WorkSHIFTS Tobacco Cessation News Archive

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June 6, 2011

Use of smokeless tobacco products higher among blue-collar workers

Exposure to smokeless tobacco products has significant health risks, including stroke, and cancers of the oral cavity, esophagus, and pancreas. A recent study assessed whether workplace smoking restrictions led to increased use of smokeless tobacco products among workers in the United States. The researchers found that although the prevalence of smokeless tobacco use has not changed significantly, specific worker groups are at increased risk for use of smokeless tobacco products, including blue collar workers and farm workers.  Read more.

May 30, 2011

Paternal smoking linked to daughters’ decreased reproductive lifespan

Menopause is a natural life event for all women, signaling the end of their reproductive lifespan. A new study has explored the relationship between a woman’s age at menopause and her parents’ smoking status. While not enough evidence was available to assess whether a mother’s smoking status impacted her daughter’s age at menopause, the study found that fathers who smoked during their partner’s pregnancy were more likely to have daughters that reached menopause at an earlier age.  On average, the daughters in this study sample entered menopause 13 months earlier than daughters who were not exposed to paternal smoking. While previous research has demonstrated the effect of smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke on fertility, this study provides important insight about men’s smoking habits as they relate to the reproductive lives of their daughters.  Read more.

May 16, 2011

Treating tobacco use with vaccines

The advent of vaccines has helped curb preventable diseases, including polio and whooping cough, but what about a vaccine to treat addiction, like tobacco use? While it may be years before a vaccine is available to treat tobacco use and other addictions, scientists have been exploring opportunities to use vaccines as a smoking cessation aid. The vaccine would not prevent people from using tobacco, but it would block addictive substances from reaching the brain, rendering the tobacco product less pleasurable for the user. Read more.

May 2, 2011

Psychiatric symptoms and Varenicline

As with any medication, Varenicline, a popular smoking cessation medication, comes with benefits and risks. In 2009, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a warning about Varenicline and the risk of developing psychiatric symptoms. These risks were recently reported in a case study in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. The case study reported that a 65-year-old male who had smoked two packs of cigarettes a day for 45 years developed symptoms of mania after he started Varenicline for smoking cessation. His symptoms abated after he discontinued Varenicline and was treated with medication for his psychiatric symptoms. Six months after the episode, the man remained abstinent from smoking. This case study supports the need to assess the risks and benefits when prescribing Varenicline to patients.  Read more.

April 22, 2011

Smoke-free laws protect one-half of U.S. residents

Smoke-free laws have gained popularity as a mechanism in which to address the dangers associated with secondhand smoke. In fact, since 2000, 25 states have adopted comprehensive indoor smoking bans. As the popularity of smoke-free laws continues to increase and pressure to address the dangers associated with smoking and secondhand smoke mounts, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly all states will have smoke-free policies in the workplace, restaurants, and bars by 2020.  Read more.

April 11, 2011

Smoke-free laws help smokers with intentions to quit smoking

Smoke-free laws have gained significant momentum as a strategy to protect the health of non-smokers, while also helping smokers quit. A recent study conducted among smokers in Texas explored whether smokers who had intentions to quit were more likely to quit smoking when exposed to a comprehensive smoke-free law compared to smokers with lower intentions to quit and no exposure to a smoke-free law. The study found that smokers with higher intentions to quit who were exposed to a smoke-free law were more likely to take steps to quit smoking compared to smokers with lower intentions and no exposure to a smoke-free law. This study builds on evidence that demonstrates the use of smoke-free laws in helping smokers to quit. Read more.

April 4, 2011

Rural areas and the burden of tobacco

A recent study indicates that rural areas face increased burdens associated with tobacco relative to suburban and urban areas. Individuals living in rural areas are not only more likely to smoke tobacco and use smokeless tobacco products, they are also more likely to be exposed to tobacco smoke in the home and the workplace. The study also found that individuals living in rural areas had fewer protections against secondhand smoke, both at home and in the workplace.  Read more.

Mar. 28, 2011

Smoking increases the risk of suicide attempts

Suicide is often linked to mental and physical disease, but a new study of 35,000 Canadian adults found that smoking status is related to suicide attempts independent of mental or physical disease. Individuals who smoked more than 20 cigarettes a day were at higher risk for attempting suicide compared to individuals who smoked 10 cigarettes or fewer a day. Suicide risk also diminished significantly after an individual quit smoking. This study builds on earlier research that has found nicotine to cause changes in the chemical composition of the brain associated with suicide.  Read more.

Mar. 14, 2011

New Test May Detect Emphysema Before Symptoms Appear

What if you could find out before you displayed symptoms that you have emphysema, a form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease? Earlier research has demonstrated that when smokers learn that their health is compromised, they are more likely to quit smoking. As a mechanism to let smokers know that their health is in danger, researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College and New York-Presbyterian Hospital are developing a new test to detect emphysema in the blood. This new test would assess damage to air sacs in hopes of encouraging smokers to quit.  Read more.

Mar. 7, 2011

Secondhand smoke has adverse effects on non-smoking pregnant women

An article published in the journal Pediatrics reported negative health consequences associated with secondhand smoke exposure among non-smoking pregnant women. The researchers concluded that secondhand smoke exposure among non-smoking pregnant women increases the risk of stillbirth by 23% and congenital malformations by 13%. Interventions addressing secondhand smoke exposure should seek to limit women’s exposure to secondhand smoke both before and during pregnancy. Read more.

Feb. 28, 2011

Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk for congenital heart defects

It is known that smoking during pregnancy is dangerous, but the association between maternal smoking and defects among newborns has been less clear. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that women who smoke during their first trimester of pregnancy are 20 to 70 percent more likely to have a baby with congenital heart defects. This study highlights the importance of helping women who are thinking of becoming pregnant or who are pregnant quit smoking. Read more.

Telephone-based health coaching helps smokers quit

A recent study of ten worksite health promotion programs, published in the journal Population Health Management, assessed the effectiveness of a telephone-based health coaching tobacco cessation program. The results demonstrated that smokers who participated in the telephone-based health coaching were more likely to quit than those who did not participate in the telephone-based health coaching. The study also found lower quit rates among smokers who were not ready to quit. This finding emphasizes the need to use various engagement strategies. Read more.

Feb. 25, 2011

Smoking Trends in Minnesota

According to a recent report from ClearWay Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Health, the rate of smoking in Minnesota decreased from 22.1% to 16.1% between 1999 and 2010.  Despite the progress, the report revealed some interesting findings about the risk factors associated with being a current smoker. Mental health disorders, including anxiety and depressive disorders, and problematic drinking behaviors were found to be strongly associated with an individual’s current smoking status. Also of note, 54.6% of current smokers made a quit attempt in 2009 and almost 70% of them made more than one quit attempt. This finding indicates that not only are smokers interested in quitting, but a great need exists for tobacco cessation support.  Read more.

Feb. 11, 2011

Helping reluctant quitters

Making the decision to quit smoking is an important step in the quitting process. But how do you help smokers who are reluctant to quit? A new study highlights the role of nicotine gum and patches in helping smokers who are reluctant to quit reduce their cigarette consumption. Using a sample of 1,000 smokers, the study found that nicotine replacement, with and without counseling, was an effective strategy to reduce the number of cigarettes smoked. While it is unknown whether a reduction in the amount of cigarettes smoked will yield positive health outcomes, a reduction makes it easier to eventually quit. Read more.

Feb. 4, 2011

Indoor smoke-free laws not enough to protect workers

Smoke-free policies have played an important role in reducing exposure to secondhand smoke. However, a recent study concluded that indoor smoke-free policies are not enough to protect the health of nonsmokers. The study examined the air quality outside 28 office buildings and found that the air quality contained a significant amount of air pollutants and decreased the air quality up to three times. Although nonsmokers may only be briefly exposed to smoke when passing through building entrances, even brief exposure is harmful. This study highlights the need to expand smoke-free policies to building entrances. Read more.

Jan. 27, 2010

Childhood is the time to start preventing cardiovascular disease

A study of approximately 4,200 children in Germany found that having a parent who smoked increased their chances of high blood pressure. Published in the journal Circulation, the study also found that children who were overweight or had parents with hypertension were also more likely to have high blood pressure. Although the risk for cardiovascular disease in children is low, the presence of high blood pressure in childhood has important implications for their health as adults and suggests the need to start prevention efforts at an early age. Read more.

Jan. 20, 2011

Smokers more likely to succeed in quit attempts using both internet and phone counseling

A new study of adult smokers in the U.S. who smoked five or more cigarettes per day has concluded that combining enhanced internet and proactive telephone counseling is an effective tobacco cessation intervention. Compared to two other intervention groups that received basic internet counseling or enhanced internet counseling, the intervention group that received both internet and telephone counseling was more likely to achieve abstinence from smoking. Evidence-based research has highlighted the need to provide telephone, individual, and/or group counseling. This new study suggests the value of combining evidence-based cessation interventions.  Read the study.

Jan. 3, 2011

Smokeless tobacco products offer smokers an alternative in smoke-free settings

 New smokeless tobacco products, such as lozenges and strips, have gained increased popularity as a mechanism for smokers to get their nicotine fix in places where smoking is prohibited. Smokeless tobacco products are associated with negative health consequences, similar to smoking. A recent study reveals the need to promote cessation among individuals using multiple tobacco products—commonly referred to as dual-users.  Learn more about the dangers associated with smokeless tobacco.

Dec. 16, 2010

CDC calendar provides format for communicating tobacco cessation messages

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has launched the 2011 tobacco control media events calendar. This tool provides monthly communication pieces, including health e-cards, that encourages smokers to quit and supports smokers who have recently quit.

View the calendar and health e-cards.

Dec. 14, 2010

New report from the U.S. Surgeon General

The U.S. Surgeon General released a new tobacco-related report. The report, How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease, explains the pathways by which tobacco smoke damages organs and causes disease. The report emphasizes prevention and cessation strategies. Read more.

Comprehensive tobacco cessation benefits yield positive results for MassHealth

In 2006, MassHealth, the Medicaid program in Massachusetts, removed cost-sharing barriers to tobacco cessation treatments. Four years later, the state is seeing the benefits. Researchers found a 46 percent decrease in hospitalizations for heart attacks and a 49% decrease in acute coronary heart disease diagnoses. These findings emphasize the value of removing cost-sharing barriers to tobacco cessation treatments. Read more.

Dec. 7, 2010

New requirement for tobacco cessation coverage will yield cost-savings

The Affordable Care Act’s requirement prohibiting cost-sharing for tobacco cessation treatment has left many health plans facing increased costs. A report from Bloomberg Government found that although health plans will incur increased costs during the first three years, savings will surpass the cost of tobacco cessation treatment beginning in the fourth and fifth years. Savings are expected to come from decreased smoking-related health conditions.

Read more.

Nov. 22, 2010

SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: Smoking by pregnant women may result in fetal injury, premature birth, and low birth weight.

Although cigarette packages have carried warning labels since 1965, research suggests that they have done little to discourage individuals from smoking. To portray negative health consequences associated with smoking more clearly, the federal government has proposed new warnings with graphic images. Cigarette packages will be required to display one of nine messages. Visit the Food and Drug Administration’s website to view thirty-six proposed images and weigh in.

Nov. 15, 2010

Passive smokers at risk for hearing loss

Loss of hearing is a known risk of smoking. However, a new study in the Tobacco Control journal found that exposure to secondhand smoke was also associated with hearing loss. The study measured hearing loss among smokers and individuals who had never smoked, but were considered passive smokers based on cotinine levels in their blood. Among passive smokers, 26.6 percent had high frequency hearing loss and 8.6 percent had low to mid frequency hearing loss.  Read more.

Smoking and associated health care costs in Minnesota

A newly released report from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota discusses the impact of smoking in the state of Minnesota. In 2007, smoking was responsible for 5,135 deaths and excess medical expenditures totaling $2.87 billion. The report calls for a renewed focus on disease prevention and decreasing tobacco use. Read the news release and the report.

Nov. 8, 2010

Smoking: A risk factor for dementia

A new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine explores the association between smoking and dementia later in life. Using data from 23,123 health plan members, the researchers found a strong association between smoking and risk for dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. Pack-a-day smokers had a 37 percent increased risk for developing dementia, and individuals who smoke 1-2 packs a day were 44 percent more likely to develop dementia. Read more.

Messaging matters when encouraging smokers to quit

Smokers react differently to cessation messaging depending on their personal desire to quit and their experiences with previous quit attempts. Cessation messaging generally falls into one of three categories: why to quit, how to quit, and anti-tobacco industry. A recent study in New York found that the ‘why to quit’ cessation messaging, including graphic images and/or personal testimonials, was the most effective messaging strategy. Read more.

Nov. 1, 2010

NYC’s smoke-free laws yield positive outcomes

The New York City Health Department has reported a 17 percent decrease in smoking-related deaths since 2002. This decrease coincides with Mayor Bloomberg’s smoke-free campaign, banning smoking in restaurants and bars. Mayor Bloomberg recently proposed expanding the city’s smoke-free law to cover various outdoor public spaces, including parks, beaches, and pedestrian plazas. Read more.

Oct. 25, 2010

Anxiety diagnoses make it harder for smokers to quit

A new study, published in the journal Addiction, explores the relationship between tobacco dependence and anxiety disorders. The study finds that while smokers with anxiety diagnoses have increased motivation to quit, they also have higher levels of nicotine dependence and increased withdrawal symptoms after quitting. These findings suggest a need for quit-smoking interventions that also assess anxiety diagnoses. Read more.

Oct. 11, 2010

 A barrier to quitting: gaining weight

 The fear of gaining weight is a barrier for many smokers thinking about quitting. A new study, published in the journal, Addiction, followed individuals for eight years after their first quit attempt and measured changes in weight. The findings revealed that the risk of gaining weight is greater among smokers who were already overweight or obese. The study suggests the need to integrate quit smoking efforts with physical activity initiatives. Read more.

Oct. 18, 2010

Smokers face increased risks post-surgery

Surgery comes with many risks, but for smokers, these risks are even greater. A recent study, presented at the 2010 conference of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, compared post-surgery health outcomes between 82,304 smokers and 82,304 non-smoking patients. The study found that smokers were more likely to suffer from cardiovascular complications and infections, and had a higher death rate. Read more.

Sept. 27, 2010

Leadership plays significant role in decreasing smoking rates

California used to have one of the highest smoking rates, but significant strides have decreased smoking rates to nearly half that of the rest of the nation (9.3% vs. 17.8%). To address high rates of smoking and associated health problems, California developed the first comprehensive tobacco control program in the nation in 1989. California’s leadership in tobacco control efforts have been credited with significant decreases in both lung cancer rates and smoking rates. Read more.

Sept. 20, 2010

Cue-induced cigarette cravings increase with abstinence

People who have quit smoking can tell you that little cues—smells, sounds, or sights—can induce cigarette cravings. A new study explored whether cue-induced cigarette cravings decreased or increased with abstinence. Using a sample of adults who used to smoke at least 10 cigarettes a day, the study found evidence that cue-induced cigarette cravings increased with abstinence. This finding has important treatment implications.  Read more.

Smoking ban improves children’s health

Scotland’s smoke-free law has yielded significant health gains for children with asthma. Cigarette smoke is a known trigger for children’s asthma attacks. Prior to the 2006 law, hospital admissions for children’s asthma attacks were increasing at a rate of 5% per year. According to a new study, children’s hospital admissions for asthma attacks decreased by 13% after the first year of the smoke-free law. Read more.

Sept. 13, 2010

 Message for motivated quitters: Stay the course of treatment

The take home message from a recent study told smokers to stay the course of treatment even when they miss their target quit date or lapse. Participants in the study were assigned to one of three 12-week treatment groups. Among participants who missed their target quit date or lapsed for at least one week, rates for sustained abstinence were similar across the treatment groups—Varenicline (45%), Bupropion (39%), and counseling alone (42%). Read the study.

The International Association of Fire Fighters—Going smoke-free

The International Association of Fire Fighters is taking steps to become North America’s first smoke-free union. In addition to providing a smoking cessation program, the union is utilizing program champions, peer support, and multi-media strategies to help fire fighters quit. For fire fighters who need to keep their emergency medical training certification, they can earn continuing education credits by participating in cessation training. Read the article and visit their website.

Sept. 7, 2010

 HHS podcast “Quitting for Baby’s Sake”

 A recent U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) HealthBeat podcast, “Quitting for Baby’s Sake” discussed the importance of smoking cessation for pregnant mothers. The short podcast reported that smoking caused up to 8% of premature births, 19% of term low birth weight babies, and 34% of Sudden Infant Death (SIDS) cases. The podcast provides short health promotion and disease prevention tips five days a week. Visit the HealthBeat podcast website.

Aug. 30, 2010

 FDA produces list of harmful tobacco components

By 2012, tobacco companies will be required to list harmful and potentially harmful compounds found in their products. With increased regulatory powers over tobacco products, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is currently creating criteria for the list, which details over 100 harmful and/or potentially harmful chemicals contained in tobacco. This is a significant step towards eliminating or reducing chemicals found in tobacco products. Read more.

 Smokers can vary diet to decrease risk of lung cancer

To reduce the risk of lung cancer, quitting smoking remains your best bet. However, a new study found that smokers can reduce their risk of lung cancer by eating a variety of fruits and vegetables. Researchers found that variety, and not quantity, of fruit and vegetable intake was an important factor in preventing lung cancer. Read more.

 Aug. 24, 2010

 Study: Low levels of cigarette smoke damages lungs

A new study reports that infrequent smokers and those exposed to secondhand smoke experience lung damage, which can lead to various lung diseases. Although gene function changes are commonly seen in heavy smokers, this is the first study to demonstrate that even individuals with lower levels of smoke exposure experience changes in the functioning of genes in the cells lining the airway. Read the press release here.

Aug. 16, 2010

Smokers occupy one-third of hospital beds

A recent study by the Analysis Group, conducted on behalf of the Quebec Coalition for Tobacco Control, reported that almost one-third of costs associated with hospitalization in 2008 were generated by smokers or former heavy smokers. Providing health care for smokers costs the hospitals and taxpayers $930 million a year. Quebec health officials are considering new anti-smoking measures. Read the press release and the news article.

Aug. 6, 2010

Prenatal smoke exposure linked to psychiatric illness

A new study from the University of Turku in Finland links prenatal smoke exposure with increased risk for psychiatric illness into young adulthood. The study found a strong dose-related association between prenatal smoke exposure and psychiatric illness. The prevalence of a psychiatric diagnosis was 13.7% among children who were not exposed to prenatal smoke, 21% among children exposed to 10 cigarettes a day or less, and 24.7% among children exposed to over 10 cigarettes a day. Read more.

Aug. 2, 2010

Preeclampsia associated with adverse outcomes among maternal smokers

New research shows that smoking is associated with increased complications among preeclamptic women. The study found that maternal smokers were 3 to 6 times more likely than maternal non-smokers to have a preterm delivery, placental abruption, undersized newborn, or stillbirth. While maternal smoking has been linked with decreased risks of developing preeclampsia, these findings build on evidence that highlights the risks of smoking during pregnancy. Read the full study here.

July 30, 2010

Study shows number of cigarettes smoked per day predicts stroke risk

An expert review of stroke studies reports that the greater number of cigarettes smoked per day results in a higher risk of stroke. While most people know that smoking is related to increased risk of stroke, the reviewers suggest that few people know that the number of cigarettes smoked is relevant as well. The paper reviews a recent study of young female smokers and found that the odds of a stroke were 2.2 times greater for smokers if they smoked between 1 and 10 cigarettes per day and 2.5 times greater for those who smoked between 1 and 20 cigarettes per day. For those smoking 40 or more cigarettes per day, the risk of stroke increased to 9.1 times greater. For more information, read the review.

July 19, 2010

Surgery provides good opportunity for cessation

A new Cochrane Library review found that patients who quit smoking before surgery have fewer post-operative complications. Smoking interventions prior to major surgeries have proven successful in both the short and long term and result in fewer lung, heart, and wound complications. The researchers reported that while most studies looked at patients who quit smoking four and eight weeks prior to surgery, they reported that there is reason to believe shorter periods of pre-operative cessation are beneficial as well. Post-operative cessation, the reviewers noted, is also of significant importance, particularly in the prevention of wound infections. For more information, read the report.

July 12, 2010

Study: Twin Cities’ smoking bans had positive economic effect on hospitality industry

Findings from a study about the economic effects of a smoking ban on the hospitality industry refute claims that smoking bans are associated with negative economic effects in the workplace. The study, from the University of Minnesota, examined the effect of the smoking ban on employment rates in the hospitality industry in both Minneapolis and St. Paul. The smoking ban was associated with an overall increase of three to four percent in employment in Minneapolis and Saint Paul restaurants. Read more about the study.

Researchers examine tailored therapy for success in smoking cessation

 There may be a new approach to smoking cessation on the horizon. A study by Duke University and the National Institute on Drug Abuse examined the effects of a tailored quit plan, based on an individual’s genetic makeup and the extent to which an individual is addicted to nicotine. Researchers found that adjusting the NRT doses to genetic characteristics can improve smokers’ success in quitting. For more details on this research and the tailored quit plans, read the study.

July 5, 2010

Wisconsin initiative has successfully decreased adult smoking rates

Ten years ago, the state of Wisconsin launched a statewide initiative to increase the availability and utilization of evidence-based cessation treatments. This population-wide effort sought to amend the standard of health care to identify tobacco users and provide them with cessation treatments. The initiative has included strategies to reduce barriers to treatment and increase cessation services covered by an insurance benefit. At the start of the initiative, Wisconsin’s adult smoking rate was 24%. Today, the rate is less than 20%. Read more about the initiative.

July 2, 2010

New study: “No safe way to smoke tobacco”

A new study attacks the belief that cigar and pipe smoke is safer than cigarette smoke. The study, conducted by researchers from Columbia University Medical Center, reports that cigar and pipe smokers are more than twice as likely to have decreased lung function compared to non-smokers. Cigar and pipe smokers who also smoke cigarettes may triple their risk of decreased lung function. These findings are significant given that lung damage increases the risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the country’s fourth leading cause of death. In addition, the study found cotinine, a nicotine by-product, in urine samples from cigar and pipe smokers, proving that nicotine is absorbed when smoking cigars or pipes. For more information, read the article.

July 1, 2010

International health experts issue warning on secondhand smoke and heart health

 Cardiologists and health experts from around the world issued a formal statement warning that secondhand smoke (SHS) is extremely hazardous to heart health. The statement, issued as part of the World Congress of Cardiology 2010, added that comprehensive smokefree laws can drastically reduce the harmful impacts of SHS, which include heart disease and heart attacks. In addressing the conference, cardiologist Dr. Sidney Smith, president-elect and chair of the World Heart Federation said, “As a cardiologist who actively sees patients, one of the most important things I can do is tell them to stop smoking. It is arguably the major risk factor in the world right now, and if you wanted to do something to really make things better on this planet, you'd get rid of smoking and tobacco use." Read the Federation’s statement for more information.

June 22, 2010

Health care professionals can do more to help smokers quit

A comprehensive study of health care professionals in the US – including primary care and emergency medicine physicians, nurses and dentists – found that many are not following the national guidelines for working with patients who use tobacco products. The researchers, out of the University of California Davis, cite a number of reasons why the national protocol is not being followed, including perceptions of patient beliefs about cessation, a lack of training in smoking cessation interventions, and a view that it is outside their area of responsibility. The researchers report that, since the role of health care professionals is critical in smoking cessation, they need to do better at following the protocol, which includes the “5 A’s” – asking, advising, assessing, assisting, and arranging follow-up.

Read "Study: More can be done more to help smokers quit"

Study: Quitting smoking decreases stress levels

Smokers often say a cigarette helps to calm them. However, findings from a recent study contradict the belief that smoking is a stress reliever. The study reports that quitting smoking actually lowers stress levels. The study, conducted by The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, looked at perceived stress levels among heart attack patients. Those patients who quit smoking reported lower stress levels one year later while those who continued to smoke reported unchanged stress levels.

Read "Quitting smoking may ease stress levels"

June 16, 2010

Hospital admissions down after implementation of Arizona smoking ban

Hospital admissions for health conditions related to secondhand smoke decreased by as much as 33% in the year following the implementation of Arizona’s statewide smoking ban. Researchers from the University of Arizona studied the impact of the 2007 law which banned smoking in public places and found decreased hospital admissions for heart attacks (13% decrease), stroke (14% decrease), asthma (22% decrease), and angina (33% decrease). The combined decrease in hospital admissions was equivalent to 10%. Findings from this study, published in this month's issue of the American Journal of Public Health, suggest a nearly $17 million savings in health care costs.

Read the article.
Arizona Daily Star

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death

Tobacco smoking is responsible for 1 of 5 preventable deaths in the U.S., making it the leading lifestyle risk factor nationally. A new study found tobacco smoking responsible for approximately 467,000 annual deaths in the U.S., followed by high blood pressure (395,000), overweight/obesity (216,000), and physical inactivity (191,000). Read about smoking and its health risks.

 High school students struggle to quit smoking

 High school students have a tough time quitting smoking, according to results from a national survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overall, about 60% of teens who smoke daily try to quit, but only about 12% were successful. Because most adult smokers begin before the age of 18, these results show the need for tobacco prevention and cessation efforts aimed at young adults. Read the CDC report.

June 8, 2009

Smoking may increase risk of breast cancer

A new report issued by the Public Health Agency of Canada found strong evidence that smoking increases the risk of breast cancer. While the scientific community has not reached consensus, the findings indicate a need for further research in this area. Read more about breast cancer and smoking.

June 7, 2010

Study finds significant reductions in exposure to carcinogens for hospitality workers upon passage of smoking ban

A study conducted by the University of Minnesota found a significant reduction in hospitality workers’ exposure to carcinogens after the passage of a comprehensive indoor smoking ban. Analyzing urine samples from nonsmoking hostesses, bartenders, and wait staff, the study found an 83% reduction on the biomarker for cotinine exposure and an 85% reduction on the biomarker for NNAL exposure. The study provides support for the theory that smoking prohibitions protect hospitality workers from exposure and uptake of carcinogens found in secondhand smoke. For more information, read a short study report.

June 2, 2010

Intervention successfully increases tobacco cessation and fruit and vegetable intake among blue-collar workers

A cancer prevention intervention called Tools for Health, successfully increased smoking cessation and fruit and vegetable intake simultaneously among construction laborers. The study, conducted in collaboration with the Laborers’ International Union of North American (LIUNA), utilized tailored telephone counseling, as well as targeted educational information and a tailored feedback report. The average fruit and vegetable serving among quitters and nonsmokers increased by 2.47 and 1.92 servings respectively. Among smokers, the average serving increased by 0.58 servings.  Findings from this study suggest that interventions, which target two key health behaviors among blue-collar workers, may be a successful method to reduce socioeconomic disparities in chronic disease risk.

"Multiple Health Behavior Changes in a Cancer Prevention Intervention for Construction Workers, 2001-2003"
CDC, Preventing Chronic Disease

May 27, 2010

Phone and web counseling equally effective in smoking cessation when used with Chantix

A recent study published in the Amercian Journal of Preventive Medicine compared the effectiveness of Chantix when combined with behavioral counseling – either phone, web, or both. All methods of counseling had similar success in helping smokers stay quit when combined with Chantix. Phone counseling initially showed better medication adherence, but at six months there was no difference in success rates.   Read more about smoking cessation, counseling and Chantix.
SRI International

May 25, 2009

Smoke-free air improves health of children with asthma

According to a new study, children with asthma are less likely to visit the emergency room or become hospitalized when their exposure to second-hand smoke in the home decreases. Efforts to support smoking cessation among parents are critical to successfully managing childhood asthma. Read more about asthma and secondhand smoke.

May 21, 2010

Smoke free policies, higher taxes, aggressive media campaigns, and comprehensive benefits are keys to smoking cessation

High cigarette taxes, smoke free laws, aggressive anti-smoking media campaigns, and comprehensive tobacco benefits that combine FDA-approved medications with some form of counseling are the keys to lowering rates of smoking. A study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and North American Quitline Consortium found that states with these elements had more success in getting people to quit smoking. Read more about successful tobacco cessation strategies. (

Study shows no increase in secondhand smoke exposure after smoking ban enacted in England

A study out of England provides evidence to oppose one of the enduring criticisms of smoking bans: that, driven from public places, smoking bans will result in increased levels of secondhand smoke exposure at home. The study utilized data from the national health survey and analyzed the levels of cotinine, a nicotine byproduct, in saliva samples. Researchers found no increase in secondhand smoke exposure when compared to data gathered prior to England's comprehensive smoking ban, which went into effect in July of 2007. Critics have long argued that smoking bans will drive smoking from public places, but it will increase smoking at home, and expose people - with children being of particular concern - to higher levels of secondhand smoke. The study found the opposite: not only was there no increase in cotinine levels across any population (age, income, education, etc.), but in many groups, cotinine levels were decreasing. Read more about this secondhand smoke exposure study. (

May 11, 2009

Smoking and physical inactivity lead to higher medical costs

In a survey of nearly 8,000 health plan participants in Minnesota, researchers found that smoking and physical inactivity were predictors of higher short-term medical costs. Current smokers incurred 16% higher medical costs in per member per month insurance payments than never smokers. Read more.

Tobacco tax increase pushes more people to quit

Quitlines across the country have experienced an upsurge in calls following the recent increase in federal tobacco excise tax. The federal government raised the tax to $1.00 per pack starting on April 1, triggering more and more smokers to search for ways to quit. Read more about the impact of the tobacco tax increase on smokers.

April 27, 2009

Smoking may not relieve stress after al

A recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found that smokers are more likely to feel stress than both non-smokers and former smokers. Smokers also report being less happy and less healthy than non-smokers and former smokers. Read more.

Financial incentives helped smokers quit

New research finds that financial incentives may trigger smokers to quit. A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that General Electric employees who were given up to $750 to quit smoking were nearly three times more likely to successfully quit than those who did not receive a financial incentive. Read the study

March 17, 2010

Children exposed in utero to tobacco smoke have higher rates of asthma

A new study presented at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology’s annual meeting reports that children of different ethnicities whose mothers smoke while pregnant are nearly six times more likely to develop persistent asthma. Immunologists report that exposure in utero alters the development of the immune system at a significant stage of development, which can lead down the path to more allergies and asthma. The study was one of several presented at the conference that suggests that asthma risk is more closely impacted by in utero exposure to chemicals than postnatal exposure. Read more about the fetal secondhand smoke exposure study.

New Facebook application aims to help smokers quit

WeQuit, a charity based in the UK, has launched a Facebook application that hopes to motivate smokers to quit in a fun, social way. The application, which was launched to coincide with the UK’s No Smoking Day on March 10, provides cessation tips, allows users to network with others who are trying to quit and also raise money for charity in the process. Facebook users sign up for the free application and can quit smoking themselves or challenge others to quit smoking and provide incentives along the way. Learn more about the Facebook cessation application.

February 22, 2010

Culturally-tailored intervention helps Latino parents of asthmatic children to stop smoking

A recent study suggests that a culturally-tailored intervention program can help Latino parents who have asthmatic children quit smoking. The study, which was carried out through the Miriam Hospital's Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine and Brown University, measured the amount of secondhand smoke children were exposed to through the placement of two nicotine monitors in the homes of study participants. Researchers translated nicotine exposure into “cigarette equivalents.” In addition, in-home counseling – tailored to Latino culture and values – was delivered by a Latina health educator. Twenty-eight percent of intervention participants had quit smoking three months after the intervention, compared to 18 percent of those in a control group. Learn more about this tobacco cessation intervention study.

February 12, 2010

Beyond secondhand smoke: study proves “thirdhand smoke” dangerous

A recent study out of California indicates that tobacco smoke, which seeps into things like clothes, furniture and carpet, interacts with particles in the air to create cancer-causing compounds that can remain present for months. The study reports that it is possible for these contaminants to seep through skin by contact or inhaled through dust in the air. Small children and babies, who typically have the greatest direct contact with floors and other surfaces, are at greatest risk for contact with the contaminants. The study didn’t look at the potential health effects of the contaminants, but offered a warning that simply smoking in the absence of other people may not completely address the dangerous health effects of tobacco smoke. Read more about thirdhand smoke.

February 11, 2010

Secondhand smoke gives smokers a one-two punch

A new study out of Italy found that smokers who smoke 14 cigarettes a day, smoke an additional 2.6 cigarettes by re-inhaling their exhaled smoke, also referred to as “secondhand smoke.” The study looked at the amount of cancer-triggering toxins smokers are exposed to and quantified the impact of smokers’ own secondhand smoke. The study appeared in the online journal Environmental Health on January 29th. Read "Smoker's Own Secondhand Smoke Adds to Health Risks" at

January 22, 2010

Referrals to quitlines increase with financial incentives

Doctors who are paid to refer patients to tobacco quitline services have a higher rate of patient referral than doctors who are not paid. A study out of the University of Minnesota reports that clinics that were paid $5,000 for 50 referral calls referred 11 percent of smokers, compared to a 4 percent referral rate for clinics that were not offered the incentive. The researchers state that financial incentives could hold promise for increasing the use of quitline services. Read the University of Minnesota report on tobacco quitline referrals.

January 15, 2010

Rise of part-time smoker requires new quit strategies

With smoking banned in most worksites, public places and many homes, “hard core, chain” smokers have a tougher time these days. As a result of restrictions on smoking, intermittent smoking and “secret” smoking has increased. Given that studies have shown that a few cigarettes a day can drastically increase the risk for adverse health outcomes, such as heart attacks and strokes, new cessation approaches are required to reach these “part-time” smokers. While nicotine addiction plays a role, so do psychological and emotional triggers – all of which must be incorporated in quit approaches for these “part-time” smokers. Read the article.

January 11, 2010

Study shows older smokers are more successful at kicking the habit

A new study conducted at the University of Florida reports that older smokers have an easier time quitting compared to their younger counterparts. According to the study, many older smokers have a longer history of smoking, tend to smoke more, and are often more addicted than younger smokers. The study indicates that these factors may fuel older smokers' motivation to quit. Younger smokers, the study reports, often cite financial implications as their primary motivator. The study speaks to the potential for tobacco cessation programs to address the varying motivations of smokers in quit attempts. Read the study press release.

December 22. 2009

Reducing the Number of Cigarettes Smoked Shows Cardiac Benefits

A new study reports that smokers who reduced the number of cigarettes smoked by five per day had an 18 percent decrease in mortality after an acute MI; those who quit completely had a 37 percent decrease in mortality. The new study quantifies the benefits of reducing the number of cigarettes smoked – or quitting altogether – after an acute myocardial infarction (MI), which is the destruction of heart tissue resulting from obstruction of blood supply to the heart. The study is believed to be one of the first to measure the health impact of reducing the amount of cigarettes smoked. Read the article.

December 4, 2009

American Cancer Society survey reports strategies for smoking cessation success

A recent survey by the American Cancer Society (ACS) shows that 22 percent of smokers make the decision to quit 24 hours in advance; another 30 percent began planning a week or two in advance. The survey’s findings are important given that many medical experts believe advance planning, including obtaining prescriptions for nicotine replacement therapy, can help smokers succeed in quitting. The survey also found most respondents (70 percent) were interested in accessing customized websites to help them quit and many (59 percent) were interested receiving tailored e-mails about quitting. They survey highlights the need for focused campaigns to educate smokers on how to maximize their chances of success. Read the ACS survey report

November 30, 2009

2008 CDC study shows proportion of adult smokers holds steady; cessation for adults with low educational level remains low

The 2008 National Health Interview Survey, an initiative of the Centers for Disease Control, shows that while the percentage of adults who are current smokers declined by 3.5% from 1998 to 2008, the proportion did not change from 2007 (19.8%) to 2008 (20.6%).  Adults with low educational attainment, who have the highest rates of smoking, have the lowest quit ratios among all education subgroups, ranging from 39.9% to 48.8%. The survey report recommends intensifying efforts to reach individuals with lower education and considering education level when communicating cessation programs. Read more.

November 16, 2009

Health benefit cost growth lowest in 10 years

Health benefit cost increases in 2009 were the lowest in a decade – 5.5 percent on average, due in part to large employers utilizing health wellness programs and small employers raising deductibles. A survey conducted by the Mercer group showed that among large employers with health management programs in place, medical plan cost increases averaged about two percentage points lower in 2009. In addition, the survey found that very large employers were more willing to offer rewards, such as reduced premium amounts, to employees who take responsibility for their own health. Read more.

November 16, 2009

American Lung Association releases smoking cessation report

The American Lung Association’s report, “Helping Smokers Quit: State Cessation Coverage,” (PDF, 3.04 Mb) released this week, provides an overview of cessation benefit coverage offered in each state by both public and private health insurance plans. In addition, the report outlines a standard of coverage, barriers to coverage, and an action plan for access to and coverage of cessation treatments. The report urges policymakers to improve access to cessation benefits as part of the current health care reform process.

November 6, 2009

Expert panel confirms smoking bans save lives

A recent study conducted by a CDC-commissioned panel confirms that even limited exposure to secondhand smoke can increase the odds of heart attacks in people who have heart disease. Laboratory studies show that even minimal exposure to secondhand smoke can increase blood clotting and constrict blood vessels, which are two major risk factors for heart attacks. The report states that smoking bans, which eliminate smoking in public places are a valuable way to protect individuals from the health effects of secondhand smoke. Read more about the CDC's secondhand smoke study.

Research being conducted on smoking-cessation vaccine

A Maryland company has received a $10 million federal grant to fund the final phases of research regarding a possible anti-nicotine vaccine, NicVAX. The vaccine works by making the immune system create antibodies that will adhere to nicotine molecules and prevent them from entering the brain, where they produce the high smokers crave. Researchers are hopeful that the study will show the vaccine helpful in preventing relapse in smokers who quit. Read more about anti-nicotine vaccine research.

More smokers quit with combination of patches and lozenges

Smokers who want to quit are more likely to succeed when they use a combination of nicotine-replacement patches and lozenges, a study shows. Participants who used both products had better outcomes than those who used either product alone. They also had better quit success than those who used Zyban or a combination of Zyban and nicotine lozenges. Read more about combined tobacco cessation therapies.

October 12, 2009

Service and construction industries have highest smoking rates

A new report released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows that U.S. smoking rates are highest among workers in the service and construction industries. According to the study, full-time workers in the food preparation and service-related occupations smoke at a rate of 44.7%, and construction workers follow at a rate of 42.9%. The study also found that workers who are between the ages of 18 and 25 smoke at higher rates than all other age ranges. Read more about smoking rates by occupation.

New study counters health warnings about Chantix®

The smoking cessation drug varenicline (Chantix®) may not increase the risk of depression and suicide, according to findings from a newly released British study. The British researchers analyzed results from over 80,000 adults who were prescribed a smoking cessation medication from 2006 – 2008 and found no evidence linking varenicline or bupropion (Zyban®) with higher risk of adverse mental health outcomes. This study contrasts with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) findings which resulted in a mandated “black box warning” on varenicline and bupropion. Read more about cessation medications and health warnings.

September 28, 2009

Heart attack rates drop after smoking bans put in place

Smoking bans in public places have led to decreases in heart attack rates, according to results from two new large-scale studies. North American and European cities with public smoking bans have averaged a 17% drop in heart attacks when compared with communities without a ban in place. Women, nonsmokers, and people under the age of 60 benefit most from smoking bans, and a nationwide ban in the U.S. could prevent 100,000 to 225,000 heart attacks every year. Read more about smoking bans and heart attack rates.

Canada funds cessation programs for industries with high smoking rates

The Government of Canada has created a new tobacco cessation program for workers in industries with high smoking rates, including construction, retail, and transportation. Funding for Smart Steps…towards a smoke-free life project will support workplace-based tobacco cessation programming, including workshops and support to develop personalized quit plans. Read more about workplace cessation programs.

September 21, 2009

Smoking harms financial health too

Just about everyone nowadays is aware of the health harms related to smoking, but fewer may be aware of smoking’s financial toll. A pack-a-day smoking habit can cost a smoker $2,000 or more annually, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that the hidden costs for smoking, including health care and lost productivity, add up to $7.18 per pack of cigarettes. In these trying economic times, quitting smoking not only improves health – it also makes strong financial sense. Read more about the financial costs of smoking.

Flavored cigarettes - soon to be a thing of the past

Retailers will soon have to pull flavored cigarettes from their shelves, in response to new legislation granting the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to regulate tobacco. The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, signed into law this past summer, prohibits the sale of flavored cigarettes, including clove cigarettes. Flavored cigarettes are popular among youth, and health experts hope that banning such products will reduce youth smoking rates thereby preventing long-term addiction and smoking-related illness. Read more about the FDA ban on flavored cigarettes.

September 14, 2009

Breast cancer risk goes up for smoking and being overweight

New research sheds light on the link between breast cancer and lifestyle factors, namely smoking and being overweight. A study published in the Journal of Cancer Epidemiology showed that women who smoke a pack a day for 9 years have a 59% higher risk of developing breast cancer. Women who gain weight after the age of 20 also increase their breast cancer risk when compared with women who maintain a stable weight over time. Read more about breast cancer and smoking.

Third-hand smoke: Potential harm for you and your family

The harm from cigarettes can last long after the last cigarette has been put out. According to research in the journal Pediatrics, cigarette smoke leaves toxic particles on nearby surfaces, such as clothing, furniture, and carpet. Experts fear that the particles are carcinogenic and can harm brain development in children. The risk is greatest for small children and babies because they are more likely to lick or suck on objects that have been exposed to cigarette smoke. Read more about third-hand smoke.

September 8, 2009

Keys to successfully quitting smoking

The three most important components to quitting smoking are counseling, medications, and support from health care providers, according to Dr. Michael Fiore, a professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and founder of the school’s Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention. Dr. Fiore notes that providing smokers with support and tools to quit can make a lasting difference and dramatically improve the odds of success. Read more about smoking cessation best practices.

Why it pays to quit smoking before surgery

People who quit smoking at least four weeks before undergoing surgery cut the risk of surgery-related complications in half, according to research findings from the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care. Poor wound healing after surgery is a common complication for smokers, and quitting smoking, even weeks before undergoing a surgical procedure, is a successful prevention strategy. Read more about smoking cessation and surgery.

August 31, 2009

Smokeless tobacco products are not safer than smoking

Smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to smoking. According a recent study, a pinch of smokeless tobacco exposes users to the same amount of a group of dangerous chemicals, known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), as smoking five cigarettes. Smokeless tobacco also contains two dozen types of carcinogens known to cause oral and pancreatic cancers. Some consumers of smokeless tobacco products mistakenly believe they are less dangerous than other forms of tobacco. Read more about health hazards of smokeless tobacco

Online health information can help smokers quit

More and more people are turning to the web to find out health information and support, including smoking cessation. A recent analysis of 22 clinical trials reported that internet and computer-based quit smoking programs nearly doubled quit rates when compared with quitting without any help. Internet-based health programs are also helpful with a variety of other health issues and motivating people to adopt healthier lifestyles. Read more about internet-based health programs.

August 24, 2009

Paying smokers to quit shows promise

Cash incentives may be the key to helping smokers quit, according to a smoking cessation program in Scotland. The quit4U program, which offers support and advice, has begun to provide smokers £12.50 a week, about $20 USD, if they can demonstrate that they have remained smoke free. Program officials have seen in increase in participation and quit rates since offering the cash incentives. Read more about cash incentives and smoking cessation

Four lifestyle measures key to reducing chronic disease

Four key lifestyle measures – not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet – can reduce the risk of developing chronic disease by 78% according to a recent research study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Results show that heart disease, stroke, and diabetes can largely be prevented by adopting healthy behaviors. Read more about health benefits of quitting smoking.

August 19, 2009

Triple treatment for smokers works

Combining several smoking cessation medications may increase quit rates when compared with a single therapy. According to a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, smokers who used triple combination therapy – the nicotine patch in combination with the nicotine inhaler and Bupropion – were more likely to quit smoking and less likely to relapse when compared with those who used the nicotine patch exclusively. Read more about triple cessation treatment

New York cracks down on smoking at construction sites

The New York Buildings Department is cracking down on smoking at construction sites and has collected over $1.8 million in smoking-related fines over the past year. The ban was put in place to protect the health of workers after a 2007 cigarette-induced fire caused the death of two firefighters at a construction site at Ground Zero. Find out more about smoking bans at construction sites.

August 10, 2009

Kicking the habit during pregnancy better for babies

New research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that quitting early during pregnancy can reduce health risks.  Researchers found that women who quit smoking during the first trimester cut their risk of having a preterm baby by 31% and low birth weight baby by 55%.  Although it is best to quit smoking before becoming pregnant, quitting early during pregnancy can still make dramatic health improvements for both the mother and baby.  Read more about pregnancy and smoking.

Paying pregnant women to quit smoking

Despite the dangers of smoking during pregnancy, many pregnant women continue to smoke.  A new Department of Health initiative in England will provide cash rewards to pregnant women who successfully quit smoking.  Program participants can receive up to £ 200 (about $330) over the course of the program by remaining abstinent from smoking and attending monthly sessions with a stop smoking advisor.  Read more about incentives for pregnant smokers.

August 3 , 2009

Women may have harder time quitting smoking than men

While quitting smoking is never easy, some studies show that women may have a harder time kicking the habit than men.  Although men and women have similar long-term quit rates, a recent University of Pittsburgh study found that women had a 25% lower success rate on any given quit attempt when compared with men.  This means that women may have to try harder and more often to quit smoking.  Some possible reasons for this difference may be related to stress, anxiety, and depression.  Read more about women and smoking cessation.

Oregon insurers may be required to cover smoking cessation

Oregon is likely to require that health insurers cover a smoking cessation benefit.  Senate Bill 734 has passed in the Oregon Legislature and will require insurers to cover $500 for a tobacco cessation program. This benefit can be used to cover the cost of a three-month supply of medications or a three-month quit smoking course.  If signed into law, the mandate will take effect on January 1, 2010.  Colorado, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Rhode Island have passed similar legislation.  Read more about cessation insurance mandates.

July 27, 2009

Cigarette tax increases may help smokers kick the habit

Recent tobacco tax increases may be the push to help many people give up smoking. The rising cost of cigarettes, due to the recent federal tax increase, means that a pack of cigarettes in Minnesota now costs over $5 and a carton of cigarettes averages close to $50. Health experts hope that many current smokers decide that now is the time to give up smoking for both financial and health reasons. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that taxes are an effective strategy to decrease tobacco use. Read more about tax increases and quitting smoking.

Pre-cessation treatment with patch can help smokers quit

Using the nicotine patch before quitting smoking can help smokers quit, according to a new research study from Duke University Medical Center. The current labeling requirements for the patch recommend using it only after the quit date, due to concerns about possible nicotine overdose. However, current research indicates that using the patch while smoking appears to be safe. A recent study found that those who began to use the patch while smoking reduced the number of cigarettes smoked and experienced fewer withdrawal symptoms. Read more about the nicotine patch and quitting smoking.

July 20, 2009

Cessation drugs Chantix® and Zyban® get FDA warning labels

Two smoking cessation medications, Chantix® and Zyban®, and will now carry warning labels, regarding risks of psychiatric problems including depression and suicidal thoughts. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will mandate the black box labels based on reports to the agency and research studies showing a risk of mental health symptoms from use of these products. FDA officials state that they do not want to discourage smokers from using these medications to stop smoking but want to emphasize the need for careful monitoring. Read more about warning labels for Chantix® and Zyban®.

Using the internet to help young adults quit smoking

Young adults have the highest rates of smoking among all age groups. Many young smokers want to quit but don’t know what methods work best. The University of Illinois at Chicago is leading a project to increase demand for internet-based cessation treatment for adults between the ages of 18-24.  The project will develop internet-based ads to encourage young smokers to use the evidence-based stop smoking program Researchers will track participants to find out if they were successful in quitting smoking. Read more about young adults and internet-based cessation programs.

July 13, 2009

Nicotine dependence remains high despite drops in smoking rates

Despite the declines in smoking in the U.S. in recent decades, the number of nicotine-addicted adults has remained steady. Columbia University researchers also found that the proportion of smokers who are addicted is greater than in previous generations and young women living in poverty have the highest rates of nicotine dependence. This suggests a need to prevent the initiation of smoking and provide support to current smokers in their quit attempts.  Read more about nicotine dependence.

Stressed, broke smokers struggle more than ever to quit

The economic downturn combined with a recent federal tobacco tax increase has put a financial strain on smokers, increasing their incentive to quit. However, many states have cut funding for cessation programs, leaving smokers with fewer resources to do so. The stress of the economy may even cause some smokers to smoke more. Read more about stress and quitting smoking.

July 6, 2009

Businesses re-evaluate wellness programs

As businesses face tough economic times, some are rethinking workplace wellness programs, including tobacco cessation coverage. One of the key challenges with wellness initiatives is that it can take years to evaluate the impacts of programs. However, many companies, including IBM and PepsiCo, continue to support wellness initiatives and see them as key to maintaining a healthy, productive workforce. Read more about workplace wellness programs.

Rhode Island considers bill requiring insurers to cover cessation drugs

Triggered by increases in federal and state tobacco excise taxes, more and more Rhode Island residents are looking for help to quit smoking. The Rhode Island General Assembly is considering legislation that would require all private insurers to cover all cessation medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration and increase the amount of counseling insurers must cover. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island and United Healthcare support the legislation and say it is cost-effective in the long run. Read more about cessation coverage mandates.

June 29, 2009

FDA investigates safety of chantix

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently investigating the safety of Chantix, a smoking cessation medication approved in May 2006.  The FDA issues quarterly reports about medications under investigation for possible safety issues, and Chantix is one of 20 medications under investigation. Read an article about the FDA study on Chantix.

Binge drinking increases lung cancer risk in smokers

Smokers who binge drink are more likely to develop lung cancer, according to a recent study conducted by the University of Kuopio in Finland.  Binge drinking was not associated with increased risk of lung cancer among non-smokers.  Read a news release about the study of binge drinking and lung cancer risk among smokers.