Cigarettes are 'incredibly' lethal – and yet many here still smoke


If anyone out there still thinks smoking is harmless, consider this: The regional cancer has a robust research program, and what causes the smoking, what damage does the addictive habit cause, and which forms of tobacco and nicotine delivery causes the most harm.

"What motivates us is where the health risks are," said Andrew Hyland, chairman of the Department of Health Behavior at the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, and head of the center's Tobacco Control Program. "We try to minimize those and ultimately reduce the cancer burden in our area."

He joined the Roswell Park staff in 1995.

"Smoking was everywhere back then," he said. "It was a radical idea that you would not be able to smoke in a restaurant, anywhere you wanted really. Social norms have really changed a lot. "

Hyland credits research and decades-long public health advocacy for the impact. Cigarette smoking remains responsible for one in five deaths in the United States each year, more than 480,000 in all, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including more than 41,000 resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. Smokers also continue to die a decade earlier on average than nonsmokers.

The roughly 100 researchers and smoking cessation specialists on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus work in a region where tuesday rates in several counties – including Erie and Niagara – are higher than the state and national average, and average health outcomes and longevity worse.

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death across the U.S., according to the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Roswell Park looks to change the smoking dynamics regionally and worldwide into a wider range of products that span a continuum of risk, "Hyland said.

New York State and New Jersey. It offers smoking cessation outreach and education programs. Its scientists are also involved in some of the most important research in the nation when it comes to the changing tobacco industry.

The PATH Study

"First and foremost, we know cigarettes are incredibly lethal," Hyland said. I say, 'Let's not forget that cigarettes cause an incredible amount of damage.' "

Why do people start to smoke despite clear warnings against the dangers? Why do they continue? How do they try to quit? What impact does their decision-making have on their longevity?

Hyland is the scientific leader of a study that started in 2013 and will track the tobacco-related behavior of 49,000 people in the U.S. and Canada for at least a decade. Subjects and 12 years of age, have agreed to answer questions about their tobacco use, as well as they provide annual blood and urine samples, as part of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study.

"We'll have a better understanding," said Hyundan, or quits cigarette smoking altogether.

The U.S. The Center for Tobacco Products, which has the power to regulate tobacco use and sales, is the study of at least 2023. Dartmouth College, the Truth Initiative, Rutgers University, the Medical University of South Carolina , and the University of California, San Diego, Minnesota and Waterloo (Ontario).


Maciej Goniewicz, a researcher at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, has become a leading authority on the safety of electronic cigarettes. (John Hickey / News photo file)

Maciej Goniewicz, a researcher in the Tobacco Research Laboratory at Roswell Park, has become an international expert on the effects of using electronic cigarettes.

The FDA announced in September they will consider banning flavored chemical liquids that fuel e-cigarettes after a Roswell-led study, the first of its kind, concluded that nicotine levels in a relatively new "pod" class of e-cigarettes – by far the most popular variety – almost match

Goniewicz led the study of more than 500 e-cigarette users aged 12 to 21, published in the journal Tobacco Control, which represents the first reported independent findings on nicotine exposure.

"A number of studies on e-cigarettes," Hyland said. "We know they have fewer toxins than cigarettes but they're not toxin-free. We also know that there are some potential downsides. So what's that boundary point? Then we can promote the things that would be more beneficial to public health. Nobody thinks kids should be using tobacco products or cigarettes … but there's lots of suggestive evidence that they might help adults quit smoking. "

Cigarette advertising

Roswell also conducts studies on retail tobacco advertising. Catching attention, in what order, and for how long.

"Hyland said," Hyland said, "There is some evidence to suggest that when children are exposed to that in the future," Hyland said. "The thing that's immediate" is that "looking for quit". "Cues and triggers", they are likely to try to quit and make their quit efforts a little bit less successful. "

Hyland praised CVS and Wegmans for ending tobacco sales in their stores. He would like to see other pharmacies, in particular, follow suit.

Other products

"If I had to pick one other product to highlight, that's a water pipe, or hookah," Hyland said. Those aged 18 to 24 are just as likely to use a hookah as smoke a cigarette, he said, and both pose similar health risks.

The smoke in a water pipe is filtered through water There are loads of toxins in the smoke – and there is reason to think that it could be even worse because there are massive levels of carbon monoxide that get emitted into the air, off-the-charts kind of levels. "

Hookah tobacco comes in flavors that are harder, Hyland said. Roswell also studies.

Still, Hyland said, "If you're burning tobacco, it's going to be bad for you. it is. "

Hyland warned, however, that studies have begun to show that health risks are driven by how long you use to tobacco product, and less so that you can use it.

"So if you smoke 20 cigarettes a day, you might think that you're doing yourself a benefit," he said. "You're still realizing most of that risk."

Feel good about that, "I will use an e-cigarettes in particular, with people who think," I'll use an e-cigarette and just cut back on my cigarette smoking. ' It's really counter-productive.If e-cigarettes are going to be used, users should be off cigarettes completely. "


How to quit

Dr. Andrew Hyland is leading the largest study ever on smoking behavior. He is chair of the Department of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences in the Tobacco Research Laboratory at the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, (Derek Gee / Buffalo News)

Smoking cessation specialists "absolutely know how people quit smoking," said Andrew Hyland, head of the Tobacco Control Program at the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. A good strategy includes:

Nicotine replacement therapy: Gum, patches, sprays, inhalers, or lozenges – but not the other harmful chemicals in tobacco.

Health providers: Doctors and others can talk strategy, underline the importance and help you find help.

Evidence-based services: Those includes the New York State Smokers' Quitline, based at Roswell Park (866-697-8487 or This clearinghouse touts trained specialists who can help you plan a stop smoking, walk through the quitting process, and plug into a support program.

"This is the first line of people, but you have to get off the cigarettes, do it," Hyland said.

On average, it takes about 10 times to quit completely, Hyland said. "You've just got to keep at it. Each time you try to quit, it is absolutely a learning experience for the time when you are ultimately successful. Do not beat yourself up. Gear up and get your plan for the next time. "

The Great American Smokeout – on Thursday – is a great time to quit. Click here for more tips on how to do so.


Twitter: @BNrefresh, @ScottBScanlon


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