Skip to comments.Smoking out the facts (Giving up smoking can kill you)
Posted on 11/12/2007 6:51:35 AM PST by fanfan
According to three doctors at the KS Hegde Medical Academy in Mangalore, India, writing in the journal Medical Hypotheses, giving up smoking can kill you. Arunachalam Kumar, Kasaragod Mallya, and Jairaj Kumar were "struck by the more than casual relationship between the appearance of lung cancer and an abrupt and recent cessation of the smoking habit in many, if not most, cases."
In 182 of the 312 cases they had treated, an habitual smoker of at least a pack a day, for at least a quarter-century, had developed lung cancer shortly after he gave up smoking.
They surmised a biological mechanism protects smokers against cancer, which is strengthened by years of determined smoking. When the smoker quits, "a surge and spurt in re-activation of bodily healing and repair mechanisms of chronic smoke-damaged respiratory epithelia is induced and spurred by an abrupt discontinuation of habit," and "goes awry, triggering uncontrolled cell division and tumour genesis."
An evolutionary argument could support this hypothesis. Man is the only animal who cooks his food, and thousands of generations of our ancestors, pent up in smoke-filled caves, could easily account for this biological mechanism.
Since the findings of Kumar, Mallya, and Kumar coincide with my own medical hypothesis, based on my own anecdotal evidence, I hasten to embrace them. Several deceased friends and family, starting with my paternal grandfather, perished shortly after they quit smoking -- not only from lung cancer, but from other causes ranging from previously undiagnosed heart disease to industrial accident.
The same general principle would apply: that a body long accustomed to a (frankly addictive) substance, goes haywire when the substance is removed. In the good old days, people instinctively understood things like that, without the need for medical research. And it was inconceivable that, for instance, hospitals would prevent patients from smoking, who were already medically challenged on other fronts.
Other medical literature has documented other risks of non-smoking, that include neurotic depression, violent irritability, and obscene weight gain. But these tend to be discounted because they lead to death only indirectly.
Likewise, indirect evidence for the dangers of not smoking comes from the 150th anniversary number of Atlantic magazine. P.J. O'Rourke points to (actual, serious) U.S. historical statistics showing that, in the period 1973-94, annual per capita consumption of cigarettes fell from 4,148 to 2,493. In the same period, the incidence of lung and bronchial cancer rose from 42.5 to 57.1 cases per 100,000 population.
In the past I have flagged UN statistics showing that life expectancy was nicely proportional to tobacco consumption, internationally -- so that, for example, Japan and South Korea were respectively first and second in both life expectancy and tobacco consumption. The lowest tobacco consumption was in Third World countries, where we also found some of the shortest life expectancies.
I think we could also find historical statistics showing there is a reliable, worldwide relationship between rising tobacco consumption, and rising life expectancy, nation by nation, throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.
As Al Gore likes to say, "the science is irrefutable."
The weakness in that last statement being, that there is no such thing as irrefutable science. There is nothing in the whole history of science that is not tentative. And while, in astronomy, I remain convinced that the Earth revolves around the sun, I would not put all my money even on that proposition, but, given attractively long odds, reserve a penny bet on the sun going round the Earth.
If my reader is planning to give up smoking in the face of what I report, then courage to him, and I will avoid saying, "Go ahead, make my day." I am not in the pay of the tobacco lobby -- on the contrary, I seem to be paying them -- and am in principle indifferent to what substances others decide to use or abuse. My dander rises only when they try to interfere with my own freedom, through the childish, petty, and essentially totalitarian public campaigns against harmless smokers -- buttressed by scientific claims weaker than the above.
There is one more hypothesis with which I would like to leave my reader. It is that the kind of quack "science" that was used to ban smoking has now mutated into the kind that is used to flog global warming. It should have been resisted then; it should certainly be resisted now.
Everyone I know who has emphysema smoked. No thanks.
Maybe. We all know smokers to whom this happened. My own father-in-law was one. But they probably would have gotten cancer had they kept on smoking, too. In other words, by the time you have been smoking for forty years, the damage to your cells is done. But quitting might repair the damage to your circulatory system.
I tried to smoke chains but how do you keep them lit?
Brother Dave Gardner
HAHAHAHAHAHAH yes, because you know, cooked flesh and burned wood is the same as nicotine, tar, and all the other goodies added to shredded tobacco leaf in a cigarette.
My allergist/asthma specialist said much the same thing. If you have a tendency towards lung problems, like asthma and allergies, then smoking will do you in. If you don't, it won't, and that explains why some people smoke and get emphysema and such, and why some live till their nineties.
I have personally believed this for years but who the hell is going to believe you when you say this? It was one reason I refused to quit for so long.
But I did quit two years ago. Still have my fingers crossed.
And hundreds of thousands of others developed lung cancer and died while never stopping smoking at all.
You don’t abuse your body for decades and think it’ll have no impact.
My b-i-l has smoked two packs a day for forty years, had a heart attack and developed emphysema before fifty while still smoking.
Maybe my dad’s an exception...but he quit smoking at 40 and is now
staring down his 80th birthday in a couple of weeks.
His only health complaint is some dermatological problems (maybe
brought on by his 44 years in the petrochemical lab? Or just his
I would never argue that smoking is a "good thing". I was just saying...
The only two people I know personally who got lung cancer never smoked at all.
Too much BS masquerading as science. No profession on earth has as sordid a history of lies and incompetence as the medical profession.
I need to start hanging out with your crowd. :)
Of course, the missing factor in this study is the fact that many, many (if not most) lifetime smokers who finally quit -— only quit because their lungs are so badly damaged they can barely breath.
Of course people with badly damaged lungs have an increased risk of lung cancer.
Cart, meet horse.
What about quitting slowly, which I’m sure is harder to do?
Would a nicotine patch help? Could it be related to what that does to your body?
There’s still a lot of unanswered questions.
It reminds me of a friend. She put the family on an very low fat diet quite suddenly, just decided to do it one day. Her husband had a serious heart attack within a month. She always wondered if the sudden change was responsible. This sounds like much the same thing.
That’s what makes this whole thing so difficult to sort out.
I don't intend to find out!
Everyone I know who’s died from it were life long smokers... sorry, but you are beyond denial if you are sitting there trying to deny that smoking is not an activity that vastly increases the risk of developing lung cancer.
Maybe you need to go read the 1950s report, long before politically correct nonsense was the mainstream.
Low fat diets are another myth of the medical profession. Just like low sodium. God only knows how many people die because of these phony inventions. Why would any one go to a medical doctor for nutrition advice anyhow? The doctors spend millions attacking vitamin salesmen and nutritionists, etc. I recently saw another “study” that “proved” that vitamins don’t help people. How can anyone take a profession seriously that perpetrates such fraud through cooked studies?
You mean like the Kinsey study?
I’m not denying anything. I just don’t trust the doctors. It took years and years to convince them to wash their hands. They are just as arrogant and imperialistic today.
The thing I find disgusting is smoking around kids. OK, so you are an addict and there is not much we can do about that, but smoking around kids, as if it is just a normal thing to do, is reprehensible.
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