Want to quit smoking for good? You may be more successful if you enlist a loved one to quit smoking with you. Recent research published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that people are more likely to successfully kick the habit when people in their social network, such as friends, co-workers, siblings, and spouses, do the same. For example, when a husband or wife quit smoking, their spouses were 67% less likely to smoke. People with a friend who quit smoking were 36% less likely to smoke themselves. In smaller companies, employees are 34% less likely to smoke when a co-worker quits. Those with a brother or sister who quit were 25% less likely to smoke. "This research shows how people influence one another's smoking behaviour, " says Cameron Bishop of The Canadian Lung Association. "When one person quits smoking, it can have a powerful ripple effect on their friends, family members and co-workers." For Gail Francis, of Fredericton, New Brunswick, the decision to quit smoking with a loved one was pivotal to her success.
Public health experts are calling for urgent steps to reduce the number of healthcare professionals who smoke, after a survey of more than 800 new nursing students found that more than half were current or former smokers. The Italian study, published in the January issue of the Journal of Advanced Nursing, surveyed 812 students who were just starting their University course. They found that 44% of them were still smoking twice as many as in the general population and a further 12% were former smokers. Three-quarters of the smoking students had at least one parent who smoked and almost half had at least one brother or sister who smoked. "Smoking prevention is an important issue and healthcare professionals, especially physicians and nurses, can play a major role in helping people to understand the consequences that smoking can have on their health and their lives" says Professor Anna Maria Tortorano from the Department of Public Health at the University of Milan, Italy. "However when health professionals smoke it makes it more difficult for them to encourage patients to stop.
NJOY, the world's leading electronic cigarette brand, has completed a scientific analysis that has determined that "there is no evidence that carcinogenic TSNAs are present in the aerosol" of its brand of electronic cigarette products. These results address concerns raised by the FDA and others about product ingredients, safety and health risks, and specifically, found that there is no carcinogenic risk from TSNAs - tobacco specific nitrosamines - in the vapor inhaled by NJOY product users or nonusers who may be exposed to the constituents passively. "In July the FDA released study information about the constituents of our electronic cigarettes that may have inadvertently misled the media and consumers about their health risks, " said Jack Leadbeater, CEO of NJOY. "The FDA analysis evaluated only the contents of the cartridges used with our products, and not the constituents of the aerosol or vapor to which users are actually exposed or the potential health risk, if any, that may be posed by that exposure.
Drinking green tea could modulate the effect of smoking on lung cancer. Results of this hospital-based, randomized study conducted in Taiwan were presented at the AACR-IASLC Joint Conference on Molecular Origins of Lung Cancer, held here from Jan. 11-14, 2010. "Lung cancer is the leading cause of all cancer deaths in Taiwan, " said I-Hsin Lin, M.S., a student at Chung Shan Medical University in Taiwan. "Tea, particularly green tea, has received a great deal of attention because tea polyphenols are strong antioxidants, and tea preparations have shown inhibitory activity against tumorigenesis." However, previous studies of green tea have been inhibited by the flaws of the epidemiologic model with its inherent biases. Lin and colleagues enrolled 170 patients with lung cancer and 340 healthy patients as controls. The researchers administered questionnaires to obtain demographic characteristics, cigarette smoking habits, green tea consumption, dietary intake of fruits and vegetables, cooking practices and family history of lung cancer.
Smokers who received gain-framed messaging from quitline specialists (i.e., stressing the benefits of quitting) had slightly better cessation outcomes than those who received standard-care messaging (i.e., potential losses from smoking and benefits of quitting), according to a new study published online January 7 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Researchers also established that quitline specialists can be trained to provide gain-framed messaging with good fidelity. Benjamin A. Toll, Ph.D., of the Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., and colleagues randomly assigned 28 specialists working at the New York State Smokers' Quitline to two groups: one group delivered standard-care messaging and one was trained to deliver gain-framed messages. The researchers assessed whether specialists could be trained to consistently deliver gain-framed messages to smokers and evaluated the cessation outcomes of clients exposed to both kinds of messages.
Although erlotinib is an approved second-line therapy for lung cancer, its management is complicated by side effects that get worse as the dose increases. "Increased doses may lead to better outcomes, so we are trying to determine how high we can go with this agent without having to stop, " said Lynsay Waller, M.D., a fellow at Wake Forest University, who presented her data at the AACR-IASLC Joint Conference on Molecular Origins of Lung Cancer, held here Jan. 11-14, 2010. Waller and colleagues evaluated 25 patients and put them on a chemotherapy regimen that began with docetaxel, cisplatin and pegfilgrastim growth factor support. The researchers then started administering erlotinib at 150 mg daily for non-smokers and 300 mg daily for smokers. These doses were increased every two weeks until development of grade 2 toxicity, when the doses stabilized. If grade 3 toxicity emerged, the doses were cut back by 75 mg a day. Doses reached as high as 525 mg for smokers and 225 mg for non-smokers, but by the end of the study most smokers had a maximum tolerated dose of 300 mg compared with 225 mg for non-smokers.
Two US psychologists found that people who tend to think in the long term, who focus on later rewards rather than immediate payoffs, are more likely to make better and positive decisions concerning their health, such as what and how much to eat and drink, exercise regularly, and use sunscreen. These were the findings of a study due to be published in the January 2010 issue of the journal Personality and Individual Differences that was undertaken at Kansas State University by lead investigator James Daugherty, a doctoral student in psychology, and Gary Brase, associate professor of psychology. The authors have already presented their findings at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making in Boston, Massachusetts, last month. Daugherty explained to the press that: "If you are more willing to pick later, larger rewards rather than taking the immediate payoff, you are more future-minded than present-minded." For instance, a future-minded person would be more likely to exercise, and less likely to smoke and drink, he said.
The average low-income person loses 8.2 years of perfect health, the average high school dropout loses 5.1 years, and the obese lose 4.2 years, according to researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Tobacco control has long been one of the most important public health policies, and rightly so; the average smoker loses 6.6 years of perfect health to their habit. But the nation's huge high school dropout rate and poverty rates are typically not seen as health problems. This new study published in the December 2009 issue of the American Journal of Public Health, shows that poverty and dropout rates are at least as important a health problem as smoking in the United States. These researchers define "low-income" as household earnings below 200% of the Federal Poverty Line, or roughly the bottom third of the U.S. population. On average, poverty showed the greatest impact on health. Smoking was second, followed by being a high school dropout, non-Hispanic Black, obese, a binge drinker, and uninsured.
Boots have launched a free Stop Smoking service, Stop for Good, aimed at those who are thinking about or who have decided to stop smoking. Boots Stop for Good is a three-month, four-step programme incorporating one-to-one support and advice. The service involves an initial meeting with a Boots Stop for Good advisor at which the customer's smoking habits are discussed and assessed. If the customer feels he or she is ready to stop smoking, the advisor will help develop a personalised plan. Support materials for Stop for Good include smoking diaries in which customers can record their feelings about smoking, helpful tips to increase the chances of success and information on potential obstacles and barriers. Customers taking part in Stop for Good will also have their carbon monoxide levels monitored using a simple breath test. The amount of carbon monoxide, a harmful chemical inhaled into the lungs in tobacco smoke, will drop when smoking is stopped. By monitoring carbon monoxide levels participants can see for themselves the tangible benefits of stopping smoking as well as keeping track of their progress.
AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, said good planning was a key to fulfilling New Year's resolutions to quit smoking. "Giving up smoking is a common New Year's resolution, and with good planning smokers can increase their chances of successfully quitting smoking for ever, " Dr Pesce said. "There are many ways to quit smoking and different methods will suit different people. For advice and support, see your GP who can talk you through the different methods and help with an approach that is best suited to you. "The Quitline is also a good source of information. It can be contacted on 131 848 or online at http://www.quitnow.info.au ." Dr Pesce said quitting smoking had immediate health benefits, including reducing the risk of disease and improving overall health. "It will also protect those around you from second hand smoke and save you money, " he said. Tobacco smoking is the single largest preventable cause of ill health and death in Australia, contributing to more drug-related hospitalisations and deaths than alcohol and illicit drug use combined.