Case of the Smoking Gun. Think
you've got your hands wrapped around a mystery here?
no mystery to it. But there are plenty of smoking guns. And it
We should start
at the beginning, but not at Square One, because you already
know a lot about the main suspect in our case: smoking. Maybe
more than you think you know, in fact.
about it: You know it's a habit that both sucks and stinks,
since it involves sucking smoke from a stinking paper-and-tobacco
tube into the lungs.
And you know
it causes health problems -- big-time health disasters,
in fact -- including everything from heart disease to lung cancer.
That sucks (and stinks), too.
You also probably
know that tobacco companies make billions of dollars and spend
tons more on advertising.
gotta be a connection there, right?)
And by now,
you must have noticed that millions of smokers keep right on
puffing away even when everybody knows they're wrecking their
why? That's the real mystery that we're here to talk about.
In this pamphlet,
we'll look at the mysterious world of smoking from the inside
out, and examine how it affects the body and why it causes the
problems it does.
talk about why people start smoking and why so many find it so
hard to stop.
Self-preservation, for one thing. Sometimes, what you don't know
can hurt you.
And when it
comes to smoking, what you don't know, can literally eat you
..The Usual Suspects
Take a look
behind the counter at any convenience store. There are so many
brands and types of cigarettes that you could almost lose
it if you tried to keep track of them all.
There are low-tar
and high-tar brands, king size and regular, milds, ultra-lights,
extra-longs, imports, and generics.
because basically, they're all the same thing.
they're all made from the same stuff, tobacco -- with a few hundred
choice chemical additives thrown in for taste and burn-time and
who knows what else.
And they all
pose the same risks to health, too.
..Body of Evidence
Even Joe Camel
had to know that health risks rise from the moment that cigarette
smoke enters the body. But he never said a word.
And what a
story he didn't tell. Consider: When a smoker lights up, a sticky
fog of tar, gases, and other chemicals flash across the lips
and mouth to the lungs.
gases mix with oxygen, and pass into the bloodstream. From there,
they zip to all parts of the body, making the heart pound harder
and the lungs pump even faster in the process.
may feel more alert or relaxed, more focused or calm.
If you think
that sounds like something a drug would do, you're right. That's
because tobacco contains nicotine and nicotine is a drug. A real
And like all
kinds of other drugs, nicotine is addicting. That means a smoker's
body gets so used to it so quickly that it begins to depend on
most smokers who go without their favorite poison for even a
few hours start to feel tense: They're going through a form of
And the discomfort
of withdrawal -- the jitters, restlessness, and craving-makes
smoking a hard habit to beat.
And a good
habit to avoid. Not much of a mystery there, either.
..Building a Case
Need more clues
to build your own case against smoking?
Let's do some
real detective work, then, and look at some of the ways smoking
affects the body, starting on the outside and working our way
smoking causes wrinkles -- mostly because it reduces bloodflow
to the skin. It also stains teeth and fingers.
are way more serious -- cancer, for one.
cancers can hit any part of the body -- including the lungs,
lips, tongue, stomach, and esophagus, to name but a few.
causes other types of lung disease, such as emphysema, along
with heart disease and stroke.
Many of the
health problems linked to smoking don't happen all at once --
and some don't happen for years.
doesn't mean they won't happen.
In fact, if
you want to know how deadly cigarettes are, just think of this:
In the United States, more than 1,200 people die from smoking
If that doesn't
make an impression, look at it this way:
cigarettes kill as many people as six 200-passenger jumbo jets
crashing, leaving no survivors. And not just once in a while,
but every day.
A real catastrophe,
that's smoking, for you.
all the problems linked to cigarettes, a lot of former smokers
switched to smokeless tobacco, thinking that smokeless tobacco
had to be safer than cigarettes. But they were wrong
though you don't smoke snuff or chewing tobacco (nothing that
gooey can burn), they both contain nicotine and the same gunk
They also carry
many of the same risks, too.
And since a
lot of people start chewing tobacco or "dipping" snuff
when they're teens, this means they get to start having health
problems -- throat cancer, sores on the lips and gums, the works-earlier
tried to beat the reaper by switching to clove cigarettes-those
little funky brown numbers made with tobacco and spices and other
"natural" flavorings (as if that makes any difference).
though clove cigarettes may smell sweet (if your idea of "sweet"
is an incense bomb dropped on some local Cinnabon stand), they
usually contain more tar, nicotine, and other good stuff than
Just what the
world's been waiting for: Super Cigarettes.
(As if the
regular ones aren't already bad enough)
In a real mystery,
this is the point where the tireless detective would light a
pipe, recap the evidence, untangle the twists of the tale, and
watch the culprit start squirming.
But since we've
already made the point that there's not much of a real mystery
here (and since our hero doesn't smoke a pipe), we'll just recap
all the good reasons for smoking.
right, there aren't any. Diehard smokers will even tell you that.
Oh, sure, there are reasons-like wanting to look older or wilder,
or to fit in with (we suppose) old, wild people.
aren't any good reasons.
On the other
hand, there are great reasons not to start. And there are just
as many great reasons to stop now if you already smoke.
it. And you really do need to think about it. Because tobacco
companies have slick ad agencies and billion-dollar promotional
budgets to get their message across and hide their smoking guns.
got each other to remind ourselves how truly twisted it is that
people still buy the same old lie, and end up sucking on burning
tubes of cancer-causing gunk until they croak, choke, or go broke.
So why is smoking still around?
It's a mystery to us. We told you that it's a strange case: You'll
just have to solve it for yourself.