Tag Archives: Cigarettes
In the 21st century, it seems U.S. teens increasingly prefer Jack Herer to the Marlboro Man. 2011 marked the first time high school students reported smoking marijuana with greater frequency than cigarettes, according to a new study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In the annual survey entitled Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance (YRBS), 15,425 students from 158 high schools across the nation filled out questionnaires on a variety of sex, drinking …More
More high school students in the United States now smoke marijuana than smoke cigarettes, according to the federal government.
Among students nationwide, the prevalence of current marijuana use increased from 1991 to 1999 (14.7 percent to 26.7 percent) and then decreased from 1999 to 2011 (26.7 percent to 23.1 percent). The prevalence of current marijuana use increased from 2009 (20.8 percent) to 2011 (23.1 percent).
Nationwide, 39.9 percent of students had ever used marijuana in their life. Overall, the prevalence of ever having used cannabis was higher among male students (42.5 percent) than among females (37.2 percent); higher among white male (40.3 percent), black male (48.5 percent) and Hispanic male (45.0 percent) than among white female (35.4 percent), black female (37.7 percent), and Hispanic female (39.1 percent) students, respectively.
Overall, the prevalence of having ever used marijuana was higher among black (43.0 percent) and Hispanic (42.1 percent) than white (37.9 percent) students, and higher among black male (48.5 percent) and Hispanic male (45.0 percent) than white male (40.3 percent) students.
Among students nationwide, the prevalence of having ever used marijuana increased during 1991-1999 (31.3 percent to 47.2 percent), and then decreased during 1999-2011 (47.2 percent to 39.9 percent). The prevalence of ever having used marijuana increased from 2009 (36.8 percent) to 2011 (39.9 percent).
The prevalence of having tried marijuana before age 13 increased during from 1991 to 1999 (7.4 percent to 11.3 percent) and then decreased from 1999 to 2011 (11.3 percent to 8.1 percent). The prevalence of having tried marijuana before age 13 did not change significantly from 2009 (7.5 percent) to 2011 (8.1 percent).
Nationwide, 5.9 percent of students had used marijuana on school property one or more times during the 30 days prior to the survey. The prevalence of having used cannabis on school property decreased from 1995 to 2005 (8.8 percent to 4.5 percent) and then increased from 200t to 2011 (4.5 percent to 5.9 percent). The prevalence of having used marijuana on school property increased from 2009 (4.6 percent) to 2011 (5.9 percent).
Teen tobacco use has been falling for decades, showing the effectiveness of a model based on education and information rather than prosecution and incarceration. Marijuana use rose during the late 1960s and 70s, then fell during the “Just Say No” Reagan years of the 1980s before rising again.
Marijuana and cigarettes were at almost the same level occasionally, but last year was the first time joints clearly passed cigarettes.
Another independent survey from the University of Michigan also found that marijuana use was higher than cigarette smoking. According to one Michigan expert, modern teens seem to view marijuana as less dangerous than cigarettes — once again showing how powerful correct information and education can be.
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Study Links Sleeping Pills to 4.6-Fold Higher Death Risk
Feb. 27, 2012 — A provocative new study finds that people who take prescription sleeping pills — even once in a while — have a higher death risk than non-users.
The top third of sleeping-pill users had a 5.3-fold higher death risk. They also had a 35% higher risk of cancer, the study found.
“We are not certain. But it looks like sleeping pills could be as risky as smoking cigarettes. It looks much more dangerous to take these pills than to treat insomnia another way,” study leader Daniel F. Kripke, MD, tells WebMD.
The sleeping pills in question are known as hypnotics. They include newer drugs such as zolpidem (the best known brand name is Ambien) as well as older drugs such as temazepam (the best known brand name is Restoril).
Hypnotic sleeping pills actually cause a person to fall asleep. This sets them apart from other sleeping aids, such as the supplement melatonin, which promote sleep through relaxation. Other sleep drugs described as hypnotics by Kripke and colleagues include eszopiclone (Lunesta), zaleplon (Sonata), triazolam (Halcion), flurazepam (Dalmane), barbiturates, and older antihistamines such as diphenhydramine.
Kripke, emeritus professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, began looking at a possible link between sleeping pills and death risk in 1975. Since then, he and others have published 18 studies that found a link.
In their latest study, Kripke’s team analyzed 2002-2007 data from a large Pennsylvania health system. They obtained medical records for 10,529 people who were prescribed hypnotic sleeping pills and for 23,676 matched patients who were never prescribed sleeping pills.
Over an average of 2.5 years, the death rate for those who did not use sleeping pills was 1.2%. It was 6.1% for people with sleeping pill prescriptions. Even those prescribed 18 or fewer sleeping pills a year had a 3.6-fold higher death risk.
Based on these findings, Kripke and colleagues estimate that sleeping pills are linked to 320,000 to 507,000 U.S. deaths each year.
“We think these sleeping pills are very dangerous. We think they cause death. We think they cause cancers,” Kripke says. “It is possible but not proven that reducing the use of these pills would lower the U.S. death rate.”
Most of the people in the Kripke study were taking Ambien or Restoril. Sanofi-Aventis, the maker of Ambien, notes that the Kripke study has a number of shortcomings.
“Ambien has more than 17 years of real-world experience and is safe and effective when prescribed and taken according to its labeling,” Sanofi says in a statement sent to WebMD. “Ambien should be prescribed in strict adherence to its labeling and patients should take their medication as prescribed. The Ambien labeling carries specific warnings against driving and against intake of alcohol together with Ambien.”
FRIDAY Dec. 16, 2011 — Not only does their health improve, but people who quit smoking get a boost in their quality of life, new research finds.
“Quitting is hard, but if you can actually do it, there are a lot of benefits that you might not have thought about,” said study author Megan E. Piper.
“If you thought you’d have more stress, that quitting would put more stress on your relationships, or that you’ll feel worse forever, that isn’t the case,” said Piper, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and its Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention.
The findings don’t make specify how much of a difference quitting makes in percentage terms. Still, they show a definite gain, she said. Three years after stopping, study participants who had quit reported fewer stressors and improved mood compared to those who continued smoking.
Piper said she and her colleagues wanted to see if they could confirm assumptions about smokers feeling better after they quit and “put some science behind what everybody thinks is true.”
One way to do that is to look at how people describe their quality of life. That’s tricky, Piper said, since quality of life tends to decline as people age. Even so, the researchers figured they could examine trends over time by comparing people who kept smoking to those who quit.
The study authors looked at the results of surveys of 1,504 people from Wisconsin — 58 percent women, 84 percent white — who took part in a smoking cessation study that began between 2005 and 2007. Participants were assigned to one of six groups, some of them using a nicotine patch, nicotine lozenges, the drug bupropion (Wellbutrin), a combination of those aids or a placebo. All also received counseling to help them quit.
Researchers followed the participants for three years and tested their blood to see if they had actually quit. They also asked about self-regard, standard of living, relationships, friendships and other measures of quality of life.
The study results were published online Dec. 9 in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine.
Overall, quality of life went down for both groups, those who quit and those who kept smoking, but it went down less for the quitters, Piper said. “This is just a little bit of additional scientific evidence that things will get better if you can get through those first couple of months.”
Although the findings don’t prove cause-and-effect, the authors said they suggest that life satisfaction could be used as a motivating tool for people reluctant to quit smoking. Smokers die 13 to 14 years earlier than nonsmokers on average, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.
Linda Sarna, the chair of nursing at the University of California, Los Angeles, who’s familiar with the research, agreed with what the study says regarding the value of quitting smoking. “The message is that it’s not just about reducing your risk of heart disease or cancer, it’s also about benefits,” she said. “You’ll get through this and your quality of life will be probably be better than if you continue to smoke.”
The message is especially important now when people are making resolutions for 2012, she said. “They will be able to get over the loss of smoking — the loss of that friend, the cigarette,” she said.
For more about quitting smoking, try the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Posted: December 2011