For many people,
smoking is a way of life, a personal trademark, and a
sign of sophistication. When the smoke clears,
however, the downside of smoking becomes a glaring
reality, proving that it is an addiction, the
which deserve serious consideration.
A brief history
Smoking has been around for a long time, its usage
being documented over 8,000 years ago. Its
cultivation likely began in 5000 BC in Central
Mexico. It was originally used by Native Americans in
religious ceremonies and for medicine, since it was
regarded as a cure-all for dressing wounds and
reducing pain, especially for toothaches. Allowing
for its revered properties, Christopher Columbus was
given tobacco as a gift from the Native Americans in
the late 15th century which he promptly introduced to
Europeans where it gained instant popularity for its
healing powers, being promoted as a necessary daily
dose for maintaining optimum health.
Cigarettes were first
introduced in the United States in the early 19th
century. Before this, tobacco was used primarily in
pipes and cigars, by chewing, and in snuff. By the
time of the Civil War, cigarette use had become more
popular. A Federal tax was first imposed on
cigarettes in 1864. Shortly afterwards, the cigarette
manufacturing industry was born, catapulting
cigarettes into being a major U.S. tobacco product.
Despite the growing
popularity of smoking, scientists and philosophers in
the early 17th century began discovering the
consequences of smoking tobacco, namely difficulty
with breathing and trouble with quitting. In 1632,
Massachusetts passed a state law making smoking in
public illegal. This was the earliest legislation
recorded regarding smoking. In 1760 Pierre Lorillard
established the first company that processed tobacco
to make cigars and snuff. Today, 200 years later, P.
Lorillard is the oldest tobacco company in U.S.
history. As tobacco usage continued to grow,
scientists began to study and further understand the
chemicals in tobacco and its harmful health effects.
It wasnt until
the 1900s that cigarettes were made and sold as
a major tobacco product in the U.S. In 1901, 3.5
billion cigarettes were sold in the U.S. and more and
more tobacco companies were established, creating an
entire industry that to this day enjoys immense
influence and power.
Why people smoke
pressure- wanting to 'fit in' with
friends and family; seen as a means of
acceptance in certain social circles
influence- growing up in a home
where smoking is an acceptable behavior. A
parent who smokes raises the likelihood that
children will adopt the same parental
influence- television, newspapers, and
more recently, the internet are powerful
tools that play a significant role in
portraying the image of a smoker. Media
influence is sensory-directed, appealing most
often to the emotional weaknessess of those
factors- If one or both parents
smoke, it is likely that their offspring will
smoke. This tendency is the consequence of
factors- smoking is considered a
'stress reliever.' Greater stress levels
often increase frequency of smoking.
the list above reflects the most common reasons that
people begin smoking, it is important to note that
other reasons exist. More often than not, smoking is
connected with behavioral problems, i.e.
stubbornness, rebellion, pride, low esteem, etc.
These character traits are especially prevalent in
young people who have yet to develop a value system
that is not tainted by worldly influences.
Nevertheless, such a profile is not limited to young
people, since many adults suffer inferior personal
values. This being said, smoking is often regarded as
a means of escape, albeit a 'leg-up-and-out' of
otherwise unmanageable problems.
SMOKING: Promoting the product
The success of any product usually
depends on advertising, i.e. selling the product to
the consumer. In this regard tobacco products are no
different than promoting cars, refrigerators, garden
and tractor supplies, etc. However, tobacco companies
along with their advertisers have proven that they
present their product with a slant that is both
intentional and deceptive by a tactic that is called 'image
making.' In an effort to promote their products,
tobacco companies along with their advertisers, thus
create 'smoke screens' to sell their products,
equating the merits of smoking with the age-old lure
of romance, sex, adventure, professional success,
beauty, and more. For many decades ad campaigns appeared
throughout the media. Their popularity was so
successful that advertisers expanded their outreach
by employing endorsements from Hollywood celebrities,
sports figures, politicians, and respected
professionals. It did not take long for cigarettes to
make their way into movies where gangster-types, war
heros, private investigators, love-stricken men and
women, etc. were shown with cigarettes in hand or
hanging from their lips.
- Over 6 trillion
cigarettes are made each year worldwide. That
is enough for every man, woman, and child on
the planet to have 1,000 cigarettes each. 6
trillion cigarettes are enough to fill the
Empire State Building 60 times, the Roman
Colosseum 250 times, and cover an entire
football field stacked 1 mile high.
- An average
cigarette deposits 10 milligrams of tar into
the lungs with each smoke, this means that 60
million kilograms of tar are inhaled into the
combined lungs of all smokers each year. For
the sake of perspective: a railroad boxcar
can hold 10,000 kilograms, which means that a
train of 6,000 boxcars full of tobacco tar is
inhaled into the lungs of all smokers
combined each year.
- In the early
1800s the fastest cigarette hand-roller
could make about 1 cigarette per minute and
about 1,500 per day. Tobacco companies began
investing in machines to roll cigarettes,
resulting in rapid output of the product,
about 20,000 cigarettes per minute. These
machines operate nearly 24 hours a day.
- Over 1 billion
people smoke every day; this translates to 1
in 7 individuals in the entire world,
lighting up every single day.
- In 1900 each
smoker smoked about 54 cigarettes a year on
average; in 2010, this number rose to 1,500
cigarettes each year.
- In 1900 lung
cancer deaths were practically non-existent
in the U.S.; in 2010 nearly 160,000 people in
the U.S. died from lung cancer, making up 30%
of all cancer deaths.
- Secondhand smoke
is responsible for 50,000 deaths each year in
- Tobacco use is
the leading cause of preventable death in the
US with over 440,000 deaths annually.
- There are more
than one billion tobacco smokers worldwide.
Cigarettes are the most widely used tobacco product
in the U.S. Cigarettes as well as cigars and pipe
tobacso contain dried tobacco leaves and other added
chemicals that not only increase flavor but create an
addiciton. The smoke that comes from tobacco contains
a mixture of more than 7,000 chemicals, over sixty of
which cause cancer. Some of these substances can lead
to heart and lung diseases and cause various
life-threatening health problems. Some of the
chemicals found in tobacco smoke include
in household cleaners
in pesticides and rat poisons Benzene--found
in lighter fluid
to make batteries
Monoxidefound in car exhaust
to make steel
Cyanideused in chemical weapons
used in paint
sweetener not permitted to be used in foods
in the U.S.
in bug sprays; one of the harshest chemicals
found in tobacco smoke
210radioactive and very toxic
used to make roads
in paint thinners
chlorideused to make pipes
Absent from the above
list is sugar. According to William Dufty in
his book, Sugar Blues, the tobacco industry
ranks second to the food processing industry as being
the biggest sugar customer in the US. While food
manufacturers are required by law to list ingredients
on product labels, the tobacco industry is only
required to divulge information about tar, nicotine,
and filter content. Sugar content is conspicuously
absent, claiming that it is a 'trade secret.'
However, it was revealed in the 1973 Medical
World News that an average of 5 percent sugar is
added to cigarettes, up to 20 percent in cigars, and
as much as 40 percent in pipe tobacco (being mostly
molasses). Tobacco leaves naturally contain sugar.
How the leaves are cured, however, effects the sugar
content. Air dried leaves contain only a trace amount
of sugar, but flue-cured tobacco leaves can contain
as much as 20 percent by weight. Since flue-curing is
a faster method for drying tobacco leaves, it is not
surprising that it is the preferred choice of the
industry. Furthermore, because sugar sells well, the
tobacco industry is known to be adding sugar to
cigarette paper wrappers.
Therefore, when taking
into account the issue of ingredients, it is
important to note that many types of cigarettes exist
such as menthol, non-menthol, light, low-tar, etc.
Most if not all contain a significant amount of
hidden sugar. While brands and their respective
labels differ in flavor/taste, it does not
necessarily mean that the product is less harmful,
since taking long, deep, or frequent puffs, tar
exposure from the light cigarettes is equal to that
of a regular cigarette. While use of menthol or mint
flavored cigarettes is a preferred smoke for some,
these types are known to cause throat sores, asthma,
and difficulty breathing.
Exposing the body to toxic/poisonous
chemicals by ingesting and/or inhaling tobacco
products is shown to precipitate serious health
risks. Science and medicine confirm that smoking
the risk of cancer: mouth, throat, larynx,
lung, esophagus, pancreas, kidney,
bladder, stomach, cervix and acute
risk of osteoporosis
bone density which can precipate
bone fracture incidence
blood supply to bones, causing bone
cells to form more slowly
the body's ability to absorb calcium and
the immune system
risk of rotator cuff injuries
that body's healing process
life expectancy by at least 10 years
respiratory problems such as
coughing, asthma, chest colds, bronchitis,
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
including emphysema and chronic
bronchitis, asthma, acute respiratory
illnesses such as pneumonia.
risk of oral cancer, gum disease,
tooth decay, and tooth loss 5 to 10 time
cause of cardiovascular disease
including coronary heart disease, stroke,
aortic aneurysm, atherosclerosis, and
peripheral artery disease. Risk factor for
heart disease and stroke is 2 to 4 times
to women who use birth control pills.
Women who smoke during pregnancy have more
stillbirths, miscarriages, and premature
deliveries than women who dont
smoke; increased risk of complications during
pregnancy, childbirth as well as sudden
infant death syndrome (SIDS).Smoking and
exposure to secondhand smoke while pregnant
can affect the babys growth and
development which may lead to low birth
the risk of sciatica
delivery of nutrients to the lower back
impacts eye health. Increases
two-fold the risk of developing cataracts,
AMD or age-related macular degeneration.
premature aging: causes wrinkles,
turns skin dry and leathery, yellows teeth,
causes tooth decay, bad breath.
- Dulls the
sense of smell and taste.
children at higher risk via secondhand smoke
and its effects: asthma,
respiratory infections, other
respiratory problems, ear infections
the risk of sexual impotence.
Why is it addictive?
the nature of addictions, research and experience
prove that two substances are largely responsible for
making smoking addictive: nicotine and sugar.
While nicotine is agruably the most offensive of the
two, it is important to note that sugar, especially
refined sugar, ranks high on the list of addictive
It is surprising but
true that nicotine is found in several types of
plants, including tobacco. It is a nitrogen-rich
chemical which the plant manufactures. The type of
nicotine found in tobacco plants, Nicotiana
tabacum, comes from the nightshade family, being
related to red peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, and
potatoes. The nightshade food family is known to
cause inflammation in the body. While not
cancer-causing or excessively harmful on its own,
nicotine is heavily addictive and exposes people to
the extremely harmful effects of tobacco dependency.
This dependency is commonly known as the 'nicotine
effect' which, in essence, negatively
impacts the body, taking captive the smoker. This
being said, consider the following.
- Nicotine is both
a sedative and a stimulant.
- When a body is
exposed to nicotine, the individual
experiences a kick.
This is partly caused by nicotine stimulating
the adrenal glands, which
results in the release of adrenaline.
- This surge of
adrenaline stimulates the body. There is an
of glucose, as well as an increase in heart
rate, breathing activity, and blood pressure.
- Nicotine also
makes the pancreas produce less insulin,
causing a slight increase in blood sugar or
nicotine causes the release of dopamine in
the pleasure and motivation areas of the
brain. A similar effect occurs when people
heroin or cocaine. The drug user experiences
a pleasurable sensation.
- Dopamine is a
brain chemical that affects emotions,
movements, and sensations of pleasure and
pain. When brain dopamine levels rise, the
feeling of contentment is higher.
- Depending on the
dose of nicotine taken and the
individuals nervous system arousal,
nicotine can also act as a sedative.
- Chewing or
snorting tobacco products usually releases
more nicotine into the body than smoking.
- Nicotine is at
least as difficult to give up as heroin.
- The side effects
of nicotine can affect the heart, hormones,
and gastrointestinal system.
- The milder
flue-cured tobacco blends used in cigarettes
during the early 20th century made the smoke
easier to inhale but increased nicotine
absorption into the bloodstream.
Like nicotine the
addictive nature of sugar is widely known. For many
years it has been used and abused by the food and
tobacco industry to sell products. Research proves
that sugar is a toxic substance that is both
addictive and destructive to human health. Much like
nicotine, sugar releases opiods and dopamine into the
blood, triggering the link between sugar and
addictive behavior. An excess release of dopamine
causes a pleasurable high that most want
to re-experience. Revisiting and repeating a sugar
'high' releases more dopamine in the brain to the
point that the only way to feel the same
high is to repeat the behavior in
increasing amounts and frequency. This is how sugar
becomes addictive. A review published in the British
Journal of Sports Medicine claims that refined sugar
has a similar effect on the brain as illegal drugs
such as cocaine. Common signs of sugar addiction
large amounts of sugar-laden foods/drinks
- Low self-respect
- Feelings of
- Mood swings
behavior with sweets
- Eating sweets to
- Irritable without
a sugar 'fix'
focusing on daily responsibilities
Allowing for the
addictive nature of nicotine, coupled with that of
sugar, it is not difficult to see how tobacco use in
any form can lead to more serious substance
abuse/addictions involving cocaine, heroin, opioids,
and recreational drugs such as Marajuana, LSD,
Ecstasy, and more. That American society is largely
drugged in one form or another should evoke personal
concern, since it is a real and present threat not
only to personal and public welfare but to the very
survival of our nation.
...to be continued
next month- SMOKING: How to Quit
GRAPHIC VIDEO of lifelong smokers black
lungs. See it here
How Smoking 30 PACKS of Cigarettes Wrecks
Your Lungs. See it here
Emergency Warning Of Light!! All Non-Smokers And
Smokers Need To Read This Post
This link shows the
various warning labels on cigarette packs. MUST
Back to LIVING Letter #126 / Index