Against Public Smoking ? - Stop Smoking !
Is tobacco smoking safe and harmless ?Tobacco is the single greatest cause of preventable death globally.
Tobacco use leads most commonly to diseases affecting the heart, liver and lungs, with smoking being a major risk
factor for heart attacks, strokes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (including emphysema and chronic
bronchitis), and cancer (particularly lung cancer, cancers of the larynx and mouth, and pancreatic cancer). It also
causes peripheral vascular disease and hypertension. The effects depend on the number of years that a person smokes
and on how much the person smokes. Starting smoking earlier in life and smoking cigarettes higher in tar increases
the risk of these diseases. Also, environmental tobacco smoke, or secondhand smoke, has been shown to cause adverse
health effects in people of all ages.Cigarettes sold in underdeveloped countries tend to have higher tar content,
and are less likely to be filtered, potentially increasing vulnerability to tobacco-related disease in these
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that tobacco caused 5.4 million deaths in 2004 and 100 million
deaths over the course of the 20th century.Similarly, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
describes tobacco use as "the single most important preventable risk to human health in developed countries and an
important cause of premature death worldwide." Several countries have taken measures to control the consumption of
tobacco with usage and sales restrictions as well as warning messages printed on packaging.
Smoke contains several carcinogenic pyrolytic products that bind to DNA and cause many genetic mutations. There
are 45 known or suspected chemical carcinogens in cigarette smoke. Tobacco also contains nicotine, which is a
highly addictive psychoactive drug and has been shown to promote cancer growth. When tobacco is smoked, nicotine
causes physical and psychological dependency. Tobacco use is a significant factor in miscarriages among pregnant
smokers, and it contributes to a number of other threats to the health of the fetus such as premature births and
low birth weight and increases by 1.4 to 3 times the chance for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).The result of
scientific studies done in neonatal rats seems to indicate that exposure to cigarette smoke in the womb may reduce
the fetal brain's ability to recognize hypoxic conditions, thus increasing the chance of accidental asphyxiation.
Incidence of impotence is approximately 85 percent higher in male smokers compared to non-smokers,and is a key
factor causing erectile dysfunction (ED).
"It is rare - if not impossible - to find examples in history that match tobacco's programmed trail of
death and destruction. I use the word programmed carefully. A cigarette is the only consumer product
which when used as directed kills its consumer."
Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland
Director-General, World Health Organization (1998-2003)
Male and female smokers lose an average of 13.2 and 14.5 years of life, respectively.
According to the results of a 50 year study of 34,486 male British doctors, at least half of all lifelong smokers
die earlier as a result of smoking.
Smokers are three times as likely to die before the age of 60 or 70 as non-smokers.
In the United States, cigarette smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke accounts for roughly one in five, or at at
least 443,000 premature deaths annually.
To put this into context, in the US alone, tobacco kills the equivalent of three jumbo jets full of people crashing
every day, with no survivors. On a worldwide basis, this equates to a single jumbo jet every hour.
So is tobacco smoking safe and harmless ?
It doesn't seem like it.
Is nicotine safe and harmless ?Nicotine is the active ingredient that is primarily
responsible for the addictive nature of tobacco and electronic cigarettes. Nicotine is a highly toxic poison. More
toxic than arsenic or strychnine. So toxic it has been used as an agricultural pesticide. If you extracted the
nicotine content of just a few cigarettes into a solution, and injected it into a vein, it would kill you. The high
toxicity of nicotine usually comes as a surprise to many smokers. The reason smokers don't usually drop dead
immediately when smoking is that it is pretty difficult to overdose on nicotine through smoking. This is because
the nicotine delivery system of 'smoking' is fairly inefficent, and the nicotine that is absorbed is metabolised
and processed by the body fairly quickly - nicotine has a half life of about 2 hours.
Historically nicotine has been recognised as being addictive but has not been regarded as a carcinogen.
However research over the last decade has identified nicotine's carcinogenic potential in animals and cell
culture, and nicotine has been noted to directly cause cancer through a number of different mechanisms.
Indirectly nicotine impedes apoptosis (programmed cell death), thus promoting tumour growth.
Nicotine also promotes cancer tumour growth by stimulating autogenesis (the development of new blood vessels
from existing blood vessels) and neovascularization (the formation of microvascular blood vessel networks with red
blood cell perfusion).
In one study, nicotine administered to mice with tumors caused increases in tumour size (twofold increase);
metastasis - the development of secondary malignant growths at a distance from the primary site, showed a nine-fold
increase; and tumour recurrence increased threefold.
In a study in 2006 of 77,000 pregnant women in Denmark, women who used nicotine gum and patches during the early
stages of pregnancy were found to face an increased risk of having babies with birth defects. The study showed that
women who used nicotine-replacement therapy in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy had a 60% greater risk of having
babies with birth defects compared to women who were non-smokers.
So is nicotine really safe and harmless ?
It doesn't seem like it.
Is propylene glycol safe and harmless ?
As well as nicotine, another common major component of many electronic cigarettes is Propylene Glycol, the
solvent in which the nicotine is dissolved; and for which the manufacturer of the chemical states:
"Exposure to mists may cause eye irritation, as well as upper respiratory tract irritation."...
..."However, limited human experience indicates that inhalation of PG mists may be irritating to some individuals.
Therefore inhalation exposure to mists of these materials should be avoided. In general, Dow does not support or
recommend the use of PG in applications where inhalation exposure or human eye contact with the spray mists of
these materials is likely, such as fogs for theatrical productions or antifreeze solutions for emergency eye wash
So is Propylene Glycol really safe and harmless ?
It doesn't seem like it.
Are electronic cigarettes safe and harmless ?
So are electronic cigarettes, that dispense nicotine in Propylene Glycol vapour fumes really 'safe' or really
'healthier' ? Or is this really just the Nicotine Industry's marketing spin ? - Is it really more likely that the
Nicotine Industry really means that "our last product, tobacco cigarettes, were just so deadly dangerous that
almost anything would be safer or healthier in comparison" ?
So just recognise that whilst electronic cigarettes 'might' possibly be slightly 'less dangerous' or 'less
harmful' than conventional tobacco cigarettes, or maybe dangerous in a different 'unknown' way, the smart thing to
do is to quit smoking altogether.
Resist any temptation to believe any reassurances by the Nicotine Industry about the 'health' and 'safety' of
electronic cigarettes. Remember that, for a number of years, the Nicotine Industry made all sorts of health claims
and health reassurances about the effect on smokers' health of smoking tobacco cigarettes.
For example, for four years the Lorillard Company promoted the "health benefits" of its 'Micronite' asbestos
filters that were supposed to reduce the effects of the tobacco smoke in the 1950's. Many of those who smoked these
cigarettes were stricken with mesothelioma, the hallmark cancer resulting from asbestos exposure; simultaneous
exposure to asbestos and tobacco smoke have a synergistic effect that amplifies the health dangers of exposure to
As another example, one thing often repeated by promoters, users and smokers of electronic cigarettes is that, with
tobacco cigarettes: "it's the smoke that kills - not the nicotine". Try telling that to Sean Marsee, an Oklahoma
teenager born in 1965 who was 'too smart to smoke', and considered an outstanding athlete:-
Sean Marsee won 28 track medals in the 400 meter relay while running the anchor leg. His classmates
honored him with a walnut plaque. Marsee started using chewing tobacco at age 12 (chewing tobacco -
because he was 'too smart to smoke'), after getting a can of free Copenhagen chewing tobacco at a
rodeo. He became a regular user and five years after starting his use, he contracted oral cancer. After
a ten month battle with rapidly spreading cancer that started on his tongue, Sean Marsee died at age
19, in 1985.
As the headline of the Reader Digest article said: "18-year-old Sean Marsee was too smart to smoke. But
Sean's doctor believes that tobacco killed him".
Well, some research has already indicated that electronic cigarettes at least stress and may damage the lungs.
There have also been cases where the Nicotine Industry advertising has claimed that electronic cigarettes are
harmless - and the adverts then having had to be withdrawn because the claims couldn't be substantiated.
If the Nicotine Industry were able to substantiate its claims of electronic cigarettes being safe, healthy and
harmless I'm sure it would have.
So are electronic cigarettes really safe and harmless?
It doesn't seem like it.
Smoking is associated with mental illnessOne of the most concerning effects of nicotine is the effect it
has on the mind, and the way it adversely affects smokers' rational decision making capability. It leads, for
example, to some smokers making a decision to continue smoking even though to do so will almost certainly result in
the amputation of their second leg, after already having had one leg amputated as a result of Peripheral Arterial
Disease caused by their smoking.
"About 80% of the patients whose legs or extremities I have to amputate are current smokers. If they
are not current smokers, then they almost certainly used to smoke. If patients presenting with
Peripheral Arterial Disease have never smoked, I have cause to doubt whether they have the disease at
Mr. Daryll Baker, Consultant Vascular Surgeon, Royal Free Hospital
A recent (2013) report found that 36 percent of adults with a mental illness are cigarette smokers, compared with
only 21 percent of adults who do not have a mental illness - so smoking amongst mentally ill U.S. adults is 70
percent higher than for adults with no mental illness.
Some studies also suggest a strong correlation between smoking and schizophrenia, with estimates that nearly 75%
of schizophrenic patients smoke.
By smoking in public a smoker may inadvertently 'advertise' and suggest to others not only that
the smoker thinks that it is ok to smoke, but also that the smoker has a mental illness - probably just one more
good reason for smokers to quit smoking.
Many smokers first start smoking as children in response to peer pressure and to look 'cool'. And they continue
smoking because they feel that they are 'special' and they believe that because they are so special they will
come to no harm from smoking. So, in a sense, an old business quotation (re. turnover and profit) may be
vanity. Not smoking is sanity."
Quitting smoking makes sense
Quitting smoking altogether is far far better than changing from one nicotine delivery system (tobacco
cigerettes) to another nicotine delivery system (electronic cigerettes); which may encourage tumour growth and harm
unborn children and serve only to maintain your nicotine dependency and that feeling of being a slave to the
Quit smoking now. You are not addicted - it is a habit. And it is a long term habit that over an extended period
of time may well be VERY harmful to your health. It's a habit that hundreds of thousands of people have already
stopped doing - so you know that you can stop too !
You can find out here how you can Quit Smoking.
Tobacco smoking - not safe and not harmless:
Nicotine - promotes cancer and birth defects:
Propylene Glycol - not recommended for inhalation:
Nicotine Industry health claims/health reassurances:
The Lorillard Company's 'health cigarette', with its Micronite asbestos
Sean Marsee, RIP:
Electronic cigarettes - not harmless:
Smoking is attractive to the mentally ill: