Monday January 20, 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

Know About the Adverse Health Effects of Smoking Hookah

Smoking hookah may increase heart attack, stroke risk

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Tobacco smoke from hookah can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. Pixabay

Researchers have found that tobacco smoke from a hookah caused blood to function abnormally and be more likely to clot and quickly form blood clots, which can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.

The study, published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, found that tobacco smoke caused blood clots to form within an average of about 11 seconds, compared to an average of five minutes for clotting without exposure to hookah smoke.

Exposure to the hookah smoke also caused other abnormalities related to the way the blood flows, the research added. Some studies have found that the smoke emitted from one hookah tobacco smoking episode contains significantly more harmful chemicals compared to a single cigarette.

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Hookah smoking, which is becoming more popular in Western countries, is perceived as less harmful than cigarettes. Pixabay

“Our findings provide new evidence that hookah smoking is as unhealthy – if not more so – than traditional cigarettes. “Smoking a hookah, cigarettes, e-cigarettes or other forms of tobacco all increase your risk for heart disease and stroke,” said study researcher Fadi Khasawneh from University of Texas in the US.

In this study, researchers exposed mice to smoke from a smoking hookah’s machine that mimicked real-life smoking habits.

The smoking machine used 12 grams of commercially available, flavoured tobacco that included tobacco, glycerin, molasses and natural flavour with nicotine and tar. Researchers then compared platelet activity among the exposed versus the unexposed mice.

The study simulated the type of nicotine exposure that occurs with smoking a hookah, which the researchers verified by measuring the levels of cotinine, the nicotine metabolite.

In May 2019, the American Heart Association published a Scientific Statement, “Water Pipe Smoking and Cardiovascular Disease Risk,” to analyse available research on the health effects.

The statement noted that tobacco smoking results in inhaling significant levels of toxic chemicals such as carbon monoxide and particulates from tobacco that can harm blood vessels, the heart and lungs, as well as creating a dependence on nicotine.

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This study provides additional evidence that, contrary to popular belief, smoking hookahs adversely affects cardiovascular health.

“Water pipe smoking, which is becoming more popular in Western countries, is perceived as less harmful than cigarettes, yet hookahs carry a toxic profile that is thought to be comparable or to even exceed that of traditional cigarettes,” Khasawneh added. (IANS)