Entries in Quit Smoking (14)


Four Steps to Significantly Lower Risk of Heart Disease, Early Death

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, doing just four things could help significantly reduce your risk of death.

The study looked at over 6,200 healthy people over a span of eight years and determined that those who met four qualifications reduced their risk of early death by 80 percent and their specific risk of heart disease by nearly 40 percent.

The four things that the researchers recommend are:

Exercise regularly
Eat a Mediterranean-style diet
Keep a normal weight
Do not smoke

According to researchers the most important of the four is opting not to smoke, as avoiding tobacco had the largest individual impact of any of the four risk factors. In fact, smokers who maintained two or more of the other healthy habits still had a higher rate of early death than non-smokers who were both sedentary and obese.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Woman Trying to Quit Smoking Slaps Cop in Attempt to get Arrested

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- A California woman had a novel approach to quitting smoking – slapping a cop and getting arrested.

Etta Lopez, 31, is accused of slapping a Sacramento County Sheriff's Deputy. She reportedly told the deputy that she did it because she wanted to get arrested and be put in jail so she would be forced to go smoke-free.

“She told us she needed to quit smoking and that she knew the only discipline she would receive would be inside the county jail,” a deputy said.

 The deputy, Matt Compoy, had just come off duty on Tuesday when Lopez came out of nowhere and whacked him in the face.

She got her wish. Lopez is in jail awaiting arraignment on a charge of assaulting an officer.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Major Study Gives Smokers New Reasons to Quit

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(TORONTO) -- Quit smoking early on in life and you'll have more life later on, reveals a new study from the Center for Global Health Research at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto.

However, Dr. Prabhat Jha, a director at the center, warns that smokers need to do it by age 35 if they want to make sure of not lopping a decade off their life expectancy.

In another finding based on research of over 200,000 American men and women, Jha says that the death rate of people who are addicted to cigarettes is three times higher than people who've never picked up the habit.

Generally, smokers have a greater prevalence of potentially deadly conditions like cancer, heart disease, stroke and respiratory diseases

Jha says that if people can kick cigarettes by age 55, they can still improve their chances of a longer life than if they don't stop.

Need more evidence that smoking just isn't worth it?  Jha and her fellow researchers learned that people who don't smoke are twice more likely to survive to 80 than perpetual puffers.

Responding to the finding, Dr. Norman Edelman, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association,  said Jha and his team "used a very large database, so the chance that this is accurate is really high...The numbers are very, very compelling, and it points out that smoking prevention and cessation is still the most important public health challenge we have in the United States."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Can Quitters Ever Become as Healthy as 'Never Smokers?'

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study confirms what most suspect: smokers have a higher chance of dying from a sudden heart attack.  But its other conclusion is more surprising: those who quit smoking could reduce their risk to levels approaching those who have never lit up.

Dr. Roopinder Sandhu of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, along with colleagues from Brigham & Women's Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, followed up with subjects over 30 years to examine the effects of smokers who quit.

They found that current smokers are more than twice as likely to suffer a sudden cardiac death (SCD) than those who have never smoked.  Their research also suggests that as smokers quit, their chances of SCD decreased linearly over time “and was equivalent to that of a never smoker after 20 years of cessation.”

When compared with “never smokers,” even a small amount of cigarettes -- 1 to 14 per day -- increase the risk of SCD, says the study, published online in Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology on Tuesday.

According to the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, approximately 250,000 Americans die each year from sudden heart attacks.  Ten percent are under the age of 40.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Study Shows Women Can Extend Life Up to 10 Years by Quitting Smoking

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Stop smoking now. That's the take-away from a new study of over a million women conducted over a five-year period.  The study finds that those who give up smoking can extend their life by ten years.  

Epidemiologist Rachel Huxley, an Associate Professor at the School of Public Health, the University of Minnesota, says the women studied were between ages 50 & 65.  The study is significant because while it was known that smoking had an impact on men's health, women started smoking later than men and extensive studies had not been available.
"For the first time we have been able to fully evaluate the full impact of smoking when we haven't been able to do this previously because women simply hadn't been smoking long enough," Huxley says.

For the study, the women were required to complete a questionnaire about lifestyle, medical and social factors and were surveyed again in three years. When any participant died, the researchers were notified and given the participant's cause of death.

Twenty percent of the study's participants were smokers, 28 percent were ex-smokers, and 52 had not smoke.  At the three-year survey, those who were still smokers were three times as likely as non-smokers to to over the next nine years, even though some had stopped smoking for a time during this period.

“If women smoke like men, they die like men – but, whether they are men or women, smokers who stop before reaching middle age will on average gain about an extra ten years of life," says study co-author Professor Sir Richard Peto, at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.
The study, which is the largest to date examining the hazards of smoking and the benefits associated with quitting smoking among women, will appear online first in the medical journal The Lancet on Saturday.  

"Everybody can benefit, every smoker, irrespective of age can benefit from quitting smoking," Huxley says, adding, "The sooner individuals stop smoking the better."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Study: Weight Gain After Quitting Smoking Averages Around 10 Pounds

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As more people quit smoking cigarettes to protect their health, many face a new battle: weight gain.  A new study in the journal BMJ shows that quitters gain more weight than anyone previously thought.

The research found that those who quit smoking gained an average of 10 to 11 pounds after 12 months, with most of the weight gain in the first three months.

Still, that shouldn't stop people from kicking the habit for good, the researchers said.

Scientists from France and the U.K. conducted a meta-analysis that examined 62 European-based studies of weight gain among people who had successfully stopped smoking.  They said the average weight gain was higher than doctors generally thought, though there were substantial differences among study participants.

Until now, the National Institutes of Health in the U.S. has been saying that not everyone will gain weight after quitting, and those who do will generally gain fewer than 10 pounds.

"Most of the post-cessation weight gain occurs quickly, during the first quarter," said Henri-Jean Aubin, an addiction specialist who was lead author of the study.  "Weight gain decelerates afterwards.  There is a great inter-individual variability of post-cessation weight gain."

About 16 percent of people actually lost weight after quitting, and 13 percent gained more than 22 pounds.  Because of the great range, researchers said the average weight gain is not necessarily meaningful to people kicking the cigarette habit.

Researchers said the study results should encourage physicians to acknowledge the risk of added pounds.  Doctors need to encourage their patients to adopt a healthy diet and to exercise regularly, they said.

"On the other hand, weight-concerned smokers should consider the possibility they may not gain weight while quitting smoking," said Aubin.

It is worth noting that this type of meta-analysis has its limitations because investigators did not measure participants' weights directly, but, rather, studied a collection of studies, said Robert Amler, dean of the School of Health Sciences at New York Medical College.

"Each of the collected studies weighed different groups of people [with] different ages, different baseline weights, different ethnicities under different circumstances, which means that each study yielded results that may imply something different than the others' results," Amler said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Smoking Hotlines Can Flag Problem Drinking

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- Hotlines to help people quit smoking could also flag problem drinking, a new study found.

Yale researchers used surveys to probe alcohol use among 88,479 callers to the New York State Smoker’s Quitline and found nearly one-quarter of callers reported hazardous drinking as well.

“Once people start drinking, there is a trigger to start smoking,” said study author Benjamin Toll, assistant professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine and director of Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven’s Smoking Cessation Service. “They lose their inhibition to tobacco.”

The study was published Friday in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

Previous studies suggest alcohol abuse decreases the likelihood that smokers will quit using cigarettes, and that adding a brief alcohol intervention to standard smoking cessation treatments could improve success rates.

“The suggestion that tobacco quitlines may offer novel opportunities to reach alcoholics is rational, if not obvious,” said Dr. Stephen Jay, a professor of medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. However, he cautions, “the use of tobacco quitlines for purposes other than for which they were designed will need to be carefully studied.”

A call to the smoking cessation quitline involves a 10- to 15-minute conversation in which smokers are asked about their past attempts to stop smoking, and counselors discuss methods that smokers can use to quit smoking.

“Someone identified as an unhealthy alcohol user should be referred to medical treatment for a comprehensive evaluation,” said Dr. Edwin Salsitz, director of the Methadone Medical Maintenance Program at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. “There could be a very valuable role for quitlines … to help alcoholics, after they have been properly assessed.”

Toll’s next study will assess whether adding five minutes of alcohol abuse counseling to quitline conversations can boost smoking cessation rates.

“Our hope is that we can reduce smoking by getting people to drink less,” Toll said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Man Suffers Severe Injuries After E-Cigarette Explodes in His Mouth

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NICEVILLE, Fla.) -- A Florida man is recovering at a local burn center after suffering severe injuries from an electric cigarette that exploded in his mouth.

Tom Holloway, 57, of Niceville, Fla., was smoking the e-cigarette Monday night when his wife heard an explosion from their study. She reportedly said it sounded like a firecracker had exploded in the house and she heard him scream, one of Holloway's neighbors told ABC News affiliate WCTI.

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Chief Butch Parker of the North Bay Fire District responded to the call. He said a faulty battery inside the electric cigarette likely caused the accident. Parker described the explosion as if Holloway was holding a "bottle rocket in his mouth."

"I have never heard of or seen anything like this before," Parker told ABC News.

Parker said there was no way to recognize the brand of e-cigarette Holloway was smoking, but the battery appeared to be rechargeable lithium because there was a recharging station in the study.

Holloway, a Vietnam veteran, photographer and father of three, reportedly stopped smoking two years ago and turned to e-cigarettes to kick his smoking habit.

Parker said the explosion knocked out all Holloway's teeth and part of his tongue. The event also set fire to the room.

Electronic cigarettes have become a popular crutch for many who have quit smoking. The battery-operated smoking-cessation device simulates the act of tobacco smoking through physical sensation, appearance and even flavor.

E-cigarettes are currently not regulated by the FDA.

According to an FDA spokesperson, the government agency set forth its plans to develop a strategy to regulate additional categories of tobacco products in an April 2011 letter to stakeholders. In the Spring 2011 Unified Agenda (published in July), FDA announced its intent to issue a proposed rule deeming products meeting the definition of "tobacco product" to be subject to regulation by FDA under the Tobacco Control Act, which provides FDA with the authority to regulate certain categories of tobacco products, including cigarettes, tobacco and roll-your-own tobacco.

While the devices go unregulated, Americans who purchase e-cigarettes do so at their own risk, said Dr. Stephen Jay, professor of medicine and public health at Indiana University.

"These products, based on what we know and don't know, should be regulated now," said Jay. "There are no data regarding either their safety or effectiveness as an aid in tobacco-use cessation. Claims by manufacturers and distributors are just that -- claims. The Internet is awash in pro-e-cigarette advertising [and] much of it is very misleading and aimed at vulnerable young people."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Study Questions Effectiveness of Nicotine Replacement Therapies

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Nicotine patches and nicotine gum, which are supposed to help smokers kick the habit for good, don't work in the long run, according to new research out of Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Massachusetts Boston.

The study was done over a six-year period following nearly 800 Massachusetts smokers who had recently quit.

According to the team of researchers, these nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs), which provide smokers with the satisfaction of nicotine minus the dangers, don't appear to be effective in getting cigarette addicts to give up their habit for the long term.

The study also finds that coupling the use of NRTs with cessation counseling is proving to be ineffective for smokers looking to quit.  The researchers suggest that going cold turkey may be just as helpful without all the costs associated with these stop-smoking aids.

As a result, they question whether the government should bother providing public funds for NRTs when it appears that anti-smoking campaigns, promotion of no-smoking policies and steep tobacco price hikes seemed to have done more to get people to quit.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


The Great American Smokeout: Tips for People Deciding to Quit

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- The American Cancer Society continues its tradition Thursday with the 36th Great American Smokeout -- a day dedicated to encourage smokers to either quit or set a date to officially put down the pack.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are still 46 million smokers in the country, and one in five deaths can be attributed to tobacco use. What's worse, the CDC says, 70 percent of smokers who try to quit relapse, and experts say it takes a smoker seven to 10 times to quit for good.

Here are seven tips from leading experts for smokers looking to kick the habit:

1. Quit on a Monday

Some experts say that a huge part of whether or not smokers successfully become ex-smokers all depends on what day of the week you decide to quit.

"There's a logic to it," said Dr. Thomas Glynn, the director of cancer science and trends at the American Cancer Society.  "It's good to pick a time you're more busy, and Monday is ideal.  It's the beginning of the week, beginning of a new non-smoking life for you."

2. Find a Reason to Quit

"The main thing for any smoker is they have to analyze how committed they are to this," said Glynn.  "Write down the reason you want to stop on a piece of paper.  Take that piece of paper, laminate it, keep it in a special place, pull it out every time you want to start."

3. Get Treatment

Dr. John Hughes of the University of Vermont, who looks into the psychology of quitting, said the best thing smokers can do is get professional treatment.

Glynn agreed, and said that pairing medications with counseling is more useful than doing just counseling alone.

4. Take Advantage of Medicines

Hughes said that using over-the-counter drugs, including nicotine gum, lozenges or patches, doubles the chances of a smoker quitting.  He added that using over-the-counter patch to deliver a constant stream of medication and a lozenge or gum to combat intense cravings is something many physicians have been recommending -- though the FDA is still determining if it's a safe option.

5. If at First You Don't Succeed, Try, Try Again

Experts say that it usually takes smokers seven to 10 attempts to kick the habit before they actually give it up for good, and Hughes said it's important that people trying to quit don't stop if they happen to relapse.

6. Communicate with Loved Ones

Hughes and Glynn both said that there are several things non-smokers can do to help their loved ones get through the day, including sitting down with them to set some ground rules.

"Ask them not to smoke around you, keep the cigarettes away from you, make cigarettes not very available," Hughes said.  "Going a day without smoking for them is harder than if I fasted for a day.  Many smokers would much rather go without eating for a day than without cigarettes."

7. Look at Your Bank Account

These days, Glynn said, economics is driving a lot of people to think about quitting as much as their health is.  The average cost of a pack of cigarettes in the U.S. is $5.50, and in some regions, packs can cost upwards of $10.

People are not only spending an extra $2,000 to $4,000 per year just on the habit alone, but must also account for extra health care costs, dental visits, dry cleaning, etc.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio