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Men’s Health Month

June is Men’s Health Month. June 12-18th also marked Men’s Health Week. The goal is to rase awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. This post will highlight tobacco, e-cigarette and marijuana use among men, both nationally and in Alaska.

Source: CDC’s Tips from a Former Smoker, Brian (Brian H.’s Story | Real Stories | Tips From Former Smokers | CDC)

Tobacco Use and Secondhand Smoke Exposure1,2,3,4,5

Men are more likely to use tobacco than women.  Disparities exist among those who identify as male. For example:

  • Gay men are more likely to smoke than straight men
  • Bisexual men are more likely to smoke than straight men
  • Men identifying as Something Else (note – this is how the report cited this group. I could not find what this meant) were the most likely to smoke
  • Black men were the most likely to smoke among racial groups
  • Alaska Native and American Indians smoked more than white men
  • White men smoke more than Hispanic and Asian American men

In Alaska:

  • The difference between men and women who smoke is greater than the national rate. In Alaska, 33% of men smoke compared to 19% of women. The national statistics are 14% and 11% respectively.
  • Gay and bisexual men in were also more likely to smoke than their straight men counterparts.

For secondhand smoke exposure:

  • Among youth, secondhand smoke exposure was similar among both genders for those aged 3-11.
  • Boys aged 12-17 were more likely to be exposed to secondhand smoke than girls of that age group.
  • Adults face similar levels of secondhand smoke exposure when looked at by gender.

Health Impacts of Tobacco Use on Men1,6,7

This doesn’t represent all the health impacts – just some of what that had info on gender.

  • Increases the risk of deaths from all causes
  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths for both men and women
  • Men were less likely to have asthma than women. However, gay men were more likely to have asthma than straight men. Tobacco use can exacerbate asthma.
  • Smoking affects men’s sperm. This can reduce fertility and increase the risk for birth defects and miscarriage.
  • People who have HIV and smoke are more likely to develop the following than those who don’t have HIV and smoke
    • Heart disease
    • Cancer
    • Lung disease and infections

Source: CDC’s Tips from a Former Smoker, Michael (Michael F.’s Story | Real Stories | Tips From Former Smokers | CDC)

E-Cigarette Use and Health Impacts2,8,9

Some studies suggest that adult men and adolescent boys use e-cigarettes at higher rates than their women/girls’ counterparts. In Alaska, adolescent girls and boys used e-cigarettes at about the same rate. Adult men were a couple percentage higher, though it was statistically significant.

Impacts of E-Cigarette Use

The impacts of e-cigarettes and secondhand aerosol are still being studied. Further research will determine all the impacts that they have on the body.

  • E-cigarettes contain some of the same chemical as cigarettes. These chemicals are known to cause cancer, lung disease, and cardiovascular disease.
  • Nearly all e-cigarettes (including the ones that say they’re nicotine free) contain nicotine. Nicotine:
    • Has been linked to mood disorders
    • Can permanently lower impulse control
    • Change how synapses form. This can negatively affect learning and attention
  • Younger initiation increases the chance of addiction. About 90% of adult daily smokers first tried smoking before they turned 18.
  • E-cigarettes have exploded, which can cause burns and other injuries.
  • Secondhand aerosol contains many of the chemicals that are found in e-cigarettes. Like secondhand smoke, secondhand aerosol can be harmful to the body.

Marijuana Use in Alaska11

Starting in 2017, high school boys were less likely to currently use marijuana than high school girls. Heavy marijuana use was about the same for both genders. Adult males were more likely to be heavy marijuana users. Smoking was most often cited for “usual” mode of use among youth and adults. Non-medical only was the most common reason for use for Alaskan adults.

Health Impacts of Marijuana

The health impacts of marijuana and secondhand marijuana are still being studied. Further research is needed to determine the full impacts marijuana has thon the body. Here’s some of what current evidence suggests. The full list can be found here.

  • Driving
    • Slows reaction time and ability to make safe decisions
    • Impair coordination
    • Distort perception
  • Lung and Cardiovascular Health
    • Marijuana smoke contains many of the same toxins and carcinogens as tobacco smoke
      • These chemicals are known to be harmful to lungs and the cardiovascular system
    • Greater risk of bronchitis, mucus production, and cough
    • Increase heartbeat and blood pressure
    • Increase risk of stroke, heart disease and other vascular diseases
  • Mental Health:
    • Temporary Psychosis
    • Schizophrenia – association is stronger in people who start using marijuana at an earlier age and use it more frequently
    • Depression
    • Social Anxiety
    • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts, and suicide
  • Secondhand Marijuana Exposure
    • Creates between 3.5-4.4x more particulate matter (PM) 2.5 than cigarette smoking. PM 2.5 can lead to:
      • Premature deaths in people withe lung or heart disease
      • Nonfatal heart attacks
      • Irregular heartbeat
      • Asthma attacks
      • Decreased lung function
      • Increased respiratory symptoms, like coughing, difficulty breathing, or irritation of the airways
    • There’s an association between secondhand marijuana smoke and increased viral respiratory infections in young, relatively healthy children
    • People exposed to secondhand marijuana have detectable levels of THC in their blood and urine
    • Studies on secondhand marijuana exposure on rats (similar genetic, biological, and behavior characteristics to humans) reveals impaired blood vessel function and endothelia function. Marijuana smoke can lead to greater and longer-lasting effects.

I Want to Quit

Saved By The Scan: check out SavedByTheScan.Org to learn more about lung cancer screening. It could save your life.

I Want to Help Someone Quit

Healthcare professionals

  • Ask, Advise, Refer to Quit Don’t Switch (lung.training): free, one-hour, on-demand course that touches on tools and strategies for conducting an effective brief tobacco intervention with those who use tobacco. This course is accredited for 1 hour of Continuing Medical Education (CME) by Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services (RMCHCS) and 1 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) by the American Association of Respiratory Care.
  • ACT to Address Youth Cessation (lung.training): free, one-hour, on-demand course that touches on ways to provide a brief intervention for teens who use tobacco. School personnel and community members in youth/adolescent supportive roles are welcome to take this as well.
  • American Lung Association Training: additional education programs around tobacco, asthma, and other lung health topics are available here

Anyone Who Wants to Help

References

  1. The American Lung Association Celebrates LGBTQ+ Pride Month | American Lung Association
  2. Alaska Tobacco Facts 2021
  3. Tobacco Use in Racial and Ethnic Populations | American Lung Association
  4. Products – Data Briefs – Number 348 – August 2019 (cdc.gov)
  5. Products – Data Briefs – Number 396 – February 2021 (cdc.gov)
  6. Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking | CDC
  7. Smoking & Tobacco Among Gay and Bisexual Men | CDC
  8. Gender Differences in U.S. Adolescent E-Cigarette Use – PMC (nih.gov)
  9. Products – Data Briefs – Number 365 – April 2020 (cdc.gov)
  10. Marijuana Use and Public Health in Alaska 2020
  11. Association between secondhand marijuana smoke and respiratory infections in children | Pediatric Research (nature.com)
  12. secondhand-marijuana-smoke (no-smoke.org)
  13. Health and Environmental Effects of Particulate Matter (PM) | US EPA
  14. Measuring PM2.5 concentrations from secondhand tobacco vs. marijuana smoke in 9 rooms of a detached 2-story house – ScienceDirect

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