Monthly Archives: March 2018

Studies Show Cigarette Smoking

You have probably experienced back pain. At one point or another, everyone has. Have you ever asked yourself whether your smoking has something to do with your back pain? You should have.

Smoking Hurts Your Back

It turns out that cigarette smoking has a direct influence on many aspects of your health. Back pain is just one of them.

How does smoking influence your back pain? It does so in the same way that it influences all other aspects of your health. Cigarette smoke contains toxic chemicals that affect your joints in a negative way.

One of my previous summer jobs involved lifting heavy items. Somehow I found lifting with my legs a hard concept to grasp. As a result, I ended up getting the nickname “Grandpa” that summer.

During that period, I experienced normal back pain, which I earned through hard work and stupidity. My pain went away when I finally changed the way I lifted stuff.

Chronic back pain is completely different. It doesn’t go away quickly, and you usually end up taking painkillers to control the pain.

The Search for Relief

Like smoking cigarettes, taking prescription painkillers has many negative side effects. One of the major issues associated with prescription painkillers is the risk of developing a strong addiction. Moreover, even with strong medication, only about 58% of chronic back pain sufferers get the relief they desire.

You may say that your nicotine addiction doesn’t have any influence on your pain. It may actually feel like cigarette smoking decreases the intensity of your pain. In general, though, cigarette smokers are more likely to lead unhealthier lives. Could this just be a coincidence?

You are like a hostage with Stockholm syndrome. You have gotten used to being a hostage, and you like your kidnapper-the cigarette. Smoking doesn’t add anything positive to your life, but you grasp at straws to justify your nicotine addiction. You know that you should quit smoking cigarettes if you really want relief. The relief that you feel when you smoke is just a distraction.

Cigarettes ARE the Problem

Smoking a cigarette allows you to switch focus for a few minutes. Your back pain doesn’t decrease in intensity, and it doesn’t go away. You have tricked your mind. If you don’t think about the pain, you don’t feel it. But it is still there.

Cigarette smoking is a major factor in the development of chronic back pain. More specifically, it is a major cause of hypertension and coronary artery disease, which negatively influence back pain.

Researchers conducted a study during which they monitored over 1,300 people for more than 50 years. The study followed 1,337 physicians, who graduated from Johns Hopkins University. The oldest participant was monitored for 53 years. This long-term study showed that high blood cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and other blood circulation issues played major roles in the development of chronic back pain.

Cigarette smoking has a devastating effect on the whole body. The circulatory system is no exception. The aforementioned study showed that, when all other variables remained the same, cigarette smoking was a major factor in the development of chronic back pain. The implications are very clear-if you want to get rid of your back pain you need to quit smoking cigarettes right now.

Smoking Impairs Your Ability to Heal

Every time you move, you damage your spine a bit. Your body constantly repairs this damage. When you smoke, your body makes available fewer, lower quality materials for these repairs. That is how smoking causes your back pain.

The study described above proved the existence of a connection between chronic joint pain and smoking. Another study determined how and why occasional back pain, which we all feel, develops into something that endures for weeks, months and years.

Nicotine addiction influences the development of chronic back pain in another way. Pain is not something physical. You can’t touch, taste or see it. Rather, your brain gets signals and interprets them.

Smoking Alters Your Brain

Smokers are three times more likely than nonsmokers to develop chronic back pain. How and why does cigarette smoking have such a strong, negative effect on your back? Smoking affects your brain’s addictive behavior and motivated learning connections. By strengthening these connections, smoking plays a major role in the development of chronic back pain and chronic pain in other parts of your body.

A strong connection between the two brain regions called the nucleus accumbens and the medial prefrontal cortex influences your resilience to chronic pain. Smoking makes the connection between these two parts of the brain stronger, thus impacting your susceptibility to developing chronic pain.

You Can Fix It

This damage is not permanent even if you have smoked for decades.

Researchers saw a dramatic drop in this brain connection among smokers who quit smoking cigarettes. Their vulnerability to chronic pain decreased. This means that that the damage was not permanent. Similarly, if you quit smoking, you can reduce the intensity of your chronic back pain.

You must first quit smoking if you want to eliminate your chronic back pain.

Nicotine Is Poison

This is one reason why quitting with the assistance of nicotine replacement therapy (nicotine gum, patches or other nicotine-containing products) is not as great as ads would have you believe. In order to reduce the pain in your joints, you need to eliminate all nicotine consumption. Nicotine promotes unhealthy brain connections, damages nerves and reduces your body’s ability to mend itself.

Smoking cigarettes damages your back because it damages your body and alters your brain. Decreasing the amounts of toxic chemicals you consume while continuing to consume nicotine might lead to some improvements in how you feel. However, you will still be addicted to nicotine and continue to strengthen those brain connections.

Four Weird Uses of Vaporizers

Vaporizers are often associated with colds and babies. Although they are very effective against fighting off colds they have other uses as well.

This article discusses four uses of vaporizers which do not fit into the baby plus colds genre. Read on to find out more, you may be surprised at the ways other people use their vaporizers.

Treat Ear Infection

Believe it or not vaporizers can be used to treat ear infections. A lot of ear infections are caused by the ear canals drying up too much. What’s even weirder is that germs that cause colds can pass through the ears. And vaporizers do a good job of killing them too.

Treat Bronchitis

Bronchitis might seem like a very serious disease but a lot of people suffer from it with varying levels of intensity. Inhaling medicated menthol and eucalyptus has been reported to do wonders for a lot of patients who suffer from chronic bronchitis.

Treat Dogs

Most of us never stop to think that our dogs are exposed to as much germs as we are. Most of us never bother to think about respiratory problems which are dog may contract. When was the last time you heard a puppy owner say their pets had “kennel cough?”

If you have heard about that then you probably know more about dogs than the average person. And if you knew that vaporizers are often used to treat diseases such as these in dogs you are most likely a breeder or a vet!

Help Stop Smoking

People who want to stop smoking miss the aroma of their favorite stick. Very often smokers who are not presently smoking will chew or suck on a candy that is menthol or mint flavored.

Vaporizers offering the same aroma can alleviate the temptation to reach out for another cigarette. A lot of ex-smokers have a vaporizer or two at home giving out these soothing aromas that do not cause cancer.

Vaporizers are a versatile appliance. These are only some ways to use them out of your nursery and child’s room. Don’t hesitate to use one of the mentioned methods above to make better use of your very own vaporizer.

Understanding Why Cigarettes

Most people now agree that nicotine is one of the most addictive substances we’ve ever known. And, although difficult to believe, there were many years when the tobacco industry denied this. These days, however, the scientific and medical community has so thoroughly studied tobacco that it’s just no longer possible to deny this fundamental truth.

Many scientists maintain that our mass-produced cigarettes are equally addictive to heroin, cocaine, and amphetamines. Speaking from my own experience, I maintain that cigarettes are more addictive. Some even say that it’s easier for an alcoholic to retire his bottle than it is for a smoker to give-up his carton. My experience confirms this also. I am an alcoholic and drug addict. I used to be the guy with vomit on my shoes copping a bag of dope on the corner with a cigarette sticking out of my mouth like an evil spear. I used to be the guy getting tossed out of the bar at last call: or sleeping it off in the police’s drunk tank. And, you know what? I put the gin and needles down a number of years ago; but, I still actively struggle terribly in maintaining my cigarette quit.

What does that tell you?

I sometimes marvel that cigarettes are legal while other drugs are not. As mentioned, in my life, I’ve discovered that cigarettes are more addictive than many drugs considered illicit. They are the leading cause of preventable death. And, there’s a huge industry which has devoted years and countless resources in engineering their addictive strength. Yet, they can be purchased at any convenience store; and, often by underage children.

Cigarette tobacco—-as a means for nicotine distribution—-would be staggeringly addictive even if no other processing occurred. However, Big Tobacco has gone to disturbing lengths to increase their product’s addictive qualities. Thus, fewer smokers succeed in their quits; and, the effectiveness of anti-smoking products is lessened.

One method for magnifying nicotine’s power is to add sugars to the tobacco. Big Tobacco justifies this addition by claiming it enhances flavor. However, Victor DeNoble (who was once a tobacco industry scientist) says that the product of burning sugar—-acetaldehyde—-may make tobacco more addictive. Mr. DeNoble performed experiments with rats and provided proof that acetaldehyde was addictive.

His research clearly showed that a cigarette compound besides nicotine lead to addiction. In addition, Phillip Morris’ experiments showed the addictive properties of acetaldehyde to compliment nicotine’s: when the compounds are combined their effect is multiplied. This is why many argue that nicotine replacement methods often don’t succeed: because, although they provide nicotine, the acetaldehyde is ignored.

William Farone, also a former tobacco industry scientist, suggested that the tobacco industry may be attempting other means to enhance nicotine’s addictiveness via other complimentary additives. Mr. Farone refers to GRAS—-an acronym for “generally regarded as safe”—-to name an assortment of other compounds used to make cigarettes yet more addictive: some GRAS compounds are cocoa and chocolate. They produce theobromine when burned. Theobromine increases cigarette smoke inhalation, allowing nicotine to get deeper into the lungs. It also takes the edge off the smoke’s bite.

Also disturbing is ammonia technology. By adding ammonia, cigarette smoke’s pH changes, turning nicotine particles into a vapor freebase. This vapor nicotine is more readily received into the smoker’s brain and bloodstream. The nicotine’s speed in the body is increased through this compromise of the blood-brain barrier.

Jeffrey Wigand—-known as a Big Tobacco whistle-blower—-said that American cigarettes contain at least 600 chemical additives. Although such additives are thought harmless in food and cosmetics; they mostly have not been examined and analyzed while burned and inhaled.

For those who think of our modern cigarettes as simply some pure tobacco that’s rolled-up in paper, it’s time to reconsider. It’s more truthful to consider our cigarettes as a highly-contemplated, deadly product which took many years and considerable brain power to perfect. And, it’s perfection leads to more deaths.

Dangers of Smoking Cigarettes

Dangers of Smoking

In the past, I’ve told you about the impact toxins can have on your health. But nowhere do you find a more concentrated source of environmental pollutants and chemical toxins than in a single cigarette.

As a former nicotine junkie, I know this isn’t what smokers want to hear. But, whether you currently light up, have quit the habit, or have never smoked at all, this is information you need to know.

The sad truth is that, every eight seconds, someone in the world dies from tobacco use. That translates to approximately 5 million deaths annually. In fact, half of all long-term smokers will die a tobacco-related death. As Clint Eastwood once said, “Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya?”

Then there’s secondhand smoke, which affects anyone living with a smoker – or those working in or visiting a smoke-filled environment. Secondhand smoke contains more than 50 cancer-causing chemical compounds, 11 of which are known to be Group 1 carcinogens. And what about that cigarette smoldering in an ashtray? It turns out that the smoke from a smoldering cigarette can contain higher concentrations of the toxins found in cigarette smoke than exhaled smoke does.

Make Me an Addict

If you think cigarettes are simply tobacco leaves rolled in paper, you’re about 597 ingredients off. Some ingredients are added for flavor, but research shows that the key purpose of using additives is to improve tobacco’s potency. And that means more people who try smoking become addicted. And the additives they are using are shocking.

I remember hearing something about “the list” of tobacco additives back in the 1990s, when tobacco companies first started being taken to task. But seeing the list again now that I’m a former smoker is quite a shock. When burnt, a cigarette spews more than 4,000 chemicals, including over 40 known carcinogenic compounds and 400 other toxins. These include nicotine, tar, and carbon monoxide, as well as formaldehyde, ammonia, cyanide, arsenic, and DDT. To think I used to put these toxins in by body, one pack at a time.

Chemical Soup

Once upon a time, cigarettes really were just tobacco and paper. But, allowing the full “flavor” of the tar to come through resulted in a bitter taste. The solution was to add filters and flavorings to improve the taste. But the cigarette manufacturers didn’t stop there. They found that a chemical similar to rocket fuel helps keep the tip of the cigarette burning at an extremely hot temperature, which effectively vaporizes the nicotine. Adding ammonia to cigarettes allows this nicotine vapor to be absorbed through the lungs more quickly. This, in turn, means your brain can get a higher dose of nicotine with each inhalation. Now that’s efficiency.

Here’s a list of the most toxic ingredients used to make cigarettes tastier, more stimulating, and more addictive:

Ammonia: Household cleaner.
Arsenic: Used in rat poisons.
Benzene: Used in making dyes, synthetic rubber.
Butane: Gas; used in lighter fluid.
Carbon monoxide: Poisonous gas.
Cadmium: Used in batteries.
Cyanide: Lethal poison.
DDT: A banned insecticide.
Ethyl Furoate: Causes liver damage in animals.
Lead: Poisonous in high doses.
Formaldehyde: Used to preserve dead specimens.
Methoprene: Insecticide.
Maltitol: Sweetener for diabetics.
Napthalene: Ingredient in mothballs.
Methyl isocyanate: Its accidental release killed 2,000 people in Bhopal in 1984.
Polonium: Cancer-causing radioactive element.

Quitting Time

Most smokers have a defense built up, making it easy to ignore the facts. Some smokers want to quit – they really do – but they’re afraid they won’t be able to, or they can’t imagine life without cigarettes. Quitting is hard, maybe the hardest thing you’ll ever do.

Why is it so hard to quit? Nicotine. Nicotine is an organic compound found in the leaves of several species of plants, predominantly tobacco. Nicotine by itself isn’t carcinogenic. However, it does interfere with the body’s ability to destroy potentially cancerous cells. Nicotine also activates acetylcholine receptors, which leads to an increased flow of adrenaline (epinephrine), which increases the heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, and glucose levels in the blood.

When smokers try to cut back or quit smoking, they experience nicotine withdrawal.  Withdrawal symptoms appear within a few hours and peak 24 to 48 hours after quitting. Withdrawal symptoms include tobacco craving, a desire for sweets, increased coughing, and impaired performance on tasks that require concentration.

Most symptoms last an average of one month, but hunger (due to the lack of increased blood glucose) and food cravings can last for six months or more. But, while these symptoms may last for months after you quit, the benefits of quitting can begin in as little as 20 minutes after your last cigarette.

o In 20 minutes, your blood pressure and pulse rate decrease, and the body temperature of your hands and feet increase.
o At 8 hours, the carbon monoxide level in your blood decreases to normal. With the decrease in carbon monoxide, your blood oxygen level increases to normal.
o At 24 hours, your risk of having a heart attack decreases.
o At 48 hours, nerve endings start to re-grow, and the ability to smell and taste is enhanced.
o Between 2 weeks and 3 months, your circulation improves, walking becomes easier, and you don’t cough or wheeze as often. Phlegm production decreases. Within several months, you have significant improvement in lung function.
o In 1 to 9 months, coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, and shortness of breath decrease as you continue to see significant improvement in lung function. Cilia – tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs – regain normal function.
o In 1 year, risk of coronary heart disease and heart attack is reduced to half that of a smoker.
o Between 5 and 15 years after quitting, your risk of having a stroke returns to that of a non-smoker.
o In 10 years, your risk of lung cancer drops. Additionally, your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas decrease. Your risk of developing an ulcer also decreases.
o In 15 years, your risk of coronary heart disease and heart attack is similar to that of people who have never smoked. The risk of death returns to nearly the level of a non-smoker.

One Last Thing …

If you’re a smoker, and you’ve decided to quit, good for you! You’re doing yourself and everyone you know a huge favor. Of course, there are numerous products on the market that can help you quit. But I’d like to mention some unconventional ways that just might work for you.

The most effective is acupuncture. Those tiny needles carry potent help if you’re trying to quit. Studies show that acupuncture boosts feel-good neurochemicals like endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine. This not only dampens the desire to smoke, it also brings about a sense of calm. But, be aware that you need to undergo repeated acupuncture sessions for this to truly help you quit for good.

If needles aren’t for you, St. John’s wort can also help you quit. This herbal antidepressant was recently found to lessen cravings in smokers. St. John’s wort works by increasing levels of dopamine in the brain. Low levels of this neurotransmitter may increase cravings and even depression. According to one clinical trial by researchers at the University of London, taking 300 mg. of St. John’s wort once or twice daily one week before and for three months after a target quit date was effective for helping smokers quit.

Research Brief …

As we age, brain cells shrink, the supply of blood to brain tissue dips, and chemical messengers called neurotransmitters decrease – resulting in sharp declines in cognition. But there’s an easy way to avoid this age-related brain drain: Get moving!

A new review of studies in the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows that regular exercise can reverse this cognitive decline, boosting the volume of brain tissue, increasing neurotransmitters, and replenishing the brain’s blood supply. Some of the studies found that just six months of aerobic activity reversed aging’s impact on the brain and improved an older brain’s ability to grow and develop.