The Dublin Well Woman organisation reports that 52 per cent of its clients aged 20 or under are smokers, as are 40 per cent of its clients in their late 30s. Smoking is a cause of heart disease, which kills 6,000 women in in the Republic each year. The research, carried out in February, also discovered women as young as 18 suffering from osteoporosis.

Vitamin C may not be as good for you as you thought. A US study of more than 500 seemingly healthy, middle-aged men and women discovered those taking a daily supplement of 500 milligrams of vitamin C, the equivalent of 10 oranges, had two-and-a-half times as much thickening of their arteries as people who took no supplements. Among smokers, those taking vitamin C had five times the thickening of the arteries. (New Scientist)

Learn more about chakras, auras, facial diagnosis, feng sui, Indian head massage, angels, dreamwork, the healing power of sound, and iridology - and meet teachers, healers, therapists, performers and authors at Spirit 2000, the annual Mind, Body Spirit Festival on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. at the RDS, Dublin, admission £5.

Popular painkillers, often prescribed for joint problems such as arthritis, may be responsible for up to 2,000 deaths a year in the UK, according to scientists at Oxford's Johns Hopkins Hospital. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and aspirin, when taken long-term, can irritate the stomach lining, causing ulcerations which can lead to bleeding. One UK gastroenterologist recommends taking paracetamol for mild arthritic pain. Newer drugs, COX-2 inhibitors, have proved effective for joint inflammation, and have fewer side-effects than NSAIDs. (BBC Health)

Taking an antihistamine for hayfever may be more dangerous for your driving than drinking alcohol. US tests of drivers discovered people who had taken antihistamines containing diphenydramine (which causes drowsiness), such as Piriton, had more trouble steering than people who had drunk alcohol (but were still under the legal limit) or those who had taken antihistamines containing fexofenadine, such as Clarityn or Zirtec. (Reuters)