Benefits to smoking?

Benefits to smoking?

Well, let's hit right off the bat with a most controversial of topics! Smoking.

I  first started when I was 16 all those many moons ago. I loved it! There  was nothing I enjoyed more than relaxing with a "cigarette" after a  good days skateboarding. It chilled me out and gave me time to reflect  upon the day's session. It quickly became a part of my life, as it does  with most people I suppose, it been oh so addictive and bad for us...  Who doesn't like things that are bad for us?

I'm not  going to go too much into the wonders of tobacco and smoking yet. I  would, however, like to give a little overview of some beneficial  effects of smoking. I guess it's the start of my objective jaunt into  the world. So we are all well aware of the negative effects of tobacco  smoking, so I won't list them here but how does it fair towards possibly  having a benefit?

1. Lower Risk of need for knee-replacements

According  to an Australian study done in 2012 Men who smoked were at less risk of  Total Joint Replacement (TJR) surgery. Their conclusions strongly  implicated smoking as a protective factor for TJR. They also suggested  this relates to experimental data that nicotine promotes proliferation  and collagen synthesis in chondrocytes. I've however yet to look into  that as I've no idea what chondrocytes actually are!

2. Weight Loss

One  of the more well-known benefits of tobacco smoking or nicotine, in  general, is the suppression of the bodies appetite and overall desire to  eat for brief periods of time. In lab tests on mice, nicotine was shown  to affect the hypothalamus which is directly in control of things like  thirst, hunger, sleep and mood so it's not really surprising it acts as  an appetite suppressant.

3. Anti-Inflammatory

Been  carcinogenic this shocked me quite a bit upon reading some of the  information surrounding it. I thought carcinogenic things lead to  inflammation but no, not nicotine! It has an anti-inflammatory effect in  the cells of both nervous system and immune system. Nicotine binds to  a7 nAChr which activates a system known as the 'cholinergic  anti-inflammatory pathway', which is responsible for decreasing  inflammation in the body. Making nicotine actually anti-inflammatory.

4. Anti-Depressant

Smoking  may actually affect the brain similar to the way some anti-depressants  work. This is purported to work via Mono amine oxidase inhibitors or  MAOI. MAOI was developed by pharmaceutical companies in the late 1950's  as anti-depressants. Monoamine oxidases (MAO's) are enzymes in the body  responsible for degrading neurotransmitters such as Noradrenaline,  Serotonin and Dopamine. MAOI's are chemicals that inhibit the action of  these enzymes. Funnily enough, these MAOI's have been shown to naturally  occur in tobacco smoke. Numerous studies have demonstrated that smokers  have lower levels of both types of MAO's (A and B), so it would suggest  that smoking acts as a natural anti-depressant.

5. Live Longer?

I'm  not suggesting it's a benefit as heck smokers die just as young as  anyone else statistically. However, some of the worlds oldest survivors  have smoked throughout their lives. Some even suggest it as a secret to  their good health. I find this utterly amazing with the amount of  information against tobacco, you would have thought if it was so bad  that no smoker would live very long. Bravo to each and every one of  these people.

Jose Agnuinelo dos Santos - A  Brazilian Man whose parents were African slaves. Born on July 7th, 1888.  Joe smoked a pack of cigarettes every single day for the past 50 years.

Winnie Langley - Dubbed Britain's oldest smoker born in Croydon in 1907. Winnie sadly  passed away at the ripe old age of 102 but continued smoking up until  that end.

Sek Yi - Martial arts expert who is believed to be born in 1881. Died in his  sleep at the ripe old age of 122 according to his relatives. No  confirmation on his age has been made from what I could find.

Mme Jeanne Calment - Listed as the world's oldest human whose birth date could be  certified, died at the age of 122. There is a quote from Jeanne that I  absolutely love which she told to her doctor: "Once you've lived as long  as me, only then can you tell me not to smoke." According to reports,  she stopped smoking around 117 but still a long lived smoker!

So  there you have a very small start to the benefits of tobacco. I just  want to add I am not suggesting anything by this article and It is  certainly not medical advice either. It's interesting stuff though, and I  hope to get more into the nitty gritty of the subject of tobacco in  future articles as it's a subject I find interesting. The psychology  surrounding it even more so. Anyway, all for a future post and thank you  for taking the time to read.