New Research: 10 More Reasons to Stop Smoking

David Kaufman, M.D. Health Pro
  • I am currently at the annual congress of the American Thoracic Society, the largest international professional society dedicated to respiratory science and medicine. The Society’s motto is “we help the world breathe,” and the congress consists of 6 days of lectures, presentations and meetings all dedicated to improving lung health and our understanding of the biology of lung disease. Over 17,000 people from all over the globe attend!


    Today, I attended a session dedicated to smoking cessation in order to keep up on the latest science regarding quitting tobacco. The presentation was truly international, with research from Brazil, Mexico, Singapore, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom presented alongside research done in the USA. The session was dedicated to emerging research, that is, research that is still in the initial stages, most of which has not been submitted to “peer-reviewed” journals, which assures that the research is vetted rigorously.  As such, some of the data presented here may not eventually hold up to scrutiny. Nonetheless, I think it is worthwhile to share with you some of the latest research coming out on the topic of smoking cessation.

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    Here are some of the findings that I thought would be interesting to share with you:

    • Research confirmed the danger of second-hand smoke: wives of smokers are 25% more likely to get lung cancer or suffer heart attacks than wives of men who don’t smoke.
    • Some children who are exposed to second-hand smoke have blood levels of nicotine that are higher than the level of nicotine found in the blood of smokers.
    • Children exposed to second-hand smoke have to visit the Emergency Ward more frequently than children who are not exposed to smoke, even if they don’t have a diagnosis of lung disease, such as asthma.
    • Depression is common among smokers and may present an obstacle to quitting
    • Other obstacles to quitting include: fear of weight gain, excessive stress, social situations that favor smoking, and enjoyment of smoking.
    • These obstacles may be more common among African Americans and may be one reason why African Americans have more difficulty quitting.
    • The medication ChantixR is effective in helping even “relapsed” smokers (that is, smokers who quit and then later start smoking again) quit smoking and stay quit.
    • Interventions by nurses and other hospital personnel help patients who are admitted to the hospital quit smoking, even if these interventions last only 5 minutes; these interventions consisted of an explanation of the health benefits of quitting.
    • Smoking cessation leads to fewer hospitalizations among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
    • Despite its mission to lung disease research and lung health, the American Thoracic Society (ATS) only dedicates a fraction of its attention to research on stopping smoking.

    I am looking forward to the next couple of days of presentations, and I will share more new research with you in my next blog entry. Also, I hope that the ATS will listen to its own researchers and begin to dedicate more attention to smoking cessation in the future!

Published On: May 19, 2008