JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Bruno Boston has been smoking since he was 15 years old and now new research from UF and Shands Jacksonville has given him one more reason to quit.
"If any hospital will accomplish it, I think Shands will open the door to this issue," said Boston.
Dr. Michael Haas, Director of Research, said smokers have a lower HDL, or good cholesterol, level than non-smokers. To find out why, he conducted testing and discovered that smoking produces a chemical that inhibits liver cells from making HDL.
"It was a little unexpected," shared Dr. Haas.
The chemical, called benzo(a)pyrene, is not something found in cigarettes themselves.
"It's not an additive that they put in and it leads to this," explained Haas. "This is just when you burn plant matter, this is one of the chemicals that is given off."
Now Dr. Haas believes that smoking is not the only risk factor for low HDL, but also prolonged exposure to smoke from barbeque grills, house fires and wildfires.
"It's not just the firefighters who are involved in that, it's the people downwind of the event who [are] being exposed," Dr. Haas said.
He has been working on applying for grants to expand his research to animal and human trials.
First Coast News