Tag Archives: Smoking and Cancer

Bigger Belly May Up Smokers’ Lung Cancer Risk

Reuters Health – Smokers who carry more weight around their waistlines may be at greater risk of lung cancer, according to a new study.

The finding, along with the fact that lung cancer risk is actually higher among leaner smokers, provides “intriguing” evidence that how a smoker stores fat could play a role in his or her likelihood of developing lung cancer, Dr. Geoffrey C. Kabat of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York, told Reuters Health.

Several studies have found that a lower body mass index (BMI) means a higher lung cancer risk among smokers. “Reflex explanations” for the link include the fact that smokers are skinnier than non-smokers, Kabat noted in an interview, as well as the tendency for people to gain weight after they quit smoking.

Another proposed mechanism for the relationship is that people lose weight when they develop lung cancer.

But careful analysis of the data doesn’t bear out these explanations, Kabat said. To better understand the relationship, he and his colleagues looked at data from the Women’s Health Initiative.

Over the course of 8 years, 1,365 of the study’s 161,809 participants developed lung cancer. When the researchers looked at BMI after adjusting for weight circumference, they found that both smokers and ex-smokers with lower BMIs had a greater lung cancer risk.

But when they looked at waist circumference independent of BMI, they found that a larger waistline conferred a greater likelihood of lung cancer for smokers and ex-smokers. There was no relationship between BMI or waist circumference and lung cancer risk among never-smokers.

The findings, reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology, must be confirmed by other investigators, and don’t offer any clues on the mechanism behind the relationship, Kabat noted.

belly fatHowever, he speculated, “it may have to do with the storage, the mobilization, and the metabolization of carcinogens. These carcinogens … tend to be stored in fat tissue. That may play a role in the development of lung cancer. It may be that it’s linked to smoking but that it plays a role on top of smoking.”

He added: “We’re not ready to give people advice, because overall the advice would not be changed. We’re not advocating that people lose weight so that they have a lower risk of lung cancer. Smoking is so far and away the dominant risk factor.”

News Source: American Journal of Epidemiology, July 15, 2008.

Anne Harding, Cancerpage.com

The War Against Tobacco

One of the most dangerous diseases we should worry about is cancer.

However, many people do not believe they could suffer from a cancerous disease, hinging their argument on the fact that certainly, one thing or the other would definitely be responsible for a man’s death.

However, the truth is that several diseases, like cancer, are precipitated by men’s behaviour, their attitude to health issues, the type of food they eat and certain things or habit they are addicted to.

For instance, millions of people all over the world are heavy smokers and alcoholics, despite the billions of naira being spent on public advertisement to warn people of the inherent or potential danger of smoking tobacco? Are you also aware that despite the increasing prevalence of skin cancers among men, some still prefer to spend their last kobo on a stick of cigarette even if they lack enough cash to buy food that will nourish their body system. That is the kind of life an addicted smoker is used to.

According to medical submissions, several thousands of people today are heavy or “chain” smokers, not by choice, but because they have found no way of escape. Such people are caught in the grip of a habit developed during their teenage years when so many young people think or believe it is “smart” to smoke. Some others believe that one of the ways to display his “arrival” as a“big boy” as opposed to his other school mates is to be smoking.

According to Drs. Kayode Ajala, Seun Akinyemi, Dupe Ojo, Adebowale Elemide, and other medical experts who spoke with Saturday Tribune, smoking is not only hazardous to health, it can also be hazardous to your job prospects as well, as twice as many smokers are said to be out of work compared to non-smokers. Although a few people will accept this fact, documented report globally shows that cancer of the lung is becoming very widespread today and it is increasing more rapidly than any other type of cancer —thanks to the increasing use of tobacco.

According to the medical doctors, the primary cancer of the lung, also known as bronchogenic carcinoma often begins within the lung or one of the bronchial tubes. Though the global war against the use of tobacco or smoking of cigarette is yielding some positive results, especially in the areas of public education and enlightenment, nonetheless, many tobacco users, including women, are still falling into the trap of lung cancer and other associated diseases.

The major problem is that many of them are not usually aware of the potential dangers of smoking, but by the time they are aware of their deteriorating health or true condition of things, the disease from tobacco may have already progressed far beyond the earlier stages. This is what makes lung cancer dangerous and difficult to treat.

Medical reports also say that at present, one heavy cigarette smoker out of every ten will die of lung cancer. The Federal Government of Nigeria realised and appreciated this fact and initiated many programmes of national interest like “Say No To Tobacco Smoking”,” ban on smoking in public places”, “No smoking in government offices and parastatals” and many other programmes to discourage the use of tobacco, but all these have yielded little result as smoking in public places is still one of the most common things in the country.

Globally, every year, the country joins the rest of the world in marking the ‘World No Tobacco Day’ and it is usually a celebrated day in developing nations like Nigeria, but the big question is: “Why are we still having many tobacco or cigarette producing companies in the country, if actually we want to achieve a positive result in our battle against cigarette smoking?”It is also a thing of concern and high display of irony to see that those at the helms of affairs of this country, collaborating with the rest of the world, attending global meetings and seminars where the issue of war against tobacco smoking are being discussed and signatories to many international treaties on the battle against cigarette smoking, come back to the country, encouraging tobacco companies to flourish. Many of the government officials who are always the arrow heads of the ban on the use of tobacco or cigarette smoking in public places are often seen burning cigarette sticks in their various offices.

quit smoking posterAnother big question we need to ask is: why should we worry about smoking? For several reasons. For instance, every stick of cigarette smoked takes away 13 minutes from one’s lifespan. If tobacco causes 128,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the United States of America — a country regarded as the father of all nations, even in terms of medical facilities and modern equipment, what would the situation be like in Nigeria, a country regarded as the giant of Africa and the most populous black nation in the world which has been battling with malaria for years, yet without success.

For instance, Nigeria is said to record the highest number of morbidity and mortality of under-age (five) children in the world. The country is also number one in terms of maternal mortality in the world. Therefore, if we have been unable to fight mosquitoes that cause malaria for years without success, one wonders if we would be able to fight lung cancer and other health problems caused by the dangerous chemical in tobacco known as nicotine —one of the most potent substances known to man.

Nicotine which is present in tobacco is also a dangerous poison that triggers cancer and it is second only to cyanides in its destructive effect on the human body. Actually, there are eighteen different poisons in a cigarette. Some of these attack the delicate membranes of the windpipes. Others enter the blood stream and interfere with its normal circulation throughout the body. But the two most deadly poisons in cigarette are the tar, a carcinogenic or cancer-producing substance, and necotine.

Other bad news for cigarette smokers are that they are more susceptible (open) to cancer of the mouth, larynx, oesophagous, pancreas, bladder, kidneys and cervix than non-smokers.

Smokers are also liable to emphysems, which kill(s) by slow suffocation, ulcer of the duodenum and stomach. Smoking pulls calcium out of the skeleton, thus accelerating the bone thinning process known as osteoporosis.

Not only that, “Smoker’s cough” is one of the rewards of cigarette smoking. Inflammation of the throat is too common in all heavy smokers. Nicotine in cigarette/tobacco also constricts small arteries supplying blood to the heart, brain, lungs and other vital organs and important areas depriving them of vital oxygen. Nicotine produces a sense of relaxation and well-being —which is called smoking’s main appeal. This is a deceptive relaxation that allows the cells of the body to continue to enjoy nicotine destruction and that is why nicotine is often referred to as addictive drug.

Carbon monoxide which smoking generates interferes directly with the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen. This causes shortness of breath, lack of endurance, and acceleration of a therosderosis (narrowing and hardening of arteries) which may later trigger cardiovascular disease and later stroke.

Moreover, many smokers cannot actually state the reasons (why) they smoke; some give different excuses or reasons but the strange thing is that most of these people never wanted to smoke in the first place. They were only doing what they felt/thought everyone else was doing at that time. But the truth is that smoking is not a normal habit, a person has to learn to smoke, just like any vocational job.

Furthermore, there are pay offs to quitting cigarette smoking. The advantages/benefits are numerous. For example, there is a sense of victory, increased self-esteem, pleasant breath, better fasting food, increased endurance, improved health and energy, a feeling of well-being and freedom from an inconvenient, unpopular, costly habit.

If every second, a smoker will die from some diseases directly connected to cigarette smoking, and smokers will always lose an average of 8.3 years from their normal life expectancy, so why won’t smokers run away from the stick of death?

In the world today, the campaign against tobacco smoking has risen to a global height. The campaign which became intense about two decades ago has assumed a vigorous dimension in the West.

Over the years, this situation has made business sour for manufacturers of tobacco products, particularly cigarettes, which are most largely consumed in this part of the world.
Severe litigations in the West have made their operations there expensive and unpopular, thereby provoking a shift in production and marketing of the product to the developing countries, notably Africa. One Dr. Yach in a journal, Africa Recovery, United Nations, observed, “Whereas taxes amount to two-thirds or more of the retail price of a pack of cigarettes in high-income countries, by contrast they amount to no more of the retail price in poorer countries.” Of greater concern, he says, “is that between 1990 and 2000, cigarette prices in many African countries declined in real terms. In Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, Kenya and Nigeria, a pack of 20 cigarettes is no more than 25% cheaper than it was in 1990.”

While the West is known to have very stringent legislation against the production and consumption of tobacco products, the situation then was different in many third world countries, especially Africa where they firmly pitched their tent doing business with little or no constraint from government and regulatory bodies.

In the case of Nigeria, the body saddled with the responsibility of regulating the production, trade and consumption of the product, the Federal Ministry of Health, had until recent years only been toying with restrictions. Efforts at curbing the consumption of this product started some 15 years ago with the placement of warning for consumers, inscribed on the packages of the product and promoted on the radio and television stations nationwide.

Nevertheless, many Nigerians were quick to dismiss these warning notices which over time stiffened, notably from “The Federal Ministry of Health Warns that Tobacco Smoking is Dangerous to Health” to “The Federal Ministry of Health Warns that Tobacco Smokers Are Liable to Die Young,” as a child’s play due to the seemingly little impact on the consumers. Besides, the warnings, when graphically relayed on the product packages and billboards, were very thinly scripted that the words were usually missed out. This, many believed, was a calculated attempt by the manufacturers to sink the message or warning into obscurity.

This, however, at that time, did not dissuade the manufacturers from continuing to ply their trade and making a fortune from it. They even went ahead to devise various means of strengthening their foothold in the Nigerian market through aggressive and glamorous advertisements and by doling out huge sums of money for sponsorship of musical shows and fiestas and other entertainments in the country. The days of the tobacco brand, Benson and Hedges-sponsored annual musical shows with the glitterati, pomp and pageantry that characterized it and the thrills that diffused from the melodious advert jingles of Rothmans cigarettes adapted from Seal’s hit track are still very much impressed on the minds of many Nigerians.

Interestingly today, they are now a thing of the past. Therefore what dimension has this campaign taken in the country today?
Obviously, the story today in Nigeria is different. With sterner or more severe restrictions mounted against the advertisement of cigarettes and the sponsorship of programmes, events, and festivities, the product is fast getting out of public view, becoming unpopular and sinking into oblivion.

Sometime in January, 2008, the Nigerian government announced its intention to ban smoking in public places in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, on the heels of a massive law suit filed against tobacco companies such as British American Tobacco and Philip Morris.

Government ministries in Abuja have also mapped out plan to issue new health regulations controlling tobacco products and prevent tobacco companies from entering the market in the future.

In a statement made at the launch of a new NGO-government collaboration, the Coalition Against Tobacco (COA), the minister for the FCT, Dr. Aliyu Moddibo Umar, said:

“By June, we are going to outlaw smoking in public buildings in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).” Hopefully, this will be the first step towards placing in the next couple of years, a total ban on smoking in the FCT.”

Coupled with this, former Health Minister, Professor Adenike Grange, and the Head of the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof Dora Akuniyili, promised stricter regulations and an eventual end to the sale of all tobacco products across the country.

COA is just one of several NGOs hoping to reduce the production and sales of cigarettes The definition of public places includes public offices, parks, lounges in the lift, an arena and many other places that bring people together. Abuja is being used as a launch pad for this campaign as Nigerians wait impatiently for the ban to take effect.

However, this decision has generated mixed reactions from residents of the city and other concerned Nigerians. While some greeted it as a step in the right direction, others have condemned it as a gross violation of the individual’s right or freedom, amounting to killing a fly with a sledge hammer.

Source: Seye Adeniyi and Lawrence Amaku, Nigerian Tribune

Smoking Reversible?

Risk of death from tobacco related diseases or various forms of cancer declines dramatically five years after kicking the habit.

Women who quit smoking reduce their risk of dying from heart disease and tobacco-related cancers.

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health analyzed data on 105,000 women over 24 years, taken from the Nurses’ Health Study, a long-term survey that began at Harvard in 1976.

Stacey Kenfield is lead author of the new report. She says the data show harm from smoking can be reversed over time to the level of a non-smoker. “For coronary heart disease for example, your risk declines to a non-smokers’ risk within 20 years. For all causes it declines at 20 years. For lung cancer it is after 30 years.”

Kenfield says scientists observed almost immediate benefits when the women kicked the habit. “We saw a 47 percent reduction in risk for coronary heart disease within the first five years [of quitting] and a 21 percent reduction in lung cancer death within the first five years.” Kenfield says the data also indicate that smoking is more dangerous the younger a woman is when she starts. “If you start before you are 17, you have a 21-fold higher risk than a non-smoker. But if you start after the age of 26 you only have a 9-fold higher risk of dying from lung cancer.”

Picture of Girl SmokingBased on that evidence, Kenfield recommends high schools offer more programs to help students quit. “If you would like to see the whole potential benefit from your cigarette cessation, you really need to quit as soon as possible.”

Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. The World Health Organization attributed 5 million deaths to smoking in 2000. That number is expected to climb to 10 million tobacco-related deaths by 2030. Kenfield’s study is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Source: Voice of America News

NIH to Fund New Research Study Regarding Exposure to Cigarette Smoke

Smoking Research Studies Exposure to Cigarette Smoke

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania recently received a $2.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for a new study focusing on the chemical changes that occur when the body is exposed to cigarette smoke.

SmokePrevious research has shown that chemical changes in the body can occur after exposure to cigarette smoke and that smoking and exposure to cigarette smoke is the environmental exposure responsible for causing more deaths than any other toxins.

The chemical elements found in cigarette smoke can cause certain types of cancer and have been associated with cardiovascular, pulmonary and pancreatic diseases.

Smokers, non-smokers and even individuals who are in regular contact with secondhand smoke will be screened for the presence of distinctive lipid and DNA biological indicators or chemicals and through additional discovery potential protein indicators in their blood, urine and breath.

These indicators, also known as biomarkers or biochemicals, will be utilized to determine the susceptibility of individuals to tobacco-related lung and cardiovascular problems after exposure to cigarette smoke. The results will hopefully provide reliable data for use in subsequent studies.

“Only one in ten smokers get lung cancer, but the five-year survival rate after diagnosis is only 15 percent,” says Trevor M. Penning, PhD, Director of The Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology (CEET). “The question is, how can we intervene earlier to identify people most at risk. We aim to look at the interaction of genetic susceptibility to lung cancer and biomarkers of exposure to cigarette smoke. At the end of the day, if we study genetics and exposure together, we’ll hopefully have a very strong statement to say who is most at risk.”

Source: Brenda Fulmer, Claris Law
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Global Cancer Deaths to Hit 17 Million in 2030

Barcelona – Cancer deaths will more than double to 17 million people each year in 2030 with poor countries shouldering the heaviest burden from the disease, the head of the UN’s cancer agency said on Monday.

An aging population will bump up cancer rates worldwide in the coming years, especially in developing countries where the number of people who smoke and drink is on the rise, said Peter Boyle, director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

And the disease will hit poorer countries harder because of limited health budgets and a lack of treatments such as radiotherapy that can extend people’s lives, he told the European Cancer Conference. “If we put population growth and aging to one side the exportation of cancer risk factors, primarily tobacco smoking, from developed countries will continue to be a major determinant of cancer risk and cancer burden in less developed countries,” he said.

Smoke Drink Watch TVFor many years, many thought cancer was mainly a problem in rich nations in part because health officials assumed people in poorer countries did not live long enough to develop cancer. This trend is changing, however, as residents of these nations live longer and continue cancer-causing activities like smoking that are declining in Western countries, Boyle said.

This will fuel a dramatic increase in worldwide cancer with the disease likely killing 17 million people each year by 2030, up from the current 7 million. The number of people diagnosed and living with cancer will treble to 75 million, he said. “The big issue is aging,” he said. “The speed of the aging of the population is something which is dramatically increasing, especially in the low and medium resource countries.”

But he said Europe offers an example that something can be done because even as cancer cases rise, the disease is killing fewer people these days than expected. This shows that programs such as increased screening and education aimed at preventing tobacco use helped whittle EU cancer deaths to 935,219 in 2000, nearly 10% below expectations.

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Quit Smoking is the Way to Good Health

Cigarette smoking kills approximately 300,000 in the United States each year, and most of these people are seniors.

Lung cancer and emphysema are the best-known miserable outcomes.

However, accelerated development of atherosclerosis is the most important problem resulting from smoking.

This results in heart attacks and strokes, heart pains, leg pains, and many other problems. Pipe and cigar smoking do not have the pulmonary consequences that cigarette smoking does, but they do predispose to cancer of the lips, and tongue. Nicotine in any form has the same bad effects on the small blood vessels and thus accelerates development of atherosclerosis.

n.jpgIt is never too late to quit.

Only two years after stopping cigarette smoking, your risk of heart attack returns to average.

It has actually decreased substantially the very next day! After ten years your risk for lung cancer is back to nearly normal.

After only two years there is a decrease in lung cancer risk by perhaps one-third.

The development of emphysema is arrested for many people when they stop smoking, although this condition does not reverse. Seniors often feel that it is too late for changes in lifestyle to have beneficial effects on their health.

Not so. Most seniors have plenty of time to get major health benefits from quitting smoking. Remember that after age 65 men live an average of 15.4 more years and women 19.2 years. Chances of stroke and heart attack begin to go down immediately after you quit. Moreover, you will notice at once that your environment has become more friendly when you are not a smoker. Many of the daily hassles that impair the quality of your life go away when you stop offending others by this habit.

Many health educators are skeptical about cutting down slowly and stress that you need to stop completely. This may not always be true for seniors. For some people, rationing is a good way to get their smoking down to a much lower level, at which point it may be easier to stop entirely.

For example, the simple decision not to smoke in public can both help your health and decrease your daily hassles. To cut down, keep in the cigarette pack only those cigarettes you are going to allow yourself that day. Smoke the cigarettes only halfway down before extinguishing them.

There are many good stop-smoking courses offered through the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, and local hospitals. Most people won’t need these, but they can be of help. Try by yourself first. Then, if you still need help, get it.

Nicotine chewing gum or patches can help some people quit, and your doctor can give you a prescription and advice. Don’t plan on this as a long-term solution, since the nicotine in the gum or patch is just as bad for your arteries as the nicotine in cigarettes.

The challenge to stop smoking is an example of your ability to make your own choices if you are trapped by your addictions, even the lesser ones, you can’t make your own choices. Victory over smoking behaviors improves your mental health, in part because this is a difficult victory. It can open the door to success in other areas.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/health-articles/quit-smoking-is-the-way-to-good-health-220346.html

The Secret Smoker

He would, he says, never cheat on his wife.

But each time he smokes a Camel Light, it feels like an infidelity.

He promised to quit before they married.

He stubbed out his cigarette, washed his face with scented soap and for two months he abstained.

He said his wedding vows, toasted her with champagne and honeymooned at a resort, all without a cigarette.

Back in Charlotte, as he faced work again, he felt an irresistible urge to smoke.

Cigarette SmokerHe opened his desk drawer and there it was, a pack of Camel Lights he had hidden. He reached in. With more desire than regret, he got up and returned to his old haunt, an alcove behind his office where he knew he would find the other smokers standing around a terra cotta flowerpot.

The first couple of puffs tasted bitter the way he remembers his first cigarette in junior high.

Then a familiar heady adrenaline rush kicked in, and he was hooked all over again.

The Closet Smoker

He is The Closet Smoker, and that pack of Camel Lights in his desk is his dirty little secret.

You may know someone like him: an alcoholic perhaps, or a gambler or drug abuser. The pleasure they get from their addictions makes them do things they would not ordinarily do: indulge in risky behavior and lie about it.

The Closet Smoker knows better. In so many other ways he takes care of himself and the people around him. He lifts weights, takes a multivitamin and avoids fast food. He enjoys a good bottle of wine and an occasional sushi dinner out, but he’s not extravagant. If his car needs an oil change or tire rotation, he does it himself.

He’s not yet 40, a professional in Charlotte. His boss says she’s impressed by his savvy and creativity, and by the little things he does to help around the office, such as cleaning up the kitchen.

Most evenings, he cooks dinner for his wife. He phones his mother every day, or sends an instant message. Weekends, he might take his daughter golfing or to Carowinds. On Sundays, you’ll find him in church. His best friends know his secret. Everybody at work knows. But not the people who mean the most to him, his wife, his mother and his daughter.

He’s embarrassed to admit he lies to them. He says he wouldn’t lie for any other reason. He feels guilty, ashamed that he’s capable of deceiving the three most important people in his life for a cigarette. He worries what will happen if they find out.

They’re right, and he knows it. He shouldn’t smoke. It’s bad for him. He researched smoking for a science project in eighth grade and discovered that a few drops of nicotine in liquid form can kill you.

Years of smoking, he knows, might kill him, too.

The Nature of Cigarette Addiction

The Closet Smoker is sensible about most things. Yet his compulsion to smoke overpowers his common sense. That’s the nature of addiction.

It’s part of being human. Our brains are wired to reinforce behaviors we need to survive. Eating, drinking, sex. These behaviors stimulate pleasure circuits in the brain. Nicotine over-stimulates the circuits. It floods the brain with a neurotransmitter called dopamine that makes us feel good. Cocaine and heroin act in similar ways.

One reason nicotine and these other drugs are so addictive is they work on the same brain circuitry we use for survival.

Our brains become hijacked. We have to have more.

Scientists have turned to brain imaging to learn about addiction. They discovered that the decision-making part of an addict’s brain, the region that controls judgment, is no longer as effective. That could help explain why we become hooked on things when we know we shouldn’t.

  • Nicotine
  • Cocaine
  • Alcohol
  • Steroids
  • Gambling
  • Shoplifting
  • Caffeine
  • Sugar
  • Work
  • Sex

We’re all capable of addictive behavior.

Anything to look cool

The Closet Smoker’s initiation came in middle school. His older brother smoked, and The Closet Smoker occasionally sneaked one.

He wanted to like cigarettes. He wanted to look grown-up like his brother.

But what he remembers most from those early attempts is a burning sensation on the tip of his tongue and in his chest, followed by a fit of coughing.

He bought his first pack freshman year in high school. He was 15. State law then as now said no one under 18 could buy cigarettes, and for a while he bummed off older friends. Then he learned about a convenience store on the way to school where the clerk didn’t check IDs.

He asked for Marlboros. Everybody he knew smoked Marlboro’s, the cowboy’s brand, America’s favorite cigarette. He wanted to be like everybody. He paid for that first pack with money he earned bagging groceries at the Winn-Dixie.

He tucked the little red and white box in his backpack and headed off to school, a member of a new fraternity.

He ignored the taste. It was more important to him to be like everybody than to actually enjoy smoking. And it didn’t take too many cigarettes before the taste grew on him like the taste of another adult pleasure he had learned to like, black coffee.

He says most students smoked. The fortunes of their town, like so many towns in North Carolina, were built on tobacco. It was still the state’s biggest cash crop when he was in school, and even now brings in $400 million a year.

Of course, teenagers smoked.

Many of their parents did, too. The Closet Smoker’s dad smoked three packs a day for 30 years before giving it up.

High school students could smoke between classes, at recess and at lunch with a parent’s permission. The Closet Smoker’s parents didn’t approve, but he says he got so he could get in a smoke in 45 seconds and no one ever caught him.

He remembers the night of a basketball game, hanging out in the parking lot with friends, most of them sneaking beer, then one person asked if anyone had a cigarette and another person wanted one, too, and then another. He was the only one with a pack, and he passed it around.

That night, he was The Man.

Loved Ones Worry

His first wife, he says, hated his smoking. Before they married, he was up to a pack and a half a day. Thirty cigarettes every day.

He says she complained about the smell, and the taste when they kissed, and the stale odor of his clothes, and the butts in the flowerpot on the deck.

Most of all, he says, she hated what smoking might do to him: the heart disease and bronchitis, asthma, emphysema, lung cancer and other cancers.

Everyone knows smoking kills. Half of all Americans who smoke will die because of it, about 400,000 people every year, twice as many people as die from alcohol, drugs, fires, car accidents, homicide, suicide and AIDS combined.

Kids in preschool know smoking kills. Yet more than 46 million people in our country smoke. The Closet Smoker, like many addicts, assumes it won’t happen to him.

He Tried To Quit

He really did, he says, and once he almost succeeded.

He went without a cigarette for several months after college and he felt much better. He had more stamina. He no longer had that nagging smoker’s cough.

Then he took a job at a company where most employees smoked. They stopped working every day at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. for 15 minutes of smoking and socializing.

Within two weeks, he was in there with them.

He tried to hide his habit after his daughter was born, but when she was 4 she caught him.

He had sneaked out to the patio like a teenager. She went looking for him. She opened the door and there stood her father, a cigarette dangling between his lips.

Daddy, that’s nasty!

He felt ashamed. He snuffed out the butt between his fingers and flushed it down the toilet. But he didn’t quit. From that day on, he just made sure he never again smoked around her.

He doesn’t want his daughter to smoke.

His parents didn’t want him to.

His dad once offered him $1,000 if he would quit.

The Closet Smokers Deception

The Closet Smoker thinks he’s fooling his new wife.

He smokes his last cigarette at work around 4:30 most afternoons, then washes away the smell from his face with scented soap. He drives home, car windows open, chewing gum or sucking mints. He chews gum on weekends just so she won’t wonder why he’s always chewing gum when he gets home from work.

He doesn’t smoke in his car. He doesn’t smoke on Saturdays or Sundays. He sometimes smokes when he’s out to lunch, but mostly he confines his smoking to the alcove behind his office.

He and two co-workers knock on each other’s doors on their way out, four or five times a day, more on bad days. The Closet Smoker says he enjoys the socializing as much as the smoking. If he didn’t smoke, how could he justify taking so many breaks?

They stand in the alcove in 104-degree heat. They’re out there in freezing rain. They can’t be picky. Finding a place to smoke is not easy any more.

You certainly can’t smoke at school. In your office? Few businesses allow it. Even outdoors in many places, you’re a pariah; no one wants to breathe your secondhand smoke.

As bare and ugly as the alcove is, The Closet Smoker looks forward to being there every Monday morning.

What Happens Inside

Every Monday morning, after two days without nicotine, his first cigarette gives him a kick more powerful than any he’ll get all week.He balances the Camel Light between his lips, then cuffs his hands around his lighter. A flame shoots up. The tip of the cigarette burns. He inhales, drawing smoke deep inside. Particles of tar, the same stuff used to pave highways, carry the nicotine through his windpipe, then down his left and right bronchi and into his lungs.

He holds onto the smoke for a few seconds before exhaling.

The nicotine flows through small tubes in his lungs called bronchioles and into millions of tiny air sacs that puff up every time he inhales. From there, it enters his bloodstream.

It takes about eight seconds to reach his brain.

Before he can take another puff, he feels the effects of the first. The gratification is immediate and that’s one reason nicotine is so addictive.

He feels a lift of energy. His heart beats faster, his blood pressure rises. He is focused, more attentive. He feels ready to tackle work again.

What he doesn’t feel are the poisons circulating through his body:

Cyanide, benzene, formaldehyde, methanol and acetylene, ammonia, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide, more than 4,000 chemicals in each cigarette, the same chemicals used to kill rats, make gasoline and nail polish, and embalm dead bodies.

The nicotine is what hooked him; it’s the chemicals in cigarettes that may kill him.

They’re the reason this summer he couldn’t swim underwater from one end of his apartment pool and back again without coming up for air.

He says his wife blamed his lack of stamina on years of smoking, not knowing he is still at it.

A Partial Confession

Since they married, he says she has confronted him a few times about the smell of cigarettes.

His heart beat faster, his blood pressure rose, but not in a pleasant way. He says he confessed. Sort of. He says he told her each time that, yes, he smoked that day. He didn’t tell her he smokes every day at work.

He says she hates the smell and the taste and, most of all, she hates what cigarettes might do to him. How could he promise to be with her forever, when he shortens forever by several minutes or more with every cigarette?

He says he had every intention of quitting. He’s had every intention of quitting every time he’s tried. Most smokers want to quit, but it usually takes several tries. The Closet Smoker says he has tried 15 to 20 times.

What the Secret Smokers Tells Himself

Maybe he can’t quit. So he gives himself permission, the way addicts do: “I firmly believe that a lot of lung cancer that’s smoking related is because people sit inside and continuously breathe in the smoke. I don’t smoke inside.”

He rationalizes, the way addicts do, that his smoking doesn’t affect his family because he doesn’t smoke in front of them.

But The Closet Smoker is a smart guy and when he hears what he’s just said, he knows it doesn’t make sense. “Now that I’ve said it out loud, I guess it’s a little short-sighted of me because I don’t see it as directly affecting them. Long-sighted, my health and my early demise will affect them.”

Most of all, he says, he hates deceiving the people he loves.

Smoking Kills, Yet We Light Up

One in 20 middle school students in North Carolina smokes cigarettes, according to the American Lung Association. By high school, one in five students in the state smokes, and the percentage grows slightly among adults. They smoke despite evidence that smoking is responsible for nearly one in five deaths in the United States. Consider these statistics from the CDC:

  1. Smoking causes 90 percent of lung cancer deaths in women, and nearly 80 percent in men, and many other types of cancer.
  2. If you smoke, you’re two to four times as likely to develop coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.
  3. Smoking doubles a person’s risk for stroke.

    Smokers in the Closet

    More than 46 million people in the United States smoke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    No one knows how many are closet smokers. After news reports that ABC News anchor Peter Jennings, a former smoker, had lung cancer, New York magazine polled 100 smokers; one-third said they hid their habit from parents, bosses, children or spouses.

    Want to Quit Smoking?

    Call toll-free in North and South Carolina, 1-800-Quit-Now.

    American Lung Association’s “Quit Smoking Cessation Plan”

    Tobacco prevention in North Carolina

    Teens can get help at NCNot.com


    How We Reported the Story

    Elizabeth Leland interviewed Professor Steven Childers of Wake Forest University School of Medicine, who studies the effect of drug addiction on the brain, and Dr. Cindy Miner, a deputy director at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Leland also researched addiction and nicotine through publications such as “Psychology Today” and on Web sites of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Stanford University, Harvard University and others. She read about the history and economics of tobacco, and got data from the N.C. Department of Agriculture and the American Cancer Society. She interviewed The Closet Smoker and his boss. He agreed to be the subject of a story on condition that she not reveal his identity.

    Source: Elizabeth Leland, Charlotte Observer

    Smoking and Skin Aging

    Smoking cigarettes ages skin faster than anything else apart from sun damage.

    There’s no gentle way of saying this. If you smoke cigarettes you need to stop.

    Aside from the many health issues associated with smoking, if you care at all about wrinkles and you want to look younger for longer, then smoking is out.

    Whilst the number of cigarette smokers is dropping world-wide, there are still one million new smokers lighting up each year in the US alone – many of them young women who may later come to regret the irreversible effects on their looks.

    “For smokers, middle-age starts in the their early 30’s as the tell-tale wrinkles around the mouth and eyes begin to appear. Young female smokers are likely to be wasting their money on anti-aging face creams if they continue to smoke.”

    Smoking is not an equal opportunity addiction. That’s official – and it’s supported by many years of research by reputable medical bodies.

    You may not be aware that:

    • The nicotine in cigarettes is more addictive for women and women have much more difficulty quitting smoking than men.
    • Women who smoke have twice the additional risk of heart attacks, strokes and lung cancer than men who smoke.
    • Lung cancer kills three times the number of American women than breast cancer – currently around 70,000 per year.
    • Smoking is linked to early menopause in women.
    • The aging effect of smoking on the skin is worse for women who are more likely to develop “smoker’s face” than male smokers.

    In 2001 the special risks of smoking for women were recognized by the US Surgeon General in a special report warning women of the dangers from smoking cigarettes. Similar statements were made by European government bodies and other world authorities.

    Even if you dismiss the health risks for whatever reason – take time to consider how smoking cigarettes will damage your skin and accelerate the aging process. Do you really want this to happen to you?

    Skin Aging and the Smoker’s Face

    skin-smoking.jpgThe effects of smoking on skin aging have been recognized for a long time. A 1965 study first identified what came to be known as “smokers face” – gray, pale and wrinkled skin.

    In recent years much research has focused on this area and it’s now broadly accepted that the skin of smokers is damaged by smoking making them look older than non-smokers.

    The Chief Medical Officer of the UK recently highlighted the link between smoking and skin damage saying that smoking adds between 10-20 years to your natural age.

    How Does Smoking Speed Up Skin Damage?

    It all starts with the ‘free radicals’ formed in your body by the exposure to tobacco smoke.

    Free radicals are highly unstable and powerful molecules that can cause disease and damage to cell DNA. The cells of your body start behaving erratically producing a range of responses that make your skin age faster.

    The most serious damage to skin is caused by:

    • Restricted blood flow through the capilliaries (tiny veins near the skins surface) preventing oxygen and nutrients getting to the skin.
    • Increased production of an enzyme which breaks down the supply of collagen to the skin’s structure. Collagen supply is vital to the skin’s elasticity. It decreases with age but smoking cigarettes accelerates this process.
    • Smoking reduces the body’s store of vitamin A which provides protection from skin damage.
    • Smoking gets in the way of absorption of vitamin C – a vital antioxidant for skin protection and health.
    • Continual puckering from drawing on a cigarette and squinting in reaction to the cigarette smoke create deeply wrinkled skin around the eyes and mouth – classic signs of  “smoker’s face.”

    What Does a Smoker’s Skin Look Like Over Time?

    Smoking statistics will clearly tell you the risk of death and disease from your smoking habit, but what about how your skin will look like if you continue to smoke?

    This is what to expect of smoker’s skin overtime :

    • Dull appearance to the skin – loss of skin glow and vitality.
    • Discolored skin (an ashy look on white skins).
    • Deeper wrinkles around the mouth and eyes.
    • Loss of tone and elasticity more than with the normal aging process.

    Or you can simply listen to the words of a senior dermatologist – Professor Young of Guys School of Medicine in London was the leader of the team that demonstrated in 2001 how collagen loss was accelerated by smoking.

    “Smoking exerts such a noticeable effect on the skin that it’s often possible to detect whether or not a person is a smoker simply by looking at his or her face. Smokers have more wrinkles and their skin tends to have a greyish pallor compared to non-smokers.”

    Can Skin damage From Smoking Be Reversed?

    There’s no doubt you won’t be able to completely reverse the damage that smoking has done.

    But – with a good diet, skin supplements, and great anti aging skin care you can do a lot to get your youthful skin back.

    By quitting smoking you can stop the damage getting any worse. Why wait and then quit later when even more damage has been done to your skin?

    When you look at your skin remember that some damage won’t appear until ten to twenty years after you began to smoke.

    So if you haven’t been smoking that long and you don’t see much damage yet – don’t assume it won’t happen.

    The important thing for your skin and your looks is to stop inflicting continued damage on yourself. If you quit smoking now you will stop your skin aging any faster than it normally would. And with proper anti aging skin care and nutrition your skin will look much better into the future than it will if you carry on as a smoker.

    Source: http://lifestyle.simplyantiaging.com/smoking-and-skin-aging/

    How Your Lungs Work

    You breathe in and out anywhere from 15 to 25 times per minute,

    Without even thinking about it.

    When you exercise, your breathing rate goes up — again, without you thinking about it.

    You breathe so regularly that it is easy to take your lungs for granted.

    You can’t even stop yourself from breathing if you try!

    Smoker’s Lung Pathology Photo Essay

    This photo essay will focus on smoker’s lung. The term “smoker’s lung” refers to the structural and functional abnormalities (diseases) in the lung caused by cigarette smoking.

    First, the normal structure and function of the lung will be described and illustrated. Then, the structural and functional abnormalities caused by smoking. will be described and illustrated.

    http://www.medicinenet.com/smokers_lung_pathology_photo_essay/article…

    All About Smoking (ALA)

    http://www.lungusa.org/site/pp.asp?c=dvLUK9O0E&b=22938

    Contains the following topics of interest:

    • Smoking Fact Sheet
    • Data and Statistics
    • Secondhand Smoke Fact Sheet
    • Secondhand Smoke and Children Fact Sheet
    • Secondhand Smoke and Your Family
    • Cigar Smoking Fact Sheet
    • International Tobacco Use Fact Sheet
    • Smoking Among Older Adults Fact Sheet
    • Image Comparison of Healthy Lung to Lung with Emphysema
    • Smoking Policies in the Workplace Fact Sheet
    • Tobacco-Free Schools Fact Sheet
    • Tobacco Product Advertising and Promotion Fact Sheet

    How Smoking Hurts Your Lungs

    Smoking damages your lungs natural cleaning and repair system and traps cancer-causing chemicals in your lungs.

    Picture of LungsSmoking destroys the tiny hairs (cilia), which line the upper airways and protect against infection. Normally, there is a thin layer of mucous and thousands of these cilia lining the insides of your breathing tubes.

    The mucous traps the little bits of dirt and pollution you breathe in, and the cilia move together like a wave to push the dirt-filled mucous out of your lungs. Then you cough, swallow, or spit up the mucous, and the dirt is out of your lungs.

    When your lungs’ natural cleaning and repair system is damaged, germs, dirt and chemicals from cigarette smoke stay inside your lungs. This puts you at risk for chronic cough, chest infections, lung cancer and COPD.

    View a Bronchoscopy in a Patient with Lung Cancer

    The patient is a 57 year old, with a 75 pack year history of smoking, who was found to have a carcinoma in the upper portion of his right lung.

    “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” ~ John Powell

    Click to learn How the Lung’s Work at HowStuffWorks.com

    Nicotine and the Link Between Smoking and Kidney Disease

    Cigarette smoke (CS) is the most preventable cause of death and chronic disease in the United States.

    In addition to being a risk factor for atherosclerosis and cancer, recent epidemiologic studies suggest that cigarette smoke promotes the progression of kidney disease.

    The mechanisms by which cigarette smoke may accelerate some types of chronic kidney disease are currently unknown.

    A new study, being published by the American Physiological Society (http://www.the-aps.org/), demonstrates for the first time that human mesangial cells (MC) – cells in the blood vessels of the kidneys – are endowed with nicotinic receptors (cells that interact with the nicotine in tobacco) and may play an active role in the development of certain kidney diseases