Forget about cancer. Smoking is now shown to cause pneumonia!
Smoking and drinking affects the body’s defences against infections Smoking on top of drinking alcohol leaves the body wide open to a bug that causes pneumonia, say scientists. They say they have shown for the first time that alcohol impairs an important defence barrier to lung infections, and that smoking intensifies this.
Not to mention that it makes your lungs look like this.
Rats exposed to alcohol and smoke lost movement of cilia – tiny hairs lining the airways that beat rhythmically to waft bugs up and out of the lungs.
The authors’ paper in Alcoholism said the same was probably true in humans.
And then, they get seriously gross.
Researcher Professor Martha Gentry-Nielsen, of Creighton University School of Medicine, said there were several reasons why alcoholics were more susceptible to an infection called streptococcus pneumoniae, which can cause pneumonia.
“They have a decreased gag reflex,” she said. This means it is easier for mucus from the nose and fluid from the gut, such as vomit, to go down into the lung, particularly when they lose consciousness, she said.
“Host defences within the lungs of alcoholics are also compromised, so they are not well equipped to handle the infection once the organisms reach the lungs.”
She said that smoking compounded the problem.
“Smokers are much more likely to be colonised with the organism in their mouths and nasopharynx – the upper part of the nose – than non-smokers.
Organisms = bugs. Yikes.
“Smoking also injures cilia and alters the efficiency of their beating so that bacteria entering the trachea have an increased likelihood of making their way into the lungs.”
Oh, and it KILLS YOU. Duh.
Need I mention that tens of thousands of dollars were spent conducting this study?