Friday, April 17, 2009

Smoke Puts the Cardiovascular System into Overdrive -- And it's Not Just Cigarettes

Hey, campers, here's something that will really drive you crazy. One of your favorite things, sitting around a campfire getting smoke blown in your face, is terribly unhealthy.

According to a new study from University of Kentucky researchers,second hand tobacco smoke and smoke from cooking oil and wood fires affected cardiovascular function of men and women who were exposed to small doses of the smoke for as little as 10 minutes. It turns out that previous findings are correct -- that second hand tobacco smoke can indeed harm cardiovascular function. But some new information came to light as well. Here are the high points:

1) Cardiovascular responses during brief exposures were similar to those found during longer or higher-level exposures That second hand smoke on a short bus ride can indeed have a negative effect.

2) The response occurs with different types of smoke, whether it be from tobacco, cooking oil or even wood smoke from a campfire.

3) Men respond to tobacco smoke with a greater intensity than do women.

The problem with inhalation of smoke is that the sympathetic nervous system produces the “fight or flight” response in humans, which drives the heart and blood pressure and may cause damage if activated too long. (Women have a different type of response, which makes the problem much more dangerous in men.)

Accumulating evidence indicates that an increase in air pollution is associated with an increase in heart attacks and deaths. Researchers say that many of these pollutants, including that which originates from tobacco and cooking oil smoke, contain fine particles that evoke responses from heart and blood vessels indicating effects on their function.

The study found that exposure to smoke changed breathing patterns, raised blood pressure oscillations in peripheral arteries and changed heart rates. The sympathetic nervous system becomes active during times of stress, but can cause harm to the heart and blood vessels if activated too often or too long.


4 comments: said...

Would you please post the citation to the article/study? This post is being referenced in other groups and it's important for everyday behavioral choices.
I've seen quite a bit on the the effects of particulates on heart rate, blood pressure, and inflammation of blood vessels, but this is quite interesting as applied prevention.
I'll go check pubmed (NLM-Nat. LIbrary of Med) right now, but a pointer would be useful.

Dave Jensen said...


This information came from the University of Kentucky, Donna Krupa in their press office. Contact me by email if you need her mail address or phone.


Dave Jensen said...
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Dave Jensen said...

Autonomic Responses of Men and Women to Particulate Exposures
Joyce McClendon Evans1, Abhijit Patwardhan2, Roger Jenkins4, Ralph Ilgner5, Eric Hartman6, Ashwin Jayanthi3, Charles Knapp2. 1
Center for Biomedical Engineering, 2Biomedical Engineering, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, 3,University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, 4Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Bozeman, MT, 5
Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN, 6 customKYnetics, Versailles, KY

Nonsmokers have demonstrated harmful (decreased heart rate variability) cardiovascular = effects when seated in smoking, compared to non smoking, waiting rooms (Pope, 2001), but this
study did not control for gender, environmental effects, or exposure to other particulates. We studied 40 (21 w, 19 m) volunteers exposed to 4 aerosols: 3 particulates, environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), cooking oil fumes (Coil), wood smoke
(WS), and a nonparticulate, water vapor (Sham). Exposures were conducted in a controlled environmental chamber. Each subject was tested on 3 days and results averaged. Results Sympathetic control of heart rate (Lo/Hi frequency spectral power RRI), was greater in men than women, for ETS and Coil, compared to WS and Sham. Sympathetic control of vasomotion (LF spectral power of systolic pressure (LFSAP)), increased across particulate, not sham, exposures, peaking in recovery. At breathing frequency, men’s LFSAP doubled after 10 min ETS exposure. Conclusions Exposures to particulates increased sympathetic control of heart rate and peripheral vasomotion, with a greater response in men than women during ETS and Coil. In controlled conditions, autonomic activity in non smoking men and women exposed to low level, short term particulate concentrations (this study) were similar to longer term, higher level exposures to ETS and to direct smoking.