Is Something in Tobacco Protective Against Parkinson’s Disease?

Is Something in Tobacco Protective Against Parkinson’s Disease?
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The tobacco industry points to dozens of studies purporting to show tobacco use is associated with a lower incidence of Parkinson’s disease.

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The CDC recently celebrated the 50 year anniversary of the landmark 1964 Surgeon General’s report on smoking, considered one of the great public health achievements of our time, the first of 30 other such reports from the Surgeon General on smoking. Internal tobacco industry memos document their response. Major criticisms of the report included a cavalier treatment of the costs of smoking. The Surgeon General argued that smoking costs the U.S. nation billions, but the tobacco industry noted that smoking saves the country money by increasing the number of people dying soon after retirement, so we don’t have to pay for things like social security and Medicare. In fact, if we were truly patriotic, maybe we should be encouraging smoking to help balance the budget.

But they also criticized the Surgeon General for a lack of balance regarding benefits of smoking. One has to search pretty hard to find any concession anywhere in the report that smoking is not all bad, something the tobacco industry liked to bring up when testifying before Congress. Health benefits include “the feeling of well-being, satisfaction, and happiness and everything else.” But beyond just all the happiness the Surgeon General was trying to extinguish, he failed to even mention that smokers appear protected against Parkinson’s disease.

More than 50 studies over the last half century quite unexpectedly showed that tobacco use is associated with a lower incidence of Parkinson’s disease. Now up to more than five dozen studies. Yeah, but smokers are probably dying off before they even have a chance to get Parkinson’s. No, that didn’t seem to be it; they found a protective effect at all ages.

Maybe it’s because smokers tend to be coffee drinkers; we know coffee consumption alone appears protective. But no, the protective effect of smoking remained even after carefully controlling for coffee intake.

Maybe we inherit some propensity to both not smoke and get Parkinson’s. If only we could like clone someone to have the same DNA. We can; they’re called identical twins. And still, the relationship remained, suggesting a true biologic protective effect of cigarette smoking.

Not so fast–maybe finding unusually low rates of Parkinson’s among smokers is an example of reverse causation. Maybe smoking doesn’t protect against Parkinson’s; maybe Parkinson’s protects against smoking. Maybe there’s something about a Parkinson’s brain that makes it easier to quit. Or maybe failure to develop a smoking habit in the first place is an early manifestation of the disease.

To put that to the test, researchers studied children exposed to their parents’ smoke. If they grew up to have less Parkinson’s, that would confirm the link, and indeed they did. So, smoking really does seem to be protective against Parkinson’s disease, but who cares—how does that help us? More than 20 million Americans have died as a result of smoking since that first Surgeon General’s report. Even if we didn’t care about dying from lung cancer and emphysema, even if we just cared about our brain, we still wouldn’t smoke, because smoking is a significant risk factor for having a stroke. So, why do I even bring this up? Unless there was a way we could get the benefits of smoking without the risks through our diet… which we’ll cover next.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to tetiana Kovalenko via 123rf.

The CDC recently celebrated the 50 year anniversary of the landmark 1964 Surgeon General’s report on smoking, considered one of the great public health achievements of our time, the first of 30 other such reports from the Surgeon General on smoking. Internal tobacco industry memos document their response. Major criticisms of the report included a cavalier treatment of the costs of smoking. The Surgeon General argued that smoking costs the U.S. nation billions, but the tobacco industry noted that smoking saves the country money by increasing the number of people dying soon after retirement, so we don’t have to pay for things like social security and Medicare. In fact, if we were truly patriotic, maybe we should be encouraging smoking to help balance the budget.

But they also criticized the Surgeon General for a lack of balance regarding benefits of smoking. One has to search pretty hard to find any concession anywhere in the report that smoking is not all bad, something the tobacco industry liked to bring up when testifying before Congress. Health benefits include “the feeling of well-being, satisfaction, and happiness and everything else.” But beyond just all the happiness the Surgeon General was trying to extinguish, he failed to even mention that smokers appear protected against Parkinson’s disease.

More than 50 studies over the last half century quite unexpectedly showed that tobacco use is associated with a lower incidence of Parkinson’s disease. Now up to more than five dozen studies. Yeah, but smokers are probably dying off before they even have a chance to get Parkinson’s. No, that didn’t seem to be it; they found a protective effect at all ages.

Maybe it’s because smokers tend to be coffee drinkers; we know coffee consumption alone appears protective. But no, the protective effect of smoking remained even after carefully controlling for coffee intake.

Maybe we inherit some propensity to both not smoke and get Parkinson’s. If only we could like clone someone to have the same DNA. We can; they’re called identical twins. And still, the relationship remained, suggesting a true biologic protective effect of cigarette smoking.

Not so fast–maybe finding unusually low rates of Parkinson’s among smokers is an example of reverse causation. Maybe smoking doesn’t protect against Parkinson’s; maybe Parkinson’s protects against smoking. Maybe there’s something about a Parkinson’s brain that makes it easier to quit. Or maybe failure to develop a smoking habit in the first place is an early manifestation of the disease.

To put that to the test, researchers studied children exposed to their parents’ smoke. If they grew up to have less Parkinson’s, that would confirm the link, and indeed they did. So, smoking really does seem to be protective against Parkinson’s disease, but who cares—how does that help us? More than 20 million Americans have died as a result of smoking since that first Surgeon General’s report. Even if we didn’t care about dying from lung cancer and emphysema, even if we just cared about our brain, we still wouldn’t smoke, because smoking is a significant risk factor for having a stroke. So, why do I even bring this up? Unless there was a way we could get the benefits of smoking without the risks through our diet… which we’ll cover next.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to tetiana Kovalenko via 123rf.

Doctor's Note

Isn’t that wild?

What if we just eat vegetables in the same family as tobacco, such as bell peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes? See my Peppers and Parkinson’s: The Benefits of Smoking Without the Risks? video.

Other Parkinson’s videos include Preventing Parkinson’s Disease with Diet and Treating Parkinson’s Disease with Diet.

Diet may play a role in other movement disorders. For example:

Surprised about the potential benefits of coffee? See:

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

91 responses to “Is Something in Tobacco Protective Against Parkinson’s Disease?

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  1. It looks like this page has the wrong video linked in it’s playing- “Should Vegan Women Supplement with DHA During Pregnancy?

      1. Of course I can eat cannabis and benefit; smoking is only one way of bringing this herb into ones body. I also know that epileptics, people with HIV, and those going through chemotherapy feel that growers of cannabis are providing a therapy that is a blessing compared to the current drugs offered for their ailments.

        Cannabis Growers are not the same as Big Tobacco….Yet.

      2. Having used medical cannabis following cancer treatment, I can guarantee you there is a very wide gulf between Big Tobacco and cannabis growers. BIG, WIDE GULF.

        That said, I have to pipe up (pun, of course!) and say that cannabis has been used as medication for thousands of years, and was only made illegal at the behest of an earlier version of Big Pharma less than 100 years ago. Up until the 1920s it was the best treatment available for migraine and several other ailments, and doctors used it freely. When the law made it illegal, the sneaky drug companies had it worded as saying marijuana was illegal. Everybody called it cannabis and didn’t realize they were losing a favored and effective medication. Of course, we didn’t have Google back then.

        There are many ways of ingesting cannabis other than smoking, such as tinctures, salves, edibles, vaping, etc. And yes, you can even derive benefit from juicing it – if you can tolerate the strong taste. However, you have to heat it to activate the THC, so, while eating it offers a huge array of antioxidants and other health-benefitting substances, it won’t make you high.

        1. My brother did too, probably the only good days he had, when we could get it, and so what if he got high, he was otherwise miserable. All plants are amazing pharmacies provided by nature that are so much better than isolated drugs. But…alcohol and tobacco are okay, not hemp and poppies. And why? Because they are so much more lethal or insidious? No, POLITICS that have nothing at all to do with benefit or harm, it’s all about profit and control. Come on Rebecca, we can’t have hemp competing with the profits of petrochemical synthetics or gee, any other plants competing with the vested interests in fields of invaded lands! Where is your patriotism? And have you never seen “Reefer Madness”? Talk about propaganda!

          1. Vege-tater, I can tell from all the way up here in the corner of the country that your tongue is firmly in cheek!

            I eventually went off cannabis because, even though it was considered medical (this was before the days of recreational in our fair state) I couldn’t find anybody who actually made a cannabis medicine with measured doses. Can you imagine going to the drug store to buy aspirin and having to guess at the dose? Or how about a powerful pharmaceutical? NO? One day I’d be out of it, the next probably didn’t get enough. Eventually, one day I woke up so toxic, or stoned, that I spent the next three days in the recliner, barely able to function. I guess my poor liver wasn’t working fast enough!

            At the same time my cousin in California was able to buy a cannabis tincture, where each squirt into her cheek gave a specific dose of both CBD and THC. When I tried her medicine I didn’t feel any psychoactive effects. But of course, our all-wise federal government (which said at that time that cannabis had no medical uses, and at the same time took out a patent on cannabis for medicinal purposes) still doesn’t allow it to cross state lines legally.

            1. Tongue in cheek alright, and not likely to bite it! :P
              Having access to a reliable, (and legal!) supply is only the first step, being able to dose accurately needs to follow for medical purposes and efficacy studies and to help dispel the drivel we were taught about it’s harms.
              Hmm, the crowd I hung with aspired to intentionally waking up “toxic”…wake and bake? I was an outlier, I never appreciated it “recreationally”…I was already a vegetater and didn’t need the munchies either!

              1. Way back in history when I used to enjoy it recreationally it was a much milder form. By the mid 80’s the hyper-bred, hyper-priced name game pot was no longer fun. Too strong and so it is today. I can not handle it and am unwilling to even try the CBD stuff even though medical m is local. So is recreational and it seems that an awful lot of people are jumping on the grow business model wagon. It is amazing who is backing these ventures and it is all about $$$.

        2. Most sociologists have noted that marijuana was only banned when it was associated with poor Mexican immigrants. The real motivation seems to have been xenophobic racism. Hopefully now we are over that and we can look to see where the benefits are. I have read that there is a type of leaf marijuana that doesn’t get you high but is off the charts in terms of healthy antioxidants. I would be interested in that. I hope it doesn’t make you lazy.
          John S

          1. I think the drug companies of that era used the Mexican immigrants, black jazz musicians, etc. as excuses to make cannabis illegal. It worked well for too many things.

            The hemp plant, which is related, makes a lot of CBD and other cannabinoids, but so little THC as to be almost unmeasurable. I does have a lot of antioxidants. However, it is illegal to grow in this country! That’s why hemp seeds, a nice vegan source of protein, are mostly grown in Canada.

              1. As a medical marijuana patient, even though I no longer use it, I can legally grow a few marijuana plants, but hemp, a plant related to marijuana, is still illegal to grow in this country, even though it doesn’t have THC. Again, it was money and politics that brought about that law. Thomas Jefferson and probably just about everybody back in that era, grew hemp, which is used for making rope and many other items. But, even though it is only related to marijuana, and isn’t psychoactive, it is illegal to grow in the US.

        3. Cannabis, the plant, was also used for clothes, sails for sailing boots, ropes and paper (so not only the pharma industry have had an interest to destroy the plant also the big tree companies of Canada after the second world war)… Cannabis was also in nearly every german house before 1945, in the medicine chest – so my grandmother told me.
          The problem by cannabis is (like other plants) it is a cheap plant which is growing nearly anywhere and you don’t need special chemicals. Truly, that’s not fair to the big industry. ;-)

          One thought to the high making of cannabis. What is the most dangerous site of this? People are able to see more, they are able to dream, they are much more easily able to have visions of a good world. But people they are able to dream are dangerous people for the big money – because people they dream have less fear. And if you have less or no fear you are not good under control of any one. That’s a big problem… happy people are not good to influence by bad ideas. :-))

          What kind of world would it be if there would be only happy and healthy people… dreadful thoughts.

          1. oh ok ,so wacky tabaccy makes dreamers, that explains a lot then………must be why they never seem to move forward in life,,,,,just light up another joint and I.ll deal with my problems tomorrow,
            Just because the stuff is easy and cheap to grow does not make it any less a drug. Tobacco is easy and cheap to grow too and it to causes far more problems than it solves.
            Quit being so dam poetic over a dangerous drug.

          2. # ebsen andersen

            I quess you never tried!
            Because setting this big lie (cannabis is soooooo dangerous) on the youth, the big problems with the artificially drugs like exdacy we have now. Kids are curious and they understand the world by testing, they don’t believe all by hearing. And this is the problem with this lie, cannabis is not dangerous, makes not depending (physically). And because this lie on cannabis, some of the kids later try other drugs. And BANG, then the trap snaps!
            Cannabis is dange only because of the ban, because this opened the black market, who nobody knows what is in the little package really in what you buy on the street.
            Look closer at Nederland, Swiss or Belgium – are there big problems with cannabis? Never heard!
            I’m not a dreamer of cannabis, I work with young kids on drugs since years. And believe me, the are much more intelligent then some adults, by not only believe what they are hearing all around.
            Shamanes used drugs for a long time to go in contact with the spirits, people used drugs (in old Germany we used beer with some herbs inside they make you see more then with your eyes)
            I mean, spirit plants belongs to the kingdom of plants and the are made not only for eating, also healing also the soul.
            What about incense, the church use it still today. Have you ever smelt the real incense? I mean this incense what comes right from the tree, not from your store around the block. If you breath deep and you are in silent you can see… not with your eyes.
            I’m not saying all people should take drugs regular. If somebody don’t like this use for him self, ok. But nobody has any right to set prohibit of cannabis for others.
            Beside, a last sentence.
            Alcohol is also a drug, Aspirin is a drug, you can use nutmeg to go one, amphetamine, also Ritalin for kids for example, and what is with the thousands of physicians which use regular drugs to stay awake due the shift ?
            … what about this prohibitation?
            I beliefe, the food and beverages of most western people is much more danger then a single (or two) cake with cannabis inside, lying under a blue sky on the plains and watching the magical clouds… ;-)

            1. Steffen,

              I appreciate your comments.

              I’m also in agreement with jj’s comment. I enjoyed marijuana a few times in the ’70s, but they have bred it to have far too much THC and for me that is not enjoyable.

              Our medical marijuana dispensaries have some medications with less THC and more CBD, but the recreational stores seem to carry only those products very high in THC with little CBD. For healing various things it’s good to have a balance. The two types of outlets are to be combined soon, and I have no idea what will grow out of that merger.

              1. Hi Rebecca,
                that’s realy not good of course. Though, for me it’s also a issue of the ban. If the produktion of cannabis would be legal again and all people they are interested in a healthy usefull plant can make there work – than I bet all this crap will disappear from alone again. Because people are not stupid, may be a little bit slow thinking…
                And may be, you are right in this way, that Americans are different from Europeans – if you would have a closer look on the story of LSD and Albert Hofmann (he died at age 104 in Swiss). In Europe we used the LSD very careful (in the first way only used by physicans for study…), later also the studets and “European Hippis”. I heard your “Hippis” in America mostly used it also with care but I read also there has been people they used it to flee from the life. Natives never used such plants to flee from life only to explore life.
                To make a long story short – What I mean is anybody shout use such plant with responsibility and carefull but without any fear for pursuit or punishment.
                In generally shout people have more self-responsibility… I think. :-)

      1. I thought that. Now I look forward to exciting new dishes that my wife and I create out of seasonal delights. The horseradish is jumping out of the ground. Now that is exciting! Live in the moment

      2. It’s not boring for me. I like feeling good. It’s the ultimate hedonic pleasure.
        I have friends who are struggling with their cholesterol numbers, and I tell them that they should consider doing the un-thinkable meaning that they should go on a WFPB diet. I have had a few taker among my circle of friends and acquaintances, but many more who are taking a pass for the time being.

        1. Pity, indeed. Until the risks of poor diet catch up with us and then we show some motivation, but often, too late to make a difference. We are such humans! Optimistic in the face of challenges, our cognitive dissonance makes it hard to accept that eating animals harms our health (I’m talking about meat eaters, here!). We are funny conflicted beings!

  2. I wonder if coffee is in the same category as smoking, in that its health cost exceeds its proven benefits. I recently took up coffee drinking again for several months because of its liver-protective virtues and correlation with longer life, but the insomnia it gave me seemed to result in a lower overall quality of life. I miss it terribly, but I feel better without the caffeine.

    1. Yeah, I have always preferred tea but I find a cup or two of coffee in he morning is OK as far as insomnia is concerned. Coffee after midday though means I sleep badly.

    2. Milk thistle is protective of the liver, although it’s an unusual food for most people. If you prefer, you can eat the seeds or take it in capsule form. Between that and green tea, you should have the benefits of coffee that you miss.

      1. I had to explain to my husband that that thorny monster in our yard was not a weed, it was milk thistle and he was lucky it was there because it offers so many benefits.He[‘s quit complaining about the dandelion blossoms in his food too. Poor man lives with a crazy woman who walks into the woods to find things to put his breakfast smoothie. He he….

        1. 2tsaybow: re: “thorny weed” I’d like your opinion: I’m contemplating growing a barberry bush since barberries are actually tasty, so healthy, and ridiculously expensive to buy in the store. But I understand that they are thorny bushes. I usually don’t want to grow anything that hurts if I accidentally rub against it. Do you have any advice/thoughts to share on the matter? (FYI: I don’t really grow much of anything. I don’t garden, etc. My ignorance of plants and gardening is great.)

          1. We had these as hedges around the house I grew up in, and yeah, they are spiky but not too obnoxious. Certainly no worse than blackberries or raspberries if you’ve ever gone wilding! They didn’t stop me from eating the berries (nor did the dire warnings from my mom that they were poison)! lol

            1. We have them all over my neighborhood. I live in Portland OR area. YOu don’t have to be a good gardener to grow them. I ‘ve eaten some of the leaves and they’re small but pretty good. Don’t forget to eat the NEW leaves of the Oregon grape plant. Delicious and only available now.
              John S

          2. I don’t know Thea, I looked around and found out that barberries are invasive on the east coast and you could just go out and forage for them if that’s where you live. The plant looks beautiful and it’s apparently easy to grow, but it looks pretty thorny. There are a few species that don’t have thorns and still have flowers and berries and that might be a way of getting around the thorn issue.
            I’m not too good at growing plants myself, but I don’t think I’ve killed the goji berry bush I planted last year. I live in the mountains in the southwest and if the goji survived winter here, it should survive anywhere else in the US.
            Tomatoes and squash are the only garden plants I even try to grow any more.
            Good luck! They are beautiful plants.

            1. 2tsaybow: Thanks for your thoughts! I planted two goji berry bushes last year and managed to kill one for sure and the other isn’t looking so good… It turns out I like the taste of the barberries, but not the taste of goji. That’s why I was thinking of trying the barberry plant this year. I life in the pacific northwest, but I need to keep your thoughts about being invasive in mind. They do sell the plants at the local nurseries. I don’t know if that means anything or not, but I hope it means that they sell varieties that aren’t too invasive. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

        2. Hmmm … there was a famous case here in Australia around about 1999, where a lady attempted to poison her husband by using oleander leaves from the garden in his tea and food. Perhaps your husband is right to be a bit nervous about what you put in his smoothie. But he is probably very well-behaved now.

        3. I pay $25 per pound for dandelion root at the coop. This year I’m going to try some wildcrafting. You see humongous dandelions in the wild here in Minnesota.

      2. Milk thistle? I don’t mind giving it a whirl, but I prefer to get the benefits of coffee from coffee thank you very much… ;-)

    3. The addiction of nicotine is nothing I would wish upon anyone. I never smoked, can’t stand cigarette smoke, but I ATE a lot of tobacco and fought hard to get the nicotine monkey off my back the second time.

      NEVER AGAIN, NOT EVEN if Dr. G tells us that Cigarettes will make us young, sexy, and rich.

  3. I find today’s video bittersweet. Today would have been my Mother’s 92nd birthday. She died 11 years ago, from lung cancer. A lifelong smoker, she quit at age 69 after a stern doctor’s warning following a serious health event. Alas, it was too late for her; she developed emphysema and then a lung tumor. I can attest from watching her die at the relatively young (for her family heredity) age of 81 (her own mother lived to 98!) it was a painful and terrible way to go :-(. As Dr G points out, who cares if smoking is protective against Parkinsons? Who cares, indeed. Not me.

      1. Yes, in a way, a mixed story – my Mother’s addictions inspired me to learn how to help people with some of the same issues, especially regarding food, anxiety, and depression. I think about her all the time, and her struggles and how she used cigarettes to cope with stress. Celebrated by the tobacco industry as a benefit, wouldn’t it have been nice if she had learned to meditate? Or take ten deep breaths with clear lungs! I ran this AM grateful for my own healthy lungs, and the choices I’ve made to keep them so! Thanks for your kindness, I appreciate it!

        1. What a way to build character, but kudos for making positive out of the negative! Smoking was my biggest challenge, so I can sympathize with both of you. I started when it was still “good for you”, and the oft repeated lift was too much of a reward to give up when you are busy being in denial and trying to cope! Sad but true. I never thought I could escape the pull, but vaping made the break doable when nothing else worked. I know a lot of people have negative things to say about them, but other than a battery and small heating element, I made my own fluid so I knew exactly what was in it, (vegetable glycerin, a touch of mint and medical grade nicotine) and the option was a literal life saver for me. Immediately I could breath again, stopped getting colds, the whole gamut. I’m not saying it’s healthy, but sure better than cigarettes and the same basic ingredients in a nicotine patch. Because the nicotine is vaporized there is no need to inhale it into your lungs like cigarettes, it is absorbed, helping to break old patterns in a way that works. It’s been almost five years and I never thought I’d get to the point where I found cigarette smoke disgusting instead of a siren song!

    1. Ditto, Lisa.
      I watched my grandfather die of emphysema – over a 15yr period of time. What suffering! My father also died before his 75th birthday – from lung cancer, heart disease, and other lasting effects of 40 years of cigarettes.
      Statistically, these diseases constitute a statistical ‘likelihood’ of pain and premature death.
      I agree with you, Lisa… Mr. Parkinson, take your best shot.

    1. No, definitely not in the case of my father a filterless smoker for most of his first 40 years-right up until MS diagnosis.

        1. He’s done pretty good for the abuse he has dealt his body. Had a biopsy checkup of the small cancer in his lungs just yesterday. He’s 72 now.

  4. To put some numbers on how bad an idea taking up smoking for Parkinson’s prevention would be, in the U.S. lung cancer is responsible for 7.2 times as many deaths as PD, and COPD 6.3 times as many (1). Its certainly not smoking, per se, that appears protective. Smokeless tobacco use has stronger effects, even in never-smokers (2, 3).

    Nicotine and our own nicotinic receptors haven been the primary target for research (4), but other tobacco/Solanaceae compounds may play a role. Nicotine-free tobacco extracts are protective in a fly model (5) and the MAO inhibitor TMN is protective in mice (6).

  5. Off the point but likely to interest you, there’s a report you may wish to read. Here is a taster and URL:

    http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/news/201603

    A global switch to diets that rely less on meat and more on fruit and vegetables could save up to 8 million lives by 2050, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds, and lead to healthcare-related savings and avoided climate damages of $1.5 trillion (US) , Oxford Martin School researchers have found.

    The study, published today in PNAS, is the first to estimate both the health and climate change impacts of moving towards more plant-based diets for all major world regions.

    “What we eat greatly influences our personal health and the global environment,” says Dr Marco Springmann of the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food, who led the study.

    “Imbalanced diets, such as diets low in fruits and vegetables, and high in red and processed meat, are responsible for the greatest health burden globally and in most regions. At the same time the food system is also responsible for more than a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions, and therefore a major driver of climate change.”

  6. Dr. Greger, you may want to re-visit your coffee-related videos. You recommend filtered coffee to avert added serum cholesterol — perhaps an increase of 10%+ with heavy consumption. However, the filtering process removes compounds like cafestol and kahweol — known anti-inflammatory and anti-angiogenic molecules. Nrf2 activator cafestol has been shown to be neuroprotective against PD. You may want to review the following:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20410106
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21858104

    Personally I would take the french press coffee option and risk the higher serum levels considering they’re not going to be aggravated by animal proteins, since I don’t eat any.

    1. That is interesting. I use a paper filter because, although I eat a WFPB diet my LDL cholestero,l is somewhat elevated. I also eat lots of oatmeal mixed with added oatbran. Sustained vigorous exercise would also help but sports etc bore me witless.

      1. The basic French press steel filter will only remove relatively coarse matter. That is why you normally get sediment and particulates at the bottom of a cup of coffee made this way. That is also why some people use paper filters with French press jugs.

        1. I’m interested in this as well, but MOSTLY I would like research to show that “pressed” coffee is fine and dandy. I use a press, and won’t return to paper because of the increased mess, hassle, and footprint. I grind mine coarse with an antique grinder, maybe that helps. I refuse to purchase “Pre-Ground” coffee as it goes stale too quickly and is ground too finely.

  7. I remember hearing an interview with a researcher years ago say “Good drug. Bad delivery system.” Those words stuck with me and at the time, I was thinking of the patch as being an alternative delivery system. Now I have notice high school students vaping where their cars fill up with vapor to the point it reminds me of a scene from a Cheech and Chong movie. In time we’ll start hearing the ill effects of vaping. And in time, I expect that other drugs will be added to vapor.

    I’m so so grateful of the reduction of second hand smoke. I’m encouraging those around me that smoke to try vaping as a better delivery method for everyone (smokers, first and second hand) but the addiction is so strong that they find this hard. Will this be like methadone where vaping will just take place of smoking instead of weaning of from smoking?

    1. I seriously doubt that vaping will have any connection anti-PD. Vaping is nothing more than battery-powered nicotine juice. When tobacco leaves (sprayed with pesticides) are combusted, a truly dizzying array of compounds are produced via chemical reaction. How tobacco smoking today isn’t banned outright is seriously beyond me. Politicians are the true scum of the earth.

    2. Vaping has some very, very worrisome ingredients and side-effects. Heavy metals are common in vaping. This has been conclusively shown. The vapor they breathe in is also full of chemicals none of us would ever even consider inhaling. And think about all the innocent people now having to breathe in the second-hand vapor (highly toxic). Also know that a lot of these kids and grown ups smoking these electronic devices are using marijuana in the devices instead of the nicotine liquid. We’re talking here about synthetic marijuana (deadly, will destroy your nervous system, brain), as well as other synthetic illegal drugs…….and the general public is now breathing in their second-hand vapor. And a lot of these drugs are odorless – you have no way of knowing that these kids are smoking anything other than nicotine. This is scary. So many innocent people breathing in second hand vapor now.

  8. hmmm could is simply be the nicotine? There seem to be a bunch of brain-protective benefits associated with nicotine. I am a cyclist and I know quite a few competitive cyclists use nicotine as a training aid (not through smoking but patches and sprays) and they tell me all sorts of good stuff.

  9. Now, this is going to sound as if it is ‘offtopic’, but it is not. It is the key to why smoking is good for you – not that i smoke, but I happen to breathe and a lot of people really don’t indulge much in that habit… breathing, that is. When we are in our natural, relaxed state, we breathe fully, freely and deeply. When we are in a state of fear or anger or sorrow, boredom, frustration, etc… we tend to hold our breath. The breath provides a kind and gentle inner massage that soothes and heals. Holding the breath, we also hold in the tensions of the day, stress, fear, anger, and quite literally, dis-ease. When someone is in a state of fear, s/he shakes. Parkinson’s seems to be an expression of fear and tension – and cigarettes give people an excuse to breathe, to relax. See also Louise Hay’s little book, “Heal Your Body”.

    1. That is provocative thought!! That would be a good study! There may be a lot of benefit coming from just those few minutes of focused breathing and relaxation.

  10. My neighbor has just been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and he has been a heavy smoker though all his life…of course this is not a statistics but I think something in the reaserch pro-smoking must be wrong…how can it be beneficial inhaling all that stuff?

  11. Mr. Greger – I look forward to meet you next weekend at the VegMed in Berlin. I have a hint for you – if you have 15 minutes time in Berlin, catch a taxi an tell the taxi driver to bring you to next “DM” drugstore… Why? There you will find your favorite dried mango fruit for a good price, whiteout additional sugar or sulfur, just “BIO-Quality”… ;-)) (I just read it at your book at page 300 )

  12. Medical School to Offer Plant-Based Program

    By Anna Starostinetskaya | April 14, 2016

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    The two-year residency program is designed to teach aspiring doctors about the medical benefits of a plant-based diet.

    Beginning in July, the Maine Medical Center in Portland, ME will offer a two-year residency program focused on plant-based dietary medicine to aspiring doctors. Founded on the principle of preventing disease with diet as opposed to attempting to treat it with prescription medicine, the program will offer a curriculum structured around studies that link plant-based diets and health. “I think we are starting to see a fairly significant grassroots movement where people are realizing there is another path than taking all these medicines,” Barnard Medical Center’s James Loomis said. This program is a step toward educating medical professionals about incorporating plant-based nutrition into their practice, a movement spearheaded by the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine that advocates shifting to a vegan diet as a form of preventive medicine.

  13. Constituents in tobacco are monoamine oxidase inhibitors so protect against Parki9nson’s and help with concentration. Nicotine seems to be the major chemical. Do I hear vaping?

    Nicotine is the major neuroactive compound of tobacco, which has, by itself, weak reinforcing properties. It is known that levels of the enzymes monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) and MAO-B are reduced in the platelets and brains of smokers and that substances, other than nicotine, present in tobacco smoke have MAO-inhibitory activities. Here, we report that inhibition of MAO dramatically and specifically increases the motivation to self-administer nicotine in rats. These effects were more prominent in rats selected for high responsiveness to novelty than in rats with low responsiveness to novelty. The results suggest that the inhibition of MAO activity by compounds present in tobacco smoke may combine with nicotine to produce the intense reinforcing properties of cigarette smoking that lead to addiction”‘ http://www.jneurosci.org/content/25/38/8593.full

  14. It’s very simple.
    PD = premature degeneration of the nigrum or locus niger. Since that is involved in a closed loop with the striatum, which itself can effect the palladum (which inhibits muscle movement), a poorer function of the locus niger entails an overactive striatum which inhibits the palladum, resulting in…muscles shaking.

    One reason seems to be clearly identified.
    Smoking provides CO (carbon monoxide), which binds to hemoglobin better than oxygen and and therefore creates a state of oxygen deprivation. Cells need oxygen to divide, and oxygen deprivation plays a role is slowing down the rate of division. This means a slower “natural” degeneration. People in busy streets in cities also have lower risk of PD than their rural friends, due to the mild hypoxia caused by hydrocarbons from automobile exhausts.

    But it’s silly smoking to slow cell turnover, while stuffing our faces with growth factors and hormone disruptors from meat, dairy and eggs. Plant nutrition, with their naturally more moderate calorie count and absence of growth factors should be the main source of slowing down the rate of aging, rather than using a toxic brake while pressing the accelerator!

    There is a similar startling observation with Alzheimer’s disease, which also involves a protection not only from tobacco but also from alcohol! And again, people recommending moderate drinkign and smoking mean well based on the epidemiology but are completely missing the point. Alcohol is preventive only because it cuts the fat glazing from endothelial cells, and everyone consumes too much fat, the ignored giant monster in the kitchen. The solution is low-fat nutrition, not more alcohol! And plant nutrition / moderate food intake to slow down degeneration rather than smoking or inhaling carbon monoxide!

    If you want to understand why these are reserved to the industrialized countries. It’s humliatingly simple, primarily 1) high fat + 2) other conditions that promote fast degeneration: caloric overload, animal products, etc. Essentially issues of the enveloped world.

  15. There will always be good and bad along with new information in topics such as this. It’s important to keep that in mind and make your own decision about what is best for your life as an individual.

  16. Niacin and CoQ10 has been used to treat Parkinson’s by Dr. Hoffer. Perhaps things similar to this are found in tobacco leaf. The APA did a report on Niacin in the treatment of Schizophrenia based on a study comparing 6 mg to 3 grams in Chronic patients for a very short period of time. There study ended the possibility of using vitamins in modern medicine. I think that is a bright future. Plants, even better.

  17. Dear Dr. Greger, Staff and Volunteers,

    I think this is an appropriate place to leave my question about nicotine replacement therapy. If anyone has a suggestion of where else to post it, I would appreciate that.

    Many former smokers use NRT for years (even decades!) believing that it is not too harmful because of contradictory information. I hope that Dr. Greger is able to set the record straight about what the science says about this issue. Many people I care for have been using the gum for ten or fifteen years! Should they be concerned? How dangerous is NRT?

    Thank you for all the great work you do,
    June

    1. Hello,

      Some of the most commonly reported side effects of some NRT’s are:

      Dizziness
      Skin Irritation (Patches)
      Racing Heartbeat
      Headaches
      Nausea
      Sleep disturbances
      Muscle Aches or Stiffness
      Mouth Sores (Gum)
      Bad Taste

      As you can see, it’s not risk-free but is surely safer than smoking! Since it doesn’t contain the many other dangerous chemicals, just the nicotine, NRT is considered safer.

      Take care,

      Adam P.

  18. Does oral contacts with smokers cause farmful effects? What about being just with them?
    You can smell it that’s stuck to their body, and I wonder if that raises risk of Lung cancer.

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