1. Smoking in movies increases 35 percent in 2011

    Burning mad at smoking in films

    One thing's for sure. I'm never shy about sharing my feelings. So by now you're well aware of how I feel about smoking and the crooked tobacco industry.

    (If you missed it, check out the radioactive truth behind cigarettes that will have you tossing your pack in the trash.)

    That's why I was disappointed to see that smoking in movies (on-screen, not in the theater, thank goodness!) soared by 35 percent in 2011. And that's after five years of progress.

    According to a study in Preventing Chronic Disease Journal, many of those images were in PG-rated films, which means that young people are being exposed to an increasing number of positive images about smoking.

    Now I'm not one to tell you that it's as simple as "seeing is doing" with kids. And I'd never tell a grown person they didn't have the right to smoke if they chose too. (Don't get me wrong, I'd be quick to tell you that it's a TERRIBLE choice...but I'd still defend your right to do it.)

    But at the very least, this is a reflection of what's going on in society. Meaning that, sadly, smoking may be staging a comeback. And at the worst, it's sending a message that smoking is okay to our kids.

    Let's hope that it was a fluke, and that the 2012 numbers show a drop in smoking in films. And, in the meantime, let's make sure our kids and grandkids are still getting the message that smoking kills.

  2. Antioxidant wards off cancer in older adults, smokers

    This year, I want you get more vitamin E. This powerful antioxidant is one of your greatest weapons against cancer. But you've got to get enough of it to form a strong defense. And the RDA just won't cut it. In fact, a new study shows that getting extra vitamin E can slash your risk of bladder cancer, especially if you're a smoker. But you'll need to take much more than RDA.

    Just how much am I talking about? Keep reading to find out exactly what I recommend. But first let's look at why bladder cancer is something you should take seriously, especially if you're a man over 65 or a smoker.

    Know your risk...

    The biggest risk factor for bladder cancer is actually smoking. Sure, most of us are keenly aware that smoking causes lung cancer. It causes about 85 percent of lung cancer cases. But few people know that bladder cancer's a close runner-up. In fact, according to some studies, smoking directly causes about 65 percent of the bladder cancer cases among men each year.

    You see, two chemicals found in cigarettes often show up in the urine of smokers. Scientists believe these chemicals cause changes to the cells in your bladder. Over time, normal cells begin to mutate wildly, grow ferociously, and eventually form a tumor. So, if you smoke, make 2010 the year you quit!

    Also, men are four times more likely than women are to get bladder cancer.

    The third risk factor is your age. The older you are, the greater your risk. In fact, we see most cases of bladder cancer in white men over 65.

    Now, if you fall into any of these three categories, here's the good news: bladder cancer's highly preventable, especially with the right antioxidant support.

    Cut your risk of bladder cancer by up to 42 percent

    Scientists from Australia recently analyzed the dietary habits of 322 people with bladder cancer. They also looked at the diets of 239 people without bladder cancer.

    They found that men and women with the highest daily consumption of vitamin E (at least 193.4 milligrams) were 34% less likely to develop bladder cancer.

    And smokers fared even better! In fact, smokers with the highest intake of E slashed their bladder cancer risk by 42 percent.

    Get more than the RDA of vitamin E

    The Recommended Daily Allowance for vitamin E is about 20 mg per day. But truthfully, that's not enough, especially if you're concerned about bladder cancer. Remember, the men and women in this study who got the most protection took at least 193.4 mg per day of vitamin E. And they probably got that by taking a supplement. Because you'd have to eat about 20 handfuls of almonds (or 10 tablespoons of wheat germ oil) to get that much vitamin E.

    Now, stick with me, because here's where things can get a little confusing... The authors of this study and USDA (which sets the RDA guidelines) use milligrams (mg) when talking about the amounts of vitamin E. But that's not what you'll see on the package when you go to the whole foods store looking for it. You'll see vitamin E sold in IU (or International Units).

    You'll want to find a bottle that contains 400 IU of vitamin E. (Even though that's much higher than the RDA for E, it's an antioxidant and will cause zero toxicity even in very high amounts. In fact, doctors back in the 1950s used 8,000 IU daily on some 30,000 patients with zero side effects!)

    Just make sure to look for the mixed tocopherol form of vitamin E in a gel cap. (Finding this all-natural form of vitamin E can be very tricky. There's a lot of synthetic junk out there. These, you should avoid like the plague. To learn how to find the right kind of vitamin E, take a look back at last year's Guide to Good Health on the topic.)

    Lastly, for anyone at risk for bladder cancer, I'd recommend drinking plenty of water every day. In fact, we know statistically, that people who drink lots of fluids have lower bladder cancer rates. Scientists believe that emptying the bladder frequently throughout the day helps to flush out toxins and chemicals that can lead to cancer.

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