Monday December 16, 2019

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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Here’s How E-Cigarettes Can Be More Dangerous For Heart Health

The study also estimates that in 2018, around 3.62 million middle and high school students were e-cigarette users

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E-Cigarettes
For the current findings, the team of researchers compared healthy, young adult smokers aged 18 to 38 who were regular users of E-Cigarettes or tobacco cigarettes. Pixabay

Researchers have found that electronic nicotine delivery systems, such as E-Cigarettes might be just as harmful to the heart, than traditional cigarettes.

“Our results suggest that e-cigarette use is associated with coronary vascular dysfunction at rest, even in the absence of physiologic stress, these findings indicate the opposite of what e-cigarette and vaping marketing is saying about their safety profile,” said study researcher Susan Cheng, Director of Public Health Research at the Smidt Heart Institute.

A recent study by the US Food and Drug Administration found that 27.5 per cent of high school students used e-cigarettes in 2019, as compared to 20.8 per cent in 2018.

The study also estimates that in 2018, around 3.62 million middle and high school students were e-cigarette users.

For the current findings, the team of researchers compared healthy, young adult smokers aged 18 to 38 who were regular users of e-cigarettes or tobacco cigarettes.

The researchers then measured participants’ blood flow to the heart muscle – focusing on a measure of coronary vascular function – before and after sessions of either e-cigarette use or cigarette smoking, while participants were at rest and also after they performed a handgrip exercise which simulates physiologic stress.

It was also found that in smokers who had inhaled the traditional cigarettes, blood flow increased modestly and then decreased with subsequent stress.

However, in smokers who used e-cigarettes, blood flow decreased after both inhalation at rest and handgrip stress.

“We have known for decades that smoking increases your risk for heart attack and dying from heart disease, now, with this study, we have compelling evidence suggesting that newer methods of electronic nicotine delivery may be equally, or potentially more, harmful to your heart as traditional cigarettes,” said researcher Christine Albert.

E-Cigarettes
Researchers have found that electronic nicotine delivery systems, such as E-Cigarettes might be just as harmful to the heart, than traditional cigarettes. Pixabay

Given that e-cigarettes represent a relatively new product in the market, Albert cautions users that there may be a number of unforeseen health effects.

To better understand the potentially dangerous consequences of e-cigarettes, investigators plan on studying the mechanisms underlying changes in heart and blood vessel flow seen in their work to-date, as well as the effects of e-cigarette use across a more diverse population of study participants including those with existing cardiovascular risk.

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“What we are learning from our own research, along with the work of others, is that use of any electronic nicotine delivery system should be considered with a high degree of caution until more data can be gathered,” said study senior author Florian Rader.

The findings were presented at the annual American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2019. (IANS)