Smoking has healthy benefit

It was after reading an article about pre-eclampsia in the New Yorker Magazine (July 24, 2006, by Jerome Groopman) that I realized tobacco should remain available and affordable to the public. Please do not vote for any additional tax on tobacco.

Pre-eclampsia is a grave disease of pregnancy that causes hypertension, edema, convulsions, blindness, coma, even death. Dr. Ananth Karumanchi conducted research showing that a particular protein called, "soluble fit" is responsible for pre-eclampsia. "Soluble fit is a protein that acts like glue, binding to other proteins in the blood," the article stated. Because of its sticky, clumping action, soluble fit also damages blood vessels. Soluble fit somehow enables a fetus to obtain more nutrients but endangers the mother. The news of such a protein that clumps other proteins together in the blood must've got cardiologists and oncologists jumping up from their chairs.

Interestingly, pregnant women who smoke do not get pre-eclampsia. (The New Yorker article mentioned this in passing, probably because citing tobacco benefits is politically incorrect.) Apparently, nicotine dissolves soluble fit or in some way prevents its sticky clumping action. Women who smoke tend to have smaller birth weight babies, but now we might see this not a side effect of tobacco use but as the result of thwarted pre-eclampsia.

I believe the information brings a whole new view of tobacco to light. It could very well be that tobacco does not at all cause disease, but that people already prone to lump and clot diseases are naturally drawn to nicotine in self-medication. For example, not when people tend to light up a cigarette &

after a full meal, after a stressful situation, after a vigorous activity, etc: Those are the exact same instances when people tend to have heart attack or stroke. A "nicotine fit" may in fact be the body's hypertensive signal that immediate blood clump-dissolving action is required. Actual dangers might exist in high heat ionization of toxic metal, ceramic and plastics of ashtrays.

Look at the outlandish price of nicotine chewing gum or the nicotine patch, which, for years were available only via doctor's prescription. After reading Goodman's article, I wished I had money to invest in tobacco companies. I wondered if some big tobacco companies might've secretly wooed a huge politically incorrect public attitude toward tobacco, even corporately suing themselves as part of a careful plan towards creating medicinal nicotine and selling it to drug companies for bigger profits.

Patti Morey

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