Category Archives: Smoking Related Diseases

Information on smoking related diseases and illnesses

Understanding Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Part I

Chronic Pulmonary Disease kills over 100 thousand Americans each year.

This makes COPD the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.

Take a moment and learn about COPD, and how this combination of diseases (chronic bronchitis and emphysema) combine to create COPD, and how to detect it.

click for > Part Two: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Understanding Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Part II

Over twelve million people currently suffer from Chronic Pulmonary Disease in American this year.

COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.

Take a moment and learn about treatments for COPD, and how the symptoms of this combination of diseases (chronic bronchitis and emphysema) can be controlled.

Bronchodialators are one of the most used treatments and consist of several different types. Learn about several other options to treat this incurable disease.

click for > Part One: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Reminder to Smokers: Your Lungs Are Aging

A simple discussion of lung capacity appears to double the rate patients follow a doctor’s advice to quit smoking.

A study published online (March 7 in the British journal BMJ) suggests that if a doctor tells smokers their “lung age” — the age of the average healthy nonsmoker who would match them in breathing strength — they are more likely to stop smoking.

Using a spirometer, a device that measures how fast and how much air a person can breathe, British doctors tested 561 smokers, men and women with an average age of 53.

Half were randomly assigned to receive their results as lung age, explained with a chart showing lung capacity as it normally decreases with age. The other half were told the amount of air in liters they could force out in one second and were to return in a year “to see if there has been any change in lung function. ”The subjects with readings that suggested a medical problem were referred to their physicians.

Regardless of the results, all participants were advised to quit smoking, informed about government programs to stop smoking and told that the test of lung function did not show anything about other serious diseases that smoking causes.

Twelve months later, the scientists tested participants for carbon monoxide in their breath and cotinine in their saliva, reliable indicators of smoking. Of those who were not told their lung age 6.4 percent were no longer smoking, and 13.6 percent of those who knew their lung age had quit.

Dr. Gary Parkes, the lead author and a general practitioner in Hertfordshire, said that at first the smokers were not highly motivated to quit. More than 60 percent had made no plans to do so.

According to background information in the report, a physician’s simple advice results in a 4 to 6 percent rate of quitting.

“All smokers should have a lung function test,” Dr. Parkes said. “Sixteen percent of our sample had lung damage they didn’t know about. And communicating lung function as lung age is a good psychological tool for helping people make decisions about their own health.”

There was no evidence that subjects with poorer lung function were more likely to quit. A 45-year-old who was told her lung age was normal was as likely to stop as one told her lung age was 65. Although the study could not prove it, merely being presented with the facts of lung function in a vivid and understandable way was apparently enough to encourage people to stop smoking.

Aging LungsThe authors speculate that when told lung function is normal, a smoker feels encouraged to quit before it is too late, and when shown that it is abnormal is motivated to stop by the fear of further deterioration. The precise psychological forces remain unclear, but the scientists cite previous research that suggested that information presented as a prospect for gain is more persuasive than negative messages about costs or disadvantages.


Smoking Associated With Both Anxiety And Depression

A new study indicates that smoking is linked to anxiety with depression, as well as to anxiety alone.

However, people who are depressed but not anxious smoke the same as any other smokers.

These findings come from a joint study from Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), University of Bergen and King’s College in London.

The link between smoking and anxiety/depression was most apparent among women and young people.

Data were collected from 60 000 participants in “Health Studies in North-Troendelag” (HUNT), a study based in a county in northern Norway.

Figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO) show that 30 percent of inhabitants in the western world smoke daily. Earlier studies have found that people with mental health problems are twice as likely to smoke as the rest of the population. Injuries to physical health after smoking are well documented. It is also known that smoking is linked to other psychological problems. Anxiety and depression are the most common complaints and are often both present in people who smoke.

Anxiety and Depression Most Common Among Smokers

Arnstein Mykletun is the primary author of the article “Smoking in relation to anxiety and depression: Evidence from a large population survey: The HUNT study” published in European Psychiatry (see link under related articles). Mykletun is linked to the Division of Mental Health at NIPH but his main position is at the University of Bergen.

Depression is realMykletun explains that the study shows the strongest correlation with smoking when the subject is both anxious and depressed, next strongest with anxiety without depression and with a marginal correlation between smoking and depression without anxiety. There was no reduction in anxiety and depression over time after smoking was given up.

About the study:

  • Approximately 60 000 people in the age 20 – 89 years old who took part in HUNT were included in the study (HUNT has a total of 92 000 participants).
  • All participants were screened using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS).
  • Smoking was defined as daily use of cigarettes, cigars or a pipe.
  • 29 percent of participants said they were active smokers. A similar number said that they had quit smoking while 42 per cent had previously smoked.
  • 9.6 percent had anxiety, 4.9 % had depression, while 5.9 % had both, as defined by HADS.

Link to article (abstract): Smoking in relation to anxiety and depression: The HUNT study

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

Deadly Pancreatic Cancer Needs More Attention

It’s the big four – breast, colon, prostate and lung cancer.

These are the cancers that you always hear about at community fundraising events.

But there are thousands of people suffering from cancers that are often much more deadly and get far less research funding.

Pancreatic cancer is a great example of this phenomenon.

This type of cancer is as common as leukemia, yet most people couldn’t tell you much about it. The disease also has a higher fatality rate than all other cancers – 99 percent, which means just 380 of the 32,180 people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the United States this year will survive.In spite of this shocking statistic, pancreatic cancer research receives just 1 percent of the National Cancer Institute’s more than $4.8 billion budget.

Clearly there is a critical need for more effective drug treatments, early detection and prevention programs. And the only way that can happen is with increased community awareness and more research.

In November, which is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, those of us engaged in the daily battle against this deadly disease have an opportunity to renew our efforts through community education, the best means we know to drive research funding and make progress possible.

Here is just part of the important message that clinicians and scientists working with pancreatic cancer would like to get across.

The pancreas has two important functions in the body: it produces juices that help the body digest food, and hormones that help control blood-sugar levels. Cancerous tumors often form in the area where the bile duct crosses from the intestine into the pancreas.

Tucked deep in the abdomen, the pancreas is difficult to screen because pancreatic tumors cannot easily be felt or seen.

If diagnosed early, however, the cancerous portion of the pancreas can be surgically removed and rerouted. Unfortunately, most cases are diagnosed in advanced stages.

Because of this, it is critically important for people to know the warning signs of pancreatic cancer and proactively seek medical treatment before the disease progresses. Common symptoms include jaundice (yellow color in eyes and skin), chronic abdominal pain, sudden weight loss and extreme body weakness.

People also need to understand their risk factors. Smokers are up to three times more likely to develop pancreatic cancer than nonsmokers. In fact, 30 percent of pancreas cancers are directly related to a history of smoking. Men are 30 percent more likely to develop the disease than women – especially those over age 60. You’re also at increased risk for the disease if you are obese, diabetic or have a family history of pancreatic cancer.

pancreas picAt the University of Cincinnati Pancreatic Disease Center, we are investigating cutting-edge technologies and therapies that make survival more realistic. Our team is one of just a small handful across the nation focusing exclusively on gastrointestinal and pancreatic diseases.

We’re making progress against the disease, but not fast enough. Recent research has given us a better understanding of pancreas cancer at the molecular level, which has led to newer biologic drugs designed to target specific molecules on the pancreas cancer cells.

These drugs are showing progress in early clinical trials, but until we – as a nation – can make a substantial investment in pancreatic cancer research, we will only make marginal progress.

As we enter the presidential election year, I urge Greater Cincinnatians to contact your senators and push for a national commitment to increase cancer research funding. You can also make a difference in pancreas cancer awareness by spreading the word to your family and friends or getting involved with the Pancreas Cancer Action Network (

Dr. Syed Ahmad is a surgical oncologist with the University of Cincinnati Department of Surgery, UC Pancreatic Disease Center (

Psssst – Smoking is Associated with Rectal Cancer

Cigarette smoking may be a risk factor for — but not colon–cancer.

The evidence linking cigarette smoking and rectal colorectal cancer risk has been inconsistent.

Electra Paskett, Ph.D., of Ohio State University in Columbus and colleagues investigated the association between smoking history and colorectal cancer among nearly 147,000 participants in the Women’s Health Initiative.

After an average follow-up of about 8 years, 1,242 women were diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Increased colorectal cancer incidence was associated with more cigarettes smoked per day, more years as a smoker, and older age when the women quit smoking.

Rectal ImageCurrent smokers were at an increased risk for rectal cancer, but not colon cancer, compared with never smokers. Secondhand exposure to cigarette smoke was not associated with either cancer.

“Our data add to the extensive evidence indicating that preventing smoking initiation and decreasing the duration of smoking might reduce colorectal cancer risk,” the authors write.

This research was published recently in the Journal of The National Cancer Institute.

colorectal cancer

Journal of the National Cancer Institute (2007, November 14). Smoking is Associated with Rectal Cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 15, 2007, from­ /releases/2007/11/071113165642.htm

Smoking Gets Into Your Skin Too

Smokers can add a new health risk to the ever-growing list of hazards posed by their habit: the unsightly and often painful skin condition known as psoriasis.

We all know that smoking can effect the health of the skin, including increasing skin wrinkles, but this recent study indicates the odds of developing other serious skin conditions.

American and Canadian investigators who analyzed data from the long-running Nurses Health Study find smoking increases the risk of psoriasis by 78 percent when compared to never smoking.

The link between smoking and psoriasis is long-lasting too. Former smokers have a 37 percent higher risk overall, and the risk doesn’t decline until 20 years after a person kicks the habit.

Heavier smokers fare worse than lighter smokers too. In the study, psoriasis risk went up with the number of “pack-years” smoked. A pack-year is defined as smoking 20 cigarettes per day for one year.

Even exposure to secondhand smoke appeared to increase the danger, with a higher risk seen for study participants who were exposed to smoke while their mothers were pregnant or when they were children.

Skin Irritation from Smoking“These findings, along with well-established hazardous health effects of smoking, provide clear incentives for smoking cessation in those at risk for and suffering from psoriasis,” study author Hyon K. Choi, M.D., Dr.P.H., was quoted as saying. “Beyond the potential effect on psoriasis, smoking cessation would lead to a better overall clinical outcome in psoriasis patients, who often suffer co-morbidities related to smoking.”

This article was reported by, which offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, click on:

SOURCE: The American Journal of Medicine, published October 29, 2007

Click to learn more about > psoriasis.

Tobacco & the Rheumatoid Factor

The journal Arthritis and Rheumatism puts in evidence that tobacco might cause a genetic reaction which conducts to serious forms of arthritis rheumatoid.

This type of arthritis can be quite painful and often greatly impedes one’s flexibility.

There is a lot of research being done to help ease the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, but one sure way is to stop smoking and begin a detoxification program now.

A case is built that tobacco increases the production of the so-called rheumatoid factor.

(RF) and decreases the levels of the GSTM1 gene.

This is important to note because body detoxification is your body’s immune response clearing out foreign substances from your body’s system.

rh.jpgThe GSTM1 is a gene which is important in the detoxification process of the carcinogen agents presented in tobacco.

COPD & Facial Wrinkling Study

The presence, and perhaps the severity, of COPD might be predictable by examining the facial skin, and accelerated wrinkling could signal the need for studies of lung function.

Smoking is associated with other health-related problems, and future studies might attempt to correlate skin findings with cardiovascular disease in smokers.

Laboratory elucidation of the specific mechanism behind increased susceptibility would be useful and interesting.

Picture of Wrinkled Face from SmokingIf a genetic predisposition is identified, susceptible families and individuals might receive more urgent counsel to avoid smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.

Learn more about > COPD.

— Jeffrey P. Callen, MD