About those e-cigs

Choice between cigarette and e-cigarette

Don’t be misled by article just came out this morning in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Study of cancer-causing toxins finds e-cigarettes much safer than smoking

This can lead one to think that e-cigs are a healthy alternative. And at first, it’s a bit of a no brainer. Let’s say you stop breathing in tar and benzine and formaldehyde and all the other Acme Jr Chemistry set of tobacco toxicity into your body.

But anything you do is healthier than that. It’s really hard to image the conditions that would not be better for your body. So yes, e-cigs are within the infinite set of things that are also better for you than the cancer delivery device of cigarettes.

By the way, the report wasn’t just about e-cigs, but also showing that if you applied the patch or chewed the nicotine gum you’d also have less of the toxins that you’re no longer breathing in. Again, no kidding.

In essence, they made the conclusions out to be a bit different than they warrant. Are e-cigs better than breathing in terrible chemicals into your body every day? Yeah, but so is the gum and the patch and buttermilk cornbread.

It’s like doing a study to conclude that “Reading a book is better for your brain than banging your head against a brick wall until unconscious.” The issue about the book is neither here nor there. Everything is better for you than banging your head against a wall until unconscious.

So here’s the point. This article will make many think that it’s healthy. But it’s not a healthy alternative at all, just a healthier alternative. Words matter.

Teenagers Without Brains

A man smokes outside the Taipei railway station January 13, 2010. REUTERS/Pichi Chuang

Get this … a new study showed that more and more teenagers don’t think heavy cigarette smoking is a high-risk activity. 
So. Sucking in benzene?? … and tar?? … and formaldehyde?? is not seen as a high risk activity?? Really??
I know, I know … their brains have not fully grown in yet. We know there’s a kernel in that skull because they do rattle a bit when they shake their heads. But whatever is bumping around in that bean, has obviously not filled the space yet. 
As parents, we call this the “teen gene”, which makes them know EVERYTHING and you, by the way, are an ALIEN. But actually, the issue is less about genetics than neurology … what you are seeing, dear parents and family members, indicates a medical condition known as kid-osis, which is Latin for “brainless”. 

Here’s the data
According to a U.S. study on substance abuse and mental health, the perceived risks of smoking one or more packs of cigarettes a day dropped between 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 in 14 states among youths aged 12 to 17, and in 31 states among those aged 18 to 25.

How do we address this problem?
It may be a global epidemic of brain-free children. But what’s amazing is that they are living a brain-free life, and still walking around among us. Oh sure, they can feed themselves and many of them can go to the bathroom by themselves, although getting them OUT of the bathroom can require a crowbar — all with their quasi-brain matter stuck in “failure to launch” mode. But brains just don’t seem to be very important for this demographic. 
You might be of the naive opinion that education can be an effective approach for this particular species of young person. But, if you have been a parent, you know that speaking to walls, teenagers, or any other inert object can produce the very same blank effect. 
Remember, their brains just haven’t grown in yet. It’s not their fault. 
The best we can do is to keep cigarettes away from them and hope that they’re not totally addicted to this ridiculous carcinogen by the time their brains grow in. 

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Smoking explains why Americans don’t live longer | Reuters

(Reuters) – Smoking and, to a smaller degree, obesity explain why Americans do not live as long as the French or Japanese, U.S. experts reported on Tuesday.

Even though just 20 percent of Americans smoke now, more than 40 percent of U.S. adults smoked in 1960 and the population is still paying the price, the report from the National Research Council found.

“Other factors, such as obesity, diet, exercise, and economic inequality, also have likely played a role in the current gap and divergence between the United States and other countries,” the panel of experts appointed by the council wrote.

Many experts have tried to explain why the United States, which spends more per capita on healthcare than any other country and which has a relatively wealthy and well-nourished population, should rank so poorly against … Click here for the rest of the article. 


I don’t get this article at all. The Japanese smoke MORE than we do. So how is it that the lack of smoking in Japan is responsible for the fact that they live longer than anyone on Earth? 

Here are the data that this article didn’t give you. 

  • As of 2010, the total smoking rate in Japan is 24%. In the mid 1960s it was around 50% of people. 
  • As of 2010, only 20% of Americans smoke. In 1960, over 40% smoked.

So, they smoke more than we do now, and have always smoked more than us. There are tons of reasons why our longevity is less than that of the Japanese, and cigarette smoking is certainly one of the factors. 

All that said, the title of the article: “Smoking explains why Americans don’t live longer” is a drastic over-simplification. 

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