Red Ribbon Week (October 23-31): Alcohol, tobacco, drug, and violence prevention awareness campaign

This upcoming week of October has been hailed Red Ribbon Week, a time to celebrate good character and combat drug abuse across the nation. For nearly 30 years, red ribbon week has been a conduit used by educators and community leaders to help teach citizens the importance of saying no to drugs and saying yes to healthy lifestyles. So, to do our part, we at Bel Marra have compiled a list of our best articles on this subject. You will learn about the harm of excessive alcohol consumption, how smoking cigarettes can negatively affect the body and our environment, and how both together can lead to even more detrimental effects.

Another reason to limit your alcohol intake

alcohol-and-muscleAging can result in many physical changes. You may have noticed you’re not as strong as you once were, your endurance has greatly reduced, and overall, you just feel weaker. Although it’s normal to lose muscle as we get older, a new study suggests that alcohol—more specifically, heavy drinking—could be speeding up this process, especially among senior women.


For women, in particular, muscle and bone loss occurs during menopause, but if you are a female who enjoys drinking, this process may speed up. Continue reading…

Excessive alcohol consumption may impact bone strength in women

Decreased bone strength (osteoporosis) is commonly associated with menopausal women, which puts them at an increased risk of bone fractures—the most common cause of broken bones among the elderly. However, according to a new study, women who consume too much alcohol may be further increasing their risk of bone fractures.

Takeshi Miyamoto—an orthopedist at Keio University’s School of Medicine—and his colleagues have looked into the ALDH2 gene, which is responsible for the production of the enzyme that breaks down alcohol. Continue reading…

DNA damaging effects of cigarette smoking mapped for the first time

Everyone knows that smoking is bad for your health. The carcinogens found in tobacco smoke are even known to damage DNA itself, resulting in disease such as lung cancer. Now, for the first time, scientists have created a method for effectively mapping DNA damage, allowing for better understanding of how smoking-induced cancers originate and why some people are more vulnerable or resistant than others. Continue reading…

Tobacco kills millions of people and our environment

There is no question about it: tobacco is bad for our health and our environment. However, there was a time when these dangers were unknown, and smoking was once even recommended by doctors. In the 1950s, it was common to see an ad of a doctor recommending a particular brand of cigarettes. But we now know better. The latest data provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) states smoking kills more than seven million people each year.

This number is expected to increase, with more than one billion deaths expected this century alone.

Our view on tobacco has changed drastically over the last few decades. It was initially promoted as a remedy for a sore throat, but now cigarettes are vilified, having been banned in public buildings in states across the nation. Continue reading…

Cognitive decline in old age linked to smoking and heavy drinking: Study

Cognitive decline in old age has been linked to smoking and heavy drinking. Smoking is becoming an increasingly common risk factor for dementia, so the researchers examined the association between smoking history and cognitive decline from midlife to older age.


Data was collected from 5,099 men and 2,137 women with an average age of 56.

The researchers analyzed the data based on the six assessments of smoking status over 25 years, along with cognitive assessments over 10 years. Continue reading…