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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Fighting violent crime; Great American Smokeout

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Nov 19, 2015 12:20 PM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Thursday, November 19, 2015:

Cracking down on violent crime in Harrisburg and York and two other Pennsylvania cities -- that's the aim of a new campaign of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.

The focus is on offenses committed by repeat offenders or criminals using guns in connection with drugs or other violent crimes.

The campaign will target high-priority offenders for aggressive prosecution, conduct regular meetings of the federal, state and local team to collect data on crime trends and share intelligence, and expand existing prevention and post-conviction reentry programs.

United States Attorney Peter Smith of the Middle District of Pennsylvania appears on Thursday's Smart Talk to describe the campaign.

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United States Attorney Peter Smith of the Middle District of Pennsylvania

Also, Thursday is the Great American Smokeout -- a day devoted to encouraging smokers to quit. 

Millions of Americans have stopped smoking in the past 30 years but 42 million still smoke cigarettes, 12 million smoke cigars, and two million smoke pipes.  Millions also use smokeless tobacco.

Joining us on Thursday's Smart Talk are Dr. Jennifer M. Worth, MD, Lancaster General Health Physicians, Thoracic Cardiovascular Surgery  and  Diane Phillips, Pennsylvania Government Relations Director, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

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Dr. Jennifer M. Worth and Diane Phillips

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  • Scott LaMar img 2015-11-19 14:18

    Kathy ask...
    I have quit smoking for 6 years now. However, I smoked for 36 years. What is the rate of decreased risk of lung cancer. Also, what signs of early lung cancer.
    Thank you,

    • Scott LaMar img 2015-11-20 13:23

      From the American Cancer Society...
      For every year that you are smoke free, your chances of dying of lung decrease compared to people your same age who are still smoking. The younger you are when you quit leads to the best prognosis; but quitting at any age will certainly lead to improvement in your chances of getting lung cancer, dying from lung cancer or developing other smoking related diseases such as coronary artery disease and high blood pressure. Early stage lung cancer is often silent and there are no symptoms. However, a persistent cough, coughing up blood, unexplained weight loss and chest wall pain may all be early warning signs.

  • Scott LaMar img 2015-11-19 14:18

    Rob adds...
    I work with teens and try to help better educate them about smoking.
    I have several family members that have battle/still battle smoking.

    1 question and 1 observation:
    You talked about replacing an addiction with another addiction, I was wondering if there are any good resources for vaping. This seems to be so prevalent and accessible to youth in Harrisburg. Are there any ways to address this?

    Second, I see an increase of smoking within the "hipster" demographic, which is odd because they are the group which (1) should have the most information at the fingertips, (2) been through anti-smoking campaigns of years past.

  • Scott LaMar img 2015-11-19 14:19

    Chris has a question...
    With regards to your subject this morning: Is "Vaping" a safe alternative to smoking? How dangerous is nicotine on its own?

  • Scott LaMar img 2015-11-20 13:24

    Dr. Worth followed up...
    Vaping is quite predominant now and is very concerning. It seems the consensus among the public is that this is a “safe” alternative to cigarette smoking. However, as was discussed on the show, this is still a tobacco product with incompletely understood additives. The American Cancer Society is often a good starting point for community resources related to smoking cessation/education. To the second point, the Surgeon General’s report linking tobacco smoking to lung cancer came out 51 years ago and last year to celebrate the anniversary it was updated. It was concerning to me that the new report indicated that the early 20s demographic seems to be the only age group that is actually increasing their smoking rates. I echo your same sentiments, it is quite striking and very odd given that this should be a very well educated age group.

    Multiple statements have been released from various medical societies in the last few years regarding recommendations on vaping. In general, vaping is not considered a safe alternative to cigarette smoking and the public is strongly encouraged to avoid the products until they are clearly tested and understood. These products are not regulated by the FDA, the ingredients are not clearly identified and many of the additives are still known carcinogens/cancer causing agents. Smoking any product, should be considered unsafe and should be avoided.