Smoking Cessation Meds Underprescribed To Hospitalized Cardiac Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Quinn Pack

Dr. Quinn Pack

Dr.  Quinn R Pack MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine
Baystate Northern Region Cardiology
Baystate Health
Springfield, MA  

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and is very common among patients with heart disease.  Several smoking cessation medications are available and recommended in clinical guidelines to help smokers quite. However, it was unknown how often these were used and what factors make the use of pharmacotherapy more common.

The main finding is that, across of broad range of hospitals, smoking cessation medications are infrequently used and the hospital where the patient was treated was the most important factor in determining if the patient was treated.

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Holes in Cigarette Filters Linked To Increase in Lung Adenocarcinomas

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Peter G. Shields, M.D.
Deputy Director, Comprehensive Cancer Center
James Cancer Hospital
Professor, College of Medicine
Julius F. Stone Chair in Cancer Research
The Ohio State University Columbus, OH

MedicalResearch.com: What do we know about the health effects of cigarette filters? 
Response:  The issue is that the design of the filters makes a cigarette even more dangerous, which can be regulated by the FDA. The issue is not about having a filter, but how they are made. And now we are changing the dialogue to the design of virtually all cigarettes. The holes on the filter are likely one reason the cigarettes of today are more dangerous.

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E-cigarette Smoke Increases Bladder Cancer Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Moon-shong Tang, Ph</strong>D Professor of Environmental Medicine, Pathology and Medicine New York University School of Medicine Tuxedo Park, New York 10987

Dr. Moon-shong Tang

Moon-shong Tang, PhD
Professor of Environmental Medicine, Pathology and Medicine
New York University Langone School of Medicine
Tuxedo Park, New York 10987

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: E-cigarettes (E-cigs) are designed to deliver the stimulant nicotine through aerosols, commonly referred as vapors. Nicotine is dissolved in organic solvents such as glycerin and propylene glycol. The nicotine is then aerosolized by controlled electric heating. E-cigs do not use tobacco leaves and E-cig smoke does not involve the burning process. Hence, E-cig smoke (ECS) contains only nicotine and the gas phase of the solvent. Because ECS contains neither carcinogens nor allergens or odors from the tobacco burning process, E-cigs have been promoted as an invention that can deliver a TS ‘high’ without TS negative effects. The population of E-cig users is rapidly rising, particularly in young adults. It has been estimated that 16% of high school students are E-cig smokers. Therefore, the health effects of E-cig smoke, particularly its carcinogenicity, deserve careful scrutiny.

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Smoking Associated With Comorbidities in Atopic Dermatitis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jacob P. Thyssen MD, PhD, DmSci Department of Dermatology and Allergy Herlev and Gentofte Hospital University of Copenhagen Hellerup, Denmark

Dr. Thyssen

Jacob P. Thyssen MD, PhD, DmSci
Department of Dermatology and Allergy
Herlev and Gentofte Hospital
University of Copenhagen
Hellerup, Denmark

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Atopic dermatitis has been associated with various comorbidities. With the emergence of biologics for the treatment of atopic dermatitis, the hypothesis has been raised that atopic dermatitis is a systemic immune disease affecting more than just the skin.

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Patients Who Quit Smoking Had Fewer Adverse Events After Knee Replacement

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Amy Wasterlain, MD

Fourth-year orthopaedic surgery resident
NYU Langone Medical Center who led the study with Dr. Richard Iorio 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response:  We looked at smoking habits and outcomes for 539 smokers undergoing primary total hip or knee arthroplasty, 73 of whom participated in a pre-operative smoking cessation program. Patients who participated in program were 4.3 times more likely to quit than smokers who tried to quit on their own. Program participants also reduced their tobacco intake dramatically (10.6 fewer cigarettes/day) compared to smokers who didn’t participate (2.3 fewer cigarettes/day), even if they weren’t able to quit completely. Patients who completed the program before undergoing total knee arthroplasty had about 24% fewer adverse events (readmission, venous thromboembolism, stroke, urinary tract infection, pneumonia, and surgical site infection) than smokers who didn’t participate in the program.

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Prenatal Tobacco Smoke Raises Risk of Atopic Dermatitis in Offspring

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Saskia Trump PhD Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ Department of Environmental Immunology Leipzig, Germany

Dr. Saskia Trump

Dr. Saskia Trump PhD
Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ
Department of Environmental Immunology
Leipzig, Germany

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Environmental chemicals have long been discussed to contribute to the exacerbation or even the development of allergic diseases. In our study we were particularly interested in the effect of tobacco smoke exposure, which is the main source for indoor benzene exposure, on regulatory T cell (Treg) function and its relation to the development of childhood atopic dermatitis (AD). Tregs play a critical in controlling T effector cell activity by avoiding overexpression. A deficiency in this T cell subset increases the risk for allergic inflammation.

We have previously described that exposure to tobacco smoke during pregnancy can decrease the number of regulatory T cells (Treg) in the cord blood and predispose the child to the development of AD (1). In this subsequent study we were interested in the underlying mechanism involved.

Benzene itself is not considered to be toxic, however its metabolization leads to the formation of highly reactive molecules. In humans for example the metabolite 1,4-benzochinone (1,4-BQ) can be found in the blood as a consequence of benzene exposure.

To further assess the effect of benzene on Treg and the development of AD we combined in vitro studies, evaluating the impact of 1,4-BQ on human expanded Treg, with data from our prospective mother-child cohort LINA. The LINA study, recruited in Leipzig, Germany, is a longitudinal evaluation of mother-child pairs with respect to lifestyle and environmental factors that might contribute to disease development in the child. Based on this deeply phenotyped cohort we were able to translate our in vitro findings to the in vivo scenario.

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CVS Pharmacy’s Discontinuance of Tobacco Sales Led To Big Drop In Cigarette Purchases

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jennifer M. Polinski PhD Senior Director, Enterprise Evaluation and Population Health Analytics, CVS Health CVS Caremark Corporation Harvard School of Public Health

Dr. Jennifer Polinski

Jennifer M. Polinski PhD
Senior Director, Enterprise Evaluation and Population Health Analytics, CVS Health
CVS Caremark Corporation
Harvard School of Public Health

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Nearly three years ago, we removed tobacco products from all CVS Pharmacy locations to help our customers on their path to better health. While there is a growing body of evidence that suggests that restricting access to tobacco helps reduce its use, we wanted to understand if our decision to remove tobacco had a nationwide impact on our customers’ purchasing behavior and presumed smoking habits.

In fact, our research findings, published in the American Journal of Public Health, show that CVS Health’s decision to remove tobacco from all CVS Pharmacy stores reduced the number of cigarette purchases across all other retail settings, including gas stations, convenience stores, and other outlets. In addition, customers who exclusively purchased cigarettes at CVS Pharmacy were 38 percent more likely to stop buying cigarettes, and those who purchased three or more packs of cigarettes per month at a CVS Pharmacy were more than twice as likely to stop buying cigarettes altogether.

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High Achieving Adolescents Less Likely To Smoke, But More Likely to Drink, Use Pot

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. James Williams
UCL Medical School
UCL
, London, UK

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Despite a downward trend over the last decade in the usage of particular substances amongst adolescents in the UK, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and smoking cannabis remain prevalent behaviours in this demographic. These risky health behaviours present a large problem in terms of public health due to the immediate and long-term health problems they cause, as well as negative non-health outcomes such as poor educational attainment and reduced employment.

The role of academic ability in determining patterns of substance use is not clear and no study has evaluated academic ability at age 11 in relation to the onset and persistence of all three substances from early to late adolescence and into young adulthood. Our study sought to determine the association between academic ability and the onset and persistence of substance use in adolescence in a representative sample of English school pupils. This would answer for the first time whether ability was associated with ‘experimentation’ in early adolescence or if the association persists into late adolescence.

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Memory Retrieval and Extinction Reduces Craving For Cigarettes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Michael E. Saladin, Ph.D. Professor, Department of Health Sciences and Research College of Health Professions Medical University of South Carolina Charleston, SC

Dr. Michael Saladin

Michael E. Saladin, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Health Sciences and Research
College of Health Professions
Medical University of South Carolina
Charleston, SC

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: To the extent that learning and memory processes govern all aspects of behavior, they also govern dysregulated or maladaptive behaviors such as addiction and anxiety states. In the former case, stimuli associated with drug administration can acquire the ability to control drug-related motivational states (urges and craving) as well as drug seeking behavior. To illustrate the point, the simple act of observing a person light up a cigarette will cause the typical smoker to desire a cigarette and engage in smoking. A nonsmoker, by contrast, would not be similarly affected because they have no history where stimuli associated with smoking (e.g., sight of a lighter, cigarettes, plumes of smoke) are reliably paired with, or followed by, the rewarding effects of nicotine.

The research we conducted recently was based on neuroscience research showing that retrieved drug-associated memories (prompted with drug-paired cues) can be updated with information that decreases drug craving and/or administration. One such study showed that heroin craving in heroin addicts can be decreased by retrieving memories for heroin use via a brief heroin cue presentation (video of people using heroin) and then, a short time later, presenting an extensive variety of heroin cues (video, pictures and heroin use paraphernalia) over a 1-hour period. The logic of this intervention was that once the heroin memories were prompted into a labile state by the brief video presentation, the extensive heroin cue exposure would serve to update the content of the original memories with new information (i.e., cues are not followed by heroin reward) that is inconsistent with the original cue-drug contingency (i.e., cues are followed with heroin reward). Remarkably, just two sessions of this type of training, which we call retrieval-extinction training, resulted in significant reductions in heroin craving that persisted for six months. This study was done with heroin addicts who were inpatients so there was no way to assess the effects of this treatment on actual heroin use.

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Teen Vaping is a Risk Factor for Future Smoking

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Professor Richard Miech Institute for Social Research University of Michigan

Prof. Richard Miech

Professor Richard Miech
Institute for Social Research
University of Michigan

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The main finding of this study is that teen vaping predicts future smoking.  We surveyed a nationally-representative sample of 12th graders in 2014 and then re-surveyed them a year later.  We found:

  • Among teens who had never smoked at baseline, those who vaped were more than four times more likely to have smoked a year later than those who didn’t vape
  • Among teens who were former smokers at baseline, those who vaped were more than twice as likely to have smoked a year later than those who didn’t vape
  • Among teens who were current smokers at baseline, smoking levels a the one-year followup were the same for vapers and non-vapers.

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Can Propranolol Reduce Nicotine Cravings?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lin Lu, M.D. Ph.D. Director/Professor, Institute of Mental Health and Peking University Sixth Hospital Director/Professor, National Institute on Drug Dependence, Peking University Beijing China

Dr. Lin Lu

Lin Lu, M.D. Ph.D.
Director/Professor, Institute of Mental Health and Peking University Sixth Hospital
Director/Professor, National Institute on Drug Dependence, Peking University
Beijing China

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Nicotine addiction is the leading preventable cause of mortality, and causes over 6 million deaths each year. One fundamental mechanism that maintain smoking relapse in smokers is the persistence of memories of both nicotine reward and nicotine-associated conditioned stimulus (CS, e.g. ashtray,cigarette lighters, etc.).Preclinical studies suggest that the drug reward memories can be reactivated by nicotine-associated CS undergo an unstable stage, named memory reconsolidation, and that pharmacological or behavioral manipulations that interfere with reconsolidation inhibit subsequent drug relapse.

However, most of the translational studies targeting reconsolidation stages of the drug reward memory have not been successful.One important reason is that when participants were exposed to nicotine-associated CS to induce memory reconsolidation, the pharmacological or behavioral manipulations only interfere with the reconsolidation of memories selectively associated with the reactivated CS, without affecting other CSs.

However, in real life, smoking is associated with multiple CSs that vary across individuals. Thus, a key question is how to interfere with reconsolidation of multiple nicotine-associated memories . In the present study, we introduce a novel memory reconsolidation interference procedure in which we reactivated multiple nicotine reward memories in rats and human smokers by acute exposure to nicotine (the UCS) and then interfered with memory reconsolidation using the noradrenergic blocker propranolol, an FDA-approved drug.

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Cigarette Smoking Remains A Huge Public Health Problem

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Andrew Hyland, PhD

Chair of the Department of Health Behavior at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and
Karin Kasza, MA
Senior Research Specialist in the Department of Health Behavior
Roswell Park Cancer Institute

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The PATH Study is unique because it is a large, nationally representative study of more than 45,000 youth and adults who are interviewed at multiple points over time and asked about their use of a wide array of tobacco products. The data reported in this study are from the baseline wave, and we find that while cigarettes are by far the most commonly used product for both youth and adults, we see a lot of use of non-cigarette products. E-cigarettes trailed only cigarettes in popularity for youth and water pipe smoking was high among 18-24 year olds. However, we see different patterns of use for different products with cigarettes being used much more frequently that other products like e-cigarettes. Another surprising finding was that about 4 in 10 youth and adult tobacco users were currently using two or more tobacco products.

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Young Smokers Have Drastic Increase in Heart Attack Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Kevin Campbell MD FACC Wake Heart and Vascular Assistant Professor of Medicine,  UNC School of Medicine Cardiology and Cardiac Electrophysiology in Raleigh, Smithfield and Wilson North Carolina.

Dr. Kevin Campbell

Dr. Kevin Campbell MD FACC
Wake Heart and Vascular
Assistant Professor of Medicine,  UNC School of Medicine
Cardiology and Cardiac Electrophysiology in Raleigh, Smithfield and Wilson
North Carolina 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In this study, data was analyzed from nearly 1800 patients who had ST elevation MI.  Findings were published in Heart.  They found that younger  smokers (age under the age of 50)  had an 8-fold increased risk of acute STEMI , when compared to ex- and never smokers.

In addition, researchers found that current smokers of all ages were 3.26 times more likely to have STEMI than ex- and never-smokers—suggesting that if you stop smoking, you can reduce your risk for heart attack.

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Smoking Deaths Disproportionately Affect Poor and Black Americans

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jane Henley MSPH

Epidemiologist
Division of Cancer Prevention and Control

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? 

Response: The Surgeon General concluded that cigarette smoking causes at least 12 types of cancer: oral cavity and pharynx, esophagus, stomach, colon and rectum, liver, pancreas, larynx, lung, bronchus and trachea, bladder, kidney and renal pelvis, cervix, and acute myeloid leukemia. Other tobacco products — cigars, chewing tobacco and snuff — and secondhand smoke are also linked to some of these cancers.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: We examined rates and trends of new cases and deaths from these cancers using U.S. registry and mortality data from 2004 to 2013. We broke the data down by characteristics that might display disparities — sex, age, race, ethnicity, state, county-level poverty and education, rural/urban continuum, and cancer site.

We found that about 660,000 people were diagnosed with and 343,000 people died each year from these cancers. Rates were higher among men, black men and women, and people in counties with low education or high poverty. Rates ranged by state from a low of 130 cases in Utah (126 in Puerto Rico) to a high of 248 cases in Kentucky. Incidence decreased 1.3 percent per year and mortality decreased faster, at about 1.6 percent per year; decreases were observed across most groups, but not at the same rate. Disparities persist among certain groups with higher rates or slower declines in rates.

We also looked at changes in cancer death rates from 1970 to 2014 and estimated that 1.3 million tobacco-related cancer deaths were averted since 1990, in part because of comprehensive cancer and tobacco control efforts to reduce tobacco use and other cancer risk factors, early detection of cancer, and improvements in cancer treatment.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Further reducing tobacco use can save thousands more people from getting and dying from cancer. Based on current estimates, about 36.5 million people smoke, and about half will die from a smoking related disease, unless programs are implemented to help them quit smoking. Comprehensive cancer and tobacco control programs actions can be done at the state and local level, such as:

• Promoting healthy, tobacco-free environments
• Increasing access to early detection and care for tobacco-related cancers
• Helping cancer survivors who use tobacco quit
• Better assisting communities disproportionately impacted by cancer

And of course, increasing the price of tobacco products and ongoing media campaigns, like Tips from Former Smokers, have a huge impact.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Ongoing surveillance efforts are needed to monitor changes in the number of new cases and deaths from tobacco-related cancers and whether there are differences among communities or groups of people. This work will provide insight into the impact of comprehensive cancer and tobacco control efforts and how to target these efforts in the areas where they’re needed most.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: You can find more information at https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/tobacco/

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Henley SJ, Thomas CC, Sharapova SR, et al. Vital Signs: Disparities in Tobacco-Related Cancer Incidence and Mortality — United States, 2004–2013. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65:1212–1218. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6544a3.

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

More Medical Research Interviews on MedicalResearch.com

Smoking Reduces Surgical Improvement for Cervical Myelopathy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. David Kusin MD University of Nebraska Medical Center Omaha

Dr. David Kusin

Dr. David Kusin MD
University of Nebraska Medical Center
Omaha

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: There is a wealth of research showing that cigarette smoking impairs healing through various mechanisms, including microvascular injury. Some evidence also suggests that tobacco use results in direct neurological injury to the peripheral and central nervous systems. Many studies have also shown that smoking reduces fusion rates and time to fusion in orthopedic surgery, including cervical surgery. Prior to our work, only a few high quality studies had been conducted to investigate prognostic factors in patients undergoing surgery for cervical myelopathy, and these identified smoking as a risk factor for a poorer outcome. The purpose of our study was to investigate this relationship further.

We conducted a retrospective cohort study of 87 nonsmokers and 47 smokers and correlated postoperative change in Nurick score (a measure of severity of cervical myelopathy from 0-5 with 5 being the worst) with smoking status. After controlling for age, sex, diabetes, duration of preoperative symptoms, severity of preoperative symptoms, signal change on MRI, surgical approach, number of spinal levels operated on, and alcohol use, we found that smokers had a significantly decreased improvement in Nurick score. Nonsmokers improved by 1.5 points whereas smokers only improved by 0.6 points. We also found that this was a dose response relationship, such that those with a history of greater tobacco use by pack years or packs per day had a greater decrease in improvement postoperatively. Interestingly, we found no correlation between tobacco use and preoperative severity of symptoms.

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Children Who Experience Early Parental Absence More Likely To Smoke or Drink Before Age 11

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Rebecca Lacey, PhD Research Associate Epidemiology & Public Health Institute of Epidemiology & Health Faculty of Pop Health Sciences University College London

Dr. Rebecca Lacey

Dr Rebecca Lacey, PhD
Research Associate
Epidemiology & Public Health
Institute of Epidemiology & Health
Faculty of Pop Health Sciences
University College London

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: We know from previous research that children who experience parental absence, whether due to death, divorce or some other reason, are more likely, on average, to have poorer health in later life. This includes being more likely to smoke and drink as an adult. However, what we didn’t know before we conducted our study was whether children who experienced parental absence were more likely to engage in the early uptake of risky health behaviours in childhood. This is what we looked at in our study.

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Increased Odds of Quitting Smoking When Distance To Store Increased

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Anna Pulakka PhD, Postdoctoral Researcher Department of Public Health University of Turku, Finland

Dr. Anna Pulakka

Anna Pulakka PhD, Postdoctoral Researcher
Department of Public Health
University of Turku, Finland

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Smoking is the one of the leading health risks globally. Finland, among some other countries, has set a target for a tobacco-free society by 2040. However, with the current rate of decline in smoking prevalence, the target will not be met. It is therefore important to explore new avenues for helping people to quit smoking.

Recently, researchers have become more interested in availability of tobacco as one determinant for smoking habit. We have learned from cross-sectional studies that people who live in neighborhoods with many stores that sell tobacco, smoke more than those who have less tobacco stores in their neighborhood. What has been lacking is more robust evidence from longitudinal studies on the association between availability of tobacco in neighborhoods and smoking behaviours. We sought to determine whether change in the location of tobacco stores nearby people’s place of residence was associated with the odds of quitting smoking or smoking relapse in a longitudinal setting.

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Even Light Smoking Elevates Risk of Brain Bleeding From Intracranial Aneurysm

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Joni Valdemar Lindbohm, MD
Department of Public Health
University of Helsinki, Finland

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Approximately 1-6% percent of people carry an unruptured intracranial aneurysm but most of these never rupture during lifetime and cause subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). In SAH, the rupture of an aneurysm causes bleeding into the lining between the brain’s surface and underlying tissue. Despite advances in operative techniques, SAH can lead to death in up to 45% of the cases. Because life style risk factors are critical in development of subarachnoid hemorrhage, it is important to characterize the risk factor profile of those with an elevated risk.

Widely accepted risk factors for SAH are increasing age, smoking, hypertension and female sex. However, the reasons for an elevated risk in women have remained uncovered and the effect of smoking habits are not well understood.

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Smoking Warnings in Pictures Worth a Thousand Words?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Marissa G. Hall, MSPH Doctoral Candidate, Department of Health Behavior Gillings School of Global Public Health University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Marissa Hall

Marissa G. Hall, MSPH
Doctoral Candidate, Department of Health Behavior
Gillings School of Global Public Health
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires pictorial warnings on cigarette packs, but implementation was stalled by a 2012 lawsuit by the tobacco industry. The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled against pictorial warnings, saying that FDA had “not provided a shred of evidence” that the pictorial warnings reduce smoking. To address this critique, our randomized trial examined the impact on smoking behavior of adding pictorial warnings to the front and back of cigarette packs. We found that smokers with pictorial warnings on their packs were more likely to attempt to quit and to successfully quit than those whose packs had text-only warnings.

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Smoking During Pregnancy Raises Risk of Schizophrenia in Offspring

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alan S. Brown, M.D., M.P.H. Professor of Psychiatry and Epidemiology Columbia University Medical Center Director, Program in Birth Cohort Studies, Division of Epidemiology New York State Psychiatric Institute

Dr. Alan Brown

Alan S. Brown, M.D., M.P.H.
Professor of Psychiatry and Epidemiology
Columbia University Medical Center
Director, Program in Birth Cohort Studies, Division of Epidemiology
New York State Psychiatric Institute

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Brown: Smoking during pregnancy is a risk factor for several pregnancy-related outcomes including low birthweight and preterm birth. Evidence for a link with schizophrenia is scant. We analyzed a maternal biomarker of smoking called cotinine, a nicotine metabolite, in mothers of nearly 1,000 schizophrenia cases and 1,000 controls in a national birth cohort in Finland. We found that heavy smoking in pregnancy was related to a 38% increase in schizophrenia risk in offspring and that as cotinine levels increased even in the more moderate smokers risk of schizophrenia also increased.

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Is Smokers’ Paradox in STEMI Patients Treated With PCI Real?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Tanush Gupta, MD Chief Resident & Instructor of Medicine Department of Medicine New York Medical College & Westchester Medical Center Valhalla, NY

Dr. Tanush Gupta

Tanush Gupta, MD
Chief Resident & Instructor of Medicine
Department of Medicine
New York Medical College & Westchester Medical Center
Valhalla, NY 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Gupta: Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of premature death in the United States (U.S.). Approximately one-third of all coronary artery disease related deaths in the U.S. annually can be attributed to cigarette smoking. However, studies from the pre-thrombolytic and thrombolytic eras have shown that mortality in smokers with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) may be lower than in nonsmokers, a phenomenon called the “smoker’s paradox.”

The majority of STEMI patients in contemporary practice are treated with primary percutaneous coronary intervention (pPCI). Data on the association of smoking with outcomes in STEMI patients undergoing pPCI are limited and also conflicting as to whether the smoker’s paradox exists in this population. Hence, the purpose of our study was to examine the association of smoking status with in-hospital outcomes in a nationwide cohort of STEMI patients undergoing pPCI, included in the U.S. National Inpatient Sample, over a 10-year time period from 2003 to 2012. Our primary outcome of interest was in-hospital mortality and secondary outcomes were post-procedure hemorrhage, in-hospital cardiac arrest, and average length of stay.

Of 985,174 STEMI patients who underwent pPCI in the U.S. over this time period, 438,954 (44.6%) were smokers. Smokers were on an average 8 years younger than nonsmokers and had lower prevalence of most cardiovascular comorbidities. Smoking status was associated with lower risk-adjusted in-hospital mortality (2.0% vs. 5.9%, adjusted OR 0.60, p<0.001), lower incidence of post-procedure hemorrhage (4.2% vs. 6.1%, adjusted OR 0.81, p<0.001) and in-hospital cardiac arrest (1.3% vs. 2.1%, adjusted OR 0.78, p<0.001), and shorter average length of stay (3.5 days vs. 4.5 days, p<0.001). To assess whether younger age of smokers was influencing the association with in-hospital mortality, we also performed an age-stratified analyses in different age groups. The smoker’s paradox largely persisted in age-stratified analyses suggesting that younger age of smokers was not the sole explanation for this paradox.

We performed additional assessment for confounding to explore whether the paradoxically lower risk-adjusted in-hospital mortality in smokers with STEMI was driven by differences in baseline demographics and comorbidities between hospitalized smokers and nonsmokers in general. To test for such confounding, we examined the association of smoking with in-hospital mortality in 2 conditions in which this association has not been previously studied – hip fractures and severe sepsis – using similar statistical regression models. In both these study populations, smokers were on average younger than nonsmokers and had lower risk-adjusted in-hospital mortality, but, the paradoxical association in both these conditions was weaker in magnitude than in STEMI patients. Since there is no cogent biological hypothesis to explain the lower mortality in smokers with sepsis or hip fractures, it is likely that the smoker’s paradox in STEMI is also at least partly driven by residual confounding due to inadequate adjustment for the biological effects of age. However, as this paradox was stronger in STEMI patients than in patients with hip fractures or severe sepsis, we believe that additional true biological differences between smokers and nonsmokers with STEMI also contribute to the paradoxically lower in-hospital mortality.

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No Apparent Increase in Neuropsychiatric Side Effects From Smoking Cessation Mediations

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Robert M. Anthenelli, M.D. Professor and Executive Vice Chair Director, Pacific Treatment and Research Center Department of Psychiatry University of California, San Diego, Health Sciences

Dr. Robert Anthenelli

Robert M. Anthenelli, M.D.
Professor and Executive Vice Chair
Director, Pacific Treatment and Research Center
Department of Psychiatry
University of California, San Diego, Health Sciences 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Anthenelli: Despite growing evidence to the contrary, significant concerns have been raised about the neuropsychiatric safety risk of the smoking cessation medications, varenicline and bupropion. What has been lacking until now among individuals with and without psychiatric disorders is a large, randomized controlled trial that directly compares these medications with placebo and an active comparator (nicotine patch) and that systematically probes for neuropsychiatric adverse events while smokers are trying to quit.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Dr. Anthenelli:

1) Neither varenicline nor bupropion significantly increased incidence of moderate-to-severe neuropsychiatric adverse events relative to placebo or nicotine patch in smokers without or with stable psychiatric disorders.

2) Regardless of treatment condition, smokers with a history of or a current stable psychiatric disorder reported more neuropsychiatric adverse events than their counterparts without such conditions.

3) Varenicline was more effective than placebo, nicotine patch, and bupropion in helping smokers achieve abstinence; bupropion and nicotine patch were more effective than placebo.

4) While quit rates overall were slightly lower in smokers with psychiatric disorders compared with cessation rates in individuals without these conditions, all three medications were more effective than placebo, and their relative efficacy (varenicline > bupropion = nicotine patch > placebo) was the same in this special population of smokers as it was for smokers without mental health disorders.

EAGLES is the first trial to have compared the smoking cessation efficacy of the three, first-line smoking cessation medications in smokers with current or past psychiatric disorders. These results are important because individuals with mental health conditions are disproportionately affected by smoking-related diseases and death.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Anthenelli:

1) In the context of a growing body of studies finding no evidence of a greater incidence of serious neuropsychiatric adverse events in users of varenicline and bupropion compared with nicotine replacement therapy or placebo, it appears these non-nicotine medications can be used safely by psychiatrically stable smokers.

2) Smokers with a history of or current stable psychiatric disorder are more prone to exhibit such events regardless of the medication used and should be monitored during a quit attempt.

3) Varenicline demonstrates superior efficacy to bupropion and nicotine patch, but all three medications are more effective than placebo in smokers with and without stable psychiatric disorders.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Anthenelli: We are looking forward to conducting secondary analyses of the large EAGLES dataset to examine, in finer detail, the safety and efficacy of the three first-line medications in sub-cohorts (e.g., smokers with major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia) of the psychiatric cohort. We will also be examining predictors of treatment response to determine whether these vary as a function of a smoker’s psychiatric history.

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Citation:

Neuropsychiatric safety and efficacy of varenicline, bupropion, and nicotine patch in smokers with and without psychiatric disorders (EAGLES): a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trial

Anthenelli, Robert M et al.

The Lancet , Volume 0 , Issue 0 , Published Online: 22 April 2016

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(16)30272-0

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Brain Reward System May Underlie Tobacco Cravings in Schizophrenia

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Associate professor, Department of Psychiatry
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Dr. Potvin:  Life expectancy is substantially reduced in schizophrenia, and one of the main factors contributing to this is the high prevalence of cigarette smoking in these patients. The leading hypothesis for cigarette smoking in schizophrenia is the self-medication hypothesis. Although some empirical results show that nicotine improves cognitive performance in schizophrenia, some authors have criticized the self-medication hypothesis for its implied (and unintented) justification of cigarette smoking in schizophrenia. About a decade ago, it has been hypothesized that cigarette smoking may be more reinforcing in schizophrenia patients, due to biological dysfunctions common to schizophrenia and tobacco use disorder. However, that model had not been formally tested.

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Quitting Smoking Cold Turkey Leads To More Success

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Dr Nicola Lindson-Hawley PhD
Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group (TAG) Managing Editor

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Dr. Lindson-Hawley: For many people, the obvious way to quit smoking is to cut down gradually until they stop.  After all, that’s how we accomplish most other goals that are hard.  With addictions other than smoking, we aim to get people to cut down gradually rather than stop abruptly.  But with smoking, the norm is to advise people to stop all at once.  Around the world, physicians and others who support smoking cessation help people to quit abruptly and not to cut down first.  However, if physicians are not providing support to people who want to quit by reduction, then they will have less chance of success as we know that people who receive support to quit are more likely to succeed.  On the other hand, if cutting down is a bad way to quit, then we need to persuade people to abandon their common sense idea and quit abruptly instead. Therefore, this study investigated this by comparing a group of smokers advised to quit gradually by cutting down with a group who quit all at once. What we found was that cutting down first, was a less successful way to quit than smoking as normal and then stopping. Smokers who quit abruptly were 25% more likely to have quit after 4 weeks than those who quit gradually.

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Smokers Should Not Be Discouraged By Quit Attempts That Don’t Work

Dr-Timothy-B-Baker.jpg

Dr. Timothy B. Baker

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Timothy Baker, PhD
Professor of Medicine
University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health

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Dr. Baker: Previous research showed that combination nicotine replacement (the nicotine patch plus the nicotine lozenge or gum) and varenicline are the most effective smoking cessation treatments available, yet they had never been directly compared with one another. This study set out to do that, and compare them with the nicotine patch.

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