Allergies to cigarettes: what is the cause of deadly smoke?

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 01.06.2018

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According to studies conducted around the world, an allergy to cigarettes (that is, tobacco smoke inhaled when smoking ) is the smallest evil that smoking causes to human health.

Harm of cigarettes, as the most popular "source" of nicotine, is not limited to chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and a real threat of oncological diseases of the respiratory system. In the list of the most likely diseases of smokers - osteoporosis, hyperplasia, dysplasia, periodontal disease, pancreas, cardiovascular and reproductive systems.

It has been established experimentally that the ingress of cigarette smoke into the body causes abnormal lipid concentrations in the serum and changes in blood coagulant levels; at the molecular level, changes in DNA and RNA, somatic mutations and chromosomal aberrations occur in the tissues of smokers.

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Causes of allergies to cigarettes: tobacco or chemical components of cigarette smoke?

The contents of cigarettes are tobacco, which, like tomato, potato, eggplant, bleached and proper nightshade, belongs to the Solanum family. Of the three alkaloids of tobacco - anabasin, ornikotina and nicotine - the most famous is nicotine, part of the molecule which is similar to the important neurotransmitter of the central nervous system of man acetylcholine. It is the drop of this alkaloid that the idea should kill the horse ... For a person, nicotine is a potent neuro- and cardiotoxin (ie poison), and for the plant itself - just a protection against harmful insects.

As an allergy to cigarettes is associated with the chemical composition of raw materials for their production, scientists are finding out to this day. Until recently, there was an opinion that the allergy to cigarettes does not have an immune component and, in fact, is a typical allergic reaction to an external stimulus. That is, immune cells (antibodies) do not react to tobacco, and only flavorings added by producers to tobacco products (eg menthol) are capable of causing an allergy to cigarettes. In extreme cases, allergies are provoked by the remnants of insecticides, which are treated by tobacco plantations. Or cigarette paper, which for acceleration of burning is impregnated with ammonium nitrate (ammonium nitrate). In addition, no one knows that it contains "secondary tobacco" - that is, tobacco dust and waste products of tobacco production, which are filled with cheap tobacco ...

In the process of drying and fermentation, the chemical composition of tobacco leaves is approximately the following: nicotine (0.2-4.6%), carbohydrates (1.6-23%), organic di- and tricarboxylic acids (9-16%), proteins (6.4-13%), polyphenides and phenolic glycosides (1.2-7.5%), pectins (10-14%), phenolic glycosides (2-6%), essential oils (up to 1.5%) , resin (2.5-5%).

It is the protein content that is the biochemical basis for the appearance of a real allergy to cigarettes (like pollen or animal hair).

As for cigarette smoke, as a result of pyrolysis (thermal decomposition of organic substances) during smoking, more than 4,000 chemical compounds are formed, of which about 200 are poisonous, 14 are narcotic and 44 are carcinogenic. The gas phase of cigarette smoke contains: nitrogen and its oxides, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide (carbon monoxide), acetaldehyde, methane, hydrogen cyanide (hydrocyanic acid), nitric acid, acetone, ammonia, methanol, specific nitrosamines (acrolein, benzene and benzopyrene ), nitrobenzene, carboxylic acids, phenols, cresols, naphthols, naphthalenes. Among the 76 metals that are found in cigarette smoke, there are nickel, cadmium, arsenic, mercury, lead, strontium, cesium and polonium - in the form of radioactive isotopes.

So what are the causes of allergies to cigarettes? Studies of skin tests with an experimental tobacco allergen have shown that antigens of both tobacco and cigarette smoke are capable of stimulating the body's immune response (i.e., activating T-lymphocytes). They can also increase irritation in those who are generally prone to allergies.

trusted-source[4], [5], [6], [7], [8], [9]

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Allergies to Cigarettes

Symptoms of allergy to cigarettes (including the so-called "passive smoking") are expressed in the development of allergic diseases such as atopic bronchitis, vasomotor rhinitis and dermatitis.

Symptoms of allergies to cigarettes are manifested in the form of irritation of the mucous eyes (redness and tearing), swelling of the nasal mucosa (nose pawns, there is no way to breathe freely, sneezing attacks of sneezing). As a rule, perspiration in the throat and hoarseness, pain in the throat, cough (without sputum) are observed. There may be shortness of breath with wheezing. Itching is not ruled out on the skin and its puffiness.

Diagnosis of allergies to cigarettes includes finding out the patient's complaints and collecting an anamnesis. In domestic allergology, a special test (enzyme immunoassay) regarding the allergy to cigarettes is not available, so the diagnosis is made based on an assessment of the clinical picture of the disease. At the same time, if the measures aimed at complete isolation from contacts with cigarette smoke lead to the disappearance of pathological signs, it becomes obvious unconditional availability of a person's allergy to cigarettes.

Treatment of allergies to cigarettes

Treatment of allergies to cigarettes should be agreed with a doctor who can prescribe anti-allergic (antihistamines) drugs that block histamine H1 receptors and completely remove most of the symptoms of cigarette allergy. Among the most modern preparations of this class are Astemizol and Loratadine.

Astemizole is prescribed for adults and children over 12 years of age - 10 mg once a day (on an empty stomach), children aged 6-12 years - 5 mg in the form of tablets or suspension, up to 6 years - 2 mg for every 10 kg of body weight only in the form of suspension. The maximum duration of treatment is 7 days. Side effects of astemizole: weakness, headache, decreased blood pressure, palpitations, dry mouth, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, drowsiness, in some cases - sleep disorders. Contraindications for this drug - hypersensitivity, pregnancy, breast-feeding and children under 2 years.

Antihistamine drug Loratadin is available in the form of tablets and syrup. The method of its use by adults and children over 12 years old - 1 tablet once a day. Children aged 2-12 years are prescribed with a body weight of up to 30 kg - half a tablet, more than 30 kg - a pill once a day. Children under 2 years of age are prescribed Loratadine syrup. Side-effects are very rare (dry mouth and vomiting). The drug is contraindicated in case of hypersensitivity to its components and during lactation.

For the treatment of allergies to cigarettes in the form of atopic bronchitis - with the aim of arresting coughing attacks and removing the feeling of suffocation - various bronchodilators are used. For example, an aerosol for inhalation Salbutamol (Astalin, Ventolin) is used in a dosage of 2-4 mg to 4 times a day. This drug has a rapid bronchodilator effect, which lasts no less than 4 hours. The drug has contraindications in the form of hypersensitivity to the substances in its composition, the period of pregnancy and childhood up to 4 years. Among the possible side effects are headache, dizziness, edema, urticaria, arterial hypotension, tremor, tachycardia.

Prevention of allergies to cigarettes

The most effective prevention of allergies to cigarettes is to stop inhaling deadly smoke. This is the most radical and, most importantly, healthy step. After all, according to WHO, cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable mortality and one of the major health problems worldwide. During the twentieth century, smoking caused at least 100 million premature deaths.

In this case, the inhalation of smoke by a non-smoker, the so-called "passive smoking", can not only cause an allergy to cigarettes, but also lead to much more serious consequences. The US Environmental Protection Agency claims that lung cancer from "passive smoking" kills about 3,000 Americans annually, and 26,000 people become asthmatic. Children and adolescents are especially at risk of health problems: children living in a family of smokers, lower respiratory tract infections and allergy are detected 6 times more often.

It is important to know!

Pellagra (pelle agra) is a disease that occurs as a result of deficiency in the body of nicotinamide, tryptophan, vitamins belonging to group B. If the clinical manifestations of the disease were first described by the Spanish doctor G. Casal (1735), then the Italian doctor F. Frappoli called the disease pellagra. Read more..

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