Just about everyone who smokes has tried to quit at some point. Last week, we had a post covering how some folks seek out massage therapy to kick the habit. We’ve also done posts on the hidden financial burden smokers endure, as well as the added health hazards smokers face.

We’ve even covered the proposed smoking ban at the Arizona Health Sciences Center.

Today, we explore the technology route.

Judith Gordon, PhD, a behavioral psychologist with the Department of Family and Community Medicine in the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, is seeking participants to help test a mobile phone app designed to help people take medication to quit smoking.

Study participants will spend two hours testing the app, called RxCoach, in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, and will be compensated for their time. Knowing how to use a smart phone is required. It will be a plus – but not required – for a participant to be a smoker, former smoker and/or using the prescription drug Chantix to curb their nicotine cravings.

Dr. Gordon, a recognized leader in smoking-cessation research, is principal investigator on the study, which is funded with a National Institutes of Health Small Business Technology Transfer Grant. She is partnering with InterVision Media of Eugene, Ore., which is programming the app.



Some people will try anything to put an end to their tobacco habit — patches, gum, self-help books, hypnosis. Can something as relaxing and wonderful as massage therapy help, as well?

Recently, some Tucson massage therapists completed training in a research project to combat tobacco use, the No. 1 preventable cause of disease and death in the United States.

The study, funded by the National Cancer Institute and conducted by the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, is called Project Reach. According to the Arizona Health Sciences Center, participating licensed massage therapists are better equipped with the skills and knowledge to help their clients quit tobacco, and to help clients help a loved one quit tobacco.

As part of Project Reach, participating massage therapists took part in training sessions and received client information handouts so that the massage therapist can help their clients quit tobacco. Massage therapists also learned about communication skills to encourage and support behavior change – rather than threaten or lecture the smoker. They learned how to provide essential information about quitting techniques and local resources for extra support.

“We want to express our appreciation to these massage therapists, and recognize their efforts and commitment to being a quit-tobacco resource for the Tucson community,” says Myra Muramoto, MD, professor of family and community medicine and director of Project Reach.

A directory of massage therapists, acupuncturists and chiropractors who completed Project Reach training is available at www.fcm.arizona.edu/reach. For more information about Project Reach, please call 520-626-9895, or email reach@email.arizona.edu.



Do you think smoking is only bad for your lungs? Think again.

Our friends at SmokeFree.gov recently put together this handy interactive program detailing how smoking negatively impacts every facet of one’s health.

From the brain to the mouth to the heart to the bones to even the white blood cells — no aspect of human physiology can escape smoking’s wrath.

Here are a few examples:

Weakened immune system. Cigarette smoke contains high levels of tar and other chemicals, which can make your immune system less effective at fighting off infections. This means you’re more likely to get sick.

DNA. Every single puff of a cigarette causes damages to your DNA. When DNA is damaged, the “instruction manual” gets messed up, and the cell can begin growing out of control and create a cancer tumor.

Bigger belly. Smokers have bigger bellies and less muscle than non-smokers. They are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, even if they don’t smoke every day.

Muscle deterioration. When you smoke, less blood and oxygen flow to your muscles, making it harder to build muscle.

Become addicted. Nicotine from cigarettes is as addictive as heroin. Nicotine addiction is hard to beat because it changes your brain.

And the list goes on from there.

Check out the interactive program for yourself to find out all the ways smoking makes one’s life miserable.

Fortunately, the site isn’t all doom and gloom. Each interactive menu features a paragraph on the numerous benefits of quitting. For example, did you know that “[t]he large number of nicotine receptors in your brain will return to normal levels after about a month of [quitting]“?

Seriously, if you smoke, stop today. If you know someone who smokes, send them this link.

• Smoking health consequences (SmokeFree.gov)



At this point, we’re all aware of just how nasty smoking is. The links to various types of cancer have been proven. The health risks are well documented. The smell is repulsive. Smoking is bad — for you, and everyone surrounding you.

But those who continue to smoke may eventually go broke if they can’t kick the habit.

A pack of cigarettes costs, on average, $6 in the United States. It varies from state to state (New Yorkers can often pay more than $10 per pack, while smokers in Virginia pay around $4.60), but smokers all across America — especially younger ones — are thinking twice before lighting up.

If you smoke a pack per day for an entire year, you need to set aside roughly $2,200 per year simply to purchase cigarettes. That’s a significant chunk of change, but that doesn’t tell the entire story.