CTs make smokers see the light

CT scans are one of the best ways for smokers to figure out if there’s something going on in their lungs… well at least for the most part. But there’s an argument that goes something like, “if a smoker receives this kind of exam and doesn’t receive bad results, it gives them a license to smoke.” Well, a study from Cardiff University is throwing shade on that argument. Researchers found that the simple act of receiving a CT scan might make a smoker more likely to quit—regardless of the result. The study authors chalk it up to the exam being a teachable moment where smokers give serious thought to giving up their cancer sticks.

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Regulators gonna regulate

This writer is confused. Is the government in the business of deregulating drug use (i.e., marijuana, i.e., the sticky icky) or regulating drug use? The FDA has announced its desire to lower the amount of nicotine in cigarettes in an effort to decrease addiction, reduce smoking, and improve health. At the same time, The Washington Post reports that the FDA is delaying its regulation of trendy smoking alternatives such as e-cigarettes, hookah, and vape thingies that all the cool kids are using. The hope is that keeping these smoking alternatives easily available and less regulated will give smokers ready access to “safer” alternatives to taking in their nicotine. Here is a list of the 20 most destructive drugs, as reported in The Economist. Yikes.

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3. Some stem cells start squamous cell sickness, study says

Do you ever get tired at your job? You know, those days when the work just keeps piling up until you end up sending an email talking about the “Key Onion Leader” you want at your conference next year? Well turns out, basal stem cells can mess up at their jobs too… except their mess-ups can lead to the second-most prevalent form of lung cancer instead of confusion over vegetable management. The correlation was identified by University of Melbourne researchers who realized there was high basal stem cell growth in smokers since those cells help replace cells lost from smoking. The discovery gives innovator companies a drug target to stop lung cancer’s progress in its tracks.

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5. The real truth about smoking

Remember those anti-smoking campaigns that frequented commercial breaks in the early 2000’s, persuading smokers to toss the unhealthy habit? We do, too. And ever since, smoking in the United States has seen a real decline. However, while numbers in the U.S. and many other countries have declined in recent years, you might be surprised to hear that the global outlook is very different. Per a recent study from the World Health Organization, global rates of smokers are rising and cigarettes could kill up to 8 million people a year by 2030. While that figure alone is staggering, it’s accompanied by another not-so-fun fact. Smoking costs up to $1 trillion a year in health care and lost productivity. Smoke breaks: killing us and making us poorer since 5000 B.C.

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1. A lean, mean, chain-smoking machine

Harvard researchers recently developed an instrument capable of emulating what has been, until now, a difficult environment to do research on: the human smoker’s lung. Because of the way lung cells move when being exposed to smoke, investigators have had a hard time artificially recreating the affected cells (no word if they tried using peer pressure.) But by using a ‘lung-on-a-chip,’ which contains living human lung cells, and a mechanism capable of pushing the air of up to ten cigarettes through the cells, the scientists are finally able to mimic the environment. This is also likely the first documented instance of a robot being encouraged to engage in vice, which we’re certain won’t come back to bite us in the future.

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