by Mary Louise;Town Jaqua, Health Minister



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 consequences of
which deserve serious consideration.

SMOKING: 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 wasn’t until the 1900’s 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.

SMOKING: Why people smoke

  1. Peer pressure- wanting to 'fit in' with friends and family; seen as a means of acceptance in certain social circles
  2. Parental 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 habits/behavior.
  3. Media 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 served.
  4. Genetic factors- If one or both parents smoke, it is likely that their offspring will smoke. This tendency is the consequence of DNA alteration/inheritance.
  5. Stress factors- smoking is considered a 'stress reliever.' Greater stress levels often increase frequency of smoking.

While 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.

SMOKING: Surprising facts

  • 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 1800’s 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 the U.S.
  • 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.

SMOKING: Cigarette ingredients
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

  • Ammonia—used in household cleaners
  • Arsenic—used in pesticides and rat poisons Benzene--found in gasoline
  • Benzene—found in gasoline
  • Butane—used in lighter fluid
  • Cadmium—used to make batteries
  • Carbon Monoxide—found in car exhaust
  • Chromium—used to make steel
  • Cyanide—deadly poison
  • Formaldehyde—used for embalming
  • Hydrogen Cyanide—used in chemical weapons
  • Lead—once used in paint
  • Malitol—a sweetener not permitted to be used in foods in the U.S.
  • Nicotine—found in bug sprays; one of the harshest chemicals found in tobacco smoke
  • Polonium 210—radioactive and very toxic
  • Tar—material used to make roads
  • Toluene—found in paint thinners
  • Vinyl chloride—used 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.

SMOKING: Health risks
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

  • Increases the risk of cancer: mouth, throat, larynx, lung, esophagus, pancreas, kidney, bladder, stomach, cervix and acute myeloid leukemia;
  • Increases risk of osteoporosis
  • Reduces bone density which can precipate bone fracture incidence
  • Reduces blood supply to bones, causing bone cells to form more slowly
  • Impairs the body's ability to absorb calcium and vitamin C
  • Damages/destroys the immune system
  • Raises risk of rotator cuff injuries
  • Slows that body's healing process
  • Reduces life expectancy by at least 10 years
  • Causes 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.
  • Increased risk of oral cancer, gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss 5 to 10 time higher
  • Major 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 higher.
  • Dangerous to women who use birth control pills. Women who smoke during pregnancy have more stillbirths, miscarriages, and premature deliveries than women who don’t 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 baby’s growth and development which may lead to low birth weight.
  • Causes early menopause.
  • Increases the risk of sciatica
  • Inhibits delivery of nutrients to the lower back
  • Negatively impacts eye health. Increases two-fold the risk of developing cataracts, AMD or age-related macular degeneration.
  • Causes premature aging: causes wrinkles, turns skin dry and leathery, yellows teeth, causes tooth decay, bad breath.
  • Dulls the sense of smell and taste.
  • Puts children at higher risk via secondhand smoke and its effects: asthma, respiratory infections, other respiratory problems, ear infections
  • Increases the risk of sexual impotence.
  • Lowers libido.

SMOKING: Why is it addictive?
When considering 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 substances.

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.

  1. Nicotine is both a sedative and a stimulant.
  2. 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.
  3. This surge of adrenaline stimulates the body. There is an immediate release
    of glucose, as well as an increase in heart rate, breathing activity, and blood pressure.
  4. Nicotine also makes the pancreas produce less insulin, causing a slight increase in blood sugar or glucose.
  5. Indirectly, nicotine causes the release of dopamine in the pleasure and motivation areas of the brain. A similar effect occurs when people take
    heroin or cocaine. The drug user experiences a pleasurable sensation.
  6. 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.
  7. Depending on the dose of nicotine taken and the individual’s nervous system arousal, nicotine can also act as a sedative.
  8. Chewing or snorting tobacco products usually releases more nicotine into the body than smoking.
  9. Nicotine is at least as difficult to give up as heroin.
  10. The side effects of nicotine can affect the heart, hormones, and gastrointestinal system.
  11. 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 include

  1. Craving/consuming large amounts of sugar-laden foods/drinks
  2. Low self-respect
  3. Feelings of helplessness
  4. Emotional eating/over eating
  5. Bingeing
  6. Mood swings
  7. Rewarding behavior with sweets
  8. Eating sweets to combat boredom
  9. Hyperactive
  10. Irritable without a sugar 'fix'
  11. Difficulty focusing on daily responsibilities
  12. Withdrawal

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. be continued next month- SMOKING: How to Quit



For further research:

GRAPHIC VIDEO of lifelong smoker’s black lungs
. See it here
How Smoking 30 PACKS of Cigarettes Wrecks Your Lungs. See it
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 SEE/READ.


Back to LIVING Letter #126 / Index