5 Amazing Benefits of Smoking That You Should Know
Yes... you’re probably raising your eyebrows and rolling your eyes at the same time. We get it. Smoking has been demonized for ages—and with good reason. But in this post, we will tackle things from a different angle, covering all the aspects, including harms and how smoking might actually benefit you.
Despite all the smear campaigns against smoking and the introduction of safer alternatives like vaping and e-cigarettes (available on Big Daddy Smoke), smoking remains a global phenomenon.
So, before you judge this blog by the title, read it until the end to get the full picture.
Smoking May Offer Protection Against Parkinson’s Disease
The smokers who don’t succumb to things like heart attack, cancer, and emphysema are thought to be at higher risk of developing Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in later years of life. Yet, surprisingly, many studies, including this one, noted that smokers are actually at a lowered risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
Basically, what happens in Parkinson’s disease is that the dopamine-generating neurons in the brain start to die and degenerate slowly. However, nicotine appears to actually protect those neurons; at least, that’s the way it was observed on rodents. The clinical studies for nicotine usage to treat this disease are underway, but doctors do not suggest using nicotine, at least not yet.
This observation was first made by Harold Khan, an epidemiologist in the 1960s, when he noticed that the smokers who had served in the US military were less likely to develop PD compared to non-smokers, even though smokers’ risk of emphysema and cancer was ten times higher.
The Interesting Relationship Between the Low Risk of Obesity and Smoking
Cigarettes have long been known to have appetite-suppressing effects (due to the presence of nicotine). In fact, the majority of users will vouch for smoking’s effect on weight loss. People do tend to eat less when they consume nicotine in the form of smoking.
This appetite-suppressing effect is probably why smokers generally have a lower body weight compared to those who never smoke. This is probably why most people tend to gain weight after quitting smoking.
However, the paradox is (as per many studies) that heavy smokers—meaning those who smoked multiple cigarettes a day—had a greater body weight gain compared to light smokers.
To simplify this, those who smoked over the weekend or with their friends were likely to reduce weight compared to those who smoked 40 sticks a day.
While there are no studies to explain this paradoxical nature of smoking’s effect on weight, it is believed that those who smoked heavily to stay alert were engaging in less physical activity, followed a poor diet, and maintained a relatively unhealthy lifestyle. That's the only way to explain why smoking too many cigarettes would actually increase one's weight.
Smoking and Lowered Risk of Knee-Replacement Surgery
Another unique relationship is that between regular smoking and knee replacement surgery. While the smokers do blow a lot of money on packs of cigarettes, this appears to be one weird aspect in which they could save money in later years of life.
New studies have shed light on the fact that men who smoked regularly were less likely to undergo joint replacement surgery compared to those who never smoked. The University of Adelaide ran a July issue in their journal on Arthritis and Rheumatism talking about this relationship. But, what could be the connection?
It appears that knee-replacement was common among obese people and regular joggers. Since smokers generally maintained a relatively inactive lifestyle and rarely jogged, this could be why they were less likely to need this surgery. Combining all aspects from age, exercise, and weight, researchers were thrown for a loop to explain this interestingly protective effect that smoking had on osteoporosis. Again, the only explanation is to chalk it up to the nicotine present in tobacco that may protect deterioration of joint cartilage.
Smoking Links to Lowered Risk of Death After a Heart Attack
It seems that people who smoked regularly and have had heart attacks responded better to all kinds of therapies meant to clean the arteries and remove plaque. They responded better than those who had heart attacks but never smoked. Smokers responded better to methods like angioplasty, which is meant to remove plaque via the insertion of stent or balloons in the artery, and fibrinolytic therapy, a kind of medication.
However, there's a catch. It seems the reason why smokers have a heart attack in the first place is because of the scarred arteries caused by smoking. This allows for the plaque and the fat to deposit easily in the first place. One of the theories to establish this weird connection between a quick recovery after a heart attack and smoking is that since smokers may have had heart attacks earlier in life than non-smokers (which means they are still relatively younger), their bodies may respond better and heal faster than a non-smoker, who, by comparison, may be older.
Smoking Exacerbates Crohn’s Disease, But May Help with Ulcerative Colitis.
While smoking may generally be bad for health, those suffering from IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) do experience some relief from smoking. Both Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are types of IBDs. This is interesting because smoking tends to exacerbate Crohn’s Disease but offers relief from UC.
Look at this medical abstract, which talks about this in-depth. It appears that, over the years, smokers tend to have worse Crohn’s disease. However, UC is worse in patients who were ex-smokers.
Cigarette smokers tend to have worse flares of Crohn’s than non-smokers did. That is why most doctors would encourage quitting smoking to relieve the symptoms of this disease. However, when ex-smokers suffering from UC resorted to tobacco, they suddenly experienced relief from their symptoms. That's something to think about and surely an interesting aspect of the effects of smoking on health.
These paradoxical observations on the effects of smoking on human health do tend to catch attention. And while most of it largely remains a mystery, it's definitely something to think about.
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