Smokers Have Two to Four Times Higher Risk for Suicide: Study

July 25, 2014 Posted by

A new study finds smokers are two to four times more likely than nonsmokers to commit suicide. State public health interventions such as indoor smoking bans and cigarette taxes could reduce suicide rates by as much as 15 percent, the researchers say.

“It is an open question whether smoking is a direct risk factor for poor mental health outcomes, and by extension, suicide,” the researchers write in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco. “If so, this would have significant implications for public health and clinical practice because it would establish smoking as a common and modifiable risk factor for suicide. In this case, more effective tobacco control policies and other smoking interventions could be promising means for suicide risk mitigation.”

Full story of smokers and suicide study at

Study: Counseling Via Telephone Could Cut Prescription Painkiller Use

July 24, 2014 Posted by

A new study finds people with chronic pain who received counseling from a nurse over the phone were able to reduce their dose of pain medication. The researchers say the findings suggest “telecare” could reduce the risk of prescription drug abuse and accidental overdoses.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association included 250 veterans with chronic pain. Half of the veterans received traditional pain care from their primary physician, and half received counseling from nurses via telephone and internet,NBC Los Angeles reports. The nurses’ goal was to reduce patients’ pain medication doses, and in some cases to have them stop taking painkillers altogether, the article notes.

Telecare consisted of automated symptom monitoring and pain management counseling by a nurse care manager. Patients in the telecare group received interactive voice-recorded phone calls or online messages asking them about their pain, their reaction to medication and whether they wanted to speak with a nurse. They met with the nurse once in person, and then received phone counseling from the nurse throughout the study.

Full story of telephone counseling at

E-Cigarette Industry Churns Out New Flavors to Attract Customers

July 23, 2014 Posted by

E-cigarette makers are quickly producing new flavors to attract customers, The New York Times reports. More than 7,000 flavors are now available, with an estimated 250 new varieties being introduced each month.

As fewer Americans smoke, tobacco companies are increasingly turning their attention to e-cigarettes. This week, Reynolds American agree to buy Lorillard, joining two of the country’s largest tobacco manufacturers. Both companies are ramping up their production of e-cigarettes.

E-cigarette makers say offering a variety of flavors differentiates them from regular cigarettes.

 Full story of e-cigarette flavors to attract customers at

Text Messages Can Help Reduce Young Adults’ Binge Drinking

July 22, 2014 Posted by

Receiving text messages about binge drinking after visiting the emergency room can help young adults reduce their hazardous alcohol consumption by more than 50 percent, a new study suggests.

The study included 765 young adults seen in the emergency room, who had a history of hazardous drinking. The study participants were divided into thirds. One third received text messages for 12 weeks that prompted them to respond to questions about their drinking. They received texts in return that offered feedback on their answers, News-Medical reports. Another third received text messages asking about their drinking, but received no feedback. The remaining third received no text messages.

Full story of text messaging and binge drinking at

Almost 90,000 ER Visits Annually Due to Bad Reactions to Psychiatric Drugs

July 21, 2014 Posted by

Almost 90,000 emergency room visits each year in the United States are due to adverse reactions to psychiatric medications, according to the Associated Press. The findings come from a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Anti-anxiety medications and sedatives were the drugs most likely to cause adverse reactions, the study found. Most of the ER visits were for side effects or accidental overdoses, the CDC researchers report in JAMA Psychiatry. Almost 20 percent of ER visits related to psychiatric medications resulted in hospitalization.

The sedative zolpidem tartrate, found in sleeping pills including Ambien, was involved in almost 12 percent of all visits to the emergency room, and one in five visits for older adults.

Full story of ER visits due to psychiatric drugs at