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Secondhand smoke and nicotine addiction in pregnancy

Secondhand smoke and nicotine addiction in pregnancy: What is secondhand smoke?

Secondhand smoke and nicotine addiction in pregnancy

Secondhand smoke and nicotine addiction in pregnancy is as bad as smoking the cigarette for your health in pregnancy or even after

Secondhand smoke is the combination of smoke from the burning end of a cigarette and the smoke exhaled by smokers getting into the nostril of a non-smoker or third party. Non-smokers can be exposed to secondhand smoke in several ways and places including in homes, cars, at workplaces and public places such as bars, restaurants, and recreational settings. In the United States for example, the source of most secondhand smoke is cigarettes, followed by pipes, cigars, and other tobacco products. It is important to know that secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals. Hundreds of the chemicals are toxic and about 70 are known to cause cancer. And because nicotine in all these can be very devastating owing to the complications that come with it, it is only fear that we discuss the effects of secondhand smoke and nicotine addiction in pregnancy as one of the severe consequences that come with such addictions.

Secondhand smoke and nicotine addiction in pregnancy: Can secondhand smoke make me sick?

Doctor Akoury an expert in addiction and weight lose says that when it comes to nicotine, there is no threshold of safety. So long as one is receiving nicotine in his system mode of receipt notwithstanding any exposure to nicotine, whether through secondhand smoke or direct cigarette smoking nicotine is not friendly. So when you are around a person who is smoking, you inhale the same dangerous chemicals as the smoker. Breathing even a little secondhand smoke can be dangerous because it is all about nicotine and not how it got to your system. The dangers of inhaling secondhand smoke can cause serious health complications including lung cancer in nonsmoking adults. In the United States for example it is estimated that up to 3,000 adults die each year due to lung cancer from secondhand smoke exposure. And according to the U.S. Surgeon General, living with a smoker increases a nonsmoker’s chances of developing lung cancer by 20% to 30%.

Besides cancer, exposure to secondhand smoke can also cause coronary heart disease and have negative effects on your blood and blood vessels thereby increasing your risk of getting a heart attack. Heart diseases caused by secondhand smoke kill approximately 46,000 nonsmokers every year. People who already have heart disease are at an especially high risk of suffering negative effects from inhaling secondhand smoke and should avoid even brief exposure to it.

Because studies show that laws banning smoking in public places help improve worker and customer health, many states and communities have laws making workplaces, public places, restaurants, and bars smoke-free. But millions of children and adults still breathe secondhand smoke in their homes, cars, workplaces, and in public places.

How does secondhand smoke affect pregnant women, babies, and children?

Pregnant women who inhale secondhand smoke are more likely to have lower birth weight babies than women who do not inhale secondhand smoke. Once born, babies who are around cigarette smoke are more likely to get ear infections, develop bronchitis and pneumonia and die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Therefore secondhand smoke can cause serious health problems in children, including:

  • Frequent lower respiratory illness
  • Wheezing and coughing
  • More frequent and severe asthma attacks
  • Ear infections

It is therefore advisable that, women who are pregnant should avoid surroundings where heavy concentrations of secondhand smoke linger.

Secondhand smoke and nicotine addiction in pregnancy: Is smoking while pregnant harmful?

For luck of better words I will say that it is never safe to stay around smokers when pregnant let alone smoking. This is very dangerous because smoking while pregnant: affects the placenta which is the source of your baby’s food and oxygen, lowers the amount of oxygen available to you and your growing baby and also increases the following:

  • Your baby’s heart rate
  • The risk that your baby will be born prematurely
  • The risk that your baby will be born with low birth weight
  • Your baby’s risk of developing respiratory problems
  • The chances of stillbirth
  • The risk for certain birth defects like a cleft lip or cleft palate
  • The risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

Besides that, children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy are at greater risk of: behavioral problems, including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), learning disorders and becoming smokers themselves in the future. Therefore I recommend strongly that all pregnant women who are smoking should quit right way if not permanently then at least during their pregnancy.

Secondhand smoke and nicotine addiction in pregnancy: Is it too late to quit?

If you are pregnant, it is never too late to quit smoking. There are benefits to quitting smoking at any stage of your pregnancy. Quitting as soon as possible will help protect you and your baby from some health problems, such as low birth weight.

Secondhand smoke and nicotine addiction in pregnancy: Shouldn’t it be easy for me to quit smoking while pregnant?

No. Quitting smoking is hard for most women. Women who were smoking when they got pregnant often have to make more than one attempt to quit for good.

Secondhand smoke and nicotine addiction in pregnancy: Is it harmful to smoke again after my baby is born?

You might think it is safe to start smoking again after your baby is born, but your baby is not out of harm’s way. Remember that secondhand smoke is equally dangerous not just for your baby but to people around you. The best thing to do is to quit permanently because babies who are around cigarette smoke: have weaker lungs than other babies, are more likely to have health problems such as infections and more frequent asthma attacks and are at increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Therefore you need to protect your baby doing the following:

  • Do not allow anyone to smoke near your child.
  • Do not smoke or let others smoke in your home or car.
  • Use childcare providers who do not smoke.
  • Do not eat in restaurants that allow smoking.
  • Do not take your child to other indoor public places that allow smoking.
  • Teach children to stay away from secondhand smoke.

Secondhand smoke and nicotine addiction in pregnancy: I smoke can I breastfeed my baby?

Of course you can and you should breastfeed your baby because breast milk is very good for your baby. However, smoking may make it difficult to breastfeed because it changes your breast milk, disrupt your baby’s sleeping patterns and may even cause you to have problems releasing the breast milk. In conclusion life is lived once and doing the right things will help you have comfort in that life. Therefore for your health and your baby’s, you should quit smoking. Doing this will not be easy, and therefore, you need to consult with doctor Dalal Akoury to help you go about it professionally and in the most healthy way.

Secondhand smoke and nicotine addiction in pregnancy: What is secondhand smoke?



Meditation in Addiction Recovery

Role of Mindfulness Meditation in Addiction Recovery

MeditationDuring the initial stages of recovery, a person may feel some kind of mental haziness. It takes lots of struggle for them to think clearly after stopping using the drug they are addicted to. They will also experience emotional instability. Failure to adjust to these changes may lead to relapse.

Integrative techniques that foster meditation and mindfulness have shown increasing promise in the successful completion of a drug addiction treatment program. Meditation’s ability to “retrain thought” can serve to alter cognitive processing in the brain, thus leading to healthier interactions in the brain’s reward center. The process of meditation also serves to produce stress-reduction naturally thereby reducing the powers of triggers, cravings and withdrawal symptoms in recovering individuals. In addition, meditation has been found to lower the rate of relapse in recovering addicts.

What is mindfulness meditation?

In mindful mediation a patient pays attention to the present moment. It aims at setting the mind free from thoughts that may rekindle the flame of addiction and cause relapse. Through it a patient learns to be aware of his thoughts and emotions without letting the emotions sway his judgment. As practice by Buddhists it is a non-judgmental form of observation.

It is also known as Sati as was in ancient Pali; which is a language in India. It is essential for those Buddhists seeking enlightment as it involves three elements; awareness, attention and remembering. If you have to succeed you must be aware of the object you are focusing on, pay attention to it and remember it.

How effective is Meditation in Addiction Recovery?

The body of evidence for the power of meditation in addiction treatment is increasing. As a matter of fact, a 2007 research presented that individuals who participated in meditation during addiction recovery gained higher levels of coping skills as well as amplified awareness of substance abuse triggers that aided addiction recovery. In another peer-reviewed study indicated the effects of prayer and meditation on dopamine levels, servicing the mind and body by creating contentedness and calm through the brain’s pathways, this helps as a substitute for the effects the drugs produced in the patient.

Meditation minimizes chances of alcohol and drug relapse

Meditation may also be effective in preventing relapse. Research has repeatedly shown that maximized sobriety is achieved when meditation is incorporated in treatment and recovery programs. Mindful meditation has been shown to assist patients in coping with mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and trauma.

Meditation and smoking cessation

Past researches have shown that mediation has effects on chemical dependency and this can be extended to nicotine addiction. Meditation has great effects in smokers and it has been verified that it increases recovery rates of smokers.

In a 2009 study of close to 160 smokers by M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, it was established that mindfulness practices linked to lower physical addiction levels and floored withdrawal effects. Additionally, those who practiced mindful mediation techniques experienced a greater belief in their ability to quit smoking, showing that mindful mediation therapy may help those struggling with nicotine addiction.

Alternative and Eastern-based meditative practices incorporated into individual alcoholism and drug abuse treatment plans seem to garner some of the most promising findings in relation to emerging research. Another study was done in 2010 and it involved studying the use of the qi gong meditative practices by close to 250 substance abusers and it was found to increase the addiction recovery completion by about 14 percent. The substance abusers who were part of this study showed lower cravings, reduced withdrawal symptoms as well as reduced anxiety levels.

Similar results have been studied in one of the most popular forms of meditative practice in addiction treatment and recovery, known as Vipassana. Vipassana is a Buddhist nonjudgmental, observational practice, it seeks to harness thought positively in relation to cognitive identification with addictive impulses. A 2006 study on addicted and enslaved individuals found that Vipassana meditation minimized rates of alcohol, marijuana and cocaine abuse in released prisoners who learned the meditative technique. As a matter of fact, Vipassana participants also showed fewer alcohol-related side effects as well as fewer mental health conditions and even improved relations in social circles.

Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation in Addiction Recovery

meditationThese are some of the benefits of mindfulness meditation for people in recovery:

  • This practice makes life in sobriety far more enjoyable. The individual is able to get pleasure from even the simplest things.
  • Those who practice the technique find it easier to manage their interpersonal relationships
  • Early recovery is like an emotional rollercoaster. By practicing mindfulness, the individual will feel more in control and better able to deal with the highs and lows.
  • People who practice mindfulness will be better able to spot the warning signs that they are losing their hold on recovery. This way they will be able to avoid a relapse.
  • Cravings usually continue to arise in recovery. Mindfulness allows the individual to observe such thoughts without being carried away by them. People learn that they are not always responsible for their thoughts, nor do they have to be a victim to them.

Recovering fully from addiction is a challenging process that requires enough support for the recovering addict. Help and hope for addicts is available at AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center. Do not hesitate to call on Dr. Dalal Akoury (MD) any day for assistance.

Role of Mindfulness Meditation in Addiction Recovery