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  • Is smoking cigarettes THAT bad?

    First of all, I'm not a smoker. my partner is, his friends are too, so was his dad and brother and uncles etc. So it usually bothers me that I see ads on TV saying all these people I know will get heart disease etc.

    Today I came accross the Kitava study, Kitavans live both agricultural and hunter-gatherer lifestyles. I read the article with interest as the Kitavans eat quite a high carb diet (69% carbs). However I read with greater interest that over 75% of Kitavans smoke cigarettes! Yet appeared to not produce cancer/heart disease in this population, who survive on traditional foods.

    "Kitavans eat a diet of root vegetables, coconut, fruit, vegetables and fish and have undetectable levels of cardiovascular disease (CVD), stroke and overweight. Despite smoking like chimneys. "

    Also Kitavan smokers had a lower HDL than nonsmokers, yet still did not develop CVD.

    Can read the article on it here
    Nutrition and Physical Regeneration » Slaying The Low Carb Dragon – Wisdom from the Pacific Islands
    taken from
    Whole Health Source: The Kitavans: Wisdom from the Pacific Islands

    Do you think because they DONT eat processed grains, wheat, refined sugar, processed vegetable oils and other modern foods- that is the reason why they can get away with smoking?
    Could all the CW about the evils of cigerettes be therefore flawed or exagerated?
    Is it true all smokers get heart disease?
    Interested to hear from any smokers here?

    Since I can't convince my partner to quit, maybe going primal will save him from heart disease...
    My primal journal
    25yo female, height 5'7"
    goal weight: 60kg / 155lb
    goal fat%: 20%

    current weight: 70kg / 154lb

    “The fact that a great many people believe something is no guarantee of its truth.”
    ― W. Somerset Maugham

  • #2
    [Do you think because they DONT eat processed grains, wheat, refined sugar, processed vegetable oils and other modern foods- that is the reason why they can get away with smoking?
    Could all the CW about the evils of cigerettes be therefore flawed or exagerated?
    Is it true all smokers get heart disease?
    Interested to hear from any smokers here?

    Since I can't convince my partner to quit, maybe going primal will save him from heart disease...[/QUOTE]

    Hard to argue with the protective effect of the Kitavans' lifestyle, but unless a Westerner has lived accordingly since birth they wouldn't be wise to count on it - who knows what differences linger in us. Perhaps we have far higher cortisol, environmental pollution, omega 6:3, etc that influence heart disease and cancer, or have accumulated plenty of mutations before going to natural foods. But if there's no chance of getting him to quit at least he may be better off than most.

    I quit smoking when I went paleo 7 months ago, thankfully. For me and some others I've heard on the internet, withdrawal is (a fair bit) easier when low-carbing than on my many previous attempts. There have been some papers about nicotine's effect on glucose metabolism; nicotine transiently boosts glucose delivery to the brain one way or another. For me at least the craving/reward system seemed fundamentally affected by getting keto-adapted. I can highly recommend Allan Carr's EasyWay to Stop Smoking book & Max Kirsten's hypnosis tape on itunes too, that and disappearing to a desert island for a couple of weeks
    Sorry for the diversion....
    The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat.
    (Lily Tomlin)

    I take life easier than almost anyone I know, but when I exercise I do it as though my life depends on it (which it does).
    (Arthur De Vany)

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    • #3
      I'm not a smoker, never have been and don't like the habit.
      However...

      I've thought about this area a lot recently - partially because I like to burn incense and candles - and know that candles made from paraffin (rather than beeswax) can do rather nasty things to the lungs. So, what is harmful about smoke? Is it the smoke itself?

      We know that smoke is often relaxing - as is smoking (from what I've been told).
      I also know that smoking has been done for many thousands of years - apparently without ill effect - though that could be simply because they didn't live long enough to get cancer and emphysema.

      Another possibility in my mind is that the harmful effects of smoking - that we're all so familiar with - has much more to do with the additives in commercial cigarettes... the stuff which was never in tobacco - and never meant to be.

      Perhaps the thing with this Kitavan does so well because their cigarettes aren't commercialized... and they consume them in small quantities rather than the obsessive numbers westerners seem more prone towards.

      It is also worth noting that though this tribe has little illness, 45 isn't that great of a life expectancy - even the Inuit managed greater than this in 1850.

      Just a few thoughts.

      Comment


      • #4
        Yes, yes it is THAT bad. I work at a cancer center and I am sick of seeing good people suffer horrendous deaths because of $&@$# tobacco.

        Not to mention good old emphysema, which also sucks. When walking into your appointment from the car winds you, I say your quality of life is not so good.
        cj

        height: 5' 10 1/2"
        2/20/11: 210
        9/19/11: 185.5
        goal: #170

        "Decide what to be, and go be it."

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        • #5
          Emphysema and COPD are no joke. It is a horrible way to die. From my understanding, these are more directly physical effects from the smoke on the lung apparatus itself so to speak, so I don't think diet alone would be a good corrective. Especially late in life. Two members of my family quit smoking in their forties but still died later of lung cancer (early 70s, steep and rapid decline) and COPD (barely 80, after long and exhausting [and costly] suffering).

          I haven't read the article but doubt that Kitivans are smoking the same tobacco (additives etc. as noted by Maeve5) and at the same level (packs per day plus secondhand) as smokers in the Western world.
          "If man made it, don't eat it." ..Jack LaLanne
          "It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are.
          If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." ..Richard Feynman

          beachrat's new primal journal

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          • #6
            Heart disease is not the only thing a smoker has to worry about. It looks like most of these findings were based on observation and I doubt they x-rayed each person looking for symptoms of lung disease. They say that 75% of them smoke, but how long has that been the case? 10 years, 20 years, 30 years? How much do they smoke per day? The man that lived to 100, did he smoke all his life? The study wasn't really about the effects of smoking and so I don't think you can draw too many conclusions from it.

            They think there is a genetic link to COPD meaning if you are predisposed to it smoking will likely make it manifest. Perhaps the Kitavans don't carry this genetic problem.

            Also, the dangers of second hand smoke are very real. Maybe you won the genetic lottery and you have a perfect paleo diet and you're not going to get lung cancer. That doesn't mean the person next to you is in the same boat. Smoking doesn't just impact the person doing it.

            Basically, I'd keep encouraging your partner to quit!
            Became Primal August 2011

            SW - 84kg / 185lb
            CW - 60kg / 132lb
            GW - 60kg / 132lb

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            • #7
              No, smoking is not that bad.

              Smoking is bad if you're a sedentary slob who eats potato chips all day. And watches television.

              But if you're active, if you lift the weights, if you're doing this doing that, you can smoke, it's fine.

              Some people, they just can't get cancer from smoking. Some can. I can't. But I don't smoke cigarettes, I smoke marijuana.

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              • #8
                Slightly off topic, but I was surprised to read that Michio Kushi and George Oshowi proponents and founders of the macrobiotic diet movement - which is actually very good although it strongly rejects the intake of meats and eggs - both smoked cigarettes regularly. The movement maintains that it is diet that is the causative factor in cancer development in humans, indeed all disease states.

                Now where have we heard that?
                Read. The. Book.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Satch12879 View Post
                  Slightly off topic, but I was surprised to read that Michio Kushi and George Oshowi proponents and founders of the macrobiotic diet movement - which is actually very good although it strongly rejects the intake of meats and eggs - both smoked cigarettes regularly. The movement maintains that it is diet that is the causative factor in cancer development in humans, indeed all disease states.

                  Now where have we heard that?
                  Amazing. You know, as a kid I always believed the hype about smoking, the shit they feed you in school, and I would stay up nights worrying about my father dying from his cigarettes. Now I understand that he will not die from this, because he eats the healthy stuffs and he is strong mentally.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Is smoking bad... yeah... can it be a sensible indulgence .. yeah... avoid the smokes with the crap in them and you will be better off ( i think "american spirits are still crap free I duno)

                    Can smoking be less bad??? yeah... quit and be happy smoking a pipe or cigar once in a while (not inhailing)

                    Best to quit... I did... but i have a few cigars over the summer at bbqs and such.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Yes. If you grow old w/ this person you will end up a nursemaid to his deterioration. A quick fatal heart attack would actually be preferable to the suffering of emphysema, COPD, cancer (not just the lungs) or any of the other problems of older smokers.

                      Cigarettes have cut down my family like a scythe. The past tense you've used about his family: did they quit or did the cigs kill them? No way to sugar coat it, they're bad.
                      Wheat is the new tobacco. Spread the word.

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                      • #12
                        Are Diesels More Dangerous than Cigarettes as a Cause of Lung Cancer?

                        Diesel smoke and lung cancer

                        by Dr Kitty Little , January 1998

                        From about 1930 it became apparent that there was an increase in the incidence of lung cancer that was out of proportion to the increase in cancer as a whole, and that the causative agent must be something comparatively new, probably something that had made its appearance during the 1930s. What was it?

                        To elucidate such problems there are well-established methods of scientific investigation: evidence is collected, hypotheses suggested, further facts sought, hypotheses modified or if they are not in accord with the evidence abandoned, perhaps new hypotheses put forward, and so on - and always, when a fact and a hypothesis contradict one another, it is the fact that must be retained.

                        There are plenty of facts available about the increase in lung cancer, and by about 1940 three main hypotheses were being considered: the action of urban smoke, cigarette and tobacco smoke, and diesel smoke. We need to consider which, if any, of these is in accord with the available facts.

                        The increase in lung cancer was primarily an urban phenomenon, and it was not observed in genuinely rural communities. Further, in cities on windy sites (e.g. Port Elizabeth or Cape Town) the same increase was not found as in other cities with a more stagnant atmosphere (e.g. Durban or Johannesburg). Such observations might be thought to implicate urban smoke. But urban smoke levels were high well before 1920 to 1930 (Parliament first discussed the problem in 1306 when the use of coal started), while when they were reduced after the Clean Air Act of 1956 lung cancer levels were not reduced. This eliminates the urban smoke hypothesis.

                        Similarly, cigarette and tobacco consumption among men had been high for about half a century before the increase in lung cancer became apparent. Women took to smoking later than men, and it was not till 1961 that the female cigarette consumption reached the male consumption for 1922. The increase in lung cancer in women has not paralleled this increase in smoking, but started at the same time as men, from about 1930 onwards. (1)

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                        • #13
                          Take your partner out for a sprint session.

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                          • #14
                            Don't believe that article.

                            Smokers WILL get one or more of the following, sooner or later:
                            * Shortness of breath
                            * Erectile Dysfunction
                            * Heart Disease
                            * COPD = Hell on Earth
                            * Emphysema = Another Hell on Earth
                            * Lung Cancer
                            * All kinds of other cancers that attack fatty organs including the brain.

                            Unfortunately there is nothing you can do to convince anyone to quit. They will just not listen to you. They must suffer one or more of the above diseases before they even think of quitting. Even then they will continue puffing away. I knew a man who had one lung removed & continued smoking anyway. I've seen people on oxygen puffing away.

                            It was once said that cigs are FAR more addictive than crack-cocaine. You are wasting your time interfering in some poor soul that is a smoker. Only they can decide to quit when they are ready, mission impossible.

                            Grizz
                            Last edited by Grizz; 10-20-2011, 07:09 AM.

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                            • #15
                              More fundamental than damage to the users health is the impact on the other people around them. Say hypothetically, you had the right genetics that you would avoid cancer...and there is no way of knowing you are in that group with certainty...other people around you may be sensitive on several levels. And unfortunately, the most considerate smokers I've been around always pollute the air of those around them.

                              I am pro drug legalization, but I'd consider outlawing smoking altogether. I think its affects on people are far worse than things we find bad enough to outlaw.
                              Last edited by tplank; 10-20-2011, 07:17 AM.

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