One less hazard on the road to giving up

 作者:谷梁弃抻     |      日期:2019-03-08 01:12:00
By Robert Adler IF YOU give up smoking when No Smoking Day comes round again, here’s some good news. While you’re more likely to have an accident at work, you’re no more disaster-prone than usual behind the wheel of your car. Heavy smokers typically start to feel edgy and have trouble concentrating within a few hours of their last dose of nicotine. Last year, Andrew Waters of the Institute of Psychiatry’s National Addiction Centre in London wondered if these withdrawal symptoms would make people more accident-prone on Britain’s annual No Smoking Day, the second Wednesday of March. To find out, Waters combed 10 years of industrial health and safety records. He found that the number of falls, lifting injuries and other accidents causing three or more days of disability increased on No Smoking Day compared to the preceding or following Wednesdays (This Week, 11 July 1998, p 22). Waters suggested that nicotine-deprived drivers might be similarly afflicted. This prompted Jackie Knowles, a statistician at the Transport Research Laboratory in Crowthorne, Berkshire, to review 10 years of daily government records of crashes in which people were injured. But she has found no significant difference between the number of crashes on No Smoking Day and on the Wednesdays before and after (Nature, vol 394, p 137). Jeremy Broughton, who worked with Knowles on the traffic study, concludes that No Smoking Day has no effect on traffic accidents. “You can’t find it,” he says. Waters still thinks there may be an increase in accidents, but that it is difficult to measure. Factors such as the weather may swamp the smaller effects of nicotine withdrawal, he says. And at work, irritability and inattention can take their toll over the entire day,