Sunday, June 29, 2008


If you live with a smoker, or are close friends with one: don't be a NAG about their smoking habit! (You can make noise about their smoking in the house or near you, because their second hand smoke hurts you – but don't nag them to quit. There's a BIG difference!)

Just three times a year you can ask your loved one – briefly – VERY briefly – to please quit smoking -- in VERY loving and warm tones. (Try surrounding your request with HONEST complements, keep it BRIEF, and they might be more open to hearing you.

But if you speak up more than three times per YEAR, then you're a yukky, obnoxious NAG. Ick! And your beloved smoker will be so ANGRY with you that they'll keep smoking just to spite you. You'll be defeating your very purpose.

I ask nonsmokers to honor their smoking loved ones, and treat them like adults.

And if your loved ones are nagging you, don't fall into the old trap of hurting yourself by continuing to smoke out of your anger toward them. Instead, let them know how you feel.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Smoking and Teens: Time to Quit


It’s probably not news to you that smoking is bad for your body. It causes wrinkles and turns your teeth yellow, and puts you at risk for diseases. Here’s a newsflash for you ladies, though. Smoke hates you more than it hates guys!

  • It is harder for females to quit than it is for males.
  • Smoke can be more harmful to female lungs than male lungs.
  • The younger you start, the harder it is to quit!
  • This means that starting to smoke as a female teen is asking for trouble. So, quit smoking or don’t start for YOU…for your health and beauty, today and in the future.
  • Smoking ads may try to make smoking look cool, but you’re smarter than that. The tobacco companies are not looking out for you, so you have to look out for yourself. Don’t smoke. If you smoke, quit – either way you win by not giving them your money!

What smoking does to your body

Soon after you start, smoking causes yellow teeth and bad breath (gross!), as well as health problems such as shortness of breath, coughing, upset stomach, and dizziness. When you are older, you can get major health problems from smoking, like cancer and heart disease. Smoking will also make your skin wrinkle.

What quitting can do for your health

  • 12 hours after quitting, the dangerous carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
  • 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting, your heart and lungs begin to work better.
  • 1 to 9 months after quitting, coughing, fatigue, and shortness of breath start to go away.
  • 1 year after quitting, your risk of heart disease goes down.

Why do people smoke?

Stress. Smoking leads to more stress. Learn how to manage stress with tips from www.GirlsHealth.gov.

Habit. If you feel like you can’t stop smoking, ask a doctor or nurse for help

Boredom. Smoking to fill time? Find other things that you like to do instead, like jog, read, or shop.

Others smoke. Stay strong and tell your friends and family they should quit, too.

Can’t quit. Don’t think you’ll be able to quit? Start thinking positive – yes, you can!

Weight control. Quitting doesn’t add pounds, eating more does. Exercise and eat healthy to keep from gaining.

How to quit

Sick of spending money on cigarettes, smelling like an ashtray, and your friends hassling you about smoking? Then you are ready to quit!

1) Set a quit date and tell everybody when you are going to stop
2) Throw away all your cigarettes, lighters, and ashtrays.
3) When you get the urge to smoke, do something else…take deep breaths or drink a glass of water.
4) Carry things with you to put in your mouth, such as gum or hard candy.
5) Stay busy by going to the movies, riding your bike, walking the dog, or hanging out with a friend.
6) Spend time in places where you are not allowed to smoke, such as the movies or the mall.
7) The first few days after quitting, don’t hang with smokers or in places you used to smoke.
8) Drink lots of water and fruit juice…stay away from drinks with caffeine, like soda, coffee or tea.

Be prepared! You may be crabby and feel on edge for a couple of weeks or longer, but then your body will
forget nicotine and you will feel better. Once you feel better, you may still want to smoke at times, but stay
strong…it’s easy to get hooked again and you don’t want to throw away all that hard work.

WebMD Public Information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Thursday, June 5, 2008


You can take steps to prevent high blood pressure by adopting a healthy lifestyle. These steps include maintaining a healthy weight; being physically active; following a healthy eating plan, that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and lowfat dairy foods; choosing and preparing foods with less salt and sodium; and, if you drink alcoholic beverages, drinking in moderation. In this section you will learn more about healthy lifestyle habits for preventing and controlling high blood pressure.

Healthy Eating
Research has shown that following a healthy eating plan can both reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure and lower an already elevated blood pressure.

For an overall eating plan, consider the DASH eating plan. "DASH" stands for "Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension," a clinical study that tested the effects of nutrients in food on blood pressure. Study results indicated that elevated blood pressures were reduced by an eating plan that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and lowfat dairy foods and is low in saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol. The DASH eating plan includes whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts and has reduced amounts of fats, red meats, sweets, and sugared beverages.

A second clinical study, called "DASH-Sodium," looked at the effect of a reduced dietary sodium intake on blood pressure as people followed either the DASH eating plan or a typical American diet. Results showed that reducing dietary sodium lowered blood pressure for both the DASH eating plan and the typical American diet. The biggest blood pressure-lowering benefits were for those eating the DASH eating plan at the lowest sodium level (1,500 milligrams per day).

The DASH-Sodium study shows the importance of lowering sodium intake whatever your diet. But for a true winning combination, follow the DASH eating plan and lower your intake of salt and sodium.

Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Being overweight increases your risk of developing high blood pressure. In fact, blood pressure rises as body weight increases. Losing even 10 pounds can lower blood pressure — and it has the greatest effect for those who are overweight and already have hypertension.

Being overweight or obese are also risk factors for heart disease. They increase your chance for developing high blood cholesterol and diabetes — two more major risk factors for heart disease.

Physical Activity
Being physically active is one of the most important steps you can take to prevent or control high blood pressure. It also helps reduce your risk of heart disease. It doesn't take a lot of effort to become physically active.

Limit Alcohol Intake
Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure. It also can harm the liver, brain, and heart. Alcoholic drinks also contain calories, which matter if you are trying to lose weight. If you drink alcoholic beverages, have only a moderate amount — one drink a day for women; two drinks a day for men.
What counts as a drink?

12 ounces of beer (regular or light, 150 calories), or
5 ounces of wine (100 calories), or
1 one-half ounces of 80-proof whiskey (100 calories).

Quitting Smoking
Smoking injures blood vessel walls and speeds up the process of hardening of the arteries. This applies even to filtered cigarettes. So even though it does not cause high blood pressure, smoking is bad for anyone, especially those with high blood pressure. If you smoke, quit. If you don't smoke, don't start. Once you quit, your risk of having a heart attack is reduced after the first year. So you have a lot to gain by quitting.