As if smoking weren’t bad enough for you, it seems the new coronavirus likes it, too.
The lungs of people who smoke may contain more of the receptors that the new coronavirus uses to invade cells. This could explain why people with the virus who also smoke appear to be particularly vulnerable to severe illness.
The majority of people who acquire SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, experience mild-to-moderate symptoms and will fully recover without hospital treatment.
However, several studies suggest that people who smoke are significantly more likely than people who do not to develop a severe form of the illness.
For example, according to a recent study of COVID-19 cases in hospitals in mainland China, 11.8% of people who smoked had a nonsevere form of the disease, while 16.9% had severe disease.
To break into cells and start replicating itself, the virus latches onto a protein receptor called angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), which is present in the cells’ membranes.
Misleading portrayals of the safety of tobacco use are widespread on YouTube, where the viewership of popular pro-tobacco videos has soared over the past half-dozen years, according to research by the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) of the University of Pennsylvania.
Photo by Ike louie Natividad on Pexels.comIn an article published in the Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review, APPC researchers found that from 2013 to 2019, different kinds of popular tobacco-themed YouTube videos saw “dramatic increases in views per day, especially for tutorials about vaping products.”
The research follows up on a 2013 content analysis done by APPC which identified five major categories of pro-tobacco videos on YouTube. For example, among instructional or “how-to” videos, the highest-performing video in 2013 was on how to use a pipe, with just over 62,000 total views or 47 views per day. But in 2019, the most-viewed instructional video was on “the art of vape,” which had logged over 40 million total views or over 68,000 per day.
Another category is managing risk, in which videos claim that the risks of tobacco use can be managed by various fixes, without offering scientific evidence. In this category, the top-performing 2013 video concerned cigarette smoking, with 85,000 total views or 63 views per day. In 2019, the top-viewed video in this category was on vaping, which had over 3.5 million views or over 1,600 per day.
“The easy access of such material suggests that YouTube is a fertile environment for the promotion of tobacco products despite its banning of tobacco advertising,” the researchers said.
Scientists from the Uniformed Services University (USU), Emory University and the University of Vermont have found that cigarette smoking is linked to increased lesions in the brain’s white matter, called white matter hyperintensities. White matter hyperintensities, detected by MRI scan, are associated with cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. These findings may help explain the link between smoking and increased rates of dementia and other forms of cognitive decline.
Younger women are having more heart attacks, says a recent study. Researchers were surprised to find that while the heart attack rate has decreased among older adults, it’s risen among those ages 35-54, especially women. The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study reviewed more than 28,000 hospitalizations for heart attacks in four cities.
“This observational study found a trend in young women,” says Virginia Colliver, M.D., cardiologist with Johns Hopkins Community Physicians-Heart Care in Bethesda, Maryland. “But the research doesn’t provide insight into why the uptick in heart attacks is happening to younger people. I suspect it has to do with more people having risk factors for heart disease at an earlier age.”
Heart Attack Risk Factors for Women
There are several factors that increase your chance of developing heart disease. Almost 50% of all Americans have at least one of three major risk factors for the condition: Continue reading →
Cigarette butts pile up in parks, beaches, streets and bus stops, places where all types of littering are frowned upon. Best estimates are that over five trillion butts are generated by smokers each year worldwide, and concern about their environmental impact has prompted studies of how they affect water and wildlife habitats. But despite their prevalence, almost no one has studied the airborne emissions coming off these tiny bits of trash. Continue reading →
I have written repeatedly about the dangers of smoking cigarettes. Now, it appears that what was once considered a ‘less unhealthy’ practice has some negative impacts on our lungs.
E-cigarette vapor may have similar effects to cigarette smoke on bacteria associated with smoking-related illness such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, according to a study published in Respiratory Research.
Although e-cigarettes are perceived as a safer alternative to cigarettes, recent research has suggested that acute lung disease may be associated with the use of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes, as well as conventional cigarettes. A team of researchers at the School of Pharmacy, Queen’s University Belfast, UK compared the effects of cigarette smoke and e-cigarette vapor on bacteria known to be associated with smoking-related chronic lung disease. Continue reading →
I have written about quitting smoking and the damage smoking does for several years. You can go to my Page – How many ways does smoking harm you ?to read further on it. To be honest I have a hard time understanding how anyone who is able to read can still be a smoker, but, clearly, there are still millions of them/you. The following tips are from Rush University Medical Center.
There is no arguing about the glamor of smoking.
When you’re ready to quit, these strategies can help:
Quitting smoking for good can be a challenge, but your health and lifestyle will reap the rewards:
Just 20 minutes after you quit, your heart rate and blood pressure both drop.
Within two to three months, your heart attack risk begins to drop and your lung function starts to improve.
Within nine months, you’ll be coughing less and experience less shortness of breath.
Five to 15 years after quitting, your stroke risk will be the same as a nonsmoker’s.
I feel very strongly about the dangers of smoking and have written about them repeatedly. It seems that some folks have switched over to vaping as a less unhealthy alternative. The more we learn about it, the less that seems to be true. Don’t smoke. Here is my Page on smoking – How many ways does smoking harm you?
Science hasn’t yet caught up with electronic cigarettes, leaving health care providers and users with many unknowns. But a new review of the research so far finds growing evidence that vaping can harm the heart and blood vessels.
Federal and state public health agencies are urging people to avoid vaping after a rash of related respiratory illnesses have resulted in 18 deaths and 1,080 lung injury cases across the United States. There have been 25 reported cases in Connecticut and one person has died from a vaping-associated lung injury. Here’s what you need to know about vaping-associated lung injury (also called vaping-related lung injury) and what you should do if you or a loved one develops worrisome symptoms.
Vaping is the act of inhaling the vapor created by liquid-filled cartridges used in battery-powered smoking devices called electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes). Vaping-associated lung injury is damage to the lungs related to use of these vaping products. Continue reading →
I have written about the dangers of smoking regular cigarettes for years. Smoking E-cigarettes is widely believed to reduce the damage to our systems compared with that of tobacco smokes. However, the tank-style ones may actually be more harmful.
A team of scientists at the University of California, Riverside, has found the concentration of metals in electronic cigarette aerosols — or vapor — has increased since tank-style electronic cigarettes were introduced in 2013.
Electronic cigarettes, which consist of a battery, atomizing unit, and refill fluid, are now available in new tank-style designs, equipped with more powerful batteries and larger capacity reservoirs for storing more refill fluid. But the high-power batteries and atomizers used in these new styles can alter the metal concentrations that transfer into the aerosol.
“These tank-style e-cigarettes operate at higher voltage and power, resulting in higher concentrations of metals, such as lead, nickel, iron, and copper, in their aerosols,” said Monique Williams, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Molecular, Cell, and Systems Biology, and the first author of the research paper that appears today in Scientific Reports. “Most of the metals in e-cigarette aerosols likely come from the nichrome wire, tin solder joints, brass clamps, insulating sheaths, and wicks — components of the atomizer unit.”Continue reading →
The World Health Organization (WHO) has decreed that today is World No Tobacco Day
Tobacco kills up to half of its users.
Tobacco kills more than 8 million people each year. More than 7 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.
Around 80% of the world’s 1.1 billion smokers live in low- and middle-income countries.
Leading cause of death, illness and impoverishment
The tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing more than 8 million people a year. More than 7 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.
Around 80% of the 1.1 billion smokers worldwide live in low- and middle-income countries, where the burden of tobacco-related illness and death is heaviest.
Tobacco users who die prematurely deprive their families of income, raise the cost of healthcare and hinder economic development.
In some countries, children from poor households are frequently employed in tobacco farming to provide family income. These children are especially vulnerable to “green tobacco sickness”, which is caused by the nicotine that is absorbed through the skin from the handling of wet tobacco leaves.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 34.3 million adults in the United States currently smoke cigarettes and that more than 16 million live with a smoking-related disease, many of which affect the cardiovascular system. Continue reading →
The number of people living with dementia globally more than doubled between 1990 and 2016 from 20.2 million to 43.8 million, prompting researchers to call for more preventative action.
A new paper published in The Lancet Neurology also found that 22.3 per cent of healthy years lost due to dementia in 2016 were due to modifiable risk factors.
Prepared by academics across multiple institutions and led by the University of Melbourne and the University of Washington, the paper looked at the global, regional and national burden of Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias from 1990-2016.
The systematic analysis of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016 found dementia was more common at older ages, with the prevalence doubling every five years over age 50. There was also significant potential for prevention.
“In our study, 22.3 per cent (11.8 – 35.1 per cent) of the total global disability-adjusted life years lost due to dementia in 2016 could be attributed to the four modifiable risk factors – being overweight, high blood sugar, consuming a lot of sugar sweetened beverages and smoking,” the authors said.
The thoroughly preventable death of lung cancer kills thousands of people every year. I feel strongly that smoking is a horrible health habit. You can check out my Page – How many ways does smoking harm you for more details. Yet some folks feel that a ‘social cigarette’ is okay. Well, not quite. Following is an analysis by Harvard Heart Letter.
Light smoking isn’t as bad as heavy smoking, but it still harms the heart and body. If you quit smoking completely, your health will benefit.
“I’m not really a smoker. I only smoke a few cigarettes a day, or when I go out on the weekend.” This thought process is common among light smokers. However, if you think you are doing your heart and lungs a favor by smoking only “a little,” think again.
Light or intermittent smoking may be safer for you than heavy smoking, but they still cause plenty of harm. Quitting smoking completely is the best action for your help.Public health campaigns have reduced the number of American adults who smoke. Along with that decline has come an increase in the number of light and now-and-then smokers.
Experts long believed that smokers used light or intermittent smoking as a bridge to quitting smoking completely. But it’s becoming clear that more and more smokers continue this pattern indefinitely — almost one-quarter of all smokers today fall into these categories. Continue reading →
Researchers retrospectively studied 122,007 patients who underwent exercise treadmill testing at Cleveland Clinic between Jan. 1, 1991, and Dec. 31, 2014, to measure all-cause mortality relating to the benefits of exercise and fitness. The paper was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open.
The study found that increased cardiorespiratory fitness was directly associated with reduced long-term mortality, with no limit on the positive effects of aerobic fitness. Extreme aerobic fitness was associated with the greatest benefit, particularly in older patients (70 and older) and in those with hypertension.
“Aerobic fitness is something that most patients can control. And we found in our study there is no limit to how much exercise is too much,” said Wael Jaber, M.D., Cleveland Clinic cardiologist and senior author of the study. “Everyone should be encouraged to achieve and maintain high fitness levels.”Continue reading →
As you can see, majority of the risk factors that can hurt your heart health can be prevented – the answer lies in your hands.
These are risk factors along with the preventive options:
High blood cholesterol – Eat right by having a balanced and healthy diet. Your fasting blood glucose should preferably be less than 100 mg/dL.
High blood pressure – Manage blood pressure through exercise and medications. Keep the numbers below 120/80 mm Hg.
Physical inactivity – Get moving and stand more. Spend 150 minutes of moderate intensive activity per week, like brisk walking. And opt for 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity. Eat less; move more; live longer. A sedentary lifestyle is a killer. Check out my Page – Do you know the dangers of too much sitting?
Obesity and overweight – Lose weight to find your healthy weight. Target a Body Mass Index (BMI) of less than 25. Check out my Page – How dangerous is a big belly?