Tag Archives: nicotine patches and gum

The Nicotine Patch – Is it a Gimmick?

You want to stop smoking and you say you want help.

So you do your research on the nicotine patches that are available.

You decide on a product and you start the process of wearing the patch for ten to thirty or more days.

And at the end you should have eventually beaten the smoking habit.

But have you really? Has the patch along with the tips like drinking a certain amount of water daily, eating more fruits and vegetables helped? Has changing your daily diet and keeping track of your intake of certain foods helped to beat the craving for tobacco?

Nicotine Patch – A Psychological Enhancement Aid

Using Nicotine PatchesThe patch (choose any brand) acts as a psychological enhancement to make you think that it is helping you to quit smoking. It is a psychological win for the pharmaceutical industry because they provided the nicotine patch.

It is a psychological win for employers who working along with the pharmaceutical companies will give discounts and incentives for purchasing certain brands of patches. It is their way of saying they did their part for their nicotine cessation programs as part of their health and wellness curriculum.

The developers and promoters of the nicotine patches are hoping to really help you break the habit. They are hoping it will save both you and them down the road by decreasing or eradicating the healthcare costs for possible lung cancer illnesses.

The patches designed for smoking cessation may be a psychological win for you because you may feel that you have done your part to try and quit. The thinking behind daily patch use is that you will stop smoking, and hopefully in time before contracting lung cancer or other smoking related illnesses and diseases.

But, the truth of the matter is the patch use is really psychological. The nicotine patch you are using still contains the nicotine that got you addicted to smoking in the first place. Although the nicotine may not be the killer from cigarette smoking, rather the tar and carbon monoxide by product, but it is still a very unhealthy substance.

Nicotine Patch Side Effects

Yes the patch may help for a while but what if you have allergic reactions or skin irritations from the mix of the adhesive and nicotine contained within the patch that you have chosen to wear?

This happens quite often because skin is sensitive and the first indicator of nicotine patch side effects with external use is skin discomfort and irritations. Certain brands also state that for the first couple of days when using the patch you may side effects:

Known nicotine patch side effects include:

  • Headaches
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

This happens while your body gets acclimated to using a patch. But even if you get past all the patch side effects and do not suffer irritations or the other side effects how long can you afford the cost of purchasing the patch, even if you receive nicotine patch discounts and incentives?

Okay don’t weaken from your desire to stop smoking and sustain from this unhealthy habit. There are much better alternatives, but if this an accessible alternative just remember it may be all psychological.

Credit:
Nicocure Quit Smoking Patch: Does The Nicocure Patch Really
Nicotine Side Effects

Is Fear of Gaining Weight Keeping Many Women from Trying to Quit Smoking?

[UMHS-Press Release]

Women and Smoking

Smokers are more likely to have unrealistic body image & eating problems, and women who had weight problems as girls are more likely to start smoking early.

Is a fear of getting fatter partly to blame for the fact that nearly one in five American women still smokes, and many don’t try to quit?

Although there are many possible reasons for the stubborn persistence of smoking, fear of weight gain is high on the list for many women, says a University of Michigan Health System researcher who has devoted much of her career to studying this issue.

Although there are many possible reasons for the stubborn persistence of smoking, fear of weight gain is high on the list for many women, says a University of Michigan Health System researcher who has devoted much of her career to studying this issue.

weight.jpgSeveral years ago, she and her team reported that 75 percent of all women smokers say they would be unwilling to gain more than five pounds if they were to quit smoking, and nearly half said they would not tolerate any weight gain. In fact, many women started smoking in the first place because they thought it might help them stay slim.

Now, new U-M research findings published in the October issue of Addictive Behaviors show that women who smoke tend to be further from their ideal body image, and more prone to dieting and binging, than those who don’t smoke.

Cigarettes are well known to suppress appetite and weight, says Cindy Pomerleau, Ph.D., director of the U-M Nicotine Research Laboratory. “So it’s hardly surprising that women who have trouble managing their weight or are dissatisfied with their bodies are drawn to smoking,” she says.

In another recent study, published in August, the U-M team found that overweight women smokers who were overweight as children were far more likely to have started smoking in their early teens than women whose weight problems started later in life. They also had worse withdrawal symptoms when they tried to quit.

Once they make a serious attempt to quit, evidence suggests that most weight-concerned smokers can be just as successful in kicking the habit as others.

“The problem here is getting women who are concerned about their weight to be willing to try to make a quit attempt,” says Pomerleau, “and then helping them gain a sense of control over their weight.”

Women who are highly concerned about weight tend to be concerned about other aspects of their appearance as well, she notes. What they need to understand, she says, is that smoking has an impact on many aspects of appearance and attractiveness. Among other things, it causes wrinkled skin, thinning hair, cracked fingernails, yellowed teeth and terrible breath.

Pomerleau, a research professor of psychiatry, is working on a book about women, smoking and weight loss that will draw together research findings, helpful tips and real-life examples of women who quit tobacco while also containing their weight.

Some beliefs about smoking and weight are true, she says. For instance, nicotine suppresses the appetite and increases resting metabolic rate. Smokers on average weigh less than people who have never smoked, and that smokers who quit tend to gain weight. Adding to these perceptions are tobacco advertisements that portray female smokers as slim and successful.

Even so, the effect of quitting on weight is often less dramatic than many women fear, Pomerleau says. A rough rule of thumb is that one in four women who quit smoking will gain less than five pounds, and another two out of four will gain five to 15 pounds. Only one in four women who quit will gain 15 pounds or more.

But Pomerleau’s own research suggests that many women smokers start out with an unrealistic image of how they would like their bodies to look. This may make their dread of gaining weight even worse.

In her paper in Addictive Behaviors, she reports the results of a study of 587 women between the ages of 18 and 55, including 420 smokers and 167 women who had never smoked. An equal proportion of both groups was overweight or obese, with a body mass index of 25 or more.

In the study, the smokers and non-smokers were asked to look at silhouette pictures of 10 different body types, ranging from thinnest to fattest, and to choose which one their current body type was closest to, and which one they wanted to look most like. They were also asked questions about their self-image and their eating habits, about how concerned they were about gaining weight if they quit smoking, and about how sure they were that they could stay off cigarettes even if they gained weight.

The smokers chose an ideal body shape that was slimmer than the non-smokers chose, and further from how they perceived themselves as looking. They also had more problems with limiting their eating. Smokers who were overweight were especially doubtful about their ability to stay off tobacco if they started to gain weight.

This study, Pomerleau says, suggests that if women smokers are to succeed in quitting, they may need extra help in achieving a more realistic body image and paying attention to unhealthful eating patterns, particularly if they are already overweight.

At the same time, Pomerleau and her team have found that the earlier in life a weight problem starts, the more likely a woman is to start smoking.

In a study of 89 overweight women smokers, those who remembered being overweight before they reached junior high school reported that they had started experimenting with smoking at around age 13 – compared with women whose weight problems didn’t start until junior high or after, who hadn’t tried smoking till they reached age 15.

The women who were overweight as children also reported more nicotine-withdrawal symptoms when they tried to quit smoking, especially symptoms like anger, irritability and trouble concentrating. The study was published in the August issue of Eating Behaviors.

These studies, and others that the U-M team have done, all point to the importance of finding new strategies to help women quit smoking without losing control of their weight. Although severe dieting during a smoking cessation attempt has not been shown to be helpful in either quitting smoking or controlling weight, it may be unrealistic to expect women with strong weight concerns to put these concerns on hold for several weeks or months while they try to quit tobacco.

“What we would like to work for is a kind of compromise strategy, where the focus is on the smoking cessation, but women can also take some passive and active measures to control their weight,” Pomerleau says.

Passive measures include things like nicotine patches and gum, and medicines like bupropion, which can help in controlling weight gain while keeping nicotine withdrawal symptoms at bay.

Another option for women is to launch their stop-smoking effort early in their menstrual cycle, so that the bloating that can happen soon after they snuff out their last cigarette won’t be compounded by the bloating that comes along right before their period begins.

Finally, although strenuous dieting is not recommended, Pomerleau says, women can start immediately to rebalance the energy-in/energy-out equation by not substituting eating for smoking, and by increasing their physical activity. Even brief bouts of exercise, such as stretching or walking, can be effective in distracting a woman when the urge to smoke strikes, she says, and they burn a few calories too.

Facts About Smoking and Health

  • Smoking damages a woman’s hair, skin, nails, teeth, voice and more.
  • Smoking causes lung problems, including lung cancer, which kills far more women than any other form of cancer including breast cancer.
  • Smoking increases the chance of heart disease and stroke, the number one and number three killers of women.
  • Smoking can reduce a woman’s fertility, making it harder to get pregnant.
  • Smoking can cause abnormal growth of cells in the cervix, a condition known as cervical dysplasia that can lead to cervical cancer.
  • Smoking during pregnancy increases the chance that a woman will miscarry or experience pregnancy problems, and increases the chance that her baby will suffer problems.
  • Quitting smoking often leads to weight gain, but three-quarters of women who quit will gain 15 pounds or less.
  • Quitting smoking is one of the most important things a person can do to improve their health now and in the future. Once a smoker has quit, the harm that smoking has done to their body will stop and even start to reverse. In fact, within 15 years of quitting smoking, death rates for ex-smokers are the same as for people of the same age who have never smoked.

U-M Health Minute: Today’s top health issues and medical research
Written by Kara Gavin

Learn more on the web or by phone at:
The American Lung Association: Freedom from SmokingAmerican Cancer Society Stop-smoking help, and information on the Nov. 15 Great American Smokeout, or call 1-800-ACS-2345

Smokefree.gov:
A web site for Americans who want to quit smoking, from the National Cancer Institute or call 800-QUITNOW   Hearing impaired: TTY 1-800-332-8615

U-M Nicotine Research Laboratory

Study references:
Addictive Behaviors, Volume 32, Issue 10, October 2007, pp. 2329-2334
Eating Behaviors, Volume 8, Issue 3, August 2007, pp. 418-422

Passive Smoking Happens to Pets Too

Fluffy, Fido, and Tweety all suffer from the secondhand smoke of their owners, according to a growing body of literature that has looked at the issue, said Carolynn MacAllister, a veterinarian with the Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension Service.

Cats are twice as likely to develop malignant melanoma if they live with smokers as with nonsmokers.

This form of cancer kills three out of four felines within a year of its onset. Cats also are more likely to develop mouth cancers.

MacAllister said that cats’ grooming habits contribute to their risk. “Cats constantly lick themselves while grooming, they lick up the cancer-causing carcinogens that accumulate on their fur” and deposit relatively high concentrations of those chemicals into their mouths.

Dog with Face MaskLong nosed dogs suffer higher rates of nasal cancers as the carcinogens accumulate along those mucus membrane passageways. They seldom survive more than a year. In contrast, short nosed dogs do not filter the carcinogens as effectively, as a result, more of those deadly chemicals reach their lungs and they are more likely to develop lung cancer.

And feathered pets are not immune either. “A bird’s respiratory system is hypersensitive to any type of pollutant in the air,” MacAllister said. Living with a smoker makes birds particularly vulnerable to pneumonia and lung cancer. That is particularly true because caged birds cannot engage in vigorous flying that helps to clear the lungs of toxins.

“Curious pets can eat cigarettes and other tobacco products if they aren’t stored properly.” MacAllister warned. “This can cause nicotine poisoning, which can be fatal.”

Smokers themselves are 50 percent more likely to develop dementia than nonsmokers, according to a recent study of 7,000 people 55 or older that was conducted over seven years in the Netherlands.

“Smoking increases the risk of cerebrovascular disease and oxidative stress, which can damage cells in the blood vessels and lead to hardening of the arteries,” said lead researcher Dr. Monique Breteler of the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam.

Erectile dysfunction is a more immediate risk from smoking. A four-year study of 7,684 men in China, ages 35-74, found a statistical link between the number of cigarettes smoked and ED. It estimated that almost a quarter of all ED could be attributed to cigarettes.

And the habit is expensive, even before figuring in the added cost of Viagra. A study from New York City estimates that the average pack-a-day smoker burns up $2,500 a year with their habit.

It showed that low-income persons are more likely to try to quit smoking than those with a high income (68 versus 60 percent), but they are less likely to succeed in doing so.

Many private health plans and local health departments have developed programs to help people quite smoking. They often include free or reduced rates for counseling sessions and interventions such as nicotine gum or the patch.

For information about programs in San Francisco, visit the Tobacco Free Project’s Web site at http://sftfc.globalink.org/. For information statewide, call 1-800-NO-BUTTS. ~

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~Bob Roehr, The Bay Area Reporter