Archive for category Other Addictions

Teens With Too Many Facebook Friends More Likely To Experience Stress and Depression

You would think that having a big social circle will lead to a better emotional disposition, but a recent study revealed that having many friends on Facebook might lead to the opposite.

facebook effect on teenagersA team of researchers from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Montreal in Canada followed 88 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17, looking into their Facebook use and number of friends. The teens were also tested for levels of cortisol, a hormone that the human body releases as a natural response to stress.

Results showed that teenagers with more than 300 friends on the social networking site exhibited higher levels of cortisol than those with fewer Facebook connections. Study lead author Prof. Sonia Lupien said that this will definitely impact those with many more Facebook friends. “We can therefore imagine that those who have 1,000 or 2,000 friends on Facebook may be subjected to even greater stress,” Lupien said in a news release.

Although the researchers explained that having many Facebook friends wasn’t the sole reason behind the increased cortisol level, the social media site was contributory to about 8 percent of the effect.

In terms of depression, Lupien implied that the increase in cortisol levels may lead to depressive tendencies in the future. “Adolescents who present high stress hormone levels do not become depressed immediately; it can occur later on… Some studies have shown that it may take 11 years before the onset of severe depression in children who consistently had high cortisol levels,” Lupien added.

The study was published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, and may be used as a jumping board for further studies on other age groups. “Developmental analysis could also reveal whether virtual stress is indeed ‘getting over the screen and under the skin’ to modulate neurobiological processes related to adaptation,” the study lead author expressed.

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Children Exposed To E-Cigarette Hazards Due To Lack of Parental Awareness

As the world continues to debate on the benefits and dangers of e-cigarette use, a recent study sheds light into the importance of parental intervention in the issue.

teen e-cigarette useAccording to researchers from St. Louis’ Washington University School of Medicine, many children are exposed to the potential risks of electronic cigarettes because parents are unaware of the possible health problems. “These are largely avoidable risks, but because e-cigarettes are relatively new, many people – including pediatricians – aren’t aware of the dangers or the steps that should be taken to protect children from them,” according to study first author Jane Garbutt in a news release.

In their research published in the journal Academic Pediatrics, close to 660 parents and legal guardians were asked to answer a survey to determine their e-cigarette use and know-how. Results showed that majority of them are aware of electronic cigarettes, with about 20 percent having experienced using it, and 1 out of 8 declared that it’s being used by a family member on a regular basis.

Results revealed further that 36 percent of respondents who use e-cigarette do not deliberately keep the products away from children. This lack of security may be in the form of failure in keeping e-liquid refill bottles or childproofing them. In fact, 34 percent of respondents said that they store e-liquid containers in a cupboard, while 22 percent keep their liquids in a bag.

In addition, only 15 percent of the population were able to tell their children’s pediatrician about e-cigarette use in the household. The researchers believe that parents should inform their kids’ doctors from the get-go. “We strongly encourage pediatricians to ask parents about nicotine use, including e-cigarettes, and to discuss the risks of exposure,” Garbutt added.

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Teen E-Cigarette Use More Likely With Peer Approval

If you are using electronic cigarettes and support e-cigarette devices, there’s a big chance that the teenagers that you know will also use them.

teen e-cigarette useThis was discovered through a study from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, after analyzing data from more than 2,000 adolescents who took part in the Southern California Children’s Health Study. One of the biggest factors for e-cigarette use by teenagers is the approval of their peers, with more than 90 percent of the survey respondents confirming that their friends approve of their use of electronic cigarette devices.

The study revealed that social acceptance of e-cigarettes have inclined more teenagers to use the product. According to the analysis of the survey data, “Reactions categorized as ‘very friendly’ were associated with 37 times the odds of current e-cigarette use, compared with nine times the odds of current traditional cigarette use,” as cited in a news article. “These results raise the possibility that the generally more favorable social perceptions of e-cigarettes could contribute to the ‘renormalization’ of tobacco products generally,” the authors of the study said.

One surprising discovery was that the use of traditional cigarettes was not an overwhelming factor that leads to e-cigarette use by adolescents. Results revealed that 41 percent of teenagers who used e-cigarettes at least once in their lifetime have not tried using tobacco cigarettes.

Results and other details of the research were published in the journal Pediatrics.

[ Image from TBEC Review ]

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New California Ad Series Slams Big Tobacco Over E-Cigarettes

The California Department of Public Health recently released two ads that target electronic cigarettes as the industry’s new addictive and highly toxic commodity. Two videos posted on the TobaccoFreeCA YouTube page highlights big tobacco as the primary driving force behind the rise in fame of e-cigarettes. Both ads claim that “there’s a lot the e-cig industry isn’t telling us about vaping.”

The first video ad entitled “Kids Aren’t Alright” shows how kids are being lured towards the seemingly innocent and ultra-trendy reputation of the electronic cigarette. Set to the tune of “Lollipop”, the ad reveals the exploitation of big tobacco companies on kids who don’t know any better.

Meanwhile, the second ad called “What Could Go Wrong” sends a strong message that e-cigarettes are backed up by the big tobacco industry.

The hazards of e-cigarette use have not been completely identified, but the Department of Public Health says that the chemicals inhaled through vaping can cause lung cancer as well.

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Liquid Nicotine in E-Cigarettes is Poisonous, Says FDA and CDC

In a news report, it is said that the number of calls to poison control centers due to liquid nicotine poisoning found in e-cigarettes has gone up in recent years.

e-cigaretteIn previous years, recorded calls due to liquid nicotine poisoning were just one call per month.  In contrast, in February of this year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reported calls have gone up to 215.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has proposed to regulate electronic cigarettes which includes packaging, putting a childproof cap and warning labels.  According to Dr. Tim McAfee, CDC’s office on Smoking and Health director, the general public doesn’t know that liquid nicotine is toxic and may post a risk not only to adults but to children aged 5 and even younger who out of curiosity attempt to puff the e-cigarette.  Nicotine is toxic to the brain and may trigger seizure, vomiting and accelerated heart rate.

Although there isn’t yet a single death case reported related to liquid nicotine poisoning, this is not far from happening as e-cigarettes contain high concentration of nicotine enough to kill a child, says McAfee.

In another news release, Dr. Tom Frieden, CDC director said, that e-cigarette is highly attractive to children because of its packaging.  The e-cigarettes come in candy and fruit flavors sure enough to entice any kid, oftentimes mistaking it for its purpose.

It has been said that e-cigarette is an effective tool that can aid a cigarette addict to cut down or stop smoking.  To the right hands it can be useful but if it gets in the hands of minors, there lies a big problem.


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Are Hookah Pens Safer Than Traditional Hookah?

With all the negative effects being attached to hookah smoking lately, a new trend has started to emerge in the form of hookah pens. The question is: are they safe?

hookah pensFirst let’s get to know more about it. What’s a hookah pen and how does it work?

Dr. Donald Bucklin, Regional Medical Director for U.S. HealthWorks, described a hookah pen in his op-ed article on Rocklin and Roseville Today as “an e-cigarette for the avant-garde.” That’s probably because it sports a stylish and colorful design that are quickly attracting the attention of club goers, regular smokers, and even some celebrities.

Hookah pens are available in different flavors, such as Grape, Vanilla, Coffee, Strawberry, Blueberry, Peach, Apple, and more. They are advertised as tobacco-, tar-, and nicotine-free.

Making up a hookah pen are the battery, the filling, and the evaporator. When you take a puff, the battery heats up the evaporator to vaporize a liquid that you inhale. At the end of a hookah pen is an LED light which illuminates every time you inhale.

In addition to being trendy, hookah pens are widely favored because they are portable that you can practically carry  one anywhere you go. But at the end of the day, it all boils down to one very important question: do they make a safer alternative to hookah smoking?

As Dr. Bucklin pointed out: “The use of a hookah pen is not dangerous in and of itself.” However, they do not come without some consequences.

The biggest danger of hookah pens is they can encourage people to smoke more of it and may even lead to a certain level of addiction. People who use hookah pen may also experience throat ache or muscle aches given the product’s Propylene Glycol content.

It’s also noteworthy to understand that a hookah pen is only good for 500 up to 700 puffs, which means, if you are a heavy hookah smoker you may end up spending ten dollars a week or double that amount.

The long-term effect of smoking hookah pens, if there’s any, is not fully known. Some say that even though the product is being advertised as nicotine-free, it still contains very small amount of nicotine, the basic ingredient found in cigarettes.  Now whether a hookah pen does have or doesn’t have nicotine content, the only way to know for sure if it’s okay or detrimental for your health is to talk with your health care provider before you start using it.

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