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02092014-1Smoking was big news last week. On Wednesday, February 5, CVS announced that beginning in October, it would no longer sell cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco. Representatives for the nation’s second largest drug-store chain cited its desire to focus on customers’ health—and smoking contradicts that goal. The decision is a bold one—CVS will likely lose $2 billion with the loss of tobacco sales. At the same time, the FDA unveiled an anti-smoking campaign targeting teens. It is the first FDA smoking campaign aimed at youth. To understand why teens warrant a smoking campaign, consider the infographic Tobacco Use Among Youth.  The CDC also released its latest installment in its Tips series of Public Service Announcements about smoking on Februray 3.

This week, learn the latest about how smoking affects your health, why smoking is addictive, whether smokeless tobacco is safe, and how to quit.

Cancer Sticks and E-Cigs—

02092014-2Smoking is an ugly, stinky habit. Smokers suffer from yellow teeth, damaged skin, and bad breath. And, that is just what you can see. For years we have known that smokers have higher rates of lung and throat, cancers, emphysema, and bronchial disease. The truth is, smoking affects the entire body. See how tobacco changes the body. Use the menu in the left margin and select a body part or organ. Click ‘nonsmoker’ and ‘smoker’ to see the difference between a nonsmoker and a smoker body.

02092014-3For another view of how smoking affects your body and your life, watch the latest videos in the CDC series, Tips from Former Smokers. Watch Terrie’s final video and Roosevelt’s video. Terrie’s story is, perhaps, the most famous one in the series. Watch the video on the bottom of her page first and work your way up the page.

If all this bad news wasn’t enough, in January, the Surgeon General unveiled even more diseases smokers are prone to. Watch excerpts from the Surgeon General’s press conference.

02092014-7So, why don’t smokers just quit? The answer lies in nicotine and your brain. The video Hijacking Happiness: Tobacco and Your Brain helps explain. Watch to 4:54, then fast forward and watch again from 7:41 to 13:19. Smoking causes physical and chemical changes that draw smokers back to cigarettes.

02092014-5Smoking is not cheap.  The FDA’s new youth campaign highlights some of the costs smokers pay—and it is not referring to the average $5.51 a pack. Check out videos from the FDA campaign, The Real Cost. Watch Bully, Your Teeth, Your Skin, and Alison.

02092014-4A growing trend, especially among teens, is e-cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes contain nicotine but do not contain all of a cigarette’s carcinogens. Does that make them less harmful and how do e-cigarettes work? Visit WebMd to learn more about what an e-cigarette is and to separate facts from fiction. Read three things you should know about e-cigs.

Smokeless Tobacco—

02092014-6Smoking tobacco comes with a pack of ills. What about smokeless tobacco? Is smokeless tobacco less dangerous than smoking? Watch the story of Sean Marsee…but be warned some of the images are shocking.  Then, review your understanding with a tobacco quiz.

Breaking Nicotine’s Hold—

02092014-8Smoking is unhealthy but, remember, it is also very addictive. This explains why smokers often find it difficult to quit. If nicotine already has a chokehold on you, it is possible to break the habit, and there is help. Smokefree is one site designed to help you quit. Most smokers do not simply wake up one day and stop smoking. You need a quit plan. Begin by exploring ways you can quit: cold turkey, nicotine patch, nicotine gum, individual or group counseling. Declare your quit day and follow simple steps to making it through that first day. Read tips to make the slip-ups less discouraging and five tips to staying smoke-free. Support is a key part of becoming smoke-free. Sign up for texts, use the QuitSTART app to track your progress, talk to an expert, and check out 12 tips to creating a supportive environment.