Electronic Cigarettes – Are They Safe ?

girn in cafe with E-Cigarette

girn in cafe with E-Cigarette

Electronic cigarettes, or as they are more popularly called, e-cigarettes, are designed to look like traditional tobacco cigarettes. Though the e-cigarettes contain no tobacco, they can be harmful because they contain nicotine which is a cancer causing chemical.
Their manufacturers would like the public to believe that they are a safer alternative to cigarettes, but this may not be the case.

How they work – The user inhales through a mouthpiece similar to traditional cigarettes. This flow of air triggers a sensor that turns on a small battery operated heater. The heater warms up a capsule that contains nicotine and propylene glycol. The vapor that is created gives the user the sensation of smoking a traditional cigarette. The vapor from these e-cigarettes also contains formaldehyde and acetaldehyde which can also cause cancer.

The U. S. Food and Drug Administration has done a preliminary analysis of these devices and concluded that the vapors that they emit contain other carcinogens, such as  nitrosamines and diethylene glycol. It is presumed that the effects of smoking these e-cigarettes would have similar second hand effects as regular tobacco products and their use should be regulated in a similar manner.

Though they have been marketed as an aid to stop smoking for those trying to quit, there is no evidence that proves that these e-cigarettes accomplish that goal.. If you smoke, or know someone who does, and are interested in quitting we recommend speaking with your physician. You can also schedule an appointment with one of our pulmonary specialists at 718-206-6742 who can assist you.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Cancers besides Lung Cancer Linked to Smoking

Cancer

Studies have found that tobacco use is responsible for 30 percent of all cancer deaths in the United States.

It is common knowledge that lung cancer is one of the leading causes of death among smokers; however, smoking tobacco is also linked to the development of other life-threatening forms of the disease.    Besides lung cancer, tobacco smoke also increases the risk for cancers of the pancreas, esophagus, throat, kidney, mouth and cervix to develop.

It is more likely for cancer to spread throughout the body of a smoker than a non–smoker because:

  1. The toxins found in cigarettes weaken the immune system, making it difficult for the body to fight cancer cells and prevent them from growing.
  2. These poisons can alter or damage the DNA of cells. When a cell’s DNA is damaged, it is not able to function properly and can begin to grow out of control.

A smoker can reduce their risk of developing cancer simply by quitting.  Research indicates that within five years of quitting, a person can lower their risk of getting cancer of the bladder, esophagus, and throat by as much as 50 percent.  After ten years of quitting the risk of dying from lung cancer can also be reduced by half.

The journey to quit smoking can be difficult, but you do not have to do it alone. Jamaica Hospital’s smoking cessation team wants to help you develop a plan leading to your “quit day”.  Our hospital has partnered with the American Lung Association to bring you Freedom from Smoking, a comprehensive and successful group-based smoking cessation program, for more information call 718-206-8494.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

How smoking affects nutrition

Smoking plays a large role in the body’s ability to absorb and process nutrients. The nicotine in cigarettes is a potent chemical that negatively affects the systems of the body and how they function. One of the functions that nicotine affects is the body’s ability to maintain the proper level of nutrients.
Vitamin and mineral absorption is also diminished by nicotine, and is more likely to be drained from stores within the body. Vitamin C which the body needs to prevent organ damage is depleted when nicotine is present. People who smoke also tend to have a higher incidence of osteoporosis because less vitamin D absorption leads to less calcium available to strengthen bones.
Nicotine suppresses a person’s appetite by interacting with the brain and central nervous system. One of the ways it occurs is by altering the way we detect flavor.
Quitting smoking will help to restore the body to a better nutritional status. Until a person is able to stop smoking completely, it is a good idea to add fruits and vegetables to the diet. This will help the body by making more minerals and vitamins available to be absorbed. Jamaica Hospital offers a program to help people who are interested in quitting. To learn more, please call 718-206-8494.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

How Harmful is Occasional or Social Smoking?

social smoking-79071856 “I am not really a smoker because I only smoke on occasion or socially.” These words are frequently spoken by those who consider themselves light or social smokers.  It is quite common to find that people within this group are usually in denial of the frequency of their use of cigarettes and believe that they are not at risk of developing tobacco-related illnesses.

The truth is contrary as research has found that one third of people who classify themselves as social smokers actually smoke more than six times per day.   Additionally, whether someone smokes a lot or a little, they are at risk for developing diseases caused by tobacco.  The damage that one puff of nicotine causes is instant.  It takes 10 seconds for nicotine to be transported throughout the body and to the brain.  It slows down circulation and increases blood pressure and heart rate.

Furthermore in a study conducted by the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education it was found that light smoking may result in several health complications such as:

  • Stroke
  • COPD
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Lower respiratory tract infections
  • Weakened immune systems

Smoking occasionally or socially does not exclude you from developing the health complications associated with tobacco use. Over time smoking will take its toll on your body. The best thing you can do for your health is quit smoking.

If you or someone you know needs help in quitting smoking please contact Jamaica Hospital’s Freedom From Smoking program at 718 206 8494 or visit www.smokefree.gov for more information.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

How “Annual” Is Your Annual Physical?

HypertesionThinkstockPhotos-477722758A.  Yearly

B. Bi-Yearly

C. When I don’t feel good

D. I don’t do doctors

 

An annual exam is a good way of tracking your health progress.  Some of the benefits are:

  • Primary prevention
  • To identify risk factors for common chronic diseases
  • To detect disease that has no apparent symptoms (secondary prevention)
  • A way for the doctor to counsel people to promote healthy behavior
  • To update clinical data since your last check-up
  • To enhance the relationship betweenyou and your doctor

If you are interested in scheduling an exam, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center is centrally located and has convenient hours.  Call 718-206-7001 for an appointment.

 

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

The Great American Smokeout

Every year, on the third Thursday of November, the American Cancer Society encourages everyone to take part in the Great American Smokeout. This event helps to make people aware of the dangers of using tobacco products as well as the tools that are available to help them quit smoking.
The Great American Smokeout started in 1970 in a small town in Massachusetts. People were asked to give up smoking for one day and to take the money that they would have spent on cigarettes and donate it to a local high school scholarship fund. The event spread to other cities both large and small and eventually led to legislation that bans smoking in workplaces, restaurants, and other public spaces both indoors and outdoors.
Smoking  is responsible for one in five deaths in the United States today. Lung cancer is the leading cause of death in both men and women. Smoking is also the cause of cancer of the larynx, mouth, sinuses, throat, esophagus, and the bladder. The number of people who smoke has dramatically decreased in the United States since the anti-smoking campaigns began. In 1965 it was estimated that over 40 percent of the population were smokers and today that number is around 18 percent.
Smokers have the best chances of quitting if they use at least two of the following methods:
– Smoking Cessation Groups
– Nicotine substitute products
– Support from family and friends
– Telephone quit lines
Smoking CessationCounseling
Prescription medications that help to reduce the urge to smoke
If you would like more information about quitting smoking please call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a doctor at Jamaica Hospital to discuss smoking cessation, please call 71b-206-8494.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

November is COPD Awareness Month – Know Your COPD Facts

November is National COPD Awareness Month. This observance is an opportunity for everyone across the country to increase their overall awareness of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

ThinkstockPhotos-522695539COPD is a form of lung disease that makes breathing difficult. It is caused by damage to the lungs over a prolonged period of time and is usually attributed to smoking. COPD can result in serious, long term disability and is the third leading cause of death in the United States. It kills more than 120,000 Americans each year – that’s one death every four seconds and that number is increasing every year.

The most common symptoms of COPD include shortness of breath, chronic cough, and difficulty performing simple daily tasks, such as climbing stairs.

Those most at risk of developing COPD are individuals who:
• Are over age 40 and currently smoke or smoked at some point
• Worked or lived around chemicals or fumes
• Have certain genetic conditions

If you think you have COPD, you should:
• Talk with your healthcare provider about your symptoms
• Request a breathing test, known as a spirometry
• Quit smoking! If you need help, ask your doctor
• Avoid pollutants or fumes that can irritate your lungs

While you can’t undo the damage COPD has caused to your lungs, there are steps you can take to prevent the condition from getting worse, such as:
• Taking medications as directed by your doctor
• Enrolling in a pulmonary rehabilitation program
• Avoiding factors that can irritate your lungs
• Receiving annual flu and pneumonia vaccines

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Smoking and Emphysema

Smoking can lead to many health conditions, many of which are reversible or treatable. One disease however that is not is emphysema.

ThinkstockPhotos-490992422When someone has emphysema, the tiny air sacs (alveoli) at the end of the airways in their lungs are damaged. When these sacs are damaged or destroyed, their walls weaken and eventually rupture. Ultimately, this reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches their bloodstream. Smoking is the leading cause of emphysema.

While emphysema is most likely to develop in cigarette smokers, cigar and pipe smokers also are susceptible. The risk for all types of smokers increases with the number of years and amount of tobacco smoked. Other factors include:

• Age
• Exposure to secondhand smoke
• Occupational exposure to fumes or dust
• Exposure to indoor and outdoor pollution

The main symptoms of emphysema are shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. Because these symptoms develop gradually, you can have emphysema for many years without knowing it.

See your doctor if you’ve had unexplained shortness of breath for several months, especially if it’s getting worse or it’s interfering with your daily activities. Don’t try to attribute it to deconditioning, age or weight. Seek immediate medical attention if:

• You’re so short of breath that you can’t perform basic activities such as climb stairs
• Your lips or fingernails turn blue or gray with exertion
• You’re not mentally alert

Tests to determine if you have emphysema include imaging and lab tests. Lung function tests to measure how well air flows in and out of your lungs may also be performed.

Unfortunately, emphysema is not currently curable, but there are medications and therapies that can help relieve symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. In extreme cases your doctor may suggest one or more different types of surgery.

If you have emphysema, you can take a number of steps to halt its progression and to protect yourself from complications, including exercising regularly and avoiding irritants, but the most important measure you can take for your overall health and the only one that might halt the progression of emphysema is to STOP SMOKING.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Smoking Cessation and Weight Gain

One of the reasons that people don’t want to stop smoking is because they are worried about gaining weight. Smoking increases the rate of metabolism so when a person quits, their metabolism slows and they tend to eat a little bit more than they did when they were still smoking. As a result, people will typically gain four to 10 pounds when they quit. When you snack between meals, over the course of time, you can slowly be adding on the pounds. Nicotine is an appetite suppressant, so it reduces these cravings. Smoking also makes people feel good, so that is another reason that people will eat sweet  foods such as cookies and cake to replace cigarettes.
If you find yourself craving something sweet to eat, there are healthy alternatives:
• Fruits and vegetables
• Fat free or low fat snacks
• Sugar free candies
Drinking plenty of water and brushing your teeth frequently throughout the day will keep your breath fresh and will take away the urge to smoke.
Try finding alternate activities that will keep you busy so that you won’t have the desire to reach for a cigarette. It might be helpful to go to a movie theater, take a long walk, use the stairs instead of an elevator when possible, read a book and spend time with people who are supportive and who don’t smoke.
Smoking is a leading factor in heart disease, cancer, stroke, and many other illnesses. Speak to your physician to learn about ways to quit and how to manage the changes your body will experience. If you would like to speak with a physician at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7001 to schedule an appointment.Weight Gain

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Is Smoking Cigars Any Safer Than Smoking Cigarettes?

cigars 76755542Cigarette sales are beginning to see a decline while cigar consumption has been rising steadily.  This is partly attributed to the growing belief that cigars are a safer alternative to cigarettes.  Many smokers perceive cigars as having fewer health risks because the smoke is not inhaled into the lungs but is instead sucked and kept in the mouth for the taste. However, the most concerning misconception among smokers is the belief that cigars are safer because they do not have a Surgeon General’s health warning as cigarettes do.

Research has proven all of these beliefs to be untrue. Cigars do not require health labels because they are not as regulated as cigarettes. Furthermore, they contain some of the same hazardous chemicals such as arsenic and can have the same negative health effects.

Cigars contain high levels of the addictive substance nicotine. Nicotine can enter the body by being inhaled into the lungs and can also be absorbed through the lining in the mouth. Cigars are also known to contain more tar than cigarettes. Tar contains the carcinogen (cancer-causing substance) benzo(a)pyrene. Cigar smokers are at a high risk for developing cancers of the mouth, larynx and esophagus.

Cigar smoke has been linked to other health conditions such as oral, lung and cardiovascular disease. Chronic cigar smokers may be twice as likely to be at risk for COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). They may also face a higher risk of premature death caused by aortic aneurysms and damage to the heart.  Cigars can also wreak havoc on dental health by causing tooth loss, bad breath and stained teeth.

The National Cancer Institute has determined that cigars are no safer than cigarettes and there are no safe tobacco products. There is also no safe level of tobacco smoke exposure. For this reason and others previously discussed, the best option for smokers to improve their health and prevent the risk of developing chronic diseases is to stop smoking.

If you or someone you know needs help in quitting smoking please contact Jamaica Hospital’s Freedom From Smoking program at 718 206 8494 or visit www.smokefree.gov for more information.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.