NONSURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: Is smoking the most preventable
cause of premature death in the United States?
Some so-called health professionals claim that lifetime
risks for lung cancer from cigarette smoking are about 10 percent and lifetime
risks for obstructive pulmonary disease due to cigarettes is 30 percent.
Researchers have claimed that non-smokers exposed to second hand smoke over a
long period of time exhibited a tiny but measurable increase in fatty deposits
on their arterial walls and as such was responsible for some heart attacks.
Did you know... in fact,
the arterial deposits in question are caused by diets rich in fats and
cholesterol, and by lack of exercise, not second hand smoke.
researcher suggested reducing overall fat intake to less than 10% (total
caloric intake) would eliminate 90% of heart disease deaths (regardless of all
other lifestyle factors, including smoking). Of course, his research did not go
over well with milk and meat marketing boards or others with vested interest in
our consumption of fat laced foods.
If smoking is the cause for
obstructive pulmonary disease, how do you explain the incidence of these
diseases in people who have never smoked and have not been exposed to second
Did you know... the lifetime risk of
cardio-pulmonary diease associated with smoking is a myth. 90% of heart disease
is due directly to plaque accumulation in the arteries and the statistics that
indicate smoking is responsible for 20 to 30% of these diseases is purely
Chemicals in Tobacco
Smoke Nobody knows what chemicals in smoke cause cancer. Scientists have
spent hundreds of millions of dollars looking for them, examining ~5,000
compounds comprising 95% of smoke by weight. Individually some are carcinogens,
some are actually anti-carcinogenic, but none accounts for the effect of active
smoking. Total number of compounds is estimated to be 100,000 (some are
unstable and exist for microseconds).
108 of the supposed more toxic
ones are listed below. Those claimed to cause cancer are marked with a (C) and
those they claim increased risk of birth defects are marked with a (B).
Smoke from charcoal contains many of the same components as those
most feared in tobacco smoke (carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, carcinogens and so
forth). A ten pound bag of charcoal produces as much smoke (and harmful
chemicals) as 160 packs of cigarettes.
So, are you going to quit
Carbon monoxide poisoning Carbon monoxide
(CO) intoxication is a common cause of reported unintentional fatal poisonings
in the United States. From 1979 through 1988, an average of 1140 deaths per
year were attributed to unintentional CO poisoning. Like oxygen, Carbon
Monoxide (CO) combines chemically with the haemoglobin in red blood cells.
Unlike oxygen, it is not released. It stays there until the cell dies and is
replaced by a new one. Each molecule of CO takes up a "slot" where oxygen might
otherwise be carried to where it is needed. One molecule of CO does not destroy
the oxygen carrying capacity of the entire cell, as haemoglobin is a large
molecule whose purpose is to carry many oxygen molecules. However, massive
amounts of CO will displace enough oxygen that suffocation can result. There is
no danger that this will occur even from mainstream smoke; there simply isn't
sufficient CO. You will be exposed to more CO from automobiles.
deaths from CO resulted from exposures in enclosed spaces. The biggest CO
danger comes from home appliances. "Carbon monoxide is the leading cause of
poisoning deaths in the United States, according to the federal Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention. As many as 5,000 people die of it each year,
and another 10,000 are stricken ill enough to miss at least one day of work.
The gas takes its victims silently and insidiously, seeping into their lungs
from furnaces, chimneys, heaters, large appliances, automobiles on a nearby
roadway or even a neighboring apartment."
Formaldehyde Formaldehyde, is designated by
the EPA as a potential carcinogen. A cigarette delivers 20-90 micrograms in
mainstream smoke and up to 700 micrograms in sidestream smoke. By comparison,
space heaters and gas ranges release 20,000 - 40,000 micrograms per hour.
Formaldehyde is also used extensively in wood finish, glue, fabric coating,
insulation, etc. In mobile homes, concentrations have been measured in excess
of 5,000 micrograms per cubic meter. In 'non-sick' buildings, the typical level
is 50 micrograms per cubic meter. Concentration in ETS is THE SAME -- 40-50
ug/m^3. The official "safe" level is 1,500 ug/m^3.
Magnesium Every cell in your body needs magnesium
to produce energy, metabolize glucose, and synthesize nucleic acids and
protein. Your heart needs magnesium to help it beat regularly and rhythmically,
and to keep your blood pressure at normal levels. Your muscles need magnesium
to relax. Your teeth and bones need magnesium, working in tandem with calcium,
to stay strong and healthy.
Magnesium has been used to treat asthma,
migraine headaches, PMS, and diabetes, as well as to prevent kidney stones. All
in all, it performs more than 300 different functions in your body.
for adults ranges from 280 to 350 mg per day, although many nutritionists and
physicians now suggest 500 mg.
Foods rich in magnesium include beans,
nuts, wheat germ, chocolate, cocoa, bluefish, cod, flounder, herring, halibut,
leafy green vegetables, tofu, and-snails.
Source for the above: [Planet
Chromium Chromium helps control blood sugar. This
trace mineral helps insulin regulate all the sugar you eat, which can be quite
a lot for many Americans. Chromium is part of GTF, or glucose tolerance factor,
a major protein that works to regulate insulin.
There is no established
RDA, but suggested daily intake for adults is 50 to 200 micrograms
You'll find chromium in broccoli, waffles, beef, turkey,
potatoes, and grape juice.
Source for the above: [Planet
Copper Copper's primary job is to help keep your heart and blood vessels healthy.
It makes the enzyme that keeps your arteries flexible (so they don't rupture),
improves circulation, and acts as a catalyst in the storage and release of iron
to form hemoglobin for healthy red blood cells.
There is no established
RDA, but suggested daily intake for adults is 1.5 to 3 mg.
copper in Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, honey, barley, mushrooms, oysters,
salmon, and wheat germ. Oral contraceptives increase copper levels.
Source for the above: [Planet
toluene Benzene and toluene are also mentioned as potential ETS
carcinogens. Most, if not all drug manufacturers use benzene or cyclohexane as
a substrate to concoct many of their drugs. In humans benzene and toluene are
associated with leukemia and blood cancers. Yet leukemia has not been linked to
*active* smoking, much less to the highly diluted concentrations found in ETS.
Gasoline is the primary source of benzene, toluene and related aromatics in
the air. Also copy machines, glue, paint and the like. Typical
concentrations in indoor air is 2-20 ug/m^3. Again, the concentration in ETS is
in THE SAME RANGE. When filling your gas tank, you're exposed to concentrations
50-100 times that high. The "safe" level for benzene is 30,000 and for toluene
375,000 ug/m^3 -- over a thousand times that found in ETS.
benzoate has been the subject of concern because when mixed with the additive
vitamin C in soft drinks, it causes benzene. Sodium benzoate is a preservative
used for decades by the carbonated drinks industry. It is used in large
quantities to prevent mould in soft drinks such as Sprite, Oasis and Dr Pepper.
As of January 2010, Coca Cola Zero still contains benzoate (added as potassium
salt). It is also added to pickles and sauces.
Benzo[a]pyrene Benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) is
another carcinogenic aromatic mentioned in connection with ETS. Indoor air
typically has .1-1 ng/m^3 with no smoking, .3-1.5 ng/m^3 with ETS. Outdoor air
in heavy traffic has 1-3 ng/m^3. But our primary exposure comes not from air
but from food and water. Dietary intake is on the order of 1,000-5,000 ng/day;
tap water contains 1-10 ng/L. One piece of charcoal-broiled meat delivers
about 2,500 ng. Surprisingly, the richest source is green leafy
vegetables, which pick it up from the air. There is no recommended "safe"
Nicotine Nicotine is
not carcinogenic. Some nitrosamines are. Estimated nitrosamine intake from ETS
is .1 ug/day. By contrast, intake from food is 10-100 ug/day. Test results,
posted by the American Cancer Society on the society's site
www.cancer.org, showed that
72 of the cigarette brands tested had more than 1.2 milligrams of nicotine per
cigarette. The remaining 13 had medium levels of 0.2 mg to 1.2 mg per
cigarette, according to tobacco company tests.
Nicotine is generally
associated with tobacco products, but there are many other sources. Many of the
plants in the Nightshade family contain nicotine. (Potato, tomato, eggplant,
Nicotine may be present in cigarette smoke but one must remember
that "dose determines the poison". Apples contain cyanide, strawberries contain
benzene, and there are over 10,000 food items that we eat everyday that contain
naturally occurring poisons. The doses of nicotine, as in the above examples,
are so small, measured in parts per million, that they do no harm.
Source for some of the above: Huber et
al., "Smoke and Mirrors", Regulation:16:3:44 (1993) *Original source: Guerin,
Jenkins & Tomkins (of Oak Ridge National Labs), "The Chemistry of ETS:
Composition and Measurement", Chelsea, Michigan; Lewis Publishers
So, why does the government make such a big deal about
tobacco causing cancer and death when the research doesn't even support their