On the 11th of January, it was exactly 50 years since Luther Terry, Director General of Public Health in the U.S., publicly stated for the first time that smoking could lead to cancer, heart problems and even death.
This statement was supported by the report of smoking and health, a document of over 7,000 scientific articles, marking the beginning of the global fight against smoking.
Great advances have been made in the fight against smoking in this half century. Among other achievements, the number of smokers in the United States has decreased by 59%, according to CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reports.
Nowadays it is still necessary to fight tobacco
If we delve deeper into the data of one of the main tobacco markets in the world, USA, the highlighting fact is that currently only 18% of the population smokes, which equates to a total of 44 million people who still suffer health risks as a result of smoking, many governments and companies have spent years fighting against this.
Fortunately, in the last five decades, scientific and medical innovations have brought to light the real and sometimes dramatic consequences of smoking. Particular importance needs to be attached not only to passive smokers, but also to the health implications that being exposed to the harmful effects of tobaccos smoke has on them, especially on children.
Innovating to improve everybody’s health
As we always recommend at Best Doctors, the first step you should take if you are a smoker is to place yourself in the hands of a doctor, who will conduct the following tests in order to measure your dependence prior to giving you a suitable treatment.
- A Spirometry test measures, under controlled circumstances, lung volume and capacity, providing an indicator of the patient’s condition.
- A Chest x-ray is carried out for a more detailed observation of the impact of smoking on the patient’s body.
Depending on the severity of the diagnosis and the presence of respiratory diseases related to smoking, a type of clinical or pharmacological treatment that combats the effects of nicotine in the patient’s body will be chosen.
The following are some of the alternatives that may currently (or in the near future) help those suffering from smoking:
- Nicotine replacement therapies
- Drugs such as bupropion or varenicline
- Psychological treatments
- Software-based treatments: there are already some programmes designed to facilitate, from a practical point of view, the control of the patients’ abstinence.
- Treatments under investigation, such as a vaccine against nicotine dependence which aims to provide the fabrication of antibodies that reduce its impact on our body.
As regards the future vaccine against nicotine, some results of its testing have already been published. The positive effects of the vaccine compared to those in patients who received placebo doses are good news.