To Vape, or Not to Vape: That is the Question!

I recently signed up for the Vaping Post, an online publication that ‘brings information on vaping’. They add, ‘We consider that the electronic cigarette (vaporizer) is a method of risk reduction for adult smokers who can’t or don’t want to quit smoking.’ Having set out their raison d’être they rightly caution that: Vaping exposes the […]

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The Art of Medicine and Stopping Smoking

The distinguished medical journal, The Lancet, in June 2016 reported the results of a huge multinational collaborative effort to investigate the risks of psychiatric side-effects of two drugs used in smoking cessation: varenicline (Champix®) and bupropion (Zyban®); no evidence of increased harm was found compared with nicotine patches and placebo (dummy) treatments. This must have […]

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Dr Cyriax and Frozen Shoulder

Dr James Cyriax, 1904 – 1985 When I was training to be a general practitioner I realized there were many patients suffering from disorders of the moving parts of the body. That is, pain felt in the muscles or joints, such as stiff neck, shoulder pains, backache, sciatica, tennis elbow, etc. Further, it soon became […]

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Chewing the Wall and Climbing the Carpet

In the best tradition of the orthodox approach to smoking cessation, this year’s vintage of the quaintly named Stoptober scheme, produced by NHS England, has just finished. At least it’s an improvement on the previous two versions. Last year’s seemed intended to encourage smokers to quit through humour. Is it a laughing matter? The idea […]

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Smoking Doctor

It seems cigar smoking is still regarded as ‘naughty but nice’, at least by one doctor—an anaesthetist into the bargain—who in a recent interview in The British Medical Journal admitted that his ‘guiltiest pleasure’ was ‘the Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No 2 cigar’. He added, guiltily, ‘Although I know I shouldn’t.’ I thought there was […]

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Why NRT Makes it Harder to Stop Smoking

NRT, let me remind you, means so-called nicotine replacement therapy. Why ‘so-called’? Because nicotine is not a replacement for anything, nor is nicotine being replaced with something, so the name is wrong. It really means cigarette replacement but could equally well and more accurately be called nicotine maintenance therapy (NMT). The idea is that, since […]

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Stopping Smoking is its Own Reward

In my research on smoking I recently came across a book and a website with the following titles: ‘Smoke-free in 30 days’ and ‘STOP SMOKING! in 28 days’, respectively. Here’s a quote from the latter: ‘Getting hooked doesn’t happen overnight and getting unhooked is best done in the same way: over a period of several […]

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Cold Turkey

So much activity in dealing with the smoking problem is directed towards trying to get smokers to stop. But you have to start doing something before you can stop doing it. In this regard it seems the official policy is to discourage young people from taking up the habit by various means, which according to […]

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The Hard Way to Quit Smoking

  Do you know what the letters ATTUD stand for? It’s Association for the Treatment of Tobacco Use and Dependence, based in the US. We are further informed from their website that: ATTUD is an organization of providers dedicated to the promotion of and increased access to evidence-based tobacco treatment for the tobacco user. Before […]

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The Tragedy of Smoking

One conventional measure of ‘success’ in smoking cessation is the proportion of smokers who, when then have used the X method, are not smoking one year later. For example, many studies show that of smokers who quit using medicinal nicotine (gum or patches), around 16 per cent are still not smoking a year later. Not […]

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Tobacco Doesn’t Need to be Controlled; it Needs to be Abolished

These cigarette machines are ubiquitous in Japan. Note the ad for Parliament cigarettes. The attractive models imply that smoking is sexy. The wording says something like ‘vivid, strong menthol, crystal blast’. You can undergo this refreshing experience by crushing the menthol flavour capsule in the filter. The small print at the bottom, covering only about […]

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Smoking in Japan

As I have mentioned before, the Japanese are on the whole a considerate people. Near where I live in Tokyo I recently noticed an sign inviting you to ‘Nelson’s, the local pub’.  It reminded me of English pubs called The Lord Nelson. The sign pointed down an alleyway so I went to investigate. Peering through […]

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How Not to Stop Smoking – Part II

What does the US National Cancer Institute have to say about stopping smoking? On their website there’s a long section titled ‘How To Handle Withdrawal Symptoms and Triggers When You Decide To Quit Smoking’. This implies that you may indeed suffer such symptoms and that ‘triggers’ are also something you will need to be aware […]

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What’s up with ASH?

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) in their 2008 report draw attention to a well-known but nonetheless shocking fact: Products which are known to kill one in every two of their life-long users are available for sale in shops throughout the land. What to do about this scandalous situation? The obvious thing they dismiss: As […]

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The Curious Idea of Controlling Tobacco

Did you know there is a scholarly journal calling itself, indeed, Tobacco Control? The very title shows the wrong-headed approach to the smoking problem: tobacco doesn’t need to be controlled; it needs to be abolished. In a recent edition there is an editorial and a research paper complaining that the full list of ingredients in […]

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Japanese Ashtray

Non-smoking restaurants and cafés are becoming more and more ubiquitous (!) in Japan, which, of course, is a good thing. And the Japanese, being on the whole a considerate people, make provision, as far as practicable, for other people’s needs. Outside this particular café a bench is provided together with an ashtray, partially filled with […]

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