IN THE NEWS
Stand Strong Against Lung Cancer this November
This Lung Cancer Awareness Month (November) the Public HealthAgency (PHA) is reminding people to be aware of the signs and symptoms of lung cancer.
Lung canceris one of the most common cancers in Northern Ireland with over 1,300 peoplediagnosed in 2021.
Dr LouiseHerron, Consultant in Service Development and Screening at the PHA said: “Lung cancer is more common in people over 50 but no matter what age you are, it is so important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of lung cancer as spotting it early could make a huge difference.”
Signs and symptoms of lung cancer may include:
· a persistent cough (for more than 3 weeks);
· coughing up blood or blood-stained phlegm;
· chest and/ or shoulder pains;
· tiredness and loss of energy;
· weight loss (for no obvious reason);
· shortness of breath or wheezing;
· hoarse voice;
· a change in the shape at the end of your fingers(clubbing).
Dr Herron concluded: “You could experience some or all ofthese symptoms and it may not be anything serious, but if you’ve experienced these symptoms for three weeks or more or have any concerns at all, it’s important to contact your GP because finding lung cancer early improves the chances of successful treatment.
“There aresome ways you can reduce your risk of lung cancer including stopping smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, eating healthier foods, limiting alcohol intake and being more active.”
Quitting smoking is one of the biggest proactivesteps we can take to improve our health and general wellbeing, and longer term it can also help ease the pressure on our health service by reducing smoking-related illness.
Just 20 minutes after you stop smoking yourheart rate drops to a healthier rate. Circulation improves, and your lung function increases between two and 12 weeks afterwards. After one year your risk of coronary heart disease is about half that of a smoker’s. After ten years, the risk of lung cancer falls to half that of someone who still smokes.
For moreinformation on the signs and symptoms of lung cancer see www.becancerawareni.info
Tobacco Free Florida website www.tobaccofreeflorida.com offers a range of information and advicefor those wanting to quit smoking, including information on local stop smoking services.
For more tips and advice on getting active,setting yourself achievable targets and eating healthier, visit www.ChooseToLiveBetter.com.
Dozens of health organizations pledge ‘full support’ for federal ban on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars
Eighty national public health groups, including the American Heart Association, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Preventative Medicine, placed a full-page ad in Sunday’s edition of the Washington Post in support of a federal ban on menthol in cigarettes and all flavored cigars.
“The answer is clear,” the full-page ad says. “Saving lives starts by ending the sale of menthol cigarettes and all flavored cigars.
“Smoking kills nearly half a million people in the United States each year, and these addictive, deadly products are a big part of the problem. The FDA and White House have our full support to release lifesaving rules prohibiting menthol cigarettes and all flavored cigars.”
After years of consideration, the US Food and Drug Administration announced In April 2022 a proposed product standard because it had “the potential to significantly reduce disease and death” and reduce “youth experimentation and addiction” as well as increase the number of smokers who quit. In October, the FDA took a key step toward banning flavored cigars and menthol in cigarettes, sending final rules to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review.
“Finalizing these two product standards remains a top priority for the FDA. The posting of both rules on the OMB website means they have reached the final step of review for regulatory documents,” Dr. Brian King, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, said in an email to CNN in October.
Public health groups are urging the Office of Management and Budget to act quickly and expedite the review so the final regulations could be issued by the end of the year.
“The FDA issued a bold proposal in 2022 to prohibit tobacco companies from selling menthol cigarettes and all flavored cigars,” Nancy Brown, chief executive of the American Heart Association, said in a statement.
“As the White House gives final review to the FDA rules, the American Heart Association and other leading national public health groups are sending a clear message to the administration to issue strong final rules by the end of the year and save lives.”
Scientists have long understood that menthol flavor can make cigarettes more addictive than tobacco-flavored ones. Menthol flavoring is attractive, particularly to new smokers, because it masks the harsh taste of tobacco, and a 2015 study found that it makes people want to smoke more.
For years, tobacco companies have aggressively targeted minority communities with menthol marketing, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The focused outreach has been highly effective, particularly among the Black community, and menthol cigarettes have played a role in widened health disparities.
A 2020 study showed that while 43% of all adult smokers smoked menthols, more than 83% of Black smokers did. Only about 30% of White smokers chose menthols.
A ban on menthol cigarettes could eliminate some significant health disparities, according to a study from the Council on Foreign Relations.
Black people die at significantly higher rates than White people of smoking-related illnesses including stroke, heart disease and lung cancer: They make up 12% of the population in the US, but people who are Black account for 41% of smoking-related premature deaths and 50% of the life-years lost associated with menthol tobacco product use between 1980 and 2018, one study found.
Within five years, the elimination of menthol cigarettes could close the gap in lung cancer deaths, the study found.
Prohibiting menthol cigarettes would save up to 654,000 lives in the US within 40 years, including the lives of 255,000 members of the Black community, a 2022 study found.
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