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A new study shows that smoking tobacco cigarettes, like consuming alcohol, can lead to severe brain damage, though the mechanism is different. The study also suggests that second hand smoke exposure can also lead to brain damage.  (Source: The New York Times)

Perhaps that Guiness World Book Record for most cigarettes smoked wasn't such a good idea, now that the brain damage smoking tobacco causes is known...  (Source: Guiness World Book of Records)
Move over alcohol, brain damage has a new buddy

New research is set to be published in the July issue of the Journal of Neurochemistry that looks to offer yet another damning medical argument against smoking and allowing second hand smoke in public locations.  The new report finds that Tobacco smoke contains a compound which can cause brain damage.

The new study examined NNK, a procarinogen.  NNK is a toxic derivative of nicotine produced when the chemical is cured in preparation for use in cigarettes.  NNK is not found in other smoked drugs, such as cannabis.

Before the study it was thought that the compound could be damaging to the body, but it was unclear how damaging it was.  In the study, performed by Debapriya Ghosh and Dr Anirban Basu from the Indian National Brain Research Center (NBRC), it was found that the compound caused white blood cells in the central nervous system to attack healthy cells causing severe neurological damage.

Unlike alcohol or other forms of drug abuse, the drug does not impact brain tissue directly via oxidation or receptor damage.  Rather, it triggers an inflammatory immunological response that is believed to lead to Multiple Sclerosis and other brain diseases.

Both with in vivo, in mice, and in vitro tests, the researchers discovered that the compound elevated proinflammatory signaling proteins, proinflammatory effector proteins and other stress related proteins, and increased levels of proinflammatory cytokines, which act as molecular messengers between cells.  These factors led to increased activity by microglia, the brain's white blood cells responsible for attacking intruders.

The microglia turned on healthy cells, due to the increased level of these compounds.  States Professor Ghosh, "Considering the extreme economical and disease burden of neuroinflammation related disorders, it is extremely important from a medical, social and economic point of view to discover if NNK in tobacco causes neuroinflammation.  Our findings prove that tobacco compound NNK can activate microglia significantly which subsequently harms the nerve cells.

While most studies have focused on health threats from smoked tobacco, NNK is also present in chewing tobacco, helping make a stronger case against its use.  NNK is present in 20-310 nanograms in cigarettes, but is also can be present in concentrations as high as 26 nanograms in smoke filmed rooms.  This report adds more evidence that second hand smoke may damage non-smokers' health.

Concludes Professor Ghosh, "This research sheds light on the processes that lead to nerve cell damage in those who smoke cigarettes or consume tobacco products on regular basis."


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RE: Record Picture
By rdeegvainl on 6/25/2009 5:16:15 PM , Rating: 6
quote:
There's a guy- I don't know if you've heard about this guy, he's been on the news a lot lately. There's a guy- he's English, I don't think we should hold that against him, but apparently this is just his life's dream because he is going from country to country. He has a senate hearing in this country coming up in a couple of weeks. And this is what he wants to do.

He wants to make the warnings on the packs bigger. Yeah! He wants the whole front of the pack to be the warning. Like the problem is we just haven't noticed yet. Right? Like he's going to get his way and all of the sudden smokers around the world are going to be going, "Yeah, Bill, I've got some cigarettes.. HOLY SHIT! These things are bad for you! Shit, I thought they were good for you! I thought they had Vitamin C in them and stuff!"

You fucking dolt! Doesn't matter how big the warnings are. You could have cigarettes that were called the warnings. You could have cigarrets that come in a black pack, with a skull and a cross bone on the front, called tumors and smokers would be lined up around the block going, "I can't wait to get my hands on these fucking things! I bet you get a tumor as soon as you light up! Numm Numm Numm Numm Numm"

Doesn't matter how big the warnings are or how much they cost. Keep raising the prices, we'll break into your houses to get the fucking cigarettes, ok!? They're a drug, we're addicted, ok!? Numm Numm Numm Numm Numm *wheeze*


-Denis Leary.


RE: Record Picture
By Radnor on 6/26/2009 8:11:36 AM , Rating: 2
As a smoker, can you give this man a 6 ?


RE: Record Picture
By callmeroy on 6/26/2009 8:25:22 AM , Rating: 4
First, as one who has more stand up comedy and comedy songs on his Ipod than real music....that was a good bit -- I have that whole Denis Leary special on my Ipod....

Second, I understand the addictive nature of cigarettes once you start --- what I don't understand is *WHY* folks start in the first place. I mean it is just stupid silly to me....I mean what's attractive about smoking? It's not like it tastes good and if you think its cool to smell like smoke you are very strange.

I mean drinking -- while also extremely bad for you --- at least makes more sense to me why people start....because there are some tasty alcoholic drinks out there and well if you are thirsty it does help with that too.


RE: Record Picture
By Spookster on 6/26/2009 9:58:05 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
by callmeroy on June 26, 2009 at 8:25 AM First, as one who has more stand up comedy and comedy songs on his Ipod than real music....that was a good bit -- I have that whole Denis Leary special on my Ipod.... Second, I understand the addictive nature of cigarettes once you start --- what I don't understand is *WHY* folks start in the first place. I mean it is just stupid silly to me....I mean what's attractive about smoking? It's not like it tastes good and if you think its cool to smell like smoke you are very strange. I mean drinking -- while also extremely bad for you --- at least makes more sense to me why people start....because there are some tasty alcoholic drinks out there and well if you are thirsty it does help with that too.


Curiosity and peer pressure. Only problem is that it only takes a few cigs to get hooked. I started when I was probably 14 and smoked for 15 years before I was finally able to break free. It does change your brain chemistry and affects the way you think. Smoking that first few cigs is like joining a cult that brainwashes you. The cigarettes take over your life and you find yourself rearranging your daily schedule around when you can smoke a cigarette. As a kid I knew they were probably bad but as like me any warnings on the pack aren't going to stop most people. Education might help and more involvement from parents and schools reinforcing how bad it can be might help.


RE: Record Picture
By mindless1 on 6/26/2009 5:06:30 PM , Rating: 2
Your post reads a lot like you are making excuses for something you do. Putting alcohol in a drink does not make it more tasty than the same drink less dilluted, or dilluted with something else like water.

Drinking alcohol does not help when you are thirsty, only in the short term would it feign this effect and do a poor job of it compared to same drink without the alcohol, and if you let the alcohol get into the body in a thirsty, dehydrated state, then you get what man knows as a hangover later so it takes even longer to rehydrate and balance electrolyte levels again than just drinking the non-alcoholic beverage.

I'm not suggesting nobody should drink, as with many things it is a personal choice. Rather it is not a matter of enhanced taste and alcohol itself degrades the sense of taste temporarily, or at least the perception of it.


RE: Record Picture
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 6/26/2009 5:40:34 PM , Rating: 2
Drinking alcohol does not help when you are thirsty, only in the short term would it feign this effect and do a poor job of it compared to same drink without the alcohol...

That is very true, however it does help to have a drink with Alcohol when I thirst to get drunk.... ;P


RE: Record Picture
By Fritzr on 6/28/2009 6:14:24 PM , Rating: 2
Long day of hard labor? Grab a beer to quench your thirst...
Bad water? Watered wine, beer & ale are just thing!
Had a long hard day at the office? Pour a brandy or a good whiskey and relax.

Just some examples of real world reasons that people look to beer first as a beverage of choice. The first is cultural conditioning, the second is common sense...alchohol can disinfect the water.
The third is cultural conditioning again. When grownups want to relax they need a snifter of brandy, a good whiskey or maybe a glass of a decent wine to help them unwind.

#1 & #3 are not good reasons to drink, you can relax just as easily with tea, mate, coffee and other nonalcholic drinks, but that isn't part of the mainstream max profits culture. Premium coffees are encroaching, but until the book publishers, movies and TV start pushing them, nonalchohol options will remain a conscious choice.

Then add advertising intended to convince people that "drink" means alchohol. When people are conditioned to buy "hard" (contains alchohol) drinks because "soft" (no alchohol) drinks are only for kids, you are going to see a lot of people buying alchohol for a refresher simply out of habit. The kids of course now want the alchohol because that is a "grownup drink".

On top of that is the profit margin on alchohol sales. The people selling a selection will bias their offerings to push the alchohol since there is normally a much higher profit percentage on those items.


RE: Record Picture
By MrPoletski on 6/28/2009 8:03:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Putting alcohol in a drink does not make it more tasty than the same drink less dilluted, or dilluted with something else like water.


Ever tried alcohol free beer?

Seriously, it'll change your life, you'll be pouring alcohol in everything you drink for ever more just to get the taste out of your mouth.


RE: Record Picture
By Chocobollz on 6/26/2009 5:13:41 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
I mean drinking -- while also extremely bad for you --- at least makes more sense to me why people start....because there are some tasty alcoholic drinks out there and well if you are thirsty it does help with that too.


Then you're different than me. I myself couldn't even smell the smell of alcohol. Don't know why but it makes me dizzy and having a bad headache so I've never get drunk in my entire life. I could only drink maybe a couple sips and after that I will feel very sick. And also, tobacco makes you feel sharper and awake while drinking makes you feel tired and uncomfortable, so I myself can't really understand why peoples likes to drink so much? Because drinking makes you lost your consciousness. I know it can help when you have problems (especially for alcoholics) but I would rather stay sharp and think about the problem, so I'm smoking.

quote:
I mean what's attractive about smoking?


I would asks the same question to you. What's attractive about drinking (and get drunk)? When you get drunk, you'll most of the time.. vomiting.... and embarassing yourself. I would say that's absolutely not an attractive things to see. And you'll get a little weird and makes some noise and even got a a fight on a bar because of it. Do you really consider those things as attractive??

I know both are bad for our health so we should avoid those. I myself are a smoker and already smoke for 8 years but of course I want to quit. Wish me luck ok? :-)


RE: Record Picture
By proneax on 6/27/2009 1:54:03 AM , Rating: 3
What is the appeal? Alcohol is a social lubricant, its cheap and temporary, easy to stop using, easy to use without endangering those around you.

The same is not true of cigarettes. They're expensive, both immediately and for long-term health. They're addictive and hard to quit, they're detrimental to the health of those near you, they're unattractive.


RE: Record Picture
By QueBert on 6/27/2009 3:48:38 AM , Rating: 2
they're unattractive to you. You still see models posing with cigarettes from time to time. And not too long ago (a few decades at most) you would see a lot of the Playboy playmates with them. There is definitely something sexy to many men about a female who smokes. If you don't believe me go on bing.com and look got smoking fetish videos, there are tens of thousands. It might be horrible for your health, but I an a lot of other men find females who puff to be totally hot.


RE: Record Picture
By PitViper007 on 6/30/2009 12:36:26 PM , Rating: 2
To each their own I guess. I can see a beautiful woman take a puff of a cigarette, and it just turns me right off. But like I said, to each their own.


RE: Record Picture
By tmouse on 6/29/2009 8:38:32 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
easy to stop using, easy to use without endangering those around you


In moderation absolutely should be added to this sentence. There are probably a lot more people who have been hurt or killed by people who do not know when to stop drinking than by second hand smoke. I am a cancer researcher and outside of some asthmatic reactions in young infants from families who are heavy smokers the second hand research is scientifically sketchy at best. I'm not defending smoking in any way but much of the 2nd hand data has been overblown by orders of magnitude, case in point this article, the research has no connection to second hand smoke, it is extremely unlikely the immunoeffects observed in the study could be observed in people exposed to second hand smoke.


RE: Record Picture
By tmouse on 6/29/2009 8:26:30 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
because there are some tasty alcoholic drinks out there and well if you are thirsty it does help with that too.


Actually it dehydrates you and is probably the worst thing to do if you are thirsty.


RE: Record Picture
By adiposity on 6/26/2009 12:31:45 PM , Rating: 2
From this I take: warnings are not going to discourage (many) smokers from smoking. Well, I think that's clearly true. But what about non-smokers? Most smokers starts out as a non-smokers.

-Dan


RE: Record Picture
By JakLee on 6/26/2009 2:48:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Most smokers starts out as a non-smokers.

Most? I thought all. At least I have never met one that didn't start out as a non-smoker. I have seen people smoking IN hospitals (though not recently) but never actually light up for the babies or pass over a smoke to a newborn.


RE: Record Picture
By mindless1 on 6/26/2009 4:55:16 PM , Rating: 3
Many do start out as smokers, even if they don't physically have a cigarette stuffed in their mouth. From the moment of conception either the mother or father smokes enough that in today's well-sealed homes, the smoke is perpetually inhaled to the point where the chemicals are present even if not inhaled in a sudden high concentration enough to cause a nicotine rush.

The pregnant mother, then the child while growing up in that home, inhale far more passive smoke per day than someone getting it for an hour 2nd hand in a restaurant, even before restaurants had separate sections and air handling systems.

Ultimately the components of the smoke are in the unborn and born childrens' bloodstreams, and to some extent deposited in the lungs though fortunately with lower concentrations than a smoker has the lungs can clean themselves out a bit.


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