Smoking








So what do teens do to be different from their parents these days? Write code? From the New York Times: Every few years, parents find new reasons to worry about their teenagers….



Did you know that for decades, jolly old St. Nick was a heavy, couple-packs-a-day smoker? According to prominent advertising of the twentieth century, at least. How to be a Retronaut has an…


Via ScienceDaily: Cigarettes and alcohol serve as gateway drugs, which people use before progressing to the use of marijuana and then to cocaine and other illicit substances; this progression is called the…




RAAFReally terrible way to find out … Marissa Calligeros reports in the Sydney Morning Herald:

A member of the Royal Australian Air Force was seriously burnt when a portable toilet exploded in central Queensland [a few days ago].

The airman was using the toilet about 9.30 am when he lit a cigarette, a Department of Community Safety spokeswoman said.

‘‘It’s believed he was lighting a cigarette at the time.’’ The airman suffered third-degree burns to his head, face, arms, chest and airways, the spokeswoman said.

He was taken by ambulance to Rockhampton Hospital in a serious condition.











Charlie The Smoking ChimpVia Reuters:

JOHANNESBURG — A chimpanzee once hooked on smoking by visitors offering it cigarettes has died at a South African zoo at the relatively advanced age of 52, officials said on Wednesday.
“He appears to have died of old age,” said municipal spokesman Qondile Khedama. An autopsy will be conducted to determine the exact cause of death.

“Charlie the smoking chimp” used to put two fingers to his mouth to mimic smoking and reach out with his other hand to bum cigarette butts from visitors at Bloemfontein Zoo. But when videos of him puffing away circulated globally a few years ago, zoo officials moved to cut off the supply of smokes.

The nickname stuck even though the cigarette habit faded.

The life expectancy for chimps in the wild is about 15 years and only 7 percent of wild chimps live past 40, a Harvard University report published in 2007 said.


This is an article from 2006 that I found while trying to research the actual ingredients in cigarettes. Robert N. Proctor writes in the New York Times:
Nuclear Pack

When the former KGB agent Alexander V. Litvinenko was found to have been poisoned by radioactive polonium 210, there was one group that must have been particularly horrified: the tobacco industry.

The industry has been aware at least since the 1960s that cigarettes contain significant levels of polonium. Exactly how it gets into tobacco is not entirely understood, but uranium “daughter products” naturally present in soils seem to be selectively absorbed by the tobacco plant, where they decay into radioactive polonium.

High-phosphate fertilizers may worsen the problem, since uranium tends to associate with phosphates. In 1975, Philip Morris scientists wondered whether the secret to tobacco growers’ longevity in the Caucasus might be that farmers there avoided phosphate fertilizers.

How much polonium is in tobacco? In 1968, the American Tobacco Company began a secret research effort to find out. Using precision analytic techniques, the researchers found that smokers inhale an average of about .04 picocuries of polonium 210 per cigarette. The company also found, no doubt to its dismay, that the filters being considered to help trap the isotope were not terribly effective. (Disclosure: I’ve served as a witness in litigation against the tobacco industry.)