Tag Archives: nicotine

Cigarettes Broken up

Need More Reasons to Stop Smoking?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), lung cancer accounts for about 30% of cancer deaths per year in the United States. The majority of lung cancer cases result from smoking.

Men who smoke are 23% more likely than male nonsmokers to develop lung cancer, and women smokers are 13% more likely than female nonsmokers to develop lung cancer. More than half of lung cancer cases are in former smokers, and 15% are in those who have never smoked.

Smoking also leads to cardiovascular disease, which remains the number one killer in the United States. Diseases associated with smoking include atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), heart failure, high blood pressure, and even stroke.

Carbon Monoxide & Nicotine

Cigarettes Broken upSmoking increases the level of carbon monoxide in the blood. Increased carbon monoxide levels in the blood slows transportation of oxygen throughout the body by 5 to 15%. Low levels of oxygen through the body leads to heart disease.

Nicotine is an alkaloid that works upon the brain’s nerve centers that regulate the heart and breathing functions. Causing the small blood vessels to constrict, this lessens the vessels elasticity, increase heart problems, and increases blood vessel disease.

Carcinogens

Constant smoking results in a build up of carcinogens, the cancer producing agents found in tar and tobacco smoke. Carcinogens are deposited in the bronchial tubes that lead to the lungs. From the bronchial tubes, the carcinogens move into the air tubes of the lungs where the cells are attacked and mutated into cancerous cells: lung cancer.

Nicotine in Cigarettes Contribute to Cluster Headaches and Migraines

Many people are plagued with chronic headaches and migraines and are mystified by what causes them. One probable cause could be second-hand smoke and, if you are a smoker, the act itself.

A visit to WebMD.com Migraines and Headaches health center explains how the nicotine contained in tobacco, when inhaled, will stimulate the blood vessels in the brain, causing them to constrict or narrow.

Smoking a cigarette will also cause the stimulated nerves in the back of the throat to magnify the problem.

Nicotine Hurts Your Head

Studies have also shown that cluster headaches—or headaches that keep returning for a period of time, such as two or three times a day for a week or even months—caused by second-hand smoke exposure were fully relieved once the migraine sufferer was no longer exposed to smoke.

Smokers suffering from cluster headaches have also found their headaches were reduced by 50% when they reduced smoking from a pack a day to half a pack, or by 50%. Doesn’t it make sense that quitting entirely could take care of the problem?

Smoking is a Headache

If you find headaches of any form a problem and all physical factors have been examined and ruled out, then toxicity in your body could be the leading cause.

If you are a cigarette smoker and are brave enough to smoke, then you should be brave enough to see the effects of a cluster headache. The following video will give you another reason to stop smoking now.

reference: http://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/guide/triggers-smoking

Anticorrosion Benefits for Steel Derived from Cigarette Butts’ Toxins

There are estimates that gauge more than 4.5 trillion cigarette butts litter the streets and ground across the world on an annual basis.

Aside from the displeasing aesthetics of these butts, there are numerous environmental consequences of this toxic litter, including the leaching of chemicals into our waterways.

A team of researchers led by scientist Jun Zhao discovered a new use for this harmful garbage, one that has great benefits for the steel industry.

Putting Those Butts to Use

Chinese researchers from Xi’an Jiaotong University extracted chemicals from cigarette filters and their residual tobacco. The result? A successful transformation of the cigarettes’ chemicals into an anticorrosion treatment for steel.

After soaking the butts collected off the street in water for 24 hours, the researchers were able to identify 9 compounds—including nicotine—in the liquid using infrared and mass spectrometry. Next, the scientists put the solution through an hydrochloric acid process. The resulting solution was then applied on steel disks.

Corrosion Inhibitors

The researchers subjected the steel disks—N80 grade, typical for use in the oil industry—to harsh conditions that should lead the way for corrosion. The steel remained protected by the cigarette butt solution.

In fact, the researchers were successful in preventing corrosion on 95% of the steel disks on which the cigarette butt solution was applied. Zhao speculates the chemicals in the corrosion inhibiting solution coat the metal in a protective surface.

Healthy Steel, Unhealthy Lungs

At last there is a practical application for the cigarette litter found everywhere—from the streets, to the parks, to our waterways, and even our forests. Due to the extreme toxicity of the cigarette butts, there has been no recycling program previously established.

Another benefit from this study is now the steel industry has a new weapon to use in its expensive struggle against steel corrosion.

This research raises another crucial observation: If cigarette butts soaked in water can produce an anti-corrosion solution strong enough to work for steel, just imagine what those same chemicals do to smokers’ lungs and bodies.

Reference: Cigarette Butts Yield a Chemical Rebuttal [http://pubs.acs.org/cen/news/88/i16/8816news3.html]

FTC Discontinues Tar and Nicotine Test

After 42 years, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has ended a test to measure the amount of tar and nicotine in cigarettes.

According to the Associated Press, the FTC decided to discontinue the testing for two reasons: the test itself was flawed, and tobacco companies could use the results to promote one brand of cigarette over another.

The test was known as the Cambridge Filter Method, the A.P. reports, and on Nov. 26 the FTC commissioners voted unanimously to discontinue it. Saying that the FTC would no longer be a “smokescreen” for tobacco companies’ marketing programs, Commissioner Jon Leibowitz told the wire service, “Our action today ensures that tobacco companies may not wrap their misleading tar and nicotine ratings in a cloak of government sponsorship.”

Over the years, many cigarette advertisements had promoted low tar and nicotine levels in some brands, using the phrase, “by FTC method.” Insofar as the testing itself was concerned, it had long been criticized by scientists because it never took into account how people smoked, such as how deeply they inhaled, the A.P. reports.

Cigarette Smoke The National Cancer Institute acknowledged that the Cambridge Filter Method did measure changes in design and quantity of tar and nicotine, but there has never been any evidence that so-called light cigarettes reduced disease caused by smoking, the wire service reports.

Scripps Florida Scientists Find Blocking a Neuropeptide Receptor Decreases Nicotine Addiction

Findings could point towards more successful smoking cessation efforts.  The study was published in an online Early Edition issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the week of November 24. Scripps Florida is a division of The Scripps Research Institute.

The neuropeptide, hypocretin-1 (Orexin A), may initiate a key signaling cascade, a series of closely linked biochemical reactions, which maintains tobacco addiction in human smokers and could be a potential target for developing new smoking cessation treatments.

“Blocking hypocretin-1 receptors not only decreased the motivation to continue nicotine use in rats, it also abolished the stimulatory effects of nicotine on their brain reward circuitries,” said Paul Kenny, Ph.D., the Scripps Research scientist at Scripps Florida who led the study. “This suggests that hypocretin-1 may play a major role in driving tobacco use in smokers to want more nicotine. If we can find a way to effectively block this receptor, it could mean a novel way to help break people’s addiction to tobacco.”

Cigarette smoking is one of the largest preventable causes of death and disease in developed countries, and accounts for approximately 440,000 deaths and $160 billion in health-related costs annually in the United States alone. Despite years of health warnings concerning the well-known adverse consequences of tobacco smoking, only about ten percent of smokers who attempt to quit annually manage to remain smoke free after one year, highlighting the difficulty in quitting the smoking habit.

In the study, Kenny and a postdoctoral fellow in his laboratory, Jonathan Hollander, Ph.D., blocked the hypocretin-1 receptor using low doses of the selective antagonist SB-334867, a commercially available compound often used in research.

“While hypocretin 2 systems, otherwise known as orexin B, have been mainly implicated in regulating sleep,” Kenny said, “hypocretin 1, also known as orexin A, appears to be more involved in regulating motivated behavior. Our previous studies in close collaboration with other Scripps Research scientists have shown that hypocretin-1 receptors play a central role in regulating relapse to cocaine seeking. With that in mind, it seemed reasonable to test whether it was involved in nicotine reward as well.”

The new study indeed showed that blocking the receptor in rats significantly decreased nicotine self-administration and also the motivation to seek and obtain the drug. These findings suggest that hypocretin-1 receptors play a critical role maintaining nicotine-taking behavior in rats, and perhaps also in sustaining the tobacco habit in human smokers.In addition, the study highlighted the importance of hypocretin-1 receptors in a brain region called the insula, a walnut size part of the frontal lobe of the brain. A highly conserved brain region, all mammals have insula regions that sense the body’s internal physiological state and direct responses to maintain homeostasis. The insula has also been implicated in regulating feelings of craving. In a recent groundbreaking study, it was reported that smokers who sustained damage to the insula lost the desire to smoke, an insight that revealed the insula as a key brain region that sustains the tobacco habit in smokers. Until the new study, however, the neurobiological mechanisms through which the insula regulated the persistence of tobacco addiction remained unclear.

The new study sheds light on this question, showing that hypocretin-containing fibers project significantly to the insula, that hypocretin-1 receptors are expressed on the surface of neurons in the insula, and that blockade of hypocretin-1 receptors in the insula, but not in the adjacent somatosensory cortex region (which also records and relays sensory information), decreases nicotine self-administration. The effects of blocking hypecretin-1 receptors only in the insula, however, were less than blocking these receptors in the brain as a whole, suggesting that hypocretin transmission in other brain regions may also be playing a role in nicotine reward.

Working with scientists from Scripps Florida’s Translational Research Institute, Kenny and his colleagues are now searching for new antagonists at hypocretin-1 receptors that are less toxic than the compound used in the published experiments in the hopes of furthering the development of a human therapy.

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In addition to Kenny and Hollander, authors of the paper, titled Insular Hypocretin Transmission Regulates Nicotine Reward, were Qun Lu, Michael D. Cameron and Theodore M. Kamenecka, also of Scripps Research.

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Drug Abuse.

About The Scripps Research Institute

Picture of San DiegoThe Scripps Research Institute is one of the world’s largest independent, non-profit biomedical research organizations, at the forefront of basic biomedical science that seeks to comprehend the most fundamental processes of life. Scripps Research is internationally recognized for its discoveries in immunology, molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, neurosciences, autoimmune, cardiovascular, and infectious diseases, and synthetic vaccine development.

Established in its current configuration in 1961, it employs approximately 3,000 scientists, postdoctoral fellows, scientific and other technicians, doctoral degree graduate students, and administrative and technical support personnel. Scripps Research is headquartered in La Jolla, California. It also includes Scripps Florida, whose researchers focus on basic biomedical science, drug discovery, and technology development.

Scripps Florida is currently in the process of moving from temporary facilities to its permanent campus in Jupiter, Florida. Dedication ceremonies for the new campus will be held in February 2009.

Contact: Keith McKeown
Scripps Research Institute

Nicotine Addiction Linked to Studies on Autism

American researchers have recently discovered a connection between two proteins in the brain, linking nicotine addiction and autism.

According to a study presented at a Society for Neuroscience meeting, there is a physical and functional association between these two conditions.

The study showed that the neurexin-1 beta proteins, which are a part of the brain’s chemical communication system, are related to a certain type of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor and play an important role in the proper formation and maturation of synapses.  Proper synapse function is critical to the central nervous system’s ability to connect and control other body systems.

Little Girl with AutismPrevious studies had reported that while such nicotinic receptors are absent in the brain of autistic patients, there are quite a few number of these receptors in the brain of addicts.

Findings revealed that nicotine increases the neurexin-1 levels in the brain of smokers, bringing more nicotinic receptors to the synapses and making them more efficient.

Scientists believe drugs used to curb nicotine addiction can also be effective in alleviating autism symptoms.

Source: PKH/HGH, PressTV

Hypnotherapy Makes Quitting Smoking Possible

The Great American Smokeout is scheduled for the third Thursday in November, which motivates me to share thoughts and observations about smoking cessation.

Over the years, I have helped many people to quit smoking using hypnotherapy as a valuable tool.

By the same token, there are people who would not quit, no matter what, the incorrigible or people who think they are so powerless.

After all, many medical professionals and the Surgeon General have blasted away that nicotine addiction is harder to overcome than heroin or cocaine. This probably reinforces what some people want to hear: “I would quit, but it is too hard.”

I will quote observations from medical people and then will share my personal observations with you.

Dr. Raul Rodriguez of Rivercrest Hospital, a psychiatrist and addictionologist, shared that nicotine addiction is a function of how many years spent smoking and the mental attitude of the person.

When asked whether or not smokers wanting to quit had to be admitted for detox, he denied the need, because nicotine addiction was not as severe, but he likes the patch, an anti-depressant or gum to help with the process of smoking cessation.

My esteemed colleague of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, Dr. Dabney Ewin, a clinical professor of psychiatry and surgery at Tulane Medical School and Louisiana State University Medical School, shared his viewpoints with me: “The word addiction has lost its meaning in the scientific community and it no longer refers to a bodily need for a particular chemical because it indiscriminately describes strong emotional desires such as addicted to chocolate, sports, computers, foreign oil.

“People who think of themselves as addicts have adopted a fixed idea that they are helpless to overcome the problem. Another of their fixed ideas is that smoking had/has social value as in being cool. Removing this fixed idea causes anxiety, because people believe they are violating this fixed idea. An interesting study of 12,000 smokers by Tindle (et al 2006) noted that people who smoke low nicotine cigarettes are more than 50 percent less likely to quit smoking than those who smoke regular cigarettes. That finding is incompatible with chemical addiction”

Ewin states, though, that next to adrenalin, nicotine is the strongest known stimulant drug, which leads me to my own personal observation as a mental health clinician.

My patients tell me that smoking relaxes them. Not so. What does relax them is the act of taking time out, – leaving the work setting temporarily for a smoke outside and socializing with fellow employees, sitting in the backyard watching the deer go by, enjoying a comfortable chair and watch TV. This is relaxing.

Unfortunately, these relaxing acts are paired with a cigarette and the cigarette gets the credit for relaxation.

I believe smoking is a strong psychological habit because people do it under mostly the same circumstances such as during their morning rituals, their morning cup of coffee, reading the paper, getting in the car, coming home from work to “relax,” when having to make an unpleasant phone call and other scenarios, where a “friend” is needed.

Often people do not even realize they are smoking. They light up on autopilot, often leaving the cigarette to burn itself out. Smokers can spend hours on an airplane without chemical dependency consequences. They may be cranky because they do not like to be told what they can or cannot do.

Change is difficult because smokers are afraid to quit, afraid that they may be miserable, hard to live with. Alcoholics increase dosage for the same effect, while smokers can cut down. If nicotine were to be so addictive, one would conclude that the patch, prescription medication and gum would work to help people quit smoking.

Many people came to see me because the above did not work for them and they confessed that they still smoked while on the patch leading to dangerous nicotine overload. I am sure it can help some people to quit, but my opinion is that people swallow something, stick on something or chew something, sit back and wait for something to happen in a passive manner.

I believe, and my past experience has shown, that this habit needs to be treated cognitively (the way people think about smoking), behaviorally (what people do) and emotionally (how people cope with their feelings of stress, anxiety, etc.)

Even so called incorrigible smokers with a three-pack-per-day habit have successfully quit with psychotherapy and hypnotherapy. People I have seen years ago, call and tell me so.

Not everyone quit successfully and they are not going to do that. Case in point the patient who had his voice box removed or the lung cancer patient, still smoking.

Stop Smoking Sign Therefore, do not let anyone tell you that you cannot quit. If it takes medication to make it easier for you to succeed along with proper therapy, this is your rightful choice. You will save money, be healthier, live longer and feel so proud of yourselves.

Evi Shaw is a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist in solo private practice. Evishaw@verizon.net.  San Angelo Standard Times.

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-Based Pesticide May Explain Bee Colony Collapse Disorder

The popular TV show, 60 Minutes has profiled the dying bees. The phenomena, called Colony Collapse Disorder, is still a mystery.

Thousands of bees leave the hive never to return leaving behind a box full of honey. No dead bees are ever found.

Much of the research has not materialized because of a lack of funding even though bees are vital for agriculture.

“If there ain’t no bees, there ain’t no food,” says Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida.

Crops depend on insects for agricultural pollination, adding more than $15 billion in value to about 130 crops, especially fruits, berries, nuts and vegetables, according to the USDA.

So two Floridians, Florida beekeeper Dave Hackenberg, of Dade City, FL and Lewisberg, PA, and Dave Mendes are on their way to Paris to speak before an international beekeeping conference on the syndrome.

Hackenberg first called the Florida Department of Agriculture two years ago after he noticed bees would leave the hive and never return.

Hackenberg told 60 Minutes in the January broadcast, “I mean, I literally got down and crawled around. I mean, seriously, I got down on my hands and knees and crawled around. And there’s no dead bees. There are no dead bees anywhere. I mean, you can’t find any bees. They flew off someplace,” he recalls.

It’s something he says he’d never seen before. Bees have a sophisticated navigation system using sun and landmarks to return them home, even when they travel up to two miles looking for food.

It may be they know more in France than we do in the U.S. There they have banned the use of a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids. France, Italy, Germany and Slovenia found that the nicotine-based substance impaired the bees’ navigational and foraging abilities.

The insecticide is sold under the name of Poncho, Gaucho and Cruiser, made by Bayer and Syngenta, and put on the seeds prior to planting. The pesticide then moves through a plant’s vascular system. Bees pick up the pollen from the plants and the theory is that the pesticide affects their immune system and behavior.

Kimberly Stoner, an entomologist with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven has a grant proposal out to study pesticide residues, but her $786,000 grant proposal has not been funded by the USDA. And no such research was funded in the federal farm bill’s $28 million in “specialty crop” grants, despite assurances from members of Congress that funding was forthcoming.

Hackenberg says a report from Minnesota this week found corn syrup fed to honeybees contained eight parts per billion of neonicotinoids.

Beekeepers have appeared on YouTube talking about their suspicions about neonicotinoids:

In Europe, they practice the precautionary principle, where a suspicion of harm sparks action, not reaction to the harm.

Bee Loss Linked to Nicotine-Based PesticideStoner tells the Palm Beach Post, “it puts the burden of proof more on people who market pesticides to show that the claim is unfounded. Here you have to show proof of harm.”

Globally, pathogens, parasites, genetically modified foods, cell phones, and environmental stresses which include pesticides have all been considered.

According to USDA statistics, during the winter of 2007-2008, U.S. beekeepers reported a total loss of 36 percent of the honey bee colonies. Other bee keepers report 50 to 90 percent of their colonies are gone.

Click to learn more > “60 Minutes Story on Bees”

Source:  Jane Akre,  Injuryboard News

Since 1878 Reports Confirmed Smoking Was a Health Hazard

1878: Eighty-six years before the U.S. surgeon general issues a report confirming the dangers of smoking tobacco, a letter from English physician Charles R. Drysdale condemning its use appears in The Times of London.

Drysdale, the senior physician to the Metropolitan Free Hospital in London, had already published a book on this subject titled Tobacco and the Diseases It Produces, when he wrote the letter that described smoking as “the most evident of all the retrograde influences of our time.”

Drysdale had been on an anti-smoking crusade since at least 1864, the year he published a study documenting the effects on young men of consuming ¾ ounce of tobacco daily. That study reported cases of jaundice, and at least one subject having “most distressing palpitations of the heart.”

Drysdale’s book pinpointed nicotine as the dangerous agent and reported its ill effects on the lungs, circulation system, even the skin.

Havana-cut tobacco contained roughly 2 percent nicotine, while Virginia tobacco was a more toxic 7 percent, Drysdale pointed out. (Tobacco was a product of the New World and had to be imported to Europe.)

He also warned against exposure to second-hand smoke: “Women who wait in public bar-rooms and smoking-saloons, though not themselves smoking, cannot avoid the poisoning caused by inhaling smoke continually. Surely gallantry, if not common honesty, should suggest the practical inference from this fact.”

The prolific Drysdale wrote on a variety of other related subjects as well, including medicine as a profession for women and issues related to population control.

Despite Drysdale’s warnings, and despite the establishment of numerous anti-smoking movements, little was done to curb smoking anywhere in the world.

Though physicians and scientists understood there were numerous health hazards associated with the practice, the number of smokers increased dramatically in the first half of the 20th century. Thank you, Madison Avenue. Thank you, Hollywood.

The turning point probably came in 1957, when then-Surgeon General Leroy Burney reported a causal link between smoking and lung cancer. It was left to Burney’s successor, Luther Terry, to lower the boom.

Under Terry’s direction, a special committee produced Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General.

This 1964 bombshell — so volatile that it was released on a Saturday to minimize the effect on the stock market — began a massive change in people’s attitudes toward smoking.

And to think it only took 86 years.