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Smoking Cessation Health Center

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10 Overlooked Reasons to Quit Smoking

If you need more incentive to quit smoking, here are some reasons that you may not know about.

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"More than a quarter of all cases of age-related macular degeneration with blindness or visual impairment are attributable to current or past exposure to smoking," Simon P. Kelly, MD, an ophthalmic surgeon with Bolton Hospitals in the U.K, wrote in the March 4, 2004 issue of the BMJ. He came to his conclusion after reviewing three studies involving 12,470 patients.

But other studies show that former smokers have an only slightly increased risk of age-related macular degeneration, compared with never smokers, he writes.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Genetically Vulnerable Smokers Increase Their Risk Even More

People whose genes make them more susceptible to developing rheumatoid arthritis are even more likely to get the disease if they smoke, say Swedish researchers.

In fact, certain genetically vulnerable smokers can be nearly 16 times more likely to develop the disease than nonsmokers without the same genetic profile, according to the study in the October issue of the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Swedish researchers asked participants about their smoking habits and screened their blood for a gene-encoding protein sequence called the shared epitope (SE), which is the major genetic risk factor currently linked to rheumatoid arthritis. Compared with people who had never smoked and lacked SE genes, current smokers with SE genes were 7.5 times more likely to have rheumatoid arthritis.

Smokers with double SE genes were almost 16 times more likely to have rheumatoid arthritis, while smokers without SE genes were only 2.4 times more likely to be affected.

Snoring: Even Living With a Smoker Raises Risk

Smoking - or living with a smoker -- can cause snoring, according to a study of more than 15,000 men and women.

Habitual snoring, defined as loud and disturbing snoring at least three nights per week, affected 24% of smokers, 20% of ex-smokers, and almost 14% of people who had never smoked. The more people smoked, the more frequently they snored, the researchers reported in the October issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Even nonsmokers were more likely to snore if they were exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes. Almost 20% of these nonsmokers snored, compared with nearly 13% who had never been exposed to secondhand smoke at home.

Acid Reflux: Heavy Smoking Linked to Heartburn

People who smoke for more than 20 years are 70% more likely to have acid reflux disease than nonsmokers, researchers reported in the November issue of the journal Gut.

Roughly one in five people suffer from heartburn or acid reflux, known medically as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.

The researchers based their findings on two major public health surveys conducted in Norway in the 1980s and 1990s. Just more than 3,100 people who complained of having heartburn and 40,000 people without reflux symptoms answered questions about lifestyle factors including diet, exercise, alcohol consumption, and tobacco use.

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