The following article is a personal account by Michael O'Donnell and published in the American Journal of Health Promotion : I have to leave in a few hours to go to Kevin's funeral. We greet people at 10, mass starts at 11, and then we go to the cemetery to bury Kevin next to my dad. Kevin has already been cremated. Brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles, and friends started coming to town a few days ago. We are trying to focus on celebrating Kevin's life and supporting each other, but mainly we just feel sadâ€¦empty. At least that's the way I feel. I have been anticipating, fearing, this day for decades. Kevin started smoking in high school, maybe in junior high. He had the usual stimulantsâ€¦parents, uncles, neighbors all smoked and cigarettes were easy to find. I started worrying about Kevin's smoking when I was in college, after my parents had quit smoking, when I really understood the health impact. My reasons for wanting him to quit were selfish; I just did not want to bury Kevin at such a young ageâ€¦i.e., so early in MY life. I talked to Kevin about quitting smoking for decadesâ€¦until he wouldn't listen any more. He was a tough case for meâ€¦so smartâ€¦valedictorian of his high school class, the first person I ever met who got an 800 on his SATs. He had an answer for everything I said. A couple of years ago, he told me that smoking a cigarette helped him control his "explosive emotional disorder." Kevin was always very kind—in fact, I cannot remember ever seeing him angry—but apparently he lost his temper sometimes, for reasons he could not understand. He said he could feel these emotions building in advance, have a cigarette, and then feel them dissipate. Then again, maybe this was just one of those intellectual mazes he had constructed in his mind to explain to himself why he smoked. Kevin actually did quit smoking last fall, just over a year ago. He had been diagnosed with lung cancer, his doctor told him to quit, and he quit. He used a combination of nicotine replacement therapy and Wellbutrin. He was complaining about the Wellbutrin; it clouded his thinking and made it difficult for him to writeâ€¦his passion in life. I told him that the doctors probably wanted him to keep taking Wellbutrin to make sure he did not pick up a cigarette; maybe it had something to do with controlling his explosive emotional disorder. He said,"Don't worry, I am NOT going to smoke again." I asked how he was so sure, and he said, "Because I will die if I smoke." I was floored. How could he have smoked for nearly 50 years if he was concerned about dying? Somehow, after all our discussions, he did not believe that tobacco would kill him until he got lung cancer and his cancer doctor told him so. Did I forget to tell him that obvious fact? Did he construct another intellectual puzzle in his mind to convince himself that he would be THE ONE who escaped the very predictable path from tobacco to early death? I ask these questions because I don't want to go through this again. I don't want to lose another person I love to tobacco. Maybe I should have been more selfish in my discussions with Kevin, not focusing so much on my concerns for him, and instead telling him I did not want to bury him at such a young ageâ€¦in MY life. When tobacco killed my younger brother 2 years ago, I was inspired to write a scholarly essay summarizing the complex causes of smoking and strategies to help people quit.1 Today, I am just tired of losing people I love to tobacco. I feel empty losing Kevin. This is how everyone feels when they lose someone to tobacco. If you know someone who smokes, please tell them that you have a friend who lost two brothers to smoking. Ask them to quit for you, so that you don't lose them so early in YOUR life. Reproduced with permission. Michael O'Donnell, (2013) Now Tobacco Has Killed My Big Brother. American Journal of Health Promotion: January/February 2013, Vol. 27, No. 3, pp. iv-v. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.4278/ajhp.27.3.iv View Thread
Researchers from Penn State University are conducting an online survey to improve understanding of electronic cigarettes. Electronic cigarette users may complete the survey anonymously, or can provide contact details at the end if interested in participating in a laboratory study of electronic cigarette use. Please click on the link below to complete the survey. https://redcap.ctsi.psu.edu/redcap/surveys/?s=v94cbAView Thread
This links to BBC coverage of the inquiry into the death of a man in Gateshead, UK, who had been a user of electronic cigarettes. The inquirey recorded an "open verdict". Given that the man had previously smoked regular cigarettes for many years it is impossible to say what caused his illness. As e-cigs become more popular I think we are going to see more of these cases....not necessarily implying a causal effect. The more people use a product, the more people are going to get sick and die while using, just by chance.View Thread
Today the FDA Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) met for the last time before the presentation of its final report on menthol cigarettes on March 23rd. Most media reports are presenting the tone of today's meeting as indicating that TPSAC will recommend significantly more forceful regulation of menthol cigarettes. Ultimately it is up to FDA itself to decide if a ban is in order, and to recommend a time frame for changes. Here is one such media report . For my main reasons for agreeing that menthol cigarettes should be banned, check out this link .View Thread
The recent SRNT conference in Toronto included some interesting presentations on the effects of quitlines and attempts to get more smokers to use them. Although about 65% of U.S. smokers are aware that telephone quitlines are available, only about 9% of smokers have ever called one, and in the United States only about 1% of smokers call each year. Dr Jessie Saul of the North American Quitline Consortium reported that in states that spend more on promotion, there is a much higher utilization rate (eg over 6% of smokers calling per year), and it is widely known that quitline calls spike dramatically when the phone number is publicized or when free nicotine replacement therapy is offered along with counseling. So I thought that I should do my bit to remind you all of the services provided by quitlines, and encourage you to make use of them. Most developed countries, and every state in the United States provides a free telephone counseling service for smokers who want to quit. In the U.S. you can access your local state quitline by calling the national number: 1-800-QUITNOW (1-800-784-8669). The services will almost always be able to answer simple questions about stopping smoking, but most provide a more helpful service in which they will do an assessment interview, arrange a quit plan, including a quit date, and will then call you back at arranged times to help guide you through your quitting process. The quitlines are typically able to arrange 4 call-back calls, and in some states they are also able to supply free nicotine patches. The people at the end of the phone (quitline counselors) are trained smoking cessation counselors, and there is good evidence that people who enroll in and use telephone counseling have a better chance of successfully quitting than those who do not. So I would encourage all smokers who are thinking of quitting to call 1-800 QUITNOW (or the national quitline number in your country) and take advantage of this free service. I would also be interested to hear comments from those who have called telephone quitlines.View Thread
There are now a number of applications for smart-phones that are designed to help you to quit smoking, and I am sure there will be more over time. One that I am familiar with is the Livestrong MyQuit Coach currently available for the Iphone (and I believe soon to be available for droid etc?). This one tries to maximize your social support and remind you of your reasons for quitting by linking to social networking sites like Facebook and enabling you to upload reminders of your reasons for quitting (e.g. photos of your kids). It also helps to (maybe too much emphasis?) monitor and reduce cigarette use but is also compatible with just selecting a quit date and going with that. On this site it has good reviews so far but I would be interested to hear from anyone else out there who has used it.View Thread
Another excellent smoking cessation website is www.becomeanex.org . I like the way it treats quitting smoking as a process, and recognizes that it is not all over in a month. This site provides loads of useful tips and advice, and is particularly good at helping you link with networks of other smokers for added support. The site makes good use of new technologies to make it easy to register, easy to communicate with other smokers trying to quit, and fairly easy to ask a question not just of others trying to quit, but also of recognized experts, like Dr Richard Hurt of the Mayo Clinic. I also enjoyed the videos explaining nicotine addiction and how to use each of the smoking cessation medicines. Check it out and let me know what you think.[br>[br>View Thread
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