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Wea ll know smoking is a terrible habit, but it's still normalised in Irish society. 

In Hawaii, however, there are already some very strict laws regarding cigarette sales, and a proposed new law could see the legal age to be able to purchase cigarettes raised to 100. 

Democratic state representative Richard Creagan is highly anti-smoking, and a law he has proposed would essentially eradicate legalised cigarette sales on the island

Creagan is proposing raising the cigarette-buying age to 30 by next year.

The following year, the legal age would be raised to 40. 

In 2022 the legal age would be 50, and  2023. 

This phasing out will see the legal age jump to 100 in 2024, essentially banning the sale and purchasing. 

'Basically, we essentially have a group who are heavily addicted — in my view, enslaved by a ridiculously bad industry — which has enslaved them by designing a cigarette that is highly addictive, knowing that it highly lethal. And, it is,' Creagan told The Hawaii Tribune Herald.

Currently, the legal age to purchase cigarettes is 21 in Hawaii. 

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Vaping has become an increasingly popular alternative to cigarettes. 

It isn't uncommon to hear throughout the media that vaping is safer than smoking traditional cigarettes.

However, that doesn't mean that e-cigarettes are completely harmless as researchers in the University of Birmingham have uncovered.

Their evidence suggests that vapourised e-liquid increases the production of inflammatory chemicals and disables key protective cells in the lungs that keep the air spaces clear of potentially harmful particles. – (EEK). 

Researchers published the study in a journal, Thorax and found that the vapour impairs the activity of cells, called alveolar macrophages.

These protective cells are fundamental to the immune response within the airways.

Alveolar macrophages are responsible for engulfing and removing dust and bacteria.

Furthermore, they clear allergens that may compromise our respiratory defences.

“Our work clearly shows that vapourised e-cigarette fluid is toxic to living cells; increases the production of inflammatory chemicals; and inhibits the function of cells that are key to the immune system," said Dr Aaron Scott, of the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Inflammation and Ageing.

Their work demonstrated similarities in cell behaviour when vapour was introduced, that is typically seen in traditional smokers and those suffering with the lung disease; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 

“Importantly, we found that exposure of these cells to e-cigarette vapour induced many of the same cellular and functional changes in function seen in cigarette smokers and patients with COPD.

"While further research is needed to fully understand the effects of e-cigarette exposure in humans in vivo, we suggest continued caution against the widely held opinion that e-cigarettes are safe,” added Dr Scott. 

The scientists hope that their findings will educate the general public of the negative effectives of vaping on human health. 

Professor David Thickett, from same department in the University of Birmingham said: "cigarette smoking is associated with the cause of almost every lung disease – lung cancer, asthma, COPD and fibrosis."

“It has been suggested electronic cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes, and this narrative is increasingly supported by tobacco companies that have established research institutes devoted to generating supportive data."

“E-cigarette users have been given advice based on relatively little information. We hope that by disseminating this data as widely as possible the public can at least make an informed choice; the public must be aware these devices are not harmless."

The professor also highlighted how the study shows that "dedicated funding and research" is needed to really evaluate the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes.   

The researchers concluded that under laboratory conditions, the vaping process can damage vital immune system cells.  

Vaping is still a relatively new habit, hitting the European markets in April 2006

Much like cigarettes, this may be a case of only time will tell to really know the true extent of the good, bad and the ugly side effects of vaping.

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If you're looking for a reason to give up the cigarettes, this might be the sign you've been looking for.

Lung cancer mortalities in women will increase by 2030 warns a study conducted by the journal, Cancer research.

The prediction estimates that death rates among the female population will rise by almost half within the time frame.

This means that from 2015 to 2030, the disease affecting women in 52 countries will jump by 43 percent, claims the study.

Europe and the Oceania which includes countries such as New Zealand and Australia should pay particular attention to the research, as it indicates women in these nations are most likely to have the highest death rates from the deadly disease. 

Although Asia and America aren't far behind us, according to the data

"Different timelines have been observed in the tobacco epidemic across the globe,” said Dr Jose Martinez-Sanchez, the study’s lead author and an epidemiologist from UIC Barcelona.

“This is because it was socially acceptable for women to smoke in the European and Oceanic countries included in our study many years before this habit was commonplace in America and Asia, which reflects why we are seeing higher lung cancer mortality rates in these countries.”

The doctor drew a comparison between breast and lung cancer.

Doctor Martínez-Sánchez warned the majority of developed countries will be the "first to witness" lung cancer mortality rates surpass that of breast cancer. 

"While we have made great strides in reducing breast cancer mortality globally, lung cancer mortality rates among women are on the rise worldwide," said Martínez-Sánchez.

"If we do not implement measures to reduce smoking behaviours in this population, lung cancer mortality will continue to increase throughout the world."

However, the reality might be closer than we think as their study suggests in 26 countries of the 52 they reviewed, lung cancer rates are already higher than that of breast cancer.

In order to carry out their research, the group analysed the World Health Organisation records of breast and female lung cancer mortalities between 2008 to 2014. 

The team did encounter some restrictions to their work as Africa could not be included due to insufficient information being available. 

Additionally, the research could not account for changes in lifestyle from conventional cigarettes to electronic cigarettes, which could impact trends.

Future screening technology and therapeutics may also lower mortality rates, said the doctor. 

Either way, whether you're a social or chain smoker – you may want to give up for good if this study is anything to go by. 

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Remember when the legal age to buy cigarettes in Ireland was just 16?! If you're over 25, you may remember when smoking in school toilets at secondary school was the norm.

It seems ludicrous now, but until March 2002, a 16-year-old could buy tobacco products easily. These days, things have changed for the better!

Ireland has always led the way in anti-smoking policies, becoming the first country to make smoking in the workplace illegal, in 2004.

Subsequently, Irish pubs became smoke-free, as smokers were banished to designated smoking areas. Although there were complaints at the time, the legislation worked, and our pubs are now much more pleasant places.

Packets of 10 cigarettes were abolished in 2009, to discourage young people from buying the smaller, cheaper packets.

Tax on cigarettes has steadily increased also, leading to a higher retail price.

The average price of 20 cigarettes is now €11 – more expensive than ever.

With a packet costing more than one hour's minimum wage, it's not an affordable habit for most young people – or anyone on a low income!

There are better ways to spend your money than watching it go up in smoke…literally!

Donal Buggy, Head of Services and Advocacy from the Irish Cancer Society, says: "We do know increasing the price of cigarettes through taxation works, it's been proven globally."

"But we still need a combination of measures to tackle smoking, including education and limiting availability."

He explains that taxing cigarettes is not an easy target for revenue: "The Department of Health produced a report in 2013 that proves tobacco is costing us more than what revenue can collect."

When James Reilly became Minister for Health, he aimed to make Ireland smoke-free by 2025. This will be "really challenging", according to Donal Buggy.

He explains that preventing young people from taking up smoking is crucial: "85 percent of smokers start before the age of 18. If we can significantly reduce the number of smokers under 18, it would be an improvement."

"There has already been a 10 percent reduction in school-age children, which is great."

A plan for plain packaging on tobacco products is expected to be enforced by May of this year, devoid of imagery and marketing apart from the brand name

And those gruesome photos of tumours on the packet? They're yet another public measure to deter people from taking up the disgusting habit. 

TV ads and even shop displays advertising tobacco products are now illegal. In 2014, a bill was passed to ban smoking in a private car where children are present.

Quitting the deadly habit requires tremendous willpower and determination. The HSE offers a free service, QUIT.ie, to provide help and support to those who want to quit smoking for good. They also run campaigns to deter would-be smokers from starting.

Quit.ie says smoking places an enormous strain our health services, with over 5,000 Irish people dying annually from the effects of smoking.

We can't ignore the sober reality- one in two Irish smokers will die of a tobacco-related disease. 

Those who are attempting to stop smoking are more successful when they have a plan and support in place. For more information, check out QUIT.ie.

Smokers with a medical card can avail of free nicotine replacement aids to help them quit.

We're lucky to live in a country which puts health first, and the smoking ban definitely did that!

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Vaping has become a trendy take on smoking, and with January resolutions to quit smoking just about wavering, it might seem like a good idea to try vaping.

Vaping, for those not in the know, is the process of inhaling nicotine-laced chemical compounds through an electric cigarette, which superheats the vape liquid to create the faux-smoke.

There are nicotine free versions and a variety of flavours, from blueberry bubblegum to oatmeal and raisin.

Vaping has gotten a bit of a bad wrap lately, with allegations of shoddy craftsmanship causing E-Cigs to explode in peoples faces (warning, graphic content) and start fires in people homes.

The companies have also been accused of appealing to children with their fruity flavours.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention released a report last year which found that e-cig use had tripled in the past year among middle and high school students.   

A photo posted by Ko Za (@ko.za89) on

The cigs were mostly unregulated for a long time, but in May 2016 the European Union imposed standardised controls on liquids and vaporiser cigarettes across the EU as well as making the disclosure of ingredients in vaping liquids a requirement.

Child-proofing and tamper-proofing for liquid packaging was also made a requirement.

The danger with E-cigarettes is that you don’t actually know exactly what’s in the liquid cartridges.

A photo posted by Vaping360 (@vaping360) on

According to the American Lung Association, they “don’t presently know what is in e-cigarettes. However, in initial lab tests conducted in 2009 the FDA found detectable levels of toxic cancer-causing chemicals, including an ingredient used in anti-freeze, in two leading brands of e-cigarettes and 18 various cartridges.”

There are also dangers as the liquid heats up to vaporised, which can create new chemical concoctions that you are then inhaling so you think you are ok when in fact, you just don’t know.

“To use an e-cigarette, you load the liquid and apply electricity, heating the liquid until it vaporizes. At this temperature, the chemicals inside the fluid undergo a breakdown process and are converted into other chemicals,” according to neurologist Dr Karl Perlmutter.

“When the e-cigarette liquid broke down, it produced both formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing agents, a known carcinogen.”

The U.S. Surgeon General found that e-cigarettes can expose users to several potentially harmful chemicals, including nicotine, carbonyl compounds and “volatile organic compounds” .

Research into the brand is a must, as according to Cancer.net: “E-cigarettes may contain harmful substances. However, the types or concentrations of chemicals, including nicotine, vary based on the brand.”

So while vaping doesn’t have as many cancer-causing compounds as smoking, it’s still not 100 percent safe.

Either way you choose to look at it, the best substance to smoke is usually nothing at all.

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Whether you started smoking in college or you're a life-long pack-a-day person, quitting the habit can be really tough.

It's going to be a process, but once you have the right game plan and will power, you can kick the habit for good.

Many people are fond of the START method, so hopefully by following this plan, you'll have a cigarette-free 2017.

Image result for stubbing out cigarette gif

S – Set a quit date

First, choose a quit date. Try pick a date within the next two weeks so you can prepare yourself enough, yet, you won't lose your motivation.

If you normally smoke a lot when in work, try pick a weekend to quit so you have a day or two to get used to it.

Image result for scrubs it's over gif

 

T – Tell your friends, family and co-workers

By telling people that are close to you, you will be able to get their encouragement and support, as well as give yourself a little bit of motivation.

And if possible, try find a quit buddy so you can go through the motions together.

Image result for we're all in this together gif

 

A – Anticipate the challenges

On average, people who begin to smoke again do so within the first three months of quitting.

Prepare for the challenges, prepare for the drawbacks and prepare for the cravings. So many cravings.

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R – Remove cigarettes, tobacco and all other products

Remove them from your home, work, and your car. If your sitting in rush hour traffic and find a cigarette in the glove box, it'll be a mighty temptation.

And freshen everything up too; wash your clothes, clean your curtains, steam your furniture.

Image result for be gone gif

 

T – Talk to your doctor

Your doctor will be able to prescribe medication to help with any withdrawals you might have.

If you're not able to get to your doctor, a simple chat with your local pharmacist on whether you should take any nicotine gum or lozenges will help massively.

Image result for what up doc gif

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More and more local authorities in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are on their way to banning smoking in playgrounds.

The Journal reports that authorities all over the country are moving forward to implement a smoke-free policy in and around areas where children play.

Research reveals that 82 percent of county councils have already implemented the change, with others quickly moving further towards it, says Dr Helen McAvoy, the director of policy at the Institute of Public Health in Ireland has reported.

“This helps to reduce exposure to second hand smoke and to denormalise tobacco use for future generations," she said.

The change comes after smoking in cars with children was banned in January of this year.

"The new law prohibiting smoking in cars came into effect in January 2016 and we would expect that the new legislation will, over time, like the ban on smoking in the workplace support people to change their behaviour," Dr McAvoy said.

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It was reported yesterday that Chris Brown's ex, Nia Guzman has accused him of giving their daughter asthma because she inhales second-hand smoke.

In Nia's case, she claimed that Chris smokes so much marijuana and cigarettes around Royalty, 1, that he has made her sick.

But, Chris is calling her out, and in a deleted Instagram post, said she just wants more money.

On the post, Chris wrote: "I quit cigarettes on New Years. NO ONE smokes around my daughter."

He also added that it's "obviously a play to get some sort of increased income," which we have to admit could be true since Nia is demanding a very steep rise – from $2,500 (€2,300) a month to $16,000 (€14,700). 

We can't see this fight calming down though, so expect more to come. 

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Simon Cowell has been quite candid about his love for smoking, but for this year's X Factor, it's costing the judge quite a bit. 

Due to strict rules in the studio, anyone who is smoking inside has to pay a fine of £100 (€141), which means for every single smoke he takes, he has to pay that amount, costing him thousands during the series.

With the judge's tight time schedule during filming, and his love of tobacco, the 56-year-old has been forced to light-up despite it being classed as a place of work.

The severe pace of the show is said to be why the record label executive couldn't wait till after the cameras stopped rolling.

The insider explained to The Mirror: 'Simon makes no secret of the fact that he enjoys a cigarette to help him relax and obviously being on the judging panel while also running the show is very stressful."
 

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With his ten-month world tour almost over, Ed Sheeran is finally planning to get some sense of normality back in his life.

First up on his list of things to work on is quitting smoking. The singer says his habit has only gotten worse over the last year, and this month he's decided to quit for good.

"The reason I kind of liked smoking so much was just it was a routine," he told Ellen DeGeneres yesterday.

"Do a soundcheck, have a cigarette, do a gig, have a cigarette, have food, have a cigarette… now I'm not going to be touring and working for a while."

Although he started smoking in his early teens, Ed says he never considered himself "a smoker" until he realised he'd been doing it for a decade.

"I started smoking when I was younger and I’d always say, like ‘I’m gonna quit. I’m gonna quit'

"And then, 'Oh well, I haven’t been smoking for that long. It’s been, what, four years like that…' and then when it got to 10 years, I was like, 'Oh… I’m probably getting to the point of no return here.'"

Having given up both cigarettes and alcohol for a year back in 2011, the Thinking Out Loud hitmaker is hoping he has what it takes to quit smoking for good – though so far it's only been ten days.

"It's cold turkey," he told Ellen.

Ed has been open about his drug and alcohol use in the past, and though he has dabbled in hard drugs and marijuana he says it's not a frequent thing.

"There have been a couple of times over the past few years, but it’s not a regular thing," he said of his drug use last year.

"It happens when I’m under an immense amount of stress and pressure, and things just build up. But it’s not as dark as people make out. It’s educational."

Of course, he did admit in a previous 2014 interview that he once "fell in love with a beanbag" while taking ecstasy in Ibiza and ended up ordering six of them online. Sounds very educational to us…

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We all know that people who spend the majority of their day sitting at a desk are likely to face some interesting health issues as result.

Sore necks, backs and poor posture in general are often associated with those who are desk-bound.

Now it has been found that prolonged sitting can be just as bad for your health as smoking. According to researchers at Queens University Belfast, sitting for long periods of time has is linked to increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and even early death.

Dr. Mark Tully from the UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health at the university said that people can spend up to 80 per cent of their waking hours sitting down.

“Public health scientists have recognised the need to develop effective interventions to address the high levels of inactivity across ages, with sitting regarded as the new smoking,” he said.

Dr Tully is a regular user of a treadmill desk and said his office also has standing desks in place.

“Those of us who stand while we work are more creative and productive in our working lives too. So it may well be that sitting is reducing productivity in our workplaces,” he said.

He also said in a previous study people who spent most of their time sitting were 50 per cent more likely to die than the people who spent the least amount of time sitting.

So what can we do to help break the unhealthy cycle?

“Break up your sitting with a little bit of standing. What my colleagues do is drink lots of water because that encourages breaks to go and relieve yourself,” he said.

We will more than willing to deal with a queue for the bathroom at the office if it means we can live longer and healthier lives.

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Actress Kaley Cuoco has upset many of her fans by uploading an image of herself with a cigarette in her mouth to her Instagram account.

Despite the fact that the cigarette is unlit, many followers have condemned the actress for smoking, with Kaley captioning: “Werkkk #burningbodhi #defintelynotacomedy.”

The cigarette is obviously just a prop for Kaley’s upcoming movie, Burning Bodhi, although fans don’t seem to like seeing their favourite girl-next-door in this light!

We wonder what Sheldon would think?!

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