Tag Archives: cigarette addiction

Cigarettes are Addictive and Infectious

Everyone knows cigarettes are extremely dangerous and addictive.

An American researcher wanted to also draw attention to how infectious the tobacco in cigarettes is, as the substance is laden with bacteria.

In fact, there is so much bacteria present in tobacco, Amy Sapkoto believes the number of germs could certainly be compared to the number of toxic chemicals and carcinogens that have been isolated.

The Theory

Environmental scientist from the University of Maryland, Amy Sapkota, conducted a study that looked at the bacteria found in tobacco and whether or not these bacteria could possibly be a source of infection for a person who comes in contact with it. Sapkota conjectured that simply touching a cigarette or putting one unlit in the mouth can encourage an impairment of bodily functions.

Types of Bacteria Found

The researchers examined the genetic makeup of the bacteria they were able to isolate from the tobacco under sterile conditions. The genetic material of almost 800 different bacteria was compared to the bacteria in the four most smoked brands of cigarettes in Western countries: Marlboro Red, Camel, Kool Filter Kings, and Lucky Strike Original Red.

A few of the bacteria found in the cigarettes researched in this study include:

  • Campylobacter, a germ leading to food poisoning and Guillan-Barre Syndrome;
  • Clostridium, another germ causing food poisoning as well as leading to pneumonia;
  • Corynebacterium, another pneumonia-triggering bacteria;
  • E.Coli;
  • Klebsiella, associated with pneumonia and urinary tract infections;
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa, another bacteria also associated to cases of pneumonia and urinary tract infections;
  • Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, a third bacteria playing a part in pneumonia and urinary tract infections; and
  • several staphylococcus species.

Infectious Bacteria

Cigarettes and BacteriaSapkota doesn’t heed attention to claims that a burning cigarette would kill any bacteria present in the tobacco.

Instead, she theorizes that the cigarette smoke picks up bacteria as it is inhaled, and deposits it into the smoker’s lungs. From here, the bacteria thrives and contributes to the formation of disease.

Reference: Cigarettes might be infectious . . . and, presumably, people wouldn’t need to light up to risk getting sick [http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/55678/title/Cigarettes_might_be_infectious]

Training for a Quitter State of Mind

You are here reading this article because quitting cigarette smoking is a goal that you have set to achieve.

Just like a willing person has to train to run a marathon race, you can also train to quit and win the end of cigarettes fight.

Once you have truly made up you mind to quit you will quickly realize losing is not an option.

I Wonder What It Will be Like When…

A Thumbs Up AttitudeIf you are like many smokers who want to quit you have scanned the web for free tips, advice, and articles on ways to stop smoking and now you have a thumbs up attitude and you are ready to engage and receive support to help you quit for good.

This is the training part of the race to quit. During the training embrace a few of the quitting methods simultaneously  to help you find the best method that works for you.

One helpful tip is to close your eyes and slow down your thoughts while connecting to a peaceful place )like you would in a meditation practice) when the urge to light up is strongest. Imagine a future time where you have already quit smoking for good.  Notice how good you feel. Notice the way people support you and acknowledge your success.

The more you imagine the quitting finish line the sooner you will cross it.

Also spend some time thinking of some nice things you can do for yourself with the money you will save. Let this also be part of your meditation process. You can spend time imagining events, places, things, you can enjoy with the savings.

Drink Plenty of Water

Get use to drinking water. Notice when your mouth begins to feel dry and then drink a tall glass of water before you get really thirsty. Water helps to flush the nicotine and carcinogens out of your system quicker than if you drink it during and after you eat.  Soda and sweetened beverages only enhance and add to cigarette cravings.

If you find you worry that you may need something to do with your hands you can keep them busy by journaling what it is like to have a life as a non smoker. You can reflect on the past harm cigarettes did to you as a smoker, and document your healing progress.

Keep a journal handy when you feel the need to light up, and pour out all your feeling and thoughts without censoring them. This is your journal and no one needs to read what you write. You can write about how it feels when smoking urges arise, and how good it feels when your pass on the urge.

You can write about your progress each step of the way. You will often notice your first page or two often shares a few rants, by the third page you will be filled with inspiration as you move beyond your mind to your deeper inner resources. Journaling can help you stay sane, and also provide glimpses and eventually a deep bond with your inner courage and wisdom.

You Are Learning to Take Better Care of Yourself?

You can also find time to pamper yourself a little more.

Give yourself a spa day! Enjoy the act of washing your face and brushing your teeth more often. Plan a day where you pamper yourself, too.

Don’t think of skipping a day away from your quit smoking training routine. Each morning connect with gratitude and acknowledge that you are not smoking on this day.

Remember life is as precious as we make it. Picture yourself living a live a long and healthy life surrounded by your friends and family. Reflect on those people in your life who are dependent on you, or who think of you as a valuable friend.

By taking better care of yourself and stopping to smell the flowers (your sense of smell will improve, too) take time to enjoy the sunshine and even the raining days that nurture the earth.

You can be the person you really want to be, for you and for your loved ones. Take a stand, and get into a training state of mind. The rest will be easy as you succeed at the quitting marathon.

When Women and Girls Aren’t Pretty in Pink

This last month WHO, the World Health Organization focused more attention on tobacco ads that target women and girls.

Females represent a large market of potential new smokers, especially woman and young females in developing countries.

Take a look at many of the new Big Tobacco’s aggressive campaigns and ads. You will find them linked to fashion, entertainment, and even sports events. Marketing tactics don’t stop at ad campaigns. The latest package designs and the look and feel of many cigarettes are clearly made for “females only.”

“The industry’s market strategy is having its desired impact,” Douglas Bettcher, director of WHO’s tobacco free initiative, said at a news briefing. “More and more girls are starting to light up. This is a serious red flag.”

World No Tobacco Day Released Youth Smoking Survey

In the countries of Chile, Colombia, and Mexico as well as in Eastern Europe teenage girls who smoke is beginning to outnumber teenage male smokers.

Comparing 151 country’s numbers we find girls that are lighting up is now equaling male youth smokers who once dominated younger users.

Pretty in Pink, NOTThe low and middle income country’s tobacco campaigns often use very seductive ads that associate tobacco use with beauty and liberation. Pink is becoming a trendy, smoking fashion statement.

Pink Cigarettes & Fashion Pink Packaging

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize five million people die every year from tobacco-related health problems caused from smoking or second-hand smoke exposure. Two of the three who die from second hand smoke related deaths are women.

Japan tobacco campaigns include pink packs of cigarettes and one cigarette maker in Egypt markets a cigarette pack that resembles a perfume container.

“The industry has studied what makes women tick in both the developed and developing countries,” said Adepeju Olukoya, of the WHO’s gender, women and health department.

Enticing Flavored Cigarettes

Flavored CigarettesAppealing to the market of emotional eaters, taste is another niche to hook new smokers.

The Black Devil Brand comes in an assortment of flavors and colors. Even the name implies you can do something “naughty” and get away with it.

The pink cigarettes are flavored with “Rose” which is one of the most appealing of fragrances in the world. The black package contains chocolate flavored death sticks, one of the most sought after tastes and foods.

By piggybacking on “Chocolate and Roses” the cigarettes mask the reality that their ingredients and harmful, toxic and can shorten one’s life. Praying on the emotions of young people to get them to pick up their first cigarette is a pretty disgusting tactic. Especially, since younger people are the least likely to contemplate mortality and the pain associated with prolonged health problems.

Most of us know how easy it is to become hooked on tobacco when the cigarettes are laced with ingredients that also stimulate the addictive centers in the brain.

Next we may see prescription drug manufacturers doing the same thing.

Reference:
(Editing by Michael Taylor) http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSLDE64R1Z420100528?type=marketsNews

Smoking Bans – Smokers Not Hire Ready

Employers are using smoking vs. non-smoking as one of the criteria to hire employees.

Whether a person smokes or not could be a deciding factor even before you have been E-Verified.

For smokers looking for gainful employment, their addiction makes the possibilities even harder than they may realize.

Fair Debate for Smokers and Non-Smokers

Smokers are willing and able to work in smoke-free environments and can put up with it in order to work.

Once that craving hits though, they will sneak outside on breaks to have a few puffs of nicotine until quitting time. The working smoker’s perception is they have the best of both worlds – a smoke-free environment on the inside of the workplace and a chance to smoke on the outside during working hours.

The non-smokers want to work in smoke-free environments. A smoking policy inside an employees place of employment will provide an environment free of second hand smoke … except:

What if the employee who smokes reeks of cigarettes

What if the second hand smoke finds its way through open windows, doors, and hallways from around the building.

What if smokers begin smoking in bathrooms, or stairwells?

Then an environment is not truly smoke free and for employees a non smoking is really non-existent.

The Win/Win/Lose

Hospitals and other smoke-free conscious employers are pulling out the stops for justifying their no smoking policies.

With the current healthcare reform policy, employers are justifying the testing of potential employees.  Nicotine tests similar to random drug testing are qualified and being administered.

If non-smokers are hired it is less likely the employee will be hospitalized for ailments related to lung cancer. Insurance cost savings is the rationale for these tests because they can save on costly medical expenses in the future.

Medical costs will be considerably less because symptoms related to asthma, bronchial infections, and allergies will not exist.  Families will be healthier and have less cause to visit the doctor or fill a prescription.  Insurance premiums will not have to cover as many catastrophic illnesses related to smoking and second hand smoke.

If a ban on hiring smokers is embraced by businesses in all 50 states, a long road of tough economic times will be facing those that smoke if they refuse to quit.  Smokers will feel defeated not because they lack the skills to perform their jobs but lack the skills to quit smoking to gain and keep their jobs.  Being a smoker will have a stigma that has obvious and detrimental consequences.

Quit While You Can

These bans are the sign of the times and smokers need to prepare to move with them.  If you are currently unemployed, be aware that your smoking addiction is a possible criterion as to whether you land the next job.

Still working and smoking? Higher insurance rates especially for smokers and other unnecessary risk takers are certain to be the norm. Cessation Programs may have some provisions that give you a timeline to quit before your insurance rates and premiums are dramatically increased.

An important part of your life may be your career.  Do not let smoking be the thing that ends it.

References:

  1. WHO POLICY ON NON-RECRUITMENT OF SMOKERS OR OTHER TOBACCO USERS
  2. Smokers Not Hired

Kick Butts Day(s) the Young People’s Great American Smoke Out

Quitting smoking is hard.

And the more help and support that we can give smokers to help them quit, the better off we all – men, women, children, dogs, cats, etc. will be.

March 24th was the 15th Annual Kick Butts day celebrated across the country.

Kids and young adults across the country will stand up to ask legislators to protect them from the tobacco industry. Protect them? The tobacco industry is not pulling teens and young adults out of their beds, homes or schools and telling them that they must smoke cigarettes or else.

Kick Butts Day – Are They Sending the Wrong Message?

toxic cigsThe way this Kick Butts Day is designed is open for discussion, because the creators of the day are pointing fingers at the legislators, the tobacco industry and everyone else except those that are currently smoking. Why should just legislators and the tobacco industry get all the blame? Yes, advertising campaigns that target youth is an indirect way to entice young adults to start smoking, but they didn’t force them …did they? Why are the creators of this day not also taking responsibility?

What if the Kick Butts Day focused more on getting teens and young adults to quit if they have started smoking and their friends rallying in support of them quitting. The day could commemorate the commitment to quitting, like a commitment to sobriety. The Kick Butts Day could be rallying around those that we know smoke and asking them to commit to quitting while also pointing them to support systems to help them.

What if we also celebrated those who have quit! Honoring them for taking responsibility for their life, health, and the impact smoking has on their loved ones. We could also remember  those we have lost to cigarette smoking.

Putting a Positive Spin on a Positive Effort

We have rehabs for alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, perhaps we need more rehab centers offering innovative approaches to smoking cessation. And we don’t need rehab centers because if we can rally to vote, rally to fight for healthcare, then we can rally to help teens and young people quit on the Kick Butts Day.

So let’s take a step to help smokers stop. An educational and positive spin on this day could implemented, instead of just name calling, or what some might label as cry baby blaming and finger pointing at legislators and the tobacco industry. The Kick Butt Day creators could make this a day of positive action rather than a day of focusing on negative reaction.

A Different Approach

Let’s think about this a moment.

Kick Butts Day could be a rally cry one day each month of the year. One day a month could be a way to check in and hold accountable those who have made the commitment to quit smoking.

One day a month and if that is too much then one day every three months those that have committed to smoking will be obligated to answer to their peers, parents, friends, etc. as to what they are doing and if in fact they have quit.

Diaries should be kept on a daily basis so that the potential quitters are mindful of what they have promised to do and make note of the bad habits that keep them from fulfilling their commitment to quit smoking.

This would certainly be a morale booster for those who have quit and an example to peers and those who want to kick but have been afraid to try.

Kick Butts Day could create a movement to eradicate the need to smoke if we focus inwards instead of outwards.

notable references:

Georgia Kids ‘Kick Butts’ on March 24 – CNBC

On March 26 at Manteo High School in Manteo, students will hold a cigarette butt cleanup to determine if the tobacco-free campus policy is successful. …

STUDENTS at Joseph Priestley College tackled the effects of smoking in association with National No Smoking Day last week.

Raising the Smoking Age, Black Market Cigs & 4 Billion for Health Care

This week the news reported several tobacco related stories.

As the senate passes a bill to protect young Americans from the effects and dangers of smoking, smokers are red hot over the recent tax hikes and smoker’s helplines are getting busier by the day.

Also, Big Tobacco is feeling a little pain this week after paying their annual settlements.

Associated Press Reports on Bill SB 1049

The house will soon review a smoking age bill the Senate voted on and passed on April 15th to raise the smoking age from eighteen to nineteen years old.

The goal of this bill is to reduce the number of youth smokers by keeping tobacco products away from high school students.

The Senate vote was twenty-five for, and five against. In the same story it was reported that in the State of Texas alone roughly one-fourth of the high school students smoked cigarettes in 2006.

If this bill passes, the tobacco supply aimed at eighteen year old smokers would not be available legally.

Big Tobacco Yearly Annual Settlements

Also in the news, Philip Morris USA made its annual tobacco payment of four billion dollars as part of the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement which is paid to reimburse states for smoking-related health care costs.

In total, Big Tobacco agreed to make about $206 billion in annual payments over more than two decades.

However, not all states are using the funds as specified.  The American Cancer Society in New England reported that only a small percentage of funds targeted for tobacco prevention programs were allocated. This lack of responsibility is putting children and youth at risk for taking up the nasty tobacco habit.

Red Hot Over Cig Tax Creates Busy Helplines

The tobacco tax in Arizona was only thirty-nine cents a pack a few weeks ago.

With the new government tax add on of a little over a dollar, the Arizona Tax Revenue department is worried about their share of the taxes being undercut due to smokers seeking alternative ways to buy their smokes.

With cigarettes at just under seven dollars a carton in Mexico, black market tobacco products may soon be infiltrating the area along with the resale of cigs purchased at the Indian reservations.

At the same time, calls to the Arizona stop smoking help line are up, as reported by the Tuscon Citizen news.

The Arizona Smoker’s Helpline is web based and offers a test for smokers. It is designed to provide a score on each of six factors that describe individual smoking behaviors. They understand that people phase in and out of wanting to quit and they know how to support smokers in taking the next step to really quit for good.

First learn why you smoke. Is it …

  1. Stimulation – If you smoke for stimulation, try a brisk walk, dance around the room, change your state in another way.
  2. Handling – If you like the way a cigarette feels then try other things to keep your hands busy. Take up a hobby
  3. Increasing Sensation of Pleasure –  Create some new activities in your life that are stimulating and enjoyable without being destructive.
  4. Reducing Negative Feelings – If smoking is a crutch for coping with emotions there are many great programs designed to bring emotional highs and lows into balance.
  5. Cravings or Psychological Addiction – Try products like NicoDrops, nicotine gum or patches to remove your focus on cigarettes while incorporating hobbies and other activities to divert your attention.
  6. The Habit – Begin noticing every cigarette you smoke and ask yourself if you really want it.

Get Free of CigarettesThese six factors are more extensively explained at the Arizona Smoker’s Helpline and offer a way for becoming more conscious about your reasons for smoking. If you are just thinking about quitting their free web-based smoker’s helpline is really worth checking out.

Once you have a better understanding of why you light up, you may be more inclined to know what steps to take to stop your nasty tobacco habit.

How Marlboro Became Number One

How did Marlboro cigarettes, the best-selling brand in the world, ever get so popular in the first place?

Was it really the Marlboro Man?

Did people just like the taste? What? According to a new study in this month’s American Journal of Public Health the secret may well have been “freebase nicotine.” Really.

For a long time, many cigarette companies used ammonia during the manufacturing process to inflate the volume of tobacco, accentuate certain flavors, or even get rid of a few carcinogens. But in the early 1960s, according to Terrell Stevenson and Robert Proctor, Philip Morris started using ammonia to freebase the nicotine in cigarette smoke, creating a form of “crack nicotine” that delivered a speedier, sharper kick, and essentially allowed Philip Morris to keep rolling out addictive cigarettes while lowering tar and nicotine levels to allay public fears.

Marlboro Cig PackAs it happens, Philip Morris first perfected its ammonia trick with Marlboros, which quickly rose from being a bit player to becoming the most dominant cigarette brand on the market, which forced all the other manufacturers to scramble to figure out Philip Morris’s secret. (They did, eventually.)

Over the last decade, as the industry has come under fire for manipulating nicotine levels to keep customers hooked, Philip Morris has managed to defend itself by noting that ammonia has all sorts of more innocuous uses and couldn’t possibly be playing a role here. I guess we’ll see if this new paper kicks the last legs out from under that defense.

Source: Bradford Plumer, The New Republic

One Smoker’s Advice to Teens: Add up the Costs of Cigarettes

While most adults would counsel the greatest negative involved with smoking cigarettes is increased risk of lung cancer.

This truth is far away in the minds of most young smokers, they tend to not even think about it.

So, if you’re a teen smoker and “not afraid” of lung cancer, just think about the following here-and-now downsides to smoking.

They should be more than enough to convince you to quit.

Nicotine Addiction Facts

Nicotine is considered the most addictive substance known to man, and the longer you smoke, the more powerful your addiction becomes. It is much easier for a smoker of a few years to overcome nicotine addiction than for someone who has smoked for decades. Quit now, while it’s still fairly easy to do. You will never regret the decision.

Your Supporting the Tax Man

Unfair (but life itself is not fair, as you are just now learning), cigarettes are an easy target for tax revenue generation. Because of money grubbing politicians and sheep-like citizens, the price of a pack increases constantly and exponentially – and that trend is guaranteed to continue. If you think it’s financially painful to support your habit today with the cost of a pack at more than $4, just imagine how badly your bank account will suffer when that pack costs $10 or more a decade from now.

Nicotine Normalcy Habit

Think about what nicotine provides you: Your first few smokes gave you a very short, very minor high. While that was certainly interesting, you should realize by now that as your body has become addicted to nicotine, the only “benefit” you’re provided by the drug is a feeling of normalcy. Think hard about this one: You’re paying money for a drug that does nothing, other than allowing you to feel normal – allowing you to obtain the exact same state of normalcy that non-smokers obtain without doing anything, or paying any money. Now is that stupid, or what?

Do the Math

Break out your calculator and punch in the following numbers for a smoker who starts in 2008 and continues for four decades: 40 years x 365 days x average of 1.5 packs per day x average of $8 per pack (I’m being conservative on the average price; in reality, it will probably be even greater) = $175,200.

That’s no typo: $175,200. Think about what you could do with $175,000! You like boats? How about a 40-foot live-aboard ocean sailboat? Cars? You could buy four brand-new Corvettes. Or a very high-performance airplane, or 50 percent of a beautiful home, or a business, or medical/law school, or…

Teen Cost of SmokingOr…you could just buy cigarettes. And feel normal. Just like a non-smoker feels. All for the low, low price of just $175,200.

Quit while it’s still easy, and take all the pennies you used to spend on smokes and throw ’em in a big jar. It would only take a few years before you could buy the first of your four Corvettes.

Source:  The Reporter in Letters to the Editor, Paul Domeier, Coarsegold

Psssst – Smoking is Associated with Rectal Cancer

Cigarette smoking may be a risk factor for — but not colon–cancer.

The evidence linking cigarette smoking and rectal colorectal cancer risk has been inconsistent.

Electra Paskett, Ph.D., of Ohio State University in Columbus and colleagues investigated the association between smoking history and colorectal cancer among nearly 147,000 participants in the Women’s Health Initiative.

After an average follow-up of about 8 years, 1,242 women were diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Increased colorectal cancer incidence was associated with more cigarettes smoked per day, more years as a smoker, and older age when the women quit smoking.

Rectal ImageCurrent smokers were at an increased risk for rectal cancer, but not colon cancer, compared with never smokers. Secondhand exposure to cigarette smoke was not associated with either cancer.

“Our data add to the extensive evidence indicating that preventing smoking initiation and decreasing the duration of smoking might reduce colorectal cancer risk,” the authors write.

This research was published recently in the Journal of The National Cancer Institute.

colorectal cancer

Journal of the National Cancer Institute (2007, November 14). Smoking is Associated with Rectal Cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 15, 2007, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2007/11/071113165642.htm

The Five D’s For Quitting Smoking

The five D’s provide a process to help smokers keep from lighting up.

Therefore, when the urge to smoke strikes remember the 5 D’s.

You could even put a post-it note with these queues at places you usually go to fulfill your nicotine habit.

By alerting your conscious mind you will support building new subconscious patterns to weaken your tobacco dependency and lay a foundation for smoking cessation.

The 5 D’s for Quitting Smoking

  1. DELAY for three to five minutes and the urge will pass.
  2. DRINK WATER to fight off cravings.
  3. DO SOMETHING ELSE to fight off cravings.
  4. DEEP BREATHE as it will relax you. Close your eyes and take 10 slow deep breaths.
  5. DISCUSS your thoughts and feelings with someone close to you or a support group.