Posts Tagged ‘Smoking’

Cutting out the Stress

August 10, 2010

Know a smoker?  Or maybe you’re one yourself?  Is one of the excuses you use for not quitting is that lighting up calms you down?  Well, get a load of this…

Studies find smoking actually causes long term stress to rise…not fall.  And the reason why is really interesting.  Apparently smokers are more anxious because they’re worried about when they’ll get their next fix.  Cut out the smoking and you’ve got one less thing to worry about. 

So, um, what’s the excuse for not quitting now?

SOURCE:  “The Claim: Smoking Relieves Stress”

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Allergy Sufferers Rejoice!

May 25, 2010

Sneezing?  Coughing?  Itchy and watery eyes?  Yup, we’re in the middle of a brutal allergy season (one of the worst in recent years), but it turns out all that suffering could actually be good for you.  Sounds impossible, I know, but get this: According to a stack of recent research, allergies may help protect against cancer. 

It has to do with how allergies activate our immune systems.  During an allergy attack, our bodies’ defenses kick into high gear in an effort to drive out whatever is irritating us.  (That’s way we sneeze and cough.)  Researchers think that as we’re ridding ourselves of allergens, we could also be flushing out cancer-causing toxins.  The concept is still fairly new (read: not widely accepted), but here’s a round-up (courtesy of the New York Post) of what some studies have found so far.

~Cornell University: reduced rates of lung, skin, throat and intestinal cancers in allergy sufferers

~Brigham Young University: lower risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and stomach cancer

~Harvard University: “a stong inverse relationship” between brain cancer and asthma, eczema, hay fever or allergy

If this theory proves true, it should be interesting to see how it’ll shape how we treat both allergies and cancer.  I should note, however, that there are a lot of other factors (smoking, obesity) that contribute to cancer risk. 

And if you’re curious about how your city stacks up against others when it comes to whose residents are more allergy prone, check out this Forbes article.

Drinking, Smoking and Stroke

April 16, 2010

We hear a lot about the benefits of drinking wine.  Turns out there’s a catch.  (Isn’t there always??)  Researchers now say drinking a glass or two of wine a day if you’re a woman only reduces your risk of having a stroke IF you don’t smoke.  People who smoking drinkers and smoking non-drinkers have the same level of risk.

It’s believed that alcohol is beneficial because it thins the blood, allowing it to flow more freely through veins and arteries.  Smoking, on the other hand, clogs arteries, essentially negating any benefit a drink or two might lead to.

SOURCE: Alcohol only protects ‘non-smokers’ from stroke

Alzheimer’s disease and your diet

April 13, 2010

There’s more research showing eating a Mediterranean style diet is good for your health. 

This time, according to a report appearing in the “Archives of Neurology,” people who eat more salad dressing, nuts, fish, poultry, fruits and vegetables are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of mental decline, affecting more than 4.5 million Americans.

In addition to recommending eating the above foods, the study also suggests avoiding high fat dairy products, red meat and organ meats.  (See the chart below)

Naturally, loading up on nuts doesn’t mean you won’t develop Alzheimer’s.  There are other factors at play like whether you smoke and drink and family history.  

Nevertheless, tweaking your diet to include those “good” foods is a good idea as other research has shown this type of diet can play a role in preventing many other illnesses, including heart disease, many forms of cancer, and stroke.

Why you really should lose that butt

February 11, 2010

Ever hear of third-hand smoke?  Me neither, but according to a group of scientists in California, it can be just as deadly as exposure to second hand smoke and smoking alone.

Third hand smoke is defined as lingering residue from tobacco smoke which clings to upholstery, clothing and the skin.  You know exactly what I’m talking about if you’ve ever spent any time around smokers.  (By the way, washing your clothes in a white vinegar/water mixture will get the smell out, but I digress…)

According to a new study, that resisdue contains toxic chemicals that when mixed with a common indoor pollutant (like the exhaust from a car or gas appliances) can cause harm.

The researchers recommend a total smoking ban in homes and cars to keep people (especially young children) healthy.  They say even if someone smokes outdoors, they risk bringing that residue back with them.  Smokers, understandably, are furious.

Look, I was (and still am) all for the public smoking ban.   But if people know how dangerous smoking is to them and their families, but continue to light up, it’s their choice. I don’t agree with them, but dictating what people can do in their own homes in the name of keeping them healthy is crossing a line.

SOURCE: “Third-hand Smoke” Could Damage Health

We’re all doomed!

November 18, 2009

Ok, maybe I’m being a bit heavy handed, but check this out…

Scientists got their hands on a 3500 year old mummy and put her (the mummy’s name is Lady Rai) through an MRI.  (Weird, but whatever, they’re scientists, that’s what they do.)  Anyways, what they found is that this mummy, who was apparently a nursemaid to an Egyptian queen, died of heart disease.  I know what you’re thinking, big whoop, right?  Wrong.  Think about it.  This gal died of clogged arteries before fast food, cigarettes and the couch potato habit.  This has led those some scientists to conclude heart disease maybe largely genetic. 

But before you dump your exercise and dieting regime, hear me out.  Maybe we’re better off than our Egyptian counterparts.  How, you ask?  Well, we know what leads to an increased risk of heart disease and can prevent it.  That wasn’t the case thousands of years ago.  I can’t say for sure if exercising, watching our fat intake, even taking cholesterol lowering drugs means we’re healthier than our ancient ancestors.  That’s something only the sands of time will tell.

SOURCE:  Mummy’s CT scan shows heart disease came before fast food

Getting rid of that butt

October 29, 2009

Looking to kick the habit?  Exercise!  (seems like exercise is the cure for everything, doesn’t it?)no-butts-480

Anyways…according to a new article in the journal Addicition, exercise helps smokers quit because it makes cigarettes less attractive.

This is big news because it’s the first time research has shown working out can lessen the powerful lure of grabbing a smoke.  And you don’t have to exercise long to reap the benefits.  Study participants only spent 15 minutes exercising a a moderate intensity.

SOURCE: Exercise Makes Cigarettes Less Attractive to Smokers

No ifs, ands or butts

September 23, 2009

It’s been more than six years since New York City implemented its ban on smoking in bars, restaurants and other public places.  I, for one, can’t imagine the city without it.  Being a non-smoker, the ban means I can enjoy a night out on the town without having to worry about my hair and clothes reeking like cigarette smoke.  Not to mention the sore throat and stuffy nose that usually followed the next morning.  Now it turns out the anti-smoking laws prevent heart attacks too.

no-butts-480

According to two new studies appearing in Circulation and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the number of heart attacks in countries that have banned smoking has dropped by about a third.  In a country of over 304 million people (like the U-S), that equals more than 101 million people NOT having heart attacks.  Most of those people are non-smokers who otherwise would have been exposed to second-hand smoke. 

 No butts about it; that’s a pretty sobering fact.

 SOURCE: Smoking bans ‘cut heart attacks’