In generations past, it was the cool kid in the crowd (mostly not the jocks, but part of the fringe group) who could garner attention by being able to blow the biggest and longest-lasting smoke rings from cigarettes. Never mind that smoking wasn’t legal for teens. Fueled, in part, by teenage rebellion and a desire to stand out, smoking was considered a rite of passage for American youth.
There are so many reasons not to smoke cigarettes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking contributes to a number of health problems. Smoking accounts for almost one in five deaths in the U.S. every year and it increases your risk of developing heart disease, a stroke, emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Smoking increases your risk of developing a number of types of cancer, including lung cancer, bladder cancer, esophageal cancer, larynx cancer, oral cancer, pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer and throat cancer. As if these weren’t enough reasons to quit smoking, or never to start, there is also strong evidence that the habit ages you.
Despite the differences in their legal status, both nicotine and cocaine are known for their ability to cause physical dependence and addiction. The path to dependence and addiction typically begins when use of a given substance makes changes in the way the brain produces or breaks down dopamine, a naturally occurring chemical that plays several key roles inside the brain and body. Current evidence indicates that nicotine and cocaine alter the brain’s dopamine levels in highly similar ways. In addition, the ongoing presence of nicotine makes the brain more susceptible to cocaine’s effects and prepares the ground for cocaine addiction.
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And, according to a new study, where there’s cigarette smoke there’s a good chance there’s also pot smoke. In a survey of young people ages 18 to 25, more than half said they used both tobacco and marijuana. In previous research, just 35 percent admitted to using both.
Although smoking trends among American high school students had sharply decreased during the late 1990s, a new study shows that the rate of decline in smoking among teenagers has began to level off. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its latest findings from the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Smoking cigarettes has long been associated with "calming one’s nerves" and "unwinding," but a new study shows that smoking is actually attributed to increased stress. Instead of being an effective coping mechanism as smokers believe, smoking cigarettes can aggravate stress levels, while smoking cessation significantly lowers stress. The study’s findings give current smokers just one more reason to quit.
The effect of certain images associated with smoking and their effect on smokers and on kids has encouraged movie makers to be cautious in how smoking is portrayed by their characters. While television advertisements have long been banned, cigarettes get a glamorized endorsement when used by certain celebrities in a film.
Researchers at the University of Western Ontario have found that exercise, in addition to nicotine replacement therapy, helps people quit smoking, as well as improves fitness and delaying weight gain in female smokers. Dr. Harry Prapavessis, Director of Western’s new Exercise and Health Psychology Laboratory and his team said that exercise needs to be maintained for people to prevent smoking relapse.