Saturday, November 24, 2007

Smoking And Depression Often Occur Together In New Mothers

“While smoking and depression adversely affect a mother’s health, the combination may also affect the health of her child,” Whitaker said.

For children, the potential consequences of maternal smoking include sudden infant death, asthma, ear infections and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, while the potential consequences of maternal depression include behavior problems, language delay and childhood depression.

“Giving a mother who smokes the telephone number to a ‘quit line’ is probably not going to be enough if smoking is helping the mother cope with her symptoms of untreated depression,” said Whitaker, a pediatrician and professor of public health at Temple University. “Depression and addiction to tobacco should not be diagnosed or treated in isolation from each other.”

The issue is particularly troublesome for low-income families.

“Unfortunately, an adequately financed primary-care system for low-income mothers does not exist beyond pregnancy. You can improve the well-being of the child by addressing the health and well-being of the mother. Care of mothers and their children should be better integrated in our healthcare system,” Whitaker said.

Data for the analysis came from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. In 20 U.S. cities, 4,898 mothers were surveyed at the time of delivery, from 1998 to 2000. In a follow-up survey 15 months later, 4,353 (89 percent) of mothers reported their smoking behavior and symptoms of a major depressive episode during the prior 12 months.

The follow-up survey showed that the 12-month prevalence of a major depressive episode was 46 percent higher among smokers and that the prevalence of smoking was 33 percent higher among those who had a major depressive episode in the prior 12 months.

“Most recently, healthcare policy has focused on children’s access to healthcare, but we also have to keep the mother’s health in the discussion,” Whitaker said.

“A pediatrician will often see an infant who is wheezing and who has a mother who smokes. The mother may also have symptoms of depression. However, pediatricians often lack the time, skills and mandate to treat the mothers. A better referral network of adult healthcare providers might be one way to help the pediatrician help these mothers, and to, in turn, help the children,” Whitaker said.

This research was published in the November 2007 issue of Preventive Medicine.

Adapted from materials provided by Temple University.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Cigarette Composition

Cigarette tobacco is blended from two main leaf varieties: yellowish ‘bright’, also known as Virginia where it was originally grown, contains 2.5-3% nicotine; and ‘burley’ tobacco which has higher nicotine content (3.5-4%). US blends also contain up to 10% of imported ‘oriental’ tobacco which is aromatic but relatively low (less than 2%) in nicotine.

In addition to the leaf blend, cigarettes contain ‘fillers’ which are made from the stems and other bits of tobacco which would otherwise be waste products. These are mixed with water and various flavorings and additives. The ratio of filler varies among brands.

For example, high filler content makes a less dense cigarette with a slightly lower tar delivery. Additives are used to make tobacco products more acceptable to the consumer.

They include humectants (moisturizers) to prolong shelf life; sugars to make the smoke seem milder and easier to inhale; and flavorings such as chocolate and vanilla. While some of these may appear to be quite harmless in their natural form they may be toxic in combination with other substances. Also when the 600 permitted additives are burned, new products of combustion are formed and these may be toxic.

The nicotine and tar delivery can also be modified by the type of paper used in the cigarette. Using more porous paper will let more air into the cigarette, diluting the smoke and (in theory) reducing the amount of tar and nicotine reaching the smoker’s lungs.

Filters are made of cellulose acetate and trap some of the tar and smoke particles from the inhaled smoke. Filters also cool the smoke slightly, making it easier to inhale. They were added to cigarettes in the 1950s, in response to the first reports that smoking was hazardous to health. Tobacco companies claimed that their filtered brands had lower tar than others and encouraged consumers to believe that they were safer.

Tobacco smoke is made up of “sidestream smoke” from the burning tip of the cigarette and “mainstream smoke” from the filter or mouth end. Tobacco smoke contains thousands of different chemicals which are released into the air as particles and gases.

Many toxins are present in higher concentrations in sidestream smoke than in mainstream smoke and, typically, nearly 85% of the smoke in a room results from sidestream smoke.

The particulate phase includes nicotine, “tar” (itself composed of many chemicals), benzene and benzo(a)pyrene. The gas phase includes carbon monoxide, ammonia, dimethylnitrosamine, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide and acrolein. Some of these have marked irritant properties and some 60, including benzo(a)pyrene and dimethylnitrosamine, have been shown to cause cancer.

One study has established the link between smoking and lung cancer at the cellular level. It found that a substance in the tar of cigarettes, benzo(a)pyrene diol epoxide (BPDE), damages DNA in a key tumour suppresser gene.

What is tar? “Tar”, also known as total particulate matter, is inhaled when the smoker draws on a lighted cigarette. In its condensate form, tar is the sticky brown substance which can stain smokers’ fingers and teeth yellow-brown. All cigarettes produce tar but the brands differ in amounts. The average tar yield of cigarettes has declined from about 30mg per cigarette in the period 1955 61 to 11mg today. There have also been reductions in nicotine (from an average of about 2mg in 1955 61 to about 0.9mg by 1996). Until January 1992, information about tar yields of cigarettes was given in a general fashion on cigarette packets and advertisements as a result of a voluntary agreement between the tobacco industry and the Government. Due to labeling (Safety) regulations requirements for health warnings on tobacco, cigarette packets must include a statement of both the tar and the nicotine yield per cigarette on the packet itself. The same figures are printed on cigarette advertising, along with the health warning, as part of a voluntary agreement between the industry and health regulators.

Following the discovery in the 1950s that it was the tar in tobacco smoke which was associated with the increased risk of lung cancer, tobacco companies, with the approval of successive governments, embarked on a program to gradually reduce the tar levels in cigarettes.

Although there is a moderate reduction in lung cancer risk associated with lower tar cigarettes, research suggests that the assumed health advantages of switching to lower tar may be largely offset by the tendency of smokers to compensate for the reduction in nicotine (cigarettes lower in tar also tend to be lower in nicotine) by smoking more or inhaling more deeply.

Also, a study by the American Cancer Society found that the use of filtered, lower tar cigarettes may be the cause of adenocarcinoma, a particular kind of lung cancer. There is no evidence that switching to lower tar cigarettes reduces coronary heart disease risk.

Nicotine, an alkaloid, is an extremely powerful drug. The Royal College of Physicians in England and the Surgeon General in USA have affirmed that the way in which nicotine causes addiction is similar to drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Only 60mg of pure nicotine (contained in two packs of cigarettes) placed on a person’s tongue would kill within minutes.

Nicotine is contained in the moisture of the tobacco leaf: when the cigarette is lit, it evaporates, attaching itself to minute droplets in the tobacco smoke inhaled by the smoker. It is absorbed by the body very quickly, reaching the brain within 7-15 seconds.

It stimulates the central nervous system, increasing the heart beat rate and blood pressure, leading to the heart needing more oxygen. Carbon Monoxide Carbon monoxide, the main poisonous gas in car exhausts, is present in all cigarette smoke. It binds to haemoglobin much more readily than oxygen, thus allowing the blood to carry less oxygen.

Heavy smokers may have the oxygen carrying power of their blood cut by as much as 15%.

source: ciggyfree dot com

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Smoking effects on your body



Nicotine is the addictive drug in tobacco smoke that causes smokers to continue to smoke. Addicted smokers need enough nicotine over a day to ‘feel normal’ – to satisfy cravings or control their mood. How much nicotine a smoker needs determines how much smoke they are likely to inhale, no matter what type of cigarette they smoke.

Along with nicotine, smokers also inhale about 4,000 other chemicals in cigarette smoke. Many of these compounds are chemically active and trigger profound and damaging changes in the body. There are over 60 known cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco smoke. Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body, causing many diseases and reducing health in general.

Tobacco smoke contains dangerous chemicals
The most damaging compounds in tobacco smoke include:

  • Tar – this is the collective term for all the various particles suspended in tobacco smoke. The particles contain chemicals including several cancer-causing substances. Tar is sticky and brown and stains teeth, fingernails and lung tissue. Tar contains the carcinogen benzo(a)pyrene that is known to trigger tumour development (cancer).
  • Carbon monoxide – this odourless gas is fatal in large doses because it takes the place of oxygen in the blood. Each red blood cell contains a protein called haemoglobin; oxygen molecules are transported around the body by binding to, or hanging onto, this protein. However, carbon monoxide binds to haemoglobin better than oxygen. This means that less oxygen reaches the brain, heart, muscles and other organs.
  • Hydrogen cyanide – the lungs contain tiny hairs (cilia) that help to clean the lungs by moving foreign substances out. Hydrogen cyanide stops this lung clearance system from working properly, which means the poisonous chemicals in tobacco smoke can build up inside the lungs. Other chemicals in smoke that damage the lungs include hydrocarbons, nitrous oxides, organic acids, phenols and oxidising agents.
  • Free radicals – these highly reactive chemicals can damage the heart muscles and blood vessels. They react with cholesterol, leading to the build-up of fatty material on artery walls. Their actions lead to heart disease, stroke and blood vessel disease.
  • Metals – tobacco smoke contains dangerous metals including arsenic, cadmium and lead. Several of these metals are carcinogenic.
  • Radioactive compounds – tobacco smoke contains radioactive compounds, which are known to be carcinogenic.

Respiratory system
The effects of tobacco smoke on the respiratory system include:
  • Irritation of the trachea (windpipe) and larynx (voice box) * Reduced lung function and breathlessness due to swelling and narrowing of the lung airways and excess mucus in the lung passages

  • Impairment of the lungs’ clearance system, leading to the build-up of poisonous substances, which results in lung irritation and damage

  • Increased risk of lung infection and symptoms such as coughing and wheezing

  • Permanent damage to the air sacs of the lungs.

Circulatory system
The effects of tobacco smoke on the circulatory system include:

  • Raised blood pressure and heart rate

  • Constriction (tightening) of blood vessels in the skin, resulting in a drop in skin
  • Less oxygen carried by the blood

  • Stickier blood, which is more prone to clotting

  • Damage to the lining of the arteries, which is thought to be a contributing factor to atherosclerosis (the build-up of fatty deposits on the artery walls)

  • Reduced blood flow to extremities like fingers and toes

  • Increased risk of stroke and heart attack due to blockages of the blood supply.

Immune system
The effects of tobacco smoke on the immune system include:
  • The immune system doesn’t work as well
  • The person is more prone to infections such as pneumonia and influenza
  • It takes longer to get over an illness.

Musculoskeletal system
The effects of tobacco smoke on the musculoskeletal system include:
  • Tightening of certain muscles
  • Reduced bone density.

Other effects on the body
Other effects of tobacco smoke on the body include:

  • Irritation and inflammation of the stomach and intestines
  • Increased risk of painful ulcers along the digestive tract
  • Reduced ability to smell and taste
  • Premature wrinkling of the skin
  • Higher risk of blindness
  • Gum disease (periodontitis).

The male body
The specific effects of tobacco smoke on the male body include:

  • Lower sperm count
  • Higher percentage of deformed sperm
  • Reduced sperm mobility
  • Changed levels of male sex hormones
  • Impotence, which may be due to the effects of smoking on blood flow and damage to the blood vessels of the penis.

The female body
The specific effects of tobacco smoke on the female body include:

  • Reduced fertility
  • Menstrual cycle irregularities or absence of menstruation
  • Menopause reached one or two years earlier
  • Increased risk of cancer of the cervix
  • Greatly increased risk of stroke and heart attack if the smoker is aged over 35 years and taking the oral contraceptive pill.

The unborn baby
The effects of maternal smoking on an unborn baby include:

  • Increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth.
  • Low birth weight, which may have a lasting effect of the growth and development of children. Low birth weight is associated with an increased risk for early puberty and, in adulthood, is an increased risk for heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes.
  • Increased risk of cleft palate and cleft lip.
  • Paternal smoking can also harm the foetus if the non-smoking mother is exposed to secondhand smoke.
  • If the mother continues to smoke during her baby’s first year of life, the child has an increased risk of ear infections, respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia, croup and bronchitis, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and meningococcal disease.

Diseases caused by long-term smoking
A lifetime smoker is at high risk of developing a range of potentially lethal diseases, including:

  • Cancer of the lung, mouth, nose, voice box, tongue, nasal sinus, oesophagus, throat, pancreas, bone marrow (myeloid leukaemia), kidney, cervix, ureter, liver, bladder and stomach.
  • Lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
  • Coronary artery disease, heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
  • Ulcers of the digestive system.
  • Osteoporosis and hip fracture.
  • Poor blood circulation in feet and hands, which can lead to pain and, in severe cases, gangrene and amputation.

Things to remember

  • Many of the 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke are chemically active and trigger profound and potentially fatal changes in the body.
  • Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body.


Reference: http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Smoking Effects Time Frame


Time since quitting
Beneficial health changes that take place

20 minutes
Blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal.

8 hours
Nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in blood reduce by half, oxygen levels return to normal.

24 hours
Carbon monoxide will be eliminated from the body.Lungs start to clear out mucus and other smoking debris.

48 hours
There is no nicotine left in the body.Ability to taste and smell is greatly improved.

72 hours
Breathing becomes easier.Bronchial tubes begin to relax and energy levels increase.

2 - 12 weeks
Circulation improves.

3 - 9 months
Coughs, wheezing and breathing problems improve as lung function is increased by up to 10%.

1 year
Risk of a heart attack falls to about half that of a smoker.

10 years
Risk of lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker.

15 years
Risk of heart attack falls to the same as someone who has never smoked.

Tips on How to Stop Smoking

Getting Ready to Quit

  • Set a date for quitting. If possible, have a friend quit smoking with you.

  • Notice when and why you smoke. Try to find the things in your daily life that you often do while smoking (such as drinking your morning cup of coffee or driving a car).

  • Change your smoking routines: Keep your cigarettes in a different place. Smoke with your other hand. Don't do anything else when smoking. Think about how you feel when you smoke.

  • Smoke only in certain places, such as outdoors.

  • When you want a cigarette, wait a few minutes. Try to think of something to do instead of smoking; you might chew gum or drink a glass of water.

  • Buy one pack of cigarettes at a time. Switch to a brand of cigarettes you don't like.

On the Day You Quit

  • Get rid of all your cigarettes. Put away your ashtrays.

  • Change your morning routine. When you eat breakfast, don't sit in the same place at the kitchen table. Stay busy.

  • When you get the urge to smoke, do something else instead. Carry other things to put in your mouth, such as gum, hard candy, or a toothpick.

  • Reward yourself at the end of the day for not smoking. See a movie or go out and enjoy your favorite meal.

Staying Quit

  • Don't worry if you feel sleepy most of the time or if your now short-tempered, these feelings will eventually past.

  • Try to exercise: take walks or ride a bike.

  • Consider the positive things about quitting, such as how much you like yourself as a non-smoker, health benefits for you and your family, and the example you set for others around you. A positive attitude will help you through the tough times.

  • When you feel tense, try to keep busy, think about ways to solve the problem, tell yourself that smoking won't make it any better, and go do something else.

  • Eat regular meals. Feeling hungry is sometimes mistaken for the desire to smoke.

  • Start a money jar with the money you save by not buying cigarettes.

  • Let others know that you have quit smoking­p;most people will support you. Many of your smoking friends may want to know how you quit. It's good to talk to others about your quitting.

  • If you slip and smoke, don't be discouraged. Many former smokers tried to stop several times before they finally succeeded. Quit again.

Quitting Facts

  • Most smokers ( 80% ) attempt to quit smoking one or more times during the course of their smoking habit.
  • 95% of successful quitters have a history of AT LEAST 3 or 4 temporarily successful attempts prior to experiencing a sustained peroiod of abstinence from smoking. The likelihood of successfully quitting increases if the smoker has tried and failed quitting in the past
  • If this is the first time you are attempting to quit there is a chance you will never smoke another cigarette in your life.
  • Smokers with one or more prior attempts to quit who try to quit again have learned from those prior attempts and a larger percentage of these will succeed in never smoking again.

  • If you have quit in the past for a period of up to a year or more the chances of successfully quitting forever are very good.