Nicotine In Secondhand Smoke Causes Brain Function Changes

Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.  Smokers are up to 6 times more likely than non-smokers to suffer a heart attack. Tobacco is also one of the strongest cancer-causing agents. Up to 90% of lung cancer deaths are attributed to smoking.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 50,000 deaths per year can be attributed to secondhand smoke. A Surgeon General’s Report in 2006 found that secondhand smoke causes heart disease and lung cancer in nonsmoking adults and causes serious health conditions in children, including sudden infant death syndrome, respiratory infections and more severe asthma. Secondhand smoke is reported to be more toxic than mainstream cigarette smoke and causes disease and premature death in children and adults who do not smoke.

Exposure to secondhand smoke affects smoking behavior through effects on the central nervous system. Past studies have shown that young nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke in motor vehicles have an elevated risk of experiencing symptoms of nicotine dependence, that children exposed to secondhand smoke who have higher nicotine intake are more likely to become cigarette smokers as teenagers, and that adult smokers who are exposed to more sources of secondhand smoke are less likely to initiate or maintain abstinence.

A new study has found that secondhand smoke has a direct, measurable impact on the brain similar to what’s seen in the person doing the smoking. The new study suggests that secondhand smoke exposure delivers a priming dose of nicotine to the brain that contributes to continued cigarette use in smokers. Previous research has shown that exposure to secondhand smoke increases the likelihood that children will become teenage smokers and makes it more difficult for adult smokers to quit.

This new study adds fuel to the public policy arguments in support of limiting as much as possible the exposure of adults as well as children to secondhand smoke in motor vehicles and other enclosed areas. In addition, with the present and continuing emphasis our politicians are placing on cutting budgetary spending, of which health care costs are a major factor, limiting our citizens’ exposure to secondhand smoke may have a real long-term positive effect on our economy.

When the negligent treatment of diseases by health care providers cause or contribute to injuries or death, you need to find answers to your medical malpractice questions. Visit our website to find medical malpractice attorneys in your local area to seek help with your medical malpractice claim. Our toll free telephone number is 800-295-3959.

This entry was posted on Saturday, May 21st, 2011 at 1:01 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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