More Troops on Smokeless Tobacco After Deployment

HomeNewsMore Troops on Smokeless Tobacco After Deployment

February 23, 2012   U.S. troops sent to Iraq or Afghanistan are more likely to start a smokeless tobacco habit than their comrades who stay home—especially if they see combat, according to a study published in the journal Addiction. It is not clear why some troops take up smokeless tobacco after deployment, but researchers suspect that stress is involved. The risk was higher in troops who were exposed to combat or who were deployed multiple times. Troops with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) also had an increased risk. According to the authors, those different levels of deployment can be seen as stand-ins for different levels of stress. Past studies have found that while tobacco use in the military is declining, it’s still higher when compared to the U.S. public as a whole. In 2005, almost 15 percent of military personnel said they’d used smokeless tobacco in the past year—versus just three percent of Americans overall.

For More Information:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/22/us-troops-smokeless-idUSTRE81L1KZ20120222

Feb 24, 2012
Consumers Switching Between Tobacco Types
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Physicians Lack Confidence in Their Ability to Counsel Cancer Patients to Quit Smoking
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Consumers Switching Between Tobacco Types

HomeNewsConsumers Switching Between Tobacco Types

February 24, 2012   Altria Group Inc. is seeing tobacco users switch between multiple forms of tobacco more often, vice chairman Dave Beran said while participating in the Consumer Analyst Group of New York (CAGNY) conference, reported Reuters. Today’s smokers are more open to trying different types of tobacco than smokers of previous generations, and Altria is working on new products to entice consumers who want a change from cigarettes, Beran told analysts and investors at the conference held in Boca Raton, Fla., this week. Altria, whose other products include Skoal and Copenhagen smokeless tobacco and Black & Mild cigars, has seen a shift in tobacco usage in the United States.

For More Information:
http://www.cspnet.com/news/tobacco/articles/consumers-switching-between-tobacco-types

Feb 24, 2012
Consumers Switching Between Tobacco Types
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Read the full story Feb 23, 2012
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Physicians Lack Confidence in Their Ability to Counsel Cancer Patients to Quit Smoking
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Less Addictive Cigarettes Preferred By Smokers

Editor’s Choice
Academic Journal
Main Category: Smoking / Quit Smoking
Article Date: 20 Feb 2012 – 9:00 PST

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Results from an International Tobacco Control (ITC) United States Supplemental Survey, published recently in the journal BMC Public Health , reveal that smokers strongly favor decreasing the addictiveness of cigarettes.

Lead investigator Andrew Hyland, PhD, Chair of the Department of Health Behavior at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI), and his team, surveyed 678 smokers between November 2009 and January 2010 on their attitudes and beliefs about the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (FSPTCA). In 2009, the Act was signed into law, authorizing the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) authority to control the manufacturing, marketing and sale of tobacco products, with a mandate to reduce tobacco-related disease and death.

Dr. Hyland explained:

“These baseline data were collected shortly after passage of the FDA law and prior to enactment of specific regulatory measures. These initial levels of support or opposition for specific policy measures are useful to inform policy development and highlight the need to continue to educate smokers and the public at large about the purpose behind the regulations.”

The survey findings revealed, that: 71% of smokers did not know that the FDA is authorized to regulate tobacco. 67% of smokers are in favor of reducing nicotine levels in cigarettes – if nicotine was available in a non-cigarette form. 67% of smokers reported supporting banning cigarette advertising, promotion, and marketing activities. 41% of smokers reported they would agree to a law that would ban additives and flavoring that make cigarettes less harsh.Dr. Hyland comments:

“To date, little is known about the attitudes toward the FDA’s new role in regulating tobacco products. Our research found that most smokers were supportive of efforts to make tobacco products less addictive, to ban advertising, and to better inform the public about health risks.”

The ITC United States Survey started in 2002 and has been conducted almost every year in conjunction with ITC surveys in Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia, who are part of the global ITC Project. The project performs similar surveys in over 20 countries, which combined, account for over half of the world’s population, in order to assess the affects of tobacco control policies, including warning pictures, higher taxes on tobacco products, advertising and promotion bans as well as smoke-free laws.

Dr. Hyland states:

“We are in the process of comparing our data on support for tobacco-control policies in the U.S. to support what we’ve found in other countries. This will allow us to understand tobacco use and the potential of FDA policies to reduce tobacco use not only here in the U.S. but throughout the world.”

Written by Petra Rattue
Copyright: Medical News Today
Not to be reproduced without permission of Medical News Today

Visit our smoking / quit smoking section for the latest news on this subject. “Smokers’ reactions to FDA regulation of tobacco products: Findings from the 2009 ITC United States Survey” Brian V Fix et al.
BMC Public Health 2011, 11:941 doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-941 Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

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posted by Mike Morgan on 20 Feb 2012 at 9:43 am

Electronic cigarettes are another option to avoid tobacco and reduce nicotine

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posted by Mike on 20 Feb 2012 at 10:29 am

I am not surprised the many self-hating smokers who want to quit support ways to possibily make quittting easier. But survey participants were probably not told that an ad ban is illegal here, as well as making cigarettes less addictive by reducing nicotine might lead to smoking more or buying more “full hit” cigarettes from a black market.

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posted by Dr. J on 20 Feb 2012 at 12:52 pm

I would hazard a guess that heroin users would like to decrease the addictiveness of heroin, yes?

If you want to not be addicted to a substance that is addictive, don’t use it, duh!

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In Patients With Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 3, Smoking Cessation Drug Improves Walking Function

Main Category: Neurology / Neuroscience
Also Included In: Smoking / Quit Smoking
Article Date: 24 Feb 2012 – 1:00 PST

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A nicotinic drug approved for smoking cessation significantly improved the walking ability of patients suffering from an inherited form of ataxia, reports a new clinical study led by University of South Florida researchers.

The randomized controlled clinical trial investigated the effectiveness of varenicline (Chantix®) in treating spinocerebellar ataxia type 3, or SCA3. The findings were published online earlier this month in Neurology, the journal of the American Academy of Neuroscience.

Lead author Dr. Theresa Zesiewicz and colleagues at the USF Ataxia Research Center collaborated with researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA, and from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in Los Angeles, CA.

Spinocerebellar ataxia impairs the brain and spinal cord causing progressive difficulty with coordination of movements, including walking. The uncoordinated movements, or ataxia, is a neurological symptom with no treatment or cure and can lead to serious fall-related injuries.

“This is the first clinical trial in patients with ataxia showing that nicotinic acetycholine agonists improve symptoms associated with the ability to stand straight and walk,” said Dr. Zesiewicz, professor of neurology and director of the USF Ataxia Research Center. “Patients receiving varenicline could walk with more ease, with less help and faster than those in the placebo group.”

The double-blind multicenter study evaluated 20 adult patients with genetically confirmed SCA3. Half the patients received 1 mg. of varenicline twice a day, and the other half received placebo. At the end of the eight-week study, patients taking varenecline performed significantly better on measures of gait, stance, rapid alternating movements and a timed 25-foot walk than those who did not. The drug was fairly well tolerated, with mild nausea being the most common side effect.

The study authors suggest that varenicline’s ability to improve ataxia may be associated with the drug’s ability to act at several different sites in the brain affected by nicotine.

Study co-author Lynn Wecker, PhD, a distinguished research professor at USF Health, is investigating the cellular and molecular mechanisms mediating the effects of varenicline and other nicotinic agonists. Dr. Wecker and colleagues, supported by a five-year grant funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, have shown that several drugs affecting neuronal nicotinic receptors improve gait and balance in an animal model of SCA3.

Further preclinical research is needed to understand how nicotinic acetylcholine agonists improve ataxia, and larger clinical studies with more patients are needed to identify other neurodegenerative diseases that may benefit from nicotinic medications, the authors conclude.

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click ‘references’ tab above for source.
Visit our neurology / neuroscience section for the latest news on this subject. The study was supported by the National Ataxia Foundation and the Bobby Allison Ataxia Research Center.
Citation: “A randomized trial of varenicline (Chantix) for the treatment of spinocerebellar ataxia type 3,”T.A. Zesiewicz, MD, FAAN; P.E. Greenstein, MB, BCh; K.L. Sullivan, MSPH; L. Wecker, PhD; A. Miller, BS; I. Jahan, MD; R. Chen, MD and S.L. Perlman, MD, FAAN, Neurology, published online before print Feb. 8, 2012. DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e318247cc7a.
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UK Quit Smoking Campaigns Come Under Fire

HomeNewsUK Quit Smoking Campaigns Come Under Fire

February 22, 2012   Two current UK government campaigns pull no punches about urging all smokers trying to quit to use drugs. One puts it bluntly: “Don’t go cold turkey”. Another poster on display in the nation’s waiting rooms says: “There are some people who can go cold turkey and stop smoking. But there aren’t many of them.” (See picture at bottom of this post.) That statement is manifestly incorrect and an enquiry should be undertaken into how such nonsense was approved for publication.  In 1986, just a few years after nicotine replacement therapies became available, the American Cancer Society stated: “Over 90% of the estimated 37 million people who have stopped smoking in this country since the Surgeon General’s first report linking smoking to cancer [1964] have done so unaided.”  How did they possibly manage to do it without drugs?

For More Information:
http://blogs.crikey.com.au/croakey/2012/02/22/uk-quit-smoking-campaigns-come-under-fire/

Feb 24, 2012
Consumers Switching Between Tobacco Types
Read the full story Feb 24, 2012
Daytona Speedway to Ban Smoking
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More Troops on Smokeless Tobacco After Deployment
Read the full story Feb 23, 2012
Physicians Lack Confidence in Their Ability to Counsel Cancer Patients to Quit Smoking
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To Keep Research Funding, Texas Universities Consider Tobacco Ban

HomeNewsTo Keep Research Funding, Texas Universities Consider Tobacco Ban

February 21, 2012   University administrators around Texas are now considering campus-wide tobacco-free policies as a result of a new policy regarding grant funding. The new rules established by the Cancer Research Prevention Institute of Texas requires grant recipients to have policies prohibiting tobacco use in buildings and structures where financed research activities are occurring, as well as at the outdoor areas immediately adjacent to those buildings. The grant recipients must also provide smoking cessation services for community members who desire them. In 2007, the research institute was established and the state was authorized to issue $3 million in bonds over 10 years to finance cancer research and prevention efforts. Nearly $600 million in grants have been issued, primarily to academic institutions. For schools that pride themselves on their research function, there is a clear financial incentive to institute the changes.

For More Information:
http://www.texastribune.org/texas-education/higher-education/keep-research-funding-universities-mull-tobacco-ba/

Feb 24, 2012
Consumers Switching Between Tobacco Types
Read the full story Feb 24, 2012
Daytona Speedway to Ban Smoking
Read the full story Feb 23, 2012
More Troops on Smokeless Tobacco After Deployment
Read the full story Feb 23, 2012
Physicians Lack Confidence in Their Ability to Counsel Cancer Patients to Quit Smoking
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Daytona Speedway to Ban Smoking

HomeNewsDaytona Speedway to Ban Smoking

February 24, 2012   A smoking ban will prevent NASCAR fans from lighting up in the grandstands at Daytona International Speedway starting with the Coke Zero 400 in July. Fans will be required to use certain designated areas behind the grandstands once the ban takes effect. Joie Chitwood III, the Speedway’s president, said it’s a sign of the times and that no other venue in Florida allows smoking in the stands. In the meantime, smokers are being encouraged not to smoke in the seating areas during Speedweeks ahead of this Sunday’s Daytona 500. The ban, however, is not mandatory, said Chitwood, because smokers bought their tickets under the notion they could smoke.

For More Information:
http://www.clickorlando.com/news/Daytona-Speedway-to-ban-smoking/-/1637132/8815446/-/9d69b9z/-/index.html

Feb 24, 2012
Consumers Switching Between Tobacco Types
Read the full story Feb 24, 2012
Daytona Speedway to Ban Smoking
Read the full story Feb 23, 2012
More Troops on Smokeless Tobacco After Deployment
Read the full story Feb 23, 2012
Physicians Lack Confidence in Their Ability to Counsel Cancer Patients to Quit Smoking
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Fighting The Battle Of The Aortic Bulge – Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

Main Category: Cardiovascular / Cardiology
Also Included In: Smoking / Quit Smoking;  GastroIntestinal / Gastroenterology
Article Date: 23 Feb 2012 – 1:00 PST

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When aortic walls buckle, the body’s main blood pipe forms an ever-growing bulge. To thwart a deadly rupture, a team of Stanford University School of Medicine researchers has found two tiny molecules that may be able to orchestrate an aortic defense.

A team led by cardiovascular scientists Philip Tsao, PhD, and Joshua Spin, MD, PhD, identified two microRNAs – small molecules that usually block proteins from being made – that work to strengthen the aorta during bulge growth. By tweaking the activity of each molecule, they could reduce abdominal aortic aneurysms in mice, which they believe is a promising step toward a new treatment for the disease.

Their findings were published in Science Translational Medicine and are a continuation of work the researchers published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Abdominal aortic aneurysms affect thousands of people in the United States each year. The ballooning blood vessel – which looks more like a snake digesting a bowling ball than a central thoroughfare for oxygenated blood – is most likely to occur in people over age 65. For smokers, the chances are even greater.

“Ninety percent of people who get one of these are smokers,” said Spin, an instructor in cardiovascular medicine and a co-author of both papers.

These types of aortic aneurysms usually form below the kidneys, before the aorta branches into the legs. When they rupture, blood spills out into the abdomen, causing death in up to 90 percent of cases. Knowing you have an aortic aneurysm can be nerve-wracking.

“There are no approved therapies, so the recommendation for many patients is just watchful waiting,” said Tsao, professor of cardiovascular medicine and the senior author of both papers. “When they reach a certain size, the risk of rupture outweighs the risks of surgical intervention.”

To repair the weak blood channel, doctors can either surgically replace the aneurysm with a graft, or use catheters to insert a self-expanding, cloth-covered tube that blocks off the ballooned region and restores blood flow to a straight path.

With such high stakes, Tsao and Spin set out to better understand why aneurysms form. All they knew was what happened in the aorta when they did: dissolution of muscle cells, inflammation, and thinning of supportive collagen and other fibers.

To understand the causes, the team compared cells in the vessel wall at the site of the aneurysm to unaffected cells nearby and to aortas without aneurysms. When they looked at genes that cells were turning on or off, they found differences in two microRNAs: miR-21and miR-29b.

MicroRNA is a special type of RNA, which usually functions as an intermediate step in the decoding of DNA into proteins for the cell to use. MicroRNAs, which get their names from being smaller than typical RNA, specifically clamp onto other RNA molecules and block the cell from making proteins.

From previous studies, the team knew that miR-21 – which the cells turned on during blood vessel ballooning – works to keep cells alive and dividing. MiR-29b, which works to keep collagen and other fibers from being made, was reduced.

“When you see something go up or down as disease is getting worse, you assume that what it’s doing is causing the disease,” Spin said. But appearances can be deceiving.

The team used human tissue, and mice that develop aortic aneurysms, to understand what these microRNA changes meant for aneurysm development. In each of the studies, they injected the mice with molecular mimics of the microRNAs, or other molecules that would specifically block either miR-21 or miR-29.

Because smoking is a large risk factor for the deadly aorta expansions, they also gave the mice nicotine injections to test whether it played a role.

Surprisingly, they found that when they gave the mice more miR-21, their aortas didn’t balloon as much or burst open. In contrast, knocking down the level of miR-21 in the cells had the opposite effect. Since the cells at the site of the aneurysm already had elevated levels of miR-21 compared to other cells, the team thinks the change is an attempt by the body to protect itself.

“This looks like a response of the body to the process; it’s trying to limit how fast the aneurysm is growing,” Spin said.

Interestingly, in the mice given nicotine, aneurysms grew even faster, suggesting that smoking, and more specifically nicotine, was a direct factor in aneurysm development. Additional miR-21 was also beneficial in this model of accelerated disease.

“Often one of the things that people try to use to stop smoking is nicotine therapy,” Spin said. “That may not be the best way to prevent an aneurysm from getting worse.”

When they looked at miR-29b, which the cells naturally turn down in aneurysms, they found that artificially knocking it down further slowed aneurysm development and prevented rupture. It too seems to be responding protectively to aneurysm development, rather than contributing.

While insights from the discoveries about the two microRNAs may lead to therapies for aortic aneurysms, the path is not without complications.

“Unfortunately, treatments that benefited aneurysms in the mice came with negative consequences on the heart and the liver,” Tsao said. “So one of the pressing matters would then be, ‘how can we get it only in that area or concentrated in the area?'”

They already have a collection of ideas of how to deliver the mini molecules, including using a balloon-like device at the location of the aneurysm that would directly inject microRNA mimics or inhibitors onto the cells.

It might be the case, Tsao said, that miR-29b or miR-21 might not be the best microRNAs to target. “Perhaps there are others that could work better,” he said. “But we hope this will establish a new way to approach the disease.”

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click ‘references’ tab above for source.
Visit our cardiovascular / cardiology section for the latest news on this subject. The first author of both papers is postdoctoral scholar Lars Maegdefessel, MD, PhD. Other co-authors of the work reported in Science Translational Medicine are current and former postdoctoral scholars Junya Azuma, MD, PhD, Ryuji Toh, MD, Denis Merk, MD, Uwe Raaz, MD, and Azad Raiesdana, PhD; research assistants Alicia Deng and Anke Schoelmerich; Nicholas Leeper, MD, assistant professor of cardiovascular medicine; Michael McConnell, MD, professor of cardiovascular medicine; and Ronald Dalman, MD, professor of vascular surgery.
An additional co-author in the Journal of Clinical Investigation report was medical student Jocelyn Chin.
Maegdefessel, Spin and Tsao have applied for patents relating to miR-21 and miR-29b and protection from abdominal aortic aneurysm development.
The work reported in both publications was supported by research grants from the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute, the National Institutes of Health, the California Tobacco Related Disease Research Program of the University of California, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the American Heart Association and the Deutsche Herzstiftung e.V.
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Nicotine’s Role In Promoting Heart And Blood Vessel Disease – Invade And Conquer

Main Category: Smoking / Quit Smoking
Also Included In: Heart Disease;  Cardiovascular / Cardiology
Article Date: 24 Feb 2012 – 4:00 PST

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Cigarette smoke has long been considered the main risk factor for heart disease. But new research from Brown University in Providence, R.I., shows that nicotine itself, a component of cigarette smoke, can contribute to the disease process by changing cell structure in a way that promotes migration and invasion of the smooth muscle cells that line blood vessels. In particular, invading cells can remodel structures called podosomes, and this leads to further degradation of vessel integrity.

Ultimately, this cellular migration and invasion process gives rise to the formation of vessel-clogging fatty deposits known as plaque – the hallmark of heart and blood vessel disease. The results on the nicotine-podosome link will be presented at the 56th Annual Meeting of the Biophysical Society (BPS), held Feb. 25-29 in San Diego, Calif.

If confirmed in further studies, the finding that nicotine itself promotes vessel damage by changing podosomes appears to question the health benefits of helping people quit smoking through smokeless nicotine delivery agents such as gum or patches.

“The finding that nicotine is as effective as cigarette smoke in enhancing cellular structural changes, and breakdown of scaffold proteins by vascular smooth muscle cells, suggests that replacing cigarette smoking by nicotine treatment may have limited beneficial effects on atherosclerosis,” notes lead researcher Chi-Ming Hai, professor of medical science in the department of molecular pharmacology, physiology, and biotechnology at Brown University.

Hai’s research illuminates the multistep process of plaque formation, and suggests that a new powerful player, nicotine, may be involved. The plaque formation process begins as a response to cellular injury, and progresses to destructive and chronic inflammation of the vessel walls that attracts mobs of white blood cells, further inflaming the vessels. This damage-causing inflammation can be triggered by chemical insults from high blood sugar, modified low-density lipoproteins (LDL, the “bad cholesterol“), physical stress from high blood pressure, or chemical insult from tobacco smoke. Now nicotine itself appears to remodel key structures in a way that primes and enhances the invasion of smooth muscle lining the vessel wall.

Identifying a possible nicotine-posodome link in the invasion step of plaque formation process suggests a new means of intervening in the process: targeting the cell structures that are changed by nicotine and that promote invasion of the smooth muscle lining the vessel wall. If a therapy could prevent, slow, or reverse that step, it would likely interrupt the plaque-production cycle.

Fatty deposits accumulate in blood vessels beginning as young as age 10 and progress over a person’s lifetime. Heart disease results if the deposits continue to build and harden into vessel-clogging plaque. When plaque ruptures, it can block blood flow, starving the heart or brain of oxygen and leading to a heart attack or stroke.

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click ‘references’ tab above for source.
Visit our smoking / quit smoking section for the latest news on this subject. The presentation, “Cigarette smoke and nicotine-induced remodeling of actin cytoskeleton and extracellular matrix by vascular smooth muscle cells,” is at 1:45 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012, in the San Diego Convention Center, Hall FGH. ABSTRACT: http://tinyurl.com/73e836j
Meeting Home Page: http://www.biophysics.org/2012meeting/Main/tabid/2386/Default.aspx
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