Smoking Addiction depends on the Skin Color

Published on September 17th, 2009 07:22
Cigarettes color skin

Pennsylvania - A recent study found that the smoking addiction depends on the color of smokers’ skin. That’s why scientists decided to investigate the link between nicotine and melanin.

The sentence “Smoking is bad for your health”, was reported by the US Surgeon General forty-five years ago. And this message has positive effects, because over 40 percent of Americans smoked then but now only about 20 percent do.

Dr. Gary King from Pennsylvania State University studied nicotine, the extremely addictive stimulant that makes people crave cigarettes, and melanin, any of a group of black or dark brown pigments present in the hair, skin, and eyes. At the end of the investigation he found a connection between skin and nicotine.

According to Dr. King, the melanin is strongly tempted to nicotine, and the way it works is when the cigarette is lighting up, because the tobacco and all the chemicals are created when it burns into the mouth, into the lungs and the rest of the organs, including the biggest organ skin.

“Skin does react like every other organ in the body to nicotine and the other 4,000 chemicals that are consumed when one actually smokes. And that binding process in and of itself may lead to greater dependence,” said Dr. King.

This research once again showed that inhaling thousands of chemicals is not a good idea, and it is particularly bad for people with dark, melanin-rich skin. That’s because melanin grabs and suspends on to the nicotine.

Greater addiction means it’s much harder for darker skinned people to kick the habit. Statistics show that white smokers on average are 15 percent better at quitting than blacks, even though whites typically smoke about five more cigarettes a day.

Nicotine doesn’t remain in the body for a continued period of time, which is one reason why smokers momently have to reinforce their supply. The suggestion is that it does remain in their body much longer for African Americans than white Americans. African Americans typically smoke fewer cigarettes than Caucasian Americans and some other groups but yet still the dependence rate is much higher,” explained Dr. King.

The Dr. King’s next step is to study dark and light skinned people all over the world. His findings are based on a pretty small numbers of smokers, 150 subjects, all of whom are African American. The study targeted African Americans for their widest range of melanin concentration. Scientists concluded that higher concentrations of melanin may be placing darker pigmented smokers at increased susceptibility to nicotine dependence and tobacco-related carcinogens than lighter skinned smokers.


Related tags: smoking addiction | smoker | nicotine | smoke | cigarette | tobacco

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