Did you know smoking has been tied to rheumatoid arthritis

It has. Several studies have confirmed this … that at the very least, there is a causal relationship between smoking and rheumatoid arthritis.

In addition to COPD, my mom suffers from really severe rheumatoid arthritis, in her back, neck and hip. She’s in constant pain and has been for many years. She’s needed a cane for several years and has moved up to a walker. She can barely get up or down a flight of stairs. I have mild osteoarthritis from playing sports in my hip and shoulder and sometimes it bothers me quite a bit. I can’t even imagine what she goes through. I’ve often wondered how much of a connection there is between her decades of smoking and her severe arthritis.

A new study released in the UK earlier this month suggests that smoking is behind 1/3 of the most common kind of rheumatoid arthritis cases, and if you are genetically susceptible to arthritis, smoking may be behind more than 50 percent of those arthritis cases.

Arthritis is considered an autoimmune disease. Smoking’s role may be is that it’s damaging the body’s autoimmune system, increasing the risk of arthritis.

Smoking is also a risk factor for diabetes.

More maps … and smoking rates

Here are some maps I forgot.

The top map is smoking bans.

The second map is cigarette taxes.

The bottom map is smoking rates.

See a correlation? Why, where there are smoking bans, smoking rates go down. What an amazing coincidence. Which is why I’m all for smoking bans. Whatever fascist approach has to be taken to persuade smokers its time to quit.

I also recently noticed that Virginia isn’t getting a fair shake in the smoking ban map. Virginia actually has a valid smoking ban, stronger than Pennsylvania’s, but it has some loopholes, so I guess they don’t get any credit in this map. Virginia should be white in opinion, or at purple.

The CDC recently released its statewide smoking rate survey. Utah, where you burn in Hell for lighting up a cigarettes, is the lowest again at under 10 percent, while California is second at 12.9 percent, a big drop for California. Montana has also improved, dropping down to 16.8 percent, which is in the upper half. Montana is one of the few states in the country, however, in which the smoking rate for women (17.3 percent) is higher than the smoking rate for men, 16.4 percent.

Wisconsin is one of the latest states in the country to impose a smoking ban. Wisconsin also has an extremely high cigarette tax — over $2 a pack — and its smoking rate has dropped from over 20 percent down to 18.8 percent.

Interestingly, the top seven states, Oklahoma, Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana, Missouri, Alabama and Mississippi, all have no smoking bans and low cigarette taxes. Oklahoma, Kentucky and West Virginia are the only states over 25 percent. When I first started studying this stuff, several states were over 30 percent. Kentucky has consistently been the highest smoking rate in the country.

Smoking rates

Do you have Avs fever yet? And if not, why not?

Brandon Yip

Hah, watch. Next week, they’ll lose three in a row cuz of my post.

We have a rule in our house that you can only watch *TWO* hockey matches every week, so at least one every week is the Colorado Avalanche.

What a fun, spunky team they are to watch. They are ridiculously young, I think their average age is maybe 24 or 25, almost everyone on the team is a rookie, second-year or third-year player, and yet they are NO. 1 IN THE ENTIRE NHL in goals scored. They have scored 112 goals in 31 games, which mean they are on pace for 300 goals.

Paul Stastny

And with this very young team, they are 17-10-4, they have won four in a row, they are tied for first place in the Northwest Division with 38 points. Hockey is so weird. In the Western Conference, there are only two teams with losing records — there are 13 teams with winning records! How is that possible? It’s because of the dreaded “three-point” games, where no one loses. 🙂 In a three-point game, one team gets a 2-point win, while the other team doesn’t get a loss, it gets a single point for losing in overtime or a shootout. (If you think this is complicated, hockey for a while actually had four columns — wins, losses, overtime losses and ties. That was REALLY impossible to keep track of!)

Craig Anderson

So what does that mean? Almost every team in the NHL is a winner! 😀 It also means you have to have an incredibly good won-loss record to make one of the 8 playoff spots in the West. You could go 45-30-7 and miss the playoffs the way things are going (Apparently, back in the old days, when you had 21 teams and 16 playoff spots, you could have a pretty bad won-loss record and make the postseason. Not so anymore.). So, in the West, you have 12 teams that have between 33 and 43 points. The Avs are currently tied for second in the conference. If they lose their next game, they could drop all the way down to sixth. If they lose two games in a row, they could drop all the way down to 10th. It’s crazy. And exciting. Every game counts!

Chris Stewart

Hardly any of their players are famous. Milan Hejduk (pronounced like “Hayduke Lives”) is fairly well known. He is their one old veteran who was on the team when they won the Stanley Cup in 2001, but he has hardly played lately Chris Stewart is a rising superstar and was on pace to score 50 or 60 goals, but he broke his hand — but the team hasn’t slowed down. Their best players are Paul Stastny (son of Hall-of-Famer Peter Stastny), who has a big missing tooth and is either a Czech or an American, depending on who he wants to play for in the Olympics :lol:; Thomas Fleishmann, who scored a hat trick last night, Brandon Yip (I love his name!), David Jones and Matt Duchene. One of their better players, Peter Mueller, hasn’t played a single game all year and may not play for them at all this year because of a concussion he suffered in preseason. None of these guys are very famous, but they are leading the entire NHL in goals scored. Their goalie is Craig Anderson, an American who backed up Ryan Miller in the 2010 Olympics. Even he was hurt pretty bad and missed about a month, but that hasn’t stopped the Avs.

They will be fun to watch all year and it should be a roller coaster ride.

FDA proposing new anti-tobacco packaging … for tobacco products

UK graphic cigarette packaging

The Federal Drug Administration last month came up with a proposed rule for new — and occasionally highly graphic — packaging for cigarette packs. These graphic warnings are required by the new FDA Tobacco Control Act signed into law by Barack Obama.

Canadian cigarette pack

The Brits and Canadians are way ahead of the U.S. on these graphic images, which have been shown to be effective in discouraging smoking. The UK has gone especially over the top with some of its graphics. Ugh. Some of these look like they could come right out of “Planet Terror.”

 

The FDA is supposed to make its final ruling on new cigarette packaging by June 2011. Here’s an example of some of the images they are looking at:

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Has Barack Obama finally quit smoking? Do we care?


I must care a little, I’m making a post about it. Several news outlets, and news outlets are obsessed with Barack Obama’s smoking, reported earlier this week that Barack Obama has not smoked for nine months.

That ain't rosacea ... that's a drunk

I don’t know why the media is so fucking fixated with Obama’s smoking. I wish they had been this obsessed with Bush’s drinking, or, I dunno, his lying about getting us into the Iraq War. Can we just move on please? No one quits cigs easily. If he falls off the nicotine wagon, who cares. (By the way, this photo is a fake. Right-wingers love the photo because it somehow makes Obama look sleazy, but it’s as fake as Palin’s boobs. Most people think it’s for real, but it was photoshopped by a Republican operative)

And fucking Ronald Reagan, the right-tards’ baby Jesus, not only smoked … he actually appeared in CIGARETTE ADS. “This Christmas, I’m giving all friends lung cancer!”

For the record, lots of presidents have smoked.

JFK

FDR

LBJ

Gerald Ford

Fucktard Reagan selling cigarettes

Reagan being a fucktard in another ad

Surgeon General new report on smoking … cigarettes are bad, M’kay


OK, what has gotten a lot of press from a truly extensive Surgeon General’s report on cigarettes released yesterday is a conclusion that “there is no safe level of cigarette smoke.”

The media has turned this into “just one cigarette can kill you.” Unfortunately, the report does contain a passage that just a few minutes of cigarette smoke can give a person with heart disease a heart attack. Well, having someone sneak up on you from behind and say, “Boo!” can give you a heart attack if you have serious heart disease. It’s a really stupid point.

The real crux of the report, which the media has missed somewhat, is that it examines how cigarettes cause various forms of cancer and lung disease.
In summary:
• The chemicals and toxicants in tobacco smoke damage DNA, which can lead to cancer. Nearly one-third of all cancer deaths every year are directly linked to smoking. Smoking causes about 85% of lung cancers in the U.S.
•Exposure to tobacco smoke quickly damages blood vessels throughout the body and makes blood more likely to clot. This damage can cause heart attacks, strokes, and even sudden death.
• The chemicals in tobacco smoke inflame the delicate lining of the lungs and can cause permanent damage that reduces the ability of the lungs to exchange air efficiently and leads to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

I found the lung cancer chapter the most interesting. Sure enough, here is the conclusion I was looking for:

“There is consistent evidence that a combination of polymorphisms in the CYP1A1 and GSTM1 genes leads to higher DNA adduct levels in smokers and higher relative risks for lung cancer than in those smokers without this genetic profile.
“Exposure to cigarette smoke carcinogens leads to DNA damage and subsequent mutations in TP53 and KRAS in lung cancer.”

So, here’s the thing to wrap your heads around. Smoking fucks with your DNA. It isn’t just irritating the cells of your lungs, it’s actually changing the DNA of those cells.

The various cancers mentioned by the report were lung, mouth, throat, stomach, pancreas, bladder, kidney and leukemia. Surprisingly, lymphoma was not mentioned. I had always thought there was an increased risk of lymphoma if you smoked, but this report doesn’t mention that, so I suppose not.

One of the things that has long baffled scientists is why most smokers don’t get lung cancer. Somewhere between 10 to 20 percent do, depending on what study you read. Why don’t the 80 or other 90 percent get lung cancer is smoking is carcinogenic?

The answer apparently is in genetics, which the report refers to above, and I was hoping it would talk about that. People with a certain gene are more prone to lung cancer. If they smoke and have this gene, they are at extreme risk of lung cancer. If they don’t smoke, they are still at elevated risk of lung cancer. That’s why 10 percent of men who get lung cancer aren’t smokers, and 20 percent of women. Perhaps there are other environmental factors, such as radon or air pollution. But, the fact remains, that roughly 85 percent of the people who get lung cancer are smokers.

So, if you don’t have this gene and smoke, you will probably never get lung cancer. You may die in your 50s of heart disease or die from COPD or some other form of cancer, but you probably won’t get lung cancer. So, you’re not somehow magically out of the woods if you don’t have this gene. It isn’t that simple.
Anyway, here is the press release on this report. You can download the whole 700-page document if you wish. Or you can just download the executive summary.

Boston Red Sox getting Carl Crawford


Woo, hoo, what an amazing offseason for the Red Sox, maybe their best offseason since they got Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell. Now the Red Sox, after looking like they were out of the running, got Carl Crawford from the Tampa Bay Evil Rays for 7 years, $142 million.
Carl Crawford is a career .296 hitter (he hit .307 last year) and has averaged 50 stolen bases a year over the last eight years. He even hits 15 to 20 home runs a year. An awesome player.