Study: Germs found in tobacco can cause diseases

 LOS ANGELES, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) — Cigarettes are contaminated with germs that can cause a variety of diseases, according to a new study.

    The study by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Public Health said smokers can inhale germs than can cause respiratory diseases, lung and blood infections, and food borne illnesses.

    The study, which appeared in the December issue of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, looked for germs in four brands of cigarettes: Camel, Kool Filter Kings, Lucky Strike Original Red and Marlboro Reds.

    Previous research looked at specific types of germs, while the new study was all-encompassing.

    It is still unclear that how many of the germs can survive the heating process of smoking, the study said. It is possible, then, that many germs might be able to enter a person’s lungs because only the tip of a cigarette is extremely hot, potentially allowing germs located elsewhere to stay cooler, said study lead author Amy R. Sapkota.

    It is clear that smokers have higher levels of bacteria in their respiratory tracts and higher rates of bacterial infection, she said.

    But it is too early to tell if the germs make smokers sick or are even harmful to people who breathe in smoke, she added.

    “No one has ever looked to see if the cigarettes themselves could be a source of those bacterial infection,” she said.

    “Right now, we’ve just taken the first step to identify what’s there. Now we need to figure out if they are impacting human health,” Sapkota said.


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