Smoking Looks Bad on the Outside, Too

You know smoking is bad for you on the inside: lung cancer, emphysema, increased risk of heart disease.  Did you know how bad it looks on the outside?  We’re not talking about how tacky it looks, and it does, it’s just not cool anymore.  The wrinkles around the mouth, age spots, yellow stains on fingers and teeth, nasty looking teeth and bad breath, overall wrinkles and sagging skin are just the obvious ones.  Studies done on twins, one of whom smoked and one of whom who didn’t, show dramatic differences in appearence.  The smoker twin always looks older.  Not so cool, is it? The silver lining?  Hmm, there is one, but it isn’t as big as you’re hoping.  As soon as you stop smoking, within 24 hours, your risk of heart attack begins to drop.   In just 20 minutes your blood pressure and heart rate drop.  Within a few weeks of quitting the cilia in your lungs begin to start sweeping again to clear out irritants.  Within one year, your risk of heart disease is as half as high as someone who still smokes and after 10 years smoke-free you are no more likely to get lung cancer than someone who never smoked.  Is there any repairing of your outsides?  Some and the sooner you stop, the less damage you’ll do and may be able to reverse.  Yellowing of the teeth fades and the stains on your hands will fade as well.  With retinol creams you can fade age spots and reduce some lines.  Unfortunately, the longer and heavier you’ve smoked, the worse the damage is and some of it won’t...

Still Smoking? An Obvious New Year’s Resolution…

If your friends and family aren’t telling you, I will: Quit Today!  The cancer that causes more deaths than any other in the US is lung cancer.  Smoking is the primary cause of lung cancer and it contributes to deaths by stroke and heart attack.  New research to be printed in the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery has been studying the use of CT (computed tomography) scans to screen for tumors in heavy, long-term smokers and this could have a huge impact on reducing deaths due to lung cancer.  Of course, not smoking at all will have the largest impact, but if you still smoke, the National Cancer Institute’s ongoing randomized Lung Cancer Screening Trial showed that getting CT scans on a regular basis reduced deaths by 20%.  The researchers of the newest study used three dimensional CT scans to look for histoplasmosis which is harder to diagnose on traditional CT scans because the nodules look like tumors.  The study showed that using the proper protocol, doctors were able to avoid unnecessary biopsies of non-cancerous nodules and find tumors early enough for them to be removed. As always with new research, more needs to be done and the researchers cautioned that if this screening becomes standard a very strict protocol for it will need to be followed to prevent unnecessary biopsies.  Currently, there are no truly effective screenings for lung cancer, although there is a cancer screen and tumor marker test that can alert you to possible cancer.  There is also a DNA genetic predisposition test which can point out specific areas where you may have a tendency to particular diseases,...

Smoking Is Even Worse For You Than You Thought!

Did anyone really think a little bit of smoking was OK?  The new report released by the Surgeon General focuses on the damage just one cigarette can do…can you say scare tactics?  Although I do believe that the more information out there about the dangers of smoking to deter people is good, this is a bit over the top.  Maybe they are hoping that this will deter kids from trying even one cigarette, but isn’t the danger part of the fun?  Wake up people!  Smoking has always been bad for you and those around you so this isn’t new.  It only serves to drive home the message: Don’t start smoking and quit NOW!  Will anyone who is tempted to start or already smoking listen? The new report also plays up the cardiovascular risks of smoking and if you have been reading or watching any news at all, you already know that smoking makes cardiovascular disease worse.   Blood tests can help look for tumor markers and signs of lung cancer letting you know if you’re already headed down the path to disaster, but research has already found that images of disease ridden lungs doesn’t deter smokers. This new report may not make a bit of difference to those who are committed to smoking, or even just trying it.  It isn’t clear how many of you are on the fence about smoking: Should I or shouldn’t I?  Either you smoke and can’t quit or want to try it or you don’t.  Maybe this will make people stop and think about risking their children’s or spouse’s health by smoking that one cigarette, but if they...