Electronic Cigarettes Under Fire

by kaudette on April 14, 2014

Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, are currently marketed as safe alternatives to smoking regular cigarettes. However, federal agencies and medical professionals have a differing opinion about why e-cigarettes are not the “healthy” alternative.

E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices, filled with liquid nicotine (dissolved in a solution of water and propylene glycol). The battery heats up the nicotine solution and converts it into a vapor that the person inhales.

E Cigarette

According to the FDA, e-cigarettes have not been fully studied and consumers currently don’t know:

  • the potential risks of e-cigarettes when used as intended,
  • how much nicotine or other potentially harmful chemicals are being inhaled during use,
  • or if there are any benefits associated with using these products

 

Consider these findings:

1. Nicotine content— Nicotine, the addictive substance found in regular cigarettes, is also present in electronic cigarettes. The liquid nicotine levels are not yet regulated and can vary greatly from brand to brand. Whether the nicotine is coming from a regular cigarette or electronic one, it is still addictive. Cravings and withdrawal symptoms such as: depression, irritability, and anxiety can still occur.  The chemical properties of the liquid nicotine found in e-cigarettes have been found to be harmful and potentially lethal to humans.

2. Long-term effects— The concern with long-term effects, both for the user and others exposed to the vapor, is that all are truly unknown. E-cigarettes have not been studied or deemed safe by the FDA and may contain chemicals and toxins harmful to humans.

3. Reported adverse effects— The FDA has gathered a list of adverse effects from voluntary reports of concerned consumers and health professionals for electronic cigarette use. These adverse effects include: pneumonia, congestive heart failure, disorientation, seizures, and hypertension. Whether e-cigarettes were a direct cause for these reported adverse events is still unknown.

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Alcohol and Your Body

by Cassandra Bremis on April 7, 2014

Alcohol

A reliance on alcohol can take a toll on your body. Continuous alcohol consumption can result in weight gain, sleep loss, and memory loss.

Weight Gain

Student Health 101 found that in a poll of 933 students, just over a third of the students said that they thought alcohol was the reason for why they gained weight. Why does alcohol contribute to weight gain? Alcohol contains dense calories. It contains seven calories per gram, opposed to four calories per gram for proteins and carbohydrates. In addition, calories from alcohol are considered “empty calories,” which means they have little nutritional value.

Did you know a frozen margarita can have around 350 calories? If you have two margaritas, you will exceed the amount of calories in a double cheeseburger, which is 620 calories!

Sleep Loss

Alcohol can disrupt normal sleep patterns. In a good night’s sleep we go through a cycle of REM sleep, or dream sleep, as well as non-REM sleep, or deep sleep. In order to feel rejuvenated in the morning, our body needs to have a balance of both sleep cycles. Drinking alcohol can influence the amount of times we get up in the middle of the night, whether or not we are going to the bathroom, getting up to grab something to eat, or simply waking up earlier than we need to. This constant disruption interrupts our sleep cycle, resulting in a lack of energy the next morning. An inconsistent sleep cycle also impacts our memory retention, because new information is stored while we sleep. So if we are not sleeping, then we are not learning or retaining new information. This means that you may not remember the information you studied before you went out drinking.

Alcohol and Your Brain

Memory Loss

Alcohol interferes with the functioning of the hippocampus. The hippocampus is involved in communicating with other brain regions involved in memory. After a few drinks, this communication is weakened. In addition, alcohol can impact the frontal lobe. The frontal lobe of the brain is responsible for planning, judgment, organization, and decision making. If this part of the brain is not functioning to its best potential, this could impact your ability to do well on a test you might have the next day.

As you can see drinking can hinder your ability to do well in school. So think about your drinking habits, and consider the toll they might be taking on your body. You can help reduce these risks by practicing “safe drinking.” Try some of these safer drinking strategies:

1) Eat before and during consuming alcohol- If you eat a big meal before you drink and while you drink, the alcohol will be absorbed slowly and your BAC (blood alcohol content) will remain low. This means that it will take longer for you to get intoxicated. Drinking on an empty stomach will make your BAC rise very quickly.

2) Alternating Drinks-Alternating alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks can help slow down the rate of your alcohol consumption.

3) If you are going to play drinking games, try using water instead of alcohol- Drinking games can be dangerous, and usually result in binge drinking, so play responsibly.

4) Plan and set limits- Determine in advance the amount of alcoholic beverages you feel as though you can consume and stay safe. Tell your friends about the limit you set for yourself. Your friends can help you to make sure that you stick to your limit.

5) Pace Yourself-Slow down and reduce the number of drinks that you consume in an hour. If you are slowly sipping your drink over time, you are likely to drink fewer alcoholic beverages over the course of the night.

 

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Finals, Work, and Stress Oh My!

March 31, 2014

Have you ever heard someone say, “It has been a long week; I need a drink.” We all have felt stressed before. Life as a college student can become very stressful from papers, to finals, to working, to trying to maintain a social life; the juggling act can be draining. But, no matter how stressful […]

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Walk to a Healthier You

March 24, 2014

  We all have heard that exercising is important in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. There are many different ways to exercise. Many of our friends might go the gym. Some other friends might play sports. But the easiest kind of physical exercise is walking. The American Heart Association claims that walking has the lowest dropout […]

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Project PACK

March 17, 2014

Every 2 ½ minutes, somewhere in the United States, someone is sexually assaulted. (calculated based on the National Crime Victimization Survey 2004) Project PACK Inc. is a non-profit organization that assembles and distributes Post-Assault Comfort Kits to survivors of sexual assault throughout Massachusetts. These kits are given to survivors of sexual assault during the evidence […]

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Don’t Be a Couch Potato: Fun Spring Break Activities

March 10, 2014

So not all of us are going on our dream get away vacation, but just because you might be staying home this Spring Break, you can still have fun! Try these activities. 1)      Scrapbooking – Do you have photos consuming your room? Make a scrapbook! Here are some cool layout ideas. http://debbiehodge.com/2014/01/scrapbooking-ideas-for-collaged-storytelling/ 2)      Learn how […]

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Power Up The Right Way

February 24, 2014

Have you ever found yourself going to grab an energy drink during finals week? Or what about grabbing an energy drink just to make it through school and work? I get it, we all experience times where we feel as though we need that extra boost. But before you grab your next energy drink, consider […]

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My Student Body: Why Do I Have To Take It?

February 18, 2014

I know you’re probably thinking, another drug and alcohol class, why do I need to take this online course? Well, My Student Body Essentials is a requirement for all students with freshmen standing and you can gain some valuable knowledge. Some students might be thinking, I don’t do drugs, and I don’t consume alcohol; this […]

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Love is NOT all you need: Guidelines for a Healthy Relationship

February 10, 2014

Building relationships, whether romantic or not, is a part of life. Learning how to navigate all of your relationships in a healthy manner is essential. Besides having love for your partner in a romantic relationship, there are other characteristics that determine if a relationship is considered healthy. Try evaluating your past and/or current relationships and […]

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America’s Most Wanted, Heart Disease: Risk Factors and Prevention

February 3, 2014

I know many of you are probably thinking heart disease is irrelevant to a young college student, but that is not the case. Reagan Judd, a 19 year old student athlete, was diagnosed with heart disease in her junior year of college. As stated by the American Heart Association, heart disease is the leading cause […]

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