Apr 25 2014

Smoking Affects Your Brain. Secondhand Smoke Is Affecting Your Child’s Brain. Isn’t It Time To Quit!!

Even if you don’t smoke, a new study shows, secondhand smoke affects your brain much as it does a smoker’s. It’s one more reason to steer clear of secondhand smoke in cars and other enclosed spaces. We know a lot more than we used to about the dangers of tobacco smoke. “When you smoke, you inhale thousands of hazardous chemicals,” explains Dr. Michele Bloch, a tobacco control expert at NIH. “They travel all around inside your body and cause damage to numerous parts.”
Cigarette smoke can quickly damage delicate lung tissue. It doesn’t have a chance to heal when it’s exposed to smoke day after day. The result can be a wide range of deadly lung conditions, such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
The chemicals from tobacco smoke travel from the lungs into the bloodstream. They damage your heart and blood vessels to cause cardiovascular problems, such as heart disease and stroke. Cardiovascular disease kills over 800,000 people a year nationwide. Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death nationwide. People who smoke are up to 6 times more likely than nonsmokers to have a heart attack. Tobacco also causes cancer. Up to 90% of lung cancer deaths are linked to smoking.
But the smoker isn’t the only one harmed by tobacco smoke. Secondhand smoke can make it more likely you’ll get heart disease, have a heart attack or die early. Bloch says. Secondhand smoke contains a mixture of hazardous compounds similar to that inhaled by smokers. Researchers estimate that 2.5 million nonsmokers have died from secondhand smoke since 1964.
Smokers find it harder to quit if they’re around secondhand smoke. And kids exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to become teenage smokers. “Usually people start smoking when they are adolescents,” explains Dr. Ivan Montoya, an NIH expert on treating substance abuse. “Adolescents who start smoking regularly can very quickly become addicted to nicotine and tobacco. It is then very difficult to quit.” Nicotine is the primary drug in tobacco that causes addiction. “Nicotine is a very addictive substance,” Montoya says. “It takes only a few contacts with the substance to become addicted.”
A team of NIH-funded scientists decided to take a closer look at how secondhand smoke affects the brains of young adults. About half of the study volunteers were nonsmokers. The rest were tobacco-dependent cigarette smokers. Each volunteer sat in a car for 1 hour while a smoker puffed away on a cigarette to create secondhand smoke. On a different day, the volunteers had a 1-hour car session without being exposed to secondhand smoke. Their brains were scanned before and after each session. The researchers discovered the addictive chemical nicotine—found in all tobacco products—both in the blood and attached to molecules in the brain after exposure to secondhand smoke. This nicotine binding was similar in smokers and nonsmokers. The smokers also had stronger cravings after being exposed to secondhand smoke. “These results show that even limited secondhand smoke exposure delivers enough nicotine to the brain to alter its function,” says Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse.

And Now An Update On e-Cigarettes:

You’ve probably seen electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, promoted as an alternative to traditional cigarettes. These battery-powered devices deliver nicotine to the lungs without burning tobacco. However, they still release hazardous chemicals into the air. Unlike traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes can be advertised on TV and radio, and many people worry that they’ll be attractive to kids.
E-cigarettes aren’t regulated by FDA. Scientists still don’t know their health effects, including how they could affect attempts to quit smoking. “The evidence is only beginning to come in,” Dr. David Theodore Levy, a tobacco control expert at Georgetown University Medical Center says, and research is ongoing. The number of calls to poison centers involving e-cigarette liquids containing nicotine rose from one per month in September 2010 to 215 per month in February 2014, according to a CDC study published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The number of calls per month involving conventional cigarettes did not show a similar increase during the same time period. More than half (51.1 percent) of the calls to poison centers due to e-cigarettes involved young children under age 5, and about 42 percent of the poison calls involved people age 20 and older.
“This report raises another red flag about e-cigarettes – the liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes can be hazardous,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Use of these products is skyrocketing and these poisonings will continue. E-cigarette liquids as currently sold are a threat to small children because they are not required to be childproof, and they come in candy and fruit flavors that are appealing to children.”

“The most recent National Youth Tobacco Survey showed e-cigarette use is growing fast, and now this report shows e-cigarette related poisonings are also increasing rapidly,” said Tim McAfee, M.D., M.P.H., Director of CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “Health care providers, e-cigarette companies and distributors, and the general public need to be aware of this potential health risk from e-cigarettes.”
Potential Adverse Events Associated With e-Cigarettes (as reported to the FDA):

What is an Adverse Event?
An adverse event is an undesirable side effect or unexpected health or product quality problem that an individual believes was caused by the use of a tobacco product.

Congestive Heart Failure

FDA attempts to regulate eCigarettes:

Despite decades of efforts to reduce tobacco use, it continues to be the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States. To address this public health problem, FDA proposes extending its authority to cover additional products that meet the definition of a tobacco product under the proposed rule: Tobacco Products Deemed To Be Subject to the Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act (Deeming). Currently FDA regulates cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco and smokeless tobacco. Proposed newly “deemed” products would include electronic cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, certain dissolvables that are not “smokeless tobacco,” gels, and waterpipe tobacco.
Once the proposed rule becomes final, FDA will be able to use powerful regulatory tools, such as age restrictions and rigorous scientific review of new tobacco products and claims to reduce tobacco-related disease and death.
Reporting an Adverse Event

Anyone can report an adverse event to the FDA. Please report adverse events with e-cigarettes via:
• The HHS Safety Reporting Portal or
• By calling 1-800-FDA-1088

“Quitting is lifesaving, and early quitting is especially good,” Dr. Bloch says. Let’s all work to end the use of cigarettes and other tobacco products. If you’re a smoker, free help is available at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) and online at smokefree.gov.


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