They say smoking is injurious to health, but a new study has revealed that cigarettes can protect from allergies.
The research team from Utrecht University in the Netherlands has shown that cigarette smoke can prevent allergies by decreasing the reaction of immune cells to allergens.
It decreases the allergic response by inhibiting the activity of mast cells, the major players in the immune system's response to allergens.
The researchers also found that treatment of mast cells with a cigarette smoke-infused solution prevented the release of inflammation-inducing proteins in response to allergens, without affecting other mast cell immune functions.
In the study, the researchers had derived the mast cells from mice, but it is likely that the same anti-allergy effect will hold true in humans.
While taking up smoking to cure allergies is unwise, Neil Thomson, a leading expert in the field of respiratory medicine concludes that the findings presented in this study are "consistent with a dampening of allergic responses in smokers."