Light Smokers: Quit While You’re Ahead

On July 20, Jane E. Brody, in her New York Times column on Personal Health, gave a painful and moving account of her husband’s intractable addiction to cigarettes despite numerous efforts to quit. Although he finally succeeded at the age of 61, his 50 years of smoking eventually took their toll in the form of a decade of suffering from emphysema and finally death from lung cancer.  He...
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Craving Busters

Experts argue about the term that most accurately describes that longing for a cigarette, that itch that cries out for scratching, but no confirmed smoker has any problem identifying the experience.  Craving, urge, desire – whatever you choose to call it – can emerge in half an hour or even less after smoking in an ongoing smoker and is the reason many attempts to quit founder within...
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Move a Little, Lose a Lot: A Review

I rely on regular attendance at aerobics classes to help keep my weight under control.  But although a recent week of babysitting my grandchildren (the reason, BTW, for no blog post last week) kept me too busy to visit the gym, the needle on the scale held steady.  James A. Levine, MD, PhD would undoubtedly call that a textbook example of NEAT (nonexercise activity thermogenesis) in action ...
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To Be Happy, Try Acting Happy

The link between smoking and depression is well-documented.  Smoking can relieve depression, and depressed mood can emerge as a withdrawal symptom after quitting, particularly in people with a tendency towards depression to begin with.  Severe depression is relatively uncommon and may require medical intervention; for the more mundane blues and blahs that may plague quitters, here’s something...
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Smoke-Free Michigan – Everybody Wins

Today – May 1, 2010 – my home state of Michigan becomes smoke-free, joining 38 other states that have already enacted some version of this policy.* Fittingly, the new measure is named for the late Dr. Ron Davis, a tireless supporter of this legislation and a friend to all who care about the public health. Rest in peace, Ron. For me, as for most nonsmokers, this change is cause to celebrate....
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How Sweet It Is

It tastes good and lifts our spirits.  It comforts us and quells our appetite.  Yet we know it’s bad for us and sometimes suspect we may be addicted to it. I’m talking about sugar – and the love-hate relationship many women have with it.  Unfortunately for many of us, Mother Nature didn’t provide us with brakes when it comes to consuming sugar.  In the wild, it’s probably a good...
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An EASY Way to Quit? And Not Gain Weight? Hmmmm…

A joke I’ve made about self-help quit-smoking books that claim high rates of success is that they in effect state, “This book is guaranteed to work if you follow the instructions to the letter,“ then add, “Instruction #1:  Stop smoking now.” The Easy Way for Women to Stop Smoking: A Revolutionary Approach Using Allen Carr’s Easyway Method was published almost simultaneously...
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