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  #1  
Old 08-30-2003, 03:14 AM
eoin eoin is offline
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Positive effects of smoking cigarettes

In America, and I presume most of the world, there are heavy campaigns and propaganda against smoking tobacco and therefore, the negative effects of cigarettes are pretty obvious and well-known. Well my question is what, if any, are the positive effects of smoking that the government and anti-tobacco organizations don't tell us. I mean, there's got to be something more than the propaganda machine known as D.A.R.E. is telling our kids, right? Are there any scientific studies to back up the claims that smoking cigarettes relieves stress (besides by providing a nicotine fix to those addicted) or the claim that they help settle the stomach?

I'm curious as to whether smoking cigarettes in moderation (perhaps only one, or a few a week) would have ANY benefits compared to a regular (addicted) smoker's benefits?

Thanks in advance for any help and info.

Eoin
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  #2  
Old 08-30-2003, 03:18 AM
friedo friedo is offline
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Well, if you do it right, it makes you look like John Wayne.
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  #3  
Old 08-30-2003, 05:14 AM
dnooman dnooman is offline
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The benefits of smoking tobacco are similar to that of lighting other weeds on fire and putting them in your mouth, none! Inhaling burning gas from toxic weeds has long been a pastime for the mentally challenged, and it actually invigorates the body.

Flaming detritus has always been a staple of the respiratory system, nicotene is a helpfull addition to the "family of inhalable goodness".
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  #4  
Old 08-30-2003, 05:40 AM
jjimm jjimm is offline
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There have been a few reports that smoking can prevent the onset of Parkinson's disease and dementia. Of course another interpretation may be that smokers never live long enough to get them, both of them being largely geriatric diseases...

jjimm (pack a day)
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  #5  
Old 08-30-2003, 05:42 AM
sailor sailor is offline
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too much is bad for you. Paging Doctor Tobacco
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  #6  
Old 08-30-2003, 05:44 AM
Ludicrous Ludicrous is offline
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Yeah, you should start smoking when your a senior citizen. It's good at removing the plaque that casues Alzhemier's

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/2994304.stm
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  #7  
Old 08-30-2003, 07:34 AM
Hari Seldon Hari Seldon is offline
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I believe that nicotine is a stimulant that may make you think more clearly and does depress apetite to a certain extent. AFAIK, that's about it, but there are less harmful drugs that do those things, such as caffeine. Fewer smokers live long enough to get Alzheimer's.
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  #8  
Old 08-30-2003, 08:21 AM
effac3d effac3d is offline
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If you're smoking outdoors in the summertime the smoke is good at keeping mosquitoes away from you.

But again there are safer alternatives.
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  #9  
Old 08-30-2003, 08:22 AM
Squink Squink is offline
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Nicotine is a dopamine blocker. That makes it a useful drug in helping control some illnesses: Scientists Find Link for Smoking, Schizophrenia. This likely explains why the antidepressant Wellbutrin (AKA Zyban) decreases nicotine cravings.
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  #10  
Old 08-30-2003, 08:35 AM
Annie-Xmas Annie-Xmas is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by jjimm
There have been a few reports that smoking can prevent the onset of Parkinson's disease and dementia. Of course another interpretation may be that smokers never live long enough to get them, both of them being largely geriatric diseases...

jjimm (pack a day)
Parkinson's disease? Try selling that to heavy smoker Michael J. Fox.
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  #11  
Old 08-30-2003, 08:54 AM
Turpentine Turpentine is offline
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I saw a show on TDC that pointed out how many people with Tourette's smoked cigarettes. I can't remember the number or percentage, but I think it was a lot.

Nobody knew why, but the show suspected it was self-medication. It seemed to help with the tics and such. Of course their meds were meant to do the same thing, but the Tourette's people liked smoking anyway.
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  #12  
Old 08-30-2003, 09:24 AM
Digital Stimulus Digital Stimulus is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Annie-Xmas
Parkinson's disease? Try selling that to heavy smoker Michael J. Fox.
Surely you recognize the fallacious nature of your statement. Not only an argument by anecdote, but an appeal to celebrity. All in 10 words.

My great aunt was in a car accident where the seatbelt tore through her stomach lining. Does that mean seat belts are bad? Conversely, I have avoided an accident on my motorcycle because I was not wearing a helmet (which allowed me to see more of the periphery). Does that mean not wearing a helmet is good?

Let me say that I'm in no way claiming that cigarettes have an overall positive effect, even though I smoke. Just that any particular anecdote proves nothing.

So as not to hijack this, I did read somewhere recently that nicotine improves a person's memory and that drug companies were attempting to produce a chemical analogue without nicotine's detrimental effects. (Sorry, no citation.)

Kramer
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  #13  
Old 08-30-2003, 09:31 AM
spingears spingears is offline
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It makes money for:
1. Tobacco farmers, a nearly extinct breed in US.
2. Cigarette companies.
3. The dental and allied suppliers of whitening products.
4. Advertising companies.

You shell out your hard earned (I hope) money for a product that benefits you zilch, nada, zip, etc. and causes cancer, loss of appetite, disgust from others, etc.

Why smoke?
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  #14  
Old 08-30-2003, 09:54 AM
Annie-Xmas Annie-Xmas is offline
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Also:

5. Mouthwash, gum, breath spray companies.
6. Fire Departments.
7. Lighter companies.
8. Heart and lung and other medical specialists.

I guess smoking DOES benefit the economy.
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  #15  
Old 08-30-2003, 09:58 AM
trabi trabi is offline
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Quote:
Inhaling burning gas from toxic weeds has long been a pastime for the mentally challenged
dnooman, are you implying that there's a specific mental defect that causes people to smoke, or are you just being a sanctimonious prick?
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  #16  
Old 08-30-2003, 10:08 AM
Rayne Man Rayne Man is offline
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One strange effect , here in the UK at least ,is that some insurance companies that offer pension annuities will give a higher pension to smokers .The thinking behind this is that the smokers do not live so long and so the overall payment will be less than to a non smoker who might live for another ten years. So enjoy your higher pension while you can.
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  #17  
Old 08-30-2003, 10:13 AM
sarcophilus sarcophilus is offline
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I heard on a TV show, whose name eludes me, that smoking would be a great deep breathing exercise; were it not for the nicotine and other miscellaneous debris.
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  #18  
Old 08-30-2003, 10:32 AM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is online now
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Nicotine has a few uses. It may be beneficial in treating the symptoms of certain bowel diseases, like Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn's Disease. Whether it slows the progression of these disease, or prevents their development, is not at all clear.

Nicotine may also be helpful to improve alertness in early dementia. But its effect is mild and the beneficial effects soon wear off as the disease progresses.

Nicotine is also found to be a calmative for many schizophrenics. Its exact mechanism of benefit, and its role in treatment remains to be determined.

So nicotine as a drug may have some appropriate uses. But delivering the drug to the system via smoking tobacco is the completely wrong delivery system for this medication. Delivering it in this manner creates a hundredfold more problems than the one or two diseases that nicotine is being deployed to help fight.

So, if you need nicotine for a bona fide medical disorder, get it via the patch, or gum, or nasal spray. Smoking tobacco to get nicotine's "beneficial" effects is not an effective thing to do.

QtM, MD
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  #19  
Old 08-30-2003, 12:25 PM
Ring Ring is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hari Seldon
Fewer smokers live long enough to get Alzheimer's.
To me that would seem to be one very real benefit.
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  #20  
Old 08-30-2003, 12:44 PM
Fretful Porpentine Fretful Porpentine is online now
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Well, it does help repel Puritans, although there are other vices that work almost as well and are no doubt better for you.
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  #21  
Old 08-30-2003, 12:56 PM
Illiniwek Illiniwek is offline
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Smokers often can do really cool things with a zippo.
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  #22  
Old 08-30-2003, 01:14 PM
bibliophage bibliophage is offline
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Cecil Adams on Does smoking have any health benefits?
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  #23  
Old 08-30-2003, 01:17 PM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is offline
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Come on, guys. The OP asked for benefits of smoking. We don't need yet another litany of the hazards.

The fact is, smoking offers clear benefits. If it didn't, people wouldn't smoke. I'm not a smoker, so I don't know what it feels like. But smokers who I've talked to say it helps focus the mind and calm them down.

It used to be a cliche that engineers and writers would judge their work by how many cigarette butts are in the ashtray.

I have noticed that the rise in ADD cases seems to correlate with reduction in smoking. The treatment for ADD is to take stimulants. Smoking is a stimulant. Might it be that smoking is a way to self-medicate ADD symptoms? Loss of concentrationn, inability to focus, etc.

Smoking is a nearly univeral vice. American Indians smoked. Tribes in Africa smoke. Aborigines smoke. Clearly, they gain some benefit from it.
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  #24  
Old 08-30-2003, 06:49 PM
N9IWP N9IWP is online now
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Well, smoking shortens life expectancy and therefore keeps Social Security afloat longer...

I think the effects are too slow to impact population growth.

Brian
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  #25  
Old 08-30-2003, 07:06 PM
ruadh ruadh is offline
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My allergies are often worse when I'm not smoking and I also suffer from more colds. I'm sure this is due to something like my sinuses now being more sensitive rather than completely clogged up from the smoke, but it is a short term positive effect anyway.
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  #26  
Old 08-30-2003, 08:05 PM
Gorsnak Gorsnak is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Qadgop the Mercotan
Nicotine has a few uses. It may be beneficial in treating the symptoms of certain bowel diseases, like Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn's Disease. Whether it slows the progression of these disease, or prevents their development, is not at all clear.
Huh. That I did not know. I think I'll stick with the Asacol, though, if it's all the same to everyone else.

Quote:
Originally posted by Sam Stone
Smoking is a nearly univeral vice. American Indians smoked. Tribes in Africa smoke. Aborigines smoke. Clearly, they gain some benefit from it.
Why should we think that the prevalence of smoking indicates any benefit beyond that of staving off withdrawal symptoms?

Anyways, the benefit of smoking is obvious. It makes a person coooool.
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  #27  
Old 08-30-2003, 09:51 PM
mrsface mrsface is offline
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BBC story on Nicotine and Alzheimer's study:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/2994304.stm
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  #28  
Old 08-30-2003, 10:10 PM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is offline
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Quote:
Why should we think that the prevalence of smoking indicates any benefit beyond that of staving off withdrawal symptoms?
Why do they start?
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  #29  
Old 08-30-2003, 10:48 PM
Gorsnak Gorsnak is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sam Stone
Why do they start?
Well, why do people start? I don't know about other times and places, but right now, I think it's plenty obvious that people don't start smoking because there are benefits to be had from smoking itself, or even because they think that there are benefits to be had from smoking, but rather that there are social benefits that accrue due to being a smoker in some circles. Do you think there's any evidence that it's otherwise?
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  #30  
Old 08-31-2003, 03:16 AM
hyjyljyj hyjyljyj is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sam Stone
The fact is, smoking offers clear benefits. If it didn't, people wouldn't smoke.
<former smoker>

Using this sort of logic, rape also offers clear benefits. If it didn't, people wouldn't rape. Same with dog-kicking, polluting the environment... Injecting heroin also offers the clear benefits of quelling withdrawal symptoms AND fattening the wallets of dealers and organized crime syndicates, etc. The point is that in no case do the so-called benefits begin to have any real meaning or importance in light of the overwhelming and uniformly negative results stacked up against them.

One of these results often is dying long before one otherwise would, prompting some not particularly scientific minds to praise the apparent benefit of exempting cigarette smokers from living long enough to be burdened with geriatric illnesses such as Alzheimer's. Essentially, "At least if I'm dead, I can't be sick." Using this line of reasoning, we ought to humanely spare our offspring the challenges of facing any illnesses at all in life by simply euthanizing them--the younger the better, of course. Should you be unfortunate enough to have parents not blessed with such insight or enough love or courage to carry it out, you can always do the right thing immediately--you owe it to yourself--using any of a variety of methods much faster and cheaper than decades of deliberate, methodical poisoning whilst giving off a socially repellent foul stench, followed by years of debilitating conditions like emphysema (imagine hungering for air constantly, never feeling you can catch your breath, a grey-skinned invalid hacking up brownish gobs of goo from your one remaining lung). But hey, it beats not remembering your name.

The relaxation that occurs simultaneously with smoking can be attributed to its accompanying deep-breathing exercise. One of the best ways to relax the body and mind has been known for thousands of years to be taking in a deep breath, holding it for a few seconds, then releasing it slowly, and repeating. These just happen to be movements nearly identical to those associated with cigarette smoking, only not as cool.

For addicted smokers (avg. age started: 16) the real relaxation is, as the OP noted, the relief of withdrawal symptoms by satisfying cravings for the addictive chemical nicotine. Props go to the OP for being so optimistic as to seek the silver lining in the act of accepting virtually certain illness and early death as tolerable consequences of a pubescent decision made while trying not to look uncool to certain teenagers.
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  #31  
Old 08-31-2003, 05:33 AM
madcat madcat is offline
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I walk & bike frequently & pick up empty Marlboro packs discarded by smokers.The UPCs are redeemable for stuff & UPS just delivered 2 positive benefits of smoking to me yesterday-a Viper pool cue & a Coleman sleeping bag. My BIL's birthday gifts courtesy of the herd o' nicotine suckers.
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  #32  
Old 08-31-2003, 08:36 AM
Susanann Susanann is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Annie-Xmas
Parkinson's disease? Try selling that to heavy smoker Michael J. Fox.
How do you know he smokes?
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  #33  
Old 08-31-2003, 08:39 AM
Squink Squink is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sam Stone
Come on, guys. The OP asked for benefits of smoking. We don't need yet another litany of the hazards.

-Why do they start?
Nicotine as a performance enhancer? -Research results are spotty
Quote:
Many researchers commonly name cognitive enhancement as one of the reasons smokers continue to smoke. However, the jury is still out on whether nicotine really does enhance cognitive performance.
Nicotine can be used to treat children with Tourette Syndrome and patients with Alzheimer's or Parkinson's Disease
Possible Benefit of Nicotine for Parkinson Patients with Impaired Attention Span
nicotine stimulates growth of new blood vessels, helps with chronic pain
nicotine patch is effective in reducing the symptoms of ulcerative colitis
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  #34  
Old 08-31-2003, 01:06 PM
hyjyljyj hyjyljyj is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by madcat
I walk & bike frequently & pick up empty Marlboro packs discarded by smokers.The UPCs are redeemable for stuff & UPS just delivered 2 positive benefits of smoking to me yesterday-a Viper pool cue & a Coleman sleeping bag. My BIL's birthday gifts courtesy of the herd o' nicotine suckers.
Bravo! Even though these things are not really positive benefits of smoking the cigarettes, bravo and well done all the same. (Obviously the difference between you and a mad cat is that you are not mad.)
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  #35  
Old 09-02-2003, 08:36 AM
Annie-Xmas Annie-Xmas is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Susanann
How do you know he smokes?
According to his entry in People Almanac, he's a heavy smoker who asks not to be photographed smoking so he won't set a negative example for his fans. I've also heard that from someone who met him. He got Parkinson's disease at a very early age for the disease.
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  #36  
Old 09-02-2003, 09:37 AM
Dogface Dogface is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by jjimm
There have been a few reports that smoking can prevent the onset of Parkinson's disease and dementia. Of course another interpretation may be that smokers never live long enough to get them, both of them being largely geriatric diseases
The studies that measure Parkinson's and Alzeimer's risks and concluded that nicotine seems to reduce risk were not "whole population". Instead, they looked at the folks who managed to survive to those ages and compared risk.

Of course, that still doesn't mean that other tobacco-related risks wouldn't be greater on a "whole life" basis than the reduction in dementia diseases.
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  #37  
Old 09-02-2003, 09:40 AM
Dogface Dogface is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Annie-Xmas
According to his entry in People Almanac, he's a heavy smoker who asks not to be photographed smoking so he won't set a negative example for his fans. I've also heard that from someone who met him. He got Parkinson's disease at a very early age for the disease.
How about a little real science to fight some dimwitted anecdotalism?

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/q...&dopt=Abstract
http://bmj.com/cgi/content/full/326/7389/561

I realize that cultists will dismiss it, but the science is solid. That being said, there are probably far safer ways to get nicotine than using cigarettes.
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  #38  
Old 09-02-2003, 10:11 AM
astro astro is offline
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Smoking cigarettes gives me a lift!

It helps my golf game.

It keeps my nerves healthy .

Even Lou Gehrig agrees. "Even Lou Gehrig agrees. "

And smoking cigarettes will help me bag that tiger I always wanted!
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  #39  
Old 09-02-2003, 11:17 AM
Dogface Dogface is offline
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Typical response of a cultist. I cite real science. The cultist throws up a bunch of absurd historical curiousities to somehow discredit the real science by association.

I thought SD was to dispel ignorance, not maintain it.
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  #40  
Old 09-02-2003, 11:31 AM
BMalion BMalion is online now
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Hey bud, gotta' match?
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  #41  
Old 09-02-2003, 03:28 PM
Bromley Bromley is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Qadgop the Mercotan
Nicotine has a few uses. It may be beneficial in treating the symptoms of certain bowel diseases, like Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn's Disease. Whether it slows the progression of these disease, or prevents their development, is not at all clear. QtM, MD
I don't think the Crohn's part is right. I remember researching Crohn's/UC when my brother's Crohn's flared up a couple of years ago. The consensus seemed to be that it was good for UC but was actually a trigger for Crohn's in your average Caucasian[*]. Spooky, because he got his first symptom the day after his first cigarette.

Anyway, no cite, but the submission by Anonymous in the Cecil article supports this and the data that Cecil reviewed mentions UC but not Crohn's.
[*] I know, but there really did seem to be a difference in the disease between traditional races.
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  #42  
Old 09-02-2003, 04:51 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is online now
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Quote:
Originally posted by Turpentine
I saw a show on TDC that pointed out how many people with Tourette's smoked cigarettes. I can't remember the number or percentage, but I think it was a lot.
F**K YOU, A**HOLE!!
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  #43  
Old 09-02-2003, 06:31 PM
Apoptosis Apoptosis is offline
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Hey Bromley,

You are correct, and Qadgop the Mercotan is wrong. All too often, UC and Crohn's get lumped together as "IBD." This downplays the significant differences between the two diseases.

Interesting link.

-Apoptosis
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  #44  
Old 09-02-2003, 06:51 PM
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor is offline
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Qadgop the Mercotan is a licensed and practising physician.
__________________
"The rich have become richer and the poor have become poorer, and the vessel of state is driven between anarchy and despotism."
~~~~(Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1821)
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  #45  
Old 09-02-2003, 07:10 PM
Xema Xema is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by spingears
It makes money for:
1. Tobacco farmers, a nearly extinct breed in US.
2. Cigarette companies.
3. The dental and allied suppliers of whitening products.
4. Advertising companies.
And tax revenues from smokers exceed the money made by all the above.
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  #46  
Old 09-02-2003, 08:06 PM
moriah moriah is offline
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Well, it does keep the kind of people who think smoking is cool, not harmful, and not damned inconsiderate quiet for a moment or two.
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  #47  
Old 09-02-2003, 09:12 PM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is online now
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
Qadgop the Mercotan is a licensed and practising physician.
True, I am. But I can still be wrong.

There is conflicting data about nicotine and Crohn's disease. Some studies indicate it may help, others indicate it doesn't help, still others indicate it may aggravate the condition. Statistically speaking, there's more evidence it harms rather than helps. But not a conclusive amount.

Which is why I said may be beneficial in my initial reply. We lack definitive answers.

My original point stands. Nicotine may be useful for certain medical conditions. But delivering it to the body via smoking is a terribly bad way to take it.
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  #48  
Old 09-02-2003, 11:10 PM
Apoptosia Apoptosia is offline
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Yes - but it is commonly taught and most research indicates an association between non-smoking and UC and smoking with Crohn's disease There is also evidence that smoking has a negative effect on the course of CD, whereas it 'may' have a positive or protective effect on UC. How useful these observations are in terms of therapeutic strategies is unclear.

It is only an assumption that it is the 'nicotine' is the causal agent, this has not been proven.

And yes Apop number 2 - you are right - the differences between the two conditions are often underplayed.

Apop
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  #49  
Old 09-03-2003, 02:19 AM
Apoptosis Apoptosis is offline
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Hey Qadgop the Mercotan,
Quote:
Which is why I said may be beneficial in my initial reply. We lack definitive answers.
Agreed. There is also evidence to suggest that cigarette smoke may aggravate UC. However, the bulk of the evidence suggests that smoking is beneficial for UC patients and detrimental for CD patients. I found the link I posted above to be fairly persuasive.

Apoptosia,
Quote:
It is only an assumption that it is the 'nicotine' is the causal agent, this has not been proven.
Nicotine may not be the only component in cigarette smoke to modulate IBD. However, nicotine has been shown to directly affect UC.

Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor,
Quote:
Qadgop the Mercotan is a licensed and practising physician.
I'm afraid your point has sailed over my head. With absolutely no disrespect to Qadgop the Mercotan, I am probably more familiar with the molecular pathology of UC and CD than he is.

-Apoptosis
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  #50  
Old 09-03-2003, 09:13 AM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is online now
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Quote:
Originally posted by Apoptosis
With absolutely no disrespect to Qadgop the Mercotan, I am probably more familiar with the molecular pathology of UC and CD than he is.
I would certainly expect so! While I am aware of the principles of programmed cell death, my depth of knowledge about it rivals that of a shallow mud puddle. My knowledge of it is about as clear as said puddle also!

But my original point remains: Smoking is a STUPID way to get nicotine, even if one needs nicotine.
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