Smoke Gets in Your Eyes - and Lungs
Smoking Cigarettes Can Be Damaging to Your Health
Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life.
- Brooke Shields
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Other cigarettes are known to contain acetone, aluminium, ammonia, butane, caffeine, carbon monoxide, chloroform, cyanide, formaldehyde, silicon and urea. Some of these ingredients can also be found in nail polish remover, bathroom cleaner, rat poison, car exhaust fumes, deadly poison, insecticide, preserver of dead frogs, breast implants and urine...
Dogged by Addiction
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Chinese "E-Cigarette" Helps Stub out the Habit
Hong Kong - It feels like a cigarette, looks like a cigarette but it isn't bad for your health. A Chinese company marketing the world's first "electronic" cigarette hopes to double sales this year as it expands overseas and as some of China's legions of smokers try to quit. Golden Dragon Group Limited's Ruyan cigarettes are battery-powered, cigarette-shaped devices that deliver nicotine to inhalers in a bid to emulate actual smoking. "The nicotine is delivered to the lungs within 7 to 10 seconds," said Scott Fraser, Vice President of SBT Company Limited, the Beijing-based firm that first developed the electronic cigarette technology in 2003 and which is now controlled by Golden Dragon.
"It feels like a cigarette, looks like a cigarette, it even emits vapour. In many ways, it is like an actual smoking experience, and that's what makes us different," he told Reuters. The cigarettes sell for around 1,600 yuan ($208) apiece and are already available in China, Israel, Turkey, and a number of European countries, but not yet the United States. Golden Dragon's competitors include global giants Pfizer and Novartis AG, which sell more familiar nicotine replacement products such as chewing gum, patches, and inhalers. But Golden Dragon's financial results show it might be onto a good thing. Sales more than doubled to HK$286.1 million in 2006, after surging more than 10-fold to HK$135.6 million in 2005, a year after the technology was perfected.
China - home to 400 million smokers and a roughly $160 billion dollar tobacco industry - accounts for 65% of Ruyan sales. The firm estimates around 10% of China's smokers are attempting to quit, and averaging a 2% success rate.
Source: in.news.yahoo.com Reuters 9 May 2007
Smoking out the Truth: Why Some People Smoke More than Others Do
Answering the question of why people smoke tobacco is reasonably easy. Tobacco plants have evolved a chemical called nicotine that locks into particular molecular receptors in the outer membranes of certain animal nerve cells. Once there, it stimulates those cells in ways that they were never intended to be stimulated. If the animal in question is an insect, the result is lethal - which, from the plant's point of view, is a good outcome. But in a big, bulky animal such as a human, a small amount of nicotine produces a pleasant sensation (though enough of the stuff can kill a human, too).
Nicotine has a second effect, though. It induces semi-permanent changes in the ways the nerves it stimulates talk to each other. The result is that those nerves are uncomfortable without it, and the owners of those nerves become addicted to smoking dried tobacco leaves. Just how many of those leaves an addict needs seems to vary from person to person, and here the reason is not well known. Or, rather, it wasn't. For Hidetoshi Nakamura of the Tokyo Electric Power Company Hospital, in Japan, and his colleagues have just thrown some light on the issue. In a paper published in the European Respiratory Journal they suggest that the number of packs a smoker smokes is a consequence of which versions of a particular enzyme he has in his body - in other words, of his genetics.
The enzyme in question is called, rather inelegantly, CYP2A6. It is part of a family of toxin-destroying enzymes known as the cytochrome P450s, and one of its jobs is to convert nicotine into a less harmful chemical called cotinine that can then be excreted. The gene that encodes CYP2A6, however, comes in three varieties, each resulting in a different form of the enzyme. On top of that, some people lack the gene altogether.
Dr Nakamura and his team looked at 200 regular smokers over the age of 50, to see if the particular varieties of CYP2A6 that those people had could be correlated with their smoking habits. They could. Those with two copies of the commonest form of the gene (one copy inherited from each parent) smoked most. Those individuals with rarer forms smoked less, and those completely without the enzyme smoked least.
That, paradoxically, is because the commonest form of the enzyme is also the most effective at detoxifying nicotine while, of course, an absence of CYP2A6 means that the drug must be detoxified by other, slower, routes. In people with effective enzymes, nicotine vanishes rapidly, so they need another cigarette soon. The less effective the enzyme, the fewer cigarettes you need to smoke to keep your drug levels up. So what natural selection has favoured as healthy may end up killing you faster. But then, there were not many tobacconists in the African savannah where humanity evolved.
Source: economist.com 26 January 2006
One in 10 "Is a Secret Smoker"
One in 10 people is a "secret smoker" who tries to keep their habit hidden, a survey suggests. The poll of 4,000 adults, commissioned by Boots, found 52% of smokers had kept their habit secret from their parents, even into adulthood. Three out of 10 of smokers had lied to their GP, and a quarter had kept it concealed from their employer. A third admitted lying to their family, who believed they had given up or had never smoked at all.
Angela Chalmers, a pharmacist at Boots, said: "Not many people realise that those one or two crafty cigarettes a day can still cause long-term damage to your health. "Higher levels of carbon monoxide in your bloodstream means less oxygen is getting round your body. This can result in tiredness, breathlessness and headaches as well as making your skin appear dull and more prone to wrinkles. It can also affect the elasticity of the lungs, meaning you are putting yourself at risk of asthma and ageing your lungs well beyond your years."
The research found that smokers in London were most likely to keep their habit secret, closely followed by those in Yorkshire. Seven out of 10 "secret smokers" admitted that they would like to give up for good this year. From July this year smoking will be banned in public places across the whole of the UK.
Amanda Sandford, of the charity Action on Smoking and Health, said: "It is understandable that smokers - particularly those who have tried to give up before and failed - might feel guilty about their smoking. But denying their habit won't help and they may find it harder to give up." Neil Rafferty, of the smokers' lobby group Forest, said he had known of many smokers who had hidden their habit. "I always felt sorry for them. It's another example of how those in authority are determined to make us all feel like naughty children. But the truth is everyone is well aware of the risks, so if you want to smoke it's up to you. Smokers, secret or not, should not allow themselves to be browbeaten and chastised like this. As long as you're not deliberately bothering anyone else you have nothing to feel guilty about. It's your body and your life and you should tell the health freaks to butt out."
Source: news.bbc.co.uk 8 March 2007
The reason why this article caught my attention is that I was once a secret smoker. At the time, I was attending a Seventh-Day Adventist church and was told that I could not be accepted as a member unless I quit. So I said I had and only smoked when I was completely alone. I began dating the person who is now my husband right then as well - he did not know I smoked and would have been extremely disapproving. I had smoked for more than a decade and was very addicted - but eventually realised I had not sneaked a smoke in a couple of weeks - I had quit! I have never smoked again. My personal opinion? Keep after smokers! It's for their own good. But for a slightly different view, see Why I Don't Recommend That People Stop Smoking (an external site)...
Smokers-only Airline Set to Grace Airways
by Michael Smith
A new airline for smokers only is scheduled to make its first flights in March 2007.
Smintair (Smokers' International Airways) has been founded by a German businessman, Alexander W Schoppmann, in the hope of attracting the Asian business market as well as pro-smoking Europeans. Smintair plans to fly jumbo jets with 30 first-class and 108 business-class seats equipped with televisions, DVDs, gourmet food and "charming and beautiful" flight attendants. And ashtrays, of course.
Smintair may be just the answer to those poor, grey-faced folk you see rushing out of airport terminals, drawing the packets from their pockets, lighting up and taking a long draw of their first gasper for hours.
Source: stuff.co.nz 12 July 2006
See Smintair's website at smintair.com/ABOUT/about.html.
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