New Link: Asthma and Obesity

OK, all you smokers out there (are there any?).  A new study has revealed that quitting smoking leads to higher wages.

According to The Wall Street Journal, "Former smokers earn higher wages than smokers and people who have never smoked, according to new research."

Whjy?

Data in the report shows that nonsmokers, which include people who never smoked, and former smokers, "bring in about 95% of the hourly wages of former smokers."

Smokers earn about 80% of what nonsmokers and former smokers earn, the survey notes.  Is it because of a lack of productivity?  You know, all those poor souls standing out in the cold with their noxious clouds of fumes you have to walk through to get to your building.   The study did not find this.

"They determined that differences in the characteristics of smokers and nonsmokers, such as educational attainment, as well as unmeasured factors like an employer’s tolerance to smoking behavior are mostly driving the wage gap," the WSJ's Khadeeja Safdar writes. "They noted that education level was the highest contributing variable."

According to the study, nonsmokers tend to be more educated, are less likely to have spouses who smoke and live in states where cigarette prices are higher than smokers, Safdar points out.

Another disturbing link between smoking and disease now includes asthma.  A story at newswise.com reports that "genes linked to chronic inflammation in asthma may be more active in people who are obese, according to new research that uncovers several biological ties between obesity and asthma."

As someone who developed asthma late in life, it's a terrifying disorder.  When you're having an attack, it's like all the air has been sucked out around you and you feel like you're dying (and  sometimes, you are).  

Four genes associated with "chronic inflammation in asthma were more active in obese and morbidly obese people, by more than 100 percent in some cases," the story says.  The highest activity, not surprisingly, was found in the morbidly obese.

Now, I'm not obese and I suspect I always had the tendency to develop asthma (my mother and sister had it), but it would make sense that anything swelling your lungs like inflammation could make it very hard to breathe.  Not to mention all that weight crushing you down.

Asthma is something nobody wants.  It's crippling, disabling and potentially fatal.

But the answer is simple (or maybe not so).  Lose weight.  I suppose if it were that easy, we'd all  look like Guiliana Rancic.  Heaven forbid.


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