Here is yet another reason to kick the butt. Nicotine prevents short-lived white blood cells from neutralising bacteria and thus exposes smokers to a host of infections, a new study has found.
In a first, the study looks at the mechanisms at work when nicotine is present during cell differentiation of these white blood cells - called neutrophils-generated by the bone marrow.
The study, by University of Louisville researchers, found that impaired neutrophil function partially explained a tobacco user's susceptibility to bacterial infection and inflammatory diseases.
Findings of the new study have been published in the open access journal BMC Cell Biology.
A better understanding of this relationship could pave the way for specific strategies to treat a number of important tobacco-associated inflammatory diseases and conditions.