Tag Archives: secondhand smoke

We Quit Smoking for Love. We Both Succeeded.

I want a cigarette so bad.

Yesterday, we fought with tech support of our Internet service provider…for hours. They kept putting us on hold, handing us to different departments, saying one thing, then contradicting themselves. Seems the corporate behemoth would see fit to train their support personnel.

Now, today, the stress is catching up with me. I haven’t yearned for a cigarette like this in years. Years!

My wife and I quit smoking 8 or 9 years ago. We kept track of the date for some time. After a while, it didn’t matter. What mattered was we actually did quit. For good.

We Quit for Good

Not one cigarette since. Not when we were stressed. Not with morning coffee. Not when inadvertently inhaling the allure and promise of second hand smoke. Not when a friend across the table lit up; not even when the friend gestured to help ourselves to the pack.

Our minds’, “One won’t matter. I quit once, I can do it again anytime I want” justification never did get the best of us.

Quitting smoking was the hardest thing I ever did.

Mary and Will Bontrager Choose HealthOh, I had quit before. Many times. Before I met Mari.

Most quitting lasted just long enough to reason with myself that I was young and I had plenty of time to quit. I really didn’t need to do it now. Why not enjoy myself? I could quit later!

I even quit for a month and a half, once.

That was broken one evening when I went to a bar and proceeded to get slightly drunk. A friend was with me. He smoked.

Like an everlasting fool, I asked him for a cigarette. He asked me if I was sure. “Sure I’m sure,” I said. “I’m no longer a smoker. I’ll prove to you I can smoke one cigarette and never smoke again.”

He said, “No, you can’t. If you really want a cigarette, I’ll give it to you. But I tell you now, you will become a smoker again.”

He was right.

This Time the Love was Real

Eleven years ago, I met my wife, Mari. There were times before when I thought I was in love. But this was real.

We both smoked.

One day, we talked about the future. The subject of health came up. We decided to quit so we could be together longer.

When I quit for myself, I always failed. The first time I quit for love, I succeeded. We both succeeded.

Will Bontrager is owner and operator of the free numerology readings web site, AffinityNumerology.com.

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:

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.

Big Tobacco Companies Covered Up Radiation Dangers From Smoking

Tobacco companies have covered up for 40 years the fact that cigarette smoke contains a dangerous radioactive substance that exposes heavy smokers to the radiation equivalent of having 300 chest X-rays a year.

Internal company records reveal that cigarette manufacturers knew that tobacco contained polonium-210 but avoided drawing public attention to the fact for fear of “waking a sleeping giant”.

Polonium-210 emits alpha radiation estimated to cause about 11,700 lung cancer deaths each year worldwide. Russian dissident and writer Alexander Litvinenko died after being poisoned with polonium-210 in 2006.

The polonium-210 in tobacco plants comes from high-phosphate fertilisers used on crops. The fertiliser is manufactured from rocks that contain radioisotopes such as polonium-210 (PO-210).
The radioactive substance is absorbed through the plant’s roots and deposited on its leaves. 

People who smoke one-and-a-half packets of cigarettes a day are exposed to as much radiation as they would receive from 300 chest X-rays a year, according to research.

New health warning labels such as “Cigarettes are a major source of radiation exposure” have been urged by the authors of a study published in this month’s American Journal of Public Health. 

“This wording would capitalise on public concern over radiation exposure and increase the impact of cigarette warning labels,” the Mayo Clinic and Stanford University authors say.

Quit Victoria executive director Fiona Sharkie said Australian tobacco companies were not legally obliged to reveal the levels of chemicals contained in cigarettes. This made it difficult to know exactly how damaging PO-210 was and meant it was impossible to know what effect it had on other poisons contained in cigarettes.

“It (PO-210) is obviously highly toxic and we applaud any efforts to publicise the dangers,” she said. “But the industry needs to be better regulated before we can support specific warnings.” 

Inhalation tests have shown that PO-210 is a cause of lung cancer in animals. It has also been estimated to be responsible for 1% of all US lung cancers, or 1600 deaths a year.

The US authors analysed 1500 internal tobacco company documents, finding that tobacco companies conducted scientific studies on removing polonium-210 from cigarettes but were unable to do so.  “Documents show that the major transnational cigarette manufacturers managed the potential public relations problem of PO-210 in cigarettes by avoiding any public attention to the issue.”

Second Hand Smoke Laces the AirPhilip Morris even decided not to publish internal research on polonium-210 which was more favourable to the tobacco industry than previous studies for fear of heightening public awareness of PO-210.

Urging his boss not to publish the results, one scientist wrote: “It has the potential of waking a sleeping giant.” Tobacco company lawyers played a key role in suppressing information about the research to protect the companies from litigation.

The journal authors, led by Monique Muggli, of the nicotine research program at the Mayo Clinic, say: “The internal debate, carried on for the better part of a decade, involved most cigarette manufacturers and pitted tobacco researchers against tobacco lawyers. The lawyers prevailed.

“Internal Philip Morris documents suggest that as long as the company could avoid having knowledge of biologically significant levels of PO-210 in its products, it could ignore PO-210 as a possible cause of lung cancer.”

Source: William Birnbauer, Theage.com.au

Progress Has Been Made in Cutting Nicotine Risks, but Exposure Remains Problem for Nonsmokers

Nearly half of America’s non smokers are sucking in fumes from tobacco products.

And that’s the good news!

A new study from the Centers for Disease Control showed that 46 percent of nonsmokers had signs of nicotine in their bodies during blood tests conducted between 1999 and 2004.

That is down significantly from 84 percent when similar tests were conducted in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

But CDC researchers emphasize that this is no reason for celebration – not with statistics showing that exposure to secondhand smoke increases nonsmoking adults’ risk of lung cancer by at least 20 percent and their odds of heart disease by at least 25 percent.

“It’s still too high,” research Cynthia Marano told The Associated Press. “There is no safe level of exposure.”

Moreover, there was little change regarding the exposure of children ages 4 to 11 to secondhand smoke. That percentage stands at 60 percent, and CDC officials note this greatly increases children’s chances of respiratory illnesses and ear problems. In babies, the possibility of sudden infant death syndrome also increases.

Officials attributed the overall decline in the exposure rate of nonsmokers to the growing number of laws banning smoking workplaces, bars, restaurants and other public settings.

The CDC study’s findings justify the public indoor smoking legislation that will go into effect in September in Pennsylvania, virtually nullifying the argument that these bans usurp proprietors’ and individuals’ rights. Indoor smoking creates a public health issue for others and contributes to rising health care and insurance costs for everyone.

It’s good to see at least some progress being made, but to paraphrase that old cigarette commercial, “we’ve come a long way, but we have a long way to go.”

Source: The Patriot News

Toddlers Most Affected by Second Hand Smoke

Second hand smoke in the home appears to induce markers for heart disease as early as the toddler years.

Researchers reported this news at the American Heart Association 48th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention in March.

It has long been known that many forms of cardiovascular disease in adults are initiated and progress silently during childhood. Now researchers have found a young child’s response to smoke may not just affect the respiratory system, but the cardiovascular system as well.

“This is the first study that looks at the response of a young child’s cardiovascular system to secondhand smoke,” said Judith Groner, MD, lead author of the study, pediatrician and ambulatory care physician at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Research Institute in Columbus, OH.The study included 128 children, 2 to 5 years old and adolescents between the ages of 9 and 14. Researchers found that the younger children absorbed six times more nicotine than the older children from the same levels of parental smoking. That exposure resulted in a dramatic increase of markers of inflammation and vascular injury signaling damage to the endothelium, the inner lining of the vessel walls.

Hair samples of the younger children had average nicotine levels of 12.68 nanograms per milligram of hair compared to adolescent group, which had 2.57 nanograms per milligram of hair. Toddlers had significantly higher levels of the inflammatory marker soluble intracellular adhesion molecules (ICAM).

“Toddlers in the homes of smokers not only had higher levels of nicotine, but also had higher levels of markers for cardiovascular disease in the blood,” said John Bauer, PhD, senior author of the study and director of the Center for Cardiovascular Medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “The dose of smoke is greater in toddlers than adolescents who are able to move in and out of the home. Toddlers are like a fish in a fishbowl. They are exposed at a higher dose. And it appears that toddlers also are more susceptible to the cardiovascular effects of smoke.”

Toddlers and a Fish BowlMost of the children in the study had varying levels of secondhand smoke exposure, measured by the number of adult smokers a child was exposed to in 24 hours. Researchers took hair samples to determine nicotine levels in the body and drew blood to determine endothelial progenitor cell (EPC) levels by flow cytometry. Endothelial progenitor cells replenish the endothelium and serve as a biological marker for vascular function.

Researchers also measured known inflammatory markers, such as ICAM, in the blood. “When we analyzed our data by looking at the relationships between the number of smokers in the home and the EPC levels, we found that in toddlers, there was an inverse relationship between secondhand smoke exposure and EPC prevalence,” Dr. Groner said. “In other words, the more smokers the toddler was exposed to, the fewer EPC cells were circulating in his bloodstream. This relationship was not present among the adolescents.”

The vascular endothelium (the inner lining of arteries and blood vessels) plays a key role in promoting cardiovascular health by maintaining the tone and circulation of the arteries. ICAM is a specific marker of endothelial cell stress, which contributes to artery clogging and atherosclerosis, raising the risk of heart disease.

“The combustion of the cigarettes appears to be causing endothelial damage which is reflected in the increase in soluble ICAM in exposed children,” Dr. Groner stated. “Toddlers who are in the vicinity of smokers in the home have a higher dose of tobacco chemicals. They live at home and can’t escape. Young children also breathe faster, taking more smoke into their respiratory system.”

Past studies found that the levels of EPC are lower in adult smokers. EPCs have not been studied previously in non-smokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke.

This study indicates that cardiovascular effects of tobacco exposure in children are very similar to that of adults in the affect on the vascular wall, Dr. Groner said.

She noted the study is a “snapshot in time” and doesn’t give a long-term picture of the effects of secondhand smoke on the developing cardiovascular system of children.

“The results are intriguing, but further study is needed,” she said. “We’re not sure what happens to kids if they stay in a smoking environment or if they have multiple risk factors such as being overweight or having high blood pressure. Until then, parents and others should not smoke in homes with children, and should be especially attentive to this issue around toddlers.”

Other study authors were: Hong Huang, MD, PhD; Lisa Nicholson, PhD; Danielle Frock; Catherine Schroeder; and Jennifer Kuck, ACSM.

The Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute (FAMRI) funded the study.

Source: Advance

Cigarette Smoking Can Also Kill Your Wii

We all are aware that smoking is hazardous to one’s health.

But now it is being reported that prolonged exposure to second-hand smoke can cause serious damage to your Nintendo Wii.

Now who could have thought of that? But it’s actually true. Essentially, the smoke damages the laser that reads Wii game discs.

The issue came to light with the release of the latest installment in the Mario Bros series of video games – “Super Smash Brothers Brawl”. The game released in Japan last month but made its debut in the United States on Sunday and is likely to be one of Nintendo’s biggest Wii titles for 2008.

“Smash Brothers” contains so much data that it had to be produced on a double-layer DVD. This huge amount of data requires higher levels of accuracy from the internal laser that helps read the game disc, thus amplifying any deficiencies inherent within the system.

wiiApparently, second-hand smoke can seep into the Wii itself and leave residue or other contamination on the laser’s lens, thus interfering with the ability of the console to run a game.

As of now there has been no comment by Nintendo on the precise cause of the inability of the Wii to play the game disc.

But Nintendo won’t ruin your Mario Party as the company has promised to fix the problem. Gamers with Wii problems can send their consoles back to the company for a cleaning and there will be no shipping charges. Nintendo has warned customers not to try cleaning their consoles at home.

Nintendo’s Wii continues to be the best seller in U.S. video-game console sales with 432,000 Wii players being sold last month.

Worldwide sales of the Wii have exceeded 20 million since it debuted in late 2006, with almost 9 million units shipped in the United States.

Source: Gaganjot Singh, The Money Times

Smoking and SIDS: The Connection Explained

Like we need one more reason not to smoke, especially during pregnancy.

For the men in the house who create second-hand smoke read about this study.

New science is telling us that the increased risk for SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) among people exposed to nicotine is very real. And very explainable.

Sleep Review magazine is reporting a fascinating study that just came out, detailing why an infant’s ability to respond to oxygen deprivation after birth is dramatically compromised by exposure to nicotine in the womb–even when that exposure is light to moderate.

Picture a baby lying face down in bed. A normal, healthy baby would sense it’s being deprived of vital oxygen, and thus move its head. This is similar to the “flight or flight” response we get when we’re in a dire situation and have to move fast to survive (our body moves without us really thinking about it).

But when a baby has been exposed to the chemical nicotine in the womb, apparently this instinctual arousal mechanism doesn’t work so well. So the baby isn’t quick enough to respond and save his life.SIDS is rare, but it’s one of the most common causes of death in babies between 1 and 12 months of age. Most babies who die of SIDS are between the ages of 2 and 4 months. It can be devastating for a family–what seems like a totally healthy baby suddenly dies during sleep.

We don’t know what causes SIDS, but clearly there are risk factors for it, and smoking is one of them (no, not the baby smoking, but the mother and anyone else in the vicinity). Current studies are looking at possibly a problem in the brain that controls breathing during the first few months of life. But this new study plainly shows how nicotine can kill a much-needed survival mechanism in the early stages of life.

Baby in a CribWhen a baby is born, it’s exposed to low oxygen, which signals the adrenal glands to release chemicals called catecholamines. These catecholamines contain the famous fight or flight hormone adrenaline that tell the baby’s lungs to reabsorb fluid, and to take its first breath. The heart also begins to beat more efficiently. This response mechanism remains in place for a few months after birth (so it’s the adrenal glands that act as the baby’s oxygen sensor).

But under the influence of nicotine, it appears this mechanism becomes dysfunctional. Granted, a baby would normally lose this mechanism in time as the central nervous systems takes over the controls of this critical response, but unfortunately when a baby loses this ability too early in the game of life, the door to SIDS opens.

Yet another reason to blow out the smoke. I know it’s no easy task. But neither is grieving for a lost child.

Source: Dr. Michael J. Breus

This article is cross-posted at Dr. Breus’s Blog, The Insomnia Blog.

Study: Smokers’ Wives Have Higher Cancer Risk

New study alerts wives who are subjected to second hand smoke.

Sounding a warning over the dangers of passive smoking, a large-scale government study has found that women whose husbands smoke at home have twice the risk of developing a specific type of lung cancer compared with those married to nonsmokers.

The research team of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry that carried out the study, whose results were announced Wednesday, also said that about 40 percent of nonsmoking female cancer patients might not have contracted the disease if they had not been exposed to cigarette smoke at home.

The lung cancer in question, adenocarcinoma, is one type of non-small cell lung cancer that often develops along the outer edges of the lung and under the membranes lining the bronchi. It is the most frequently found type of lung cancer, cases of which have been increasing in the country. Those who have developed the cancer account for 70 percent of female lung cancer patients and 40 percent of male lung cancer patients.

The study was conducted on about 28,000 nonsmoking women who were aged between 40 and 69 over about 13 years from the early 1990s. The research team focused on 82 women who were diagnosed as having developed adenocarcinoma of the lung during the period, examining the relationship between the disease and their husbands’ lifestyle, such as smoking habits.

Smoking husbandsThe team’s study showed that those whose husbands smoke at home have twice the risk of developing the cancer than those with nonsmoking spouses. The risk was 1.5 times greater for those whose husbands had smoked in the past.

The research also found that women whose husband daily smoke a larger number of cigarettes have a higher risk of developing adenocarcinoma of the lung. Women whose husbands smoke fewer than 20 cigarettes a day are 1.7 times more likely to develop the cancer than those married to nonsmoking men. But the figure went up to 2.2 times for women whose husbands smoke 20 or more cigarettes a day.

Source: Yomiuri Shimbun

Formaldehyde is in Secondhand Smoke

Formaldehyde is known as a human carcinogen (cancer-causing substance) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

It is also known as a human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Formaldehyde in sidestream cigarette smoke is evident in concentrations of up to three times above occupational limits, which readily accounts for eye and nasal irritation.

Formaldehyde is also found in embalming fluids used to preserve bodies and lab specimens. That frog in the jar at school is floating in formaldehyde.

formaldehyde.gifThe tobacco industry uses formaldehyde in order to preserve tobacco moisture. isn’t that a yummy thought to imagine what you are preserving when you inhale tobacco smoke that is floating around the room.

The dangers of secondhand smoke has been proven.

Here are two resources for you: