We all know cigarettes are bad for us (unless, of course, you happen to be a cigarette manufacturer), but we've heard of yet another condition that it can exacerbate. Researchers reckon that it can increase the risk of lupus (SLE, or systemic lupus erythematosus) in smokers by 1.5 times compared with non-smokers. But, as with coronary heart disease, the risk wanes once you kick the habit.
But cigarettes have been likened to cocaine in their addictive qualities, and so it's just as difficult to kick the weed as to stop snorting coke. Again, researchers have some help for all you cocaine sniffers out there. They've found that addicts are more likely to give up the habit if they combine cognitive behavioural therapy with a drug used to treat alcoholics.
Cocaine addicts were put into two therapy groups: the drug disulfiram and therapy, or placebo and a less structured form of therapy. The disulfiram group fared far better after 12 weeks of therapy - provided they didn't drink alcohol during the trial period.
See, you can't do anything these days.
(Sources: Lupus - Arthritis and Rheumatology, 2004; 50: 849-57; cocaine - Archives of General Psychiatry, 204; 61: 264-72).