Tuesday February 25, 2020

Excess Smoking Can Not Just Cause Cancer But Also Blindness

Heavy smokers also have reduced ability to discriminate contrasts and colours compared with non-smokers.

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"Cigarette smoke consists of numerous compounds that are harmful, and it has been linked to a reduction in the thickness of layers in the brain, and to brain lesions, involving areas such as the frontal lobe, which plays a role in voluntary movement and control of thinking, and a decrease in activity in the area of the brain that processes vision," he said. Pixabay

While excessive smoking has been linked to various health issues, including heart disease and cancer, a new study has warned that smoking over 20 cigarettes a day can cause blindness.

The study from the Rutgers University noted that chronic tobacco smoking can have harmful effects on “spatial and colour vision”.

The findings, published in the journal Psychiatry Research, noted significant changes in the smokers’ red-green and blue-yellow colour vision. This suggests that consuming substances with neurotoxic chemicals, such as those in cigarettes, may cause overall colour vision loss.

Heavy smokers also have reduced ability to discriminate contrasts and colours compared with non-smokers.

“Our results indicate excessive use of cigarettes, or chronic exposure to their compounds, affects visual discrimination, supporting the existence of overall deficits in visual processing with tobacco addiction,” said Steven Silverstein from the Rutgers’s Behavioral Health Care.

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Heavy smokers also have reduced ability to discriminate contrasts and colours compared with non-smokers. Pixabay

“Cigarette smoke consists of numerous compounds that are harmful, and it has been linked to a reduction in the thickness of layers in the brain, and to brain lesions, involving areas such as the frontal lobe, which plays a role in voluntary movement and control of thinking, and a decrease in activity in the area of the brain that processes vision,” he said.

For the study, the team looked at 71 healthy people who smoked less than 15 cigarettes in their entire lives and 63 people, who smoked over 20 cigarettes a day. The participants were in the 25-45 year age group.

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The study’s findings showed noticeable changes in the red-green and blue-yellow colour vision of the heavy smokers.

Previous studies had also pointed to long-term smoking as doubling the risk for age-related macular degeneration and as a factor causing lens yellowing and inflammation. (IANS)

Next Story

Childhood Ignorance and Abuse Leads to Smoking Cigarettes

Childhood physical abuse leads to heavy cigarette use and smoking of other drugs

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Children who have been abused, mistreated or neglected at home are more likely to start smoking cigarettes and other substances. Pixabay

Health and lifestyle researchers have found that children who have been abused, mistreated or neglected at home are more likely to start smoking cigarettes and other substances.

The study, published in the journal Substance Use & Misuse, showed that physical abuse of children in high-risk homes, especially when they’re toddlers or teens, dramatically increases the odds that their adolescent experimentation with cigarettes will lead to a heavy smoking habit.

For the findings, the study examined data on children who were at high risk for abuse and neglect — either because they had been referred to a child protective service or lived in conditions associated with the likelihood of maltreatment or both.

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Adolescent cigarette smoking is a really serious social problem and public health concern. Pixabay

“I wanted to look at different types of maltreatment and whether they have an impact on cigarette smoking,” said study lead author Susan Yoon, Assistant Professor at Ohio State University in the US.

“Adolescent cigarette smoking is a really serious social problem and public health concern. Brain development is not complete until late adolescence or during young adulthood, and cigarette smoking is associated with damage in brain development,” Yoon said.

“We also know that those who start smoking cigarettes during adolescence are more likely to continue smoking into adulthood,” Yoon added.

For the results, the research team used data on 903 adolescents, who were assessed at age 12, 16 and 18.

A breakdown of different types of abuse and neglect experienced by the sample population during three different time periods (early childhood, school age and adolescence) confirmed how vulnerable these kids were.

The researchers used their responses about smoking between the ages of 12 and 18 to identify three patterns of cigarette use: stable low/no use (61 per cent of respondents), gradually increasing use (30 per cent) and sharply increasing cigarette use (nine per cent).

“It was almost shocking how the pattern of cigarette use over time went up so drastically in the sharply increasing use class,” Yoon said.

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Physical abuse during adolescence had an even stronger effect — this type of mistreatment at that point in life was linked to 3.7 times higher odds for sharply increased cigarette use. Pixabay

“They were pretty similar to the others at age 12 — almost 80 percent didn’t smoke. At age 16, we saw that almost 60 per cent had used cigarettes more than 20 days in the past year and by 18, every single kid in this group reported heavy use of cigarettes,” Yoon added.

A statistical analysis showed that adolescents who experienced early childhood physical abuse were 2.3 times more likely to be in the sharply increasing cigarette use group compared with the stable no/low group.

Physical abuse during adolescence had an even stronger effect — this type of mistreatment at that point in life was linked to 3.7 times higher odds for sharply increased cigarette use.

Also Read- Here’s Why Consumption of Half Pint of Beer a Day May Help You Live Longer

Adolescents who had been neglected during early childhood were 1.89 times more likely to be in the gradually increasing cigarette use group than in the stable no/low use group.

About 40 per cent of these smokers had reported using cigarettes at age 16, and by age 18, more than 80 per cent were smokers, and about 40 per cent had smoked on more than 20 days in the previous year, the study said. (IANS)