Tag Archives: nicotine dependency

Resist Picking Up Another Cigarette

You’ve managed to stay off smokes for a day, a week, month or even a year. Well done!

You weren’t sure you were going to make it but here you are – smoke free!  It’s going favorably and you feel great!

Well, mostly. There’s one little problem. Every now and then, things happen that make you feel like having a cigarette.

Smoking Temptations

For instance, as often happens, you’re with a group of friends or colleagues who, one by one, start lighting up. You’re the odd one out. One of them offers you a cigarette. You graciously thank her and remind her you’ve quit for good.

She tells you one cigarette won’t hurt. You persist. The others join in chiding and taunting you.

At other times – and this one’s a real stinker – out of the blue, you develop this sudden, sickening feeling – like there’s deep empty void within you. It feels like the only thing that could fill this gaping hole is by having a cigarette.

Contrary to what you’ve heard, read or even personally experienced in a previous quit attempt (am I kidding?!), quitting cigarettes doesn’t have to be too difficult. Quitting’s easier when you have the right mindset. It also doesn’t hurt to have a personal set of effective tools handy.

Half of All Smokers

Take the example above, where friends and colleagues offer you cigarettes even though they know you’ve quit. They tease and taunt you. Hey – it still happens to me too!  And I’m fine with it.

Despite their outward appearance of enjoying their smokes, about half of all smokers in the United States try to quit every year (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures). No doubt health concerns are high on their agenda.

Another good reason for quitting is that it’s just so tedious being addicted to cigarettes!  Smokers are as good as shackled to their packets of cigarettes for years and decades. They need to carry their packets of cigarettes with them everywhere they go.

At the back of their minds is the constant worry they’ll run out, so they’re constantly checking to ensure they’ll have enough until their next purchase.

And all this is not so much because of their love for cigarettes. It’s because of their addiction. Because of their tobacco addiction, smokers need to maintain the nicotine level in their blood at or above a personal threshold. If they’re not able to smoke, the nicotine is cleared from their system and the nicotine level in their blood drops.

They start feeling increasingly uncomfortable. They may find themselves unable to stay focused. It may spoil their mood. They need to smoke just to feel normal.

Smoking Rationalization

Most smokers have tried quitting several times but failed. They try to comfort themselves by rationalizing their addiction (“I smoke light cigarettes and they’re less harmful”). Others procrastinate quitting again and again. Some smokers feel trapped by their cigarette addiction.

This is the saddest lot. Even though, deep down, they’d rather quit, they’ve tried so many times and failed. Giving up they’re resigned to carry on smoking the rest of their lives, even if it kills them.

But Not YOU!

Luckily we’re not talking about you here – you’ve not smoked in days, months or years.

You got yourself out of that hole. Always be happy and grateful you got yourself over your cigarette addiction. Think of all the trouble you’re going to have to go through if you fall back in again by lighting up another cigarette.

Just stay Positively Quit!

Cheers 
Cas

Read a review of > Cassius Cheong’s Positively Quit! Manual
Learn Why Positively Quit! Manual has 13 Five Star Reviews

Obama Forever Hooked on Nicotine?

Could our new president of the United States become a poster child for smoking cessation and the millions of Americans trying to quit?

Now that President Obama is in the White House the eye is one him to see if he will follow through with his promise to the first lady and deal with his nicotine addiction and quit smoking.

In a recent interview, he confessed he hasn’t smoked since he has been in office on the White House grounds. This leaves us to red between the lines and assume that he has had a cigarette elsewhere.

Picture of President Obama

With all the stress that a president is under and with his grounded demeanor, is Obama like many others addicted to cigarettes who suffer from the illusion that smoking soothes the effects of stress? This is indeed one of the most known excuses for nicotine dependency.

Read all about Obama’s smoking habit in The Oregonian

Nicotine Dependency Linked to Bitter Tastes

University research suggests individuals with greater sensitivity to bitter tastes are less likely to develop a dependence on nicotine than those with a lower sensitivity to such tastes.

“If a person is a [sensitive] taster, then that person is less likely to become a smoker,” said lead investigator Ming Li, professor of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences. “In other words, [being a] taster is kind of protective and [being a] non-taster is kind of like a risk factor.”

Li explained that the research project consisted of two components, the first of which was published in the Journal of Medical Genetics and the second of which was published in the American Journal of Human Genetics. The first component of the research focused on genetic analysis of DNA samples taken from more than 2,200 human subjects over a period of nearly 10 years, Li said. The individuals taking part in the study were classified as tasters, non-tasters or intermediate, Li said. If a person was classified as a non-taster, he or she was more likely to become a smoker.

The second component of the research introduced a mathematically based methodology that provided a novel method of detecting gene-gene interaction for other human genetic researchers, Li said, and was used to analyze genetic data on two taste receptor genes, known as TAS2R16 and TAS2R38. The researchers found that these two genes interact with each other in the development of smoking dependence. This component of the research extended the finding of the first report, and together the research offers a “complete story,” Li said.

Jamie Mangold, a former research assistant in Li’s lab who was primarily involved in the first component of the study, commented that the development of the research between the two publications focused on the role of the taste receptor genes.

There was evidence in earlier research, Mangold said, indicating that people who are more sensitive to bitter substances are less likely to be smokers and drinkers. Mangold said she looked through the literature and thought that taste could be a major factor.

“With publication of the first paper, we kind of decided that the TAS2R16 gene was not a primary player … but after the second paper we realized that the TAS2R16 gene may also be important through its interaction with TAS2R38,” Mangold said.

Li explained that older methodologies could only handle either binary traits, such as whether a person did or did not have a disease, or continuous traits, such as height. Moreover, Li said, these methods could not account for all the variables that may affect an individual’s characteristics, such as age, gender and ethnicity.

“With our method, you can correct [the algorithm] for all [factors] that you think may affect this disease,” Li said.

Xiang-Yang Lou, assistant professor of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences and first author of the second paper, said his portion of the study showed a relatively small, but still noticeable, relation between the two interacting genes and nicotine dependency. Lou explained that this is likely because smoking is a complex, multivariable behavior; however, he emphasized that the findings in his report were noteworthy because they had a low level of statistical error for the relatively small quantities with which they dealt.

“This new method is better than [the previously] existing method and able to detect even a relatively small difference,” Lou said. “Genetic researchers are very interested in finding these kinds of interactions these days.”

While the two components of the project were largely independent efforts within the research group, Lou noted, the second paper referred to data that had been examined in the first.

In contrast to the size and longevity of the sample for the first project, Lou said he used data from more than 600 families in a simulation of the algorithm to validate the new method and data from about 400 families in the final nicotine dependence study.

Ultimately, Mangold explained, the new findings may prove valuable for future medical use.

Bitter Taste from Cigarettes “This in particular would be a useful way to screen out for those who would be more susceptible,” Mangold said. “So early on before smoking behavior begins, if one is screened for this genotype, we may actually be able to predict who may become dependent and then actually target more preventive programs toward them.”

Source:  Prateek Vasireddy,  Cavalier Daily

Critical Genetic Link Found Between Human Taste Differences and Nicotine Dependence

University of Virginia Health System researchers found that two interacting genes related to bitter taste sensitivity play an important role in a person’s development of nicotine dependence and smoking behavior.

People with higher taste sensitivity aren’t as likely to become dependent on nicotine as people with decreased taste sensitivity, the researchers discovered.

Newswise — Could an aversion to bitter substances or an overall heightened sense of taste help protect some people from becoming addicted to nicotine? That’s what researchers at UVA have found using an innovative new method they’ve developed to analyze the interactions of multiple genetic and environmental factors. Their findings one day may be key in identifying people at risk for nicotine dependence.

In a study published in the October 10, 2008 issue of The American Journal of Human Genetics, University of Virginia Health System researchers report that two interacting genes related to bitter taste sensitivity, TAS2R16 and TAS2R38, play an important role in a person’s development of nicotine dependence and smoking behavior.

Researchers found that people with higher taste sensitivity aren’t as likely to become dependent on nicotine as people with decreased taste sensitivity.

“This new knowledge is an important tool in predicting whether a person is likely to become a smoker or not,” says lead investigator Ming Li, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences who specializes in addiction and genetics research.

It’s long been known that a person’s ability to taste bitter substances plays a crucial role in the rejection of potentially toxic foods, but taste sensitivity varies widely among individuals and between ethnic groups.

Previous studies have suggested a link between so-called taster status and nicotine dependence, but genetic evidence underlying such a link has been lacking.

“Until now, the method for analyzing gene to gene or gene to environment interactions could only handle one type of trait without correcting for other important covariants, such as age or gender, but we’ve developed a novel algorithm and corresponding computer program that can handle all types of genetic data and correct for any number of variants – gender, age, race, and so on,” explains Dr. Li, who with his team studied genetic data of more than 2,000 participants from more than 600 families of African American or European American origin.

“This new approach significantly expands our ability to study gene-gene or gene-environmental interactions. It provides a far better analytical tool for every scientist out there doing genetics work,” says Dr. Li.

Taste Buds on the Tongue“We’re laying an important foundation for addressing nicotine dependence. First we need to establish a comprehensive understanding of how all associated genes work together to affect smoking behaviors and addiction; that’s what we’re doing now. Once we have that base of knowledge, we can move on to develop effective prevention and treatment for nicotine dependence.”

Source:  University of Virginia Health System

Smoking-Related Illnesses Come with Significant Costs

Nicotine dependence is the physical vulnerability to the chemical nicotine, which is potently addicting when delivered by various tobacco products.

Smoke from cigarettes, cigars and pipes contains thousands of chemicals, including nicotine.

Being addicted to tobacco brings a host of health problems related to the substances in tobacco smoke. These effects include damage to the lungs, heart and blood vessels.

According to the American Lung Association, smoking cost the United States over $193 billion in 2004, including $97 billion in lost productivity and $96 billion in direct health care expenditures, or an average of $4,260 per adult smoker.

Vintage Photo Girl SmokingWhen people inhale, they are ingesting a chemical parade that marches through the body’s vital organs. Mayo Clinic.com reviews the negative health effects throughout the body, including:

Lungs. Smoking is the cause of most cases of lung cancer. Smoking also is the primary cause of other lung problems, such as emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and chronic bronchitis.

Heart and circulatory system. Smoking increases your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. If people smoke more than 25 cigarettes daily, they have five times the risk of heart disease compared to someone who doesn’t smoke.

Cancer. Smoking is a major cause of cancer of the esophagus, larynx, throat (pharynx) and mouth and contributes to cancer of the bladder, pancreas, liver, kidney, cervix, stomach, colon and rectum, and some leukemias.

Appearance. The chemicals in tobacco smoke can dry and irritate the skin, as well as promote wrinkles. Smoking also yellows teeth, fingers and fingernails.

Fertility. Smoking increases the risk of infertility and miscarriage in women and the risk of impotence and infertility in men.

Senses. Smoking deadens the senses of taste and smell, so food isn’t as appetizing as it once was.For most people, smoking cessation is difficult. In fact, quitting smoking might be one of the most challenging things an individual ever does. A feature on MayoClinic.com explains why smoking cessation matters, what to expect and how to stick with it.

Rochester, MN (PRWEB) October 10, 2008 

About the Mayo Clinic Website

Launched in 1995 and visited more than 15 million times a month, this award-winning Web site offers health information, self-improvement and disease management tools to empower people to manage their health.

Produced by a team of Web professionals and medical experts, MayoClinic.com gives users access to the experience and knowledge of the more than 3,300 physicians and scientists of Mayo Clinic.

MayoClinic.com offers intuitive, easy-to-use tools such as “Symptom Checker” and “First-Aid Guide” for fast answers about health conditions ranging from common to complex; as well as an A-Z library of more than 850 diseases and conditions, in-depth sections on 24 common diseases and conditions, 16 healthy living areas including food and nutrition, recipes, fitness and weight control, videos, animations and features such as “Ask a Specialist” and “Drug Watch.”

Users can sign up for a free weekly e-newsletter called “Housecall” which provides the latest health information from Mayo Clinic.

For more information, visit > The MayoClinic.com – Nicotine dependence

Parental Warning: Second-Hand Smoke May Trigger Nicotine Dependence in Kids

New study from Canadian researchers published in Addictive Behaviors

Parents who smoke cigarettes around their kids in cars and homes beware – second-hand smoke may trigger symptoms of nicotine dependence in children.

The findings are published in the September edition of the journal Addictive Behaviors in a joint study from nine Canadian institutions.

“Increased exposure to second-hand smoke, both in cars and homes, was associated with an increased likelihood of children reporting nicotine dependence symptoms, even though these children had never smoked,” says Dr. Jennifer O’Loughlin, senior author of the study, a professor at the Université de Montréal’s Department of Social and Preventive Medicine and a researcher at the Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal.

“These findings support the need for public health interventions that promote non-smoking in the presence of children, and uphold policies to restrict smoking in vehicles when children are present,” adds Dr. O’Loughlin, who collaborated with researchers from the Université de Sherbrooke, the Université de Moncton, the University of British Columbia, McGill University, Concordia University and the Institut national de santé publique du Québec.

Study participants were recruited from 29 Quebec schools as part of AdoQuest, a cohort investigation that measures tobacco use and other health-compromising behaviours. Some 1,800 children aged 10 to 12 years old, from all socioeconomic levels, were asked to complete questionnaires on their health and behaviours. Researchers also asked questions about symptoms of nicotine dependence and exposure to second-hand smoke.

Second Hand Smoke and Children“According to conventional understanding, a person who does not smoke cannot experience nicotine dependence,” says Mathieu Bélanger, the study’s lead author and the new research director of the Centre de Formation Médicale du Nouveau-Brunswick of the Université de Moncton and Université de Sherbrooke. “Our study found that 5 percent of children who had never smoked a cigarette, but who were exposed to secondhand smoke in cars or their homes, reported symptoms of nicotine dependence.”

Dr. O’Loughlin added that this inter-university investigation builds on previous findings: “Exposure to second-hand smoke among non-smokers may cause symptoms that seem to reflect several nicotine withdrawal symptoms: depressed mood, trouble sleeping, irritability, anxiety, restlessness, trouble concentrating and increased appetite.”

About University of Montreal Study on Second Hand Smoke

Contact: Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins
University of Montreal

About the study:

“Nicotine dependence symptoms among young never smokers exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke,” from Addictive Behaviors, was authored by Mathieu Bélanger (Université de Sherbrooke and Université de Moncton), Jennifer O’Loughlin (Université de Montréal and Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal), Louise Guyon (Institut national de santé publique du Québec), André Gervais (Direction de santé publique de Montréal), Jennifer J. McGrath (Concordia University), Chizimuzo T.C. Okoli (University of British Columbia) and Maninder Setia (McGill University).

On the Web:

There May be a Very Good Reason Why Coffee and Cigarettes Often Seem to go Hand in Hand

A Kansas State University psychology professor’s research suggests that nicotine’s power may be in how it enhances other experiences.

For a smoker who enjoys drinking coffee, the nicotine may make a cup of joe even better.

And that offer another explaination why smoking is so hard to quit.

“People have very regimented things they do when they smoke,” said Matthew Palmatier, assistant professor of psychology at K-State. “If you think about where people smoke or who they smoke with, you realize that it occurs in very specific places, often with a specific group of people.

Maybe it’s a reason why nicotine is so addictive — if you get used to having that extra satisfaction from things you normally enjoy, not having nicotine could reduce the enjoyment in a given activity.

“People may not be smoking to obtain a pleasurable drug state. They may be smoking in order to regulate their mood, and that effect could make nicotine more addictive than other drugs.”

Palmatier said much previous research on nicotine addiction has looked at the drug itself rather than the other factors he is studying.

“The approach we’re taking is out of left field,” he said. “But it seems to be one of the best explanations as to why people smoke.”

Palmatier has a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to understand how this phenomenon can be used to better design tobacco addiction treatments, usually offered in stop smoking aids, like patches and pills. He began psychological research in addiction as a graduate student and later began researching the reinforcing effects of nicotine.

Coffee and Cigarettes“The big picture is trying to figure out why people smoke,” Palmatier said. “There are a lot of health risks, and the majority of smokers already know what they are. They want to quit but can’t. It’s not because nicotine is a potent drug; it doesn’t induce significant amounts of pleasure or euphoria. Yet, it’s just as difficult if not more difficult to quit than other drugs.”

At K-State, Palmatier studies rats that are allowed to self-administer nicotine by pushing a lever. The main source of light in their testing environment shuts off when the rats earn a dose of nicotine. After about a minute, the light comes back on to signal that more nicotine is available.

By manipulating this signal, Palmatier and his colleagues found that the rats weren’t really that interested in nicotine by itself.

“We figured out that what the rats really liked was turning the light off,” Palmatier said. “They still self-administered the nicotine, but they took more of the drug when it was associated with a reinforcing light.”

Palmatier and colleagues published a paper on their research in the August issue of Neuropsychopharmacology.

Palmatier has begun looking at how rats respond to sweet tastes after having nicotine. He said preliminary results show that nicotine has comparable effects on sweet tastes. That is, rats respond more for sugar-water solutions after getting nicotine.

“The taste aspect is really important because we can actually figure out how nicotine is increasing the subjects’ behavior,” Palmatier said. “If it makes a reward more pleasurable, then it may increase the palatability of a sweet taste.”

Palmatier said that a future phase of research would be determining whether nicotine can make unpleasant experiences more tolerable, helping explain why lighting up after a bad day at work can be tempting.

Contact: Beth Bohn
Kansas State University

Genetic Achilles Heel May Support Nicotine Addiction

Do genes play a role in tobacco addiction?

Recent studies suggest they may, particularly the CHRNA5 gene.

A University of Michigan press release notes a genetic variation suggests a finding that may help explain the path that leads from that first cigarette to lifelong smoking.

In the press release studies smokers and non-smokers to find if you have the less common rs16969968 form of the CHRNA5 gene and you smoke a cigarette you are more likely to get hooked.

Yet another reduction in the possible scope for free will.

Study on Genetics, Genes and Smoking

In a paper published in the September Issue of the journal Addiction, a multi-university collaborative team of researchers specializing in statistical genetics, gene analysis, and trait analysis reports an association between a variant in the CHRNA5 nicotine receptor gene, initial smoking experiences, and current smoking patterns.

The genetic and smoking data come from 435 volunteers. Those who never smoked had tried at least one cigarette but no more than 100 cigarettes in their lives, and never formed a smoking habit. The regular smokers had smoked at least five cigarettes a day for at least the past five years.

The regular smokers in the study were far more likely than the never-smokers to have the less common rs16969968 form of the CHRNA5 gene, in which just one base-pair in the gene sequence was different from the more common form. This kind of genetic variation is called a single nucleotide polymorphism or SNP.

Smokers were also eight times as likely to report that their first cigarettes gave them a pleasurable buzz.

“It appears that for people who have a certain genetic makeup, the initial physical reaction to smoking can play a significant role in determining what happens next,” says senior author and project leader, Ovide Pomerleau, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School and founder of the U-M Nicotine Research Laboratory.

“If cigarette smoking is sustained, nicotine addiction can occur in a few days to a few months,” he adds. “The finding of a genetic association with pleasurable early smoking experiences may help explain how people get addicted — and, of course, once addicted, many will keep smoking for the rest of their lives.”Among those who ever try smoking this gene explains only part of the difference between those who become addicted and those who do not. Expect more discoveries of genes that contribute to the odds of getting addicted.

Achilles HeelWe are witnessing an acceleration of the rate of discovery of genetic factors that influence behavior. This acceleration in the rate of discovery will accelerate as DNA testing costs continue to drop. So expect to see many more reports of genes that influence behavior.

Source: Randall Parker, FuturePundit

Quitting Smoking is a Pack Behavior

Smokers tend to quit in groups, according to a new study.

One person who quits can have ripple effects across his or her entire social network, prompting others to kick the habit.

The New York Times offers this delightfully evocative explanation of how the process works:

As the investigators watched the smokers and their social networks, they saw what they said was a striking effect — smokers had formed little social clusters and, as the years went by, entire clusters of smokers were stopping en masse. So were clusters of clusters that were only loosely connected.

Dogs in a FieldStudy co-author Dr. Nicholas Christakis described watching the vanishing clusters as like lying on your back in a field, looking up at stars that were burning out. “It’s not like one little star turning off at a time,” he said. “Whole constellations are blinking off at once.”

Continue Reading About the Stop Smoking Ripple Effect

One Million Deaths by Tobacco in India!

Video of a study of smoking statistics in India.

Shocking to learn how many individuals, actually one in twenty, will die from tobacco addiction.

Smoking one to seven cigarettes a day takes years of your life. India has ten times more deaths than in more developed countries.

The only strategy to change this situation is to get smokers to stop, however tobacco control is difficult.