Just one cigarette a day can lead to heart disease
UNTV News • February 6, 2018 • 10190
FILE PHOTO: A man smokes a cigarette along a road in Mumbai, India, October 26, 2016. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/File Photo
(Reuters Health) – Smoking just one cigarette a day carries half the risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke as a pack-a-day habit, according to research that concludes there is no safe level of smoking.
The study team analyzed data from 141 smaller studies to assess the risk of heart disease and stroke for people who smoked one, five or 20 cigarettes a day. Men who smoked one cigarette a day were 74 percent more likely to have heart disease and 30 percent more likely to have a stroke than men who never smoked at all, they report in The BMJ.
Women who smoked one cigarette daily were more than twice as likely to develop heart disease and 46 percent more likely to have a stroke than women who didn’t smoke.
“People who have always been light smokers will have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease than many of them expect,” said lead study author Allan Hackshaw of the Cancer Institute at University College London in the UK.
While their risk is still lower than for heavy smokers, the results should offer fresh motivation for light smokers to quit altogether, Hackshaw said by email. Heavy smokers, meanwhile, can benefit from cutting back even if they can’t quit.
“Cutting down is certainly better than smoking the same high amount,” Hackshaw advised. “And cutting down has significant reductions in the risk of cancer and other disorders; hence, it is absolutely important that people try this if they find it too difficult to stop completely.”
For example, men who smoked about a pack a day had more than twice the risk of heart disease as non-smokers, while the risk was 58 percent higher than nonsmokers’ for men who smoked five cigarettes a day and 48 percent higher for men who smoked just one.
Similarly, women who smoked five cigarettes daily had 43 percent of the excess of heart disease associated with a pack-a-day habit, while women who smoked one cigarette a day had 31 percent of the excess risk.
Compared to nonsmokers, men who smoked 20 cigarettes a day were 64 percent more likely to have a stroke and women had more than twice the risk for stroke.
The study wasn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how the number of cigarettes people smoke on a typical day might impact their risk of heart disease or stroke.
Another limitation of the analysis is that researchers lacked data on individual patient characteristics from many of the smaller studies, making it impossible to assess whether the study results might be explained by factors that can independently lead to stroke and heart disease and stroke such as obesity and diabetes.
Even so, the findings should serve as a reminder that no amount of smoking is safe, said Kenneth Johnson of the School of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Ottawa in Canada, who wasn’t involved in the study.
That’s because smoking can lead to an irregular heart beat, blood clots too well, thickening and stiffening of the artery walls and increased blood pressure, Johnson, author of an accompanying editorial, said by email.
“With regard to the number of cigarettes, it’s a little like with matches, you only need one – not the whole box – to start a fire,” Johnson said. “Even secondhand smoke appears to trigger these damaging processes, resulting in 80 to 90 percent of the effect associated with active smoking.”
SOURCES: bit.ly/2DE8ytj and bit.ly/2E5tmcf BMJ, online January 24, 2018.
The U.S. investigation into hundreds of cases of life-threatening lung illnesses related to vaping is turning up new clues and helping researchers across the country trying to make sense of the situation.
Robert Tarran, a physiologist and vaping expert at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, is one of a group of researchers studying collections of lung cell samples, looking for answers about the outbreak.
“In my lab we study real world vapers who vape normally. So we’ve been collecting people who’ve been vaping for six months to a couple of years and then taken their lungs as they are. So I think the people we’ve been studying are representative of people being hospitalized. And I think it’s important to say that in the all the vapers that we’ve studied we’re seeing changes in their lungs,” he told Reuters.
Many of the victims had pockets of oil clogging up cells responsible for removing impurities in the lungs.
The answer to where that oil comes from will help explain whether these cells play a key role in the vaping-related outbreak that has killed atleast seven people and sickened 530 so far.
It may also reveal whether some of these cases have been occurring all along, undetected.
A group of researchers who have been studying the long-term effects of vaping told Reuters they have taken up the challenge. They have begun to re-examine lung cell samples they have collected in recent years for evidence of these oil-filled immune cells in people who vaped but didn’t get sick.
One possibility: The deposits are residue from inhaling vaping oils, such as those containing the marijuana ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or vitamin E acetate. Both are considered possible contributors to the current illnesses.
Some researchers suspect the oils are formed inside the lungs as part of the body’s natural response to chemicals found in many commercial vaping devices. One theory is that vaping these chemicals may impair the immune system, and make people who vape more vulnerable to respiratory distress, they say.
“One of the things we found there is a wide variety some liquids are more toxic than others and we found there is a correlation the more flavors in a liquid the more likely it was to be toxic. But there’s also an incredible diversity of flavors. So in 150 e-liquids we found about 200 different chemical constituents. And so really the flavors e-liquid really are all over the map,” Tarrant said.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation earlier this month has fueled the latter theory.
It found that mice exposed to aerosols of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin – common solvents used in conventional nicotine vaping devices – developed these same fat-clogged immune cells even though they were never exposed to vaping oils. These mice also had impaired immune systems compared to mice exposed to room air.
The study set off alarm bells for Thomas Eissenberg, co-director of the Center for Tobacco Products at Virginia Commonwealth University. For years, doctors have reported isolated cases of pneumonia-like illnesses in people who vaped. In many cases, patients also had these fat-filled immune cells – called lipid-laden macrophages.
Now, these same abnormalities have been found in mice, and in at least some of the people who have fallen ill recently.
They want to help determine is whether these abnormalities have been present for years, and whether they have made vapers generally more vulnerable to severe disease, possibly triggered by some new vaping substance.
The group’s members say they have been in regular contact with officials at the CDC and the National Institutes of Health on how they can best help with the multistate investigation.
They include Tarran, a physiologist and vaping expert at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, and Dr. Peter Shields, a lung cancer specialist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, who has one of the country’s largest sets of lung samples from vapers, smokers and never-smokers.
Investigators at the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have pointed to THC vaping oils or vitamin E, a substance used in some THC products, as a possible cause of these illnesses. But they have not ruled out anything yet, including conventional nicotine liquids.
“So we’ve been able to break some of our studies down to study just the nicotine or the solvent the propane glycol vegetable glycerin. And we’ve been finding changes due to both of these components. So we can help identify things in any liquids which are having these effects and then potentially we could extend these studies and study cannabinoids or the vitamin E oils,” Tarrant said.
CDC pathologists are examining hundreds of lung cell samples gathered from patients in the outbreak. Meanwhile, forensic chemists at the FDA are testing more than 120 products to determine whether there is a common ingredient that may explain the illnesses. (REUTERS)
(Production: Gershon Peaks, Kevin Fogarty, Andrew Hofstetter, Rollo Ross, Temis Tormo)
President Rodrigo Duterte signed on Thursday (July 25) the law imposing higher excise taxes on tobacco products, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea has confirmed.
“To address the urgent need to protect the right to health of the Filipino people and to maintain a broader fiscal space to support the implementation of the Universal Health Care Act, the President has signed into law HB no. 8677/ SB no. 2233 Increasing the Excise Tax on Tabacco Products,” he said in a statement.
Meanwhile, health advocates including the Sin Tax Coalition lauded the signing of the law on increasing tobacco taxes.
“This latest tax increase represents another positive step in protecting more Filipinos from the harmful effects of cigarette smoking,” said Dr. Anthony Leachon, health advocate and former independent director of PhilHealth.
President Rodrigo Duterte will sign the proposed tobacco excise tax law this week according to the Department of Finance (DOF) on Wednesday (July 24).
Finance Undersecretary Karl Chua said the law is ready for signature and it will lapse into law by July 27.
“I was told it would be signed this week because that is a priority measure certified urgent by the President in the previous Congress and mentioned by the President in the SONA (state of the nation address),” he said.
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