News / Health

Studies Show Smoking Affects Both Mental, Physical Health

Studies Show Smoking Affects Both Mental, Physical Health
Studies Show Smoking Affects Both Mental, Physical Health

Multimedia

Carol Pearson

It is well known that smoking is bad for you.  But just how bad? Three new studies about cigarette smoking show it is more harmful than previously thought for both physical and mental health.

U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin recently issued a statement on the impact tobacco smoke has on the human body.

"This report concludes that damage from tobacco smoke is immediate," said Benjamin.

Dr. Benjamin said smoke enters the blood stream quickly and affects every organ. She said even occasional smoking or breathing other people's smoke can lead to serious illness or death.

"One cigarette, or exposure to some second hand smoke, may cause a heart attack," added Benjamin.

Dr. Benjamin told people who are trying to quit not to give on up trying.   

Smoking cigarettes is common in the military, especially in war zones. Military veterans who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder often turn to tobacco for help in regaining an even mood.  That's what Walter Williams did when he served in Vietnam.

"I started to smoke in the military.  It seemed to be what everybody was doing," recalled Williams.

Professor Miles McFall and Dr. Andrew Saxon from the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Seattle studied more than 900 veterans.  Doctors treated half of the veterans for post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) while also treating them for their smoking habit.  The other half were treated for PTSD but went to a separate program to quit smoking.  

Saxon: "Veterans who received that integrated care, intervention, from their mental health clinician in the PTSD clinic, twice the number quit smoking as those who were referred to a smoking cessation clinic."

McFall: "There was no worsening of psychiatric conditions connected to quitting smoking."

In fact, a study from Brown University found quitting makes people happier.   This study involved a group of 200-plus smokers who wanted to quit. They got a nicotine patch and counseling and then agreed on a quit date. Those participating in the study took a standardized test for symptoms of depression before the quit date and then at various intervals afterwards.

"Those people who were the most successful, who quit and stayed quit, came in with relatively low levels of depressive symptoms," said Professor Christopher Kahler who led the study.

In contrast, Kahler found that people who quit and then relapsed, were in better moods when they didn't smoke and then became depressed when they went back to smoking.

"If anything, people are feeling better when they are not smoking compared to when they are," added Kahler.

Kahler says he hopes the study inspires people to stop smoking, especially when they realize that quitting can lead to a happier, healthier life and not long-term deprivation.

You May Like

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs