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Chantix Is Safe For Your Heart, New Study Suggests

A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that Pfizer’s Chantix, a smoking cessation drug, is safe for your heart — a big relief for smokers, doctors, and treatment facilities alike.

8,000 smokers were randomly assigned Chantix and three other similar cessation medicines for 12 weeks, while an extended study followed 2,400 participants for 12 months. According to WHNT News, ”there were five heart-related deaths and 22 nonfatal heart attacks and strokes, pretty evenly distributed among the four groups”, both during and after the treatment.

The findings conclude that Chantix, which blocks the effects of nicotine on the brain, is as safe for the heart as nicotine patches and placebo pills. By the end of the study, 34% of those taking Chantix had quit smoking, the most successful of the four treatment options tested.

Researchers noted that many of the participants did have high blood pressure and other risks for heart problems prior to the study. The findings are great news to doctors and treatment facilities for smoking addicts. “We now know it’s a lot safer to use these drugs to help people quit smoking than to continue smoking”, says Dr. Nancy Rigotti, from the Massachusetts General Hospital Tobacco Research and Treatment Center.

Buy Chantix easily, online at KwikMed.

Teens Who Smoke E-Cigs More Likely To Try the Real Thing

electronic cigarettesBy Emily Murray

E-Cigs, or electronic cigarettes, are all the rage these days. Many hale them as the reason they could finally give up cigarettes and all the chemicals that go with them. Unfortunately, the things that often seem too good to be true usually are. Over the past year, E-Cigs have been the center of debate. Most are unregulated and it’s anyone’s guess what that liquid that people are inhaling and breathing out as vapor really is.

The latest claims, however, highlight the potential dangers these devices pose to teens. According to new research, teenagers who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to use other mainstream tobacco products including cigarettes, cigars and hookah.

These recent findings were recently published in the journal JAMA.

While many feel that the e-cigarette is a healthier option than traditional cigarettes, the truth is that they both contain nicotine, which is of course addictive. Teens are especially susceptible to nicotine addiction as their brains are still developing and are sensitive to the substance.

Teens are also particularly drawn to E-Cigs because of the common misconception that they are a healthier alternative. Once nicotine addiction takes hold, many teens than go on to try other traditional tobacco products.

Smoking Mothers May Have Less Fertile Sons

Pregnant woman with cigarette.By Emily Murray

We all know that smoking during pregnancy is strongly advised against and can lead to problems like low birth weight and even miscarriage or still birth. However,  even if a woman does give birth to a surprisingly healthy child, the damage may not have yet shown itself.

A new study recently published in the journal Human Reproduction demonstrated that sperm quality can be impacted in the children of a pregnant smoking mother. While the testing was done in mice, it’s believed that the same finding would hold true in humans as well. The male offspring of the mice who were exposed to the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes a day while pregnant and nursing developed sperm that were of poor quality, making them less fertile.

Among the many systems impacted, scientists discovered that cigarette smoke impacts the stem cells in the testes which can result in permanently low sperm production.

For this reason, and the countless others that we currently know, you would likely think that no pregnant mothers would smoke. Unfortunately, current statistics show us that around 20% of American women do continue smoking during pregnancy.

Women and Smoking – Smoking Risks Greater for Women

woman and smokingWhen it comes to equal opportunity for men and women, I am all for it, but apparently it is not so good in terms of smoking. Recent studies has shown how women and smoking post a great health risk than the men. Woman who become smokers have a highter risk of cancer than men. The biggest stat, shared by Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention shares that while men have a 9% increased risk, women have a much larger rate of 19%.

In a study provided by the University of  Tromso in Norway, many of the findings showed that women, even those who smoked less than men, still had a greater risk for cancer and other related health problems. Though there were unable to factor in other risks such a alcohol and diet, they were able to show that out of 600,000 patients recorded, they discovered that the bowel cancer risk was linked to smoking twice as high for women then for men.

So with the new information, many researchers and doctors are asking and debating on whether women are biologically vulnerable to the toxicity effects of smoking tobacco. They are also unsure at this time as to why women who start smoking increase their risk of a heart attack more than men.

Though many studies are still continuing to discover new insights on the effects of smoking on men and women, these recent studies pave a great source of information for women to stop smoking, or to never start.  If you are a current smoker and looking for a way out of it, there are many ways to break the habit, effectively and safely. Many can cut it cold turkey, however there are many that need assistance. Patches, natural methods and also taking medications such as Chantix have been a great way to help people cut the habit and get back to a healthy lifestyle.

Smoking is not a path to a long and healthy life, and when it comes to women and smoking, it looks like there are more reasons for women to cut the habit!

By Chris Haro

Cancer and Alcohol: Studies Show there Could Be a Connection

cancer and alcoholYou wouldn’t think to use the worlds cancer and alcohol in the same sentence, but it seems like just about anything these days can be a cause of cancer risks. From the foods we eat, environment we live in, and the obvious things like smoking that contribute to higher risks. It seems like one area that has been a discussion, but long overlooked has been the issue of alcohol consumption and its relation to cancer. Studies and discussions on alcohol and cancer have been around for over 30 years, and a majority of them dismissed due to the lack of research and unknown test results.

In the past few years, the talks on cancer and alcohol releated deaths has been on the rise. In 2009, it was shown that 18,000 to 21,000 people died of alcohol related cancers. Some of these cancers include liver cancer, larynx cancer, esophagus cancer, colon cancer, rectum and breast cancer among women. Alcohol related breast cancer deaths accounted for 15% of total breast cancer deaths.

Though the reasons are still quite unclear on how and why alcohol raises the risks of cancer, many of the studies have shown that alcohol does affect estrogen levels in women, and acts as a solvent for tobacco, making it easier for tobacco to get into the digestive tract. Alcohol accounts for roughly 3.5% of all U.S. cancer deaths annually. A majority of these deaths come from people who consumed more that 3 beverages a day, while 1/3 of the deaths come from people who consumed 1.5 beverages a day.

It is quite alarming to hear the connection of cancer and alcohol, but many experts are quick to say that it is not always about the amount of alcohol, rather the way it is consumed. People who tend to have a drink here and there seem to have a much lower risk than the person who consumes the alcohol at a much faster rate, or binge drinks.

Just like anything else in life, moderation seems to be key. There are risks to anything we do, and abusing anything can bring risks that will affect us in the long run. Reduce the risks, live a healthier lifestyle, and be as moderate as possible. Eat healthier, stop smoking (use great products like Chantix), and make sure to do things that make you appreciate your moments, not worry about the future.

Chris Haro

Smoking Cessation Infographic

We all know that smoking is bad for us but did you know that quitting now can actually reverse much of the damage that smoking causes. Check out our latest infographic; you might be surprised by how quickly you could be breathing easier.

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Grabbing a Cigarette to Calm Your Nerves? Think Again!

By EmilyM

You’ve probably heard the claim that if it’s been a stressful day, a cigarette will help calm the nerves. Well, several studies now prove that the only stress a cigarette can put at bay is the stress caused by not having one.

In fact, a study recently published in the August edition of the journal Addiction discovered that within a year of quitting smoking, ex-smokers experienced lower stress levels than they had when they were lighting up regularly. In order to come to this conclusion, researchers involved in the study monitored a group of 469 people who had been hospitalized for heart disease. Those who quit reported feeling less stressed a year later.

At the start of the study, nearly 85% voiced their belief that smoking actually helped them handle the stressful events in their lives to a certain degree.  Only a year later, just over 40% had not returned to smoking.

When acknowledged from both a psychological and physiological standpoint, smoking is clearly not the healthiest choice, so why are nearly 12 million cigarettes smoked worldwide each minute?

Nicotine addiction is one of the most difficult demons to battle for many people. The immediate and long-term harmful effects on the body are often outweighed by the momentary “calming” effect many smokers report feeling at the moment they take that first drag. Many people turn back to smoking, or believe they won’t be able to quit, simply because as soon as the nicotine leaves the body, withdrawal begins and the next cigarette is soon mindlessly in hand. Perhaps it is easier to understand when you look at the immediate symptoms associated with quitting, as reported by the American Heart Association.

  • irritability
  • impatience
  • hostility
  • anxiety
  • depressed mood
  • difficulty concentrating
  • restlessness
  • decreased heart rate
  • increased appetite or weight gain

When you consider the above symptoms, it becomes a bit more clear why the stress experienced by smokers in between cigarettes, or while trying to quit, can be quite overwhelming. Now compare these with the immediate effects experienced by the smoker upon lighting up a cigarette.

  • quick burst of energy
  • improved reaction time/attention span
  • pleasant/happy feeling from dopamine production in the brain
  • endorphin rush/euphoria

Those who have never smoked may find it difficult to understand why anyone would choose to continue a lifestyle that is the cause of one in five deaths in the United States alone, but when you look at the immediate affects of going sans cigarette versus continuing the addiction, you can see that quitting is no walk in the park.

The good news is that nicotine withdrawal does get easier over time. Many say the cravings are most intense within the first three days, but after the first month they begin to diminish. If motivation is what you are looking for, just take a look at what else is going on in your body when you quit smoking.

20 Minutes: Heart rate lowers
12 hours: Carbon monoxide in your blood goes back to normal
2 weeks – 3 months: Your risk of heart attack is decreased and your lungs begin working more efficiently
1 – 9 months: Lungs continue to feel better and coughing decreases along with decreased risk of lung infection
1 year: Risk of heart disease is now half of what is was as a smoker
5 years: Risk of stroke is same as a non-smoker
10 years: Risk of lung cancer is reduced by half
15 years: Risk of heart disease is the same as a non-smoker

Makes quitting seem a bit more worthwhile, doesn’t it?

Baby Smoking 2 Packs a Day is the Real "Marlboro Baby"


When I came across this video in the news today, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. Most of the time you want to believe that what someone is telling you is the truth. In this case I was really hoping they were wrong.

I’m talking about the Indonesian 2-year-old baby smoking video that went viral a little over a month ago. Some people seem to think it’s funny and I admit it is very strange to see a 2-year-old acting with the mannerisms of someone at least ten times his age, but what is happening to his lungs is far more disturbing and, in my opinion, really no laughing matter.

I wanted to believe that it was nothing more than a camera trick involving realistic looking cigarettes. I realize this is sort of unlikely because it sure looks like the real deal and in fact, it turned out to be no illusion. I voiced my initial reaction to the video in an earlier post and now here are my latest thoughts.

CBS sent over reporters to spend some time with the family and  found that it was true after all. What shocks me most is that while the parents say they would like to stop the baby, they can’t stand to see him going through withdrawal. My question to them is, “Isn’t watching him throw a tantrum better than seeing him battle emphysema before he even hits his teen years?”

When I started looking into it more, perhaps many of us are passing judgment from the understanding we have of the dangers of smoking as Americans. Gone are the days when tobacco ads tried to make smoking seem like a healthy choice. Today we are living in a decade marked by smoking bans in most public places and accessibility to effective medications like Chantix to help ease the pains of the quitting process.

In the CBS video, there is a clip from Matthew Myers of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. After hearing what he had to say about the topic of children smoking in Indonesia, it made me realize that while seeing a video like this comes as a shock to us, it’s the norm in Indonesia. Myers also stated a few shocking statistics during that CBS interview:

1. Over 31% of all children in Indonesia smoke before the age of 10

2. Over 80% of Indonesian smokers begin as teens

3. Indonesia is the 3rd largest tobacco consumer

Fortunately, the video does end on a more positive note. Currently little Aldi is being helped by a local health officer and the Indonesian Ministry of Health is preparing to implement some new methods of tobacco control. While currently some help is offered for those who want to quit, there is not a lot of preventative education on the harmful effects of smoking. Hopefully, new and stronger tobacco control programs in Indonesia will begin to appear in light of the recent media attention.

Any thoughts?
Have you quit or are you currently trying to quit?

Indonesian Baby Smoking 2 Packs a Day: The Shocking New Face of Nicotine Addiction

By emilyM

When we are young, we’re like little sponges soaking up everything around us. The love of our families, friends, learning to speak, walk, eat and talk. For many, however, soaking up mom and dad’s secondhand smoke is part of the equation too, and later, pressure from peers to take a puff of that very first cigarette.

But for others, it’s far worse than that. Imagine being hooked on 2 packs of cigarettes a day… as a 2-year-old.

Perhaps one of the most astonishing and sickening videos to hit the Internet is, “Indonesian Baby on 40 Cigarettes a Day,” which surfaced on YouTube last month.

Introduced to smoking by his father at barely more than a year of age, this baby smokes an average of 40 cigarettes a day, with the mannerisms you would expect of a veteran 20-year-smoker, not a toddler.

He plays with his cigarettes, tilts his head back making a show of blowing smoke out of his mouth while giggling. A nicotine addict without the knowledge of what is happening to his body. This is a remarkably distressing story that highlights the need for education about the damaging health effects of cigarettes and the million and one reasons not to give a child one under any circumstances.

In the United States, this behavior would likely not be tolerated. Once discovered, action would be taken against the parents immediately. Add 20 years to that baby, however, and he would join the ranks of an estimated 45 million people who smoke in the U.S. today.

Virtually anyone born since the baby boomer generation can no longer use the excuse that they just “didn’t know it was bad for them” or for those around them for that matter. Today, it is common knowledge that smoking causes a wide range of health problems – heart disease, lung cancer, emphysema – just to name a few. This is why over the last  decade, changes have been made to discourage Americans from smoking and exposing the public to secondhand smoke.

From the ban on smoking indoors, to the largest increase in tobacco taxes last March, it is clear that a large population wants to be smoke-free, so why then are there so many still clinging to that deadly pack of cigarettes?

A recent study revealed that nicotine and other chemicals may have a deeper hook in American smokers than anyone thought. The report published in the June issue of Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, revealed that there are in fact more harmful chemicals in many cigarettes sold in the U.S. than nearly anywhere else, when compared to the contents of cigarettes worldwide.

All 50 states designate a Quitline for smokers and often distribute free or low cost stop-smoking aids. Perhaps this seems too good to be true… and now with the changing economy – it is. With most states being forced to make budget cuts, what was once a full public service is likely to become simply a support system, no longer with the tools to help the actual nicotine addiction.

News hit the Web today that Iowa will no longer be offering these stop smoking freebies.The sad part about this is that often community is not enough to help a person quit their deep rooted addiction. Support combined with smoking cessation aids is thought to be the most effective way to stop smoking for many.

For those who want to stop smoking, there are other options available.

Chantix is a nicotine-blocking prescription drug that has proven to be effective in helping to reduce and eventually eliminate the urge to smoke…and it doesn’t even contain nicotine. When you smoke a cigarette, receptors in the brain react to the nicotine and release dopamine which makes you feel happy and relaxed. Chantix acts as a blocker, not allowing that pleasurable “smokers euphoria” by cutting off the nicotine on the way to the brain.

After a personalized program is developed, the urge to smoke typically dwindles away as the medication is tapered over time.

Quitting Smoking is Easier With The Right Help

by jasonP

Quitting smoking is very difficult. Research has shown that quitters have much greater success when they incorporate peer-support resources and medical assistance into their attempt. Fortunately, every state in the U.S. has a Quit Line peer-support program.  In fact, medical assistance options are so effective that many states will offer them to uninsured and low-income program participants for free or at a discounted price.

The problem is this, there are two common types of medical assistance: 1. Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRTs), like nicotine patches, gums, and lozenges, and 2. prescription medications which treat withdrawal symptoms. Most states favor the less-expensive (and over-the-counter) NRT options. Unfortunately, this is often a non-solution. Many people simply transfer their nicotine addiction to the new medium. It is not uncommon to see an ex-smoker who has been using nicotine gum for many years. The withdrawal medications are generally better at breaking a smoker’s addiction to nicotine.

So, what is a smoker to do? The first step is to contact your local Quit Line. A list of all the state resources is available here. They can help you set up a “Quit Date,” prepare for the process, and provide support and counseling. The next step should be to get some real assistance with kicking the nicotine addiction. Quitting is hard enough. You should do everything you can to maximize your chance for success. If you want to try Chantix, you can visit www.kwikmed.com to get a licensed prescription, from a U.S. doctor, delivered right to your door. KwikMed also offers a Chantix Forum for continued support throughout your journey to become smoke-free.

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