Thursday, December 31, 2015
Doctor's Perspective
Adolescent smokers need to resolve to quit smoking

By Dr. Anthony Policastro Now is the time when people - usually adults - make New Year's resolutions. Perhaps we need to ask our adolescents to do the same. A recent report showed that cigarette smoking among teenagers continues to decrease. As a matter of fact, it has dropped over 50% in the last five years. That is clearly a good thing. However, any amount of smoking in adolescents is bad. The current figures are still above zero which means it is still a problem. About 7% of 10th grade students are regular cigarette smokers. That number doubles to 14% by 12th grade. Parents of adolescents that smoke can make a New Year's resolution of their own. They can encourage the smoker to quit. They can make being able to afford to buy cigarettes difficult. We know that raising cigarette taxes impact teenaged buyers the most. In Delaware we have some of the lowest cigarette taxes in the northeast which means Delaware is actually doing its share to encourage underage smoking. Parents need to tighten the purse strings that allow cigarette purchases. Unfortunately, there is some bad news to go along with the good news about decreased cigarette use. That news is on the front of e-cigarette use. While only 7% of 10th graders smoke cigarettes, 16% of them are now using e-cigarettes. Even though 12th graders had a 14% use of regular cigarettes, 17% of them are now using e-cigarettes. If you look at those statistics, it is easy to see that even with regular cigarette use dropping by 50%, the use of e-cigarettes has more than made up that drop. We know cigarettes are bad for you. However, we do not know how bad e-cigarettes are. We know that they cause nicotine addiction and they clearly cause other problems. The issue is that we do not yet have enough documentation as to what those other problems are. E-cigarettes are not regulated in any way. For that reason, manufacturers can put whatever ingredients they want in the e-cigarettes. We need to ask ourselves if this is really what we want our adolescents doing. We need to make a New Year's resolution to help adolescents with their nicotine addiction. It seems that every New Year we are faced with another problem of our own making. In this case the problem is the greed of the e-cigarette manufacturers. They are making billions of dollars by getting adolescents addicted to nicotine with a product that by definition is so unregulated that it has to be dangerous. Perhaps as a country we can make a resolution to put these drug dealers out of business.

Hospice Lunch Bunch Lecture Delaware Hospice will hold a Lunch Bunch Lecture - "Thanks! The Many Benefits of Expressing Appreciation" - at the Delaware Hospice Center in Milford on Friday, Jan. 8. Lunch, which is $5 per person, is from noon to 12:30 p.m. The free presentation is from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Research suggests happiness is found less in the pursuit of goals or possessions and more in the appreciation of what one already has. "An attitude of gratitude" has also been shown to reduce stress in 80% of those who practice it. Learn how to enhance your happiness and well being using techniques that cultivate genuine gratitude. To make a reservation for this lecture, contact Michelle August at 478-5707 or by Thursday, Jan. 7.

Diabetes education at Nanticoke Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will hold a four-session diabetes educational program, The Diabetes Connection, on Jan. 6, 13, 20, and 27 from 5-7 p.m. The cost of the program may be reimbursable by insurance.

The four-session program includes weekly education sessions in a group setting. One family member or significant other is welcome to attend. Pre-registration is required prior to attending classes. To register and to obtain more information about the course, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Diabetes Education Department at 629-6611, ext. 2446.

Breastfeeding Support Group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will hold The Mom's Circle, a free breastfeeding support group, at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 6 in the Nursing Conference Room. The Mom's Circle is a safe place for moms to meet for support, advice and friendship from both experienced nursing moms and new moms and an internationally board certified lactation consultant. Each meeting features new topics of discussion. This group meets the first Wednesday of each month. Registration is not required. For more information, contact Jacalyn Bradley, Nanticoke's lactation consultant, at 629-6611, ext. 2234.

Childbirth classes Nanticoke Memorial Hospital offers childbirth classes on Thursdays from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Ground Floor Conference Room. The class will meet each Thursday for five weeks - four weeks related to childbirth education and the fifth week will be a breastfeeding class. Classes will be held on the following dates: Jan. 14, 21, 28, Feb. 4, and 11; Feb. 25, March 3, 10, 17, and 24; April 7, 14, 21, 28, and May 5; May 19, 26, June 2, 9, and 16; July 7, 14, 21, 28, and Aug. 4; Sept. 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29; Oct. 13, 20, 27, Nov. 3, and 10; Nov. 15, 22, 29, Dec. 6, and 13. The maternity education classes are designed to offer information, counseling, support, and hands-on experience to help prepare for a new family member. They will cover pregnancy in general, information to prepare the expectant mother for labor and delivery, and will include a tour of Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Mother Baby Care Unit. A refresher course is also available for those who have previously taken childbirth classes. The cost of the childbirth course is $50, and the cost for the refresher course is $25. Mothers are encouraged to bring their partner or support person for all courses. Advance registration is required for either class. To register, or for more information, contact the Maternal Child Health clinical educator of Nanticoke Memorial Hospital at 629-6611, ext. 2540.

Life Line Screening comes to Laurel Learn about your risk for chronic, serious conditions with affordable screenings by Life Line Screening at Centenary United Methodist Church, 200 West Market St., Laurel, on Tuesday, Jan. 26. Screenings can check for:
  • The level of plaque buildup in your arteries, related to risk for heart disease, stroke and overall vascular health.
  • HDL and LDL cholesterol levels
  • Diabetes risk
  • Bone density as a risk for possible osteoporosis
  • Kidney and thyroid function, and more
Screenings are affordable and accessible for wheelchairs and those with trouble walking. Free parking is also available. Packages start at $149, but consultants will work with you to create the right package for you based on your age and risk factors. Call 1-877-237-1287 or visit Pre-registration is required.