Cigarette smoking is overwhelmingly the main cause of lung cancer, yet only a minority of smokers develop the disease. A study led by scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and published online today in Nature Genetics suggests that some smokers may have robust mechanisms that protect them from lung cancer by limiting mutations. The findings could help identify those smokers who face an increased risk for the disease and therefore warrant especially close monitoring.
Part of living the healthy life of a SuperAger includes not indulging in unhealthy activities, like smoking. I have written numerous posts on it and you can find them by searching SMOKING in the search box on the right. As far as drinking goes, I like a beer with pizza and a couple of other meals over the course of a month. I probably drink less than four beers a month, mostly in restaurants dining out with my girlfriend. I do suffer from osteoarthritis in both my hands, no RA.
Here is what Susan Bernstein wrote for WebMD on the subkject:
The occasional wine, beer, or cocktail may be OK for people with RA. But the amount you drink each day or week matters.
There’s a Link Between Smoking and RA
Lighting up makes you more likely to get RA even if you haven’t been a heavy smoker. The more you smoke, the higher your chances go. Cigarettes can make your RA more severe.
Smoking boosts inflammation, and RA involves inflammation that’s out of control because your immune system attacks your own healthy tissues by mistake. Your synovium, the tissue that lines your joints, can get inflamed and thickened. Tobacco smoke includes lots of nasty substances like free radicals. They put stress on your body and can trigger inflammation.
While the focus of the following research was overseas, the U.S. suffers from obesity and excess body fat to a large extent also.
Obesity and excess body fat may have contributed to more deaths in England and Scotland than smoking since 2014, according to research published in the open access journal BMC Public Health.
Between 2003 and 2017 the percentage of deaths attributable to smoking are calculated to have decreased from 23.1% to 19.4% while deaths attributable to obesity and excess body fat are calculated to have increased from 17.9% to 23.1%. The authors estimate that deaths attributable to obesity and excess body fat overtook those attributable to smoking in 2014.
Jill Pell, at the University of Glasgow, United Kingdom, the corresponding author said: “For several decades smoking has been a major target of public health interventions as it is a leading cause of avoidable deaths. As a result, the prevalence of smoking has fallen in the United Kingdom. At the same time the prevalence of obesity has increased. Our research indicates that, since 2014, obesity and excess body fat may have contributed to more deaths in England and Scotland than smoking.”
Scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have uncovered new evidence of the potential health risks of chemicals in tobacco and marijuana smoke.
In a study published online by EClinicalMedicine, the researchers report that people who smoked only marijuana had several smoke-related toxic chemicals in their blood and urine, but at lower levels than those who smoked both tobacco and marijuana or tobacco only. Two of those chemicals, acrylonitrile and acrylamide, are known to be toxic at high levels. The investigators also found that exposure to acrolein, a chemical produced by the combustion of a variety of materials, increases with tobacco smoking but not marijuana smoking and contributes to cardiovascular disease in tobacco smokers.
The findings suggest that high acrolein levels may be a sign of increased risk of cardiovascular disease and that reducing exposure to the chemical could lower that risk. This is particularly important for people infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, given high rates of tobacco smoking and the increased risk of heart disease in this group.
Marijuana use is on the rise in the United States with a growing number of states legalizing it for medical and nonmedical purposes – including five additional states in the 2020 election. The increase has renewed concerns about the potential health effects of marijuana smoke, which is known to contain some of the same toxic combustion products found in tobacco smoke,” said the senior author of the study, Dana Gabuzda, MD, of Dana-Farber. “This is the first study to compare exposure to acrolein and other harmful smoke-related chemicals over time in exclusive marijuana smokers and tobacco smokers, and to see if those exposures are related to cardiovascular disease.”
The study involved 245 HIV-positive and HIV-negative participants in three studies of HIV infection in the United States. (Studies involving people with HIV infection were used because of high tobacco and marijuana smoking rates in this group.) The researchers collected data from participants’ medical records and survey results and analyzed their blood and urine samples for substances produced by the breakdown of nicotine or the combustion of tobacco or marijuana. Combining these datasets enabled them to trace the presence of specific toxic chemicals to tobacco or marijuana smoking and to see if any were associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
The investigators found that participants who exclusively smoked marijuana had higher blood and urine levels of several smoke-related toxic chemicals such as naphthalene, acrylamide, and acrylonitrile metabolites than non-smokers did. However, the concentrations of these substances were lower in marijuana-only smokers than in tobacco smokers.
Investigators also found that acrolein metabolites – substances generated by the breaking down of acrolein – were elevated in tobacco smokers but not marijuana smokers. This increase was associated with cardiovascular disease regardless of whether individuals smoked tobacco or had other risk factors.
“Our findings suggest that high acrolein levels may be used to identify patients with increased cardiovascular risk,” Gabuzda said, “and that reducing acrolein exposure from tobacco smoking and other sources could be a strategy for reducing risk.”
You really might call this the – so what else is new – post.
Each cigarette smoked a day by heavier smokers increases the risk of contracting some diseases by more than 30 per cent, according to a new international study published today.
The Australian Centre for Precision Health based at the University of South Australia led the study, which links heavier smoking* with 28 separate health conditions, revealing a 17-fold increase in emphysema, 8-fold increase in atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) and a 6.5-fold higher incidence of lung cancer.
The findings, published in EClinicalMedicine, analysed hospital data and mortality statistics from more than 152,483 ever* smokers in the UK Biobank to look how heavier smoking affects disease risks.
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.
As if smoking per se weren’t bad enough, now, it turns out that smoking significantly worsens COVID-19, according to a new analysis by UC San Francisco of the association between smoking and progression of the infectious disease.
In a meta-analysis of studies that included 11,590 COVID patients, researchers found that among people with the virus, the risk of disease progression in those who currently smoke or previously smoked was nearly double that of non-smokers. They also found that when the disease worsens, current or former smokers had more acute or critical conditions or death. Overall, smoking was associated with almost a doubling of the risk of disease progressing.
Your Body Mass Index (BMI) can be useful in widely spread studies, but you need to be careful about relying too much on it personally. I posted on it previously and you can read Don’t get hung up on your BMI – Body Mass Index for more info.
Young Arnold Schwarzenegger as Conan the Barbarian. Six foot two inches tall, 257 pounds, BMI 33. Not what most of us would call obese.
The following is from the Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter:
Having obesity increases risk for cardiovascular disease and other metabolic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, but a normal BMI also does not guarantee good heart health. Here are tips based on what we know to date about metabolic health and weight: Continue reading →
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.
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.
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.