The Week: Most Recent Health:The Battle over Smoking recent posts.en-usFri, 25 Jan 2013 15:40:00 -0500http://theweek.com Recent Health:The Battle over Smoking from THE WEEKFri, 25 Jan 2013 15:40:00 -0500An Oregon Democrat's doomed plan to require prescriptions for cigarettes<img src="" /></P><p>It's hard to argue that cigarettes are good for you. But should getting your hands on a cancer stick really land you behind bars? That's the apparent dream of Oregon Rep. Mitch Greenlick, whose latest proposed bill would make cigarettes a Schedule III controlled substance (like LSD and steroids), meaning that it would be illegal to possess or distribute them without a doctor's prescription. Those who get caught under this proposal would suffer a fine of $6,250 and/or up to a year in prison.&nbsp;</p><p>Sure, the law may sound extreme &mdash; especially coming from a state that nearly legalized recreational...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/samantha-rollins" ><span class="byline">Samantha Rollins</span></a>Fri, 25 Jan 2013 15:40:00 -0500Do cigarettes rot your brain?<img src="" /></P><p><strong>The question:</strong> Smoking cigarettes can do untold damage to your lungs and heart, but what exactly does the bad habit mean for your brain? A new study from Kings College London took a closer look at smoking's little-understood relationship with cognitive decline in an effort to answer that question.</p><p><strong>How it was tested:</strong> British scientists working on the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing studied more than 8,000 adults &mdash; many of whom were smokers &mdash; over age 50. Participants had their mental abilities evaluated with basic tests like learning new words or naming as many animals as they could...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffMon, 26 Nov 2012 11:00:00 -0500The San Francisco suburb with the country's toughest smoking ban<img src="" /></P><p>California is already among the states least tolerant of smoking, having banned the vice in restaurants, bars, most workplaces, and cars with children. Now, in at least one San Francisco suburb, some smokers will no longer be able to light up in their own homes. Here, a guide to the toughest ban on smoking yet and its chances of catching on.</p><p><strong>In their own homes? Really?</strong><br />In the San Francisco suburb of San Rafael, a township of about 57,000 people, the city council voted unanimously for a smoking ban in all homes that have shared walls, including multifamily units, condos, and duplexes. And the ban...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffWed, 17 Oct 2012 14:24:00 -0400The skyrocketing popularity of e-cigarettes: A guide<img src="" /></P><p>It seems like every time you turn a corner, you see a stranger puffing on a glowing electronic cigarette. Well, you aren't necessarily imagining things. In the four years since smokeless e-cigarettes debuted, sales of the battery-powered devices, reputedly healthier and less offensive than standard smokes, have exploded annually. In 2010, only 750,000 e-cigarettes were sold, but the following year, sales more than doubled to 2.5 million. And in 2012, the tobacco industry moved some 3.5 million of the devices, with no signs of slowing growth. But what are e-cigarettes, exactly? And why are people...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffMon, 20 Aug 2012 13:04:00 -0400Coming soon: A vaccine to help smokers quit?<img src="" /></P><p>Forget the patches, the electronic cigarettes, the nicotine gum: Pretty soon quitting smoking could be as simple as getting one single shot. Researchers have created a vaccine that floods the body with an antibody that stops nicotine from reaching the brain, rendering the relaxing effects of cigarettes ineffective. Experts believe this could pave the way for new treatments that help smokers kick the bad habit for good. Here's what you should know about the vaccine:</p><p><strong>How does it work?</strong><br />The vaccine tricks the body into creating antibodies that attack nicotine as soon as it enters the system, effectively...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 29 Jun 2012 07:59:00 -0400The future of Big Tobacco: Tobacco-free products?<img src="" /></P><p>Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris USA and Marlboro, will soon unveil its first tobacco-free nicotine product: A chewable, mint-flavored lozenge called Verve. Unlike other smokeless products, which have become a hugely competitive niche for cigarette makers, Verve has no tobacco, which might make it easier for Altria to market. Here, a guide to why tobacco-free products might give Big Tobacco a boost:</p><p><strong>How is the tobacco industry doing?</strong><br />It's seen better days. More and more smokers are quitting, possibly because of high taxes, public-service campaigns, and graphic warning labels. But Big...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffWed, 23 May 2012 14:40:00 -0400The CDC's shocking new anti-smoking campaign: Will it work?<img src="" /></P><p><strong>The video:</strong> The federal Centers for Disease Control has launched a confrontational $54 million anti-smoking advertising campaign, which horrifically illustrates the dangers of smoking to shock people into giving up cigarettes. One ad from the 12-week campaign (called "Tips From Former Smokers") features a man shaving, navigating his razor around a gaping hole in his neck, the result of a tracheotomy (see the video below). Other ads show a 31-year-old man who lost his legs due to smoking-related vascular disease or a woman who peels up her shirt to reveal a foot-long scar on her back, her souvenir...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 16 Mar 2012 11:45:00 -0400America's teen smoking 'epidemic': By the numbers<img src="" /></P><p>Smoking among young Americans has decreased in recent years, but still, 1,000 teens take up the habit each and every day. According to the first U.S. Surgeon General's office report on youth tobacco use since 1994, 80 percent of smokers are hooked before they're even old enough to buy a pack. "The numbers are really shocking," Surgeon General Regina Benjamin tells <em>USA Today</em><em>.</em> "It's a problem we have to solve." Here, a look at America's teen smoking "epidemic," by the numbers:</p><p><strong>3,800<br /></strong>Teens under 18 who tried their first cigarette on a typical day in 2008, the last year for which data is available...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 09 Mar 2012 13:23:00 -0500Are nicotine patches a waste of money?<img src="" /></P><p>Kicking the tobacco habit takes commendable effort, and there might be less help out there than previously thought. New research from the journal <em>Tobacco Control</em> finds that replacement therapies such as nicotine gum and patches might be ineffective in the long run. So what's the best way to stop lighting up? Here's what you should know:</p><p><strong>What did the researchers find?</strong><strong><br /></strong>In controlled studies, "smokers who used nicotine replacement doubled their chances of quitting for more than six months," says Alice Park at <em>TIME</em>. But what happens in the real world? Researchers from the Harvard School of Public...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffWed, 11 Jan 2012 07:15:00 -0500Should smokers and obese workers pay more for health care?<img src="" /></P><p>For years, employers have been trying to rein in sharply rising health insurance costs by encouraging workers to become healthier, usually by giving up cigarettes, or exercising to lose weight and lower blood pressure and cholesterol. That "carrot" approach hasn't exactly been an overwhelming success. Now, according to an October survey for the National Business Group on Health, more employers are turning to the "stick": Next year, 40 percent of large and mid-sized companies plan to raise health coverage costs for workers who smoke or won't voluntarily get in shape, up from 8 percent in 2009. ...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffTue, 01 Nov 2011 10:05:00 -0400America's blue-collar smoking trend: By the numbers<img src="" /></P><p>Miners and food service workers have something in common: They both like to smoke. Teachers and business professionals, however, are among America's least likely smokers. Welcome to the&nbsp;new "collar-color divide,"&nbsp;says John Gever at <em>ABC</em>,&nbsp;in which white-collar workers are much less likely to smoke than their blue-collar counterparts. Those are among the findings in a new&nbsp;study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which from 2004 to 2010 interviewed more than 113,000 Americans about smoking. Here, a look at more of the conclusions, by the numbers:</p><p><strong>19.3<br /></strong>Percentage...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffTue, 04 Oct 2011 06:20:00 -0400Are the new graphic cigarette warning labels unconstitutional?<img src="" /></P><p>Five of the six large U.S. tobacco companies are suing the federal government over new graphic labels required on cigarette packages starting in September 2012, claiming the images of dead and diseased smokers amount to unconstitutional "compelled speech." The companies, led by Lorillard and R.J. Reynolds, argue that since their product is legal, the government has no right to "require a cigarette pack to serve as a mini-billboard for the government's antismoking campaign." Do they have a case?</p><p><strong>Cigarette firms <em>are</em>&nbsp;being unfairly singled out:</strong> Everyone knows smoking can be deadly, says Sheila...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffThu, 18 Aug 2011 12:30:00 -0400The 'surprising' link between secondhand smoke and hearing loss<img src="" /></P><p>Despite years of graphic anti-smoking campaigns and public smoking bans, people continue to light up &mdash; especially at home, where more than half of American children and teenagers are exposed to secondhand smoke. Scientists believe that passive smoke either causes or exacerbates lung cancer, asthma, learning disabilities, heart disease and other conditions and now a new study now finds that teenagers exposed to tobacco smoke may also have significant hearing loss &mdash; and not even know it. Here, a brief guide:</p><p><strong>How was this study conducted? </strong><br />Researchers from the New York University School...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffWed, 20 Jul 2011 13:07:00 -0400Quit smoking by... texting?<img src="" /></P><p>Can simple encouragement really motivate smokers to kick the habit? If that encouragement comes via text, then yes. Motivational text messages sent to smokers' cell phones can double their chances of giving up tobacco, a British study has found. The text messages, designed by experts with the help of smokers, provide encouragement, advice on keeping weight off while quitting, and tips on how to overcome craving. For example: "Today is the start of being QUIT forever, you can do it!" Here, a brief guide:<br /><br /><strong>How did the study work?</strong><br />Referred to as "text2stop," the program enrolled 2,911 smokers who were...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 01 Jul 2011 13:55:00 -0400The FDA's 'gruesome' new cigarette warning labels<img src="" /></P><p><strong>The image:</strong>&nbsp;On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration unveiled nine "gory" new cigarette warning labels that tobacco companies will have to start using on their products beginning in September 2012. (See two of the images below.) The new images &mdash; which include&nbsp;a body with stitches down the chest, and a man blowing smoke through a tracheotomy hole in his throat &mdash; are designed to cover the top half of cigarette packs. The FDA hopes the new pictures, which represent the most significant change to cigarette warning labels in 25 years, will convince more smokers to quit, and...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffTue, 21 Jun 2011 15:55:00 -0400Nicotine: A cure for obesity?<img src="" /></P><p>Many cigarette smokers have shed extra pounds through their otherwise-unhealthy nicotine habit. But now, scientists have identified and isolated the pathways in the brain that are affected by nicotine's appetite suppressants. The research, published in the journal <em>Science</em>, might lead to the development of a healthy, nicotine-based treatment to control obesity. Here, a short guide to the findings:</p><p><strong>How did the researchers make their discovery?<br /></strong>It was accidental, actually. Researchers from Yale and Baylor were looking for new drugs to treat depression, when they noticed that mice given nicotine were...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffTue, 14 Jun 2011 06:30:00 -0400