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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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No true need for a study.
By Woodsy on 6/25/2009 9:38:28 PM , Rating: -1
You can clearly see in a smoker the lack of ambition, the lack of willpower, and stubbornness, this just finally proves my idea that smokers brains are deeply effected by the chemical toxins involved. Clearly smokers are some of the most stubborn, narrow minded people, with a lack of drive, its almost like the toxins over the years cause them to be less of what they could really be, achieve less than they were once capable of. It makes them stubborn in daily activities, I work in an office and notice that they are usually slower to adapt, and are slower to learn. I am friends with smokers and it pains me to see them fall back into a rut with their lives, job, family, drug addictions. It compounds their inability to stay off other harder drugs, and if they try to get off other drugs then they usually go hard into chain smoking to compensate. Plus it causes lung damage, and impotence. The last one alone was enough for me to stay away, women like when the boomstick isn't a drooptwig!

RE: No true need for a study.
By Jimbo on 6/25/2009 10:32:52 PM , Rating: 1
Woodsy, you sound like one of those PeTA / Vegan zealots that endlessly go on about the evils of meat eaters.

Some of the most ambitious, driven, and intelligent people I have met in the financial industry smoked like a furnace and showed none of the traits you claim.

To those that know better, it looks like you are just talking nonsense to justify your own weird beliefs.

RE: No true need for a study.
By Woodsy on 6/26/2009 1:26:03 AM , Rating: 2
I was stating an observation I have made. I am sure there are plenty of people who are able to live a normal life and be successful as a smoker and be an exception to the rule. Just like there are people that rise up from a catastrophe and come out smelling like a rose, there will always be exceptions of varying degrees when confronted with an issue. I know many smokers that have lived a full life and have done more than I could hope for with my life. What my observation was that it does in fact reduce the mental strengths of a person. I see this on a daily basis, having worked with many people who smoke, and the vast majority of my friends are smokers since they are in the music business or working in an office environment where there tends to be more smokers, and the music business has its drug culture. I also have many family members who smoke as well. After years of experience with people, I can definitely say that smoking does in fact hinder people mentally as well as physically. They tend to be stressed out more easily and lack patience, especially at times when they have a craving. This is common knowledge.
I see you want to label me with what group you think I belong to in order to paint me into groups that some of the posters may dislike, and therefore apply bias to me based on your label. Which you probably have succeeded at, instead of making your own observations like sentence two in your reply. You could be a politician for your ability to slander. Now I could paint you into certain groups based on your comments, but instead I will actually focus on the issue instead of target what group you may or may not belong to.
I highly doubt its a "weird belief" to understand that a smoker tends to be erratic when they have not had a butt in a long time, and therefore be unable to focus or cope with stress as easily as a non smoker. This is a well understood behavior with smokers. Now its been studied that there is in fact brain damage associated with smoking, I am sure its not a stretch to discern what kind of effects on behavior this potential brain damage could create. I would not be surprised if there is a study in later years that can identify what behavioral aspects occur in smokers. I am sure this kind of follow up study could occur once its common knowledge that the brain is in fact damaged by smoking. However this leads me to my title that really a study should not be needed, drugs cause people mental harm and this I am 100% sure of.

RE: No true need for a study.
By myhipsi on 6/26/2009 11:38:41 AM , Rating: 2
Your sweeping generalizations sound like they're coming from some "Just say No" government run anti-smoking campaign.

You really want to know why people smoke and do drugs despite the health risks? So they can deal with self rightous, presumptuous, know-it-alls like you, who judge a whole subsection of society based on your narrow view of the world.

Grow up and realize that people just want to be happy. If that means having a smoke or drink to break up the monotony, then so be it. Brain damage be damned.

drugs cause people mental harm and this I am 100% sure of.

I'll reiterate with a twist. People like you cause mental harm, and this I am 100% sure off.

PS. I smoke cigarettes and cannabis, and I drink on occasion. I also have a cheeseburger from time to time. According to you, I suppose I should be drooling all over the keyboard by now.

RE: No true need for a study.
By robinthakur on 6/29/2009 11:55:45 AM , Rating: 2
Whilst I was going to rate you down as you have a bit of a stuck up air about you, I concede some of your points are true. Since I quit smoking, my mind feels sharp again and I can apply myself to things now which I would have gotten distracted from before by wanting to smoke a cigarette. That and breathe properly. When I used to take a deep breath, I felt like the oxygen wasn't being absorbed instantly, which was probably true. Now there's a nearly no delay between breathing in and the Oxygen being absorbed, which is great and lets me swim for miles longer than I used to!

To be honest, if you consider all the drugs that are contained in cigarettes, the fact that any of them cause brain damage is hardly surprising. The fact that this is not widely reported is more surprising and it speaks volumes about how the billions of pounds of revenue the government gets from Tobacco products is causing them to drag their heals on legislation. I think the big drive for nicotine replacement products are a completely stupid idea also. Its not stopping the addiction, and nicotine is extremely poisonous! Anyone who's smoked while wearing a nicotine patch can attest to how sick too much nicotine makes you feel...

RE: No true need for a study.
By choadenstein on 6/26/2009 9:52:45 AM , Rating: 5
List of Notable Smokers:

Barack Obama
Albert Einstein
Thomas Edison
Alexander Graham Bell
Robert Oppenheimer
Edwin Hubble
Winston Churchill
Franklin D Roosevelt
Bill Clinton
King Hussein of Jordan
John F Kennedy
Gerald Ford
George Orwell
Oscar Wilde
Jean-Paul Sartre
JR Tolkien
J.K. Rowling
CS Lewis
James Dean
Demi Moore
Keith Richards
Elizabeth Taylor
Sophia Loren
Kate Winslet
Luciano Pavarotti
John Wayne
Mel Gibson
Russell Crowe
Frank Sinatra
Robbie Williams
Marilyn Monroe
John Lennon
Al Pacino
Robert De Niro
Eddie Van Halen
Vincent Van Gogh
Jeanne Calment, the world’s oldest ever person who died aged 122, only quit smoking aged 117
Alfred Hitchcock
Pablo Picasso
Che Guevara
Aaron Spelling
David Bowie
Johnny Depp
Joaquin Phoenix
Joseph Stalin
Jennifer Aniston
Brad Pitt
Angelina Jolie
Ben Affleck
Kate Hudson
Goldie Hawn
Colin Farrell
Sammy Davis Jr
George Harrison
Audrey Hepburn
Lyndon B. Johnson
Leonard Nimoy
Jimmy Page
Sean Penn
Richard Pryor
Frank Zappa
Fidel Castro
Joan Collins
Bill Cosby
Danny De Vito
Sigmund Freud
George Gershwin
Ulysses S. Grant
Saddam Hussein
Samuel L Jackson
David Letterman
Pope St. Pius X
Pope John XXIII


Lack of ambition, willpower? narrow-minded, lack drive?

You're an idiot.

RE: No true need for a study.
By jimbojimbo on 6/26/2009 10:56:10 AM , Rating: 1
That list makes no sense. First off your first name makes it sound like it's a list of reasons never to smoke! Then most of the rest are actors. So what makes an actor so great that they're a great influence because they smoke?

RE: No true need for a study.
By choadenstein on 6/26/2009 11:28:58 AM , Rating: 4
Barack Obama, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Robert Oppenheimer, Edwin Hubble, Winston Churchill, Franklin D Roosevelt, Bill Clinton, King Hussein of Jordan, John F Kennedy, Gerald Ford, George Orwell, Oscar Wilde, Jean-Paul Sartre, JR Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, CS Lewis, Keith Richards, Luciano Pavarotti, Frank Sinatra , Robbie Williams, John Lennon, Eddie Van Halen, Vincent Van Gogh, Jeanne Calment, Alfred Hitchcock, Pablo Picasso, Che Guevara, Aaron Spelling, David Bowie , Joseph Stalin, Sammy Davis Jr , George Harrison, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Page, Richard Pryor , Frank Zappa, Fidel Castro, Sigmund Freud, George Gershwin, Ulysses S. Grant, Saddam Hussein, Pope St. Pius X, Pope John XXIII

Non-Actors: ~43 (39*)
(*the 4 underlined people are not actors, but have been in a significant amount of movies and might be considered actors)

Bill Cosby, Danny De Vito, Audrey Hepburn, Samuel L Jackson, David Letterman, Leonard Nimoy, Jennifer Aniston, John Wayne, Joan Collins, James Dean, Demi Moore, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Kate Winslet, Mel Gibson, Russell Crowe, Marilyn Monroe, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Johnny Depp, Joaquin Phoenix, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Ben Affleck, Kate Hudson, Goldie Hawn, Colin Farrell, Sean Penn

Actors: ~29 (* 33 - see above)

43 v. 29 = Most of the rest are NOT actors.
(* or 39 v. 33).

RE: No true need for a study.
By technoburg on 6/27/2009 12:54:00 PM , Rating: 2
Ronald Regan was left off this list on purpose or by accident? He was an actor and appeared in cigarette commercials too advocating the use of cigarettes!
However this was before he joined the Repugnican Party and started getting into politics.

RE: No true need for a study.
By mindless1 on 6/26/2009 5:01:24 PM , Rating: 2
Obviously the list includes actors because they are the most popular due to Americans spending so much time watching TV in the pre-popularized web era.

If the list were instead the top 100 scientists of the last century would as many people recognize the names beyond the first 10 or so? What if the list were the top 100 worldwide leaders?

Nobody is saying they're a great influence BECAUSE they smoke, rather it is evidence against the commmon misconceptions that people use to randomly judge each other instead of focusing on their own mistakes however simple they might be (like yours that this list somehow supposed that makes them a great influence or a need to divert the topic on this inappropriate tangent).

RE: No true need for a study.
By Chaser on 6/26/2009 11:05:29 AM , Rating: 1
Funny how most the people on your list were around when tobacco advertising was like this (from a KOOL ad in the 60's):

"Does winter make your head feel stuffy? Steam-heated rooms parch your throat? Heavy smoking 'brown' your taste? Then you've three extra reasons for changing to KOOLS.
They're mildly mentholated. Light up and feel that instant refreshment. Smoke deep; the choice Turkish-Domestic tobacco flavor is all there. Smoke long; your throat and tongue stay cool and smooth, your mouth clean and fresh.
Change to KOOLS. It's a change for the better."

You don't have Yul Brynner on your who made this commercial from his death bed pleading for people not to smoke.

Yeah. Anyone that surrenders control of their body and sells their health off towards non smoking tobacco exec profits is acting like a complete idiot.

RE: No true need for a study.
By choadenstein on 6/26/2009 11:15:36 AM , Rating: 4
You and the poster above you clearly missed the point of the rebuttal.

OP Said:
You can clearly see in a smoker the lack of ambition, the lack of willpower, and stubbornness, this just finally proves my idea that smokers brains are deeply effected by the chemical toxins involved. Clearly smokers are some of the most stubborn, narrow minded people, with a lack of drive, its almost like the toxins over the years cause them to be less of what they could really be, achieve less than they were once capable of. It makes them stubborn in daily activities, I work in an office and notice that they are usually slower to adapt, and are slower to learn.

The OP was saying that smokers lack drive, ambition, willpower, etc... My response had nothing to do lung cancer or other health concerns. The list was meant to represent the fact that smokers do not inherently lack or lose the certain positive personality traits due to smoking.

Also, the list is far from all actors. There are half-a-dozen US presidents, over a dozen heads of state, inventors, scientist, authors and even a pope or two.

Reading - it's fundamental.

RE: No true need for a study.
By Starcub on 6/26/2009 4:42:00 PM , Rating: 2
As someone who spent a few years waiting tables at various restuarants, I can vouch for the stubborness trait in smokers. In addition, there are skin complexion and vocal quality differences. Everyone knows that smoking causes all kinds of bad things.

Really, your list is rediculous. Someone could just as easily put together another list of people who don't smoke. And before about 50 years ago, it was the norm for people to smoke 'cause they didn't know what they do now.

Honestly, do you people get paid for making up stupid arguements to sell rediculous ideas? Are you folks trying to start a hit count race with this site?

My dad let me take a puff on his cigarette when I was about 6 and I gagged. Never smoked at all until I went to college, and even then only a few times to try a cigar and a joint. I would have liked to smoke more joints, but I had no trouble quiting after about two -- same with gambling.Quite frankly, I don't see what's so complelling about cigarettes, or why people claim it's hard to quit. I think there is a serious lack of self control in such people.

RE: No true need for a study.
By proneax on 6/27/2009 2:15:25 AM , Rating: 2
agreed. In my experience, those that start smoking have a lack of self-esteem, are depressed, are uneducated or lack self-control.

No-one in his/her right mind chooses to become addicted to cigarettes. If you believe you have made this conscious choise, you are delusional due to your addiction or have some other serious issues.

Want to feel a high? Go run 2 miles, go to the gym. It feels great and improves your health instead of destroying it.

RE: No true need for a study.
By technoburg on 6/27/2009 12:44:58 PM , Rating: 2
You left out one: Ronald Regan

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