Life expectancy tied to education
While the overall American life expectancy has increased in recent years, the improvement has not occurred for all Americans. Researchers compared life expectancy data from the 1980s to data from the 1990s, and found that people with more than twelve years of education had gained 1.6 years of life expectancy during the study, while the less-educated group’s life expectancy remained the same. The disparity is related in part to tobacco use, which accounts for 20% of the education-related difference in life expectancies. Click here for more information on the study; click here for the associated journal article, which is published in the March/April 2008 issue of Health Affairs.
Nicotine dependence in schizophrenia: Prevalence, mechanisms, and implications for treatment
Studies have shown that people with schizophrenia have high smoking rates, and the death toll from smoke-related health problems is 2 to 6 times higher among schizophrenia patients than the general population. Nicotinic receptors are part of the causal mechanism of schizophrenia, and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) for nonsmoking patients has been known to ameliorate their symptoms. Smoking also appears to block the adverse effects of schizophrenia medications. This article describes the interactions between NRT and traditional schizophrenia treatments, and outlines current research on the use of NRT to treat tobacco addiction in schizophrenia patients. Click here to find out more about treatment and prevalence of smoking among schizophrenia patients.
'Robbed' of the right to smoke
Going along with the indoor smoking ban throughout England, the country’s mental hospitals are to ban smoking as of July 1. However, there have been multiple legal cases where patients are attempting to stave off the ban. The legal argument is that because the mental hospital is effectively the patients’ home, and they are not allowed to leave the grounds, they cannot be deprived of their right to an undisturbed home life, as granted by the European Convention on Human Rights. Representatives of the National Health Service counter that mental patients are offered cessation services in conjunction with the ban, and that inpatients are deserving of a smoke-free environment, just as other National Health Service users. For more information, click here.
Focus groups address tobacco use among African American males
Focus groups of urban African American males in Ohio were held to gather information for anti-smoking efforts by the Ohio Department of Health to target the state’s urban population. There were differences in tobacco product preferences between study groups of older men and younger tobacco users. Older focus group participants were more likely to choose their tobacco products based on cost, switching to generic brands or loose tobacco when the cost of cigarettes is prohibitive. Younger tobacco users more often smoked “small cigars” or flavored tobacco products, and were less likely to switch tobacco products based on cost. Men of all ages were generally uninterested in over-the-counter smoking cessation aids, instead choosing to decrease their smoking by spending time with non-smokers and in non-smoking environments. Click here for more focus group results.
Among Americans, smoking decreases as income increases
A Gallup poll of 75,000 Americans has solidified disparities in smoking based on income that have been previously identified by Gallup and the Centers for Disease Control. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index showed that 21% of the American population smokes, and the highest smoking rates are seen in the lowest income brackets. Thirty four percent of adults earning $6000-11,999 reported being smokers, while only 13% of those earning $120,000 or more smoked. The survey findings also revealed disparities based on race and gender, with smoking rates highest among African Americans and males. Click here for more detailed results of the poll.
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