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According to recent studies, the only thing cooling about menthol cigarettes may be the name at most.  The “menthol flavor” may make them even more addictive and deadlier to smokers.

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“We previously found that menthol cigarette smokers take in more nicotine and carbon monoxide per cigarette. This study shows that menthol smokers also find it harder to quit, despite smoking fewer cigarettes per day,” study author Kunal Gandhi, a researcher in the division of addiction psychiatry at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New JerseyRobert Wood Johnson Medical School, said in a news release issued by the school.

In the study, which examined almost 1,700 people attending a university-run tobacco addiction clinic, blacks and Latinos who smoked menthol cigarettes had a notably harder time quitting than those smoking non-menthols. Blacks who smoked menthols, for example, had half the success in quitting as blacks using non-menthol cigarettes.

“These results build on growing evidence suggesting that menthol is not a neutral flavoring in cigarettes. It masks the harshness of the nicotine and toxins, affects the way the cigarette is smoked, and makes it more deadly and addictive,”  said Jonathan Foulds, director of the university’s Tobacco Dependence Program.

Though the makers of Smoke Away would love for you to quit smoking, they realize that in the end, the choice is entirely up to you. For more information on how to quit smoking, Log onto the Smoke Away Support site.

As if you need to add to the long list of reasons to quit smoking for good, new research from  the journal of Neurology suggests a family history of stroke makes smokers six times more likely to also suffer a stroke. The specific type of aneurysm, called a subarachnoid hemorrhage, is fatal in approximately 35 to 40 percent of cases, and that’s not cool.

 Smoking Cessation

Video: Smoking Cessation

Sounds plenty unappealing, but a nicotine addiction can be as enslaving as heroin. Recent reporting by U.S. News found that going cold turkey—while the most common approach wannabe quitters attempt—is almost always doomed to fail. Smokers who successfully quit tend to recruit multiple resources—and sometimes more than one resource at a time—experts say. From support groups to online smoking cessation help to prescription medications and hypnotism, drawing on a range of options to become a former smoker seems to your best bet.

Occasional smokers are not free of potential damage. A lighter habit—even one that burns through less than a pack a week—can inflict early cardiovascular disease on otherwise healthy young adults.

So, in 2009, the makers of Smoke Away only wish you the best of luck and the happiest of new year’s when you finally end up quitting the nastiest of habits!

Lets get right to it!

  1.  You could have a higher rate of infections In October, the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices made its first ever recommendation that all smokers ages 19 to 64 be added to a short list of candidates for the pneumococcal vaccine. That’s because there are very strong data showing that the risk of infection by pneumonia-causing bacteria is substantially greater for smokers than for nonsmokers. 
  2.  Diabetes anyone? As if we need any more risk factors for diabetes, an analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association last year found that across 25 prior studies, current smokers have a 44 percent greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes than nonsmokers do, and the risk was strongest for those with the heaviest habit, who clocked 20 or more cigarettes per day. In an accompanying editorial, researchers made a striking estimation: That some 12 percent of all type 2 diabetes cases nationwide might be attributable to smoking.
  3. It clouds judgement Smoking may cloud the mind, according to accumulating research. A June study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that smoking in middle age is linked to memory problems and to a slide in reasoning abilities, though these risks appeared lessened for those who’d long quit; this is important, the authors wrote, because other research has shown that people with mild cognitive impairment in midlife develop dementia at an accelerated rate. Their report piggybacks on several focused on the older set: A 2007 analysis of 19 prior studies concluded that elderly smokers face a heightened risk of dementia and cognitive decline, compared with lifelong nonsmokers. And in 2004, researchers reported in Ne urology that smoking appeared to hasten cognitive decline in dementia-free elderly smokers, bringing it on several times faster than in their nonsmoking peers.
  4. Forget a robust sex life. If men want to hop aboard the Viagra bandwagon, mounting evidence suggests that puffing cigarettes might be just their ticket. Smokers are more apt to experience erectile dysfunction than nonsmokers are, and this risk climbs as the number of cigarettes smoked increases. A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2007 tracked more than 7,500 Chinese men with low risk for artherosclerosis, a chief underlying cause of erectile dysfunction, and found that smoking could independently hike a man’s chance of wrangling with the sexual condition. Preventing smoking is an “important approach” for cutting the risk of ED, the researchers concluded.
  5. If you’re 30, you’ll look 50 everywhere. Not only does smoking contribute to premature facial wrinkles, but a 2007 study in the Archives of Dermatology found that it may also lead to wrinkling of skin that rarely sees the light of day—in areas such as the inner arm and perhaps the buttocks.
  6. Menopause at an early age?. Women who smoke face an increased risk of infertility, and they may experience natural menopause at a younger age than do nonsmokers, according to the 2004 and the 2001 Surgeon General’s Reports, respectively. Further evidence: A 2001 animal study in Nature Genetics found that chemicals in cigarette smoke can hurry menopause by killing off egg cells made by ovaries, thereby dwindling the egg cell reserve. Since the timing of menopause is dictated by the size of a woman’s egg cell reserve—which is stocked with about a million eggs at birth and vanishes by menopause—anything that speeds up its loss could logically lead to a much earlier onset of fertility troubles, notes Jonathan Tilly, one of the study’s authors and director of the Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital. More worrisome: Women who smoke during pregnancy may be compromising not only their own future fertility but the fertility of their unborn daughters. In studies testing that idea, mice exposed to chemicals in cigarette smoke during gestation were born with shrunken egg reserves. “Even under the best-chance scenario—you’re a nonsmoker, you’re healthy, you’re young, you eat well, you’re in shape—human fertility isn’t 100 percent,” says Tilly. “Anything you can do to make it better is certainly worth your while.”
  7. Time to wear the cheater glasses. Several studies have found a robust link between smoking and eye disease, specifically age-related macular degeneration, which can permanently blur vision or cause blindness. A 2005 review of 17 studies in the journal Eye reported that active smokers may face two to three times the risk for developing the disease experienced by those who have never smoked.
  8.  Weak bones, brittle bones. Smoking weakens the body’s scaffolding and is a serious risk factor for osteoporosis, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. It’s been shown to fritter away bone density in postmenopausal women and to hike the risk of hip fractures in both sexes, according to the 2004 Surgeon General’s Report. (People who endure hip fractures are 12 to 20 percent more likely to die than those who don’t, the Report notes, though there are ways osteoporosis sufferers can protect themselves.) Smokers may also experience slower healing of broken bones and wounded tissues than do nonsmokers.
  9. It roughs up your innards. Sure, cigarettes may be smooth to inhale, but they can rough up the digestive system, leading to heartburn, peptic ulcers, and possibly gallstones, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. What’s more, current and former smokers have an elevated risk of developing Crohn’s disease, a condition characterized by inflammation in the digestive tract and causing pain and diarrhea, says NIDDK.
  10. Kiss your quality of life goodbye. Men who have never smoked live on average 10 years longer than their peers who smoke heavily, according to an October report in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Moreover, they enjoyed a higher quality of life throughout those extra years, throwing sand in the face of the old smokers’ defense that an early death is a small price to pay for a lifetime of pleasure . The study’s Finnish authors drew their conclusion after scrutinizing data on more than 1,600 men tracked for nearly 30 years.
  11. Bonus! Did you say cancer? Not to belabor the point, but tobacco use and smoking have been linked to much more than lung cancer. In September, the CDC released a report estimating that more than 2 million cases of tobacco-related cancers were diagnosed nationwide between 1999 and 2004. Lung and bronchial cancer topped the list, naturally, but other types included stomach, pancreatic, kidney, urinary bladder, and cervical cancer. “We knew this was a big problem and a preventable problem,” says Sherri Stewart, the epidemiologist at CDC who led the research. “But when you present the hard numbers, you start to see the profoundness of the problem.” Her message: To protect your health, do everything you can to quit
  • Smoke Away understands that smoking is something that is not easy to “just quit” but we also know that with help, and will power, you can at least give it a go in 2009!
  • Opening statements are scheduled to begin in a trial against a tobacco company by the wife of a Florida smoker who died of lung cancer.

    It’s the first trial since the state Supreme Court threw out a $145 billion punitive damage award stemming from a class-action suit against cigarette makers. But the high court upheld a jury’s findings that the tobacco companies sold dangerous products and hid the dangers of smoking, and said smokers could sue individually. About 8,000 such cases were filed by the January deadline.

    The trial on the lawsuit brought by Elaine Hess was set to begin Wednesday. Her husband, Stuart Hess, was a smoker who she says tried many times to quit.

    Here’s a suggestion on how you can avoid a lawsuit. Don’t smoke. If you are still smoking, then you need to quit in 2009, set your goals now. Try Smoke Away-it just might help!

    For the first time on record, the rate of new cancer cases and the cancer death rate are both falling in this country. There appear to be several reasons why this is happening, but perhaps the most important is also the simplest: Over the past several decades, men started smoking less.

    Here’s the big new cancer report, compiled by researchers from the American Cancer Society, the CDC and other august institutions.

    Between 1996 and 2005, the rate of new cases and deaths fell for the three most common cancers in men — lung, colorectal and prostate — and for two of the three most common cancers in women — breast and colorectal. Lung cancer deaths among women were basically flat during the period, and the rate of new cases inched up.

    The most telling data points we saw (helpfully highlighted in this Q&A) showed how closely connected smoking is with death from lung cancer (the leading cancer killer). Utah, which has the nation’s lowest smoking rate and the lowest rate of lung cancer deaths; Kentucky, which has the nation’s highest smoking rate, also has the highest rate of lung cancer deaths — more than three times greater than Utah’s.

    For more information on how you might be able to quit smoking, check out Smoke Away. It might not be the answer but if we can get you to start thinking about quitting smoking, then maybe you will finally quit smoking.

    For some the results underscore that preventing rather curing cancer should be our top priority. “The whole cancer establishment has been focused on treatment, which has not been terribly productive,” John C. Bailar III, of the National Academy of Sciences, told the Washington Post. “I think what people should conclude from this is we ought to be putting most of our resources where we know there has been progress, almost in spite of what we’ve done, and stop this single-minded focus on treatment.”

    Health profoundly improves once a person
    stops smoking. In this video Mayo Clinic Physicians provide examples of
    healing that occurs once a person stops smoking and the many benefits
    to staying …

    Bottom line, quitting smoking is the best decision you can make. Whether you quit with Smoke Away or not-is up to you. Just quit. Today.


    The U.N. General Assembly has ordered Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to put an end to smoking at U.N. headquarters in New York, widely seen as a tobacco safe haven in an otherwise smoke-free metropolis. The assembly told Ban to implement a ban on smoking and on the sale of tobacco products inside the building, Enrique Yeves, spokesman for General Assembly President Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, told reporters on Thursday.

     

    He said the demand came in a nonbinding resolution passed unanimously by the 192 U.N. member states earlier this week. “It is up to the secretariat now … to decide what kind of realistic measures can be taken for this to be implemented,” Yeves told reporters. Word of the General Assembly’s anti-smoking resolution had yet to reach all corners of the 40-story building. In the U.N. Delegates Lounge, a cloud of cigarette smoke hovered over clusters of diplomats and U.N. staff puffing tobacco and sipping coffee. Several of them told Reuters they had not heard of the resolution but added that they doubted Ban would succeed.

     

    Although the United Nations is headquartered in New York, a statewide smoking ban does not apply to the Manhattan compound because it is considered international territory. Ban’s predecessor Kofi Annan tried to ban smoking at the U.N. skyscraper in 2003. But his anti-smoking drive failed as many diplomats and U.N. staff simply ignored the “no smoking” signs that appeared throughout the building.

     

    U.N. officials say that smoking in the 60-year-old skyscraper is discouraged but not officially banned. Other U.N. agencies in New York with offices outside the U.N. secretariat building have successfully banned smoking on their premises. The top envoy from Britain, which co-sponsored the General Assembly resolution, welcomed the new anti-smoking drive. “I think as part of our effort to modernize the U.N., it’s important that the United Nations keeps up with the standards in the rest of the world,” Ambassador John Sawers told Reuters.

     “Smoking has been banned in the United Nations in Geneva,” he said. “We look forward to doing the same here in New York.” The key is that the genesis of stopping smoking on the largest of stages and scales needs to begin at the UN and New York and then it needs to trickle down to the smallest of places so that everyone understands how important it is that they stop or quit smoking or realize that they should have never started. Smoke Away realizes this and wants you too as well.

    From the department of the obvious comes this advice.

    If you smoke and you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, it’s especially important to kick the habit now. The toxic chemicals inhaled when you smoke are easily passed to the unborn baby.

    The American Pregnancy Association offers these suggestions to help you stop smoking during pregnancy:

    • Make a list of all of the health benefits of quitting for yourself and your baby.
    • Replace smoking with healthier habits, such as having a snack or a cup of tea with your newspaper, instead of a cigarette.
    • Surround yourself with nonsmokers.
    • Have a friend or family member ready to call when you need support.
    • Ask your doctor for ways to help you quit, including tips on which smoking cessation aids are safe for you and baby.
    • Set a goal date for quitting.

    Need more help in trying to kick the habit? Try Smoke Away even before you become pregnant! It may do the trick, but you’ll never know unless you check it out!

    Pay-for-Performance Gets Doctors to Push Smoking Cessation

    Paying providers of health care to refer patients for help in quitting smoking really makes a difference.

    A study, appearing in the current issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, looked at programs that tie physician pay to the quality of care. The key measure was clinics’ referrals of patients in Minnesota to a tobacco quit line. Researchers compared clinics that were paid bonuses for making such referrals — $5,000 for 50 referrals and $25 for each referral beyond the initial 50 — to clinics that didn’t have a financial incentive.

    It turned out that the clinics that were in the pay-for-performance program made 1,483 referrals to the quit line, an average of 11.4% of their patients who were smokers. Those that didn’t have the chance to earn extra money made 441 referrals, an average of 4.2% of their smokers.

    The researchers, led by Lawrence An of the University of Minnesota, noted some important factors for success beyond cold cash. For one, Minnesota health plans collaborated to make the referral process easy for the clinics. The clinics were also rewarded regardless of what health plan their patients belonged to, meaning that they could make the same recommendation to all smokers.

    Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, which funded the study and payments to the clinics with money from a tobacco settlement, decided along with a number of other Minnesota health plans to continue with the program around smoking cessation, albeit with lower financial awards, a spokeswoman tells us.

    One important note is that Smoke Away, though they care about you using their product, also would suggest doing whatever you can in order to quit smoking. For more information, log onto the Smoke Away support site to talk with people who have quit with our product.

     

    Women who smoke have heart attacks nearly 14 years earlier than women who don’t smoke, Norwegian doctors reported in a study presented to the European Society of Cardiology. For men, the gap is not so dramatic; male smokers have heart attacks about six years earlier than men who don’t smoke.

    “This is not a minor difference,” said Dr. Silvia Priori, a cardiologist at the Scientific Institute in Pavia, Italy. “Women need to realize they are losing much more than men when they smoke,” she said. Priori was not connected to the research.

    Dr. Morten Grundtvig and colleagues from the Innlandet Hospital Trust in Lillehammer, Norway, based their study on data from 1,784 patients admitted for a first heart attack at a hospital in Lillehammer.

    Their study found that the men on average had their first heart attack at age 72 if they didn’t smoke, and at 64 if they did.

    Women in the study had their first heart attack at age 81 if they didn’t smoke, and at age 66 if they did.

    After adjusting for other heart risk factors like blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes, researchers found that the difference for women was about 14 years and for men, about six years.

    Previous studies looking at a possible gender difference have been inconclusive.

    Doctors have long suspected that female hormones protect women against heart disease. Estrogen is thought to raise the levels of good cholesterol as well as enabling blood vessel walls to relax more easily, thus lowering the chances of a blockage.

    Grundtvig said that smoking might make women go through menopause earlier, leaving them less protected against a heart attack. With rising rates of smoking in women – compared with falling rates in men – Grundtvig said that doctors expect to see increased heart disease in women.

    “Smoking might erase the natural advantage that women have,” said Dr. Robert Harrington, a professor of medicine at Duke University and spokesman for the American College of Cardiology.

    Doctors aren’t yet sure if other cardiac risk factors like cholesterol and obesity also affect women differently.

    “The difference in how smoking affects women and men is profound,” Harrington said. “Unless women don’t smoke or quit, they risk ending up with the same terrible diseases as men, only at a much earlier age.”

    The bottom line is this, smoking kills and you need to quit smoking. What are you going to do about it? Whether you use Smoke Away or not, is not the point. You have to quit smoking!

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