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A pilot study discovered that smoking cigarettes are terrible for you in a new way: it negatively affects your microbiome, the network of bacteria living in and on your body.
Scientists uncovered that smokers had much less diversity within their microbiomes. They found more germs connected to cancer and weak probiotics.
Vapers, Smokers, and Microbiomes
Although vapers can breathe a sigh of relief, for now at least: vapers’ gut microbes are like non-smokers.
Trillions of non-human cells live inside us all, primarily found in the digestive tract. The average person has more non-human cells than human cells, and some researchers think it may change after each “defecation.”
Non-human microbes make up more than half of the human body. But, until recently, no one was sure what their purpose was.
Bacteria Soup: The Microbiome
People usually link bacteria to things like infections that need to be healed, although the microbiome is very different.
These bacteria are a normal part of the body, most likely right from the time you are born, and these bacteria do all kinds of vital tasks, working with (and inside) human organs.
So, when the microbiome is out of alignment with disease or drugs, it may cause many problems, including GI ailments and cancer.
Smoking Harms Healthy Bacteria
Scientists from Newcastle University took gut bacteria samples from smokers, vapers, and non-smokers, to see how cigarettes and vapes affect the microbiome.
This study discovered that smoking cigarettes overwhelm the biodiversity of gut bacteria, which means fewer different kinds of bacteria.
As a result, there are much fewer beneficial probiotics, a deficiency connected to Crohn’s disease. If a person has more Prevotella bacteria, it has been linked to a higher risk of colon cancer.
The good news is that vape users had shown no significant differences in their microbiome compared to non-smokers. This includes most cigarette alternatives in the studies on the health effects of smoking is a giant leap forward as vaping is rapidly rising in popularity, especially for those trying to quit cigarettes.