Tobacco

Peer Influence Doubles Teen Smoking Risk

Peer influence has long been known as a major risk factor for adolescent smoking, but findings have varied about how big the risk is or how this dynamic unfolds. A new, rigorous meta-analysis of 75 longitudinal teen smoking studies finds that having friends who smoke doubles the risk that children ages 10 to 19 will start smoking and continue smoking. It also found that peer influence is more powerful in collectivist cultures than in those where individualism is the norm.

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Smoking Reduction Quickly Lowers Death Rates

A study by the University of Liverpool has found that a decrease in smoking rapidly reduces mortality rates in individuals and entire populations within six months. Research by Professor Simon Capewell and Dr Martin O'Flaherty at the Institute of Psychology, Health and Well-being, examined evidence from clinical trials and natural experiments.

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Heavy Smoking Doubles Alzheimer's Risk

Heavy smoking in midlife is associated with a 157 percent increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and a 172 percent increased risk of developing vascular dementia, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. This is the first study to look at the long-term consequences of heavy smoking on dementia.

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Smoking Bans Reduce Heart Attack Admissions

A nationwide smoking ban in public places would save more than $90 million and significantly reduce hospitalizations for heart attack, according to a Henry Ford Hospital study. After analyzing data from the 13 states that don't have a law banning smoking in public places, researchers concluded that more than 18,596 fewer hospitalizations for heart attack could be realized from a smoking ban in all 50 states after the first year of implementation, resulting in more than $92 million in savings in hospitals costs for caring for those patients.

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Teen Smokers Don't Recognize Signs of Dependence

Kids who have just started smoking, but not on a daily basis, don't seem to recognize the early symptoms of dependence, according to a study. Published in the journal Pediatrics by Chyke Doubeni, MD, MPH of the University of Massachusetts, the study found that among kids who have started smoking, "an urge to smoke or being irritable because they are not able to smoke is a sign of early dependence. But they don't seem to recognize that symptoms such as irritability are harbingers of addiction."

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Test Could Identify Smokers at Risk of Emphysema

Using CT scans to measure blood flow in the lungs of people who smoke may offer a way to identify which smokers are most at risk of emphysema before the disease damages and eventually destroys areas of the lungs, according to a University of Iowa study.

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