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Thread: Is smoking cigarettes THAT bad? page

  1. #1
    Isis's Avatar
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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...
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  2. #2
    brachiate's Avatar
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    [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....

  3. #3
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    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.

  4. #4
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    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.
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  5. #5
    beachrat's Avatar
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    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.
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  6. #6
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    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!
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  7. #7
    dado's Avatar
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    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.

  8. #8
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    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?

  9. #9
    dado's Avatar
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    Quote 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.

  10. #10
    Glockin Grok's Avatar
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    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.

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