Volume 90, Issue 98

Wednesday, April 02, 1997



Gross ills of smoking sickening

Re: Smoker disgusted by letter, March 27

To the Editor:

I write this letter in response to Mr. Edwards' letter and in defence of John Heder. The most questionable element of Mr. Edwards' letter is his contention that "smokers really know how to live." When you're 45-years old and dying of smoking-induced lung cancer, having your lungs removed piece by piece to maintain your existence, will you still be clinging to the idea that smokers really know how to live? It is not my intention to embarrass Mr. Edwards or any other poor addicted smoker, but perhaps I can educate them.

Cigarette smoke contains about 4,000 chemicals, including minute amounts of poisons such as arsenic, formaldehyde and DDT. With each puff, these poisons are inhaled through the lungs – which retain up to 90 per cent of the compounds – and then passed through the bloodstream. Some of these poisons, such as carbon monoxide, are free radicals that rob red blood cells of oxygen. Free radicals have been linked to a host of problems, ranging from wrinkles to cancer.

Meanwhile, the nicotine in tobacco smoke causes the adrenal glands to secrete hormones that increase blood pressure and heart rate, which makes your heart work harder. This is the primary reason why smokers are at a much higher risk for stroke and heart disease.

Smoking makes you more susceptible to infectious diseases such as colds and flu, since it damages the cilia, tiny hairlike bodies that trap and sweep out foreign bodies from the lungs. Without cilia, tar from cigarettes clog breathing passages, leading to emphysema and lung cancer. Smoking also hobbles your ability to stay fit, sapping your mind and body of energizing oxygen.

Before I go further, I would like to state that my concern is not for the smoker. It is for the non-smoker, who is exposed to these debilitating toxins when a smoker is in their air. Smokers are infringing on my rights by depriving me of a healthy environment. But I digress.

Smoking causes: arrythmias, back pain, cataracts, diverticulosis, hearing loss, heart disease, high blood pressure, low immunity, impotence, infertility, lung cancer, memory loss, osteoporosis, obesity, Raynaud's disease, respiratory disease, sleep apnea, stress, stroke, ulcers and varicose veins. Finally, and perhaps most insidious, smoking causes a reduction in sexual appetite and an inability to achieve and maintain an erection. So, Mr. Edwards, when your girlfriend, or future wife, is no longer satisfied by your smoke-stunted, flaccid inability to please her in bed you had better hope she doesn't seek out a virile non-smoker to compensate for your inadequacies.

Jamie Stretch
Politics IV

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Copyright The Gazette 1997