Stop Smoking

With all of the information available today on the dangers of smoking people are seeking out any method that will help them quit the habit.  The patch is effective for some but still feeds your body it’s daily dose of nicotine. Prescription medications are also available, but the medications are not as effective as once believed.

When you stop smoking your body immediately begins the healing process, which continues for years.

These benefits are lost by smoking just one cigarette a day.

Here’s the good news of quitting:

Within:

5 minutes:

Passive smoke exposure risks for non-smokers decreases.  Oxygen available to the heart increases.

20 minutes:

Pulse Rate and Blood Pressure return to normal.  Temperature of hands and feet returns to normal.

8 hours:

Blood platelets are less prone to block arteries.  Carbon Monoxide in blood decreases to normal.

24 hours:

Risk of heart attack decreases.  Athletic performance increases.

48 hours:

Senses of taste/smell improve; smokers breath/odor disappears.

2 weeks:

Walking/Exercise becomes easier.  Lung function improves and body metabolism returns to normal.

3 months:

Coughing, shortness of breath, fatigue decreases, risk of stroke decreases, bad lipids in blood return to normal and risk of gum disease decreases.

9 months:

Risk of fetal death and complications in pregnancy is at the same level as a non smoker.

1 year:

Excess risk of heart attack is 1/2 that of a smoker. Ability of lungs to fight infection increases, risk of peptic ulcers equals that of non-smokers.

Since 1/2 of all smokers will die prematurely (in middle age) of tobacco-included diseases, your decision to stop smoking is central to your health and the health of your family.  We are committed to helping you quit.

*statistics from the American Cancer Society

Anxiety Seen in Teenagers Who Smoke

New York Times – November 8, 2000

Contrary to popular belief that teenagers who smoke are nervous children who use tobacco to calm down, a new study suggests that heavy smoking may have the opposite effect and actually increase their risk of developing certain anxiety disorders in late adolescence or early childhood.

The study, being published today in The Journal of American Medical Association, found that compared with nonsmokers, teenagers who smoke at least 20 cigarettes a day had 12 times the risk of suffering panic attacks and 5 times the risk of generalized anxiety disorder or agoraphobia, a fear of open spaces that makes some people unable to leave their homes.

“These severe anxiety disorders can start within only a few years of starting to smoke a pack a day,” said Dr. Jeffrey G. Johnson, an author of the study and an assistant professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Dr. Johnson said he hoped the findings would persuade teenagers to quit smoking, or not to start.

Dr. Alan I. Leshner, director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse said the study was important because it showed that cigarette smoking might cause harm rapidly in teenagers, long before physical effects like lung cancer and heart disease would show up.

How smoking might heighten anxiety is not known.  Dr. Johnson and his co-authors, from the national Institute of Mental Health and Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan, said the increased anxiety might be due to the effects of nicotine on the brain or of diminished oxygen levels in smokers.  Dr. Johnson said studies by other researchers had shown that breathing problems and lack of oxygen could touch off panic attacks, a finding that helped persuade him and his colleagues to pursue their research.

The study is the second recent one to suggest that smoking may lead to emotional disturbance in teenagers.  An article in October in the journal Pediatrics reported that teenagers who smoked were four times as likely as nonsmokers to develop depression.  But those who were already depressed were no more likely to take up smoking than teenagers not suffering from depression.

Dr. Johnson’s study included 688 young people from upstate New York, who were interviewed in 1985-1986, when their mean age was 16, and then again in 1991-1993, at a mean age of 22.  Interviewers asked about smoking habits and used special surveys designed to identify psychiatric problems, including anxiety disorders.

People with generalized anxiety disorders have frequent feelings of fear and anxiety, often accompanied by physical symptoms like rapid heartbeat, sweating and shortness of breath, Dr. Johnson said.  He described panic attacks as “sudden and unexpected fears that come out of nowhere and build very rapidly” and said the attacks could be so intense that victims felt as though they were having a heart attack or even dying.  People with agoraphobia have reactions like panic attacks, Dr. Johnson said.

The researchers found that teenagers who had anxiety disorders at the age of 16 were no more likely to smoke than those without anxiety disorders.  In both groups, 14 percent to 15 percent went on to smoke at least 20 cigarettes a day in early adulthood.

“Anxiety disorders during adolescence did not contribute to increased smoking,” Dr. Johnson said.  “There was no association, not even a hint of an association.”

At the mean age of 16 years, 39 of the teenagers, or 6 percent, smoked at least 20 cigarettes a day.  Six years later, agoraphobia had developed in 4, generalized anxiety disorder in 8 and panic disorders in 3.  The rates of those disorders were far lower in those who had smoked less or not at all.

The researchers said the differences in anxiety disorders in the young adults could not be explained by age, sex, childhood temperament, teenage alcohol and drug use, anxiety and depression in adolescence or parental smoking, education level or psychological disorders.

Dr. Johnson said his research did not determine exactly how long a person had to smoke heavily to increase the risk of anxiety disorders or reveal whether stopping smoking would help get rid of the disorders.

 The effects of Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand smoke, also known as environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is a human carcinogen for which there is no safe level of exposure.  This is the conclusion reached by numerous scientific bodies that have conducted extensive reviews of current data, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, California Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institute of Environmental Sciences’ national Toxicology Program’s Board of Scientific Counselors.
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  • Each year, about 3,000 nonsmoking adults die of lung cancer as a result of breathing secondhand smoke.
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  • ETS causes an estimated 35,000 to 40,000 deaths from heart disease in people not current smokers.
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  • Secondhand smoke causes other respiratory problems in nonsmokers; coughing, phlegm, chest discomfort, and reduced lung function.
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  • Each year, exposure to secondhand smoke causes 150,000 to 300,000 lower respiratory tract infections, such as pneumonia and bronchitis, in U.S. infants and children younger than 18 months of age.  These infections result in 7,500 to 15,000 hospitalizations every year.
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  • Secondhand smoke increases the number of asthma attacks and the severity of asthma in about 20% of this country’s 2 to 5 million asthmatic children.
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  • Four chemicals in secondhand smoke (benzene, 2-naphthylamine, 4-aminobiphenyl, and polonium 210) are known human carcinogens, based on EPA standards.  The EPA, as probable human carcinogens, classifies ten other chemicals in secondhand smoke.

Because there are no safe levels of secondhand smoke, it is important that public policies to protect people from secondhand smoke be as strong as possible.

*American Cancer Society, Cancer facts & figures 2000