Friday, February 22, 2008

Tips to Help You Quit Smoking

Tips to Help You Quit SmokingBelow, some tips to help you quit smoking are listed. First and foremost, set a quit date and quit COMPLETELY on that day. To prepare for that day:

- Identify the times you are most likely to smoke. For example, do you tend to smoke when feeling stressed? When you are out at night with friends? While you are drinking coffee? When you are bored? While you are driving?

- Keep a diary to help you determine such risky times. Record each time you have a cigarette, including time of day and what you are doing.

- Make a plan about what you will do instead of smoking at those times that you are most likely to smoke. For example, drink tea instead of coffee -- tea may not trigger the desire for a cigarette. Or, take a walk when feeling stressed. Remove ashtrays and cigarettes from the car. Place pretzels or hard candies there instead. Pretend-smoke with a straw.

- Let all of your friends, family, and co-workers know of your plan to stop smoking and your quit date. Just being aware that they know can be a helpful reminder and motivator.

- Prior to your quit date, start reducing your cigarette use, including decreasing the number and strength of the cigarettes. However, DON'T do this simply to make your diary "look good!" Get rid of all of your cigarettes just prior to the quit date and clean out anything that smells like smoke, such as clothes and furniture.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Smoking is a global problem

Smoking is a global problemIt is estimated that one in three adults smoke, with over 1 billion people smoking worldwide. The majority of these smokers reside in countries on the low end to the middle of the socioeconomic spectrum. Of this majority, about 80% live in low and middle-income countries. The total number of smokers worldwide is expected to keep on increasing each year.

The worldwide popularity of tobacco use varies by social class, historical era, and culture. Historically, smoking had been a pastime of the rich. However, this trend has changed dramatically in recent decades. It appears that financially advantaged men in wealthier countries have been smoking less in recent times.

The World Health Organization has been studying smoking trends and statistical patterns across the globe and has uncovered the following statistics:

1. Eastern Europe has a particularly high rate of smoking, with up to 59% of adult males smoking. In addition, significantly more women smoke in Eastern Europe than in East Asia and the Pacific Region.

2. Most people who smoke, begin smoking before they are 25 years old. Worldwide observations suggest that people are stating to smoke at a much younger age. World Health Organization studies reveal that the majority of smokers in affluent countries; begin in their teens.

Smoking In the US

How do Americans compare to the rest of the world when it comes to smoking? It may come as no surprise to hear that Americans are no better than anyone else. According to the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics:

3. In the US, it is estimated that 25.6 million men (25.2%) and 22.6 million women (20.7%) are smokers. These smokers face a higher risk of heart attack and stroke. Here are the latest estimates for smokers’ aged 18 and above:

4. Studies reveal that smoking popularity is significantly higher among people with 9-11 years of education (35.4%) compared with those with more than 16 years of education (11.6%).

5. There appears to be a correlation between a country's standard of living, level of education, and income and the number of people who have quit smoking. The more and better-informed people are, the more likely they are to quit smoking.

6. People living below the poverty level (33.3%) are much more likely to start smoking.

7. Among whites, 25.1% of men and 21.7% of women smoke.

8. Among black or African Americans, 27.6% of men and 18% of women smoke.

9. Among Asians, 21.3% of men and 6.9% of women smoke.

10. Among Hispanics/Latinos, 23.2% of men and 12.5% of women smoke.

11. Among American Indians/Alaska Natives, 32% of men and 36.9% of women smoke.

12. A shocking…one out of every five five deaths is caused by tobacco.

13. It is estimated that Tobacco is responsible for 400,000 deaths in the US every single year.

14. Cigarettes are responsible for about 25% of deaths from residential fires, causing nearly 1,000 fire-related deaths and 3,300 injuries each year.

15. Tobacco is blamed for many serious cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases

16. Nicotine and tobacco are some of the most potent carcinogens and are responsible for the majority of all cancers of the lung, larynx, trachea, esophagus and bronchus.

17. Smoking tobacco is known to produce cancer in the pancreas, kidney, bladder, and the cervix

18. Because tobacco reduces blood flow, nicotine addiction has been proven to cause impotency.

19. If you smoke, the risk of respiratory illnesses is high. This could lead to pulmonary diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pneumonia, which are responsible for some 85,000 every year.

20. Children and adolescents who are active smokers will have increasingly severe respiratory illness, as they grow older

21. Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage and fetal growth retardation. It also causes about 5-6% of prenatal deaths, 17-26% of low-birth-weight births, and 7-10% of pre-term deliveries.

If you do not want to quit smoking after reading these shocking figures, you really need to get your head examined.

Cold turkey to replace methadone for addicts

Cold turkey to replace methadone for addictsHeroin addicts will be ordered to undergo "cold turkey" treatment rather than receive methadone* under a Government plan to tackle Scotland's chronic drug problem.

The radical move follows recent research which found that three years after receiving methadone only 3% of addicts remained totally drug-free.

Despite the poor effectiveness of methadone, £12m a year is spent doling out the heroin substitute to 52,000 users. The wider healthcare and crime-related costs of this army of addicts is far higher.

However, backers of methadone insist that it is also a solution, pointing out that less than half of those who go through rehabilitation programmes succeed in coming off drugs.

Bill Nelles, the general secretary of the Methadone Alliance, said recently: "For the people who do respond to methadone they should be able to access methadone for as long as it can be shown it is helping them."

* What is Methadone?
Methadone is an opiate that was first introduced after World War II as an alternative to morphine. Methadone was originally thought to be less addictive because of its extremely long half life. Today, methadone is used as an analgesic for pain management and more popularly as replacement therapy for heroin and other opiate addictions. Methadone is a cheap alternative to other opiate based medications which outweighs it potency when prescribing.