Healthy Living

The Surprising Relationship Between Smoking and Ulcerative Colitis

The culprit: Nicotine

Cigarettes are filled with thousands of chemicals. The most common chemical that everyone is familiar with is nicotine. It is found in a lot of plants, but the one we associate with cigarettes is the tobacco plant. Nicotine is also a chemical that is used as a pesticide. That is a reminder that not everything that comes from a plant is necessarily good. Its consumption can affect many parts of the body, particularly the heart and gastrointestinal systems. It’s hard to imagine why anyone would smoke especially knowing about all the negative effects. The main reason is probably the fact that nicotine is known to be as addictive as heroin and just as difficult to quit. As a smoker’s tolerance builds to nicotine, they require more and more to reach the desired effects of satisfaction. Someone who starts smoking a couple cigarettes a day can quickly find themselves smoking an entire pack a day. The addictive properties of nicotine are evident. It is the reason that even most lung cancer patients continue to smoke after diagnosis.

So, if nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes have unfavorable effects on the human body, how is it possible to link it to positive medical effects? Well, the evidence is clear that nicotine impacts the progression of ulcerative colitis. It has been called a disease of people who don’t smoke and of those who formerly did. This means current smokers are least at risk of developing ulcerative colitis. Some physicians have resorted to using nicotine patches as a treatment of the condition. This practice has been going on for years, but the science end of it still remained unclear, until now.