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Latest Posts

Research Provides Statistics About Adult Smokers In The U.S.

I live on the West Coast, where it is rare to see a smoker.  Because it is not socially accepted, smokers are not out in the open.  They lurk behind buildings to take a smoke break at work and I don’t even own an ashtray for friends because none of my friends smoke.  But San Francisco isn’t the rest of America.   In 2010 there were 45.5 million Americans who smoke, with men smoking more than women.  Tobacco remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States.  Each year approximately 433,000 people die of smoking-related illness.

Here are some more stats on American adult smokers.  The highest prevalence is American Indians/Alaska Natives (31.4%) followed by whites (21%).  Smoking incidence decreases with increasing education and improved economics.  By region, the Midwest has the most smokers in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia (22-27%).  That is huge.

California and Utah have the lowest percentage of adult smokers at Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

How Much Pesticide Is In That Cigarette?

I had a fascinating discussion with an ex-tobacco farming expert. He’s an expert because he used to grow tobacco, but not anymore. If you’re a smoker, or user of any tobacco leaf product, what he said should shock you. I take that back — you’re a smoker: “shocked” is never going to happen to you.

What did he say that was so striking? I’m not a farmer, so it became a little difficult to understand all the science behind the conversation. Needless to say, he said they used to farm vegetables and tobacco side by side. He said something about potato farming being timed with tobacco crops, and when the potato market went south he got out of the tobacco farming business for good and went with just vegetables. Now he’s a full-time vegetable farmer.

While he was a tobacco farmer, how did he run his tobacco farm? Like I said, he grew vegetables and tobacco side-by-side. He used different pesticides for the vegetables than he did for the tobacco farming. He farmed based on the concept that people who ate vegetables were looking for a healthy food. So he used pesticides in their lowest recommended concentration and applied them at the longest recommended time frame between applications and used the safest formulations available. None of his chemicals carried the skull-and-crossbones warning. And what about the tobacco farming? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Happy Hospitalist*

Obesity, Smoking And Life Expectancy

When we think of people who enjoy the outdoors, the images in our minds are often of healthy and vibrant individuals — stereotypes are young athletes engaged in vigorous activities like climbing, biking, skiing, etc.

Of course, going outdoors is for everyone, and persons may be young or old, active or sedentary, and healthy or infirm. We carry our personal health status with us wherever we go, and the health habits we pursue in our daily lives form the framework for our participation in adventures, recreation and other outdoor activities.

Therefore, public health issues are important, be they adherence to precautions to avoid infectious diseases or lifestyle modifications to maintain optimal physical and mental health. Read more »

This post, Obesity, Smoking And Life Expectancy, was originally published on by Paul Auerbach, M.D..

When Hospitals And Patients Are Smoke-Free

By Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPA

“This is a smoke-free institution. Thank you for your compliance.”

Nurses and doctors and other members of the healthcare team strive every day to provide quality patient care. We focus on patients by understanding their needs. We listen, assess and evaluate. We work together as a team focusing not only on the patient, but family members as well. We formulate individual care plans addressing each and every need.

Providing quality patient care is the single most important goal for any hospital, and it’s important to note that patients need to understand that there are policies within the hospital. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Health in 30*

What Would It Take For You To Give Up Tobacco?

I was shopping the other day for Sam’s Club food (frozen blueberries 4 pounds for $7.50). As we checked out, I scanned the price of cigarettes behind the counter. Marlboro cigarettes were selling for just under $50 a carton. At one pack per day, that’s $150 a month. For a year, that works out to $1,800.

I once calculated how much a four-pack-a-day family could have had in the bank had they not smoked for fifty years and instead invested that money at standard returns. Six million dollars they’d have to enjoy in retirement. That’s amazing. Six million dollars. And we wouldn’t be talking about a bankrupt entitlement system. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Happy Hospitalist*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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