Sunday, June 10, 2012

There Are Benefits to Smoking

Though tobacco smoking has been relegated to the list of seemingly politically incorrect things to do, due, of course, to actual risks associated with smoking, there are benefits to being a smoker.

When the plague was ravaging England, in the 1600s, there was ancedotal evidence that tobacconists, and the individuals who collected the plague dead who were smokers, were less likely to succumb to the plague.

“For personal disinfections nothing enjoyed such favour as tobacco; the belief in it was widespread, and even children were made to light up a reaf in pipes. Thomas Hearnes remembers one Tom Rogers telling him that when he was a scholar at Eton in the year that the great plague raged, all the boys smoked in school by order, and that he was never whipped so much in his life as he was one morning for not smoking. It was long afterwards a tradition that none who kept a tobacconist shop in London had the plague.” A J Bell writing in about 1700.

In 2004, in a post I titled Smoking Therapy Paradox, I noted that smoking seemed to benefit individuals who recently had undergone an angioplasty procedure.

“In an unusual paradox, smoking cigarettes-a deadly habit that contributes to the development of peripheral artery disease-actually helps arteries stay open following a procedure to repair clogged blood vessels in the legs, according to a study in the June issue of Radiology. The study found that habitual to heavy smokers who continued to smoke after angioplasty had a lower rate of restenosis, or re-narrowing of the arteries, than nonsmokers.”

Today I read that smoking may also play a positive role in preventing Parkinson’s, in a post by Leslie Bard titled Long-Term Smokers Have Reduced Risk of Parkinson’s.

But smoking may still have at least one advantage: protection against the development of Parkinson’s disease. A large-scale study published in Wednesday’s online edition of the journal Neurology further bolsters the connection and concludes that the longer you smoke, the less likely you are to develop the illness.

Leslie has the entire article posted at her blog, but here’s another article on the subject, titled Tobacco virus may help prevent Parkinson’s, researchers say.

Time for a cigar.

Posted by John Venlet on 06/10 at 09:54 AM
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