Another reason to quit cigarettes on No Smoking Day
Today is No Smoking Day and new research suggests smoking is not only bad for the lungs and heart, it can also damage your hearing.
No Smoking Day started out in 1984 and has grown in size and scope since then. It is celebrated in communities across the world trying to educate more people every year.
Each year there is a new short theme that can be used in advertising and media to help get the word out. One that many may remember was used in 2010 was “Break free”. This theme was used with images of broken cigarettes encouraging smokers to try to break the chains of tobacco addiction.
Why is it so important to have a day set aside for this? Over the last few decades, it has become very clear how terribly dangerous smoking is.
Today results of a study of more than 50,000 participants showed an increased risk of hearing loss among current smokers compared with people who had never smoked.
Smoking led to an increased risk of hearing loss that ranged from 20% to 60%.
Researchers analysed data from annual health check ups which included hearing testing and a life-style questionnaire.
The impact of smoking remained even after adjusting for factors that may have affected the results, such as exposure to occupational noise.
Lead scientist Dr Huanhuan Hu, from the National Centre for Global Health and Medicine in Japan, said: "With a large sample size, long follow-up period, and objective assessment of hearing loss, our study provides strong evidence that smoking is an independent risk factor of hearing loss.
"These results provide strong evidence to support that smoking is a causal factor for hearing loss and emphasise the need for tobacco control to prevent or delay the development of hearing loss."
Smoking appeared to affect the ability to hear both high and low frequency sounds, but the association with high frequency loss was greater, said the scientists.
The findings appear in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research.