Cigarette smoke directly damages muscles in the body

May 24, 2018, The Physiological Society
Cigarette smoke components, whether delivered by inhalation or more directly into the circulation, negatively impact the fatigue resistance of skeletal muscle. Credit: Dr Leonardo Nogueira

Not only is smoking bad for your lungs, but new research shows that components in cigarette smoke directly damages your muscles. The research, published in The Journal of Physiology, indicates that smoking decreases the number of small blood vessels that bring oxygen and nutrients to muscles in the legs.

We know that smoking limits a person's ability to exercise because it makes their muscles weaker. It was widely believed this muscle weakness is because the lungs become inflamed and eventually destroyed by habitual smoking, therefore limiting activity and exercise.

However, the findings of this study suggest that cigarette smoke directly damages muscles by reducing the number of in leg muscles, thereby reducing the amount of oxygen and nutrients they can receive. This can impact metabolism and activity levels, both of which are risk factors for many chronic diseases including chronic (COPD) and diabetes.

The research conducted by the University of California, San Diego in conjunction with Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro and Kochi University, involved exposing mice to smoke from tobacco cigarettes for 8 weeks, either by inhalation or by injecting mice with a solution bubbled with smoke.

The study did not identify which of the approximately 4,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke are responsible for this muscle damage. Identification of the responsible chemicals is a key avenue of further research, along with understanding the process by which they reduce the number of blood vessels.

Ellen Breen, the lead investigator commented on the study:

'It is vitally important that we show people that the use of has harmful consequences throughout the body, including large groups needed for daily living, and develop strategies to stop the damage triggered by the detrimental components of .'

Explore further: Exercise may help protect smokers from inflammation, muscle damage

More information: Leonardo Nogueira et al, Cigarette smoke directly impairs skeletal muscle function through capillary regression and altered myofiber calcium kinetics in mice, The Journal of Physiology (2018). DOI: 10.1113/JP275888

Related Stories

Exercise may help protect smokers from inflammation, muscle damage

November 29, 2017
Regular exercise may protect smokers from some of the negative effects associated with smoking, such as muscle loss and inflammation, according to a new study. The article is published ahead of print in the American Journal ...

Hookah responsible for over half of tobacco smoke inhaled by young smokers

May 17, 2018
Smoking tobacco from a waterpipe, also known as a hookah, accounted for over half of the tobacco smoke volume consumed by young adult hookah and cigarette smokers in the U.S., a new University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine ...

Cannabis use up among parents with children in the home

May 14, 2018
Cannabis use increased among parents who smoke cigarettes, as well as among non-smoking parents, according to a latest study from researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and City University of ...

Smoking may cause inflammatory bowel disease

October 31, 2017
A new study shows a direct effect of cigarette smoke on intestinal inflammation for the first time. Researchers in South Korea report that exposing mice to cigarette smoke results in colitis, an inflammation of the colon ...

Headlines saying 'vaping might cause cancer' are wildly misleading

January 31, 2018
E-cigarettes are in the news again. This time with headlines that they may cause cancer.

E-cigarette use may encourage experimentation with tobacco, study finds

July 27, 2017
Young people who have tried an e-cigarette may be more likely to go on to smoke cigarettes compared with those who have not, a study led by University of Stirling researchers has suggested.

Recommended for you

Adequate consumption of 'longevity' vitamins could prolong healthy aging, nutrition scientist says

October 16, 2018
A detailed new review of nutritional science argues that most American diets are deficient in a key class of vitamins and minerals that play previously unrecognized roles in promoting longevity and in staving off chronic ...

Age at which women experience their first period is linked to their sons' age at puberty

October 12, 2018
The age at which young women experience their first menstrual bleeding is linked to the age at which their sons start puberty, according to the largest study to investigate this association in both sons and daughters.

First ever meta-analysis on Indian lead exposure reveals link to devastating intellectual disability in children

October 12, 2018
New Macquarie University research has revealed the devastating disease burden associated with elevated blood lead levels in India. The results of the first ever meta-analysis of Indian blood lead levels found the burden of ...

The long-term effects of maternal high-fat diets

October 12, 2018
If a mother eats a high-fat diet, this can have a negative effect on the health of her offspring—right down to her great-grandchildren. This is the conclusion drawn by researchers at ETH Zurich from a study with mice.

Sit-stand office desks cut daily sitting time and appear to boost job performance

October 11, 2018
Sit-stand workstations that allow employees to stand, as well as sit, while working on a computer reduce daily sitting time and appear to have a positive impact on job performance and psychological health, finds a trial published ...

Molecular link between body weight, early puberty identified

October 11, 2018
Becoming overweight at a young age can trigger a molecular chain reaction that leads some girls to experience puberty early, according to new research published in Nature Communications.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.