According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 34.3 million adults in the United States alone currently smoke cigarettes and that more than 16 million live with a smoking-related disease, many of which affect the cardiovascular system.

A new study, conducted by a Rutgers researcher, finds that smoking more than 20 cigarettes a day can damage vision. The research was published in the journal Psychiatry Research.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 34.3 million adults in the United States alone currently smoke cigarettes and that more than 16 million live with a smoking-related disease, many of which affect the cardiovascular system.

The study included 71 healthy people who smoked fewer than 15 cigarettes in their lives and 63 who smoked more than 20 cigarettes a day, which were diagnosed with tobacco addiction and reported no attempts to stop smoking. The participants were between the ages of 25 and 45 and had normal or corrected-to-normal vision as measured by standard visual acuity charts.

Researchers looked at how participants discriminated contrast levels (subtle differences in shading) and colours while seated 59 inches from a 19-inch cathode-ray tube monitor that displayed stimuli while researchers monitored both eyes simultaneously.

Findings indicated significant changes in the smokers’ red-green and blue-yellow colour vision, which suggests that consuming substances with neurotoxic chemicals, such as those in cigarettes, may cause overall colour vision loss.

They also found that the heavy smokers had a reduced ability to discriminate contrasts and colours when compared to the non-smokers.

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