Tag Archives: non-smokers

Smoking Brings on Menopause

Norwegian researchers have discovered that women who smoke are 59 percent more likely than non-smokers to have an early menopause.

The researchers say smokers are more likely to begin the menopause before the age of 45 putting themselves at an increased risk of osteoporosis and heart disease.

Dr. Thea F. Mikkelsen of the University of Oslo and her colleagues found that among 2,123 women 59 to 60 years old, those who currently smoked were 59 percent more likely than non-smokers to have undergone early menopause and for the heaviest smokers, the risk of early menopause was almost double.

The researchers also found that women who were smokers, but quit at least 10 years before menopause, were substantially less likely than current smokers to have stopped menstruating before age 45.

Photo of Woman with HeadacheMikkelsen and her team say evidence already exists which shows that smoking later in life makes a woman more likely to have early menopause, while smokers who quit before middle age may not be affected.

However the researchers went one step further and investigated whether exposure to second-hand smoke might also influence the timing of menopause.

They found that almost 10 percent of the women went through menopause before age 45 and of that number around 25 percent were current smokers, 28.7 percent were ex-smokers and 35.2 percent reported current passive exposure to smoke.

The women who had quit smoking at least a decade before menopause were 87 percent less likely than their peers who currently smoked to have gone through menopause early.

When they were compared with married women, widows were also at increased risk of early menopause, as were women who were in poor health.

In general the better educated women were less likely to go into menopause early, but they were also less likely to be smokers.

A good social life also appeared to cut the early menopause risk and the researchers found no link between coffee or alcohol consumption or passive exposure to smoke and early menopause risk.

Mikkelsen and her team say the earlier a woman stops smoking the more protection she derives with respect to an early onset of menopause.”

The research is published in the online journal “BMC Public Health.”

Source: Women’s Health News, News.medical.net

Bee in the Bonnet

Meaning: Preoccupied or obsessed with an idea.

“Resolving The Bee In the Bonnet Problem”
by Bear Jack Gebhardt

This article was originally hosted at Seventraditions. I have been unable to locate Bear Jack Gebhardt, but have decided to save this wonderful file here at Ciggyfree until some time in the future when Jack reclaims it. Thank you Jack!

You ever get a bee in your bonnet? Or in your hat? In your car? All
of sudden, you’re not thinking of anything, else, right? Everything in
your life, except that bee, is immediately back burner.

You need to do something about that buzzing bee and you need to do it now. When you
have a bee in your bonnet, life is suddenly very intense, and
uncomfortable, or potentially uncomfortable, and that potential makes
it uncomfortable right now.

Child in a Bee CostumeFor a lot of smokers, quitting smoking is very similar to having a bee
in their bonnet, or a bee buzzing around in the car with them. Life
is suddenly very intense, and uncomfortable, or potentially
uncomfortable. They feel they need to do something about it, “right
now.” Nothing else really matters.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not the lack of nicotine that makes
a quitting smoker so jumpy. The use of nicotine patches, and the new
drug Zyban can be helpful, but, so far, in fewer than 30% of the
cases. Even with nicotine levels at “ordinary,” and with stress levels
reduced, the “bee in the bonnet” feeling persists, and smokers go back
to smoking in order to let the bee out. The “relief ” which a smoker
feels with his or her first cigarette, after an unsuccessful quitting
attempt, is exactly the same relief as when the bee flies out the
window. “Whew, thank goodness that’s over.”

So, what is it, exactly, that makes a smoker feel as if he or she has
a bee in the bonnet, a bee in the car just as soon as the Quit Date
arrives? If we could figure out where the bee comes from, we could go
a long way to making it easier to quit, yes?

From careful research, and long discussions with smokers and
ex-smokers, it seems clear that the “bee in the bonnet” comes in the
form of a simple little question that the smoker continually asks.
That question is, “Should I, or shouldn’t I?”

Should I or shouldn’t I have a smoke? Should I or shouldn’t I give up
on this quitting business? The answer to the question, of course, is
logically no, don’t have one, don’t give up. That’s obvious, that’s
easy. So the smoker answers, “no, of course not, I won’t have one, I
won’t give up.” And then the question comes up again, and then again,
and then again, should I or shouldn’t I?

Here’s the rub: To answer, no, is obvious, but just to answer no does
not stop the question from recurring! The recurring question is the
bee in the bonnet!

Researchers have consistently found that the reason most smokers give
for trying and failing to quit is that they were unable to resist the
“cravings” they experienced shortly after stopping. A craving is
basically a thought repeated over and over. It may be a craving for
chocolate pie or a craving for a ski trip or a new Ferrari. A craving
is a thought repeated, again and again, until finally action is taken
or— here’s the freedom– the “craver” consciously decides to change
his or her thinking patterns. The key words here are consciously
decides. In the minutes and hours and days after quitting smoking, the
thought– in the form of a question– continually arises, “Should
I or shouldn’t I?” Most smokers assume it is their job to just keep
saying no long enough for the question to finally go away. Of course,
that works, sometimes.

More directly, though, the conscious decision to drop the question,
and think about something else, is a conscious decision to drop the
craving, and thus drop the habit. We are inherently free to drop our
cravings! In the same way we are free to develop or nourish our

Non smokers don’t ask the question, “should I or shouldn’t I” Asking
that particular mental question is the basic habit that smokers are
breaking when they quit smoking. The secret to quitting is not so much
in correctly answering the question, “should I or shouldn’t I?” The
secret is in not asking the question at all. That lets the bee out of
the bonnet. Then, whether to smoke or not smoke is simply no longer
the question.

Cigarette Smoking and Its Impact on Spinal Fusions

Learn About the Prevalence of Cigarette Smoking

According to the American Cancer Society, “48 million adults (25.7 million men and 22.3 million women) were current smokers in the United States in 1997.”

Many of these adult smokers started during their teenage years. Unfortunately, even today people still begin to smoke cigarettes despite published statistics that show its negative impact on health.

The adverse effects of smoking include nicotine addiction, an increased risk of lung and other types of cancer, higher rates of arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and heart disease, as well as decreased life expectancy.

Cigarettes contain dried tobacco leaves and flavorings, which include more than 4,000 chemicals. Some of these substances are harmless until burned and breathed.

The Spine and Cigarette Smoking

Picture of SpineBone is a living tissue dependent on the functions and support provided by the other body systems. When these systems are not able to perform normally, bone is unable to rebuild itself. The formation of bone is particularly influenced by physical exercise and hormonal activity, both of which are adversely affected by cigarette smoking.

Many smokers have less physical endurance than nonsmokers, mainly due to decreased lung function. Cigarette smoking reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood and increases the level of harmful substances, such as carbon monoxide. This, combined with the effects of smoking on the heart and blood vessels, can limit the benefits from physical activity.

In men and women, cigarette smoking is known to influence hormone function. Smoking increases estrogen loss in women who are perimenopausal or postmenopausal. This can result in a loss of bone density and lead to osteoporosis. Osteoporosis causes bones to lose strength, becoming more fragile. This silent disease is responsible for many spine and hip fractures in the United States.

Spinal Fusion and Cigarette Smoking

Defined Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure used to join bony segments of the spine (e.g. vertebrae). In order for the fusion to heal, new bone growth must occur, bridging between the spinal segments. Sometimes fusion is combined with another surgical technique termed spinal instrumentation. Instrumentation consists of different types of medically designed hardware such as rods, hooks, wires, and screws that are attached to the spine. These devices provide immediate stability and hold the spine in proper position while the fusion heals.

Spinal fusion (also termed arthrodesis) can be performed at the cervical, thoracic, or lumbar levels of the spine. It takes months to heal. Your doctor may order post-operative radiographs (x-rays) to monitor the progress of this healing.

The long-term success of many types of spinal surgery is dependent upon successful spinal fusion. In fact, if the fusion does not heal, spinal surgery may have to be repeated. A failed fusion is termed a nonunion or pseudoarthrosis. Spinal instrumentation, although very strong, may even break if nonunion occurs. Needless to say, spine surgeons try to minimize the risk of this happening.

Cigarette Smoking and Failed Fusion

Certain factors have been found to affect the success of spinal fusion. Some of these factors include the patient’s age, underlying medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, osteoporosis), and cigarette smoking. There is growing evidence that cigarette smoking adversely affects fusion. Smoking disrupts the normal function of basic body systems that contribute to bone formation and growth. As mentioned previously, new bone growth is necessary for a fusion to heal.

Research has demonstrated that habitual cigarette smoking leads to the breakdown of the spine to such a degree that fusion is often less successful when compared to similar procedures performed on non-smokers. In a study of patients undergoing anterior cervical fusion (fusion of the neck), it was observed that smokers had an increased rate of nonunion (up to 47%) as compared to non-smokers.1

Another study evaluated tobacco use in patients who underwent lumbar (low back) fusion. The patients who smoked had failed fusions in up to 40% of cases, compared to only 8% among non-smokers.2 Similar findings have been reported in other studies as well.

Post-Operative Infection

Cigarette smoking compromises the immune system and the body’s other defense mechanisms, which can increase the patient’s susceptibility to post-operative infection. A study conducted by Thalgott et al showed that cigarette smoking was a risk factor for infection following spinal fusion.3


Clearly, cigarette smoking is detrimental to spinal fusion. People who are facing fusion or any spinal surgery should make every effort to stop smoking. Quitting the habit beforehand will decrease the associated risks and increase the likelihood of a successful spinal fusion surgery.

Your physician recognizes the importance of smoking cessation and can provide information about available treatment options.


1. An HS, Simpson JM, Glover JM, Stephany J. Comparison between allograft plus demineralized bone matrix versus autograft in anterior cervical fusion. A prospective multicenter study. Spine 1995; 20: 2211-16.

2. Brown CW, Orme TJ, Richardson HD. The rate of pseudarthrosis (surgical nonunion) in patients who are smokers and patients who are nonsmokers: a comparison study. Spine 1986; 9: 942-3

3. Thalgott JS, Cotler HB, Sasso RC, LaRocca H, Gardner V. Postoperative infections in spinal implants. Classification and analysis — a multicenter study. Spine 1991: 8: 981-4.
Original Source: Larry Davidson, M.D. Spine Universe, Memphis, TN, USA 07/28/2006