• DAY 13 Perry – Kings Cross

    Listening to: Jarvis – Don’t Let Him Waste Your Time

    Emotion: Relaxed


    >>Make a Fresh Start – Stop Smoking<<

    Watch this video and tell me why would you still want to smoke!

    I’m waiting outside Kings Cross Station for Katie. A bus passes reminding me that England goes smoke free on 1st July. Bring it on!

    We walk the short distance from the station to BUPA Wellness were I have an appointment with Dr. Peter Mace. We meet the crew in the reception area and eventually we are escorted to the good doctors’ surgery.

    I’m here to have a Carbon Monoxide breath test. I wanted to arrange to do this test before commencing the experiment but having spent the best part of three weeks contacting a great deal of doctors, professors and hospitals to no avail, I had to press on and change tact. BUPA got back to me towards the end of the first week. They didn’t view this experiment as unethical. They treated it as an interesting experiment and research project.

    Prior to my visit to see Dr. Mace I stopped smoking for twenty four hours and enjoyed a good thirty minute run around my neighbourhood the night before. The only reason I went for a run was because I had been so busy for the last few weeks I hadn’t had time to exercise. It wasn’t a requirement for the test.

    The carbon monoxide test in question involves me taking a deep breath and holding it for ten seconds. I then slowly and under great control, I breathe out into a device that resembles a breathalyser used by the police to test for alcohol levels by the side of the road.

    I blow into the apparatus and no change registers on the light meters. The doctor shows me a colour chart that indicates that my breath has normal levels of carbon monoxide in it for someone who lives in London were diesel engine vehicles are plenty.

    I immediately head outside the building and spark up an Embassy #1 cigarette. The pack indicates that these cigarettes have 10mg of carbon monoxide when smoked. (at least the factory machine that tests these claims reads 10mg, but machines can not really emulate how a person smokes).

    I smoke this cigarette a little faster than usual but this is because of the stress of having three cameras in my face. I feel light-headed and head back in to the building to have a second test. At least here, if I faint or vomit I’ll be in good hands.

    I repeat the procedure, take a deep breathe, hold it for ten seconds and then slowly breathe out into the apparatus. The light immediately changes from green to orange. This change of colour on the chart indicates a considerable increase in the levels of carbon monoxide in my blood.

    So why is this bad? Well we need oxygen to live. We take oxygen from the air we breathe and this is moved around the body in our blood to all our vital organs. Carbon monoxide masks itself as oxygen by attaching itself to the haemoglobins or oxygen carrying cells in the blood. A habitual smoker is essentially starving themselves of oxygen. This is one of the reasons why smokers find themselves short of breath, the other being the damage they do to their lungs.

    I was fortunate enough to visit Professor Gunther von Hagens Bodyworlds exhibition some years ago in the East End of London at the Truman Brewery.

    Dr. gunther von hagens

    As a part of this amazing exhibition was the display of the heart and lungs of a smoker and a non-smoker. The differences in size and colour had a big impact on me. The smokers’ lung was about a third of the size and black in colour compared to the healthy comparison. Both owners of the lungs were dead, their was no denying that but what got me thinking was the quality of life the two owners must have had would be dramatically different.

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  • Before exploring health issues synonymous with tobacco smoking, it is useful to look back and define what is a cigarette? 

    A cigarette is a Nicotine Delivery System, a highly refined and carefully engineered product. Cigarettes are designed pacifically to deliver naturally occurring alkaloids like nicotine fast and efficiently to the body avoiding or masking them from the bodies natural defence mechanisms.

    Nicotine is the cause of addiction but cigarettes are laced with up to 600 compounds commonly referred to as additives or flavourings, which mask the serious effects some of these compounds have on the body.

    These ingredients are approved additives in food, however, were not tested by burning them. It is the burning of these substances that changes their properties. When burnt 4000 chemical compounds are made and these do most of the damage to the body, as many of them are toxic and/or carcinogenic. These include over 40 know carcinogenic including Hydrogen cyanide, Carbon Monoxide and Nitrogen Oxides.

    If a person takes on average 10 hits from a cigarette and smokes between 20 and 30 cigarettes a day they are sending 1mg of nicotine to the brain. That’s 300 hits of cancer causing agents per day while the nicotine addiction leaves you craving for yet another hit.

    To increase the amount of nicotine to the body household cleaners like ammonia are added to tobacco. Up to 40% more nicotine can be delivered faster to the smoker by using ammonia in the manufacture of cigarettes.

    Levulinic acids are added to cigarettes to mask the harsh taste of nicotine. These acids also bind nicotine to the brains receptors and increase the kick felt by the nicotine. The more nicotine that is bound on the receptors the bigger the kick the smoker experiences.

    Glycyrrhizin, liquorice and cocoa are compounds added to cigarettes to make the act of smoking a more enjoyable experience by masking the bitter taste of the nicotine. They are also added because in fact these compounds are bronchodilators, that is they dilate or open up the lungs membranes which allow more nicotine to enter the body.

     what is a cigarette

    Other common additives found in the manufacture of cigarettes are Arsenic (Rat Poison), Formaldehyde (Body Preservative), Acetone (Nail Polish Remover) Hexamine (BBQ Lighter), Cadmium (Rechargeable Batteries), Toluene (Industrial Solvent), DDT (Insecticide), Methanol (Rocket Fuel) and Lead (Petrol Fumes).

    In 1995 Philip Morris recalled 8 billion cigarettes after traces of the chemical methyl isothiocyanate (Pesticide) were found in its filters. Internal documents from the Liggett Group revealed arsenic, DDT and taxophene were found in their products. Tobacco is now grown in developing countries were high, often unregulated use of pesticides are used. In the three months from seedbed to transplanting Kenyan farmers are recommended there should be 16 separate applications of pesticides on their crops.

    1000 people give up smoking everyday – they die! View images of the Silent Killer.

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