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Posts Tagged ‘Smoking’

eCig1

There’s been much in the news recently about e-cigarettes. The Santa Cruz City Council has just voted to update the city’s tobacco related ordinances which would ban the use of e-cigarettes where smoking is currently restricted and requiring the product to be sold only by vendors with tobacco retail licenses. Thus, Santa Cruz joins some 50 California state cities and counties in creating such restrictions.

E-cigarettes, also called vape pens or e-hookahs, are made to resemble cigarettes. They are battery-operated, which allows conversion of liquid nicotine into a vapor which enters the lungs and is easily absorbed into the blood stream. There’s no tobacco, flame, smoke, tar or carbon monoxide which is probably the only good thing that can be said for this product.

I’d like to touch upon some of the questions and concerns regarding electronic cigarettes.

Are e-cigarettes safer than regular cigarettes?

They are probably safer than cigarettes because of the lack of the above mentioned substances found in burning regular cigarettes. That being said, e-cigarettes are a nicotine delivery system, are highly addictive and ultimately harmful because of the effects of nicotine, which is a potent stimulant drug that is probably unsafe for children, pregnant women and people with certain heart conditions. These products are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and many are manufactured in China, a country not known for its quality control and safe products.

Can e-cigarettes help break the habit of smoking regular cigarettes?

There is no good scientific evidence that smoking e-cigarettes can effectively wean one off of regular cigarettes. In fact, one large study of 75,000 teen smokers found that those who were trying to quit smoking were less likely to succeed if they also smoked e-cigs and many actually ended up smoking more real cigarettes. Better ways of breaking the smoking habit would be to utilize the strategies of behavioral counseling, nicotine replacement products and prescription non-nicotine medication.

Are kids smoking e-cigarettes?

Since some 90 percent of long term smokers began smoking under the age of 18, it’s not hard to imagine the allure of e-cigarettes to our youth. The CDC has reported a disturbing trend that the use of e-cigarettes more than doubled among U.S. middle and high school students from 2011 to 2012. To make them more appealing to minors, manufacturers are making e-cigarettes in assorted eye catching colors and candy flavors like watermelon, cotton candy, and bubble gum.

So with no proven health benefits and with too many questions concerning safety and long term addiction, e-cigarettes should come with at least the same restrictions, warnings and health concerns as with regular tobacco cigarettes.

The bottom line is that for the sake of one’s health, I would strongly discourage the use of any and all tobacco and nicotine products.

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Good news has just come from the California Department of Public Health, which recently reported that the state’s adult smoking rate has hit a record low. Last year, 11.9 percent of the state’s adults smoked, down from 13.1 percent in 2009. By comparison, in 1984, 26 percent of our state’s adults smoked.

This is a very encouraging trend.

Tobacco use causes a greatly increased risk of death. More deaths are caused by tobacco use (mostly in the form of cigarette smoking), than by HIV infection, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicide and murder combined.

Cigarette smoking causes one in five deaths in the U.S. each year, with about 400,000 deaths from direct smoking and 50,000 deaths from indirect smoke. On average, adults who smoke die 14 years sooner than nonsmokers. Between the years 1960 and 1990, deaths from lung cancer in women increased more than 500 percent.

Smoking damages nearly every organ in the human body. Here are some of the more common health problems caused by tobacco products:

– Cancer of the lung (23 times higher rate among smokers than nonsmokers)

– Cancers of the bladder, mouth, throat, vocal cords, esophagus, cervix, kidney, pancreas and stomach, and certain forms of leukemia

– Coronary heart disease, which usually leads to heart attacks

– Doubled risk of a stroke

– Blockage of blood flow to legs and feet, sometime leading to amputation

– Tenfold increase in likelihood of death from emphysema, a condition in which lung tissue is slowly destroyed by smoke

– Reproductive problems, such as infertility, early birth, stillbirth and impotency

– Decreased bone density in the elderly, leading to increased chance of fractures

It is estimated that more than 370 billion cigarettes are consumed by American smokers per year. In 2005, cigarette manufacturers spent more than $13 billion on advertising to lure people into smoking. What is the cost to our financially precarious health care system? It is estimated that cigarette smoking costs $96 billion yearly in health care expenditures and another nearly $100 billion in lost productivity.

I personally find all of this data shocking. We, in this society, must take a firmer stand against the use of all tobacco products. Every day, more than 1,000 American teenagers begin smoking. We need do a better job in preventing our youth from beginning to smoke and to get those, young and old, who are already addicted to tobacco to quit.

For those of you who wish to quit but have been unable to do it on your own, your doctor has various treatment options that could help you.

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I was very pleased to see the article “Consider quitting smoking for health” published by the Press-Banner last week (Page 18, Nov. 6). Allow me to add my own opinion on this subject — from a doctor’s point of view.

From my experience and based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, I offer the following information:

Tobacco use causes a great increased risk of death. More deaths are caused by tobacco use — mostly in the form of cigarette smoking — than by HIV infection, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicide and murders combined.

Cigarette smoking causes 1-in-5 deaths in the U.S. each year, with about 400,000 deaths attributable to direct smoking and about 50,000 deaths to indirect smoking, or secondhand smoke. On average, adults who smoke die 14 years sooner than nonsmokers. Between the years 1960 and 1990, deaths from lung cancer in women increased more than 500 percent.

Smoking damages nearly every organ in the human body. Here are some of the more common health problems caused by tobacco products:

• Cancer of the lung (at a rate 23 times higher than among nonsmokers)

• Cancers of the bladder, mouth, throat, vocal cords, esophagus, cervix, kidneys, pancreas and stomach and certain forms of leukemia

• Coronary heart disease, which usually leads to heart attacks

• Doubles the risk of a stroke

• Blockage of blood flow to legs and feet, sometimes requiring amputation

• A 10-times higher likelihood of dying from emphysema, a condition in which lung tissue is slowly destroyed by smoke

• Reproductive problems, such as infertility, early birth, stillbirth and impotency

• Decreased bone density in old age, leading to increased chance of fractures

Who smokes the estimated 371 billion cigarettes consumed yearly in the U.S.? Millions of people smoke cigarettes — 20 percent of all adults and 20 percent of all teenagers. Every single day, about 1,000 teenagers become smokers.

In 2005, cigarette manufacturers spent more than $13 billion on advertising to lure people into smoking.

But what is the cost to our financially precarious health care system? It is estimated that cigarette smoking costs us $96 billion yearly in health care expenditures and nearly $100 billion more in lost productivity.

I personally find all of this data shocking. We must take a firmer stand against the use of all tobacco products. We need do a better job to prevent our youth from beginning to smoke and to get those, young and old, who are already addicted to tobacco to quit.

I cannot sit in judgment of those who smoke, as I smoked for a number of years during my youth. I know how seemingly impossible it is to quit — I tried many times — but as I became more knowledgeable about the effects of smoking during my medical school training, I knew I had to quit.

One night, while working in the emergency room during my internship, I saw a patient who had developed cancer of his throat from years of smoking. He previously had a tracheotomy — a metal tube surgically inserted into his neck through which he could breathe.

When I saw him light up a cigarette in the waiting room and hold it up to his breathing tube so he could smoke, I quit right then and there and never smoked again. That was almost 40 years ago.

Yes, quitting was still a very difficult thing to do, but it’s the best thing I ever did for myself — and for my family and friends who love and care about me.

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