While the health risks of smoking are no longer disputed, researchers are still tracking and studying the effects of tobacco on our health and bodies and working to find ways to help smokers kick the habit. Some very interesting findings have resulted from recent studies.
Smoking “rots” the brain
A study done at King’s College London concluded that smoking is associated with a decline in memory, reasoning and learning. The study involved 8 800 people over the age of 50. Data about their health and lifestyles were collected and brain tests were done to test memory and performance. The tests were repeated after four and again after eight years. The results showed a “consistent association” between smoking and lower scores in the tests.
Cigarette taxes are a deterrent for heavy smokers
New research from the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, USA shows that heavy smokers are more likely to cut back on smoking than lighter smokers when cigarettes are taxed more. The study followed 7 068 smokers over a period of three years. In response to higher taxes, heavier smokers cut back by an average of 35%, in comparison to an average of 15% among lighter smokers.
Fruit and veggies can help smokers quit
Eating more vegetables and fruit could help smokers who are trying to quit stay tobacco-free for longer, a study at the University of Buffalo found. A thousand smokers were tracked over the course of 14 months and questioned about their eating habits. The study found that smokers who consumed the most vegetables and fruit were three times more likely to be tobacco-free for at least 30 days at the time of the follow-up at 14 months. It also found that the smokers with higher consumption of fruit and vegetables smoked fewer cigarettes per day and tended to wait longer for their first cigarette of the day.
Smokers leave a history of their addiction in their DNA
Researchers of the Imperial College London and the Human Genetics Foundation have discovered that smokers leave a history of addiction in their DNA. They have identified a number of sites in the DNA of blood that have been chemically tagged by smoking. These tags could in future be used to measure the increased risk of certain cancers such as breast bowel and lung cancer in smokers.