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Chronic smoking can affect your posture

CigaretteA new study has found that chronic cigarette use affects your posture because it affects the brain systems. Postural instability is pretty common among alcohol dependent (AD) individuals, because alcohol damages that parts of the brain systems that maintain postural stability.

Thomas Paul Schmidt, a research associate in the department of radiology and biomedical imaging at the University of California San Francisco, and San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, said that anecdotal and empirical findings revealed that postural instabilities with eyes open or closed is common in treatment-seeking AD individuals.

During the study, Schmidt and his colleagues recruited AD participants from substance-abuse outpatient clinics and controls from the local community. To assess postural stability and balance, they administered an ataxia battery to 115 smoking and non-smoking AD individuals and to 74 smoking and non-smoking light/non-drinking controls. The researchers assessed subgroups of AD individuals at three testing sessions during abstinence from alcohol: one week, five weeks, and 34 weeks of abstinence.

They assessed all controls once, and a subset of the non-smoking controls was re-tested after 40 weeks. The researchers then used this data to find out if cigarette smoking affected postural stability in both the control and AD groups, and if postural stability is affected by smoking during alcohol abstinence.

Schmidt remarked that during the research it was revealed that non-smoking AD individuals showed marked improvement on a measure of postural stability over the course of eight months of abstinence.
The study has been published online in the journalism Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research

Five secrets for quitting smoking in 2014

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Most smokers say they want to quit and many will make a New Year’s Resolution to quit in 2014. If this is your year to quit, the American Lung Association (ALA) offers five tips to help you along the way:

  1. Learn from past experiences. Most smokers have tried to quit in the past and sometimes people get discouraged thinking about previous attempts. Those experiences were necessary steps on the road to future success. Think about what helped you during those tries and what you’ll do differently in your next quit attempt.
  2. You don’t have to quit alone. Telling friends that you’re trying to quit and enlisting their support will help ease the process. Expert help is available from the American Lung Association and other groups. Friends who also smoke may even join you in trying to quit!
  3. Medication can help, if you know what to do. The seven FDA-approved medications (like nicotine patches or gum) really do help smokers quit.  Most folks don’t use them correctly so be sure to follow the directions!
  4. It’s never too late to quit. While it’s best to quit smoking as early as possible, quitting smoking at any age will enhance the length and quality of your life. You’ll also save money and avoid the hassle of going outside in the cold to smoke.
  5. Every smoker can quit. The ALA said each person needs to find the right combination of techniques that will for them, and above all, they need to keep trying.
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