ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Soybean Chemicals May Reduce Effects of Menopause
Acupuncture Eases Side Effects of Head, Neck Cancer Treatments
Acupuncture May Not Help Hot Flashes
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Sea Worm Inspires Novel Bone Glue
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
CANCER
Papaya Could Be a Cancer Fighter
Selenium, Omega-3s May Stave Off Colorectal Cancer
Method for Treating Cervical Lesions May Pose Pregnancy Risks
CAREGIVING
Mild Flu Season Coming to a Close
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
Late-Life Fatherhood May Lower Child's Intelligence
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
COSMETIC
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
DIABETES
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Mediterranean Diet Enriched With Nuts Cuts Heart Risks
Licorice May Block Absorption of Organ Transplant Drug
Vinegar Might Help Keep Off Pounds
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Plastics Chemical Tied to Aggression in Young Girls
Exhaust From Railroad Diesel Linked to Lung Ailments
Climate Change Linked to Longer Pollen Seasons
EYE CARE, VISION
Nutrient-Rich Diet Lowers Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease
Gene-Transfer Proves Safe for Vision Problem
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
FITNESS
Will the Wii Keep You Fit?
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
Yoga Can Ease Lower Back Pain
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
Good Sleepers More Likely to Eat Right
Autumn Chores Often Hazardous
The Brain Comes Alive With the Sounds of Music
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Obese People Seem to Do Better With Heart Disease
Western Diet Linked To Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome
Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Fussy Babys Could Be Out Of Your Control
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
3 Home Habits Help Youngsters Stay Slim
MEN'S HEALTH
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Music Soothes Anxiety as Well as Massage Does
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
SENIORS
As You Age, Better Health Means Better Sex
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Protein Deposits May Show Up Before Memory Problems Occur, Study Says
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Most Women With Osteoporosis Unaware of Raised Fracture Risk
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
Add your Article

Smokeout '08: The Perfect Time to Quit

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Everyone knows smoking is bad for you. Really bad.

But just last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the United States won't meet the Healthy People 2010 objective of reducing the adult smoking rate to 12 percent or less.

That means that continued high levels of smoking-related health problems, deaths and lost productivity will continue to plague the nation for years to come.

"It's an enormously important time to help people make that decision to try to quit," said Thomas J. Glynn, director of cancer science and trends at the American Cancer Society.

And there's no better time to make that effort than Thursday, the 33rd annual Great American Smokeout, when the cancer society will ask smokers to try and dump the habit.

In the past year, 40 percent of the 43.4 million Americans who smoke tried to quit for at least one day. The Great American Smokeout is designed to encourage people to make a long-term plan to quit for good.

"A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step, and your single step begins on the day of the Great American Smokeout," Glynn said. "But then you need to follow through to stay stopped. And if you fall down, get right back up again and try again."

Quitting smoking can be difficult, Glynn acknowledged. "I think people have to look at it as a process, and the Great American Smokeout is designed to help people begin that process," he said.

There are other timely reasons to quit smoking, Glynn said, including the current economic climate. "Ignoring the health benefits, it's a great way to save money. The average smoker spends about $1,500 on cigarettes alone, let alone the increased health-care costs they have and the time lost at work. If you are looking to save money, this is priority one," he said.

Smoking is the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. Each year, it causes 443,000 premature deaths, including 38,000 deaths among nonsmokers from secondhand smoke. Half the people who continue to smoke will die from smoking-related diseases, according to the American Cancer Society.

According to the cancer society, there are many good reasons to quit -- and many benefits when you do:

* 20 minutes after quitting, your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
* 12 hours after quitting, carbon monoxide levels in your blood drop to normal.
* two weeks to three months after quitting, circulation improves and lung function increases.
* one to nine months after quitting, coughing and shortness of breath decrease and lung function improves.
* one year after quitting, the risk of heart disease is cut in half.
* five years after quitting, the risk of stroke is reduced.
* 10 years after quitting, the risk of dying from lung cancer is cut in half, and the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix and pancreas decrease.
* 15 years after quitting, the risk of heart disease is the same as for non-smokers.

Dr. Jordan S. Josephson, director of the New York Nasal and Sinus Center, said the decision to stop smoking has to "come from the heart."

"A lot of people say they want to stop smoking, but truly down deep they are just not ready," he said. "But once you are ready, cold turkey seems to be the best way. Most patients just throw it in the can and they are done with it."

New York lawyer Robert Fastner is a patient of Josephson's who quit three years ago.

"I never thought it would happen," Fastner said. "Nobody who knew me ever thought it would happen. I never thought I had a shot at quitting."

Nearing 50, Fastner noticed he had developed wheezing, chronic colds and sinus infections. "It was almost like you need to quit, but you can't get yourself to do the act. I put in my head -- 'You will not turn 50 and still be smoking,' " he said.

One day he just quit. "Once I actually did it, I never looked back," Fastner said.

More information

For more on quitting smoking, visit the American Cancer Society.

Kicking the Habit

The first step is to choose a stop date, said Thomas J. Glynn, director of cancer science and trends at the American Cancer Society. "Then work with your family, friends and co-workers to help stay stopped," he said.

Other tips include:

* Getting rid of smoking-related items such as ashtrays, lighters, matches, cigarettes and cigarette butts. This will help avoid temptation.
* Practicing the four "Ds" to reduce the urge to smoke: DEEP breaths. DO something to get your mind off the craving, like going for a walk or calling a friend. DRINK lots of water -- especially when you feel a craving. DELAY going for a cigarette -- the urge will pass.
* Changing routines associated with smoking.

Also remember that smoking urges are the worst during the first two weeks after quitting, so avoid situations in which you usually smoked. And use aids such as nicotine patches, gums, and lozenges or prescription medications. Hypnosis and acupuncture work for some people.

Finally, call help lines such as the American Cancer Society's Quitline (1-800-ACS-2345), or visit the society's Web site: www.cancer.org/greatamericans.

-Steven Reinberg

SOURCES: Thomas J. Glynn, Ph.D., director, cancer science and trends, American Cancer Society, Atlanta; Jordan S. Josephson, M.D., director, New York Nasal and Sinus Center, New York City; Robert Fastner, New York City

Last Updated: Nov. 20, 2008

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