Health Effects of Tobacco Use


Smoking may worsen outcome of pregnancy complication
According to new research, women who smoke while pregnant and develop preeclampsia, a relatively common but potentially serious condition among pregnant women, are more likely to experience birth complications than nonsmokers with the condition. Investigators analyzed data from more than 300,000 births between 2004 and 2006 to examine the chances of developing preeclampsia and complications such as low birth weight, placental abruption (a condition which can deprive a baby of oxygen and nutrients), and stillbirth. Adverse pregnancy outcomes were found to be more than twice as common in preeclamptic women who smoked compared to nonsmokers. Smokers with preeclampsia were at increased odds of experiencing several negative outcomes compared to nonsmoking preeclamptic women. Smoking multiplied the odds of preterm birth by a factor of 5.77, very preterm birth by 5.44, placental abruption by 6.16, and stillbirth by a factor of 3.39. Click here to read more, or click here to read the abstract of the study, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Electronic cigarettes require more suction than conventional brands
A new study in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research indicates that e-cigarette cartridges do not release nicotine uniformly and may require stronger inhalation than regular cigarettes. Researchers used a smoking machine to measure the vacuum required to produce smoke from cigarettes or aerosol from e-cigarettes, as well as the density of the smoke or aerosol over time. The comparison of eight brands of cigarettes with five brands of e-cigarettes showed that all but one brand of the e-cigarettes required greater suction to smoke than the regular cigarettes. Aerosol density decreased after ten puffs from the e-cigarettes, which increased the vacuum needed to continue producing aerosol. While the health effects of the stronger inhalation needed for e-cigarettes are still unknown, the non-uniform dosing of nicotine may indicate that they are not efficient nicotine delivery devices. Click here to read more, or click here to read the study abstract.

Adverse effects of smoking on patients with ocular inflammation
A new study has found that smoking is associated with increased chances of the occurrence of bilateral ocular inflammation (irritation of both eyes) and of recurrence of the condition. A large database was used to gather information on 2,676 patients with ocular inflammation, such as type of inflammation, recovery time, time to recurrence, and smoking history. Data analysis showed that smokers were more likely to have bilateral ocular disease and worse eyesight than nonsmokers and former smokers. Recurrent inflammation was 19% more likely in smokers than nonsmokers, and the median time to recurrence was significantly shorter for smokers (7.8 months) than for nonsmokers (9.4 months) or former smokers (10.7 months). There was no difference in recovery time between the groups. The results indicate that patients with ocular inflammation should be counseled to quit smoking to reduce the risk of recurrence and bilateral inflammation. Click here to read the abstract of the study, published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

Tobacco smoking as a risk factor for depression: A 26-year population-based follow-up study
A Danish study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research indicates that smoking is associated with an increased risk of developing depression. The study linked smoking histories from a prospective cohort study to Danish hospital records that showed admissions with depression. A total of 18,146 people were followed for 26 years, during which data sets were updated three times to gather more information on tobacco consumption and potential confounding factors. The results showed that in women, the risk of depression increased with tobacco consumption. Compared to nonsmokers, light smokers had 1.74 times the risk of depression, and those smoking more than 20 grams of tobacco per day had 2.17 times the risk. Among men, smoking more than 20g per day was associated with 1.90 times the risk of depression compared to nonsmokers. These results emphasize the importance of prevention and cessation efforts for mental health. Read the study abstract here.

Smoking, nipple piercing are risk factors for developing breast abscesses, study finds
A new study has found that smoking is associated with a six-fold increase in the odds of developing breast abscesses, painful inflammatory lesions of the breast. Researchers used surgical and radiological databases at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics to collect clinical and demographic information from 68 patients that had been diagnosed with breast abscess. They found that smoking dramatically increased the odds of developing a primary abscess, subareolar breast abscess, and recurrence of breast abscess. With smoking being such a strong risk factor for the development and recurrence of breast abscesses, the researchers recommend that patients be counseled to quit smoking as part of their treatment. Click here to read more or read the study abstract, published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

Effects of waterpipe tobacco smoking on lung function: A systematic review and meta-analysis.
A new meta-analysis of six studies suggests that waterpipe tobacco smoking negatively affects lung function, possibly at levels equivalent to cigarette smoking. Researchers conducted a systematic review of studies that took three spirometric measurements to compare lung function in waterpipe smokers to that of nonsmokers and/or cigarette smokers. The meta-analysis showed that waterpipe smokers were able to expel a smaller volume of air after taking a deep breath compared to nonsmokers. There was not a statistically significant difference between cigarette smokers and waterpipe smokers in any of the study’s three measures of lung function. These results indicate that waterpipe smoking adversely affects lung function, possibly doing the same amount of harm as cigarettes, and could be a cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Click here to read the study abstract, published in the journal Chest.

Risk of incident cardiovascular disease among users of smokeless tobacco in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study
Smokeless tobacco users who do not smoke cigarettes are still at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a new study. Researchers examined the association between smokeless tobacco use and incidence of cardiovascular disease over an average of 16.7 years in 14,498 adults aged 45-64 that took part in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study. While past use of smokeless tobacco was not associated with an increase in cardiovascular disease, current use at baseline was associated with 27% increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease incidence. The results indicate that smokeless tobacco users should be warned of the potential cardiovascular health effects and encouraged to quit, and cigarette smokers should not be advised to switch to smokeless tobacco as a cessation method. Click here to read the abstract of the study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Lifestyle factors linked to teens' headaches
Norwegian researchers have found that teenagers who are overweight, sedentary, or smokers were more likely to report getting recurrent headaches than their peers. A total of 5,847 students were interviewed about headaches and lifestyle factors like physical activity and smoking status, also undergoing physical examinations to record height and weight. Nonsmoking, normal weight students with high levels of physical activity were then compared to students with one or more negative lifestyle factors to determine which factors were associated with complaints of headaches. The results show that all three factors were associated with recurrent headaches, with overweight adolescents being 40% more likely, those with low activity levels being 20% more likely, and smokers being 50% more likely to have recurrent headaches than peers with none of these negative lifestyle factors. This suggests that promoting healthy lifestyles may be a useful approach to preventing headaches in teenagers. Click here to read more, or read the study abstract found in Neurology.

Smoking increases asthma attacks in pregnancy
New research published in the journal Thorax indicates that asthmatic pregnant women who smoke have more frequent and more severe asthma exacerbations than those who have never smoked. Researchers assessed 126 pregnant women aged 18-43 (80 with asthma and 46 without) at 18, 30, and 36 weeks gestation. Those with asthma were also assessed at the time of asthma attack and with periodic phone calls. They found that women with asthma were more likely to be smokers (35%) than those without asthma (15%), and that asthmatic current or former smokers experienced an average of 2.0 exacerbations during pregnancy compared to 1.5 in those who had never smoked. Additionally, asthma control scores were significantly higher among current smokers, indicating worse asthma control compared to never smokers. Mean birth weights were lower among children born to smokers compared to nonsmokers. The results suggest that smoking cessation is important for pregnant women with asthma, both for the health of the mother and the child. Read more here, or click here to read the study abstract.


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