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Just one cigarette a day can lead to heart disease

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, February 6th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: A man smokes a cigarette along a road in Mumbai, India, October 26, 2016. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/File Photo

(Reuters Health) – Smoking just one cigarette a day carries half the risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke as a pack-a-day habit, according to research that concludes there is no safe level of smoking.

The study team analyzed data from 141 smaller studies to assess the risk of heart disease and stroke for people who smoked one, five or 20 cigarettes a day. Men who smoked one cigarette a day were 74 percent more likely to have heart disease and 30 percent more likely to have a stroke than men who never smoked at all, they report in The BMJ.

Women who smoked one cigarette daily were more than twice as likely to develop heart disease and 46 percent more likely to have a stroke than women who didn’t smoke.

“People who have always been light smokers will have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease than many of them expect,” said lead study author Allan Hackshaw of the Cancer Institute at University College London in the UK.

While their risk is still lower than for heavy smokers, the results should offer fresh motivation for light smokers to quit altogether, Hackshaw said by email. Heavy smokers, meanwhile, can benefit from cutting back even if they can’t quit.

“Cutting down is certainly better than smoking the same high amount,” Hackshaw advised. “And cutting down has significant reductions in the risk of cancer and other disorders; hence, it is absolutely important that people try this if they find it too difficult to stop completely.”

For example, men who smoked about a pack a day had more than twice the risk of heart disease as non-smokers, while the risk was 58 percent higher than nonsmokers’ for men who smoked five cigarettes a day and 48 percent higher for men who smoked just one.

Similarly, women who smoked five cigarettes daily had 43 percent of the excess of heart disease associated with a pack-a-day habit, while women who smoked one cigarette a day had 31 percent of the excess risk.

Compared to nonsmokers, men who smoked 20 cigarettes a day were 64 percent more likely to have a stroke and women had more than twice the risk for stroke.

The study wasn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how the number of cigarettes people smoke on a typical day might impact their risk of heart disease or stroke.

Another limitation of the analysis is that researchers lacked data on individual patient characteristics from many of the smaller studies, making it impossible to assess whether the study results might be explained by factors that can independently lead to stroke and heart disease and stroke such as obesity and diabetes.

Even so, the findings should serve as a reminder that no amount of smoking is safe, said Kenneth Johnson of the School of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Ottawa in Canada, who wasn’t involved in the study.

That’s because smoking can lead to an irregular heart beat, blood clots too well, thickening and stiffening of the artery walls and increased blood pressure, Johnson, author of an accompanying editorial, said by email.

“With regard to the number of cigarettes, it’s a little like with matches, you only need one – not the whole box – to start a fire,” Johnson said. “Even secondhand smoke appears to trigger these damaging processes, resulting in 80 to 90 percent of the effect associated with active smoking.”

SOURCES: bit.ly/2DE8ytj and bit.ly/2E5tmcf BMJ, online January 24, 2018.

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DOH, health advocates push for higher tax on cigarettes

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, October 12th, 2018

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) and several health advocates are calling on the  immediate passage of a measure that would increase the taxes on cigarettes.

No less than Health Secretary Francisco Duque III led a forum on Friday (October 12) to campaign and push the Senate Committee on Ways and Means chaired by Senator Sonny Angara to increase the amount of excise tax on cigarette items.

Duque emphasized that the proposal would help minimize the number of smokers and patients who fall ill and die because of smoking cigarettes.

“The ultimate goal of the DOH is understanding that the Sin Tax law must proceed with the angle of health and

The group urges Senate to consider a P60.00 or P90.00 in tax to each pack of cigarettes.

Based on a prior study on the impact of the measure, around one to two million smokers would be encouraged to quit once the proposal becomes a law.

“Kapag tumaas kasi ang presyo siempre magkakaroon iyan ng impact sa demand, sa consumption at magkakaroon din iyan ng impact sa number of smokers,” Duque said.

The Health Secretary already forwarded a letter to President Rodrigo Duterte requesting him to certify as urgent the proposed increase in excise tax on cigarettes.

Aside from health reasons, the DOH believes that the additional tax on cigarettes will help support the implementation of the Universal Healthcare Bill once it is enacted into law. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Joan Nano.)

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Childhood secondhand smoke exposure tied to arthritis in adulthood

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Saturday, September 29th, 2018

A man smokes a cigarette along a road in Mumbai, India, October 26, 2016. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/File Photo

(Reuters Health) – Women exposed to secondhand smoke as children may be more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than people who didn’t breathe cigarette fumes growing up, a French study suggests.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an immune system disorder that causes debilitating swelling and pain in the joints. It’s less common than osteoarthritis, which happens when cartilage on the ends of bones wears down over time.

Smoking has long been linked to an increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis. But the new study suggests that secondhand smoke may also increase this risk.

Altogether, the study involved 71,248 women, including 371 who eventually developed rheumatoid arthritis. Current and former smokers who were not exposed to smoke as children were 38 percent more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than those who had never smoked. When current or former smokers were also exposed to secondhand smoke during childhood, they were 67 percent more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis.

Among women who never smoked at all, exposure to secondhand smoke during childhood was associated with a 43 percent higher risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis compared with no secondhand smoke exposure growing up, although this difference was not statistically significant, meaning it was too small to rule out the possibility it was due to chance.

“In adults exposed to active smoking, the mechanism leading to rheumatoid arthritis onset is quite well understood,” said study co-author Dr. Marie-Christine Boutron-Ruault of the INSERM epidemiology and population health research center at Paris-Sud University in Villejuif, France.

Rheumatoid arthritis happens when the immune system that’s supposed to attack invaders like bacteria and viruses mistakenly attacks healthy cells. In adult smokers, changes in some proteins in the air cells of the lungs are thought to trigger this autoimmune activity, leading to rheumatoid arthritis, Boutron-Ruault said by email.

“It is highly likely that the phenomenon described in adult smokers occurs similarly in passively exposed children,” Boutron-Ruault added. “The triggering of autoimmunity in children might not be restricted to rheumatoid arthritis risk, and could possibly increase the risk of other autoimmune diseases.”

For the study, researchers examined survey data collected every three years, starting in the 1980s. Participants were 50 years old on average when they joined the study and about 54 percent of them had never smoked. About 14 percent were current smokers and 32 percent were former smokers.

The study wasn’t designed to prove whether or how secondhand smoke exposure during childhood might cause rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers also relied on women to report their smoking history and tobacco exposure during childhood, and self-reported information may not be as reliable as data from lab tests or medical records.

It’s also possible that secondhand smoke exposure during childhood increases the risk of rheumatoid arthritis just because it leads to more cumulative years of smoke exposure among people who smoke as adults, said Jill Norris, a researcher at the Colorado School of Public Health in Aurora.

While it’s not clear that avoiding smoke exposure during childhood can prevent rheumatoid arthritis in the future, there are many other good reasons not to expose kids to secondhand smoke, Norris, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.

“The general advice is that if a parent is going to smoke, they should not smoke in the home or in the car when their children are riding with them,” Norris said. “It is also important to ask any caregivers (nannies, relatives, etc) to do the same.”

SOURCE: bit.ly/2NHHJFm Rheumatology, online August 14, 2018.

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Cigarette prices to increase more with passage of Universal Health Care Bill – DOH

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, August 16th, 2018

 

A man taps ashes off his cigarette into an ashtray filled with cigarette. | REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic

MANILA, Philippines – The prices of cigarettes are seen to go up further as higher tariffs are set to be imposed on tobacco products to fund the Universal Health Care Bill, which aims to provide Filipinos with access to health services.

According to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, the increase in tobacco prices is due to the new round of sin taxes which will be on top of the hikes under the first package of the Tax Reform Law.

The tax hikes will be a major source of funding once The Universal Health Care Law is enacted. Over P135B fund is needed for the first year of its implementation and a total of P256B for the fourth year.

“Eighty-five percent (85%) of the incremental proceeds will go to health and 80% of the 85% share of the health sector doon pupunta sa PhilHealth at iyon namang bente porsyento ay para mapondohan ang ating mga health facilities enhancement program,” Duque explained.

Though the amount of the price increase still depends on the decision of the lawmakers, Secretary Duque believes this is a win-win solution for the health of the Filipinos.

He also supports Senator Jv Ejercito’s proposal to hike cigarette prices to P90.00 per pack. If the Congress approves the bill, the government will collect more revenue compared to the current P35.00 price per pack in 2019.

“Magkakaroon po tayo ng proceeds po ng about P45B. Malaking bahagi nito mapupunta sa pagpondo ng PhilHealth para doon po sa mahihirap na walang kakayahang magbayad ng kanilang pagiging miyembro,” he added.

The health official believes this move would also save more lives and reduce the number of smokers. It would also save the government billions of pesos in treating sick Filipino smokers.

Our target is to really bring it down to the 14% level of smoking prevalence from a high of 21.47% pero iyang 21. 47% bumaba na rin iyan kasi nagkaroon na rin tayo ng sin tax,” he concluded. F

The World Health Organization has reported that 17 Filipinos are dying every hour due to smoking.- Aiko Miguel / UNTV News and Rescue

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