Smoking

 

You know cigarette smoking causes lung cancer and heart disease. You know it yellows your teeth. You know it wrinkles your skin, stains your fingers, and destroys your sense of smell and taste. Still, you keep smoking and hanging amongst the preventable-death crowd. When people try to quit, they often experience classic nicotine withdrawal symptoms: anxiety, irritability, headache, depression, and restlessness, to name a few. 

But people can, and do stop once they find the right reason or aid. Electronic cigarettes will never have looked so attractive in light of research into brain bleeds, gaining friends and news that UK smokers pay more than anyone else in Europe. Quitting tobacco smoking for vaping couldn’t look like a better option.

University of Helsinki study published in the journal Neurology looked at changes in the incidence of subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) over a period of 15 years, and these were contrasted with changes in the prevalence of smoking. The results indicated that the number of people afflicted with SAH was nearly half of the previously assumed figure and that the number was in rapid decline, a trend that was particularly apparent in younger generations.

Professor Jaakko Kaprio, the lead author of the research, said: “It is extraordinary for the incidence of any cardiovascular disease to decrease so rapidly at the population level in such a short time. Even though we cannot demonstrate a direct causation in nation-wide studies, it is highly likely that the national tobacco policies in Finland have contributed to the decline in the incidence of this type of severe brain haemorrhage.” The team concluded that heavy smoking is a major risk factor for SAH in both sexes, but the risk is especially high among women.

Another reason - Lupus. Systemic lupus erythematosus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can cause inflammation, pain, and tissue damage throughout the body. Although some people with lupus have mild symptoms, it can become quite severe. Smoking cigarettes raises the risk of developing lupus - but quitting cuts that risk, an analysis of nine studies shows.

For the analysis, Harvard researchers reviewed studies that examined the relationship between cigarette smoking and lupus. Among current smokers, there was "a small but significant increased risk" for the development of lupus, they report. Former smokers did not have this increased risk, according to the study, which appeared in the March issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Psoriasis. Smoking doesn’t directly cause the itchy, plaque-skin autoimmune disorder. However, there are two things that researchers know for certain about psoriasis: First, that it has a genetic link. Second, that smoking tobacco more than doubles the likelihood for psoriasis to be present in those who carry the gene. 

Blindness. Smokers are four times more likely to become blind because of age-related macular degeneration than those who have never smoked. But quitting can lower that risk, other research shows. Age-related macular degeneration is a severe and progressive condition that results in loss of central vision. It results in blindness because of the inability to use the part of the retina that allows for 'straight-ahead' activities such as reading, sewing, and even driving a vehicle. While all the risk factors are not fully understood, research has pointed to smoking as one major and modifiable cause.

"More than a quarter of all cases of age-related macular degeneration with blindness or visual impairment are attributable to current or past exposure to smoking," Simon P. Kelly, MD, an ophthalmic surgeon with Bolton Hospitals in the U.K, wrote in the March 4, 2004 issue of the BMJ. He came to his conclusion after reviewing three studies involving 12,470 patients.