Study Shows Role of Depression in the Ongoing Tobacco Epidemic

Study Shows Role of Depression in the Ongoing Tobacco Epidemic
The prevalence of smoking has remained fairly stable over the past decade after declining sharply for many years. Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health analyzed changes in the prevalence of depression among current, former and new smokers in the U.S. to determine whether an increase in certain barriers to successful cessation and sustained abstinence may be contributing to this slowed decline. “The prevalence of depression increased and remains higher among current smokers overall, but the rate of the increase among former and never smokers was even more prominent,” noted Dr. Renee Goodwin, lead researcher. The research indicates that depression remains a real concern for current smokers, noting the significance between smoking and mental health concerns. The concern is prominent with youth smokers, which still remains fairly high in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states: each day in the United States, more than 3,200...
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Alcohol and Smoking Linked to Premature Death in Many Cancers

Alcohol and Smoking Linked to Premature Death in Many Cancers
A new study shows that 11 of the 15 cancers responsible for premature death and loss of healthy life years in US residents are closely linked to smoking and alcohol. The report was published online October 18 in the Journal of Preventive Medicine. The loss of healthy years of life is measured as disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). One DALY is the equivalent to loss of 1 year of healthy life and is a combined measure of mortality, incidence, survival, and quality of life. In a story that appeared in Medscape Medical News, the report shows that men and women shared the cancer burden equally, with each group losing 4.9 DALYs of healthy life years. However, the cancer burden was 20% to 30% higher in African Americans than in all races/ethnicities combined. Populations with the next highest DALYs, in descending order, were non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics, and non-Hispanic Asians. The story goes on...
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Teens Smoking and Drinking Less, Survey Finds

Teens Smoking and Drinking Less, Survey Finds
The rate of smoking and drinking is declining among American teens, a survey from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) finds. Last year 9.6 percent of teens ages 12 to 17 said they used alcohol in 2015, compared with 17.6 percent in 2002, The New York Times reports. About 20 percent of teens said they smoked last year, compared with 32 percent in 2002. The survey also found that last year, one out of five adults in American met criteria for a mental illness or substance use disorder, but only 3 percent of them received services. “These are potentially life-threatening, disabling conditions,” SAMHSA Principal Deputy Administrator Kana Enomoto said in a news release. “Our country must redouble its efforts to provide evidence-based prevention and treatment services in every community to ensure all Americans get the help and hope they need to lead healthy and productive lives.”
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Adult Smoking Rate Decreased to 15 Percent Last Year

Adult Smoking Rate Decreased to 15 Percent Last Year
Last year 15 percent of American adults smoked, down from 17 percent in 2014, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The decrease was the largest one-year decline in more than two decades, the Associated Press reports. The smoking rate has been decreasing for decades, but generally drops only 1 percent or less annually. About 50 years ago, 42 percent of U.S. adults smoked, the CDC noted. Recent declines in smoking rates are due to anti-smoking ad campaigns, as well as cigarette taxes and smoking bans, experts say. The increasing popularity of e-cigarettes has also likely been a factor in the decline in smoking rates. It is not yet known whether e-cigarettes will help further reduce smoking rates, or contribute to an increase in smoking in the future. Some public health experts are concerned e-cigarettes could create a new way for people to become addicted...
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10% Decline in U.S. Smoking Rate Would Save $63 Billion One Year Later

10% Decline in U.S. Smoking Rate Would Save $63 Billion One Year Later
A new study estimates that a 10 percent reduction in the U.S. smoking rate would result in $63 billion in savings in healthcare costs one year later. Researchers say the cost savings would come from reductions in risks from smoking-related diseases, such as heart attacks and strokes. Fewer babies would be born prematurely, they report in the journal PLOS Medicine. In addition to savings from the healthcare costs of smokers, the nation would also have fewer costs related to the effects of secondhand smoke, HealthDay reports. “Our study shows that significant changes in health care expenditures begin to appear quickly after changes in smoking behavior,” study first author James Lightwood of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), said in a news release. The researchers looked at the healthcare costs associated with smoking nationwide between 1992 and 2009. They found when smokers quit, the risks from smoking-related diseases drop quickly. When...
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Light Hookah Smokers Have Changes in Airway Cells

Light Hookah Smokers Have Changes in Airway Cells
Even light hookah smoking can cause changes in airway cells, a new study suggests. “With hookah, smoking a bowl is the equivalent of smoking a pack of cigarettes,” study leader Dr. Ronald Crystal, chairman of the Department of Genetic Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, told HealthDay. “When you talk to the hookah smokers, however, there’s a general belief that it is safer than cigarette smoking. We looked at the airways, lower respiratory tract, and in the blood vessels and found biologic abnormalities in all of those who smoked hookah,” he said. The study included 21 young adults who had used hookah for fewer than five years, and smoked about three bowls a week. They were compared with 19 peers who were not hookah smokers. The researchers examined cell samples from participants’ airways. They found hookah smokers had changes in the cells lining the lungs. They also had elevated...
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Rate of Mental Disorders Among Smokers is Rising

Rate of Mental Disorders Among Smokers is Rising
The rate of mental disorders among smokers is increasing, a new study concludes. More recent smokers have the highest risk, HealthDay reports. The study analyzed data from 25,000 people. The researchers found that while the national smoking rate has been declining since the 1960s, the percentage of smokers who are nicotine-dependent has been increasing. The risk of substance use disorders rose among all smokers with each decade, regardless of whether they were nicotine-dependent. Smokers who were nicotine-dependent and began smoking in the 1980s were more likely than older smokers to have disorders such as bipolar disorder, antisocial personality disorder or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders, the researchers report in Molecular Psychiatry. “Our study confirms that recent smokers, though a relatively smaller group than those who started smoking decades ago, are more vulnerable to psychiatric and substance use disorders,” lead author Ardesheer Talati of Columbia University Medical Center said in a university news release....
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Hookah Use Growing, But Many Questions Remain

Hookah Use Growing, But Many Questions Remain
Hookah smoking is growing increasingly popular among teens and young adults, but there are many questions still unanswered about its safety, according to an expert who is studying the issue. These questions include long-term effects of hookah smoking, the potential health effects for the many users who only smoke hookah a couple of times a month, and whether hookah users are more likely to switch to cigarettes, according to Scott E. Sherman, MD, MPH, Associate Professor in the Department of Population Health at the NYU Langone School of Medicine. He talked about hookah smoking as part of the CASAColumbia Addiction Speaker Series, featuring leading experts in the addiction and substance abuse field. “If hookah smoking leads to regular smoking then we have a really serious problem on our hands,” he said. Dr. Sherman plans to study that question in a long-term study of students at the City University of New York....
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Almost Half of all Video Games Feature Smoking

Almost Half of all Video Games Feature Smoking
A study of more than 100 video games finds 42 percent feature characters smoking cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars and other products, or make references to those products. Experts tell CNN they are concerned young people who play the games may be influenced to start smoking. The study by researchers at the University of California San Francisco included 118 games released between 1994 and 2015 that were rated by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, which makes age recommendations for video games. The findings were published in the journal Tobacco Control. Previous studies have found that teens ages 12 to 17 who see the greatest amount of smoking in movies are about twice as likely to begin smoking, compared with their peers with the least exposure to smoking in movies. Much less is known about the effect of tobacco references in video games, the article notes. Robin Koval, Chief Executive Officer and President of...
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CDC: Almost 13 Percent of U.S. Adults Have Tried E-Cigarettes

CDC: Almost 13 Percent of U.S. Adults Have Tried E-Cigarettes
A new government study finds that almost 13 percent of U.S. adults have tried e-cigarettes, the Los Angeles Times reports. Almost 4 percent of adults use the devices on a regular basis. In contrast, 15.2 percent of American adults smoke traditional cigarettes, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found. The new figures offer the first comprehensive picture of e-cigarette use among U.S. adults, the CDC researchers said. E-cigarette use among teens tripled from 2013 to 2014, according to a government report released in April. An estimated 13 percent of high school students used e-cigarettes last year—compared with 9 percent who smoked traditional cigarettes. The new study found that among adults, e-cigarettes are more widely used among current and recent former smokers, compared with nonsmokers and people who smoked long ago. Almost half of current smokers said they had tried an e-cigarette, and 16 percent continued to use...
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