From the daily archives: Thursday, December 9, 2010

Report focuses on how tobacco smoke causes disease

Exposure to tobacco smoke – even occasional smoking or secondhand smoke – causes immediate damage to your body that can lead to serious illness or death, according to a report released today by U.S. Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin.  The comprehensive scientific report – Benjamin’s first Surgeon General’s report and the 30th tobacco-related Surgeon General’s report issued since 1964 – describes specific pathways by which tobacco smoke damages the human body and leads to disease and death.

The report, How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease, finds that cellular damage and tissue inflammation from tobacco smoke are immediate, and that repeated exposure weakens the body’s ability to heal the damage.

“The chemicals in tobacco smoke reach your lungs quickly every time you inhale causing damage immediately,” Benjamin said in releasing the report.  “Inhaling even the smallest amount of tobacco smoke can also damage your DNA, which can lead to cancer.”

“Over the last two years we have stepped up efforts to reduce tobacco use, including implementing legislation to regulate tobacco products, investing in local tobacco control efforts and expanding access to insurance coverage for tobacco cessation” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. “This will remain a key priority of this Administration.”

The report also explains why it is so difficult to quit smoking. According to the research, cigarettes are designed for addiction. The design and contents of current tobacco products make them more attractive and addictive than ever before. Today’s cigarettes deliver nicotine more quickly and efficiently than cigarettes of many years ago.

Tobacco smoke contains a deadly mixture of more than 7,000 chemicals and compounds, of which hundreds are toxic and at least 70 cause cancer. Every exposure to these cancer-causing chemicals could damage DNA in a way that leads to cancer. Exposure to smoke also decreases the benefits of chemotherapy and other cancer treatments. Smoking causes more than 85% of lung cancers and can cause cancer almost anywhere in the body. One in three cancer deaths in the U.S. is tobacco-related.

The report describes how the delicate lining of the lungs becomes inflamed as soon as it is exposed to the chemical mixture in cigarette smoke. Over time, the smoke can cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease including emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can cause cardiovascular disease and could trigger acute cardiac events, such as heart attack. The report describes how chemicals from tobacco smoke quickly damage blood vessels and make blood more likely to clot. The evidence in this report shows how smoking causes cardiovascular disease and increases risks for heart attack, stroke, and aortic aneurysm.

Smoking causes many other harmful effects throughout the body, including making it harder for diabetics to control their blood sugar.  Smoking makes it harder for women to get pregnant and can cause a miscarriage, preterm delivery, low birth weight, as well as damage to fetal lungs and brain tissue. Babies who are exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to die from sudden infant death syndrome, the report finds.

“This report makes it clear – quitting at any time gives your body a chance to heal the damage caused by smoking,” the Surgeon General said. “It’s never too late to quit, but the sooner you do it, the better.”

Fortunately, there are now more effective ways to help people quit than ever before. Nicotine replacement is available over the counter and doctors can prescribe medications that improve the chances of successful quit attempts. Smokers can also call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for help.

To help communicate the report findings as widely as possible, the Surgeon General unveiled an easy-to-read guide with practical information about how tobacco smoke causes disease, A Report of the Surgeon General: How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: What It Means to You.

Copies of the full report, executive summary, and the easy-to-read guide may be downloaded at order printed copies of these documents, go to and click the Publications Catalog link under Tools & Resources.



Local IVSC Manager visits the Desert Oasis Students at their different classrooms – as they complete their cards.  Students will also be putting the fininshing touches on their classroom doors that will be decorated for the winter holiday.

Spreading holiday cheer to troops, veterans and their families has become a widely embraced tradition across the United States.

Over the past three years,  Desert Oasis students under the guidance of Mrs. Deby Ellet have participated in the Holiday Mail for Heroes program  by collecting close to 3,500 holiday cards  each year from  the students.  This year, Red Cross  Imperial Valley Service Center again witnessed  the students enthusiasm for the program  when they announced early in the school year that they would be participating.

“Desert Oasis High School students contributed their own handmade creations, which will no doubt bring a smile to someone’s face,” said Mrs. Deby Ellet, a teacher at DOHS.  Ellet continued by saying that “Desert Oasis students came together to create cards that will go out to service members, their families and veterans all over the world.  This is a wonderful project that brings a lot of satisfaction to our student body.”

Cards are expected to be completed in time to mail by the December 10th deadline. Students will be making cards that will be completed by 12:30 p.m.

Anyone wishing to stop by to write a message of support is welcome to stop by our office to either drop off or complete a holiday card – the IVSC has a variety of donated cards they are providing to the public.  The Imperial Valley Service Office is located at 781 Broadway in El Centro and is open from 8am – 5pm and does not close for lunch.  The Imperial Valley Service Center will be accepting cards thru 1pm on Friday to make the mail deadline.

Unfortunately, if your cards are not postmarked by December 10th or received by the 1pm IVSC deadline they cannot be delivered. After Pitney Bowes collects and screens the mail received in the PO Box, Red Cross workers deliver holiday greetings to service men and women in their communities. Check out how our uniformed men and women and their families expressed their gratitude for the Holiday Mail program when it delivered cards to Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Our Holiday Mail for Heroes YouTube playlist features videos capturing last year’s successes.

Each year the American Red Cross provides assistance to over 2 million service members and many of our nation’s 24 million veterans. At the core of the Service to the Armed Forces mission is our commitment to support military families, military and veterans hospitals and provide emergency communications across the globe.

Local American Red Cross volunteers collected Holiday Cards from midnight – 4am at the IV Mall during the Black Friday sale.  The El Centro Desert Oasis High School is once again actively participating in this worthy campaign and has set a goal to collect a minimum of 3,500 Holiday Cards for Heroes this year.

You can support the Service to the Armed Forces mission of the American Red Cross by participating in this great campaign.


U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the San Ysidro port of entry last night arrested a 49-year-old man wanted for child rape in the first degree by the Sheriff’s Office in Pierce County, Washington.

At about 10 p.m., Wesley Armstead entered the San Ysidro border station as a passenger in a 1996 Cadillac. During his inspection, a CBP officer checked Armstead’s information against law enforcement databases, revealing he was wanted.

Further systems checks verified that Armstead was the subject of an outstanding felony no-bail warrant for rape of a child.

Armstead, a U.S. citizen and resident of Tacoma, Washington, was arrested and booked into the San Diego Central Jail to await extradition.


Calexico , Calif. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Calexico’s downtown border crossing stopped a woman Monday with almost 65 pounds of cocaine hidden in a special compartment underneath the backseat of her car.

65 pounds of Cocaine hidden underneath vehicle backseat
Photo Credit: Photo Courtesy Customs and Border Protection

At about 6 p.m., CBP officers were roving through the lanes of cars waiting to cross into the United States when a narcotic detector dog alerted to a white Nissan Maxima, driven by a 35-year-old female U.S. citizen and resident of Calexico, Calif. The officers pulled the car and driver aside, out of the lanes of traffic, for further inspection.

During their inspection, CBP officers found a specially-built, hidden compartment in the vehicle’s floor. Officers removed 20 packages from the compartment containing 64.6 pounds of cocaine, worth an estimated $517,000.

CBP officers seized the vehicle and narcotics, and turned the woman over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

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