I guess that not enough attention has been paid to the smoking dilemma and the role of the tobacco industry. We are still hassling it out despite local bans on cigarettes in restaurants, hospitals, libraries, theaters, and other public places. I know this because I just saw a good indie film on the subject and found it convincing and compelling. All the usual arguments were presented and by now, most of us have already taken sides. On the other hand, little has been said about the science of cigarette smoke and its smell.
We know that smoke is bad for you whether you actually puff away or are a victim of it second hand. It causes lung cancer pure and simple, not to mention mouth and throat problems. What we don’t all know is why it does this when it is such a pleasurable exsmoperience for many. It is all about chemicals that are toxic when inhaled. You wouldn’t want to eat poison intentionally to be sure. Why take them into your lungs day after day? It is a question of addiction from nicotine. In addition, when burned, cigarettes release more than 7,000 chemicals, 69 of which are known cancer culprits.
The warning labels are not complete. They don’t cover what toxins are in the smoke. The list is too long to mention, but some of the agents are acetone (as in nail polish), benzene (as in rubber cement, acetic acid (as in hair dye), arsenic (a component of rat poison), butane (as in lighter fluid), formaldehyde (that smelly embalming fluid, carbon monoxide (released in car exhaust), and lead (found in batteries). There are others like ammonia, tar, naphthalene, and toluene. E-cigarettes have additional flavorings, colorings, and chemicals.
It is enough to make you choke. As I said, this is the smoke part, not the tobacco. Apart from the carcinogenic element of smoking, there is the smell. Apparently, various additives for flavor and colorings are the cause, according to No More Smoke Smell. This smoke doesn’t dissipate quickly either. It clings to clothing and hair. It makes pets reek as well as your furniture, drapes, and carpet. A lot has gone into producing deodorizers to combat the problem. Smokers enjoy the smell actually but it turns bad after a while. This is due to a process called combustion and there is no way around it. It is part of the double-edged sword of cigarettes.
Many people, especially kids, resort to e-cigarettes because of the enhancements; but it is said to nevertheless be bad for the health. It is no instant panacea for the addicted. Another oddity to mention is that you can still smell cigarette smoke when there is no one actually smoking in your presence. It is called “phantom smell” and denotes damage to the olfactory nerve. It involves neurologic damage to the brain in which the afflicted associates what they smell with something burning. You would have to have experienced cigarette smoke in the past to identify the smell.