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Social Evils
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nagib



Joined: 01 Feb 2003
Posts: 295

PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2004 6:26 am    Post subject: Social Evils Reply with quote

http://www.chitralnews.com/Articles%2015.htm
Social evils- Causes and eradication
Zuifikar Ali Shah Zulfi

President shia imami and ismaili local council Booni has
given me this tough job to write an assignment on the causes and solutions of social evils which are in one form or the other crippling in our society particularly among our jamat. Though it is a very difficult task for me to tell about things that I am not aware of. As a student of science I have no approach to the subject concerned__sociology or social sciences but as a member of the society I have the responsibility to study social events around me. I have tried my best to pinpoint the causes and solutions of social evils up to some extent.

I think that to some extent this assignment will benefit in making further plans and strategies to eradicate these evils from the society.

Social evils are the acts which are undesired and harmful to the society. It is an instinct of the human nature to adopt them readily. The history of social evils is as old as human history itself. They are prevailing in every nook and corner of the world from time immemorial. Some acts which are considered as evil today were the part of human civilization. Alcoholism , smoking , illicit relation with women or men are some of them. Even today in some societies of the world there are many evils which are considered as legal. In Britain, Germany and many other European countries marriage between the men and men and women and
women are allowed on government levels. Lesbians and gays are demanding their basic rights. Alcoholism and sexual freedom are not the crimes at all in many non Muslim countries. In Islam all those acts are unlawful and those who are committing these are criminals.

There are many factors which are involved in creating various kind of social evils. Drug abuse is one among many types of social evils. Islam and other systems of life prohibit this evil but, unfortunately, this land and it’s people are being gradually involved by one of the worst social evil that of drug abuse.

In medical science drugs are those chemical substances which are abused or taken for the sake of just getting euphoric. They cause many physiological disorders in men and animals. Nicotine in tobacco, morphine in opium codeine and alcoholic barbiturates are all categorized as drugs. In the long run they effect the entire body of an organism.

CAUSES OF DRUG ABUSE

1. Increase availability of drugs in market.
2. Socioeconomic factors.
3. Changes in attitude and values towards society, family, community, religion
and morality.
4. Poverty and unemployment.

ADVERSE EFFECTS OF DRUG ABUSE

1. Reduction in life expectancy.
2. Premature birth.
3. Heart attack and other cardiovascular disease.
4. Lung and liver cancer.
5. Rise in blood pressure and contraction of blood vessels.
6. Road accidents by drunken drivers.
7. Loss of memory and other neurological diseases.

Drug abuse or substance abuse can be minimized of completely eradicated if substantial measures are taken. This responsibilities fall on each and every member of the society especially those who are responsible. Our jamati leaders, religious scholars, teachers and educated member of the community can play their role in this regard. The most important thing is awareness among the people especially the young generation who are vulnerable. But the important thing is the individual itself. No law or rule is forcibly imposed unless an individual itself has no sense.

Those who are involved in such business pretend that they have no alternate way earn money. Such peoples should be kept busy and provided them with the basic needs of daily life like food, shelter and home.
Secondly the availability of drugs in local markets should be discouraged. If someone are found guilty they must be punished according to the law. It is a common practice here in our area that after arresting some criminals the influential peoples go to the police station and get them free on their personal guarantee. This practice gives a bad impression and the peoples doubt about the involvement of these individuals in such crimes.

Another point in this regard is that people should be persuaded not to use drug and this impression should be established that our body is the temple or dwelling place of the holy spirit and this holy place should not be contaminated with drugs or any other sin. “Alcohol promises heaven, alcohol bestows hell.”

EXPENSIVE WEDDING

In our society even those who are religious minded, get caught up in this
problem. They do not want to do it , but feel they have to do it to be accepted socially.
The bride and bridegroom wear their bridal attire for a few hours on one day , and never wear the outfits again and yet so much money is spent on their wedding. Wedding these days has become exorbitant function. The rich exhibit their wealth and opulence on such occasion. Every such occasion tremors among the deprived class of the society. As it is observed that the poor class of our society totally depends on bank loan to perform such ceremonies. This depicts how wrong we peoples in setting our priorities, and how our values have changed. Even our leaders (religious, social and political) find it difficult to follow the spirit of Islam.

As the followers of one imam we have diverted from our real path and there is no destiny at last. When it comes to social custom and tradition we forget every command and order of our beloved imam e zaman. Islam
discourages all activities in which money is spent needlessly.

Since social functions in particular set trends, they should be as simple as possible. Wedding foods, gift, apparels, bridal dresses should all be within reasonable limit. If they remain in such limits, they add to the beauty of the occasion, and if they exceed their bounds, they become symbols of human greed and arrogance.


The best define able point of needless expenses and overspendings in such ceremonies is a person’s own conscience. No one else is better judge. The ismaili council can also legislate in this regard. However all large scale social evils should be tackled through educating peoples and changing their mindset. Law are just preventive measures. They do not change the people’s mind.

Education is the treatment of all social evils. We are at war against illiteracy and ignorance.

SOLUTIONS TO THE SOCIAL PROBLEMS

A perusal of the social problem that effect mankind today indicates that it is not the nature of social problem itself , but the level of their operation which causes the changes. The exploitation of man by man. The root cause being the same no matter what may be the level of any particular social evil. The root cause for the imperfect weaving of the social web is irresponsible conduct on the part of the man.

The responsible government , at any level , can never develop unless there are responsible citizens. The institution which constitute the government represent only a small part , other institution like schools, homes, religious centres, voluntary organizations etc form a much greater part of the social activities.

The truth is that every individual is responsible in his own sphere for the
welfare of the community at large. The holy prophet(PBUH) has put the whole matter in a nutshell. “Every one of you is a steward and is accountable for that which is committed to his charge.”
The solution, accordingly , requires two things: first purification of man’s
ego and second the indoctrination of the sense of responsibility for the welfare of all. The real solution therefore lies in the unfolding of true human nature and in educating the masses in the truth that universal brotherhood can be established by virtue of mankind’s relationship with one another through God.

Zuifikar Ali Shah Zulfi
VILLAGE DOKANDEH,
BOONI, CHITRAL.
phone#0933-470232
zulfi232@hotmail.com
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kmaherali



Joined: 27 Mar 2003
Posts: 13064

PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2004 4:44 pm    Post subject: Wasteful Expenditure Reply with quote

It is a very illuminating analysis of the problems and solutions of the Jamat in the Northern Areas of Pakistan and indeed of Jamat in Central Asia. What particularly surprises me is the wasteful expenditure on weddings inspite of the widespread poverty and suffering around. This clearly demonstrates that the attraction to materialism,greed, pride, desire to showoff wealth is not really a function of external environment, rather, it is an attitude of mind. On the one hand, one could have the most materialistic outlook of life while living in a deprived circumstance whereas on the other, one could be totally detached and austere inspite of living in material abundance (which in my opinion is real Sufism).
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2005 6:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Science of Addiction
by Elaine Gottleib

The United States is a nation of addicts. According to a 2001 survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), there are 16 million drug users, 13 million heavy drinkers, and 66 million smokers in the United States. That doesn't include the overeaters, gamblers, compulsive exercisers, and the sex obsessed. Yet most people are able to eat, drink, and exercise without becoming addicted to those activities. Why?

Defining Addiction
Neuroscientists define addiction in medical terms as "a brain disease….a chronic, relapsing disease." Addiction is considered a brain disease because it alters the brain in fundamental, long-lasting ways. That's not surprising when you consider that the brain changes constantly in response to our everyday experiences. For instance, when a student learns that the Pilgrims landed in 1620, the brain is affected by just that simple piece of information. Imagine the more dramatic changes produced by powerful substances like alcohol and heroin!

Neuro-imaging techniques like PET scans and MRIs have documented actual changes in the size and shape of nerve cells in the brains of addicts. Networks of nerve cells determine our feelings and behavior. Drugs influence behavior by transforming the way these networks function, according to Dr. Stephen Hyman, former director of the National Institute of Mental Health.

The Dopamine Connection
The biological link among all addictions is dopamine. This brain chemical is released during pleasurable activities ranging from sex and eating to more detrimental behaviors such as drinking and drug taking. "If a drug or an activity produces a sharp spike in dopamine, the odds are phenomenal that people will like it, they'll experience it as pleasurable, and it will be addictive," says Alan Leshner, PhD, of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

A powerful drug like crack cocaine elevates dopamine levels much faster than normal pleasurable activities. It creates the classic drug-induced feelings of exhilaration and power. In a landmark 1950s experiment, scientists stimulated rodent brains and found that the animals kept returning to the place where they received the stimulation.

Getting—and Staying—Hooked
Coming down from a drug high is caused by a decrease in dopamine levels. If you force brain cells to produce excessive dopamine on a regular basis, they become stressed and produce less dopamine. Over time, addicts become depressed and need drugs just to stimulate dopamine to normal levels. They become trapped in a cycle of cravings and addiction to avoid withdrawal symptoms and depression.

Leshner believes that once a person crosses the line from user to addict, the brain is so changed that he can no longer control his behavior. "... the truth is, addiction is not a voluntary behavior. It's actually a different state," he explains. "It's hard for people to understand that, but if you take drugs to the point of addiction, functionally you move into a different state. A state of compulsive, uncontrollable drug use."

This transformation helps explain why it's so difficult to break an addiction. "There is no motivator more powerful than the drug craving and the need for them," says Leshner. Cravings are more significant than physical withdrawal in keeping an addict hooked. Drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine, unlike heroin and alcohol, don't produce intense physical withdrawal symptoms, but they do produce overpowering cravings. These cravings can be aroused by external or internal stimuli that are as innocuous as walking by a pub or feeling sad, according to Patricia Owen, PhD, director of Research and Development at the Hazelden Foundation in Minnesota.

An Addictive Personality?
Although researchers have tried to determine the type of person who becomes an addict, they have failed to identify an "addictive personality," according to Owen. It is only after people become addicts that certain common personality traits emerge, like "difficulty delaying gratification, self-centeredness, lack of concentration and impatience," says Owen.

Sol, a former alcoholic and drug addict turned addiction counselor and administrator at a major treatment facility, feels that using a term like addictive personality "paints a hopeless picture. Some people are very compulsive but they can change," he says. Indeed, according to Owen, 60% of addicts use both alcohol and drugs and 80% of alcoholics also smoke.

Many addiction professionals believe addiction stems from a combination of biological, psychological, and environmental factors. "The Alcoholics Anonymous 'Big Book' describes alcoholism as a physical, emotional and spiritual disease. They were aware of the physiological affects before we were able to do PET scans to actually see the changes," says Owen.

The progression to addiction can develop this way: Sue may have a genetic or biological predisposition to an addiction. If she grows up in a family and environment without addiction or stress, she may never begin even casual use. However, if Sue grows up in a stressful family or an environment where substance abuse is common and encounters more stresses as an adult and over time, she may move from casual to regular use to full-blown addiction.

We know that children of alcoholics have a four times higher risk of becoming alcoholics themselves than the offspring of non-alcoholics. Scientists are also studying whether addicts are born with inadequate endorphins, the brain chemicals that regulate stress.

Quitting
To be an addict means that addiction has overwhelmed your entire existence. "When you speak to drug addicts about their experiences, they'll tell you that there is nothing in their life but drugs," says Leshner. So breaking an addiction often involves major lifestyle changes. For Sol, it meant losing most of his friends who were also addicts. He also had to cope with feelings that he had suppressed for years with drugs. "Using drugs prevents you from learning to handle emotions. You don't go through the maturation process," he explains.

Willpower is not a factor in quitting since addiction also impairs that faculty. That is why Leshner calls it a "relapsing disease." Most addicts who seek treatment relapse several times before they kick the habit.

New Treatments
For years, heroin and narcotics addictions have been treated successfully with methadone, which eases withdrawal and blocks the effect of drugs. Naltrexone is another drug commonly used for alcohol and narcotics addiction.

A new experimental drug, buprenorphine, has shown promising results in tests on narcotics addicts. Scientists are also working on a cocaine "vaccine," which could be used to inoculate addicts who relapse.

It is unlikely, however, that a magic pill will ever be found that "cures" addiction. "No matter what you do with medication, I believe that you will always need psychological treatment to provide support and manage behavior," says Jan Kaufman, Director of Substance Abuse Treatment at the North Charles Foundation in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

On the other hand, aerobic exercise offers a simple and natural way to help combat addiction. During aerobic exercise dopamine levels are increased in the areas of the brain involved with addiction, and feelings of depression and anxiety are decreased.

Diagnosing Addiction
Drug and alcohol problems can affect every one of us regardless of age, sex, race, marital status, place of residence, income level, or lifestyle.

You may have a problem with drugs or alcohol, if:


You can't predict whether or not you will use drugs or get drunk.
You believe that you need to drink and/or use drugs in order to have fun.
You turn to alcohol and/or drugs after a confrontation or argument, or to relieve uncomfortable feelings.
You need to drink more or use more drugs to get the same effect as previously.
You drink and/or use drugs by yourself.
You have periods of memory loss.
You have trouble at work, in school, or in your personal relationships because of drinking or using drugs.
You make promises to yourself or others that you'll stop getting drunk or using drugs but are unable to keep them.
You feel alone, scared, miserable, and depressed.

Adapted from "Just the Facts" published by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

RESOURCES:

Drug Abuse: How to Break the Habit
American Academy of Family Physicians
http://familydoctor.org/

National Institute on Drug Abuse
http://www.nida.nih.gov/

The National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information
www.health.org

References:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Available at: http://www.samhsa.gov/. Accessed on June 20, 2003.
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2005 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seven Sizzling Ways to Stop Smoking
by Jeff Siegel

Quitting smoking is one of the most daunting challenges you'll face in your life. It's an addiction that is both physical and psychological, but quitting smoking can be done. In fact, you'll have plenty of company: 1 million Americans quit every year, and almost 50 million Americans are former smokers.

You've seen the warnings. Heard the discussions. Received the advice. Listened to your kids nag you about it. You know you should quit smoking, but you never seem to get around to it.

Well, now is the time to get around to it.

"You know, there's no magic bullet, no device that will make it easy," says Jenny Duffey, who smoked for 13 years before quitting in 1989, and has written a book and taught seminars on quitting. "You have to want to quit—really want to quit—before you can do it."

There are certainly plenty of reasons to quit when you consider smoking's fatal link with lung cancer, emphysema, and heart disease, and the harmful effects of second-hand smoke on your family. Even the tobacco companies admit that there might be a relationship between smoking and death.

Yet quitting is one of the most daunting challenges you'll face in your life.

The Mind and Body Connection

That's because smoking is addictive—both physically and psychologically. The physical addiction can be traced to the nicotine in each cigarette. It hooks you just as completely as its more disreputable cousins, such as heroin and cocaine, say researchers, and the withdrawal symptoms—cravings, anxiety, nausea, cramps, depression, and dizziness—are similar.

Like these other drugs, nicotine surges through the bloodstream and gives smokers a high—a quick jolt that makes them think they feel better. But, in the meantime, what really happens is that smokers develop a tolerance for nicotine, which is why they go from a couple of butts a day as a teenager to 2 1/2 packs a day as an adult.

The psychological addiction is, in its own way, just as bad. Smoking becomes second nature, like blinking or breathing. If you consider that one pack of cigarettes can turn into 150 to 200 puffs a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, you'll see how hard it is to de-program yourself.

The Key to Quitting

But you can quit. In fact, one million Americans quit smoking every year, and almost 50 million Americans are former smokers.

"The thing to keep in mind is that almost everyone who quits has to try more than once," says Anne Davis, M.D., a past president of the American Lung Association. "You shouldn't be discouraged. It's more rare to quit on the first try than on the fifth. Some people have to try as many as 10 or 11 times."

The key to quitting, say the experts, is patience and perseverance.

How to Do It

Keep these points in mind when you quit:

Know why you're quitting
Pick a reason that you believe in, be it for your family or for yourself. If you don't believe in your reason, it's that much harder to stop.

Change your environment
Worry about not smoking for just one day, and not for the rest of your life. Besides, it gets easier to stave off the desire the longer you don't smoke. The nicotine will be gone from your system in three to five days, and after about a month the worst of the withdrawal symptoms will go away.

Taper off
People have quit cold turkey, and it's certainly possible. But it doesn't make you any less of a man, says Dr. Davis, to try tapering off instead. "It doesn't mean you are weak, and don't have will power," she says. "What it means is that you realize there are other approaches that will work better."

The key to tapering off is to cut down the number of cigarettes you smoke each day. One way to do this, says Duffey, is to delay the first cigarette of the day. She recommends the two-hour approach. If you have your first smoke at 7 a.m., try holding out until 9 for a couple of days. Then, push it back until 11, and so on. By the end of four weeks, you won't be smoking at all.

Overwhelm the addiction
Think about the things that lead to lighting up, and don't do them. Get rid of the ashtrays at home. Don't pick up matches at a restaurant. Don't come back from lunch 15 minutes early to sneak in a cigarette break. Avoid places, like bars, where smoking is part of the atmosphere.

Practice the three D's
When you feel like a smoke, delay. Try to think of something else. Breathe deeply, and count to ten slowly as you do so. Drink water; aim for eight eight-ounce glasses a day, which helps flush the nicotine out of your system. Do something else: chew gum, tap a pencil or crack your knuckles until the craving passes.

Keep a diary
This technique, which has also been used effectively with people who eat too much, is surprisingly effective. Each time you feel like a cigarette, write down the time of day, what you're doing, and how badly you want a drag on a scale of 1 to 3, with 1 for the worst craving. A diary, says Dr. Davis, helps you to learn to unlearn the almost Pavlovian responses that make you want to smoke.

"Just because you fail once doesn't mean you can't quit smoking," says Dr. Davis. "Half the battle is knowing that it may require several attempts, and feeling confident that you'll eventually succeed."

Work with your healthcare provider
For best results in your plan to stop smoking, work with your healthcare provider. Studies show that measures such as over-the-counter nicotine patches, over-the-counter nicotine gum, prescription nicotine inhalers or nasal sprays, the prescription antidepressant bupropion, hypnosis, acupuncture, smoking cessation classes, support groups, and the like are the most effective when used in combination. So if you're going to use the patch, it's a good idea to find a support group, such as classes sponsored by the lung or heart associations.

Resources

American Lung Association
http://www.lungusa.org
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 6:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crack goes mainstream
More and more Calgarians, from the streets to executive suites, fall prey to a fast-addicting drug

Valerie Fortney
Calgary Herald


Saturday, February 17, 2007



CREDIT: Ted Jacob, Calgary Herald
Drug unit Det. Doug Hudacin of the Calgary Police Service holds a crack pipe and crack rocks at CPS headquarters.


CREDIT: Ted Jacob, Calgary Herald
Crack users' tools of the trade are shown at Calgary police headquarters.

More Columns By This Writer
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As young undercover officers trying to infiltrate Calgary's drug world in the mid-1990s, Monty Sparrow and Doug Hudacin bought whatever illicit drugs they could get their hands on.

For four years, the pair purchased everything from heroin to marijuana to prescription drugs. Over time they noticed a disturbing trend: crack cocaine, a drug once relegated to the ghettos of big cities like New York and Chicago, was becoming more and more plentiful on this city's streets.

By 1999, says Sparrow, "all we were buying was crack."

Eight years later, the crack cocaine trade shows no signs of slowing down.

"The amount of crack out there today is even higher," says Sparrow, now staff sergeant of the Calgary Police Service's drug unit.

"Nobody can say for sure" how much crack cocaine is entering our city, says Hudacin, a detective and the force's resident drug expert.

One thing is certain: the trafficking of illicit drugs in Calgary has soared over the past few years.

"A decade ago, one officer said five kilos of cocaine were coming into town in a month. But now it's probably well over 100 kilos of coke that will be converted to crack cocaine, coming to Calgary every month. It's hard to attach a concrete number to it -- it's an educated guess."

The police service's most recent annual statistical report, for 2005, showed drug offences increasing by 30 per cent over the past six years, trafficking offences up 49 per cent and crack cocaine offences up 113 per cent.

The two veteran officers don't need hard and fast numbers to convince them that crack cocaine is a growing problem in our city. Even

Alberta's smaller communities are seeing the trend.

Others on the front lines of the drug wars support this view: academics, psychologists, counsellors -- and the addicts themselves.

Not only is crack cocaine more prevalent than ever, they say, its influence is cutting across socioeconomic lines. While many of its users are society's most marginalized -- its presence obvious on the city's streets and hooker strolls -- it's also increasingly becoming the drug of choice for an upscale clientele.

Some observers see it as another symptom of the "affluenza" epidemic: one more unanticipated downside of the current economic boom.

Crack -- a drug made by mixing and cooking cocaine, water and baking soda until it forms a rock that is smoked to produce a high -- has never before experienced such an elevated position in our society.

But it wasn't that long ago that crack had the seediest of reputations.

First showing up in U.S. urban centres in the 1980s, the drug became such a scourge among the lower classes that in 1989 half of all felony arrests in New York City were crack-related.

By 1986, Time Magazine had declared crack addiction the No. 1 issue facing America. Newsweek would later call crack the most significant story in the United States since Vietnam and Watergate.

An ABC News special called it a plague "eating away at the fabric of America," while NBC labelled crack "America's drug of choice."

The outrage over crack's grip on society led to an overhaul of U.S. drug laws.

By 2000, however, the New York Times declared crack cocaine no longer a societal threat with a series entitled The War on Crack Retreats. The combination of tougher policing and laws, along with a tarnished reputation as a drug for losers, it said, were to blame. The term "crack head" was deemed the highest insult, even on the mean streets of urban America.

So how, in 2007, has crack resurfaced in cities like Calgary as a drug of choice for some members of mainstream society?

"Gangs should be given PhDs in marketing," says Dr. Louis Pagliaro. "Somehow in the last few years, they've convinced people that meth is the poor man's drug and crack is the new Cadillac, the rich man's drug."

Pagliaro, a professor in educational psychology at the University of Alberta, has been tracking drug trends for more than 30 years and was the RCMP's key expert witness during a landmark crack trial in Alberta in 1995. He just finished his 14th book with his wife and fellow professor Ann Marie Pagliaro, called Gangs, Drugs and Violent Crime Among Canadian Youth.

He won't use the word epidemic when it comes to crack use, only because "I've been chastised for saying that. But call it what you want."

He says our province is ripe for such a development. "Albertans are working the longest hours in the country, calls to your city's distress lines are hitting record numbers," he says. "A boom can create a lot of unhappiness."

Where there are unhappy people, there is always substance abuse. "I've treated everyone from multiple murderers to Hollywood movie stars, and they all have one thing in common -- unhappiness. They use drugs to alter that state of unhappiness."

But why crack?

Pagliaro says so-called drugs of choice are anything but. Organized crime, he says, has the biggest influence by flooding the market withcertain narcotics.

"Cocaine is the major lifeblood of these gangs," says Pagliaro, who adds that alcohol is still king when it comes to abused substances. "It's the way they support any and all of their criminal activities."

While crack cocaine appears to be cheap at first glance -- a rock can cost anywhere from $5 to $20 -- its short high (about 10 minutes) means the addict will often need 20 or more hits a day. Some hard-core users report taking from 50 to 100 hits.

"They're making a lot of money off one drug," says Pagliaro. "These days, you can hardly find any powdered cocaine on the streets, because the gangs have decided they'd rather sell crack."

Despite crack's emergence as a popular drug, it's impossible to find accurate statistics on its use. Health Canada states on its website that "because cocaine is an illicit drug, the number of users can never be determined definitively. Not everyone who uses cocaine will admit use if asked in a survey, or will accurately recall consumption."

Some critics say that because crack also has the distinction of creating poverty in its users more quickly than most other drugs, self-reporting will never give an accurate picture. That's because crack users deep into their addictions rarely even have homes anymore, let alone telephones.

Add to that the fact that most government surveys here and in other parts of the world group crack together with powdered cocaine, which is snorted.

Still, studies like the Canadian Addiction Survey, published in 2004, found that more than 14 per cent of males, and 10.6 per cent of the total population, reported having tried cocaine.

Dr. Ron Lim doesn't need spreadsheets or polls to convince him of crack's growing prevalence. A professor with the University of Calgary's faculty of medicine, Lim is involved in the addictions field on a number of fronts, from consulting with the Foothills Addiction Centre in Calgary and a private facility in B.C., to helping out at the Renfrew Recovery Centre, a detox centre in the city run by the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission.

"In every aspect of what I am doing, I am seeing more cocaine and crack cocaine," he says. "At Renfrew, crack addiction is now second only to alcohol."

Another problem with this highly addictive drug, Lim points out, is that dealers often add other dangerous substances into the mix, so the user isn't getting pure cocaine. "They cut it with everything from Tylenol to Procaine (a topical anesthetic) to maybe even a bit of crystal meth and heroine. You really have no guarantee what you're getting."

While he acknowledges an increase in professionals joining the ranks of the crack addicted, Lim says he rarely treats them. "The waiting list in Alberta is four to eight weeks, and it's almost all government-run," he says. "People with money don't want to wait, and they don't want to sit beside a homeless person in treatment. They're heading to private treatment centres in British Columbia."

Cocaine and crack cocaine, he says, are psychologically, not physically, addictive. That makes it one of the toughest addictions to treat.

"Cocaine is extremely difficult to quit," he says, adding that if you took 100 people and gave them alcohol, statistically 10 per cent would become addicted. "For cocaine, it would be around 17 to 20 per cent. It is such a dangerous drug to try."

"If you take a drug, you can become addicted," says Dr. Perry Sirota, director of Serenity House Drug & Alcohol Treatment Centre in Calgary. "It doesn't matter how much money you make, how educated you are."

Sirota understands why there has been much media coverage and government interest in methamphetamines -- the Premier's Task Force on Crystal Meth, for instance -- because "meth is a pretty horrible drug, with permanent effects." But he can't understand why crack isn't getting at least equal attention.

"There are a heck of a lot more people in this province using crack than crystal meth."

Sirota says that he's seeing a lot more middle and upper middle income crack addicts, partly because "they were using powder, but then found that was harder and harder to get. They won't think about the fact crack is worse, they just think about replacing that high."

His clientele has extended to include professionals in the finance and legal fields, people in positions of trust with easy access to cash. Fraud cases, where businesspeople have dipped into company and client funds, he says, can almost always be traced to either a drug or gambling addiction.

"I treat sex workers who tell me they can point to any high-end office building in the downtown core and say that's where they go at night with professionals to party and smoke crack."

When the average person thinks of a crack addict, says Neal Berger, "I'll bet they see a male from 18 to 35, who has long, straggly dark hair and looks like he just got out of the criminal justice system.

"They don't picture a guy with a Porsche or a middle-aged homemaker."

But Berger, who has been treating addicts for 30 years and is executive director of the Cedars at Cobble Hill, a residential treatment centre near Duncan, B.C., says that's what he's seeing more and more of every day. And a growing number of Albertans are using his centre's services.

Berger says Alberta's runaway economy has created a unique set of problems among its workforce.

"Dealing with places like Fort McMurray," says Berger, who regularly consults with the province's oil and gas industry, "is like trying to change an entire nation."

He says the growth of illicit drugs like crack among the ranks of the employed is one of the biggest workplace issues today.

"The cost to business and industry is astronomical," he says. Not to mention the risks to safety. "You have addicts who are operating heavy machinery and other equipment that requires a lot of attention."

If crack users and addicts aren't prone to confessing their proclivities to government canvassers, one place some feel comfortable is an organization like Cocaine Anonymous (CA).

"We don't ask them what you do for a living," says John, a representative

of the Calgary chapter of CA. (In keeping with CA's anonymity policy, he won't divulge his real name.) "But you can tell when someone's in a nice business suit that they're not your stereotypical crack user."

In his dozen years counselling fellow crack addicts, he's seen a huge shift from the use of powdered cocaine to crack.

"You never hear the term freebasing now," says John. "It's all crack, and it's so easy to get it. You just have to know who to ask."

John, who has been clean from his crack addiction for 12 years and has a construction business, says he understands how difficult it is to shake the drug, despite his own long-term success.

"It's psychologically addictive, so it becomes a mental obsession," he says. "Just trying to say no, it seems physically impossible for an addict. The rush is so good, but so short, so it just leaves you wanting more."

For Calgary police, how much money a crack addict may have in his or her bank account is of no interest. "We're not targeting the millionaires, or any other addict," says Sparrow, of the CPS drug unit.

"Our emphasis is on the traffickers, the guys making the money off of the addicts."

By introducing illicit drugs into the community, the producers and dealers are causing more harm than just to those ingesting their product. "Anywhere drugs are present, every kind of crime goes up," says Sparrow.

"Violence, petty crimes, burglaries, robberies, murders."

But while finding down-and-out crack addicts such as prostitutes and street people is easy, the increasing numbers of addicts with money and a fixed address can go undercover for a long time -- long enough to use up all their savings and eventually lose everything.

"Everybody has an image of what a crack addict looks like," says Hudacin, Sparrow's partner.

"They'd be pretty surprised to see some of them. Crack addiction runs the full socioeconomic spectrum in Calgary."

vfortney@theherald.canwest.com

COCAINE AND CRACK: A PRIMER

- Cocaine is a powerful drug made from the South American coca bush. Its street names include coke, C, snow and flake.

- Cocaine is sold as a fine white powder. Street dealers sometimes dilute it with substances like cornstarch or sugar, or local painkillers like benzocaine. Users often snort cocaine. They also

dissolve it in water and inject it into their veins.

- Heating cocaine hydrochloride with baking soda makes crack. The mixture forms a solid chunk composed of chemicals that

include freebase cocaine. It gets its name from the crackling sound it makes when being cooked. Crack chunks are also known as "rock." Freebase is a pure form of cocaine that can also be smoked. Some crack and freebase users inhale the vapours from heated glass pipes. Others add them to tobacco or marijuana cigarettes.

- All forms of cocaine have the same effects. But injecting produces these effects more quickly and intensely than snorting. Smoking it causes the most intense

and addictive high.

COCAINE AND CRACK'S EFFECTS:

- Cocaine can make you feel intense pleasure. You can feel alert, energetic and confident. Using cocaine

increases your breathing, heart rate and blood pressure. It dilates your pupils, decreases your appetite and reduces your need to sleep.

- Large doses of cocaine can produce euphoria, severe

agitation, anxiety,erratic and violent behaviour, twitching, hallucinations, blurred vision, headaches, chest pains, rapid shallow breathing, muscle spasms, nausea and fever.

- Overdose can cause seizures, strokes, heart

attacks, kidney failure, coma and death. Use is linked with suicides, murder and fatal accidents.

- A cocaine high can last from five minutes to two hours. When users "crash" they feel very depressed, anxious and irritable. Many users take repeated doses to maintain the high and avoid the crash. Some users try to modify the effects or stop binges with drugs like alcohol, tranquilizers or heroin. Respiratory arrest is a common cause of death from cocaine overdose.

- Heavy cocaine users can feel depressed, restless, agitated and nervous. They can have sleeping, eating and sexual problems. They can have dramatic mood swings, delusions, hallucinations and paranoia. High blood pressure and irregular heartbeats occur. Repeated use may cause long-lasting problems with memory, attention and behaviour.

- Possessing, producing

and trafficking in cocaine can result in fines, prison sentences and a criminal record.

COCAINE AND ADDICTION:

- People who use cocaine heavily over a long period, or binge for several days, develop a tolerance. They need to take more of the drug to feel the same effects.

- Regular users can develop powerful psychological dependence, a relentless craving for the drug. They continue to use the drug even when it causes overwhelming physical, mental and social problems.

WITHDRAWAL:

- Withdrawal from cocaine causes few physical effects, but the psychological effects, including loss of pleasure,

depression and low energy, are severe. Three phases of withdrawal have been

described. Phase 1, the "crash," follows the end of the binge and lasts for up to four days. The user has very low energy, may sleep for days and may eat large amounts of food.

- During Phase 2, which lasts for two to 12 weeks, the user feels little initiative, intense boredom, and minimal pleasure from life. This limited existence, as compared with the memories of drug-induced euphoria, can lead to severe craving, resumption of cocaine use and cycles of recurrent binges.

- Phase 3, "extinction," gradually follows if no drug is taken for many months. Normal function returns and eventually craving

decreases, or at least is not associated with a relapse to drug use.

Source: Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission

Calgary's runaway economy is creating an "affluenza" epidemic.

One of its manifestations is the rising use of crack cocaine. Calgary Herald columnist Valerie Fortney investigates why this is happening and who are its new victims.

THE CHANGING FACE OF CRACK ADDICTION

Today:

- Market-savvy gangs are driving the new addiction, says one expert.

- Crack's new clientele: The compelling stories of two crack addicts.

Sunday:

- Calgarians are turning to expensive treatment centres on the West Coast.

- Stories of recovery: A stockbroker and the wife of a prominent businessman.

This story features factboxes "Cocaine and Crack: A Primer" and "The Changing Face of Crack Addiction".

© The Calgary Herald 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

November 29, 2007
Six Killers: Lung Disease
From Smoking Boom, a Major Killer of Women
By DENISE GRADY

For Jean Rommes, the crisis came five years ago, on a Monday morning when she had planned to go to work but wound up in the hospital, barely able to breathe. She was 59, the president of a small company in Iowa. Although she had quit smoking a decade earlier, 30 years of cigarettes had taken their toll.

After several days in the hospital, she was sent home tethered to an oxygen tank, with a raft of medicines and a warning: “If I didn’t do something, life was going to continue to be a pretty scary experience.”

Ms. Rommes has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or C.O.P.D., a progressive illness that permanently damages the lungs and is usually caused by smoking. Once thought of as an old man’s disease, this disorder has become a major killer in women as well, the consequence of a smoking boom in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. The death rate in women nearly tripled from 1980 to 2000, and since 2000, more women than men have died or been hospitalized every year because of the disease.

“Women started smoking in what I call the Virginia Slims era, when they started sponsoring sporting events,” said Dr. Barry J. Make, a lung specialist at National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver. “It’s now just catching up to them.”

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease actually comprises two illnesses: one, emphysema, destroys air sacs deep in the lungs; the other, chronic bronchitis, causes inflammation, congestion and scarring in the airways. The disease kills 120,000 Americans a year, is the fourth leading cause of death and is expected to be third by 2020. About 12 million Americans are known to have it, including many who have long since quit smoking, and studies suggest that 12 million more cases have not been diagnosed. Half the patients are under 65. The disease has left some 900,000 working-age people too sick to work and costs $42 billion a year in medical bills and lost productivity.

“It’s the largest uncontrolled epidemic of disease in the United States today,” said Dr. James Crapo, a professor at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center.

Experts consider the statistics a national disgrace. They say chronic lung disease is misdiagnosed, neglected, improperly treated and stigmatized as self-induced, with patients made to feel they barely deserve help, because they smoked. The disease is mired in a bog of misconception and prejudice, doctors say. It is commonly mistaken for asthma, especially in women, and treated with the wrong drugs.

Although incurable, it is treatable, but many patients, and some doctors, mistakenly think little can be done for it. As a result, patients miss out on therapies that could help them feel better and possibly live longer. The therapies vary, but may include drugs, exercise programs, oxygen and lung surgery.

Incorrectly treated, many fall needlessly into a cycle of worsening illness and disability, and wind up in the emergency room over and over again with pneumonia and other exacerbations — breathing crises like the one that put Ms. Rommes in the hospital — that might have been averted.

“Patients often come to me with years of being under treated,” said Dr. Byron Thomashow, the director of the Center for Chest Disease at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia hospital.

Still others are overtreated for years with steroids like prednisone, which is meant for short-term use and if used too much can thin the bones, weaken muscles and raise the risk of cataracts.

Adequate treatment means drugs, usually inhaled, that open the airways and quell inflammation — preventive medicines that must be used daily, not just in emergencies. It is essential to quit smoking.

Patients also need antibiotics to fight lung infections, vaccines to prevent flu and pneumonia and lessons on special breathing techniques that can help them make the most of their diminished lungs. Some need oxygen, which can help them be more active and prolong life in severe cases. Many need dietary advice: obesity can worsen symptoms, but some with advanced disease lose so much weight that their muscles begin to waste. Some people with emphysema benefit from surgery to remove diseased parts of their lungs.

Above all, patients need exercise, because shortness of breath drives many to become inactive, and they become increasingly weak, homebound, disabled and depressed. Many could benefit from therapy programs called pulmonary rehabilitation, which combine exercise with education about the disease, drugs and nutrition, but the programs are not available in all parts of the country, and insurance coverage for them varies.

“I have a complicated, severe group of patients, but I will swear to you that very few wind up in hospitals,” Dr. Thomashow said. “I treat aggressively. I use the medicines, I exercise all of them. You can make a difference here. This is an example of how we’re undertreating this entire disease.”

Little-Known Epidemic

Researchers say there is so little public awareness of how common and serious C.O.P.D. is that the O might as well stand for “obscure” or “overlooked.”

The disease may not be well known, but people who have it are a familiar sight. They are the ones who cannot climb half a flight of stairs without getting winded, who have a perpetual smoker’s cough or wheeze, who need oxygen to walk down the block or push a cart through the supermarket. Some grow too weak and short of breath to leave the house. The flu or even a cold can put them in the hospital. In advanced stages, the lung disease can lead to heart failure.

“This is a disease where people eventually fade away because they can no longer cope with life,” said Grace Anne Dorney Koppel, who has chronic lung disease. (Ms. Dorney Koppel, a lawyer, is married to Ted Koppel.) “My God, if you don’t have breath, you don’t have anything.”

Most cases, about 85 percent, are caused by smoking, and symptoms usually start after age 40, in people who have smoked a pack a day for 10 years or more. In the United States, 45 million people smoke, 21 percent of adults. Only about 20 percent of smokers develop chronic lung disease.

The illness is not the same as asthma, but some patients have asthma along with their other lung problems. Most have a combination of emphysema and chronic bronchitis. In about one-sixth of cases, emphysema is the main problem. Women are far more likely than men to develop chronic bronchitis, and are less prone to emphysema. Some studies have suggested that women’s lungs are more sensitive than men’s to the toxins in smoke.

Worldwide, these lung diseases kill 2.5 million people a year. An article in September in The Lancet, a medical journal, said that “if every smoker in the world were to stop smoking today, the rates of C.O.P.D. would probably continue to increase for the next 20 years.” The reason is that although quitting slows the disease, it can develop later.

Cigarettes are the major cause worldwide, but other sources are important in developing countries, especially smoke from indoor fires that burn wood, coal, straw or dung for heating and cooking. Women and children are most likely to be exposed. Outdoor air pollution plays less of a part: it can aggravate existing disease, but is believed to cause only 1 percent of cases in rich countries and 2 percent in poorer ones. Occupational exposures in cotton mills and mines may contribute.

Researchers have differed about whether passive smoking plays a role, but a Lancet article in September predicted that in China, among the 240 million people who are now over 50, 1.9 million who never smoked will die from chronic lung disease — just from exposure to other people’s smoke.

Many patients with lung disease have other illnesses as well, like heart disease, acid reflux, hypertension, high cholesterol, sinus problems or diabetes. Compared with other smokers, those with C.O.P.D. are more likely to develop lung cancer as well. Researchers suspect that all the ailments stem partly from the same underlying condition, widespread inflammation, a reaction by the immune system that can affect blood vessels, organs and tissues all over the body.

Lung disease can creep up insidiously, because human beings have lung power to spare. Millions of airways, with enough surface area to cover a tennis court, provide so much reserve that most people would not notice it if they lost the use of a third or even half of a lung. But all that extra capacity can hide an impending disaster.

“If it comes on gradually, the body can adjust,” said Dr. Neil Schachter, a lung specialist and professor at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. “Some of these patients are at oxygen levels where you and I would be gasping for breath.”

People adjust psychologically as well, cutting back their activities, deciding perhaps that they just do not enjoy sports anymore, that they are getting older, gaining weight or a bit out of shape. But at some point the body can no longer compensate, and denial does not work anymore.

“It’s like trying to breathe through a straw,” Dr. Schachter said. “It’s very uncomfortable.”

By then, half a lung might be ruined. On a CT scan, he said, the lungs may look “moth-eaten,” full of holes where tissue has been destroyed.

Often, the diagnosis is not made until the disease is advanced. Even though breathing tests are easy to perform and recommended for high-risk patients like former and current smokers, many doctors do not bother. People who do get a diagnosis frequently are not taught how to use the inhalers that are the mainstay of treatment. Access to pulmonary rehabilitation is limited because Medicare has left coverage decisions to the states. Some programs have shut down, and there are bills in the House and Senate that would require pulmonary rehabilitation to be covered by Medicare. Medicare may also reduce coverage for home oxygen.

Meanwhile, billions are spent on treating exacerbations, episodes of severe breathing trouble that are often caused by colds, flu or other respiratory infections.

A recent study of 1,600 consecutive hospitalizations for chronic lung disease in five New York hospitals found that once patients were in the hospital, their treatment was generally correct, Dr. Thomashow said. But “most upsetting,” he said, was that the majority had been incorrectly treated before going to the hospital.

For many, trying to control the disease, rather than be controlled by it, is a daily struggle. Diane Williams Hymons, 57, a social service consultant and therapist in Silver Spring, Md., has had lifelong problems with bronchitis, allergies and asthma. In the last five or 10 years, her breathing difficulties have worsened, but she was told only three years ago that she had C.O.P.D. It motivated her to give up cigarettes, after smoking for more than 30 years.

“I have good days, and days that aren’t as great,” she said. “I sometimes have trouble walking up steps. I have to stop and catch my breath.”

She is “usually fine” when sitting, she said.

Her mother, also a former smoker with chronic lung disease, has been in a pulmonary rehabilitation program. Ms. Williams Hymons’s doctor has not recommended such a program for her, but she has no idea why. They have discussed surgery to remove part of her lungs, which helps some people with emphysema, but she said no decision had been made yet because it is not clear whether her main problem is emphysema or asthma. She is not sure what her prognosis is.

A Risky Approach

Ms. Williams Hymons has been taking prednisone pills for years, something both she and her doctor know is risky. But when she tries to cut back, the disease flares up. She has many side effects from the drug.

“My bone density is not looking real good,” she said. “I have cramps in my hands and feet, weight gain and bloating, the moon face, excess facial hair, fat deposits between my shoulder blades. Yes, I have those.”

She has broken two ribs just from coughing, probably because the prednisone has thinned her bones, she said. She went to a hospital for the rib pain last year and was given so much asthma medication to stop the coughing that it caused abnormal heart rhythms. She wound up in the cardiac unit for five days, and now says “never again” to being hospitalized.

Her doctor orders regular bone density tests.

“I know he’s concerned, like I’m concerned,” Ms. Williams Hymons said, “but we can’t seem to kind of get things under control.”

A recent study of 25 primary care practices around the United States treating chronic lung disease found that most did not perform spirometry, a simple breathing test used to diagnose or monitor the disease, even when they had the equipment to do so. The test takes only a few minutes, but doctors said there was not enough time during the usual 15-minute visit. Similarly, the practices did not offer much help with smoking cessation.

The author of the study (published in August in The American Journal of Medicine), Pamela L. Moore, said many of the doctors felt unable to help smokers quit, and believed that as long as patients kept smoking, treatments for lung disease would be for nought. But Dr. Moore said research had found that people are more likely to quit or start cutting back if doctors recommend it.

Labeling the disease self-induced is “an unbelievably painful concept,” Dr. Thomashow said. “Patients blame themselves, their family blames them, we even have evidence that health providers blame them.”

Shame and Blame

Indeed, a patient at a clinic in Manhattan, with nasal oxygen tubing attached to equipment in a backpack, said, “This is one of the evils you must suffer for the things we did in our life.”

Smoking also contributes to heart disease, Dr. Thomashow said, and yet people “don’t waste time blaming the patient.”

“This disease quite frankly has an image problem,” said Dr. James Kiley, the director of lung research at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, which started a campaign last January to educate people about the disease.

In one way or another every patient seems to have encountered what John Walsh, president of the C.O.P.D. Foundation, calls the “shame and blame” attached to this disease.

It is a familiar theme to Ms. Dorney Koppel, who agreed to become a spokeswoman for the institute’s education campaign. She was surprised to be asked to help, she said, because the campaign needed a celebrity, and she is merely married to one. She asked the person who invited her, whether there were no famous people with C.O.P.D.

“I was told, ‘None who will admit it,’” she said.

Ms. Dorney Koppel, who is candid about being a former smoker, calls the illness the Rodney Dangerfield of diseases.

“You don’t get no respect,” she said. “I have to pay publicly for my sins. I have paid.”

Like many patients, Ms. Rommes has both emphysema and chronic bronchitis, along with asthma. She had symptoms for years before receiving the correct diagnosis.

She began smoking in college during the 1960s, when she was 18. People whom she admired smoked, and it seemed cool. She smoked for 30 years.

When she quit in 1992, it was not because she thought she was ill, but because she realized that she was organizing her day around chances to smoke. But she almost certainly was ill. She was only 50, but climbing a flight of stairs left her winded. From what she found in medical dictionaries, she began to suspect she had lung disease.

By 2000 she was so short of breath that she consulted her doctor about it.

He gave her a spirometry test. In one second, healthy adults should be able to blow out 80 percent of the total they can exhale; her score was 34 percent, which, she knows now, indicated moderate to severe lung disease.

“I honestly don’t know whether he knew,” she said of her doctor. “I suspect he did, but he didn’t call it emphysema.”

“He put me on a couple of inhalers and he called it asthma,” Ms. Rommes said. “I sort of ignored the whole thing, because the inhalers did make me feel better. I started to gain some weight, and things got progressively worse.”

She cannot help wondering now if she could have avoided becoming so desperately ill, if she had only known sooner what a dangerous illness she had.

The turning point came in February 2003 when she tried to take a shower and found that she could not breathe. The steam all but suffocated her. She managed to drive from her home in Osceola, Iowa, to her doctor’s office, struggle across the parking lot like someone climbing a mountain and collapse, gasping, onto a couch inside the clinic. Her blood oxygen was perilously low, two-thirds of normal, even when she was given oxygen. The hospital was next door, and her doctor had her admitted immediately.

Fear and Anger

She had Type 2 diabetes as well as lung disease, and her doctor told her that losing weight would help both illnesses. But she said, “He made it pretty clear that he didn’t think I would or could.”

Motivated by fear and anger, she began riding an exercise bike, walking on a treadmill, lifting weights at a gym and eating only 1,200 to 1,500 calories a day, mostly lean meat with plenty of vegetables and fruit.

“I kind of came to the conclusion that if I didn’t, I probably wasn’t going to be around,” Ms. Rommes said. “I wasn’t ready to check out. And my husband was beginning to show the signs of Alzheimer’s disease. I knew that if I couldn’t continue to manage our affairs, it wasn’t going to work out.”

By December 2003, her efforts were starting to pay off. She went from needing oxygen around the clock to using it only for sleeping, and by January 2005 she no longer needed it at all. She was able to lower the doses of her inhalers and diabetes medicines. By February 2005, she had lost 100 pounds.

The daily exercise also helped her deal with the stress of her husband’s illness. He died in June.

“I had no clue that exercise would do as much for ability to breathe as it did,” she said, adding that it helped more than the drugs, which she described as “really pretty minimal.”

She is hooked on exercise now, getting up every morning at 5 a.m. to walk for 45 minutes on the treadmill. She goes at it hard enough to break a sweat, wearing a blood oxygen monitor to make sure her level does not dip too low (if it does, she slows down or uses special breathing techniques to bring it up). She walks outdoors, as well, and three times a week, she works out with weights at a gym.

“Exercise is absolutely essential, and it’s essential to start it as soon as you know you have C.O.P.D.,” she said.

Exercise does not heal or strengthen the lungs themselves, but it improves overall fitness, which people with lung disease need desperately because their shortness of breath leads to inactivity, muscle wasting and loss of stamina.

“Both my pulmonologist and my regular doctor have made it really, really clear to me that I have not increased my lung capacity at all,” Ms. Rommes said. “But I’ve improved the mechanics. I’ve done everything I know how to do to make the lung capacity as efficient as possible. That’s the key for me; I know there are lots of people with this disease who don’t exercise, who I guess just give up.”

She realizes that she has two serious chronic diseases that could shorten her life. But it does not worry her much, she said, because she figures she is doing everything she can to take care of herself, and would rather spend her time enjoying life — work, reading, opera, traveling, children and grandchildren.

“I will tell pretty much anybody that I have emphysema,” Ms. Rommes said. “They say, ‘Did you smoke?’ I say, ‘Yes I did, for 30 years, and I quit in 1992.’ Maybe it’s why I’ve attacked this the way I did. O.K., I did it to myself, and so I better do everything I can to get out of it. We all do things in our lives that are stupid, and then you do what you can to fix it.”
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Critics sour on sweeter smelling smokes

William Marsden
CanWest News Service


Friday, December 28, 2007


What's your poison? A little Grand Marnier? How about whisky? Or maybe you like the gentle aroma of vanilla.

Alcohol and food flavours, as well as their often enticing aromas, are the new "technology," as one tobacco company calls these additives, used to help flog cigarettes to an increasingly reluctant public.

Drown the tobacco taste in alcohol or hide the smell with vanilla. The idea is the same: Make tobacco more pleasant and you'll please smokers and non-smokers alike.

Not the anti-smoking lobby, however.

"We are asking the health minister immediately to ban these ads," said Louis Gauvin, spokesman for the Quebec Coalition for Tobacco Control.

He claims the ads violate federal laws that ban tobacco ads geared to young people and forbid any message that attempts to make smoking glamorous or diminish its health risks.

The new liquor-flavoured cigarettes are the products of JTI Macdonald Corp., part of Japan Tobacco Inc.

JTI Macdonald, which is in bankruptcy proceedings after a $1.36-billion Quebec tax assessment in 2004 claiming the company aided and abetted smuggling, has recently targeted the predominantly young readership of alternative newspapers.

In full-page ads, JTI extols the alcohol-like benefits of the newest addition to its More brand.

One ad introduces "A new member of the more international family, subtly aromatized with whisky flavouring."

Another trumpets the kindlier second-hand smoke offered by Mirage: "First in Canada with unique Less Smoke Smell (LSS) Technology."

Mirage's cigarette paper is coated in vanilla.

"If I was a smoker, my reaction might be that this is less harmful second-hand smoke to my friends," Gauvin said. "They will smell vanilla and it will be more agreeable.

"For us, this is trickery."

JTI officials were unavailable for comment. Their Toronto head office is closed until the new year.

© The Calgary Herald 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

January 14, 2008
Editorial
H.I.V. Rises Among Young Gay Men

AIDS appears to be making an alarming comeback. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that the incidence of H.I.V. infection among gay men is shooting up, following an encouraging period of decline. The rise of infections among younger gay men, especially black and Hispanic men, is troubling, and the study carries the clear implication that people at high risk of contracting the disease are becoming less cautious.

Statistics gathered by New York City health officials show that new diagnoses of H.I.V. infection — the virus that causes AIDS — in gay men under age 30 rose 32 percent between 2001 and 2006. Among black and Hispanic men, the figure was 34 percent. Most troubling, the number of new diagnoses among the youngest men in the study, those between ages 13 and 19, doubled.

New York officials say increased alcohol and drug use may be partly responsible since they make unprotected sex more likely. Other basic precautions, including finding out whether a potential partner is infected, are also apparently being ignored.

The one bright spot in this bleak picture was the 22 percent decline in infections among men over 30 in the New York study. Awareness of the disease’s devastating effects, as much as maturity, may explain the difference. A large number of these older men came of age when AIDS was all but untreatable. They may have buried friends who died after being horribly ill.

When the disease was new and terrifying, the gay community helped change behavior by preaching loudly against taking sexual risks. From San Francisco to New York, bathhouses notorious for promoting casual sex changed the way they did business or closed down. Condoms were encouraged, and so was H.I.V. testing. “Silence equals death” was the motto of the day.

Silence now seems to be winning the day. Nearly 6,000 gay men died of AIDS in the United States in 2005; still, many young men appear to have persuaded themselves that the infection is no longer such a big deal. It is true that antiretroviral therapy has improved the outlook for anyone who becomes infected. But the treatments are still too new to know whether they can work much beyond a decade. Public health officials need to continue to distribute condoms, encourage testing and treat those who are ill. Leaders in the hardest-hit communities need to start speaking out again. The fight against AIDS is far from over.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Karim any article on Pornography addicts and help how to get out of it?

I've left it but i do in 1-2 days see it and then feel damn guilty....but dont know why it happens..i keep promising to myself...any motivating article would help..
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2008 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

September 2, 2008
Essay
Addiction Doesn’t Discriminate? Wrong
By SALLY SATEL, M.D

We’ve heard it before. “Drug abuse is an equal opportunity destroyer.” “Drug addiction is a bipartisan illness.” “Addiction does not discriminate; it doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, famous or unknown, a man or woman, or even a child.”

The phrase “addiction doesn’t care” is not meant to remind us that addiction casts a long shadow — everyone knows that. Rather, it is supposed to suggest that any individual, no matter who, is vulnerable to the ravages of drugs and alcohol.

The same rhetoric has been applied to other problems, including child abuse, domestic violence, alcoholism — even suicide. Don’t stigmatize the afflicted, it cautions; you could be next. Be kind, don’t judge.

The democratization of addiction may be an appealing message, but it does not reflect reality. Teenagers with drug problems are not like those who never develop them. Adults whose problems persist for decades manifest different traits from those who get clean.

So while anyone can theoretically become an addict, it is more likely the fate of some, among them women sexually abused as children; truant and aggressive young men; children of addicts; people with diagnosed depression and bipolar illness; and groups including American Indians and poor people.

Attitudes, values and behaviors play a potent role as well.

Imagine two people trying cocaine, just to see what it is like. Both are 32-year-old men with jobs and families. One snorts a line, loves it and asks for more. The other also loves it but pushes it away, leaves the party and never touches it again. Different values? Different tolerance for risk? Many factors may distinguish the two cocaine lovers, but only one is at risk for a problem.

Asking for more drug is no guarantee of being seduced into routine use. But what if it happens? Jacob Sullum, a senior editor at Reason magazine, has interviewed many users who became aware that they were sliding down the path to addiction.

“It undermined their sense of themselves as individuals in control of their own destinies,” Mr. Sullum wrote in his 2003 book, “Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use.” “And so they stopped.”

I only read about these people. Patients who come to our methadone clinic are there, obviously, because they’re using. The typical patient is someone who has been off heroin for a while (maybe because life was good for while, maybe because there was no access to drugs, maybe because the boss did urine testing) and then resumed.

But the road to resumption was not unmarked. There were signs and exit ramps all along the way. Instead of heeding them, our patients made small, deliberate choices many times a day — to be with other users, to cop drugs for friends, to allow themselves to become bored — and soon there was no turning back.

Addiction does indeed discriminate. It “selects” for people who are bad at delaying gratification and gauging consequences, who are impulsive, who think they have little to lose, have few competing interests, or are willing to lie to a spouse.

Though the National Institute on Drug Abuse describes addiction as a “chronic and relapsing disease,” my patients, seeking help, are actually the exception. Addiction is not an equal opportunity destroyer even among addicts because, thankfully, most eventually extricate themselves from the worst of it.

Gene Heyman, a lecturer and research psychologist at Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital, said in an interview that “between 60 and 80 percent of people who meet criteria for addiction in their teens and 20s are no longer heavy, problem users by their 30s.” His analysis of large national surveys revealed that those who kept using were almost twice as likely to have a concurrent psychiatric illness.

None of this is to deny that brain physiology plays a meaningful role in becoming and staying addicted, but that is not the whole story.

“The culture of drink endures because it offers so many rewards: confidence for the shy, clarity for the uncertain, solace to the wounded and lonely,” wrote Pete Hamill in his memoir, “A Drinking Life.” Heroin and speed helped the screenwriter Jerry Stahl, author of “Permanent Midnight,” attain the “the soothing hiss of oblivion.”

If addiction were a random event, there would be no logic to it, no desperate reason to keep going back to the bottle or needle, no reason to avoid treatment.

The idea that addiction doesn’t discriminate may be a useful story line for the public — if we are all under threat then we all should urge our politicians to support more research and treatment for addiction. There are good reasons to campaign for those things, but not on the basis of a comforting fiction.

Sally Satel is a psychiatrist and a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/02/health/26essa.html?th=&emc=th&pagewanted=print
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haroon_adel



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Posts: 125
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 4:41 am    Post subject: Re: Social Evils Reply with quote

nagib wrote:
http://www.chitralnews.com/Articles%2015.htm
Social evils- Causes and eradication
Zuifikar Ali Shah Zulfi

President shia imami and ismaili local council Booni has
given me this tough job to write an assignment on the causes and solutions of social evils which are in one form or the other crippling in our society particularly among our jamat. Though it is a very difficult task for me to tell about things that I am not aware of. As a student of science I have no approach to the subject concerned__sociology or social sciences but as a member of the society I have the responsibility to study social events around me. I have tried my best to pinpoint the causes and solutions of social evils up to some extent.

I think that to some extent this assignment will benefit in making further plans and strategies to eradicate these evils from the society.

Social evils are the acts which are undesired and harmful to the society. It is an instinct of the human nature to adopt them readily. The history of social evils is as old as human history itself. They are prevailing in every nook and corner of the world from time immemorial. Some acts which are considered as evil today were the part of human civilization. Alcoholism , smoking , illicit relation with women or men are some of them. Even today in some societies of the world there are many evils which are considered as legal. In Britain, Germany and many other European countries marriage between the men and men and women and
women are allowed on government levels. Lesbians and gays are demanding their basic rights. Alcoholism and sexual freedom are not the crimes at all in many non Muslim countries. In Islam all those acts are unlawful and those who are committing these are criminals.

There are many factors which are involved in creating various kind of social evils. Drug abuse is one among many types of social evils. Islam and other systems of life prohibit this evil but, unfortunately, this land and it’s people are being gradually involved by one of the worst social evil that of drug abuse.

In medical science drugs are those chemical substances which are abused or taken for the sake of just getting euphoric. They cause many physiological disorders in men and animals. Nicotine in tobacco, morphine in opium codeine and alcoholic barbiturates are all categorized as drugs. In the long run they effect the entire body of an organism.

CAUSES OF DRUG ABUSE

1. Increase availability of drugs in market.
2. Socioeconomic factors.
3. Changes in attitude and values towards society, family, community, religion
and morality.
4. Poverty and unemployment.

ADVERSE EFFECTS OF DRUG ABUSE

1. Reduction in life expectancy.
2. Premature birth.
3. Heart attack and other cardiovascular disease.
4. Lung and liver cancer.
5. Rise in blood pressure and contraction of blood vessels.
6. Road accidents by drunken drivers.
7. Loss of memory and other neurological diseases.

Drug abuse or substance abuse can be minimized of completely eradicated if substantial measures are taken. This responsibilities fall on each and every member of the society especially those who are responsible. Our jamati leaders, religious scholars, teachers and educated member of the community can play their role in this regard. The most important thing is awareness among the people especially the young generation who are vulnerable. But the important thing is the individual itself. No law or rule is forcibly imposed unless an individual itself has no sense.

Those who are involved in such business pretend that they have no alternate way earn money. Such peoples should be kept busy and provided them with the basic needs of daily life like food, shelter and home.
Secondly the availability of drugs in local markets should be discouraged. If someone are found guilty they must be punished according to the law. It is a common practice here in our area that after arresting some criminals the influential peoples go to the police station and get them free on their personal guarantee. This practice gives a bad impression and the peoples doubt about the involvement of these individuals in such crimes.

Another point in this regard is that people should be persuaded not to use drug and this impression should be established that our body is the temple or dwelling place of the holy spirit and this holy place should not be contaminated with drugs or any other sin. “Alcohol promises heaven, alcohol bestows hell.”

EXPENSIVE WEDDING

In our society even those who are religious minded, get caught up in this
problem. They do not want to do it , but feel they have to do it to be accepted socially.
The bride and bridegroom wear their bridal attire for a few hours on one day , and never wear the outfits again and yet so much money is spent on their wedding. Wedding these days has become exorbitant function. The rich exhibit their wealth and opulence on such occasion. Every such occasion tremors among the deprived class of the society. As it is observed that the poor class of our society totally depends on bank loan to perform such ceremonies. This depicts how wrong we peoples in setting our priorities, and how our values have changed. Even our leaders (religious, social and political) find it difficult to follow the spirit of Islam.

As the followers of one imam we have diverted from our real path and there is no destiny at last. When it comes to social custom and tradition we forget every command and order of our beloved imam e zaman. Islam
discourages all activities in which money is spent needlessly.

Since social functions in particular set trends, they should be as simple as possible. Wedding foods, gift, apparels, bridal dresses should all be within reasonable limit. If they remain in such limits, they add to the beauty of the occasion, and if they exceed their bounds, they become symbols of human greed and arrogance.


The best define able point of needless expenses and overspendings in such ceremonies is a person’s own conscience. No one else is better judge. The ismaili council can also legislate in this regard. However all large scale social evils should be tackled through educating peoples and changing their mindset. Law are just preventive measures. They do not change the people’s mind.

Education is the treatment of all social evils. We are at war against illiteracy and ignorance.

SOLUTIONS TO THE SOCIAL PROBLEMS

A perusal of the social problem that effect mankind today indicates that it is not the nature of social problem itself , but the level of their operation which causes the changes. The exploitation of man by man. The root cause being the same no matter what may be the level of any particular social evil. The root cause for the imperfect weaving of the social web is irresponsible conduct on the part of the man.

The responsible government , at any level , can never develop unless there are responsible citizens. The institution which constitute the government represent only a small part , other institution like schools, homes, religious centres, voluntary organizations etc form a much greater part of the social activities.

The truth is that every individual is responsible in his own sphere for the
welfare of the community at large. The holy prophet(PBUH) has put the whole matter in a nutshell. “Every one of you is a steward and is accountable for that which is committed to his charge.”
The solution, accordingly , requires two things: first purification of man’s
ego and second the indoctrination of the sense of responsibility for the welfare of all. The real solution therefore lies in the unfolding of true human nature and in educating the masses in the truth that universal brotherhood can be established by virtue of mankind’s relationship with one another through God.

Zuifikar Ali Shah Zulfi
VILLAGE DOKANDEH,
BOONI, CHITRAL.
phone#0933-470232
zulfi232@hotmail.com


Dear Brother Nagib,

Very well said. I couldn't agree more with your analysis on these topics. I wouldn like to add my comments on "Expensive Wedding".

It's true that un-necessary waste of money should not be excercised in any occasions and not only in weddings.

On the other hand, Marriage is (should be) a very significant event for all of us (I hope). When someone wants to make it more memorable by spending a little more money (If s/he can afford), I think is alright--Not by getting loan from bank and going in debth or borrwoing it. We get married once in a life time, and it is a very special and memorable event for the persons who's getting married.

So, I believe if one who can afford it, there's nothing wrong with that. Others on the other hand, who can't afford it, and tries to spend as much, by going into debth is not a clever idea, and should not be excercised.

My two cents.

Haroon.
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kmaherali



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Posts: 13064

PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smoking parents can hook kids on nicotine

Charlie Fidelman
Canwest News Service


Tuesday, September 30, 2008


You know smoking sets a bad example for the kids and second-hand smoke is harmful. As if that wasn't warning enough, a strongly worded Montreal study shows someone else's smoke can lead to nicotine addiction in children.

"Increased exposure to second-hand smoke, both in cars and homes, was associated with an increased likelihood of children reporting nicotine dependence symptoms -- even though these kids had never put a cigarette in their mouths," said epidemiologist Jennifer O'Loughlin, senior author of the study and a professor at the Universite de Montreal.

Published in the September edition of the journal Addictive Behaviors, the study, involving nine Canadian institutions, builds on previous findings on second-hand smoke in non-smokers and withdrawal symptoms including depression, anxiety and trouble concentrating.

The physiological consequences of second-hand smoke have already been shown, O'Loughlin said of bar and restaurant workers (before the cigarette ban) with nicotine metabolites in their urine and saliva as if they had smoked.

Also, it is known that children exposed to second-hand smoke started smoking earlier than other children, said O'Loughlin who, in a previous study, mapped the stepping stones to tobacco addiction, showing it can take one puff to turn a teenager into a smoker.

The study looked at students age 10 and 11 from 29 Montreal area schools. It found an association between exposure to second-hand smoke and nicotine dependence.

Five per cent of 1,488 children who never smoked but were exposed to second-hand smoke reported symptoms of nicotine addiction.

"They told us, 'I want it, I need it,' and that they are physically and mentally addicted," O'Loughlin said. "Why would a kid do that?"

Lead investigator Mathieu Belanger said he was surprised to see evidence of nicotine dependence in children as young as 10, even though they had never smoked.

"But we were not surprised to see it was related to second-hand smoke," said Belanger, research director of the Centre de Formation Medicale du Nouveau Brunswick.

Researchers did not make a direct link between cause and effect, Belanger said.

"More studies are needed. But there's a lesson for parents," he added.

"Most (of those reporting nicotine dependence) came from homes of smokers," Belanger said, or they had friends that already smoked. "Maybe there's a genetic path we're not yet exploring."

While it may seem unconventional that non-smokers are reporting cigarette cravings, Belanger also noted tobacco studies have found toddlers with carcinogens in their blood related to second-hand smoke.

The next step will focus on following these children to see whether they pick up smoking faster than others, he said.

The study was funded by the Canadian Tobacco Control Research Initiative, the Institut national de sante publique du Quebec and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

© The Calgary Herald 2008
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Second-hand smoke causes fertility problems: Study

December 5, 2008

http://www.calgaryherald.com/health/Second+hand+smoke+causes+fertility+problems/1036205/story.html
New research suggests second-hand smoke may cause women to have trouble getting pregnant.
Photograph by : Don Healy/Regina Leader-Post

WASHINGTON - Women who breathed in second-hand smoke as children or young adults were later more likely to have trouble getting pregnant and suffer more miscarriages than women not exposed to smoke, U.S. researchers reported Thursday.

They said toxins in the smoke could have permanently damaged the women's bodies, causing the later problems, and said their finding support restrictions on smoking.

Luke Peppone at the University of Rochester in New York, Dr. Kenneth Piazza of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, and colleagues studied 4,800 women treated at Roswell Park.

They were asked to give details of all pregnancies, attempts to get pregnant, and miscarriages, as well as their history of smoking and breathing second-hand smoke.

Overall, 11 per cent of the women reported difficulty becoming pregnant, and about a third lost one or more babies, the researchers wrote in the journal Tobacco Control.

"Forty per cent reported any prenatal pregnancy difficulty (fetal loss and/or difficulty becoming pregnant)," they said.

Women who remembered their parents smoking around them were 26 per cent more likely to have had difficulty becoming pregnant and women exposed to any second-hand smoke were 39 per cent more likely to have had a miscarriage, Peppone's team reported.

Four out of five of the women reported exposure to second-hand smoke during their lifetimes and half grew up in a home with smoking parents.

"These statistics are breathtaking and certainly points to yet another danger of second-hand smoke exposure," Peppone said in a statement.

Other studies have linked smoking with miscarriage, birth defects and sudden infant death syndrome, also known as cot death or crib death.

"The effects of tobacco usage and exposure on pregnancy outcomes remain a public health priority because 15 per cent of mothers continue to smoke throughout pregnancy, and an estimated 43 million women in the United States are exposed to cigarette smoke from others," they said.

It is possible that second-hand smoke interferes with normal hormone action involved in fertility and pregnancy, the researchers said. It can also affect the woman's cervix, the opening in the uterus through which sperm passes to fertilize the egg.

© Copyright (c) Reuters
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2008 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

December 13, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist
The Demise of Dating
By CHARLES M. BLOW

The paradigm has shifted. Dating is dated. Hooking up is here to stay.

(For those over 30 years old: hooking up is a casual sexual encounter with no expectation of future emotional commitment. Think of it as a one-night stand with someone you know.)

According to a report released this spring by Child Trends, a Washington research group, there are now more high school seniors saying that they never date than seniors who say that they date frequently. Apparently, it’s all about the hookup.

When I first heard about hooking up years ago, I figured that it was a fad that would soon fizzle. I was wrong. It seems to be becoming the norm.

I should point out that just because more young people seem to be hooking up instead of dating doesn’t mean that they’re having more sex (they’ve been having less, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) or having sex with strangers (they’re more likely to hook up with a friend, according to a 2006 paper in the Journal of Adolescent Research).

To help me understand this phenomenon, I called Kathleen Bogle, a professor at La Salle University in Philadelphia who has studied hooking up among college students and is the author of the 2008 book, “Hooking Up: Sex, Dating and Relationships on Campus.”

It turns out that everything is the opposite of what I remember. Under the old model, you dated a few times and, if you really liked the person, you might consider having sex. Under the new model, you hook up a few times and, if you really like the person, you might consider going on a date.

I asked her to explain the pros and cons of this strange culture. According to her, the pros are that hooking up emphasizes group friendships over the one-pair model of dating, and, therefore, removes the negative stigma from those who can’t get a date. As she put it, “It used to be that if you couldn’t get a date, you were a loser.” Now, she said, you just hang out with your friends and hope that something happens.

The cons center on the issues of gender inequity. Girls get tired of hooking up because they want it to lead to a relationship (the guys don’t), and, as they get older, they start to realize that it’s not a good way to find a spouse. Also, there’s an increased likelihood of sexual assaults because hooking up is often fueled by alcohol.

That’s not good. So why is there an increase in hooking up? According to Professor Bogle, it’s: the collapse of advanced planning, lopsided gender ratios on campus, delaying marriage, relaxing values and sheer momentum.

It used to be that “you were trained your whole life to date,” said Ms. Bogle. “Now we’ve lost that ability — the ability to just ask someone out and get to know them.”

Now that’s sad.

E-mail chblow@nytimes.com
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

December 16, 2008
Teen Smoking Rates Decline
By RONI CARYN RABIN

Teen smoking rates dropped in 2008 and are now lower than they’ve been since the early 1990s, according to an annual survey of adolescent behavior.

Just 12.6 percent of high-school students this year said they’d had a cigarette in the last month, down from 13.6 percent last year, according to researchers at the University of Michigan, who conducted the survey.

Many teenagers have negative attitudes toward cigarette smoking. The vast majority said they’d rather not date someone who smoked and two-thirds said that “becoming a smoker reflects poor judgment,” according to the survey.

“That’s a very important message,” said Lloyd Johnston, a research professor at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan and the study’s principal investigator. “For years and years, the industry pitch was that smoking makes you sexy and attractive to the opposite sex. It turns out the absolute opposite is true. It projects a negative image, for both girls and boys.”

Each year, the institute surveys a nationally representative sample of more than 45,000 students in the eighth, tenth and twelfth grades at 400 schools. The survey assesses smoking prevalence by asking students whether they have smoked a cigarette in the previous 30 days.

This year’s drop in smoking rates continues a sharp decline in teen smoking since 1996, about the time cigarette use peaked in that age group. The researchers found that only 7 percent of eighth-graders are smoking, down from 21 percent in 1996, while 12 percent of tenth-graders are smoking, down from 30.4 percent in 1996.

One in five high school seniors smoke now, down from more than a third in 1996.

These days fewer teens even try cigarettes: only 21 percent of eighth-graders said they had tried smoking, down from 49 percent in 1996, the study found. Many teens are critical of cigarette smoking, with over 80 percent of those surveyed saying they disapprove of smoking more than a pack a day and more than 70 percent saying it was a “dirty habit.” Very few believe the harmful effects of smoking have been exaggerated, the survey found.

But it’s still not difficult for youngsters to buy cigarettes, and some 57 percent of eighth-graders said they could obtain cigarettes easily, down from 77 percent in 1996.
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