ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Holistic Treatment for Candida Infection
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Low Vitamin D Raises Women's Hip Fracture Risk
Rheumatoid Arthritis Hits Women Harder
Returning to the Road Tricky After Injury
CANCER
Supplement Hampers Thyroid Cancer Treatment
Vitamin D May Lower Colon Cancer Risk
Vitamin C Shows Promise as Cancer Treatment
CAREGIVING
High Rate of Rehospitalizations Costing Billions
Timing May Matter in Organ Donation Decisions
Diabetes Epidemic Now Poses Challenges for Nursing Homes
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
COSMETIC
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Health Tip: After Liposuction
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
DIABETES
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
DIET, NUTRITION
6 Million U.S. Kids Lack Enough Vitamin D
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Rainy Areas in U.S. Show Higher Autism Rates
Hypertension May Hit Black Males Earlier
Improved Fungicides May Be Easier on Environment
EYE CARE, VISION
Cases of Age-Related Farsightedness to Soar
Gene-Transfer Proves Safe for Vision Problem
Don't Lose Sight of Halloween Safety
FITNESS
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
Weak Muscles May Cause 'Runner's Knee'
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
Go To Work But Skip The Car
Eating More Soy May Be Good For Your Lung Function
Trans-Fat Ban In New York City Is Proving successful
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
Psychiatric Drugs Might Raise Cardiac Death Risk
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
School Phys. Ed. Injuries Up 150 Percent
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
MENTAL HEALTH
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
Shop 'Til You Drop: You May Feel Better
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
SENIORS
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Protein Deposits May Show Up Before Memory Problems Occur, Study Says
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Green Tea May Help Treat Uterine Fibroids
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
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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