Tuesday January 21, 2020

Researchers Probing if Tobacco’s Native Forms Less Harmful

“By working with the people who are disproportionately harmed by smoking, we can move on to co-design and testing of indigenous-centric solutions to reduce smoking harm.”

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tobacco prodcuts, excise duty
Hookah smoking is addictive and can lead to the use of other tobacco products such as cigarettes. Pixabay

Can indigenous ways of smoking counteract the harm being done by mass-produced cigarettes? Researching the roots of native Fijian tobacco plant ‘suki’ said to originated in Tamil Nadu and smoked in a “roll-up”, a renowned scientist from New Zealand is finding about the similar Indian cheroot.

On her visit to India, scientist Marewa Glover is accompanied by Fijian elder Setariki, who recalls learning that indentured labourers from India took tobacco plants with them to the South Pacific island country.

Looked at now, the Fijian suki appears to be processed similarly to cheroots found in Tamil Nadu’s Dindigul district.

Their visit was to see how similar the production process is for cheroot and ‘suki’ and to explore how people are using the cheroot today.

government information
FILE – Dr. Garen Wintemute, an emergency room physician at the University of California, Davis, Medical Center, poses at the hospital in Sacramento, Calif., March 9, 2017. Wintemute, who has researched gun violence and firearms industry, worked with colleagues to download public records from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and other federal agencies after the inauguration of President Donald Trump. He and others feared the information might disappear from federal websites. VOA

“In India, mass-produced cigarettes made by tobacco companies have largely displaced cheroot use which is now viewed as an old and fading practice, as is the experience in Fiji,” Glover said in a statement.

“But as taxes on tobacco have been raised, native and Indian Fijians are turning back to growing, chewing and smoking suki,” the researcher, who is seeking to understand indigenous people’s use of tobacco in order to inform the reduction of disease associated with tobacco use, added.

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“The epidemic of tobacco-related diseases that cause about 7 million deaths around the world each year are mainly due to smoking the mass-produced cigarettes. Whilst smoking anything is damaging, prior to mass marketed cigarettes of tobacco companies, tobacco was harder to get and smoke and its use was often restricted using cultural rules,” she notes.

“By working with the people who are disproportionately harmed by smoking, we can move on to co-design and testing of indigenous-centric solutions to reduce smoking harm.” (IANS)

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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.

Hookah
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)