Science long ago indicted tobacco smoke for causing multiple diseases. But scientist could not explain exactly how the harms were caused. Today, there are increasing insights into the cellular mechanisms at work. This September 2, 2010 article from ScienceDaily summarizes a September 2, 2010 article from Science, one of the world”s best professional journals for science.
The bottom line ? One of the many ways that tobacco smoke causes harm appears to be by inhibiting cellular level lung functions that seek to clear hazardous proteins that are triggered by the body’s efforts to fend off other harmful aspects of smoking. Said more technically, it appears to inhibit an enzyme that helps to clear neutrophils that are summoned by the body to clear infections.
One has to ask: why do world governments continue to allow smoking ? The answer of course is: money in the form of sales tax revenue. In the US, that bond was tightened by the tobacco settlement. And, in the US, the tobacco industry also created the process of seeking federal immunity from civil liability. That absurd outcome is surely one of the world’s best examples of an industry externalizing the financial and human costs of its miserable actions. Happily, the same result was not obtained all around the globe.