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Health Highlights: May 31, 2013

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Stop-Smoking Approaches Work, Review Says

First the good news: nearly 70 percent of American adults who smoke want to quit, according to federal statistics.

And now the even better news: a recent review of 267 studies involving nearly 102,000 people found that there are smoking-cessation methods that work, according to

The review, published in the Cochrane Library, looked at three stop-smoking therapies: nicotine-replacement products such as patches, gums and inhalers; the antidepressant bupropion; and the drug varenicline. All the therapies try to limit nicotine's impact on the brain.

The study found that all the approaches gave smokers a better chance of quitting. Smokers were 80 percent more likely to quit when using a nicotine-replacement treatment or taking bupropion, compared to those taking a placebo. And those using varenicline as well as a nicotine-replacement therapy had a two to three times better chance of quitting, reported.

"This review provides strong evidence that the three main treatments, nicotine-replacement therapy, bupropion and varenicline, can all help people to stop smoking, lead researcher Kate Cahill of the Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford in England, said in a statement.


Anti-Smoking Ads Raise Smokers' Desire to Quit: Survey

A new international survey finds that, in most cases, exposure to anti-smoking messages help spur smokers to quit the habit.

The report, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tracked attitudes in 17 countries across Europe, Asia and South America as part of the Global Adult Tobacco Survey.

Overall, exposure to anti-smoking messages in print media or on television, radio or billboards "significantly increased the odds that current smokers intend to quit" in 14 of the 17 countries included in the survey, the CDC said in a news release.

The agency notes that its own campaign, "Tips from Former Smokers" -- in which people with serious health issues linked to smoking tell their stories -- is one such outreach effort.

"The Tips campaign is responsible for sharp increases in calls to 1-800-QUIT-NOW, a toll-free quitline number, and visits to in 2012 and 2013. Both resources offer smokers free help quitting," the CDC said.

May 31 is designated World No Tobacco Day by the World Health Organization, with a special emphasis this year on tobacco advertising and promotion. According to the CDC, tobacco companies spend almost $1 million each hour marketing cigarettes in the United States.

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