Thinking of quitting smoking? Today’s the day

Quitting smoking is famously hard. However, according to recent findings, the sooner one stops, the better. Perhaps today is the day?

Smoking tobacco, as most of us are well aware, increases the risk of a wide range of serious health issues.

Associated conditions include heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and several types of cancer.

Despite many of these dangers being common knowledge, giving up tobacco is challenging in the extreme.

Full story at Medical News Today

Smoking every day can increase psychosis risk, study finds

Two new studies report an increased risk of psychosis among smokers of not only marijuana, but tobacco, too.

The tobacco study has now been published in the journal Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, and the marijuana study — which was conducted by the same team — has now been published in The British Journal of Psychiatry.

Research has found links between psychosis and both tobacco and marijuana smoking — particularly in regard to schizophrenia-related psychosis.

Full story at Medical News Today

Smokers at greater risk of hearing loss

Smoking is associated with increased risk of hearing loss, according to a study of over 50,000 participants over 8 years in Nicotine & Tobacco Research, published by Oxford University Press.

Researchers analyzed data from annual health checkups, which included audio testing performed by a technician and a health-related lifestyle questionnaire completed by each participant. They examined the effects of smoking status (current, former, and never smokers), the number of cigarettes smoked per day, and the duration of smoking cessation on the extent of hearing loss. Even after adjusting for factors including occupational noise exposure, researchers noted a 1.2 to 1.6 increased risk of hearing loss among current smokers compared with never smokers.

While the association between smoking and high-frequency hearing loss was stronger than that of low-frequency hearing loss, the risk of both high- and low-frequency hearing loss increased with cigarette consumption. The increased risk of hearing loss decreased within 5 years after quitting smoking.

Full story at Science Daily

How exercise is key to successfully quitting smoking

New research has confirmed that exercise can help smokers finally kick the habit.

Experts at St George’s University of London, have examined the mechanism underlining exercise’s way of protecting the body against nicotine dependence and withdrawal.

The study reveals that even moderate intensity exercise markedly reduces the severity of nicotine withdrawal symptoms.

Researchers also showed there was an increased activation of a type of receptor in the brain called α7 nicotinic acetylcholine, which is a target of nicotine.

Full story at Science Daily

Tiny worms may offer new clues about why it’s so hard to quit smoking

Researchers at the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute found that a previously dismissed genetic mechanism may contribute to nicotine dependence, and to the withdrawal effects that can make quitting smoking so difficult.

Scientists in the lab of Shawn Xu examined withdrawal responses in the millimeter-long roundworms Caenorhabditis elegans, which get hooked on nicotine just like humans.

In the findings, scheduled to be published Nov. 7 in Cell Reports, the researchers identified specific genes and microRNA that play an essential role in how the roundworms develop nicotine dependence and withdrawal responses — clues that may carry over to the mammalian realm.

Full story at Science Daily