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May 22nd 2018

Smokers who have swapped cigarettes in place of e-cigarettes in a bid to quit might want to consider going cold turkey on both, as scientists have warned that vaping could pose the same risks to the heart as smoking.

Findings presented at the European Society for Cardiology congress in Rome revealed that in a typical vaping session, electronic cigarettes caused similar damage to the main artery in the heart as a packet of cigarettes

With researchers now advising smokers against the long-term use of vaping, there’s never been a better time to kick the habit for good. 

Of course, anyone who has tried to give up in the past will know that stopping smoking is not easy. 

But if you’re really committed to successfully saying goodbye to cigarettes, you can make small and inexpensive changes to your lifestyle that may help you resist the temptation to smoke. 

Here are six to try today: 

Make a plan to quite smoking

READ MORE

Vaping ‘as bad as smoking’

 

Set a date to give up smoking completely, and then stick to it. This way you’ll have time to prepare to give up without losing your motivation to quit. Most people find that the ‘not even a drag’ method helps keep bad habits at bay. This means not succumbing to having small drags of other people’s cigarettes or e-cigarettes at times of temptation. 

Many smokers enjoy a cigarette in the evening after dinner, but being particular about the foods you eat might stop you scrambling for a lighter after you’ve cleared your place. A US study revealed that some foods, including meat, make cigarettes more satisfying. Others, including cheese, fruit and vegetables, can actually make cigarettes taste less appetising. 

Changing your routines at mealtimes can help too. If you usually light up in the evening, keep yourself busy by washing the dishes or going for a walk after dinner. 

Change your drink

Love smoking a cigarette with your coffee? In the same study, it was revealed that fizzy drinks, alcohol and caffeine can also make cigarettes taste better. So instead of loading up on Coca Cola and cups of tea, try sticking to water and juice instead. 

Start exercising

Scientific studies have proven that exercise - even a five-minute walk - can cut down your nicotine cravings and may even help your brain to produce anti-craving chemicals. 

London's best gyms

Keep your hands and mouth busy

If you haven’t already considered it, nicotine replacement therapy could increase your chance of success by double. There are patches, tablets, lozenges, gum and nasal sprays available that can help to wean you off nicotine gradually.

If you usually smoke when you’re out, try putting your drink in the hand that usually holds an e-cigarette, and drink from a straw to keep your mouth busy. 

Keep a fund of all the money you’ve saved from smoking and spend it on something special

If you manage to stick to your quit plan, you’ll soon notice how much money you're saving.

Keep your smoking funds aside to treat yourself to something special as a reward for your diligence - whether that’s a holiday or a shopping splurge. You’ll soon realise how much extra cash you have at your disposal when you're not funding your vaping habit.

For more advice on quitting smoking, visit nhs.co.uk

 

May 5th 2018

7 triggers that caused people to stop smoking

As anyone who's tried to quit smoking will tell you, kicking the habit isn't as easy as some people think it is. Undoing years – or even decades – of a habit takes effort, willpower and often some external guidance.

Knowing why you want to quit and having a goal in mind can be a huge motivation for staying on the right track, from putting your health first to needing to save some money. To find out the real-life triggers that cause people to quit, we spoke to seven ex-smokers about why they packed up the cigarettes and how their lives have changed since giving up the habit.

1. 'I was prematurely ageing myself' - Emma, London

"I always said that I'd stop smoking at 25 but I didn't. At 27 I realised that I had been smoking for around 10 years and the thought of the damage it had done to my body in that time was the wake up call I needed. I started noticing the state of my hair, skin and nails and knew they'd look better if I quit.

"To help me quit, I followed a quit plan and haven't looked back since. I feel much healthier and have noticed a marked improvement in my skin."

Smoking has negative impacts on your hair, skin and nails, all of which can be halted by giving up cigarettes for good. To help you kick the habit, try My Quit Plan by Nicorette and work out the best way for you to go smoke-free. The plan will help you to assess your current habit and any quitting methods you've tried before to help you come up with a plan that works for you.

2. 'My social life was suffering' - Kelly, Edinburgh

"People often say that smoking is social, but for me it was almost the opposite. I stopped smoking because I was always going outside by myself to have a fag in the freezing cold. I went cold turkey and decided that I didn't want to be the girl that is always missing out on nights out because I'm by myself, reeking of smoke.

"Nowadays, I don't miss out on anything that happens on a night out. I get to be part of the group and I feel so much better the next morning than I used to when I was drinking and smoking at the same time."

Ever since the smoking ban came into effect in 2007, the prevalence of smoking fell in subsequent years, particularly in younger age groups. Brown University also discovered that people who smoked on a night out where heavy drinking was involved were also more likely to experience a hangover and more intense hangover symptoms too.

3. 'The savings paid for a car' - Rebecca, London

"When I was 21 I worked out that the amount I spent on smoking every week could fund running a car. I stopped immediately and a month or so later I bought a car. I loved that little motor.

"I never started smoking again, it gave me a huge amount of confidence knowing that I'd had the willpower to stop. I thought if I can do that, I can do anything."

The cost of cigarettes has risen dramatically over the last few years, alongside a hike in taxes and smaller packets being taken off the shelves. On average, most people who quit save around £156 each month (based on an 11-a-day habit and a pack of 20 cigarettes costing £9.40), which adds up to nearly £1,872 a year according to the Nicorette Stop Smoking Calculator. That's a big chunk of money to add to your annual savings.

4. 'My confidence needed a boost' - Arusha, Newcastle

"I originally stopped because I had bronchitis. I had to stop so I could breathe properly and it made me realise it's pretty gross to have a mouth that smells like an ashtray.

"Now, knowing that my breath doesn't stink, I'm so much more confident when meeting new people. This is especially true when it comes to meeting people in a professional capacity."

Smoking is the main cause of chronic bronchitis, affecting both smokers and anyone inhaling secondhand smoke. Cigarettes also increase your risk of developing emphysema, where the air sacs inside your lungs become damaged, causing shortness of breath. As for halitosis, smoking causes your mouth to dry out, leading to bad breath. Cigarettes can also significantly affect the development of gum disease, another major cause of bad breath.

5. 'Trying for a baby forced me to quit' - Alexa, London

"I knew smoking wasn't a great thing to do anyway, but it was trying for a baby that was the impetus in the end. I'd been smoking pretty heavily since I was 16 so it wasn't a walk in the park, but I used inhalators to help.

"I wouldn't start again – I'm now so aware of the impact of passive smoking on my children and the effect of secondary smoke clinging to my clothes and hair. One of my children has a viral wheeze so it's a massive no-no."

Smoking may reduce fertility in women and it's thought to take around three months for an improvement in fertility levels after quitting. Smoking can be hugely damaging to young children after you've given birth, too – the NHS state that secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals and can increase the risk of cot death, asthma, meningitis and serious respiratory conditions.

6. 'I started to focus on my mental health' - Jenni, Colchester

"The trigger to me stopping smoking was a general shift in my attitude. I get health anxiety quite badly so it seemed stupid to be doing something I knew was bad for me.

"I recognised that I smoked the most when I was miserable, anxious or stressed, so I made a conscious effort to take better care of my mental health. I spent time dealing with my issues, particularly after a break-up, and as soon as I'd handled that internally I didn't feel like I needed to smoke as much."

People with mental health problems are more likely to smoke than the general population (and smoke more heavily) but those who quit report a calmer and more positive mindset, according to the NHS. Their evidence suggests that the beneficial effect of stopping smoking on symptoms of anxiety and depression can equal that of taking antidepressants, while it has been shown that cigarettes can interfere with the efficacy of certain medicines. Smoking can also increase feelings of anxiety and irritability in people who don't suffer from mental health issues.

7. 'I couldn't mix smoking with my medication' - Rosie, London

"My GP told me that I wouldn't be allowed to get my contraceptive pill anymore if I still smoked and hit 35, due to the additional health risks I'd be putting on myself. I think this is related to deep vein thrombosis.

"I wasn't prepared to switch to another contraceptive so gave up smoking instead and I got to keep my pill – kind of the opposite of giving up because you're pregnant..."

The majority of birth control pills contain synthetic versions of oestrogen, the female hormone. This hormone can increase the risk of developing blood clots and deep vein thrombosis (the risk of which increases with age), which can lead to strokes, heart attacks or pulmonary embolisms, meaning this particular type of contraception isn't prescribed for women who have two or more risk factors, such as being in your mid-thirties and smoking.

Make the first step in your journey towards quitting smoking with My Quit Plan by Nicorette.

Nicorette contains nicotine. Stop smoking aid. Requires willpower. Always read the label. UK/NI/18-10960.

April 17th 2018

Reality TV shows and films 'encourage teenagers to smoke'

Contestants’ cigarette habits in the reality TV show Love Island and Winston Churchill’s cigars in the Oscar-winning film Darkest Hour inspire children to take up smoking, anti-tobacco campaigners have warned MPs.

Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) and the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies said children in the UK are still exposed to significant amounts of on-screen smoking. They cited a rise in smoking in Oscar-nominated films and research that showed cigarettes appeared in Love Island every five minutes on average with the Lucky Strike brand appearing 16 times.

This year, 86% of Oscar-nominated films contained someone smoking, up from 60% four years ago, the groups told the Commons science and technology select committee. Just over half of the nominated actors depicted smokers, the highest level in several years, research found.

Given Love Island’s popularity with young people, last summer’s series left 47m “gross impressions” of smoking on children under 16, the campaigners told the MPs in a submission to the parliamentary inquiry into the impact of social media and screen use on young people’s health.

The campaigners want the communications regulator, Ofcom, and the British Board of Film Classification to monitor youth exposure to depictions of tobacco use on screen, to discourage any depictions of tobacco use and require broadcasters or cinemas to run anti-smoking ads during presentations that feature smoking.

Smoking is banned in UK advertising, but not in programmes. Craig Lawson, a dumped Love Island contestant, told the Sun last year that every islander was given at least 20 cigarettes a day by producers, if they wanted them.

“Ofcom and the BBFC, which regulate these sectors, need to take the necessary steps to warn parents of the risks and protect our children from the harmful effects of tobacco imagery,” said Deborah Arnott, the chief executive of Ash.

Arnott said that while Churchill was a famous cigar smoker and to show him smoking was justified, the majority of the smoking roles on biographical films were taken by fictional characters who the film-makers had chosen to show smoking.

However, the pro-smokers’ group Forest said Ash was mounting “an attack on artistic freedom” and claimed there was “no significant evidence that smoking on TV or film encourages teenagers to smoke”.

Ash responded that multiple academic studies had proved causality and said Forest was funded by the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association.

Forest is supported by companies including British American Tobacco, which makes Lucky Strike and Camel cigarettes.

The submission to MPs includes figures from Cancer Research UK, showing that between 2014 and 2016 about 127,000 children a year started smoking for the first time. That research shows more than 60% of those who try smoking become regular smokers.

“The introduction of standardised packaging of tobacco products, backed up the complete ban on advertising, leaves smoking in the entertainment media as the main way smoking is promoted to children,” said George Butterworth, a senior policy manager at Cancer Research UK.

March 19th 2018

Vaping warning as study reveals E-cigs cause liver disease

Vaping can lead to liver disease, research has suggested.

Researchers found that high nicotine in electronic cigarettes causes non-alcohol fatty liver diseases in mice.

In a 12-week study, they split mice into two groups, one was exposed to e-cigarette aerosol and the other group of mice were exposed to saline aerosol.

They found changes in 433 genes associated with fatty liver development and progression in the mice exposed to e-cigarettes.

Lead author of the study, Professor Theodore Friedman, of Charles R. Drew University of Medicine & Science in Los Angeles, said: “Because extra fat in the liver is likely to be detrimental to health, we conclude that e-cigarettes are not as safe as they have been promoted to consumers.”

March 15th 2018

What happens when you stop smoking - the rapid change in your body once you stamp out your last cigarette

So you've given up, or you're about to, this is what happens to your body after quitting smoking - and there's quite the difference

So you've quit smoking, what's next?

Stopping smoking can make a drastic improvement to your health, but first there's withdrawal and a whole host of symptoms to expect.

Once you've put aside the cigarettes your body starts to change, there are some changes that are immediate, others take longer.

Smoking kills, but you may not realise how dramatically quitting smoking improves how you look - and feel.

You'll experience withdrawal, but you'll also start to see positive changes from improvements to your breathing to the way you look. There's also changes to inside your body, even though you can't see them doesn't mean they aren't happening.

Here's what to expect when quitting and exactly what happens to your body.

1. Physical withdrawal

This is the hard part. Nicotine is addictive so when you stop taking it in it's tough.

If you go cold turkey it can be difficult at first. Physical symptoms include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, hunger, nausea and coughing.

You will notice you have an increased appetite and have trouble sleeping.

Don't worry, all of this will stop with time. It can take a few weeks to nine months depending on how long you have been smoking.

2. Psychological withdrawal

Mood swings, confusion, depressing thoughts, shortened attention span, shakes, irritability and cravings - for food and cigarettes.

This won't last forever though, so hold on.

This can fade within two weeks - and the symptoms will be gone within nine months.

3. Blood circulation starts to improve

It only takes two hours for your blood circulation to improve drastically (see below for the stages).

Nicotine raises your heart rate and blood pressure, and within hours of quitting - sometimes within half an hour - your heart rate and blood pressure lower to normal, healthy rate.

If you had cold toes and fingers you may feel you're starting to warm up.

4. You may put on weight

As your cravings increase, along with your appetite, you may eat more - and put on weight.

This is normal as your depriving yourself of nicotine which suppresses hunger.

Nicotine hits the brain and activates it's 'fight-or-flight' stress defence, they in turn release stored fats into the bloodstream. It's why smokers don't often feel hungry and why you can have blood sugar swings after quitting.

You may not gain weight, and if you are already changing to a healthier lifestyle you may not see a change.

5. Your heart improves

Twelve hours after quitting the amount of carbon monoxide in your blood decreases, which means the amount of oxygen in your blood increases.

About a year after your quit the likelihood of a heart attack and risk of heart disease drops to half what it is for a smoker.

The other benefits increase as more time passes. It takes 15 years for your risk of heart disease to drop to that of a nonsmoker.

6. Dropping your stoke risk

Smoking increases your risk of suffering a stroke by narrowing the blood vessels, meaning less blood gets to your brain.

It can take about 18 months to 15 years, depending on how long you've smoked, to get back to normal.

7. Breathe easily

The lungs start improving straight away. It can be a few weeks to a few months. You will breathe better and you'll find it easier to exercise.

8. You will cough

While you will find your breathing is improving you will find your cough more. It may seem weird, but it's your lungs clearing themselves out.

It will decrease after about nine months. If you use air purifiers, avoid air polluted areas and try breathing exercises it can help.

There's another reason to smile, your teeth brown with smoking so naturally whiten when you aren't puffing away.

Clean up the smile and sans the cigarettes you'll keep them whiter for longer.

Those yellow stains will fade, you lower your risk of gum recession and your breath will smell better.

You lips also see the benefits as you have less burns or sores.

10. Brighter skin

The phrase you're glowing will actually apply. The chemicals in cigarettes breakdown your skin structure - elastin and collagen. When damaged the skin becomes loose.

Nicotine also narrows blood vessels, limiting blood flow to the skin. That means dull and creased skin.

While quitting doesn't reverse wrinkles, it can slow down the ageing of your skin and prevent more damage.

11. One for the women - your breasts will change

Smoking does actually impact on your breasts too. Chemicals in cigarettes cause skin to sag, so giving up means less sagging.

Smoking is also linked to breast cancer.

12. Everything smells better

Wake up and smell the roses! Well, not literally. Smoking dulls the sense of smell, so when you quit everything smells better. It takes just days for the change to kick in.

13. Your sense of taste

Smell isn't the only sense improving - taste does too. Again you will find there is a change within days. Smokers have a diminished sense of taste, so wait for those buds to regenerate.

Savour your coffee, meals and the nice foods.

14. Immune system strengthens

Smoking suppresses the immune system. You may find you get sick more and stay sick for longer. Smokers can also have autoimmune responses, that's where your own system attacks your lung tissues instead of battling the infection.

When you quit the risk drops, so when you get that cold you will see a quicker recovery time.

15. Instant manicure

It's like a free manicure. Those yellow stains will go, and your nails will look better.

Look out for the line between your new growth and the old. Your hands will also improve as they will age less.

16. Lush hair

Want lush locks? Then quit. Smokers lose more hair as the chemicals also affect your locks.

Your hair follicles are impacted, since you have a lack of blood circulation. Get thicker, lusher looking hair and quit.

What happens after your last cigarette? From 20 minutes to 15 years later (Image: Getty)

·       After 20 minutes your pulse returns to a normal rate.

·       After eight hours oxygen levels return to normal and nicotine and carbon monoxide levels reduce by half.

·       After 48 hours there is no nicotine left in the body and the ability to taste and smell improves. Your risk of having a heart attack begins to reduce.

·       After 2-12 weeks your circulation improves.

·       After 3-9 months lung function improves by 10% and coughing decreases.

·       After 1 year the risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker.

·       After 10 years risk of lung cancer is half that of a smoker.

·       After 15 years risk of having a heart attack is the same as someone who has never smoked.


Feb 7th 2018

E-cigarettes should be available on prescription as medical aids to help smokers quit, health officials have said.

Public Health England (PHE) estimated e-cigarettes could be contributing to 20,000 new quits each year.

The agency also said hospitals should sell e-cigarettes to patients and switch smoking shelters to vaping lounges.

The calls come after PHE published its latest independent review into the evidence surrounding e-cigarettes.

It found the number of people using the products has "plateaued" and now stands at just under three million people in the UK. 

One reason behind the stall in uptake could be misconceptions about the levels of harm linked to the devices.

The review was conducted by experts from King's College London and the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, the University of Stirling and Cancer Research UK.

It found that thousands of smokers "incorrectly" believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking and two in five smokers had not even tried an e-cigarette.

In a linked editorial, published in The Lancet, experts from PHE said: "Although not without risk, the overall risk of harm is estimated at less than 5 per cent of that from smoking tobacco; the risk of cancer has been calculated to be less than 1 per cent."

Following the review, PHE has made a number of recommendations about e-cigarettes, including a call for the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency to support manufacturers to license the products as medical quit aids so they can be made available on the NHS; encouraging any smoker to switch to using e-cigarettes, and calling on NHS trusts to be "truly smoke free", and as part of this, ensuring e-cigarettes are for sale in hospital shops.

Martin Dockrell, tobacco control lead for PHE, said: "We are saying no smoking anywhere on the grounds [of hospitals], no smoking in the smoking shelter - that shelter becomes a vaping shelter.

"There are two parts to being a smoke-free hospital, one is not allowing smoking on the premises, the other is helping every smoker to quit.

"Some hospitals will decide, especially with their longer-term patients or patients who don't have a choice whether they are there or not, where it will be appropriate to have spaces indoors to have spaces where vaping is permitted.

"The strongest case for that is psychiatric hospitals because [these patients] have got the highest prevalence of smoking and the highest levels of smoking related harm.

"Single occupancy rooms are quite common in mental health trusts so that makes it very easy for people to vape in a single occupancy room without any annoyance to anybody else."

Jan 18th 2018

Using alternative tobacco products makes teens more likely to smoke cigarettes

Teens who use alternative forms of tobacco, such as e-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, or tobacco water pipes, are more likely to start smoking conventional cigarettes within a year, according to a new US study.

Carried out by a team from UC San Francisco, the research is the largest study to date to look at the influence of alternative tobacco use on conventional cigarette smoking in young people, gathering data from a nationally-representative sample of 10,384 adolescents ages 12 to 17.

The participants had never tried a tobacco cigarette, but used an alternative form of tobacco such as e-cigarettes, hookah, non-cigarette combustible tobacco, or smokeless tobacco.

At the one-year follow-up, the team found that using any of these forms of tobacco increased the chance that teens had started smoking tobacco cigarettes, with the risk even higher if they used more than one product. 

"In the last few years, research has focused on the potential of e-cigarettes to engage never-smoking adolescents in tobacco use," said senior author Benjamin W. Chaffee. "Our findings confirm that the use of the full range of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, cigars, tobacco water pipes, and smokeless tobacco, is associated with greater odds of future cigarette smoking."

The researchers now believe that the use of these alternative tobacco products has the potential to undermine the public health gains being made in the fight against smoking.

Earlier studies have also shown that smoking a single cigarette per month during adolescence increases the chance of daily smoking during adulthood.

In 2016, nearly 4 million middle and high school students used at least one tobacco product, and 1.8 million of the students reported using two or more products.

E-cigarettes have become particularly popular in recent years and are now the most common form of tobacco used by young people.

The findings can be found published online in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

Nov 20th 2017

Smoking e-cigarettes during pregnancy could cause birth defects of the face and oral cavity, new research suggests.

Researchers at the Virginia Commonwealth University exposed frog embryos and mammalian neural crest cells to chemicals into test whether or not they cause defects, to find out what happens to fetuses when e-cigarettes are used during pregnancy.

Frogs, like other vertebrates, are similar to humans embryonically.

Publishing their findings in the PLOS Onejournal, they wrote that thesame processes and genes govern major developmental events, such as craniofacial development, or the formation of the skull and face.

“This means that if a chemical perturbs a frog embryo, it’s likely to do the same thing to a human embryo,” said lead researcher, Professor Amanda Dickinson.

Mammalian neural crest cells are also ideal models because they have a key role in embryonic facial development, added her colleague, Rene Olivares-Navarrete.

“Neural crest cells are extremely important in the development of craniofacial structures because they can form many different tissues like bones, cartilage, skin, teeth and glands,” Mr Olivares-Navarrete said.

After exposing the embryos to vapour, the researchers recorded the facial measurements and any incidents of cleft palates the embryos developed.

Vapour is created when e-liquids, a blend of nicotine, propylene, glycol, vegetable glycerin and various flavouring compounds, are heated within the e-cigarette during inhalation.

The researchers also tested the effects of the mixture on the viability and function of neural crest cells.

The findings strongly suggested using e-cigarettes could lead to birth defects and in specific experimental trials for specific e-liquid types, all the frog embryos development cleft palates.

“We observed that very complex e-liquids that mix flavours, such as berries and creme and other food-related flavourings, may have the most dramatic effect on the face,” Ms Dickinson said.

All the frog embryos exposed to one particular e-liquid developed clefts with varying degrees of severity, but the researched did not reveal the specific names of the e-liquids or the companies that produce them.

In trials with a flavour described as “nutty,” roughly 75 per cent of the frog embryos developed clefts. When exposed to various other flavours, the frog embryos developed faces that were smaller than average.

The capacity of the neural crest cells to produce associated tissues was also greatly diminished, Mr Olivares-Navarrete said.

Researchers experimented with the same e-liquids without nicotine and found that the cells and frog embryos were still dramatically affected even when nicotine was absent.

“We aim to educate the public about the dangers of vaping and compel policymakers to impose tighter regulations, such as warning labels,” Prof Dickinson said.

Oct 9th 2017

Even in this age of nicotine awareness, you may not realize all the good things that happen to your body when you stop smoking.

While many people haven’t heard how smoking can ruin their looks and put them at risk for diabetes, most have heard that second-hand smoke puts non-smokers at risk, as well. So, here’s something completely new: Thirdhand smoke is deadly as well, according to an alarming new study out of the University of California, Riverside. Long after you’ve put out a cigarette, it’s toxins linger on your carpeting, furniture, bedding, clothing, skin, and hair, and they can cause serious harm to the health of those who live—or spend lots of time—with you.

Smoke accumulates on surfaces, reacts with the air, and changes into carcinogenic chemicals, the study authors explain.

These toxins can remain on surfaces for years, and not only do they have no detectable odour, they’re resistant to even the strongest cleaning agents. So, the researchers, Yuxin Chen, PhD, Manuela Martins-Green, PhD, and graduate student Neema Adhami decided to test whether the compounds could be pose health problems. For six months, they exposed mice to the carcinogens, and the results were alarming. Within one month of exposure to third-hand smoke (THS), the researchers began detecting harmful effects on the mice that continued to increase for the duration of the study. The mice suffered badly.

These last three symptoms are all associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Indeed, the researchers believe that this may be a significant consequence of long term exposure to third-hand smoke. The researchers point out that almost nothing is known about the effects of THS exposure over time. The study “can serve to educate the public on the dangers of THS, and the biomarkers we identified can be used in the clinic, once verified in exposed humans,” the researchers said.

Sept 21st 2017

Quit-smoking campaign Stoptober is to support the use of e-cigarettes for the first time, despite warnings from health experts.

New television adverts launched by Public Health England (PHE) encourage smokers to use e-cigarettes, also known as vapes, to overcome their addiction.

But on Tuesday, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) issued guidance expressing caution about the risks and benefits of vaping.

Nice said: “The draft guideline does not list e-cigarettes as recommended aids to stop smoking however it does say that advice should be offered on their use."

Nice advised that patients should be told that “there is currently little evidence on their long term benefits or harms.”

E-cigarettes are currently not available on the NHS. But on the NHS website, they are described as “a great way to help combat nicotine cravings” carrying “a fraction of the risk of cigarettes”.

Latest figures show 15.5 per cent of over 18s smoked in England in 2016. This is a significant decrease from the year 2000, when over a quarter of adults smoked.

But as smoking has decreased, vaping has increased. About one in 20 people over 16 regularly uses e-cigarettes.

1.5 million people have taken part in Stoptober since it launched in 2011, many of them receiving free one-on-one support from a medical professional via the NHS.

Vaping has since become the most popular method of stopping smoking, with 53 per cent of people using e-cigarettes to try and quit.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics estimate around 79,000 smoking-related deaths in 2015.

Stoptober begins on October 1.

Related: E-Cigs May Help You Quit Smoking

Sept 10th 2017

E-cigarettes containing nicotine could increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes, researchers have found.

A study discovered that vaping devices containing the stimulant could cause a stiffening of the arteries, as well as an increased heart rate and blood pressure.

Scientists in Stockholm, Sweden, recruited 15 healthy volunteers to take part in the experiment, none of whom had used e-cigarettes before.

The tests found in the 30 minutes after smoking the e-cigarettes containing nicotine, there was a significant increase in blood pressure, heart rate and arterial stiffness.

There was no such effect in the volunteers who smoked the e-cigarettes without nicotine.

Dr Magnus Lundback, of the Danderyd University Hospital, Karolinska Institute, said: "The number of e-cigarette users has increased dramatically in the last few years. E-cigarettes are regarded by the general public as almost harmless.

"The e-cigarette industry markets their product as a way to reduce harm and to help people to stop smoking tobacco cigarettes. However, the safety of e-cigarettes is debated, and a growing body of evidence is suggesting several adverse health effects.

"The results are preliminary, but in this study we found there was a significant increase in heart rate and blood pressure in the volunteers who were exposed to e-cigarettes containing nicotine. Arterial stiffness increased around three-fold in those who were exposed to nicotine containing e-cigarettes compared to the nicotine-free group."

While the effects seen in the tests were temporary, Dr Lundback said that chronic exposure to e-cigarettes with nicotine could cause permanent effects on arterial stiffness in the long term

Aug 30th 2017

Nicotine reduction in cigarettes makes them less addictive and could help curb smoking rates, new study has found.

A team of scientists looked at how reducing nicotine levels affected smokers’ habits, focusing on vulnerable smokers, poverty-stricken women and those with mental health issues.

Interestingly, it found that lowering nicotine levels does reduce the addiction potential of cigarettes and that “in relatively healthy and socially stable smokers ... reducing nicotine content of cigarettes reduces their attractiveness”.

“This study provides a very encouraging indication that reducing the nicotine content of cigarettes would help vulnerable populations,” said Professor Stephen Higgins, who led the study.

"This is highly encouraging news with tremendous potential to improve public health."

In light of the findings, the Food and Drugs Administration in the US are set to impose changes on cigarettes in order to “protect kids and significantly reduce tobacco-related disease and death".

If the move is successful, Brit experts have claimed that it is only a matter of time before it’s introduced in the UK too.

“A number of studies have examined reducing the nicotine in cigarettes, with promising results,” Linda Bauld, professor of health policy, University of Stirling, told The Sun.

“This would make smoking less appealing and addictive. In carefully controlled trials, there is some evidence it could help smokers cut down or quit.

“However, there will be big challenges implementing this in the real world.

"Cigarettes are available globally, and selling less addictive products in the USA could result in a black market in imported or counterfeit products."

Prof Robert West, professor of health psychology, UCL, agreed adding: “If we could move directly from where we are to a world where no accessible tobacco product contained addictive levels of nicotine that might work.

”Unfortunately this will not happen and in the meantime the demonisation of nicotine could undermine the complementary approach of encouraging smokers to switch to less harmful forms of nicotine use such as e-cigarettes.”

Related: Hunt wants NHS to treat a million more by 2021 (provided by ITN News)

April 10th 2017

e-Cigarettes

New rules on vaping are coming into force within weeks - and if you're a vaper you will need to be aware of these changes.

The new Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 comes into force on Monday, May 20, and introduces a number of rules about the sale of e-cigarettes and e-liquids

Ahead of the changes to the law, the Plymouth Herald spoke to the local Trading Standards who want to make sure that all local manufacturers and retailers are aware of the changes.

Those changes include:

- All e-cigarettes and e-liquids must be registered with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency before they can be sold

- Refillable tanks for e-cigarettes must be no bigger than 2ml capacity

- E-liquids cannot be sold in quantities greater than 10ml

- Unless registered as a medicine the strength of nicotine in an E-liquid must not exceed 20mg/ml

- The packaging of E-liquids must be child-resistant and tamper evident

- Certain additives such as the stimulants caffeine and taurine or colourings are banned

- New labelling requirements

Anyone who does not comply could face imprisonment of up to two years and/or an unlimited fine.

These changes to the law apply to anyone who makes or sells e-cigarettes and e-liquids including those who sell online via social media, auction sites or from their own website.

Trading Standards are particularly keen to get the message out to people who brew e-liquids at home to sell online as these are the most difficult business to reach.

Trading Standards manager Alex Fry said: “We are finding that shops are aware of the changes to the law but small online retailers are not.

With millions of buyers ready and waiting, there’s no better place for you to sell than eBay.

“We have found online sellers selling e-liquids in 100ml bottles with a nicotine strength over 20mg/ml. After 20 May this will be illegal unless the e-liquid is registered as a medicine.”

Jan 2nd 2017

As January arrives, a significant proportion of the population will make belated resolutions to finally quit smoking .

The party season is over, and there’s no longer an excuse to drink a week’s allowance of alcohol in one day, while merrily puffing your way through a 20-pack.

A cheeky drag outside a party doesn’t exactly fit in with the yoga and Nutribullet smoothies lifestyle you’ve sworn to follow this January either.

But quitting smoking is one of the most easily broken resolutions – it only takes a stressful day at work (or the thought of going back to work at all) to feel the need for a nicotine fix.

So if you really want to pack in the smokes, what’s the best way to go about it? Here is everything you need to know about the numbers, no-nos and reality of breathing clean this year.

Number crunching

Around 10 million adults in the UK smoke – but only 30-40% of them try to quit every year.

In Great Britain 22% of adult men and 17% of adult women are smokers

The highest number of smokers is in the 25-34 age group (25%); the lowest is among those aged 60 and over (11%).

The scary stats are that half of all smokers are eventually killed by their addiction from smoking-related causes. Not to mention that smoking is the cause of over one third of respiratory deaths, over one quarter of cancer deaths, and about one-seventh of cardiovascular disease deaths.

Plus, having a drink with a cigarette increases your chance of getting mouth cancer by 38 times. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

The science

People enjoy smoking because of two things: the physical addiction and the psychological habit. While smokers get hooked on the temporary high caused by nicotine in the bloodstream, the habit also becomes part of a daily ritual – a crutch to return to when stressed or in social situations - and an automatic response when taking a break from work.

The best ways to quit

Don’t go cold turkey

Going cold turkey may suit some, but the shock of withdrawal for others makes them more likely to reach for a cigarette sooner. The best thing to do is make a plan that addresses the short-term challenges of quitting smoking as well as preventing relapse later on.

Short-term solutions might include using nicotine gum or inhalers, or e-cigarettes, which have recently been approved by British drug regulators to be sold as a medicine for quitting smoking. The e-Voke cigarette can now be prescribed on the NHS.

Choose a quit date

Choose a definitive day to bin the smokes and make sure no cigarettes, lighters or papers are within eyesight. Pick a day that won’t involve going to places like the pub so that all temptation can be avoided.

Tell your friends, tell your families

Tell everyone from Harry in accounts to your grandma that you’ve quit smoking; that way, the shame of relapsing will be magnified as you imagine your child’s face when you tell them you’ve fallen off the wagon. Having a quit buddy will also help – a friend who packs the cigs in at the same time as you, with whom you can commiserate and whom you can encourage.

Notice when you crave cigarettes

A cigarette craving usually lasts around five minutes, according to the NHS. Before you decide to quit, make a list of five minute strategies that will distract you from the craving. It could be having a healthy snack, using a nicotine replacement or offering to get people drinks at the bar.

Calculate how much money you’ll save

One of the best perks of giving up smoking, beside the health benefits, is the enormous amount of money you’ll save.

If you smoke 10 a day, after one month of giving up you’ll have saved a minimum of £46, and after six months you’ll have banked £275. That money can go towards a nice meal or a new wardrobe rather than the gradual corrosion of your lung tissue.

Avoid other smokers

Tell your friends who smoke not to smoke around you or offer you a cigarette. It might be tough feeling like the loser at a party but you’ll feel good at the end of the night having notched up another smoke-free day.

What to expect after you quit

After 20 minutes… 20 minutes after your last cigarette, your heart rate will drop down to normal levels.

After 24 hours… Smokers are 70% more likely to get a heart attack than non-smokers, but after a full day of not smoking your risk of heart attack will begin to drop.

After two days… Smoking deadens the taste buds on your tongue, but 48 hours after you quit smoking, your nerve endings will begin to regrow and your sense of taste will be enhanced.

After three days… Three days is the magical point where all the nicotine will leave your body. This means your cravings will peak at this point and you may experience physical symptoms like headaches and nausea. But this just means it’s working!

After one week… Nicotine cravings will still be intense during the first week. But cravings don’t last long, so distract yourself and then they will pass quickly. Finding an oral substitute helps, so chew on mints or celery to alleviate the itch to smoke.

After two weeks… Your lung function will improve significantly and you will breathe more easily as your lungs start to clear. You’ll be able to do exercise without feeling winded and sick.

One to nine months after you quit… After about a month, your lungs will begin to repair. The cilia inside them (tiny hair-like cells that push mucus out) will start to function properly again and do their job more efficiently, preventing you from infection and dramatically decreasing any coughing.

One year after you quit… A landmark. Your risk of heart disease will go down by fifty per cent, meaning you have the same risk factor as a non smoker.

Sept 20th

Smoking

Smoking rates across England are the lowest on record, health officials have said.

Public Health England (PHE) said that 16.9 per cent of the population in England are smokers - the lowest level since records began.

The figures were released as the health body launched its annual Stoptober campaign to encourage the nation's remaining smokers to quit for the month of October. If people give up the habit for 28 days they are five times more likely to quit for good, PHE said.

In England there are now twice as many ex-smokers (14.6 million people), than current smokers (7.2 million), PHE added. Last year, out of the 2.5 million smokers who made a quit attempt, 500,000 people (20 per cent) were successful.

PHE also released regional figures on areas that have seen the biggest decreases in smoking rates over the last four years.

Smoking rates in the South West have fallen from 18.7 per cent to 15.5 per cent, in the North East the percentage of smokers has fallen from 22 per cent to 18.7 per cent and in Yorkshire and Humber the number of smokers dipped from 21.9 per cent to 18.6 per cent.

Professor Kevin Fenton, national director of health and wellbeing at PHE, said: "While it is amazing that there are over twice as many ex-smokers as current smokers in England, there are still over seven million people regularly lighting up

“Alongside unhealthy diet, smoking is the biggest cause of preventable early death in England, accounting for over 78,000 deaths a year. Quitters will soon see they have reduced blood pressure, easier breathing and better circulation. Stopping smoking is the best thing a smoker can do to improve their health."

 

 

"We have a range of free support that can go direct to your phone, laptop or tablet via the Stoptober app, a daily email service or Facebook Messenger bot. The new Stoptober website also has advice and information on stop-smoking services and quitting aids."

Simon Clark, director of the smokers' group Forest, said: "Quit smoking campaigns like Stoptober are a waste of public money because smokers don't need the state to help them quit.

"Smokers who want to stop are increasingly using free market solutions like e-cigarettes that cost the public nothing."

Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said: "We know that smoking is the number one cause of preventable early death, and that if you have a lung condition like COPD it is often the single most important thing you can do to turn your health around.

"On top of this human cost, smoking has been estimated to cost the economy over £10 billion a year. We therefore support public health campaigns like Stoptober that motivate and support people to quit."

Press Association

Sep 4th 2016

Smokers who have swapped cigarettes in place of e-cigarettes in a bid to quit might want to consider going cold turkey on both, as scientists have warned that vaping could pose the same risks to the heart as smoking.

Findings presented at the European Society for Cardiology congress in Rome revealed that in a typical vaping session, electronic cigarettes caused similar damage to the main artery in the heart as a packet of cigarettes

With researchers now advising smokers against the long-term use of vaping, there’s never been a better time to kick the habit for good. 

Of course, anyone who has tried to give up in the past will know that stopping smoking is not easy. 

But if you’re really committed to successfully saying goodbye to cigarettes, you can make small and inexpensive changes to your lifestyle that may help you resist the temptation to smoke. 

Here are six to try today: 

Make a plan to quite smoking

Vaping ‘as bad as smoking’

 Set a date to give up smoking completely, and then stick to it. This way you’ll have time to prepare to give up without losing your motivation to quit. Most people find that the ‘not even a drag’ method helps keep bad habits at bay. This means not succumbing to having small drags of other people’s cigarettes or e-cigarettes at times of temptation. 

Change your diet

·        Doctors call for e-cigarette ban in public places over 'passive vaping' fears

·        Nick Curtis: It's a drag, but we should ban vaping in public

·        Is vaping going to replace smoking entirely?

Many smokers enjoy a cigarette in the evening after dinner, but being particular about the foods you eat might stop you scrambling for a lighter after you’ve cleared your place. A US study revealed that some foods, including meat, make cigarettes more satisfying. Others, including cheese, fruit and vegetables, can actually make cigarettes taste less appetising. 

Changing your routines at mealtimes can help too. If you usually light up in the evening, keep yourself busy by washing the dishes or going for a walk after dinner. 

Change your drink

Love smoking a cigarette with your coffee? In the same study, it was revealed that fizzy drinks, alcohol and caffeine can also make cigarettes taste better. So instead of loading up on Coca Cola and cups of tea, try sticking to water and juice instead. 

Start exercising

Scientific studies have proven that exercise - even a five-minute walk - can cut down your nicotine cravings and may even help your brain to produce anti-craving chemicals. 

Keep your hands and mouth busy

If you haven’t already considered it, nicotine replacement therapy could increase your chance of success by double. There are patches, tablets, lozenges, gum and nasal sprays available that can help to wean you off nicotine gradually.

If you usually smoke when you’re out, try putting your drink in the hand that usually holds an e-cigarette, and drink from a straw to keep your mouth busy. 

Keep a fund of all the money you’ve saved from smoking and spend it on something special

If you manage to stick to your quit plan, you’ll soon notice how much money you're saving.

Keep your smoking funds aside to treat yourself to something special as a reward for your diligence - whether that’s a holiday or a shopping splurge. You’ll soon realise how much extra cash you have at your disposal when you're not funding your vaping habit.

For more advice on quitting smoking, visit nhs.co.uk

 

Feb 15th

Federal MP Ewen Jones reckons giving up smokes was the best thing he ever did, amid speculation the federal government might follow Labor and hike the tax on cigarettes.

The Queensland coalition backbencher acknowledged the massive cost of smoking to the community and public health system with cancer patients "getting bits and pieces chopped off".

"One of the greatest things I've ever done is given them up," he told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

Mr Jones said he had not heard any concrete proposals from his side of politics on changes to the tobacco excise.

"No government or party comes towards smokers with a position of policy purity - it is an income stream," he said.

The government's budget razor gang is said to be considering a proposal to increase the excise which could lift the price of a packet of cigarettes to $40.

Labor already has announced it will increase the excise if it wins office and use the additional revenue to fund its Gonski schools policy.

Government MP Andrew Laming, who is an eye specialist, argued increasing the excise would hit addicts and low-income people the hardest.

It would also come at the "price of their family's well-being".

Dr Laming said Labor could not calculate how much money the measure would raise because it was a consumption tax and impossible to model.

"They spend the money before they've got it," he told reporters.

Labor MP Jim Chalmers said the issue would open up another front in the civil war eating up the Liberal Party.

He pointed out that Treasurer Scott Morrison and former prime minister Tony Abbott are on the record opposing any increase to cigarette taxes.

Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm says the move may grow the tobacco black market.

"We already have almost the highest taxes on tobacco in the world ... it is contributing to a major black market in cigarettes," he told reporters.

Feb 26th
BANGKOK — Weeks after the military government hiked taxes on cigarettes to discourage smoking, it announced today it will take measures to keep smoking affordable for the poor.

The director of the government cigarette agency said Friday it will release a new type of low-cost cigarette in order to keep them in the hands of low-income smokers, who may otherwise resort to the black market or rolling their own.

“Some customers turn to tobacco that they can roll up on their own, and some turn to untaxed and bootleg and illegal cigarettes,” Daonoi Suttiniphapunt, director of Thailand Tobacco Monopoly, told Matichon Online. “Because they are a third cheaper than the cigarettes on the market.”

The solution, she said, is to launch a new brand of smaller, inexpensive cigarettes no later than April.

“The price will be about 40 baht per pack in order to target the market of low-income consumers, and help them afford cigarettes,” Daonoi said.

Feb 12th

e-Cigarettes are dangerous a new report suggests.

Smoking e-cigarettes in pregnancy could be dangerous, women have been warned after a study suggested that it might damage the brains of unborn children.

chemicals in vamping liquid were found to walk the minds of mouse embryos, although it is not certain that the same would happen in humans.

The neuroscientist who lead the work said that the cigarettes might be no better than tobacco for pregnant women. Independent experts said that it would be best to avoid all forms of smoking during pregnancy until there was concrete scientific evidence that it was safe.

the NHS is expected to begin prescribing a brand of cigarettes to help people to quit smoking, British regulators currently suggests that the devices are safe alternatives for pregnant women.

A spokesman for the U.K.'s medical and Healthcare products regulatory agency said we want to ensure that licensed nicotine containing products including e-cigarettes which make medicinal claims are available and meet appropriate standards of safety, quality and efficacy to help reduce the harms from smoking.

Apart from the smoke there is a video of an e-cigarette exploding in a man's pocket whilst he is standing in a shop

Cigarette smoking

I gave up smoking when I was 12 years old, and now, at 84. I am very glad I did, it is never too late to give up smoking.

Be brutally honest -- cigarettes make people sick and many people die because of them. Perhaps you know someone who has died from a smoking-related illness: You should let your kids know the truth about the devastating effects of a lifetime of smoking.

You can also role play how your children could say “no” to someone who is pressuring them to smoke, and be sure your kids know that no matter what they might see in movies or on television, smoking isn’t cool.

Besides addiction and disease, these short-term effects of tobacco may help turn your kids off to smoking:

  • Smoking hurts your lungs and makes it harder to breathe, especially during sports.
  • Smokers can’t run as fast or as far as nonsmokers.
  • Cigarette smoke makes your hair and clothes stink.
  • Tobacco causes yellow stains on your teeth and bad breath.
  • Spit tobacco can cause your mouth to bleed, sores in the mouth, and cracked lips. Money spent on cigarettes can be put to much better use.
  • Be honest with yourself, would you give up smoking. If you could;  well you can.
  • Be honest with yourself, can you really afford to smoke there maybe  two answers to this question.
  • yes, I have plenty of money, or
  • No , I'm killing myself, I am already ill, if I go on like this . my life will be cut short and my children will become orphans.


How often have people said to you, that's a stupid habit, you want to give that up as soon as you can, I really thought you had more sense, is not even cool any more. If you want to create a good impression, say no thanks, I've given it up.

You will be much better off in many ways, you will be richer, you will smell fresher, you will not be poisoning your family  or your friends,, and you'll even be able to eat  inside the restaurant.

There are many things that have been invented to help you kick the habit. You can even go to a hypnotist and have your mind bent, it's a good start to visit your doctor and tell him or her, you want to quit, they will congratulate you and ask you how are we going to do it.

The only thing that really works is willpower and your desire to stop, think of it this way, the people that love you will be overjoyed if you make the effort and will love you even more. If you succeed.

Then you have to consider the damaging effects of your second hand smoke on your children who are breathing every day contaminated air.

And even if your Child is not yet born do you really want your smoking whilst pregnant to have an effect that makes your child less than the 100% healthy that you hope for.

- -

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