May 2008 Quit Smoking Articles

Source: Reuters
Date: May 30, 2008
Author: Joene Hendry
SOURCE: Arthritis Research And Therapy, May 2008, 996-2006

Among people with rheumatoid arthritis, heavy smokers appear to have a greater loss of muscle mass than those who smoke fewer cigarettes or do not smoke, study findings suggest.

On the other hand, people with rheumatoid arthritis are prone to gain weight when they stop smoking, and this may negatively impact their quality of life, report Dr. Antonios Stavropoulos-Kalinoglou and colleagues.

"In any case, though, smoking is a bad habit for rheumatoid arthritis patients," said Stavropoulos-Kalinoglou of the Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Trust, in West Midlands, UK.

Smokers with rheumatoid arthritis should couple smoking cessation with weight management and lifestyle counseling to counteract or minimize weight gain, he told Reuters Health. Quitting smoking and arthritis full article.

Source: PR Newswire
Date: May 28, 2008
Author: SOURCE GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare

If both parents of a child never smoked, research shows that a child's odds of daily smoking are reduced by more than 70 percent compared to when both parents continue to smoke. And if both parents were smokers but quit, those same odds are reduced by nearly 40 percent. Additional research shows that mothers who quit are less likely to have children who start smoking.

As global leaders in tobacco control commemorate World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) on May 31st, the rallying cry is to prevent young people from starting to smoke. While the 2008 theme, "Tobacco-Free Youth" calls for additional limitations on the marketing practices of cigarette marketers and other comprehensive changes, a major determining factor of children's tobacco use is the smoking status of their parents.

"By quitting smoking, parents can play a major role in helping to end the vicious cycle of passing addiction from generation to generation," said Howard Marsh, M.D., medical director, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare. "Parents who want to take this important step on May 31st should get help from proven smoking cessation treatments such as therapeutic nicotine to increase their chances of staying off cigarettes for good." Parents and children smoking full article.

Source: PR Newswire
Date: May 22, 2008
Author: SOURCE GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare,

In light of today's announcement by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that it has removed a prescription anti-smoking pill from their approved list of safe medications for pilots and air-traffic controllers, it's important to note this news does not include nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) which is deemed safe and effective. (1) Further, recent research has found the Commit 4 mg lozenge has been clinically proven to help reverse nicotine withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting smoking including the following: difficulty concentrating, attention deficit, short-term memory deficit and selective attention deficit (2) -- some of the issues at the core of today's report.

In 1994, the FAA requested the Centers for Disease Control(CDC) assemble an expert panel to examine the effects of smoking and tobacco addiction and withdrawal on pilot performance and airline safety. As part of the panel's conclusion, they found NRT to be safe, effective treatment option for pilots who smoke. Those recommendations stand to this day.

"Nicotine withdrawal is a serious issue for pilots who are in the process of quitting smoking, and today's news could have a dramatic impact on these individuals," said Jack E. Henningfield. Nicotine replacement therapy full article.

Source: Institute for Safe Medication Practices
Date: May 22, 2008

A strong signal of multiple safety problems with Chantix (varenicline), a drug to help people stop smoking, has been seen in a pilot program to identify new drug risks in adverse drug events reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. . .

Recommendations - We have immediate safety concerns about the use of varenicline among persons operating aircraft, trains, buses and other vehicles, or in other settings where a lapse in alertness or motor control could lead to massive, serious injury. Other examples include persons operating nuclear power reactors, high-rise construction cranes or life-sustaining medical devices. Based on reports of sudden loss of consciousness, seizures, muscle spasms, vision disturbances, hallucinations, paranoia and psychosis, we believe varenicline may not be safe to use in these settings. The extent to which varenicline has already contributed to accidental death and injury has not yet been investigated because these adverse effects had not been previously reported. The Federal Aviation Administration approved varenicline for use by airline pilots before most of these reports were available.

In addition, we recommend that patients and doctors exercise caution in the use of varenicline and consider the use of alternative approaches to smoking cessation.

Finally, we urge the FDA and the manufacturer to provide warnings to doctors and patients for those adverse effects that can be adequately documented through existing data, and to undertake on a priority basis epidemiological studies or other research to assess other potential risks. We promptly notified the FDA of our findings...

Conclusions - We emphasize the recommendations outlined in the executive summary. We have concern about the use of varenicline by persons in settings where the risk of accident is high; we recommend doctors and patients exercise caution in the use of varenicline and consider alternative methods of smoking cessation. The FDA and the manufacturer should on a priority basis assess the information available and conduct additional research where current data are insufficient to resolve questions about the safety of varenicline.

Full article no longer available.

Source: AP
Date: May 22, 2008
Author: ALICIA CHANG, AP Science Writer

The urge to smoke is contagious, but quitting apparently is, too. A team of researchers who showed that obesity can spread person-to-person has found a similar pattern with smoking cessation: A smoker is more likely to kick the habit if a spouse, friend, co-worker or sibling did.

What's more, smokers tend to quit in groups and those who don't stop puffing increasingly find themselves pushed to the edge of their social circles, the researchers found.

"Your smoking behavior depends upon not just the smoking behavior of the people you know, but also the people who they know" and so on, said Dr. Nicholas Christakis, a medical sociologist at Harvard Medical School and lead author of the new report.

Full article no longer available.

Source: USA Today
Date: May 21, 2008
Author: Rita Rubin, USA TODAY

The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday removed the smoking cessation drug Chantix from the list of medications considered safe for pilots and air-traffic controllers after a new study linked the medication to mental confusion and other problems that could put passengers at risk.

FAA spokesman Les Dorr said the agency took that step after reviewing the study, which raises concerns about Chantix use by people operating vehicles.

The study links the drug to loss of consciousness, lapses in alertness, dizziness and muscle spasms. Dorr said the FAA has not heard of crashes linked to Chantix. The FAA will send letters about the change to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, pilots' unions and people "we know are taking" the drug. . .

The study was posted online by the non-profit Institute for Safe Medication Practices. Co-author Curt Furberg, a Wake Forest University medical epidemiologist, said he and his coauthors felt "this was too important" to submit first to a medical journal, which could take six months or more to publish.

Since Chantix's approval in May 2006, Furberg said, 5 million people have taken the drug worldwide, 3.5 million in the USA. FAA and Chantix full article.

Source: Medscape
Date: May 20, 2008
Author: Laurie Barclay, MD

A nicotine conjugate vaccine (NicVAX, Nabi Biopharmaceuticals) might help smokers quit smoking and remain abstinent, according to a presentation of animal and human data at the Eleventh Annual Conference on Vaccine Research, held in Baltimore, Maryland, from May 5 to 7.

"The human study was designed to demonstrate proof of the concept that antibodies to nicotine are useful in helping smokers quit," lead author and presenter A.I. Fattom, PhD, vice-president of research and development at NabiBiopharmaceuticals, in Rockville, Maryland, told Medscape Infectious Diseases. "Animal data indicated that antibodies to nicotine reduced the amount and slowed the entry of nicotine into the brain, and demonstrated that treated animals showed reduced physiologic and behavioral responses to nicotine after vaccination. These observations were tested in a series of clinical studies...designed to show that NicVAX could produce antibodies in humans and to identify the best dose and dosing regimen."

Full article no longer available.

Source: ScienceDaily Magazine
Date: May 13, 2008

Oregon Health & Science University Cancer Institute researchers have pinpointed the protein that can lead to genetic changes that cause lung cancer.

Researchers discovered that the production of a protein called FANCD2 is slowed when lung cells are exposed to cigarette smoke. Low levels of FANCD2 leads to DNA damage, triggering cancer. Cigarette smoke curbs the production of 'caretaker' proteins, like FANCD2, which normally prevent cancer by fixing damages in DNA and causing faulty cells to commit suicide.

Research has shown that smoking is strongly linked to lung cancer, but this discovery may help scientists improve treatments for lung disease in the future.

"These findings show the important role FANCD2 plays in protecting lung cells against cigarette smoke, and may explain why cigarette smoke is so toxic to these cells," said lead author Laura Hays, Ph.D., research assistant professor of medicine (hematology/medical oncology) and member of the OHSU Cancer Institute. Smoking and cancer full article.

Source: PR Newswire
Date: May 9, 2008
Author: SOURCE Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

The risk of the two major prostate diseases, cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), can be reduced by changes in lifestyle, such as avoiding smoking, maintaining a normal weight and eating a healthy diet. Alan Kristal, Dr.P.H., associate head of the Cancer Prevention Program at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, has conducted many studies that suggest men need not feel helpless against prostate cancer or BPH. . .

Heavy smokers who are diagnosed with prostate cancer have twice the risk of dying from their disease. Smoking may promote prostate cancer growth through several mechanisms. One is that it can increase the amount of circulating androgens, which fuels the growth of malignant prostate cells. Another theory is related to tobacco as a source of cadmium, a heavy metal that has been linked to prostate cancer in several occupational-health studies. This known human carcinogen inhibits DNA repair, which allows cancer cells to mutate and multiply. Prostate cancer and smoking.

Source: Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) (au)
Date: May 8, 2008

An Adelaide physician has calculated that the average Australian smoker spends about $300,000 on cigarettes in a lifetime.

Doctor Ross Philpot's calculations have been published in the Medical Journal of Australia.

The research also shows that a person who smokes 20 cigarettes a day will have smoked 500,000 by the time they die.

Dr Philpot says telling patients about the cumulative total of cigarettes bought and smoked can be an effective way to get people to quit. Cost of smoking full article.

Doctors: Chantix Benefits Outweigh Risks
Source: Fox News
Date: May 9, 2008
Author: Marrecca Fiore

The drug Chantix may be linked to suicidal thoughts and depression in some people, but the risk of smoking is far worse, according to some physicians.

The health risks of smoking, including lung cancer, emphysema, stroke and heart attack, outweigh the known side effects of Chantix, said Dr. Marc Siegal, a FOX News Channel contributor.

"I still think it's a first-line agent," Siegal, a board certified internist and clinical associate professor of medicine at New York University School of Medicine, told "It's absolutely the best thing we have out there to help people stop smoking." Physicians recommend Chantix full article.

Women Who Quit Smoking Lower Heart Risks Quickly
Source: HealthDay [HealthScout]
Date: May 7, 2008
Author: Amanda Gardner, HealthDay Reporter

New research shows that women who quit smoking have a 21 percent lower risk of dying from coronary heart disease within five years of extinguishing their last cigarette.

The risks of dying from other conditions also decline after quitting, although the time frame varies depending on the disease.

"The harms of smoking are reversible and can decline to the level of nonsmokers," said study author Stacey Kenfield, whose report is in the May 7 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. "For some conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, it can take more than 20 years, but there is a rapid reduction for others."

Smoking and heart disease full article.

New Smoking Cessation Guideline Confirms That Now is the Time to Quit Smoking
Source: PR Newswire
Date: May 7, 2008
Author: SOURCE American Lung Association

Today the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published an update to its 1996 Public Health Service Clinical Practice Guideline, Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence, which contains revised and improved recommendations to providers and clinicians so that they can better assist smokers in quitting. The guideline also confirms that there has never been a better time for smokers to quit than right now.

With the release of these new guidelines, smokers can receive improved strategies from physicians and other health care providers to help successfully quit smoking. The guidelines definitively state that combining FDA-approved pharmacotherapies and counseling is the most effective way for smokers to end addiction to tobacco products. The Public Health Service also finds that cessation treatments are cost-effective and that providing these treatments through healthcare systems will increase the number of people who seek treatment for smoking, attempt to quit and successfully quit.

"These new guidelines underscore how important it is for smokers to receive assistance quitting," said Bernadette Toomey, President and CEO, of the American Lung Association. "The American Lung Association stands ready to help smokers quit through our different smoking cessation programs and resources."

Quit smoking guidelines full article.

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