Archive for category Tobacco Abuse

Latest NIDA Study Reveals Drop In Teen Drug Use, Increase In Vaping

The latest report by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) reveals both good and bad news in terms of substance use by teenagers.

teen drug abuseAccording to the annual teen tracking report by the government agency, teenage use of illicit drugs such as cocaine and heroin has dropped this year. “Probably that relates to very aggressive campaigns for prevention,” said NIDA director Dr. Nora Volkow in a news release.

In addition, the rate of teenage smoking using traditional cigarettes has also dropped significantly, as well as the rate of teenage binge drinking. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about e-cigarette use. What’s troubling for the agency is that the dangers of e-cigarettes have not yet been exposed completely. “One of the arguments has been that when you’re vaping nicotine you are not inhaling all the combustion products from tobacco leaves that you get from a regular cigarette… The problem has to do with the fact that if these e-cigarettes are improperly manufactured, then they can deliver toxins from leakage from paint or other materials that are used in their production,” Volkow said.

Illicit use of Adderall and other similar prescription stimulant drugs is also on the rise, according to the NIDA study. “The problem of using stimulant medication to study for tests is that stimulant drugs are addictive and actually they can be highly addictive,” the NIDA director added.

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Study: Teenage Use of E-Cigarettes Still Increasing

Despite several studies that serve as warnings, as well as alerts from health agencies, the use of electronic cigarettes by teenagers continues to rise.

e-cigaretteThis finding was revealed by a study by researchers from the University of Hawaii Cancer Center led by Dr. Thomas Wills. According to the study as published in a news release, 30 percent of students in Hawaii between 14 and 15 years of age were reported to be using e-cigarettes. This figure is quite alarming, considering that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in 2012 that 10 percent of teenagers use the alternative electronic sticks.

What’s troubling about this scenario is that e-cigarettes were advertised to lead people away from more harmful tobacco products, but researches have shown the exact opposite: e-cigarettes may promote smoking tobacco products. “The fact that e-cigarette only users were intermediate in risk status between non-users and dual users raises the possibility that e-cigarettes are recruiting medium-risk adolescents, who otherwise would be less susceptible to tobacco product use,” the researchers said.

The study involved a survey of close to 2,000 pupils who were asked about their use of tobacco cigarettes and the electronic variants, as well as marijuana and alcohol.

Wills emphasized the real issue of addiction to smoking, which is not easy to turn away from. “A lot of teens think it is easy to quit smoking but it isn’t true. It’s hard for anybody to quit,” Wills added.

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Doctors Miss Out On Teen Smoking Intervention

Doctors are supposed to be the vanguards of health, but a recent study reveals that only a few of them intervene when it comes to teen smoking.

teen smokingAccording to study author Gillian L. Schauer in her interview with Reuters Health, only 31 percent of adolescents in high school and middle school were advised by a healthcare professional to stop smoking. “Our results suggest that more than 6.6 million youth and adolescents who currently use tobacco or are at high risk for future smoking did not receive advice from their health care provider to quit or avoid tobacco,” Schauer said.

The study involved a survey of more than 18,000 teenagers all around the U.S. to ask them about tobacco usage and any discussions with health professionals about smoking. The results showed that while more than 70 percent of the kids have not tried smoking, 11 percent admitted to have smoked tobacco. Unfortunately, while majority of them were able to visit the doctor within the year, less than a third were given advice against smoking.

What’s more unfortunate is that only 32 percent of the kids surveyed said that a doctor or nurse asked them about smoking. “Young people often underestimate the addictive potential of nicotine, and 9 out of 10 adults who smoke started before age 18, making anti-smoking and anti-tobacco messages delivered by a health care provider an important intervention for youth,” Schauer stressed. “Given that tobacco is still the number one preventable cause of death and disease in the U.S., it is surprising that more clinicians are not intervening with adolescent patients to help them avoid or quit tobacco.”

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Manhattan Beach Implements Strict Smoke-Free Ordinance

The Manhattan Beach City Council has just approved a new ordinance that bans smoking in many public areas. The new law has been implemented starting July 18.

quit smokingBranding itself as a smoke-free city, Manhattan Beach is now conducting the new ordinance, which broadens its existing laws to include electronic cigarettes. Scope of the smoking ban now includes many public places, including city streets and sidewalks, as well as public dining locations. Anyone inside the city may light a smoke in designated areas inside most hotels, and also residential areas and inside private moving vehicles.

Sona Coffee, who functions as the environmental program manager in Manhattan Beach, said that anyone walking through shops and other public areas can rest assured of their health. “The reason for that is we want to protect all of our visitors all of our residents from the impacts of second-hand smoke,” Coffee said in a news item.

Violators caught smoking in banned areas will be dealt with a $100 fine for the first offense. However, the city’s residents are given one month before the ordinance is set to full implementation and violators get slapped with the fine.

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Psychiatric Patients Have Higher Rates Of Alcoholism, Smoking And Drug Use

A recent study has linked psychological disorders to a higher risk of engaging in vices.

brains scansResearchers from the University of Southern California and St. Louis’ Washington University School of Medicine jointly looked into the susceptibility of people diagnosed with psychotic disorders to a number of addictive activities such as drinking, smoking, and use of drugs.

Study co-author Dr. Sarah M. Hartz of Washington University said that contrary to popular belief, people suffering from severe mental disorders do not die because of suicide or drug overdose. “They die from heart disease and cancer, problems caused by chronic alcohol and tobacco use,” said Dr. Hartz in a news interview.

The study, published in the JAMA Psychiatry journal, monitored more than 9,000 patients with psychiatric illnesses such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. The cases were then compared with people without diagnosed brain disorders, and performed an assessment as to the degree of use of alcohol, drugs and nicotine.

Results showed the following findings:

  • Thirty percent of people with mental disorders were engaging in binge drinking, as compared to only 8 percent for normal-minded patients.
  • In terms of smoking, 33 percent of the people without psychotic issues were identified as smokers. In stark contrast, the figure for mental patients shot up to above 75 percent.
  • Marijuana use was also higher in psychiatric patients, registering 50% of the study population. Meanwhile, only 12 percent of the people without mental disorders used marijuana.


To top it off, Dr. Hartz added that “these patients tend to pass away much younger, with estimates ranging from 12 to 25 years earlier than individuals in the general population.”

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Study: Secondhand Smoke From Electronic Cigarettes Contains Nicotine

Contrary to the popular notion that electronic cigarettes are better and healthier alternatives to conventional sticks, a recent study revealed that secondhand smoke from e-cigarettes are also harmful to non-smokers.

electronic cigaretteThe study, published in the Nicotine and Tobacco Research journal, involved an investigation on the contents of e-cigarette smoke and vapors, as well as a look into the potential of exposing people to secondhand smoke when the electronic cigs are puffed indoors. Dr. Maciej Goniewicz of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RCPI) led the research team who spearheaded the project.

Dr. Goniewicz, who works under the Department of Health Behavior at RCPI, shared the group’s revelation from the breakthrough study. “This is one of the first studies to measure the air concentrations of nicotine and volatile organic compounds and compare the emissions from electronic and conventional tobacco cigarettes,” shared Dr. Goniewicz.

According to the study results, nicotine is present in the secondhand smoke produced by electronic cigars, although the amount is 10 times less than conventional tobacco cigarettes. However, the researchers recommended further studies especially on the effects of the secondhand vapors from e-cigs on the health of sensitive demographics (pregnant women, children, and cardiovascular patients).

In addition, the study includes recommendations on more research to focus on other potentially harmful components of e-cigarettes such as acrolein and acetaldehyde.

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