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WHAT'S NEW  ::  CSM & Microbiology

CSM & Microbiology

August 22, 2017
Did You Know That Cigarettes May Contain as Many Microorganisms as They Do Chemicals?

We've known for quite some time that cigarettes are bad for our health due to the chemicals they contain, many of which have been directly linked to heart conditions and different types of cancer. In fact, most experts agree that there are at least 5,300 chemicals found in cigarettes, most of which are toxic, but it turns out there may be just as many harmful types of bacteria inside cigarettes, too.

Up until relatively recently, most of the research carried out on cigarettes and their health risks has been concerned with the chemicals found in tobacco leaves, but if you really want to understand why cigarettes are so unhealthy, it's important to understand which microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi, are present as well.

More importantly, it's important to know which alternatives to smoking are available so that you can take steps towards leading a healthier lifestyle and minimising the risk of becoming inflicted with deadly diseases later in life.

The most modern alternative to smoking is the e-cigarette, which contains a fraction of the chemicals found in cigarettes. It's also highly likely that electronic cigarettes contain far fewer potentially dangerous microorganisms than their traditional counterpart, though admittedly, more research is required for us to fully understand the long-term effects of e-cigs.

Below, instead of discussing the toxic chemicals in cigarettes, this article details some of the microorganisms in cigarettes that could lead to adverse health conditions. Plus, we also take a look at why e-cigarettes are a healthier alternative so that you can make a lifestyle change that will have a big positive impact.

What Microorganisms Are Found in Cigarettes?

Recent studies have uncovered hundreds of different microorganisms in cigarettes that could lead to health problems, but some of the most notable include the following:

·         Acinetobacter – This microorganism has been closely linked to certain lung and blood infections.

·         Bacillus – Particular types of Bacillus are associated with food poisoning and anthrax.

·         Burkholderia – Certain strains of Burkholderia can result in fatal respiratory infections.

·         Clostridium – This is another bacteria that's been linked to lung infections and illnesses associated with food poisoning.

·         Klebsiella – Apart from being difficult to pronounce, klebsiella can lead to many different types of blood, lung, and other conditions.

·         Pseudomonas aeruginosa – A nasty bacteria that is responsible for approximately one in ten hospital-acquired infections.

The worrying thing about all the microorganisms listed above is that scientists believe they can survive the smoking process, which means they could all make their way into your body and cause chronic illnesses that can adversely affect your quality of life. Worse still, they may be present in the smoke you exhale, making them dangerous for those around you as well as yourself.

Are E-Cigarettes a Healthy Alternative?

Even knowing what types of bacteria are present in cigarettes might not be enough to make you give up nicotine for good. Nicotine is, of course, one of the most addictive chemicals in the world, but thanks to e-cigarettes, you might not have to give up your addiction before you're ready.

E-cigarettes still allow you to get your nicotine fix and maintain the habit of inhaling and exhaling smoke, the main difference being that you breathe in vapour and get nicotine without burning any tobacco leaves. This means that you won’t be exposing yourself to the thousands of harmful chemicals and microorganisms found in cigarettes, and you don't have to expose other people to any toxins because you only exhale water vapour.

On top of the health benefits, e-cigarettes are available in a broad range of flavours and cost much less than the traditional alternative, so if you've been considering making a switch, now might be the time to act on your desires.

Related Links
Carlos J. Finlay UNESCO Prize for Microbiology

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