Kissing is the second most common form of physical intimacy among United States adolescents (after holding hands), and that about 85% of 15 to 16-year-old adolescents in the US have experienced it. Kissing another person’s lips has become a common expression of affection in many cultures worldwide.
Being stereotype, its our nature to classify each and everything thing around us. So as “Kissing” into First Kiss, Last Kiss, Best Kiss and Worst Kiss and so on. Well, I am not going to talk about formers and the later “Worst Kiss”. Smokers tops the list, with explanation like “…tasted like ashtray” ..”smells like s**t” and so on. Apart from smell, taste and experience, kissing a smoker can also be co-related with (Harry Potter Frame) Dementor’s Kiss.
People who smoke are also prime candidates for carrying the potentially fatal meningococcus bacteria in the back of their throats.
Meningococcal disease describes infections caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis (also termed meningococcus). It carries a high mortality rate if untreated. While best known as a cause of meningitis, widespread blood infection (sepsis) is more damaging and dangerous. Meningitis and Meningococcemia are major causes of illness, death, and disability in both developed and under developed countries worldwide.
While Meningococcal disease is not as contagious as the common cold (which is spread through casual contact), it can be transmitted through saliva and occasionally through close, prolonged general contact with an infected person. The bacteria can be passed to children through “normal family cuddles and kisses”
Prof. Robert Booy, from National Centre for Immunisation and Research at Sydney’s The Children’s Hospital at Westmead who’s research focused upon the spread of meningococcal disease highlighted the fact that, “Smokers carry more germs like meningococcus, so normal family cuddles and kisses can pass on dangerous germs, even if smokers only smoke outside.”
Researcch suggest that, many parents who smoked went outside to indulge their habit and this would reduce a child’s risk of passive smoking-related middle ear infection and asthma, or even Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. But smoking outside did not reduce the increased threat posed by meningococcus.
Although its rare, meningococcal disease can be serious and up to 10% of patients can die. The symptoms of meningococcal disease may include a sudden onset of fever, severe headache, weakness, drowsiness, confusion or coma, sore legs or sore joints, nausea and vomiting, a dislike of bright lights, a stiff neck and a rash of red-purple spots.
This is another good reason for smokers to quit, not just smoke outside.
Halpern CT, Joyner K, Udry JR, & Suchindran C (2000). Smart teens don’t have sex (or kiss much either). The Journal of adolescent health : official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine, 26 (3), 213-25 PMID: 10706169
Rashid H, & Booy R (2012). Passive smoking, invasive meningococcal disease and preventive measures: a commentary. BMC medicine, 10 PMID: 23228079
Coen PG, Tully J, Stuart JM, Ashby D, Viner RM, & Booy R (2006). Is it exposure to cigarette smoke or to smokers which increases the risk of meningococcal disease in teenagers? International journal of epidemiology, 35 (2), 330-6 PMID: 16394119
So what evidence shows kissing increases one’s risk of meningococcal infection?
Vivek Misra says
Kissing a “smoker” increases the risk of getting the infection, as they are more prone to carry germs in their throat.
Dr manjeet sharma says
This must reach the departments of STDs in most countries including India. More than anything else, I was worried about the recent smooch trend in indian cinema. Obviously, western habits are aped here on celluloid which affects youngsters the most vulnerable section of society.
De sharma MK
Could you please cite the evidence that “smokers have more germs in their throat”? Furthermore, the evidence that this translates specifically to carrying more meningococcus?
Vivek Misra says
If you go through reference 2 and 3 along with http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/12/1062. I think you will get your evidence.
As a RN, I am inclined to mention statistics… double blind study etc or what STATS if any exist. However, as a professional I do propose help for smokers and smokers that are desperately seeking help? Love is contagious and promotes long life. .Proper mental health requires love, happiness and physical touch etc. Use vigorous dental hygiene practices including teeth scaling, tongue scrapers and definitely a disinfectant mouthwash frequently. Smokers and non-smokers please.