HEALTH

GSK study says about half of smokers drink coffee while smoking

BY Michael Johnsen

PITTSBURGH A new survey from GlaxoSmithKline shows half of all smokers regularly drink coffee and smoke at the same time, the smoking cessation supplier reported Monday.

A recent survey conducted by the marketers of Commit Cappuccino, a new smokcing-cessation lozenge flavor, shows that while smokers drink almost twice as much coffee as nonsmokers, an overwhelming 86 percent surveyed are unaware that they may need to cut back their caffeine intake when trying to quit.

Studies show that smoking causes smokers to metabolize caffeine faster. As a result, smokers need to ingest more caffeine to get the same effects of nonsmokers. So when a smoker tries to quit, they may end up with more caffeine in their system, and may need to reduce their caffeine intake when trying to quit. In fact, the survey shows that fewer than one in 10 smokers (9 percent) know how smoking affects the way their body processes caffeine. Additionally, about one-third of smokers (about 32 percent) do not know that too much caffeine in the blood can be harmful.

“It is important smokers understand that they don’t need to give up coffee when trying to quit, but by drinking less coffee, they may help their body adjust to life without cigarettes, and avoid caffeine side effects,” said Saul Shiffman, researcher and professor in the departments of psychology and pharmaceutical science at the University of Pittsburgh and GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare spokesman.

Among the adults surveyed, smokers drink an average of 2.8 cups of coffee per day, while nonsmokers drink 1.5 cups. And almost half (about 43 percent) of smokers report that drinking coffee makes them want to have a cigarette.

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Google tracks flu trends through requests via search engine

BY Alaric DeArment

SAN FRANCISCO Google has found a way to track the spread of the flu by taking note of users who type phrases related to the flu into its search engine and reporting them through a new service called Google Flu Trends.

This may enable local outbreaks to be detected before health officials detect them, tests of the site have shown.

According to The New York Times, searches for flu-related information on Google increased in mid-Atlantic U.S. states increased two weeks before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported an increase in the incidence of flu in those states.

 

 

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Schwabe positions homeopathic cough-cold remedy Zucol for children’s fall cold-flu season

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK Schwabe, through it’s U.S. subsidiary Nature’s Way, is looking to position its homeopathic cough-cold remedy Zucol as this season’s remedy du jour in light of many of the safety and efficacy concerns raised about allopathic pediatric cough-cold medicines.

“Zucol is powerful medicine to fight colds, and this plant-based extract has been studied extensively and found to be safe for children,” stated David Riley, clinical associate professor at the University of New Mexico Medical School and founder of the Integrative Medicine Institute. “In Germany, it is prescribed to adults of all ages and children beginning at two years of age—though we recommend that when used for children younger than six, you consult your family doctor. … “With all of the recent warnings from the FDA about conventional cough and cold medications in children, it seems prudent to use a safe and effective alternative.”

Zucol contains an extract of pelargonium sidoides, which has been the subject of 18 published clinical studies involving more than 2,500 patients, according to the company. These studies concluded that cold sufferers were able to return to their normal routines two days faster than those who simply treated their symptoms with OTC medications.  

Zinc gluconate has also been found to reduce the duration of cough-cold symptoms. However, Nature’s Way maintains as a point of differentiation that Zucol does not irritate membranes, upset the stomach or leave a lingering unpleasant taste in the mouth.

“For hundreds of years African Zulu tribes have used pelargonium sidoides preparations to treat coughs and upper respiratory symptoms, and it is the top-selling active ingredient for upper respiratory tract infections sold in Germany and most of Europe,” David Gumner, vice president of Mass Market for Nature’s Way said. “Extensive clinical research has proven the safety and efficacy of pelargonium, which justifies its use to reduce the need for typical OTC medications that merely mask symptoms of the common cold.”  

In a press release issued Tuesday, Nature’s Way noted the cough-cold remedy would be distributed through Walgreens in January and is currently available in all Rite Aid, Duane Reade, Meijer Stores and regional drug stores and pharmacies across the U.S.

The benefits of pelargonium have been featured in several U.S. medical journals including the American Family Physician and The Journal of Family Practice, the company stated.

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