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Users of Smoking Cessation Drug Chantix Experience Increased Aggressive Behavior

Over two million people attempt to quit smoking each year in the United States. Popular methods of quitting include using smoking cessation aids, such as nicotine replacement products or anti-nicotine medications.

Common effects of smoking cessation include increased levels of irritability and anxiety as the body adjusts to the lack of nicotine.

One common smoking cessation aid, anti-nicotine medication Chantix, has been linked to abnormal levels of aggression and violence amongst its users.

Pfizer’s Smoking Cessation Aid Chantix

Chantix is a smoking cessation aid manufactured by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. First approved by the FDA in 2006, this pill is intended to reduce users’ positive associations with smoking. It works by blocking in smokers’ brains the receptors that are stimulated by nicotine. It has been used by millions of people around the world as its popularity grows. In 2007, Chantix profits reached over $883 million.

Chantix lawsuits are on the riseReports indicate many users experiencing aggressive behavior and thoughts, including self harm and suicide, and lashing out at friends and family members when unprovoked. This has even occurred for people with no previous aggressive or violent behaviors. Pfizer has many lawsuits pending against it on the basis that the company did not disclose the risks of psychological side effects.

Study Documents Adverse Side Effects of Chantix

Chantix now leads the list of prescription drugs that are associated with acts of violence.  Results of a study published in PLoS ONE medical journal revealed that Chantix played a role in 408 cases of FDA reported adverse events. The second highest rate of incident was with the anti-depressant medication Paxil, with 177 cases. Not only are the reported rates of violence the highest, but the rates are proportionate to the number of people taking the medication.

Researchers speculate that the increased acts of violence are due to extra dopamine or serotonin released to the smoker’s brain while using the prescription medication, resulting in neuropsychiatric side effects. For people taking Chantix, the violent urges begin shortly after starting, and end quickly after discontinuing its use.

In 2009, manufacturers added to Chantix packaging a warning label depicting the potential hazards, including severe behavior changes and bouts of depression. Pfizer has also been required to do scientific trials on people with these symptoms to help determine their causes.

If you or someone you know has made the decision to quit smoking, talk about all your cessation options and strategies with your doctor.

Reference: “Chantix Side Effects Linked to More Violence Than Any Other Drug: Study”

Minnesota is Kicking Butt!

There’s some great news to share from the anti-smoking front: more people are quitting and fewer people are starting.

In a recent presentation to the American Heart Association, researchers unveiled these positive findings.

Where there is still work to be done, the numbers are quite promising.

The Thirty Year Smoking Study

University of Minnesota researchers discovered a significant and positive trend amongst smokers surveyed between the years 1980 to 2009: more and more people are quitting smoking, and less and less are starting in the first place.

The number of male smokers and the number of female smokers over this thirty-year period has decreased by more than half. The number of men who reported ever smoking a cigarette decreased from 72% in 1980 to 44% in 2009. For women, 55% in 1980 had smoked a cigarette, whereas by 2009 only 39% had.

Furthermore, researchers discovered that the number of cigarettes smoked per day on average has significantly decreased: both men and women reported smoking ten cigarettes less per day on average than compared with rates from 1980.

Reasons Behind Increased Quit Rates

The increased number of people quitting smoking is likely due to a few different factors. More and more governments are adopting legislation to heavily regulate not only the sale of cigarettes but the use of them too. For instance, in jurisdictions where indoor smoking bans have been implemented, the rates of people quitting have gone up.

There has also been an increase in the number of programs available that are funded by tobacco settlement funds. Researchers also speculate that the rising costs associated with smoking have played a large contributing factor to people quitting.

Finally, an effective reason for people to quit smoking: there has been a gradual transformation of people viewing smoking as an acceptable social past time to one attached with social stigma.

Kick Your Own Butt

There are many smoking cessation resources available for people wanting to quit or for people wanting to help others quit.

And remember that while cutting back on smoking is a good first step, any amount of cigarettes is still dangerous to one’s health.

Reference
Minneapolis Study Points to Sharp Drop in Smoking Rates by Amanda Gardner [http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=645915]

Cigarette Smoke Exposure Not Safe in Any Amount

Have you seen the recent new headline: Surgeon General Issues Latest Warning: Tobacco Smoke Exposure Not Safe in Any Amount?

Statistics highlight how one in five Americans are first-hand smokers. Whether these smokers have one cigarette a week, or an entire pack a day, the poisonous effects of cigarette smoke does not discriminate.

There are millions of others who are exposed to second-hand smoke, whether regularly or irregularly. These people are also at equal risk to the poisonous effects of tobacco smoke.

The Surgeon General stresses that no amount of cigarette smoke is safe for anyone.

Surgeon General’s Warning

For over 45 years the Surgeon General has been issuing strong warnings about the consequences of smoking and tobacco exposure. In the latest release, the Surgeon General warns against any and all exposure to tobacco smoke: whether a smoker or a second-hand bystander, no level of smoke is considered safe.

Social smokers often consider their habit “safer” because their exposure is limited to a cigarette here and there. Not so, claims the Surgeon General. Cigarette smoke immediately travels from the cigarette, into the lungs, and into the blood stream.

The toxins then attack the blood vessels, causing them to narrow, and even encourages clotting of the blood. This increases the person’s chance of heart attack or stroke.

Immediate Effects of Cigarette Smoke

There are numerous deadly effects of smoking on the body. Specific immediate effects pointed out by the Surgeon General include:

  • The blood pumped through the body carries the toxins from the tobacco to every organ, thus affecting every organ’s functioning.
  • The tobacco smoke’s toxins affect the body’s DNA, leading to different types of cancers.
  • The functions of the lungs are affected by the tobacco smoke’s poisons, leading to COPD.

While smoking for longer periods of time will increase the negative effects of smoking, no cigarette—not even one, and not even second-hand smoke—is a safe amount to be exposed to.

The Only Solution: Prevention

No matter how long a person has been smoking, quitting is the best thing that can be done to stop the poisoning and toxic effects of cigarettes on the body. Quitting at any stage gives your health a boost.

Reference: “Surgeon General: One Cigarette is One Too Many” by Lauran Neergaard
[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/09/surgeon-general-1-cigaret_n_794250.html\

Winning the Fight Against Throat Cancer

For smokers, the risk of cancer increases each year they remain a smoker.

One area cancer can greatly effect smokers is in the throat, mouth, and lungs.

Cancer detection, cancer operations, and related procedures are a big business. They amount to billions of dollars being spent each year in medical and hospital expenses.

Another booming business is in the area of advancements and equipment to refine medical procedures that make it easier on patients who get cancer. With a growing world wide smoking epidemic those investing in the sickness industry will remain employed and see their investments grow steadily over time.

The Bad News and the Good News

Robotic Throat Cancer ProcedureIt is disappointing to see such high smoking statistics around the world. That is the bad news.

The good news is medical procedures are getting less traumatic (although less is still quite undesirable). Check out what the Mayo Clinic now offers it patients to help them increase their odds that they won’t die from throat cancer.

Although this is good news, just watch this video to learn how shocking good news is.

Robotic Tongue Cancer Surgery-Mayo Clinic

When Women and Girls Aren’t Pretty in Pink

This last month WHO, the World Health Organization focused more attention on tobacco ads that target women and girls.

Females represent a large market of potential new smokers, especially woman and young females in developing countries.

Take a look at many of the new Big Tobacco’s aggressive campaigns and ads. You will find them linked to fashion, entertainment, and even sports events. Marketing tactics don’t stop at ad campaigns. The latest package designs and the look and feel of many cigarettes are clearly made for “females only.”

“The industry’s market strategy is having its desired impact,” Douglas Bettcher, director of WHO’s tobacco free initiative, said at a news briefing. “More and more girls are starting to light up. This is a serious red flag.”

World No Tobacco Day Released Youth Smoking Survey

In the countries of Chile, Colombia, and Mexico as well as in Eastern Europe teenage girls who smoke is beginning to outnumber teenage male smokers.

Comparing 151 country’s numbers we find girls that are lighting up is now equaling male youth smokers who once dominated younger users.

Pretty in Pink, NOTThe low and middle income country’s tobacco campaigns often use very seductive ads that associate tobacco use with beauty and liberation. Pink is becoming a trendy, smoking fashion statement.

Pink Cigarettes & Fashion Pink Packaging

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize five million people die every year from tobacco-related health problems caused from smoking or second-hand smoke exposure. Two of the three who die from second hand smoke related deaths are women.

Japan tobacco campaigns include pink packs of cigarettes and one cigarette maker in Egypt markets a cigarette pack that resembles a perfume container.

“The industry has studied what makes women tick in both the developed and developing countries,” said Adepeju Olukoya, of the WHO’s gender, women and health department.

Enticing Flavored Cigarettes

Flavored CigarettesAppealing to the market of emotional eaters, taste is another niche to hook new smokers.

The Black Devil Brand comes in an assortment of flavors and colors. Even the name implies you can do something “naughty” and get away with it.

The pink cigarettes are flavored with “Rose” which is one of the most appealing of fragrances in the world. The black package contains chocolate flavored death sticks, one of the most sought after tastes and foods.

By piggybacking on “Chocolate and Roses” the cigarettes mask the reality that their ingredients and harmful, toxic and can shorten one’s life. Praying on the emotions of young people to get them to pick up their first cigarette is a pretty disgusting tactic. Especially, since younger people are the least likely to contemplate mortality and the pain associated with prolonged health problems.

Most of us know how easy it is to become hooked on tobacco when the cigarettes are laced with ingredients that also stimulate the addictive centers in the brain.

Next we may see prescription drug manufacturers doing the same thing.

Reference:
(Editing by Michael Taylor) http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSLDE64R1Z420100528?type=marketsNews

Kick Butts Day(s) the Young People’s Great American Smoke Out

Quitting smoking is hard.

And the more help and support that we can give smokers to help them quit, the better off we all – men, women, children, dogs, cats, etc. will be.

March 24th was the 15th Annual Kick Butts day celebrated across the country.

Kids and young adults across the country will stand up to ask legislators to protect them from the tobacco industry. Protect them? The tobacco industry is not pulling teens and young adults out of their beds, homes or schools and telling them that they must smoke cigarettes or else.

Kick Butts Day – Are They Sending the Wrong Message?

toxic cigsThe way this Kick Butts Day is designed is open for discussion, because the creators of the day are pointing fingers at the legislators, the tobacco industry and everyone else except those that are currently smoking. Why should just legislators and the tobacco industry get all the blame? Yes, advertising campaigns that target youth is an indirect way to entice young adults to start smoking, but they didn’t force them …did they? Why are the creators of this day not also taking responsibility?

What if the Kick Butts Day focused more on getting teens and young adults to quit if they have started smoking and their friends rallying in support of them quitting. The day could commemorate the commitment to quitting, like a commitment to sobriety. The Kick Butts Day could be rallying around those that we know smoke and asking them to commit to quitting while also pointing them to support systems to help them.

What if we also celebrated those who have quit! Honoring them for taking responsibility for their life, health, and the impact smoking has on their loved ones. We could also remember  those we have lost to cigarette smoking.

Putting a Positive Spin on a Positive Effort

We have rehabs for alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, perhaps we need more rehab centers offering innovative approaches to smoking cessation. And we don’t need rehab centers because if we can rally to vote, rally to fight for healthcare, then we can rally to help teens and young people quit on the Kick Butts Day.

So let’s take a step to help smokers stop. An educational and positive spin on this day could implemented, instead of just name calling, or what some might label as cry baby blaming and finger pointing at legislators and the tobacco industry. The Kick Butt Day creators could make this a day of positive action rather than a day of focusing on negative reaction.

A Different Approach

Let’s think about this a moment.

Kick Butts Day could be a rally cry one day each month of the year. One day a month could be a way to check in and hold accountable those who have made the commitment to quit smoking.

One day a month and if that is too much then one day every three months those that have committed to smoking will be obligated to answer to their peers, parents, friends, etc. as to what they are doing and if in fact they have quit.

Diaries should be kept on a daily basis so that the potential quitters are mindful of what they have promised to do and make note of the bad habits that keep them from fulfilling their commitment to quit smoking.

This would certainly be a morale booster for those who have quit and an example to peers and those who want to kick but have been afraid to try.

Kick Butts Day could create a movement to eradicate the need to smoke if we focus inwards instead of outwards.

notable references:

Georgia Kids ‘Kick Butts’ on March 24 – CNBC

On March 26 at Manteo High School in Manteo, students will hold a cigarette butt cleanup to determine if the tobacco-free campus policy is successful. …

STUDENTS at Joseph Priestley College tackled the effects of smoking in association with National No Smoking Day last week.

Smoking Related Fires: Unattended Smoking Materials Attribute to Natural Disasters, Civilian Deaths, and Injury Each Year

Smoking does not just cause health problems.

There are other cigarette dangers that go beyond the the obvious. They are a known fire hazard as well.

Fires caused by cigarette smoking are disastrous because an unattended cigarette can destroy an unknown number of lives directly and indirectly … and in an instant.

Statistics on Fires Related to Cigarette Smoking

Smoking accounts for more than 23,000 residential fires in a year nationwide. That’s why some insurance companies offer to reduce premiums if all the residents in the house do not smoke.

Insurance breaks for households where the occupants don’t smoke is probably one of the major reasons why smoking is no longer allowed inside or on the grounds of most work places hotels, restaurants, and pubs.

Unattended Cigarettes Cause Natural DisastersFACT: Smoking materials (i.e., cigarettes, cigars, pipes, etc.) are the leading cause of fire deaths in the United States. Roughly one of every four fire deaths in 2007 was attributed to smoking materials.

In 2007, there were an estimated 140,700 smoking-material fires in the United States. These fires caused 720 civilian deaths and 1,580 civilian injuries.

More fatal smoking-material fires start in bedrooms than in living rooms, family rooms and dens.

Older adults are at the highest risk of death or injury from smoking-material fires even though they are less likely to smoke than younger adults.

The most common items first ignited in home smoking-material fire deaths were upholstered furniture, mattresses and bedding.

Worldwide the loss of material goods and real estate is in the billions of dollars.

Who Do Fires Caused by Cigarette Smoking Hurt the Most?

Young children are the most vulnerable because their inquisitiveness and thirst for knowledge make them easy targets for experimentation with things they do not quite understand.

Toddlers crawl from pillar to post putting things in their mouths like lighters, cigarettes (new and used) and pipes. They are only imitating what they see their adult mentors do on a daily basis.

And while your impression is that the toddler will not be able to light that cigarette — smoke that pipe — or knock over that ashtray — while you are out of the room, major fire disasters can erupt. For example: You are in the kitchen cooking dinner while you think little Johnny is in his bed taking nap and…

Injury to Adults and Seniors

Adults to seniors, although on the opposite end of the spectrum of young children, fair no better because they can get careless and nod off to sleep, dropping that lit cigarette on a mattress, sofa, or carpet.  Smoke inhalation is such a powerful thing that it can keep you asleep longer and deeper than that well known brand of sleeping pill.

The Other Loss

We must also mention those who are left grieving for their lost loved one. We must also mention the family that survived the fire is left behind to grieve for the loved ones they lost. They’re still trying to understand how something so small as a cigarette could have caused so much damage.

And then there is the neighbor, tired after a 10 hour work day.  She arrives home while on the way thinking about a nice hot bath and a good night’s sleep to learn that she is suddenly homeless. The cigarette smoker next door may have caused a fire that consumed everything she owned other than the clothes on her back and the shoes on her feet.

Consider the Risk, Consider the Disaster

Cigarettes are the number one cause of house fire fatalities. And we haven’t even mentioned outdoor fires causes by careless smokers.

Fires caused by cigarettes result in around eight-hundred plus deaths each year. These fires usually occur when a smoker falls asleep without extinguishing a cigarette.

House fires from unattended cigarettes generally occurs at night, when the whole family is asleep, which can make it difficult for everyone to evacuate in time.

If you or another family member has a tobacco habit, make sure that no one ever smokes in bed.

As of March 2010, all 50 US states passed legislation and achieved their goal in getting cigarette manufacturers to produce only cigarettes that adhere to an established safety performance standard.

If you do smoke think about others. Stay alert and only smoke outside away from non smokers (and dispose of the butts properly). It is better for your family’s health and this one action will reduce the risk of a house fire.

Or better yet, don’t smoke at all and relieve everyone around you from an unnecessary potential disaster.

Weak Tobacco Laws in Russia Increase Risk to Women and Children

Gregory Feifer, of Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty recently published an article on tobacco use in Russia.

He pointed out how the current laws, and heavy regulation and taxes on tobacco products in the West have pressured many smokers to give up their unhealthy habit.

This has had an effect on big tobacco profits in the US causing the industry to seek out new markets to make up losses from the North America and European market.

The Wild West Meets Russia

In Russia, Gregory states this powerful industry is growing stronger every day because, “there are no laws against smoking in public establishments,” taxes are lower, and the attitude of the public is one in which smoking and being of independent character are one in the same. If you remember those old Marboro Man commercials, Russia is reminiscent of those days in the West.

Those who are familiar with the original Marlboro Man, David McClean who appeared in many Marlboro ads starting in the early 60’s died of lung cancer at the age of 73 after it spread to his brain and spine. His widow and son filed a wrongful death lawsuit again Philip Morris, Inc. His tobacco campaign was one of the most well recognized and successful ad campaigns in US history.

Marlboro Man David McCleanNow, big tobacco companies are using the same tactics and preying on the Russian public since they have lost a large share of business. They don’t even have to be creative in their efforts because the Russian tobacco laws and regulation are not in place to protect their citizens from the use of the same old ploys that worked so well in the U.S. and Europe for decades.

As laws here have become stricter large tobacco interests have stepped up their efforts to flood the Russian market and replay their old sales formulas.

Russian Smoking Statistics for Women and Young Smokers

It seems to be working as rates for smokers have risen each year in Russia, especially through targeting women and adolescent smokers.

The laws that have been put in place in Europe and the West, along with the extra taxes on tobacco products, and the new public emphasis on health have made a positive impact. They do help protect citizens from increased use of tobacco.

Russia, according to Gregory Feifer, needs to move forward more quickly to put laws in place to protect the public before these predatory companies become more powerfully entrenched. Soon Russia will be facing a serious epidemic if they aren’t already.

Don’t Put That in Your Pipe and Smoke it

Matt Apuzzo, of the Associated Press reported on a tax loophole that many Big Tobacco manufactures quickly jumped on to reduce their tax base.

By cleverly changing product marketing they are effectively dodging taxes that would have gone to support the cost of children’s health insurance.

It didn’t take long for many makers of tobacco products to catch on. They switched gears immediately to take advantage of the different tax rates between cigarette tobacco and loose pipe tobacco.

Roll-your-own brands of loose tobacco like Criss Cross and Farmers Gold were quickly pulled from the shelves of the tobacco shops. In their place new types of pipe tobacco bearing the same labels almost instantaneously appeared.

We all know those who roll their own cigarettes will purchase the “new varieties” of pipe tobacco to beat the rising costs of smoking cigarettes.

What is most worrisome about this move is pipe tobacco is not banned from adding flavors like tobacco companies did to cigarettes.

Now that new types of flavored pipe tobaccos are finding their way on the shelves, this could ignite a whole new movement for hooking young smokers.

The new varieties of packaged pipe tobacco are also manufactured with a finer cut, suitable for rolling in flavors such as black cherry, vanilla, and who knows what else.

Popeye and his PipeThis move did not go unnoticed; The Obama administration is looking into tightening their definitions so hopefully the funding for children’s health care remains effective. This costly loophole may be causing as much as $32 million dollars of lost tax revenue each month because pipe tobacco sales are rising as roll-your-own sales are drastically being reduced.

The tobacco company tax dodging strategy has our wheels turning at CiggyFree.com. Next, we may see tobacco companies reinventing Popeye as their spokesperson. The new product campaigns may just offer disposable pipes that go along with disposable lighters combined with packets of flavored tobacco aimed at enticing young smokers. Would it surprise us? No!

Credit: Matt Apuzzo, Associated Press & Popeye Cartoons

60 Research Papers on Toxicity of Smoking Destroyed in 1992 by Imperial Tobacco Company

Report from Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Earlier this month it was reported in an abstract paper by Canadian Medical Association Journal that British American Tobacco had its affiliate, the Imperial Tobacco company destroy over sixty research documents dating back to 1992.

With this action now surfacing the embarrassment for big tobacco could also lead to future litigation due to the implications of the information discovered in the studies.

Studies on Carcinogenics in Cigarettes and Nicotine Addiction

The documents were internal research studies to better understand the effects of smoking cigarettes and offered evidence on the negative and addictive effects of smoking and nicotine addiction.

Specifically the sixty documents focused on cigarette carcinogenics and their addictive nature.

At the time, worries about this information becoming public provoked the destruction of the documents for fear that if the people became less attracted to nicotine the loss of revenue could greatly effect the British American Tobacco giants profits. Also, if the evidence found in the research made its way to government regulators it would most likely lead to regulatory implications and actions that could effect the growth and profits of the industry.

By visiting the CMAJ website you can read the original abstract.

Abstract by David Hammond, Michael Chaiton, Alex Lee, and Neil Collishaw

View the CMAJ PDF files containing a summary of the studies:

Denying Your Rights to Know

Smoking ResponsibilityIf you are a smoker and think that you haven’t been manipulated into smoking think again.

The proof of the dangers of smoking cigarettes has been known for a long time and it should make you as mad as hell that you weren’t made aware by those dispensing them before you started the habit.

Had you known the facts of these studies you could have made a real choice. Rather than protect the consumer, it is our opinion that Big Tobacco was and still is more interested in creating profits than protecting anyone’s health, or the health of those breathing a smoker’s second hand smoke.

Research Focus on Two Important Points

We need to also mention that two points in the sixty studies revealed that second-hand smoke, especially from low-delivery cigarettes was more toxic than directly smoking, and smoking filtered cigarettes lead to greater smoke inhalation for about the same amount of nicotine intake.

Hopefully uncovering the science in these documents will lead to positive steps for creating greater awareness on the dangers of tobacco addiction as the science behind this news is uncovered and shared with others.

Credit & Copyright: David Hammond, Michael Chaiton, Alex Lee, and Neil Collishaw
Destroyed documents: uncovering the science that Imperial Tobacco Canada sought to conceal
Can. Med. Assoc. J. 0: cmaj.080566v1.