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Freshstart: 21 Days to Stop Smoking by The American Cancer Society

Quit Smoking: Freshstart Audio Program Now Available on Kindle

Freshstart: 21 Days to Stop Smoking (Simon & Schuster) was originally published in 1986 as a resource guide for people wanting to quit smoking.

This book, written by The American Cancer Society, still serves as an invaluable tool for smokers today who are seeking a healthier lifestyle.

And because quitting smoking is just as important today as it was then, Freshstart is now available as an audio download for Kindle.

Stop Smoking with 21 Steps

The first three weeks of non-smoking are extremely important. While they can difficult, there are things you can do to get through this transition period and stay on the path of being smoke free.

The American Cancer Society released Freshstart as a guide for people working through this process. The book addresses people’s physical transition as well as psychological. Designed as a day-today program, Freshstart covers many of the essential topics to quitting.

Freshstart Quit Program

Freshstart: 21 Days to Stop Smoking by The American Cancer SocietyThis life-saving program discusses techniques for smokers to resist the craving for a cigarette and what types of nicotine withdrawal symptoms to expect during the quitting process.

The American Cancer Society also goes over what it calls the “three hooks of smoking” and offers tips to smokers on how to reinvent themselves as a non-smoker. As extra reassurance, the program covers the rewarding benefits of becoming a non-smoker, both for the present and for the future. For example, your breath, hair, and clothes will no longer smell, and food will taste better. Your risk of cancer and heart disease will decrease dramatically, even after a year of non-smoking. Furthermore, you’ll save thousands of dollars by kicking the habit.

With the fear of gaining weight often at the top of smokers’ “reasons not to quit” list, Freshstart features a section devoted to easing these fears and gives tips on maintaining a healthy body. For example, without a cigarette habit, you’ll be capable of increasing your physical activity.

For help quitting, please click > Freshstart: 21 Days to Stop Smoking audio program by The American Cancer Society

From the 60s! Watch This …

For help quitting, please click > Freshstart: 21 Days to Stop Smoking audio program by The American Cancer Society

Small Changes Can Help Prevent Cancer

Making small changes could make a big difference in preventing cancer.

Avoid preventable risk factors by incorporating these guidelines into of your lifestyle.

Three choices can make a vast difference in increasing your odds for staying healthy and keeping yourself in check.

Don’t Smoke Tobacco

Smoking damages nearly every organ in the human body, is linked to at least 15 different cancers, accounts for about 30 percent of all cancer deaths and costs billions of dollars each year, according to the American Cancer Society.

In the United States, cigarette smoking is responsible for about 90 percent of all cases of lung cancer — the leading cause of cancer death. Smoking cigars and pipes or chewing tobacco isn’t safe either.

“The importance of not smoking cannot be over emphasized in the prevention of cancer,” says Dr. Thomas Johnson, oncologist with Sacred Heart Medical Oncology Group. “Quitting is imperative for anyone who uses tobacco. Even people who have used tobacco for many years reduce their risk of cancer by quitting, as compared to people who continue to use tobacco.”

Toss Cigarettes Away“The predisposition for lung cancer does run in families,” Johnson says. “Smokers with relatives who have contracted lung cancer are at extremely high risk for developing cancer themselves, due to their genetic makeup.

You will often see multiple cases of lung cancer in a family that has a history of COPD, emphysema or lung cancer — those family members are predisposed to cancer and should not smoke.

Tobacco use alone increases their risk of cancer by 10 to 20 percent.”

Eat Healthy Foods and Get Regular Exercise

Fully one-third of cancer deaths are linked to poor diet, physical inactivity and carrying excess weight.

The American Cancer Society recommends that you limit foods high in fat, eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day and limit alcohol, if you drink it at all. Include moderate physical activity (such as brisk walking) for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week to help achieve or maintain a healthy weight.

“Being overweight increases cancer risk by causing the body to produce and circulate more of the hormones estrogen and insulin, which can stimulate cancer growth,” said Dr. Dee McLeod, oncologist with Sacred Heart Medical Oncology Group. “Studies suggest that people whose diet is high in fat have an increased risk of cancers of the colon, uterus and prostate. Lack of physical activity and being overweight are risk factors for cancers of the breast, colon, esophagus, kidney and uterus.”

Avoid Harmful Sun Exposure

Most skin cancer occurs on exposed parts of your body, including your face, hands, forearms and ears. When going out in the sun keep these tips in mind: Avoid peak hours of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., stay in the shade, cover exposed skin with clothes and hats and use sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.Get immunized

Certain cancers are associated with viral infections that can be prevented with immunizations. Talk to your doctor about immunization against Hepatitis B and the Human Papilloma Virus.

Get Health Screenings

“For many types of cancer, by the time that there are symptoms, the cancer is too far advanced to achieve a cure,” McLeod says. “Cancer screenings identify those at high-risk for cancer, and to be most useful, must detect cancers before symptoms would cause a person to seek care. Early detection is so often a key factor in successful treatment.”

Screenings should include tests to detect cancers of your skin, mouth, colon and rectum. If you’re a man, it should also include your prostate and testes. If you’re a woman, add cervix and breast cancer screening to your list. Visit www.cancer.org to find the American Cancer Society Guidelines for Early Detection of Cancer.

For more information on cancer prevention and treatment, visit The SacredHeart Cancer Center.

Let’s Not Waste Another 12 Years

The federal government regulates everything from breakfast cereal and hair dye to horse feed and breast implants. The list of items regulated by our government includes just about every consumable product in America from prescription drugs to vegetables.

But there’s one item strangely absent from the list, the one that causes more preventable deaths than any other product. A powerful and well-funded lobby has managed to keep tobacco off the list of federally regulated products for more than 40 years after the first surgeon general’s report linked smoking to cancer. Even today, a simple list of ingredients is not required for tobacco products.

Tobacco companies have taken advantage of this lack of oversight and have shamelessly marketed to underaged recruits through cartoon advertising, nicotine and ingredient manipulation, fruity flavors, free giveaways at rock concerts, and ads in publications with high teen readership.

In 1996, the Food and Drug Administration assumed the authority to regulate tobacco as a consumable product and published rules regarding this regulation. Some basic common-sense approaches were proposed in those rules, including ways to prohibit the sale and marketing of tobacco to children. However, the Supreme Court ruled that only Congress could give the FDA authority to regulate tobacco.

Twelve years later, we continue to wait for Congress to take action regarding this lone unregulated product. We submit to you that this is twelve years too long.

Government RegulatorsCurrently being considered by Congress, the Family Smoking Prevention and Control Act, S. 625 and H.R. 1108, would give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate tobacco products the way drugs, devices, and foods are currently regulated. The American Cancer Society encourages all members of Congress to stand up and be counted on this issue. We cannot afford another 12 years of inaction.

Clanton is chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, High Plains Division, which includes Oklahoma. He is former deputy director for the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health.

Source: Mark Clanton, M.D., The Oklahoman

UT takes $445,000 of Philip Morris Money for Tobacco Grower Research

Should the University of Tennessee accept money from the tobacco industry to help promote the growth of domestic tobacco production?

That ethical question has yet to be debated—even nearly six months after UT quietly received a one-year $445,000 grant from Philip Morris to establish and operate a Center for Tobacco Grower Research in Morgan Hall on the Knoxville campus.

News of the grant is coming as a surprise to anti-smoking activists and even UT staff.

“It blows me away that UT would take money from a cigarette manufacturer, knowing that smoking kills,” says Douglas Benton, an Alcoa resident who earned a business degree at UT and founded No Smoking in Restaurants in Tennessee (NoSIR) in 2005. “I don’t like people making one penny off killing other people. I don’t understand why my university would try to help farmers to make more money selling something that has no possible benefit at all to a human.”

UT initially released its big news to ag extension agents, tobacco growers, and Burley strade publications where the reaction was positive. The inaugural Nov. 29 press release unabashedly quotes Philip Morris’ Vice President of Leaf, Jeanette Hubbard: “Because American tobacco is the backbone of our blends, a stable supply of U.S. tobacco is very important to Philip Morris USA. That’s why we are pleased to work with the University of Tennessee to support sustainability of U.S. tobacco production through the research conducted by the center.”

But there’s been hardly a murmur about the ethics of accepting funding from a manufacturer of tobacco products, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say cause 438,000 deaths in the United States per year, representing 5.5 million years of potential life lost and $167 billion in health-care costs and lost productivity annually.

“I’m not really catching any heat,” says the center’s director Daniel Green, who also worked with the Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association. “Obviously you get some questions about, ‘Why tobacco?’ but we’re getting a lot of support from the growers.”

This support from growers will probably continue—after all, they stand to gain production and industry information that hasn’t been available since the 2004-2005 federal tobacco-quota buyout terminated federal tobacco price-support and supply-control programs, and the center’s research will undoubtedly provide them with ways to produce more competitively in the new free-market economy.

But away from the burley fields, opposition and outrage are mounting as more members of Tennessee’s public health community and UT alumni learn of the center’s creation and the source of its funding.

Jenny Carico, a nurse at Student Health Services who earned her Bachelor’s of Nursing at UT, says tobacco money funding anything on campus is ill-advised and unethical. “I think a great deal of tobacco marketing is geared to my patient population and it makes me spitting mad,” she says.

Tobacco According to the state Department of Health’s Prevalence of Tobacco Use in Tennessee, 1997-2007, smoking prevalence among adults ages 18-24 years is around 29 percent, compared to 22.6 percent of the state’s general population and 20.1 percent for the United States on the whole.

“The cigarette manufacturers are gunning for these kids with marketing that gets them started smoking at an age when they think they’re bulletproof,” she says. “By the time they figure out they’re not, they have to deal with the reality that tobacco is addictive, sometimes at great expense to their health—that’s not the kind of profit we want funding university research.”

The agricultural portion of the university community, though, doesn’t see what all the fuss is about.

“You know, tobacco is still a legal commodity for farm owners to produce,” says Green, himself a non-smoker though he grew up on a tobacco farm in Kentucky. “Here, it’s just a part of agriculture—an important part of agriculture.”

Kelly Tiller, an assistant professor at UT’s Agricultural Policy Analysis Center, whose work is partially funded by Philip Morris, explains the agricultural community’s emotional disconnect between tobacco fatalities and the product they grow as a long-time cultural phenomenon, one that hasn’t changed much even though around three-fourths of the state’s tobacco growers ceased production after the federal tobacco-quota buyout.

“To them, tobacco growing is viewed as a legal farm enterprise that has provided a significant economic base for many of our rural communities for a very long time, and is tightly integrated into those communities,” Tiller says.

The research center, she says, will also emphasize tobacco merely as an agricultural commodity. “The data will revolve around the farm part of production, not cigarettes or any other manufactured products.”

All of the center’s reports and survey results will be available to the general public, ordinarily from summaries on the center’s website—with no proprietary information for Philip Morris. The benefit to the tobacco giant will be shared by other manufacturers and growers, says Tiller.

And Green hopes that more farmers will decide to grow tobacco because of the center’s research, which could also benefit Philip Morris and other national cigarette and tobacco-product manufacturers.

“While the primary objective will be to collect and disseminate information necessary to enhance the long-term sustainability of U.S. tobacco production, research conducted by the center may improve the success of current growers or attract new or former growers to the industry,” he says.

Green insists that more tobacco farmers, in Tennessee and other tobacco-growing states, would be good for the farm economy.

But Chastity Mitchell, contract lobbyist for the grassroots Campaign for Healthy & Responsible Tennessee (CHART), based in Nashville, is skeptical of more farmers getting in—or getting back to—tobacco production. She’s also wary of Philip Morris’ interest in Tennessee starting in 2007, the same year the state passed the Non-Smokers Protection Act prohibiting smoking in most public places and workplaces, increased its cigarette tax by $0.42 to $0.62 per pack, and significantly increased funding for its tobacco control program.

“I find it interesting that after the big policy year that we had in 2007…that Philip Morris would make this kind of significant investment in Tennessee to sustain the tobacco economy and even to try to recruit new growers,” says Mitchell, who has worked in Tennessee in tobacco control for the past eight years, including stints with the American Heart Association and as Government Relations Director for the American Cancer Society. “We’ve seen, over the years, that domestically grown tobacco is just a minute fraction compared to what tobacco companies purchase worldwide.”

And growers had good reasons to get out of the tobacco business back in 2005—and to continue to stay out, says Mitchell. “They wouldn’t make the same money that they did with price supports, they don’t have the allotment anymore…and to try to get them back, especially when manufacturers like Philip Morris are continuing to buy more and more overseas, it’s just a really strange situation.”

The Philip Morris investment may also cast a shadow on UT Agricultural Economics’ relationship with the public health community, says Mitchell, even though they’ve historically collaborated on tobacco issues that affected both groups, facilitated by Tiller, who was a tobacco policy analyst almost nine years before the research center’s creation.

“I think those collaborations fostered a good bit of communication, but now that we know Dr. Tiller is involved with this Tobacco Research Center, and Philip Morris is underwriting it, it would certainly make those in the public health community hesitant to sit down and have an open dialogue with the tobacco growers, knowing how they’re funded.”

At least on the surface, the Philip Morris money does not seem to benefit the University of Tennessee’s bottom line. It does cover Green’s entire salary and overhead at his Morgan Hall office, but he’s a new hire, not an existing member of the faculty. A small portion goes to cover part of Dr. Tiller’s salary, and a graduate assistant who would come from the Agricultural School is budgeted, but hasn’t been hired. The vast majority pays for data collection expenses.

But even if UT won’t get a new wing for the Ag school, or millions in discretionary funds, NoSIR’s Benton can see no excuse for taking Philip Morris money.

“It’s incredible that an institute of higher learning would promote smoking when ordinarily the more educated people are, the less likely they are to smoke,” Benton says. “I think the university has to learn to be like the rest of us…that sometimes you just have to put your foot down and say, ‘No.’”

Source: —Rose Kennedy, Metro Pulse

Tobacco Companies Target Young Female Smokers: Hot Pink Ladies-Only

We don’t see much of the Marlboro Man anymore, but what about the “Virginia Slims” woman? Everybody knows what happened to him – or them, two of whom died from lung cancer.

She, however, was never quite as iconic. But that doesn’t mean the tobacco companies don’t have a soft spot for women, especially the young ones, according to a new report released Wednesday.

Issued by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the report alleges tobacco companies are trying to cultivate a generation of new users with fruity flavored cigarettes and marketing campaigns that target young people, including young women and girls.

In particular, the report takes issue with a recent R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company campaign that it says is clearly designed to attract girls with hot pink product packaging, ladies-only nights at clubs and cutesy party giveaway bags containing cigarettes, berry-flavored lip gloss and cell phone “bling.”

David Howard, spokesman for the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, said the Camel No. 9 marketing campaign is not about reaching young people. There are 20 million adult women smokers, Howard said, and 19 million of them smoke some brand other than Camel. Health organizations involved with the report, however, insist the ads cross the line against marketing tobacco products to youth. The report was released in collaboration with the American Lung Association, American Cancer Society and American Heart Association.

“It seems pretty clear that the ads were designed to appeal to young girls and 20-somethings,” said Ellen Vargyus, counsel for the American Legacy Foundation, an anti-smoking organization. “From [tobacco companies’] point of view, it’s sound marketing to do that. We know that 80 percent of smokers start before they’re 18.”

“In the days when tobacco companies were not so careful about what they said they used to call teens ‘replacement smokers,’” Vargyus said.

According to the American Heart Association, more than 178,000 women die from smoking-related diseases in a year. While death from uterine and stomach cancer has decreased in the last 70 years, lung cancer has surged among women, with an increase in incidence of almost 400 percent in the last 20 years.

The Camel No. 9 campaign caused quite a stir last fall. A group of 40 U.S. House members sent letters to 11 magazines calling on them to stop carrying the ads. The magazines, and their parent companies after them, either did not respond or refused.

Courtesy of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.If the goal of the ads was to get cigarettes in the hands of young women and girls, tobacco companies chose the right style and place, said Rosemarie Conforti, a professor of media literacy and education at Southern Connecticut State University.

“In the age of age aspiration, there are many teen girls who are reading these magazines because they want to be older,” Conforti said. “Magazines, and they know this, are absolutely the manual on how to be a young woman.”

Conforti said the fashion layout especially is the kind of guide girls love. It tells you how to be sophisticated and fashion-forward in three simple steps, she said, and it shows you the lifestyle that goes along with it through the cigarette ad on the right.

“Obviously, the fourth implied step is: ‘And smoke,’” Conforti said.

As these kinds of ads define what it means to be a woman, Conforti said, they also establish a benchmark against which girls and women measure themselves, having a cumulative impact that is more about long-term effects on lifestyle and less about one particular product.

R.J. Reynolds has said it will not advertise in print magazines in 2008. The Camel No. 9 campaign, however, continues online and through other promotional materials that are given away at bar parties.

“The innocence mixed with the sophistication – the roses and the pink mixed with the black — it’s the two sides that every girl wants to be,” Conforti said. “Sweet and sexy, sweet and sexy, that’s what women hear over and over again. You can either be an angel or a whore, and we don’t have a lot of choices for what’s right down the middle.”

Source: Kahrin Deines, Medill Reports/Chicago

States Ranked On Anti-Tobacco Campaign Spending For Kids

In a new report outlining the use of tobacco state by state New Hampshire has received a failing grade.

It was released jointly by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and American Lung Association.

The report, entitled “A Broken Promise to Our Children” ranked states on their cost associated with programs aimed at protecting kids from the dangers of tobacco, and ranked the state of New Hampshire a disappointing 41st.

The state spends 1.3 million dollars per year on anti-tobacco programs for kids, which is only 12% of the recommended spending amount.

Other states did not fair much better on the national ranking report.

North Carolina came in a disappointing 28th in anti-tobacco spending, offering a yearly allotment of just over 17 million dollars.

Massachusetts came in at number 33, only spending 12.8 million dollars per year on anti-tobacco campaigns aimed at kids.

“Massachusetts has made a modest improvement in protecting kids from tobacco, but budget cuts have reduced the effectiveness of what was once one of the nation’s best tobacco prevention programs,” said William V. Corr, executive director of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, in a statement.

Maine , Delaware and Colorado rounded out the top 3 states when it came to spending for anti-tobacco campaigns for kids.

Overall, the report found that as many as 30 states and the District of Columbia are spending less than half the CDC’s minimum amount recommended to be spent on anti-tobacco campaigns.

Source: Dogflu.ca

Tobacco Deaths a Third World Plague

Facts tell us tobacco deaths on the rise and increasing in many countries.

Judith Longstaff Mackay, a senior policy adviser to the World Health Organisation, said cigarette markets were shrinking in advanced economies, but growing in developing states.

Tobacco-related deaths are expected to double to 10 million a year by 2030, with most fatalities in developing countries, says a senior World Lung Foundation (WLF) official.

“There’s about three million TB [tuberculosis] deaths a year, and five million deaths a year from tobacco,” said Mackay. “By 2030, that will be closer to 10 million, they’ll be doubling…and the major burden is on developing countries.”

Staring Contest by Cyril Van Der HaegenSmoking is a major cause of cancer of the lung, throat and bladder. Despite proof of the health risks, Mackay said more people were lighting up worldwide, with 1.64 billion smokers expected by 2030, from 1.3 billion today.

The American Cancer Society labels China a “ticking time bomb” with about 320 million smokers.

According to the 2006 edition of The Tobacco Atlas, published by the society, the four countries with the highest number of male smokers (who are the majority of the world’s smokers) were China, Yemen, Djibouti and Cambodia.

New Zealand Herald

Quit Smoking is the Way to Good Health

Cigarette smoking kills approximately 300,000 in the United States each year, and most of these people are seniors.

Lung cancer and emphysema are the best-known miserable outcomes.

However, accelerated development of atherosclerosis is the most important problem resulting from smoking.

This results in heart attacks and strokes, heart pains, leg pains, and many other problems. Pipe and cigar smoking do not have the pulmonary consequences that cigarette smoking does, but they do predispose to cancer of the lips, and tongue. Nicotine in any form has the same bad effects on the small blood vessels and thus accelerates development of atherosclerosis.

n.jpgIt is never too late to quit.

Only two years after stopping cigarette smoking, your risk of heart attack returns to average.

It has actually decreased substantially the very next day! After ten years your risk for lung cancer is back to nearly normal.

After only two years there is a decrease in lung cancer risk by perhaps one-third.

The development of emphysema is arrested for many people when they stop smoking, although this condition does not reverse. Seniors often feel that it is too late for changes in lifestyle to have beneficial effects on their health.

Not so. Most seniors have plenty of time to get major health benefits from quitting smoking. Remember that after age 65 men live an average of 15.4 more years and women 19.2 years. Chances of stroke and heart attack begin to go down immediately after you quit. Moreover, you will notice at once that your environment has become more friendly when you are not a smoker. Many of the daily hassles that impair the quality of your life go away when you stop offending others by this habit.

Many health educators are skeptical about cutting down slowly and stress that you need to stop completely. This may not always be true for seniors. For some people, rationing is a good way to get their smoking down to a much lower level, at which point it may be easier to stop entirely.

For example, the simple decision not to smoke in public can both help your health and decrease your daily hassles. To cut down, keep in the cigarette pack only those cigarettes you are going to allow yourself that day. Smoke the cigarettes only halfway down before extinguishing them.

There are many good stop-smoking courses offered through the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, and local hospitals. Most people won’t need these, but they can be of help. Try by yourself first. Then, if you still need help, get it.

Nicotine chewing gum or patches can help some people quit, and your doctor can give you a prescription and advice. Don’t plan on this as a long-term solution, since the nicotine in the gum or patch is just as bad for your arteries as the nicotine in cigarettes.

The challenge to stop smoking is an example of your ability to make your own choices if you are trapped by your addictions, even the lesser ones, you can’t make your own choices. Victory over smoking behaviors improves your mental health, in part because this is a difficult victory. It can open the door to success in other areas.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/health-articles/quit-smoking-is-the-way-to-good-health-220346.html

Prediction of a Manmade Pandemic

“Tobacco is fast becoming a greater cause of death and disability than any single disease,” says the WHO.

John Seffrin, CEO of the American Cancer Society, has an even bleaker outlook. “We’re about to witness the largest manmade, tobacco-industry-induced pandemic that the world has ever seen.”

Definition of Pandemic from Wikipedia: A pandemic (from Greek pan all + demos people) is an epidemic of infectious disease that spreads through populations across a large region; for instance a continent, or even worldwide.

Cigarette Smoking and Its Impact on Spinal Fusions

Learn About the Prevalence of Cigarette Smoking

According to the American Cancer Society, “48 million adults (25.7 million men and 22.3 million women) were current smokers in the United States in 1997.”

Many of these adult smokers started during their teenage years. Unfortunately, even today people still begin to smoke cigarettes despite published statistics that show its negative impact on health.

The adverse effects of smoking include nicotine addiction, an increased risk of lung and other types of cancer, higher rates of arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and heart disease, as well as decreased life expectancy.

Cigarettes contain dried tobacco leaves and flavorings, which include more than 4,000 chemicals. Some of these substances are harmless until burned and breathed.

The Spine and Cigarette Smoking

Picture of SpineBone is a living tissue dependent on the functions and support provided by the other body systems. When these systems are not able to perform normally, bone is unable to rebuild itself. The formation of bone is particularly influenced by physical exercise and hormonal activity, both of which are adversely affected by cigarette smoking.

Many smokers have less physical endurance than nonsmokers, mainly due to decreased lung function. Cigarette smoking reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood and increases the level of harmful substances, such as carbon monoxide. This, combined with the effects of smoking on the heart and blood vessels, can limit the benefits from physical activity.

In men and women, cigarette smoking is known to influence hormone function. Smoking increases estrogen loss in women who are perimenopausal or postmenopausal. This can result in a loss of bone density and lead to osteoporosis. Osteoporosis causes bones to lose strength, becoming more fragile. This silent disease is responsible for many spine and hip fractures in the United States.

Spinal Fusion and Cigarette Smoking

Defined Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure used to join bony segments of the spine (e.g. vertebrae). In order for the fusion to heal, new bone growth must occur, bridging between the spinal segments. Sometimes fusion is combined with another surgical technique termed spinal instrumentation. Instrumentation consists of different types of medically designed hardware such as rods, hooks, wires, and screws that are attached to the spine. These devices provide immediate stability and hold the spine in proper position while the fusion heals.

Spinal fusion (also termed arthrodesis) can be performed at the cervical, thoracic, or lumbar levels of the spine. It takes months to heal. Your doctor may order post-operative radiographs (x-rays) to monitor the progress of this healing.

The long-term success of many types of spinal surgery is dependent upon successful spinal fusion. In fact, if the fusion does not heal, spinal surgery may have to be repeated. A failed fusion is termed a nonunion or pseudoarthrosis. Spinal instrumentation, although very strong, may even break if nonunion occurs. Needless to say, spine surgeons try to minimize the risk of this happening.

Cigarette Smoking and Failed Fusion

Certain factors have been found to affect the success of spinal fusion. Some of these factors include the patient’s age, underlying medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, osteoporosis), and cigarette smoking. There is growing evidence that cigarette smoking adversely affects fusion. Smoking disrupts the normal function of basic body systems that contribute to bone formation and growth. As mentioned previously, new bone growth is necessary for a fusion to heal.

Research has demonstrated that habitual cigarette smoking leads to the breakdown of the spine to such a degree that fusion is often less successful when compared to similar procedures performed on non-smokers. In a study of patients undergoing anterior cervical fusion (fusion of the neck), it was observed that smokers had an increased rate of nonunion (up to 47%) as compared to non-smokers.1

Another study evaluated tobacco use in patients who underwent lumbar (low back) fusion. The patients who smoked had failed fusions in up to 40% of cases, compared to only 8% among non-smokers.2 Similar findings have been reported in other studies as well.

Post-Operative Infection

Cigarette smoking compromises the immune system and the body’s other defense mechanisms, which can increase the patient’s susceptibility to post-operative infection. A study conducted by Thalgott et al showed that cigarette smoking was a risk factor for infection following spinal fusion.3

Conclusion

Clearly, cigarette smoking is detrimental to spinal fusion. People who are facing fusion or any spinal surgery should make every effort to stop smoking. Quitting the habit beforehand will decrease the associated risks and increase the likelihood of a successful spinal fusion surgery.

Your physician recognizes the importance of smoking cessation and can provide information about available treatment options.

References

1. An HS, Simpson JM, Glover JM, Stephany J. Comparison between allograft plus demineralized bone matrix versus autograft in anterior cervical fusion. A prospective multicenter study. Spine 1995; 20: 2211-16.

2. Brown CW, Orme TJ, Richardson HD. The rate of pseudarthrosis (surgical nonunion) in patients who are smokers and patients who are nonsmokers: a comparison study. Spine 1986; 9: 942-3

3. Thalgott JS, Cotler HB, Sasso RC, LaRocca H, Gardner V. Postoperative infections in spinal implants. Classification and analysis — a multicenter study. Spine 1991: 8: 981-4.
Original Source: Larry Davidson, M.D. Spine Universe, Memphis, TN, USA 07/28/2006