Quitting Smoking Mandatory for Good Health
Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S. You may know the specifics but smoking butts causes colorectal cancer, liver cancer, adverse health outcomes in cancer patients and people with heart disease, lung diseases and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Smoking also increases your risk for:
- Eye diseases
- Immune system conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis
- Erectile dysfunction
- Diabetes and pre-diabetes
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Reumatoid arthritis
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking accounts for more than 480,000 deaths every year, or 1 of every 5 deaths. Unfortunately, 41,000 of these deaths are from exposure to secondhand smoke.
Smoking Rates Have Actually Declined
Today, there are more than 16 million Americans who live with a smoking-related disease. In addition, smoking-related illness in the United States costs more than $300 billion a year, including nearly $170 billion in direct medical care for adults and $156 billion in lost productivity.
The good news is, smoking rates have gradually declined over the decades. Half a century ago, more than two of every five adults were smokers. But from 2005 to 2015, the adult smoking rate declined from 20.9% to 15.1%.
That’s a monumental achievement that we can all be proud of. However, 15.1% of the population still works out to an estimated 36.5 million adults in the U.S. Of these, 75.7% (27.6 million) smoke every day, and 24.3% (8.9 million) smoke some days.
Toughest Addiction to Break, Say Experts
Although public health officials are hoping to to drive that rate below 12% by 2020, more needs to be done on all fronts in order to get there. Programs and policies that have worked include raising the retail price of cigarettes and other tobacco products, smoke free indoor air policies, high-impact media campaigns, full access to cessation treatments, and funding of comprehensive statewide tobacco control programs at the CDC recommended levels.
Another strategy that needs to be employed is the development of new, more powerful, and more effective smoking cessation medications.
Cannabidiol (CBD) May Help Reduce Tobacco Smoking
Researchers have discovered that the human endocannabinois system is intrinsic to reward and reinforcement when it comes to addictive behaviors. In fact, studies have shown that the endocannabinoid system is involved in the common neurobiological mechanism underlying drug addiction – including the rewarding effects of drugs, the ‘hedonic experience’ users feel when taking drugs, and the relapse to drug-seeking behavior. Evidence suggests that cannabidiol or CBD may be a useful treatment in addictive behaviors – including nicotine dependence.
For example, in a 2013 study published in the journal Addictive Behaviors, a group of researchers from the U.K. studied the impact of CBD use on smokers who wished to stop smoking cigarettes; 24 smokers were randomized to receive an inhaler of CBD or placebo for one week and they were instructed to use the inhaler when they felt the urge to smoke.
The results showed that placebo-treated smokers showed no differences in number of cigarettes smoked. However, the smokers who received the inhaler of CBD significantly reduced the number of cigarettes smoked by 40% during treatment.
More importantly, even though cigarette use dropped by 40%, subjects did not report an increase in cravings. Given the pivotal role of craving in relapse, this is potentially very encouraging. The researchers felt the decrease in smoking observed may plausibly relate to CBD’s role as an inhibitor of fatty acid metabolism that breaks down endocannabinoids.
CBD has previously been shown to reduce the cycle of craving and relapse in addiction and therefore a reduction in smoking cues which has powerful effects on substance use, as is seen in this study. It warrants further exploration
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