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November 27th, 2007:

More Proof Secondhand Smoke Damages Lungs

Published by WebMD on the 27th of November, 2007

More Proof Secondhand Smoke Damages Lungs

(WebMD) For the first time, researchers say they have evidence that long-term exposure to secondhand smoke can cause structural damage in the lungs that is indicative of emphysema.

Their study also suggests that the modified magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique used to detect the lung damage may be able to spot emphysema long before symptoms occur.

The researchers used global helium-3 diffusion MRI to study the lungs of 13 current or former smokers and 45 people who had never smoked. Of the nonsmokers, 22 had heavy exposure to secondhand smoke, meaning they lived with a smoker or worked in a bar for at least a decade. None had symptoms of lung disease.

The modified MRI detected signs of early lung damage in 67 percent of smokers and 27 percent of nonsmokers with heavy exposure to secondhand smoke, says researcher Chengbo Wang, Ph.D., of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

In contrast, only 4 percent of nonsmokers who had never smoked and had fewer than 10 years of exposure appeared to have signs of early lung damage, he says.

The research was presented here at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Modified MRI Detects Lung Damage

Wang tells WebMD that it’s long been thought that prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke can cause lung damage and emphysema, but doctors lacked a way to prove it.

“Previous methods of detection weren’t sensitive enough,” he says.

Helium-3 diffusion MRI offers more detailed images of the lungs than previous techniques, he says.

It works like this: first, helium gas is polarized with a laser; this makes it more visible on MRI.

Then, while lying in a conventional MRI scanner, a person inhales the energized helium. In just six seconds, the scanner collects images showing how the helium gas distributes in the tiny air sacs called alveoli in the lung.

Prolonged exposure to cigarette smoke causes the walls of the air sacs to break down and the air sacs to become bigger and bigger – early signs of emphysema, Wang says.

As a result, helium travels much further in people with enlarged air sacs than in people with healthy alveoli, he explains.

“Using helium MRI, we were able to detect microscopic changes suggestive of emphysema in smokers and people exposed to secondhand smoke,” Wang says.

RSNA spokeswoman Katarzyna Macura, M.D., Ph.D., of Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore, tells WebMD that the modified MRI needs to be studied in larger numbers of people before it’s ready for prime time.

“Accessibility and cost are the two big issues that need to be addressed,” she says. “Before any recommendations can be made, we need solid data and proof that what we are seeing [on the scan reflects lung changes indicative of emphysema].”

Improve Your Health – Quit Smoking

Extracted from the article “Health Dept Airs New Anti-Tobacco Ad Campaign” published in medical news today on the 27th of November 2007:

Quitting smoking is the single most important thing you can do for your health

There are many health benefits to quitting, and they begin just 24 hours after you stop.

In 24 hours
– Your chance of heart attack drops.

In 2 days
– Your ability to smell and taste improves.

In 2 to 3 weeks
– Your circulation gets better.
– You can walk more easily.
– Your lung function improves.

In 1 month
– Your cough, sinus congestion, fatigue, and shortness of breath decrease.
– Your lungs start to repair themselves, reducing the chance of infection.

In 1 year
– Your risk of heart disease is cut in half.

In 5 years
– Your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, and esophagus drops by about half.
– Your risk of stroke and heart disease begins to decrease

In 10 years
– Your risk of lung cancer is about half that of continuing smokers.

In 15 years
– Your risk of heart disease returns to the level of people who have never smoked.

Ten ways to make quitting easier

1. Prepare yourself.
Make a list of your reasons for quitting and read it often.

2. Pick a quit date.
Get rid of ashtrays and lighters, and throw out all cigarettes.

3. Have a smoke-free car and home.
It is healthier for others and will help you not smoke.

4. Get support and encouragement.
Tell you family, friends, and coworkers that you are quitting and ask for their support.

5. Get a quit buddy.
Ask a smoker to quit with you, or find someone who has already quit who you can talk to for support.

6. Notice what makes you want to smoke.
Alcohol, coffee, and stress can make you feel like smoking. So can seeing others smoke; ask smokers you know not to light up in front of you.

7. Think about using medications.
The nicotine patch or gum, and medications such as Zyban (bupropion) and Chantix (varenicline) greatly reduce your cravings and double your chance of success. Talk to your doctor.

8. Help yourself cope.
Drink a lot of water to help with cravings. Exercise to get rid of stress and improve your mood and health; a fast walk often does the trick.

9. Get your mind off smoking.
Talk to a friend when you feel like smoking. Get busy with a simple task, eat a healthy snack, take a walk, or chew gum. Stay away from places and situations you associate with smoking.

10. Stay away from that first cigarette.
Having even one can make you start up again. Cravings will decrease the longer you don’t smoke. If you can quit for 3 months, you’ll likely quit for good.

London’s economy boosts Capital Pub Company

Published in The Publican on the 27th of November 2007:

By Hamish Champ

No sign of a spending downturn in the city, says David Bruce

Despite fears of a downturn in consumer spending nationally, London’s ‘micro economy’ helped boost Capital Pub Company’s (CPC) trading in recent months, the group said today.

CPC’s chief executive David Bruce said the managed pubco was “lucky to be in the micro economy that is London. We’ve seen no evidence of a consumer downturn nor, with our pubs’ outside facilities, any problems relating to the smoking ban”.

He was speaking as the AIM-listed pub operator announced that turnover for the six months to September 29 had grown 36 per cent to £9.2m, with pre-tax profits, excluding profits on disposals, rose 19 per cent to £970,000.

Underlying earnings per share grew 11 per cent to 3.65p, while the interim dividend rose five per cent to 1.05p.

Acquisitions and “improved performance in the existing esate” were behind the figures, Bruce said.

On current trading Bruce said: “In spite of the poor weather, our national football team’s recent performances and the smoking ban we’ve seen no declines in either our food or drink volumes.”

CPC acquired four freehold pubs during the period for a total cost of £10.1m, plus it exchanged contracts on another freehold site for £2.2m.

It also recently exchanged contracts with Broken Foot Inns on a leasehold site in Kingston-upon-Thames, the Boaters Inns, for £450,000, which it expected to refurbish at a cost of £200,000.

“There’s a possibility we can persuade Kingston Borough Council to sell us the freehold [of the Boaters] one day,” Bruce said.

He said the group expected the pub to generate net sales of £200,000 per annum, giving a return on capital of around 30 per cent.

CPC aimed to double the size of its current 27-stong estate “in the medium term”, he added.