Introduction: The present study was conducted to assess the association between smoking, dietary intake of antioxidants and plasma indices of oxidative stress and antioxidant defences in male smokers (cigarette and bidi smokers).
Methods: The study sample consisted of 100 healthy men, including 50 non-smokers and 50 smokers, who were subclassified into 25 cigarette smokers and 25 bidi smokers, aged 18-55 years. Erythrocyte superoxide dismutase and plasma ascorbic acid were measured as antioxidants and erythrocyte malondialdehyde as an oxidative stress index, by colorimetric methods.
Results: Smokers ate less fruits and vegetables than non-smokers, leading to them having a lower antioxidant level. Erythrocyte superoxide dismutase was significantly lower in cigarette smokers (0.193 U/mgP, p-value is less than 0.05) and bidi smokers (0.169 U/mgP, p-value is less than 0.001) as compared to non-smokers (0.231 U/mgP). Plasma ascorbic acid was also significantly lower in cigarette smokers (1.45 mg/100 ml, p-value is less than 0.05) as well as in bidi smokers (1.38 mg/100 ml, p-value is less than 0.001) as compared to non-smokers (1.73 mg/100 ml). There was a significant increase in erythrocyte malondialdehyde concentration levels in cigarette smokers (171.47 micromol/gHb, p-value is less than 0.05) as well as in bidi smokers (231.04 micromol/gHb, p-value is less than 0.001) as compared to non-smokers (127.30 micromol/gHb).
Conclusion: These results provide enough evidence of increased oxidative stress and a compromised antioxidant defence system in smokers, and they are more profound in bidi smokers than in those smoking cigarettes. This study also revealed that the diet and nutrient intake of smokers are different from that of non-smokers.