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Thirdhand smoke exposure effects on liver and brain found to worsen over time: Research on mice focused on biomarkers in a time-dependent manner -- ScienceDaily

THS results when exhaled smoke and smoke emanating from the tip of burning cigarettes gets on surfaces such as clothing, hair, homes, and cars. THS has been shown, in mice, to cause type 2 diabetes, hyperactivity, liver and lung damage, and wound-healing complications.

Nicotine Normalizes Brain Activity Deficits That Are Key to Schizophrenia – Neuroscience News

“Basically the nicotine is compensating for a genetically determined impairment,” says Stitzel. “No one has ever shown that before.” The international team of scientists set out to explore the underlying causes of “hypofrontality” — a reduction of neuronal firing in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. Hypofrontality is believed to be the root cause of many of the signature cognitive problems experienced by schizophrenics, including trouble paying attention, remembering things, making decisions and understanding verbal explanations.

Smoking's double hit of dopamine

Recent research has shown how nicotine acts on the brain. Nicotine activates the circuitry that regulates feelings of pleasure, the so-called reward pathways. Research has shown that nicotine increases the levels of dopamine (a key brain chemical involved in mediating the desire to consume drugs) in the reward circuits. Nicotine's pharmacokinetic properties have been found to enhance its abuse potential. Cigarette smoking produces a rapid distribution of nicotine to the brain, with drug levels peaking within 10 seconds of inhalation. The acute effects of nicotine dissipate within a few minutes, causing the need to continue repeated intake throughout the day. A cigarette is a very efficient and highly engineered drug-delivery system. A smoker can get nicotine to the brain very rapidly with every inhalation. A typical smoker will take 10 puffs on a lit cigarette over a period of 5 minutes. Thus, a person who smokes about one-and-a-half packs (30 cigarettes) each day gets 300 nicotine hits to the brain daily. These factors contribute considerably to nicotine's highly addictive nature. Using advanced neuroimaging technology, research is beginning to show that nicotine may not be the only psychoactive ingredient in tobacco. Scientists can see the dramatic effect of cigarette smoking on the brain and are finding a marked decrease in the levels of monoamineoxidase (MAO), an enzyme responsible for breaking down dopamine. The change in MAO must be caused by some tobacco smoke ingredient other than nicotine, since nicotine itself does not dramatically alter MAO levels. The decrease in two forms of MAO, A and B, results in higher dopamine levels. The need to sustain the high dopamine levels results in the desire for repeated drug use.

Remembering David Carr - Twiangulate Blog

This amazing man -- the boy from Hopkins, Minnesota, brilliant writer, father of three, recovering crack addict, recovering alcoholic, cancer survivor -- was followed by more Times-tweeps than powerful newspapers (WSJ: 300 NYT followers), presidents (Obama: 244), former Presidents (Clinton: 181), stars (Lena Dunham: 182; Jon Stewart: 175), moguls (Bloomberg: 172), or political honchos (David Axelrod: 159.) David also had far more NYT followers than fellow staffers like @nickkristof (1,563,804 followers, 378 from NYT staff) or @NYTimeskrugman (1,309,170 followers, 263 NYT staff.)

Environment programs our behavior:: to change the behavior, change the environmental cues

"Once a behavior had been repeated a lot, especially if the person does it in the same setting, you can successfully change what people want to do. But if they've done it enough, their behavior doesn't follow their intentions," Neal explains. Neal says this has to do with the way that our physical environments come to shape our behavior. "People, when they perform a behavior a lot — especially in the same environment, same sort of physical setting — outsource the control of the behavior to the environment," Neal says. […] consider what happens when you perform a very basic everyday behavior like getting into a car. "Of course on one level, that seems like the simplest task possible," Neal says, "but if you break it down, there's really a myriad set of complex actions that are performed in sequence to do that." You use a certain motion to put your key in the lock, and then physically manipulate your body to get into the seat. There is another set of motions to insert the key in the ignition. "All of this is actually very complicated and someone who had never driven a car before would have no ability to do that, but it becomes second nature to us," Neal points out. "[It's] so automatic that we can do it while we are conducting complex other tasks, like having conversations." Throughout the process, you haven't thought for a second about what you are doing, you are just responding to the different parts of the car in the sequence you've learned. "And very much of our day goes off in this way," Wood says. "About 45 percent of what people do every day is in the same environment and is repeated." […] In this way, Neal says, our environments come to unconsciously direct our behavior. Even behaviors that we don't want, like smoking. "For a smoker, the view of the entrance to their office building — which is a place that they go to smoke all the time — becomes a powerful mental cue to go and perform that behavior," Neal says.

Smoking as a regressive tax

Consider a married couple with a $30,000 a year income. If each spouse smokes a pack a day and they live in a state where cigarettes cost an average of, say, $6.00 a pack, they will devote 15 percent of their very limited income to cigarettes. Six percent of their income will go to cigarette taxes alone. If they live in New York City, the city’s new minimum price per pack of $10.50 will drain a full quarter of their income. Some low-income New Yorkers surely pay more in tobacco taxes than they do in taxes to support Social Security and Medicare.

Smoking isn't a problem -- for the affluent

Why is there no Brown Ribbon campaign to combat cigarette smoking? We fear that the answer lies in the fact that smoking is largely a low-income problem, and the resulting illnesses and deaths are often blamed on the victims. In certain circles, cigarettes are not only common but practically ubiquitous. Yet for those who run the nation’s businesses, those who shape its policies, those who fundraise, blog, and tweet, those who read and vote in the highest numbers, the issue has largely disappeared from view.