead author Robert Schnoll, PhD, an associate professor of Psychiatry at Penn. "We know that tobacco dependence is a chronic, relapsing condition that may require extended treatment, and we hope our research efforts will encourage physicians to recommend to their patients that they use nicotine patches for a longer duration.
A UCSF analysis of published studies on the relationship between Alzheimer's disease and smoking indicates that smoking cigarettes is a significant risk factor for the disease. After controlling for study design, quality of the journals, time of publication, and tobacco industry affiliation of the authors, the UCSF research team also found an association between tobacco industry affiliation and the conclusions of individual studies. Industry-affiliated studies indicated that smoking protects against the development of AD, while independent studies showed that smoking increased the risk of developing the disease. Study findings were published online in the January issue (19:2) of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. An abstract of the paper is available at the link below. "For many years, published studies and popular media have perpetuated the myth that smoking is protective against the development of AD. The disease's impact on quality of life and health care costs continues to rise.
Newborns of women who smoked during pregnancy show signs of circulatory dysfunction in the first few weeks of life that get worse throughout the first year, Swedish researchers reported in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association. The blood pressure response to tilting the infants upright during sleep - a test of how the body copes with repositioning - was dramatically different in infants born to smoking mothers compared to those born to nonsmoking parents. Infants not exposed to tobacco experienced only a 2 percent increase in blood pressure when they were tilted upright at one week of age and later a 10 percent increase in blood pressure at one year. Infants of smoking mothers had the reverse - a 10 percent increase in blood pressure during a tilt at one week and only a 4 percent increase at one year. At three months and one year, the heart rate response to tilting in the tobacco-exposed infants was abnormal and highly exaggerated, researchers reported. "Babies of smokers have evidence of persistent problems in blood pressure regulation that start at birth and get worse over time, " said Gary Cohen, Ph.
It is well known that smokers damage their health by directly inhaling cigarette smoke. Now, research published in BioMed Central's open access journal Environmental Health has shown that they are at additional risk from breathing environmental tobacco smoke, contrary to the prevailing assumption that such risks would be negligible in comparison to those incurred by actually smoking. Maria Teresa Piccardo worked with a team of researchers from the National cancer Research Institute, Genoa, Italy, to study the exposure of newsagents in the city to harmful cigarette smoke. She said, "Newsagents were chosen because they work alone in small newsstands, meaning that any tobacco smoke in the air they breathe is strictly correlated to the number of cigarettes smoked by that newsagent. We studied the contribution environmental tobacco smoke made to carcinogen exposure in 15 active smokers." The researchers found that environmental tobacco smoke may have a significant impact on smokers' health.
The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) has published a position statement on the impact of the life style factors obesity, smoking and alcohol consumption on natural and medically assisted reproduction. In a literature study the ESHRE Task Force on Ethics and Law summarised the negative effects of obesity, smoking and drinking on the natural reproductive potential of patients, on IVF results, pregnancy complications and outcomes and finally on the health of the future child. The paper is published online today (19 January 2010) in Europe's leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction (1). The group made five recommendations. In view of the risks for the future child, fertility doctors should refuse treatment to women used to more than moderate drinking and who are not willing or able to minimize their alcohol consumption. Treating women with severe or morbid obesity required special justification. The available data suggested that weight loss would incur in a positive reproductive effect, although more data was needed to establish whether assisted reproduction should be made conditional upon prior life-style changes for obese and smoking females.
Leafy green vegetables, folate, and some multivitamins could serve as protective factors against lung cancer in current and former smokers, according to a study that is a first step in understanding a complex association. The study was led by Steve Belinsky, Ph.D. and other researchers at the institute in ABQ, NM. It was supported by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health. The study appeared online Jan. 12, 2010, in Cancer Research. Researchers examined cells that were coughed up by current and former smokers for gene methylation, a chemical modification used by the cell to control gene expression. Upon careful study of the cells and by comparing those cells with profiles of smokers' dietary intake of leafy green vegetables, folate, and some multivitamins, they found an association between those particular substances was associated with a reduced prevalence for cellular gene methylation. As seen in previous studies, gene methylation is likely to be a major mechanism in lung cancer development and progression, as well as a potential marker for the early detection of lung cancer.