15 Shocking Facts About Smoking

Posted May 31, by Val Liarikos

Ever been annoyed when you had to strap on that lead vest while getting an x-ray? Just think of all the radiation you would be exposed to if you didn’t have that blocking a lot of it. Now then think that if you smoke cigarettes, you get that much radiation anyway! Scientists had trouble determining why exactly cigarettes were so dangerous and caused so many health risks. 

Statistically, the chemicals in tobacco are far less dangerous than most people think, and the numbers don’t exactly add up. However, scientists have determined that tobacco is so bad for you because it’s actually radioactive. In the 1930’s farmers began using a cheap fertilizer called apatite, which causes the tobacco to taste sweet, but also has uranium in it. By inhaling the smoke from this apatite, we inhale radioactive particles, severely damaging our body and organs. 

A report from BYU and UNC found that having no or poor social connections has a major effect on a person's life expectancy.

The difference in life expectancy between having strong or poor social connections is roughly the same as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or not.

What's worse, the effect is greater than obesity and physical inactivity.

Another study done by Carnegie Mellon found that people with more social connections and a diverse social network were less likely to develop a cold than people with fewer connections.

If you want some tips on strenthening your current relationships, check the source.


Breathing the air in Mumbai, India for just ONE DAY, is equivalent to smoking 2.5 packs of cigarettes.
Urea, a chemical found in your pee, is added to cigarettes to enhance flavor.

Of course, it can be artificially synthesized as well. It's colorless and odorless, unless mixed with water. Then it has a very strong odor.

Urea can also be used in fertilizer, various plastics, animal feed, adhesives used to make plywood, and an explosive (known as urea nitrate).

Urea is sometimes used in car and truck engines to reduce pollutants from exhaust. It's an ingredient in Nair, the hair remover, and can be used for de-icing and resurfacing snowboards, and as a fire-proofing agent. It can also be found in teeth whitener, dish soap, yeast, and textile dyes.
An Indonesian toddler by the name of Ardi Rizal smoked 40 cigarettes in a day.

Ardi Rizal had his first cigarette when he was 18 months old. He got to the point where if his parents didn\'t give him a cigarette, he\'d throw a tantrum. The video below was removed from Youtube because people were outraged to see a kid so young smoking.

25 per cent of Indonesian children have tried cigarettes. 3.2 percent of them are habitual smokers.

Smoking Baby Hooked on Cigarettes - Watch more Funny Videos

Tobacco in its natural form, not processed cigarettes, has very different qualities than the tobacco Americans consume today. Tobacco that can cause hallucinations are the strains that Native Americans used to, and still do, smoke. What exactly is different from this tobacco? 

There are chemicals in the tobacco plant called harmala alkaloids, harman and norharman. They’re hallucinogens that can cause intense hallucinations. The reason the tobacco that we smoke does not cause this is because it is so processed that the harmala alkaloids are usually inadvertently removed. Also, the tobacco that Native Americans and South American tribes smoke is much more potent and they consume much more of it at a time, which, when the harmala alkaloids reach the brain through inhalation, cause visions to blur and the mind to be warped.

This tobacco was used by wise men throughout history such as shamans to gain wisdom and increase spiritual development. It was an extremely spiritual practice that allowed the wise men to expand their minds and consider the world from many different points of view. Although we cannot reach this level from smoking cigarettes, if you were to travel to South America and consume the tobacco strains that have been carefully cultivated for hundreds of years, the effects would be shocking. 

Kurt Vonnegut was a famous 20th century writer. Some of his most well known novels are Slaughterhouse Five, Cat’s Cradle and Breakfast of Champions. They blended satire and science fiction and humor. This humor was exemplified when Vonnegut threatened to sue a cigarette company for NOT killing him. His exact quote was:

“Here's the news: I am going to sue the Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company, manufacturers of Pall Mall cigarettes, for a billion bucks! Starting when I was only twelve years old, I have never chain-smoked anything but unfiltered Pall Malls. And for many years now, right on the package, Brown & Williamson have promised to kill me. But I am eighty-two. Thanks a lot, you dirty rats. The last thing I ever wanted was to be alive when the three most powerful people on the whole planet would be named Bush, Dick and Colon.”

If you haven’t read his books, you can imagine how amusing they are. Vonnegut died in April 2007.


Despite the title and premise of the 2005 film, there is not a single occurrence of actual smoking! The only time where a cigarette is seen being held is during a short black-and-white film that character Nick Naylor watches.

Another fun fact about the movie is that director Jason Reitman wrote letters to all of the stars in the movie explaining why they would fit their respective roles perfectly! Every person he wrote a letter to accepted and thanked his for his personal touch.


Smoking damages your body in minutes, not in years as previously believed.

A recent study has shown that cancer-causing substances form very rapidly after smoking a first cigarette. Scientists observed the effects of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) on 12 subjects. PAHs are chemicals that are known to cause cancer. Within 15 to 30 minutes of inhalation, the PAHs were transformed by the body into another substances that causes cancer by damaging a person's DNA! This shows that the destructive process triggered by cigarettes actually begins with the FIRST one smoked! This is all the more reason for smokers to quit as soon as possible, and for non-smokers NEVER to begin in the first place.
If you need help, come talk to me. You don\'t have to go through anything alone. http://www.formspring.me/youreahmayyzing

The 'Marlboro Man' was a character created by Marlboro to promote their cigarettes. Commonly featured from 1954 to 1999 he was depicted as a rugged cowboy. The character was created to promote the introduction of filtered cigarettes, yet sustained a large fan base. However, it turns out that two of the actors who portrayed 'Marlboro Man' died of lung cancer.

Wayne McClaren and David McClean were both hired as actors, and forced to smoke up to five packs of cigarettes a day for shoots. It's no surprise after only ten years of resigning as the character, both had died. McClean's family sued Philip Morris, the company owning Marlboro, after his death claiming they held responsibility. 


The cigarette lighter was invented before the match.

The first lighter was produced in 1816 by a German chemist named Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner. "Döbereiner's lamp," as it was called, was a (highly dangerous) cartridge filled with hydrogen and triggered by a platinum catalyst. Lighters didn't really start to take off until Zippo began mass producing more practical models in the 1930s. (The history of lighters).

Match-like chemical reactions began back in the 17th century with the discovery of phosphorus, but the true friction match was not invented until 1827. In that year, a British chemist by the name of John Walker made matches out of long sticks with a combination of antimony sulfide, potassium chlorate, gum, and starch on the end. He called his invention the "Congreves." (The history of matches).


ZEPHYR was invented by British American Tobacco in the UK, to be used in its internal memos. An example from a 1957 BAT memo: "As a result of several statistical surveys, the idea has arisen that there is a causal relationship between ZEPHYR and tobacco smoking, particularly cigarette smoking."

In 1952, a British scientist, Richard Doll, published a seminal study in the British Medical Journal showing a “real association between carcinoma of the lung and smoking.” The industry then hired public relations company Hill & Knowlton to put a more “positive” spin on this entire phenomenon.

ZEPHYR was one of their suggestions. Another suggestion was undermining the connection between ZEPHYR and cigarettes. One Phillip Morris document written in 1976 says; “Anything can be considered harmful. Apple sauce is harmful if you get too much of it.”

(Sources 1, and 2)


Nicotine has an affinity for melanin-containing tissue. Darker pigmented people have increased nicotine dependence and lower smoking cessation rates studies have shown. A medical sociologist from Penn State found that African American have a harder time quitting, and suffer more tobacco-related diseases. The reason for this is that melanin pigments, which determine skin color, bind tightly to nicotine. The result from this is that the cancer-causing agents linger and accumulate in other tissues that contain melanin, like heart, lungs, liver and brain.
It's not just people who were born with darker skin, though. Things like tanning and exposure to the sun increase melanin production and increase the same risk factors. The way they found this was by correlating the color of the person's forehead, which is determined by sun exposure and genes. The darkness of the forehead was positively correlated to the number of cigarettes smoked per day as well as nicotine dependence. 
A 2008 study of 12,000 people suggested that quitting smoking reduced the chance of others around them smoking. Spouses chances of smoking decreased by 67%, siblings by 25%, and friends by 36%. Interventions to quit smoking with social support did not increase long term cessation rates, though. Also, smokers with major depression disorders are often less successful at quitting than the non-depressed. 
(Sources 1, and 2)

The EU banned tobacco advertising in motorsports in 2007, and for good reasons too- children and young adults alike had access to the sporting event thanks to television, and could have watched their favorite cars and racers encouraging a hazardous habit. This law, however, didn’t stop the Ferrari motor-racing team.

In a one-sentence press release, “Scuderia Ferrari Malboro” recently said that it had “extended its collaboration agreement with Philip Morris International to the end of 2015.” Some estimate that the deal could be worth up to $100m to the Formula One Team, which has been sponsored by Marlboro cigarettes since 1984.

Both Action on Smoking and Heath and the Royal College of Physicans have written to Jean Todt (president of Formula One), urging him to investigate this deal. Not only is this deal considered wrong because it leads to the promotion a life-threatening product, but also because this gives Ferrari an unfair boost over other law-abiding teams who don’t have a tobacco industry sponsorship.


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