27 September 2019
As with any hobby or favoured past time, there will always be myths floating around. Smoking is no exception to this; here are some of the most common myths associated with smoking.
Women smoke more than men
It is a simple fact that women have never smoked more than men. Occasionally, a survey will show a specific age band where it is the other way around, but from the earliest mass uptake of smoking in the first decades of the last century, men well out-streaked women.
As a result of this, men’s tobacco-caused death rates have always been much higher than those of women; women’s lung cancer rates, for example, seem unlikely to ever reach even half the peak rates seen amongst men in the 1970s.
Rolling tobacco is more ‘natural’ than factory-made
People who smoke rolling tobacco will often claim that factory-made cigarettes are full of nasty chemical additives, whilst rolling tobacco is ‘natural’. Rolling tobacco is pickled in flavouring and humectant chemicals, the latter being used to keep the tobacco from drying out when smokers expose the tobacco to the air.
You can reduce the health risks of smoking by just cutting down
Whilst it is true that if you smoke five cigarettes per day instead of 20, your lifetime risk of early death is less. But the misconception that you can reverse engineer the risk by just cutting down rather than quitting has been shown ina least four large cohort studies. If you want to reduce your risk, quitting altogether is the goal.
Smokers shouldn’t try to quit without professional help or drugs
If you ask 100 ex-smokers how they quit, between two-thirds and three-quarters will happily tell you that they quit unaided; on their final successful quit attempt, they didn’t use nicotine replacement therapy, prescribed drugs or go to some sort of support group. They quit unaided.
The most successful method used by quitters is in fact, going cold turkey. In the years before stop smoking therapies were readily available, many people including heavy smokers quit without any assistance.
Many smokers live to old age, so it can’t be that harmful
In the same way that five out of six participants in a round of deadly Russian roulette might proclaim that putting a loaded gun to their head and pulling the trigger caused no harm; those who use this argument are just ignorant of risks and probability. The health issues associated with smoking can sometimes allow for old age, but they have a significant and often detrimental effect on the quality of life.
Filters on cigarettes remove most of the nasty stuff
We’ve all seen the brown stain in a discarded cigarette butt; but what few have seen is how much of that same muck enters the lungs and how much stays there.