What’s worse? The fact that you’re inhaling hot, smoke into your lungs? Or the fact that you’re inhaling actual cigarette ingredients (nicotine, tar, etc.) into your lungs?


What increases ones chance of getting cancer and other respiratory complications? Is it just smoking anything e.g. normal paper, crack, weed, etc.? Or is it specifically smoking cigarette ingredients? If someone smoked anything else other than cigarettes, as much as cigarette smokers smoke cigarettes, would their likelihood to getting cancer be the same as that of a cigarette smoker?

In: Biology

6 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Cigarettes are worse for your lungs than regular paper, yes. Not that paper is OK to smoke – please don’t smoke paper. But cigarettes are worse.

Your entire airway, from your nostrils down into your lungs, is coated in mucus. That sounds gross, but it’s a good thing! The mucus protects your lungs by acting like flypaper – any particles floating around in the air get stuck to it before they can reach the delicate membranes inside your lungs. Dust, pollen, bacteria, and yes, smoke, all get filtered out by the mucus. Most of it, anyway. If there’s enough smoke, then some still reaches the lungs and damages them. That’s why smoking anything, even just paper, is bad.

Just like changing the filter on an air purifier, the mucus has to be “changed out” frequently. Your body does this with little hairlike structures called *cilia*. The cilia wave back and forth, constantly pushing the mucus (and anything caught in it) to your throat. From there it drops into your stomach to be destroyed, and new mucus is secreted to replace it. Your airway thus has a constant “conveyor belt” of mucus clearing out all the crap that you inhale.

Here’s the “tobacco is worse” part: *nicotine paralyzes the cilia*. So not only are you intentionally inhaling smoke, thereby saturating and using up all your protective mucus, but you’re shutting down the conveyor belt to replace that mucus! Your body can’t clear out your airways anymore, making your lungs much more vulnerable to not only all the smoke you’re inhaling, but anything else that could damage them, too.

If you talk to people who’ve quit smoking, they all tell the story of about two weeks after their last cigarette, they start coughing up this nasty black goo for a few days. That’s the “conveyor belt” starting back up again – their body is finally clearing out the old layer of mucus that’s been sitting there, marinating in cigarette smoke, for years.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The byproducts of the process of combustion of almost any organic substance could give you cancer. That is if you are exposed to it frequently enough. So with that in mind, smoking anything ( consumed after burning ) would give you cancer for sure.

Also the Hot smoke you are referring to and the cigarette ingredients are the same thing.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It’s both. The smoke has active radicals that will damage your lungs all by themselves. It also has particulates that will irritate your lungs, but your lungs are designed to deal with that. The nicotine paralyzes the little hairs that kick out the pollutants, so nicotine+crap mean more crap longer in your lungs.

TL;DR: nicotine teams up to help other carcinogens hurt you worse.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Its the inhaling of combustible material and even more so combustion tobacco which messes you up. Nicotine is pretty inoffensive, much like caffeine.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Smoked for some 22 years. Several Packs a day Marlboro reds mostly although I’d switch to others depending on prices.
I ended up quitting over 15 years ago the hard way. I went cold turkey!
Use whatever the heck method works for you because you are so SOOOOOOooo much better off not being an addicted cigarette company lackey who pays those CEO’s salaries.
And for those people that think somehow these stupid new e-cigarettes or hookahs or other crap is somehow healthy or ‘Healthier.. I have news for you.
You’ve been conned and hoodwinked into the line of fucking bullshit the Cigarette companies are shoveling you.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It’s mostly the byproducts of the curing process – tobacco isn’t all that bad in its natural state, but when it’s cured, especially in anaerobic conditions, the microbes naturally present and digesting it create some pretty toxic and/or carcinogenic compounds as waste byproducts. Then when you smoke the cured tobacco, you’re inhaling all that stuff.

The nicotine is bad mainly because it makes you so very very addicted to inhaling all those toxins so frequently.

The tar is bad mainly because it gums up your body’s natural defenses against inhaled junk and makes the bad stuff stick in there. It does also plug up the smaller bits of your airways, but your body’s natural defenses would clear it out after awhile if the nicotine addiction didn’t cause you to keep constantly sucking more tar in faster than it clears out.

Smoking other stuff has its own problems. As with cigarettes, you’re not smoking just one single substance, but a combination of many which may team up to work together against you. And there may not be one bad thing – taken alone, even if each constituent might not be particularly dangerous, working together the combination can wreck you.