Smokers and non-smokers alike believe in certain myths and often justify them with the help of “facts and statistics”. These myths have made a permanent place in the media as well as in the minds of common. In this article we present top 10 myths about smoking followed by buster arguments.
1. Female smokers outnumber male smokers
The myth finds its origin from the observation that more women suffer from depression than men and take up smoking however, this has never been true. The occasional surveys, which still boast such facts, have a difference of 1-2% only and in a certain age group. Also, statistics show that more men die of tobacco caused diseases than women.
2. Quit campaigns work on rich people only
From the study of smoking trends among people from different socioeconomic levels, it was found that the lowest stratum has the highest number of smokers. This high number of smokers create an illusion that the quit campaigns are going astray. However, the trend of quitting among lesser-disadvantaged and more disadvantaged people is almost the same. In fact in some cases, the percentage of quitters is higher in more disadvantaged people.
3. Warnings against smoking are not effective
Two major concerns were found among the ex-smokers when inquired about their motivation behind quitting. First was the health hazards and second was the economic expense. Around 92% of the ex-smokers mentioned health concerns as a major cause of quitting. This statistic alone is a myth buster for those who think warnings are not effective.
4. Roll-your-on tobacco is less harmful than the factory made
Smokers fall for natural verses artificial illusion the way others fall for organic verses processed food. Organic food might be better than the processed one but the same does not hold true for “Roll-your-own” cigarettes being more natural than the processed and packaged ones. Data provided by tobacco companies in 1991 show that the roll-your-own tobacco contains around 22% chemicals and preservatives compared to 0.2% of the factory made cigarettes. This huge difference is because Roll-your-own tobacco has to be mixed with humectant chemicals. These chemicals keep tobacco from drying out when the smoker exposes it to air for rolling a cigarette, which happens more than 20 times a day for an average smoker.
5. Schizophrenics are all smokers
The study, which is referred to for justifying this claim, was performed on only 227 schizophrenia patient. In that study it was found that 88% of the patients were smokers. This study has been cited by a lot of researchers without stating the context and complete facts, which further percolated in the media and general public.
Although people with weaker mental health are more likely to take up smoking but rounding of figures to make a point cannot be justified.
6. Risks of smoking are known to all
Knowledge of the risks posed by smoking is not as widespread as we think. Least the general public knows is that smoking is injurious to health. The knowledge of risk is of 4 levels as described by physicians who deal with smokers.
First deals with awareness of threats posed to the wellbeing of the smoker.
Second level comprises of the knowledge of diseases particularly caused by tobacco.
Third is the actual realisations of the probability and severity of the diseases caused by tobacco.
And fourth and most important level is the acceptance of the fact the all above risk apply to the wellbeing of one’s own health.
7. Cutting down will reduce smoking hazards
Cutting lesser trees will not stop deforestation and improve climate. Similarly, reducing the number of cigarettes might delay death a bit but chances of developing tobacco related diseases do not decrease.
8. Air Pollution is the real cause of Lung cancer
Air Pollution is undoubtedly a major health risk. Main contributor of air pollution is smoke emitted from chimneys and vehicles. Air pollution is more common in populated areas and less populated areas are the least polluted. A research in Australia concluded that Lung cancer is more prevalent in less populated remote areas. These areas had little or no air pollution but higher percentage of smokers.
9. Professional help and drugs are necessary for quitting
When asked what method they used to quit smoking, “going cold turkey” was the answer of vast majority (around 70%). Effectiveness of professional help or drugs cannot be denied but, if one tries to bring oneself to it; will power is all one needs.
10. Not all smokers die young thus it isn’t that harmful
Those who use this argument are either ignorant of the risks and hazards of smoking or are deliberately trying to deny the facts.