New York, March 6 (IANS) Fine particles in wildfire smoke can be several times more harmful to human respiratory health than particulate matter from other sources such as car exhaust, say researchers.While this distinction has been previously identified in laboratory experiments, the new study, published in the journal Nature Communications, confirms it at the population level.This study reveals the risks of tiny airborne particles with diameters of up to 2.5 microns, about one-twentieth that of a human hair.These particles -- termed PM2.5 -- are the main component of wildfire smoke and can penetrate the human respiratory tract, enter the bloodstream and impair vital organs."There is a daily threshold for the amount of PM2.5 in the air that is considered acceptable by the county and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)," said researcher Rosana Aguilera from University of California - San Diego."The problem with this standard is that it doesn't account for different sources of emission of PM2.5," Aguilera added.To isolate wildfire-produced PM2.5 from other sources of particulate pollution, the researchers defined exposure to wildfire PM2.5 as exposure to strong Santa Ana winds with fire upwind. A second measure of exposure involved smoke plume data from NOAA's Hazard Mapping System.A 10 microgram-per-cubic meter increase in PM2.5 attributed to sources other than wildfire smoke was estimated to increase respiratory hospital admissions by 1 per cent. The same increase, when attributed to wildfire smoke, caused between a 1.3 to 10 per cent increase in respiratory admissions.The research suggests that assuming all particles of a certain size are equally toxic may be inaccurate and that the effects of wildfires -- even at a distance -- represent a pressing human health concern.--IANSvc/sdr/
New York, Nov 8 (IANS) Bisexual young people are more likely to smoke than their straight counterparts, say researchers.Published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, the study followed 7,843 youths and young adults over three years, finding that those who came out as bisexual were twice as likely as consistently-heterosexual participants to start smoking.Coming out as lesbian, gay, or another non-heterosexual identity, or having a consistent LG+ identity, was not associated with being more likely to smoke."Bisexual young people may face unique forms of discrimination and stigma that increase their risk for smoking or other substance use behaviours," said study author Andrew Stokes from the Boston University in the US."For example, they may experience stigma from heterosexual individuals as well as from within the LGB+ community. There's also prior research that shows that bisexual populations have worse mental health outcomes than LG+ populations," Stokes added."The findings point to a need for public health interventions specifically designed to address the unique needs, experiences, and stressors associated with coming out and identifying as bisexual."For the study, the researchers used data from the first four waves of the nationwide Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study, which surveyed the same 14-29-year-olds three times between 2013 and 2018.By the third wave, 14 per cent of the respondents had smoked at some point, and six per cent were current smokers.The researchers found that the same sexual identity patterns held true both for having smoked at any point in the study period and for being a current smoker.Compared to a consistent heterosexual identity, coming out as bisexual was associated with being more than twice as likely to smoke, they found.Participants with LG+ identities in the first wave who shifted to a bisexual identity, or vice versa, were twice as likely to smoke.On the other hand, participants with a consistent LG+ identity throughout the three waves of the study and participants who started out identifying as heterosexual and came out as LG+ were not more likely to smoke."The study is unique because it asks youth about their sexual orientation and gender identity. Most national surveys do not," the stud authors wrote.--IANSbu/vd
New Delhi, Oct 6 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Tuesday wanted to know whether the smoke produced from stubble burning could kill the novel Coronavirus as cases in India inched closer to 67 lakh while 1,03,569 lost the battle against the pandemic.Chief Justice S.A. Bobde asked the question during a hearing of a PIL against the seasonal stubble burning exercise in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. "Will the smoke kill the Coronavirus?" Chief Justice Bobde said.The smoke would not kill the coronavirus, but it would certainly worsen the situation and contribute towards its spread, said senior advocate Vikas Singh, representing the petitioners citing scientific study.The PIL has been moved in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Punjab and Haryana governments to ban stubble burning, which usually takes place between September and December every year, in the backdrop of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.Singh, represented a law student Aman Banka and a Class 12 student Aditya Dubey.Amicus Curiae senior advocate Aparajita Singh submitted before the court that states have failed to act as per their assurances to take measures to contain stubble burning.The Chief Justice asked Singh to give the court the name of the experts on the stubble burning matter. "Need some impartial people," noted the bench.The top court also asked Singh why the court was moved when the stubble burning issue is around the corner, instead he should have moved the apex court much earlier.Singh submitted that his clients have come across NASA images, which show stubble burning fires at many places.The PIL said it is on record that stubble burning contributes almost 40 per cent of air pollution in Delhi and cited the Harvard University study that air pollution may now be an important factor that aggravates a mild Covid infection into an acute one.The petitioners also cited another study at Louisiana State University, which found that increased air pollution can offer a direct pathway for airborne transmission of Covid-19."Thus, any increase in the air pollution levels of Delhi-NCR this year while the Covid-19 pandemic is spiralling out of control, will exponentially increase the mortality rates due to Covid-19, comprising the respiratory system of the citizens, more so in case of senior citizens and children," said the plea.The petitioners argued that the consequences of allowing any stubble burning to take place amid the ongoing pandemic may be catastrophic.The plea contended that the top court has already seized the matter and issued many directions earlier for taking long term measures for controlling air pollution in Delhi, and urged the top court to issue directions to the state governments to stop stubble burning by farmers and also fix a ceiling on the rental of stubble removing machines during the period between September to January 2021.--IANSss/in
New York, Sep 9 (IANS) Children who are exposed to tobacco have higher rates of hospital admissions after visiting emergency departments or urgent care facilities, warn researchers.The study, published in the journal Pediatric Research, found that tobacco smoke exposure also increased the risk of pediatric patients having respiratory-related procedures performed while in the emergency department, as well as medications prescribed."We know that exposure to secondhand smoke is related to substantial morbidity in children," said study author Ashley Merianos from the University of Cincinnati in the US. "Children who are exposed to tobacco smoke are more likely to have more infectious diagnostic, lab and radiologic tests during their emergency visit than children who are unexposed," she explained.The study compared 380 children exposed to tobacco smoke with 1,140 children not exposed, matching the children in regards to age, sex, race and ethnicity.Kids exposed to tobacco smoke were 24 times more likely to be admitted to the hospital than unexposed children, which Merianos says emphasizes that possible tobacco smoke exposure may contribute to related illness severity.According to the researchers, children in the exposed group were also nearly eight times more likely to have suctioning performed with a BBG nasal aspirator and over seven times more likely to receive steroids during their visit.Of children in both groups with asthma, kids exposed to tobacco smoke were 27 times more likely to receive steroids during their emergency department visit and over 15 times more likely to receive albuterol, a bronchodilator used to treat asthma attacks.Children exposed to tobacco smoke were also at increased odds of having laboratory tests (5.72 times ordered), and radiologic tests (4.73 times), as well as various infectious diagnostic tests (2.68 times).The findings showed that children who were ages one or younger had the highest levels of exposure to tobacco smoke, likely due to their inability to leave environments in which tobacco is being smoked, explained Merianos."Standardized tobacco control initiatives may help overburdened health care facilities by decreasing resource utilization attributed to tobacco smoke exposure," the study authors wrote."Targeting children with potential tobacco smoke exposure-related chief complaints (e.g., cough) and illnesses (e.g., asthma) may also help to reduce related morbidity and potentially preventable future health care visits," the team noted.--IANSbu/dpb
'Smoking Is Injurious to Health', but that warning hasn't stopped millions of smokers across the world from savouring their cigarettes.
Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in most countries across the world. It damages nearly every organ in the body which includes lungs, heart, blood vessels, reproductive system, mouth, skin, eyes, and bones. The risk of developing lung, head and neck cancer in those who smoke early in the morning is greater than those who smoke late in the day. Studies show that smoking within 30 minutes of waking up increases the risk of cancer risk by 1.79 times, than someone who smokes 60 mins after getting up from bed.
Dr. Jayanta Thakuria, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad, answers the pertinent question of how to quit smoking, despite the physical and psychological cravings. Physical cravings are your body's reaction towards nicotine withdrawal. Psychological cravings are triggered by events in your life by lighting up a cigarette when you got to washroom, driving, socialising etc.
These cravings last for few minutes, say 5-10 minutes, the rule of thumb is to deal with these cravings as they come one by one. Simply shift gears and do different things at that moment. By doing this, you can divert your thought process and prevent physical and psychological dependence.
Few tips to divert your thoughts:
Go for early morning walk and do meditation: It could be an early morning walk in the park or walk in a balcony or corridor if you are at home for at-least 5-10 min. You can also practice deep breathing exercises and do meditation to get rid of all the cravings
Call a Friend: Once you wake up early in the morning, call a friend and talk to him/ her for say 10-15 mins. This will help to divert your thoughts or urge to smoke.
Avoid smoking triggers: Throw away lighters and ash trays or any fancy things related to smoking. Drink plenty of water. Spend time with non-smoking friends. Think about your morning routine when and where you smoke, then change your morning schedule and avoid those triggers like reading newspapers, gardening etc.
Change your driving route: If driving is related to your smoking, change the route. If you see someone smoking at the traffic signal, then switch on the music system and try to sing. Try to distract yourself as much as possible.
Change your meal routine: If your smoking habits are kind of related to some certain foods or snacks, change your meal routine. Always try to have a healthy meal and drink plenty of water to wash out toxins from your body.
Get an in-line support: If you are finding difficulty to quit smoking in your early days of quitting, get an online support group. Reading other people's stories about quitting smoking may motivate you to get rid of nicotine dependency.
Remain focussed on your goal: Make it a point to quit smoking and reaffirm your reasons of quitting. Stick to your goal and celebrate your victory over cessation of smoking
Last but not the least, take support from your family or your friends. Share your thoughts of quitting smoking and take their help to create a better version of yourself. (Agency)
New York, April 15 (IANS) Breathing heavy wildfire smoke could be harmful to your heart, say researchers, adding that exposure to heavy smoke during recent California wildfires raised the risk of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests up to 70 per cent.Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart abruptly stops beating properly and can no longer pump blood to vital organs throughout the body. While often referred to interchangeably, cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack.The natural cycle of large-scale wildfires is accelerating and exposing both rural and urban communities to wildfire smoke, according to the study published in the JAHA: Journal of the American Heart Association."In recent decades, we experienced a significant increase in large-scale wildfires, therefore, more people are being exposed to wildfire smoke. In order to respond properly, it is important for us to understand the health impacts of wildfire smoke exposure," said study author Ana G.Rappold from the US Environmental Protection Agency's Centre.For the findings, researchers examined cardiac arrests during 14 wildfire-affected counties in California between 2015 and 2017, using the information submitted to a health registry established by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival (CARES).Smoke density exposure was rated as light, medium or heavy according to mapping data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.The analysis found that the risk of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests increased among both men and women and in people age 35 and older exposed to heavy smoke. The cardiac arrest risk also increased in communities with lower socioeconomic status (20 per cent or more people living below the poverty line) with both medium and heavy smoke exposure.According to the researchers, particulate matter from smoke that is inhaled can penetrate deeply into the lungs, and very small particles may cross into the bloodstream. These particles can create an inflammatory reaction in the lungs and throughout the body.The body's defence system may react to activate the fight-or-flight system, increasing heart rate, constricting blood vessels and increasing blood pressure."These changes can lead to disturbances in the heart's normal rhythm, blockages in blood vessels and other effects creating conditions that could lead to cardiac arrest," Rappold said."While other studies have found that older adults are more affected, we also observed elevated effects among middle-aged adults (aged 35-64)," concluded Rappold.--IANSbu/