Effects of Tobacco Use
Association of tobacco and lead exposures with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
A study published in the journal Pediatrics indicates that prenatal tobacco and childhood lead exposures are associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in U.S. children. Compared to children with neither exposure, children exposed to tobacco while in the womb were 2.4 times more likely to have ADHD, those with high lead blood levels were 2.3 times more likely to have ADHD, and those with both exposures were 8.1 times more likely to have ADHD. The researchers estimate that 35% of cases of ADHD in children could be reduced by eliminating these exposures. Click here to read the abstract of the study, or here to read an article about its results.
Tobacco smoke exposure before heart transplantation may increase the risk of transplant failure
Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine have found that smoking cigarettes prior to a heart transplant accelerates the death of the transplanted organ and reduces its chance of survival by 33-57%. The study used rats to compare outcomes of donations between smoking and non-smoking donors and recipients, finding that smoke exposure in either leads to accelerated immune system rejection, heightened vascular inflammation, and increased oxidative stress. The study is the first to examine smoking’s impact on heart donors; the results indicate that the smoking habits of both donors and recipients must be considered by physicians and surgeons when calculating the risks of organ donation. Click here to read more about the study, published in Circulation; click here to read the abstract.
Waterpipe tobacco smokers inhale same toxicants as cigarette smokers
Researchers have found that smoking tobacco with a waterpipe exposes users to higher levels of carbon monoxide and equivalent levels of nicotine compared to smoking cigarettes. Thirty-one adult participants smoked tobacco through a waterpipe and through a cigarette in separate sessions, after which levels of blood nicotine and carbon monoxide were measured. Three times more carbon monoxide was bound to red blood cells after water pipe smoking compared to cigarette smoking, and 48 times more smoke was inhaled with the waterpipe. These results contradict the belief that waterpipe smoking exposes the smoker to fewer harmful chemicals, and is thus safer than cigarette smoking. The researchers hope their findings will be used to inform waterpipe users of these dangers. Click here to read more about the research, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Cigarette smoking increases colorectal cancer risk
People with a long history of smoking have a 30-50% increased risk of developing colorectal cancer when controlling for other risk factors, a new study finds. The study, published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, collected data related to smoking behavior and medical conditions in almost 185,000 participants aged 50-74 over the course of thirteen years. It is the first study of its kind to control for multiple known and putative risk factors, strengthening the argument for a causal relationship between cigarette smoking and colorectal cancers. Click here to read more about the study or here to read the study abstract.
Head and neck cancer survivors who use alcohol and cigarettes have increased death risk
Research has found that patients with head and neck cancer diagnoses who continued to smoke were twice as likely to die during a four-year follow up than those that did not. Survivors of early stage head and neck cancer were interviewed annually about their smoking and drinking habits to examine whether the habits affected the risk of death in the following years. A history of smoking or drinking prior to diagnosis dose-dependently increased the risk of death, demonstrating the need for cessation efforts to be incorporated into the care of these patients. Click here to read more about the study or here to read the abstract of the study, published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.
Smoking remains potent risk factor for death from heart disease, cancer
An international study following over 12,000 people for three years found that current smokers double their risk of death from heart disease and cancer compared to non-smokers and ex-smokers. Current smokers were found to be 2.58 times more likely to die from any cause, 2.26 times more likely to die from heart disease, and 3.56 times more likely to die from cancer than nonsmokers. The effectiveness of the drug clopidogrel (Plavix) was also tested on people of different smoking statuses. The medication reduced mortality from all causes in current smokers, but was associated with a heightened risk of bleeding in this population. Read more here. Click here to read the abstract of the study in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
Smokeless tobacco called 'moist snuff' is contaminated with harmful substances, study finds
A new study published in Chemical Research in Toxicology has found that moist snuff, a type of smokeless tobacco, contains high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that may contribute to the development of oral, esophageal, and pancreatic cancer. Researchers at the University of Minnesota used a gas chromatography-mass spectrometry method to analyze 23 varieties of the most popular U.S. brands of moist snuff, identifying 23 PAHs, nine of which are carcinogens. There has been an eighty-fold increase in moist snuff use from 1986 to 2003, partially fueled by the belief it is safer than cigarettes. The researchers urge the tobacco industry to change their manufacturing processes to decrease the levels of toxicants and carcinogens in these products. Click here to read more or click here to view the abstract.
Craving a cigarette? Pitt study suggests craving hinders comprehension without your realizing it
Research conducted at the University of Pittsburgh has found that cigarette cravings increase the chances of a person’s mind wandering and make that person less likely to realize it is happening. Forty-four smokers assigned to either nicotine deprived or nondeprived conditions performed a reading task that allowed them to self-report mind wandering and also probed them to catch mind wandering that occurred without the participant realizing it. Compared to the nondeprived group, the nicotine deprived group reported three times as many “zone outs” but were less likely to independently recognize them. Researchers indicate that these findings are of interest for those who study workplace accidents or factors that interfere with learning in college student smokers. Click here to read more; click here to read the abstract of the study, published in Psychological Science.
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