Take a listen to their conversation:
There were so many great questions and comments that the show didn’t have time for, but Rhonda took the time to answer some of them after the show. We’d like to share those answers with you here.
An Expert Q & A with Rhonda Saylor on Smoking
Rhonda Saylor: First and foremost, the data are clear that smoking any kind of tobacco is harmful simply by the nature of the chemical profile of the tobacco leaf and the inherent by-products produced, regardless of species.
It is known that the process of preparation of today's common tobacco products certainly impacts their carcinogenic and toxic qualities. For instance, the fermentation of tobacco involved in producing cigars makes this form of tobacco potentially even more carcinogenic than the tobacco in cigarettes. Additionally, the non-porous wrappers used on cigars result in a less complete burning of the cigar tobacco and produces a higher concentration of toxins in this smoke compared to cigarette smoke.
In essence, there are certainly factors involved in current day tobacco production that impact the carcinogenic and toxic qualities of these products, but these factors are small contributions to the inherent potentially lethal qualities of any tobacco.
Q: Noel Pierce
This subject requires much more time to discuss! What are the stats? I'm 54 & have smoked for 36 years. If you're an adult who smokes it's really hard not to know it IS really bad for you in the short term & long term & if you start smoking young you probably will smoke for a long, damaging time. What are statistics/percentages of continuing smokers who will develop what serious diseases. Further, when I was young the message was "smoking MAY cause illness." Now the message is "smoking WILL make you sick." I tend to agree with the latter statement & have tried "the patch," "cold turkey," & "electronic smoke" without success. I still crave strong menthol cigarettes to the point of distraction & "bad behavior" with each method. Unfortunately, I haven't had much time or money to devote to other methods. From what I've seen it's true, "the best way to stop smoking is really never ever to start."... My heartfelt condolences to all the other smokers out there & for what they will endure.
A: Rhonda Saylor
My answer is long, so I will have to send it in parts...
Pt. 1: To answer the question about the risk of disease related to smoking: As a male male smoker, your risk of lung cancer is 23 times higher than that of a non-smoker. Your risk of heart disease, heart attack & stroke is 2-4 times greater, and if you smoke 16-25 cigarettes daily your risk of Type II Diabetes is 3 times greater than for a nonsmoker. Smoking also increases your risk of dying from obstructive lung disease by 12-13 times. It puts you at risk of aortic aneurysms, osteoporosis and at much greater risk for a host of other cancers throughout your body.
Pt. 2: In regard to your comments on quitting smoking: In your case, quitting smoking right now would reduce your chances of dying prematurely from any smoke related disease by about 50%. It is a complex issue that requires a comprehensive effort to surmount the physical addiction and behavioral habits and address the psychosocial factors that are entwined in the behavior. You have to start with really being committed to quitting, and then utilize as many resources as possible to achieve your goal. Cessation aids are known to significantly increase your success rate. Therapy/ support coaches, medications, acupuncture and even hypnosis have been proven helpful. It is definitely in your best interest to keep trying! Best wishes!
Pt. 3: One last comment: Based on your age and years of smoking, it is recommended that you obtain lung cancer screening when you turn 55, as you are considered high risk. Depending on your cardiac history, it may also be advisable to obtain coronary calcium scoring, which I would suggest discussing further with your healthcare provider. You can call 1-800-654-0924 to schedule either or both at PinnacleHealth.
There are different types of tobacco smoking: cigarettes, cigars, and pipes. Each type involves different amounts of inhaling, different lung depths of inhaling, and different tobacco purity. What I object to is the unwillingness of this new Prohibitionist movement to discern between these varying ways of enjoying tobacco. Saying that all tobacco and smoking methods are equally bad is not accurate. In moderation and with minimal inhalation, it's a huge source of relaxation, which people need and have a right to enjoy without being harangued by social purists.
If people smoked unadultered cigarettes would they still see the same detrimental effects? (I’m thinking of Native Americans or just about any ancient culture)
Q: Noel Pierce
Anecdotally, when I or friends have tried them (pack or carton) the effects on breathing, digestion, and overall health seem worse but, "your mileage may differ." Doctors tell me smoking is smoking...
A: Rhonda Saylor
As for the first comment about different types of tobacco… There is certainly a correlation between risk and how you smoke and how much you smoke. It is known and was mentioned that cigar and pipe smoking is less lethal in terms of lung cancer compared to cigarette smokers, and this is especially true for those who do not inhale. However, a cigar smoker may spend an hour smoking one large cigar and consume as much tobacco as is in a pack of cigarettes. We know that cigars contain more cancer-causing tar per gram of tobacco compared to cigarettes, and that the fermentation process of cigars, as well as the non-porous wrappers used in their production, increases the amount of carcinogens in the tobacco and the concentration of toxins in the smoke, respectively. Cigar (as well as cigarette) smokers also directly expose their lips, mouth, tongue, throat, and larynx to smoke and its toxic and cancer-causing chemicals, as well as nicotine which can be absorbed through the skin or through the smoke. In addition, when saliva containing the chemicals in tobacco smoke is swallowed, the esophagus is exposed to carcinogens. In essence, though the risks of lung cancer are lower in alternative forms of tobacco use, and it is surmised that the risks associated with occasional tobacco use are lower than with regular, daily use, it is still clear that the risk of lung, oral, throat, laryngeal, esophageal and other cancers is still greater for any smoker when compared to non-smokers.
Q: Cathy Thompson
My father smoked. My brother smokes. My uncle smoked. My cousins smoke.
Is second hand smoke addicting? or are there other factors involved?
A: Rhonda Saylor
As for the questions about second hand smoke: We know that second hand smoke contains nicotine as well as a host of toxins and carcinogens. In a study Published online by Brody et. al., in the Archives of General Psychiatry in May 2011, it was shown that nicotine from second hand smoke binds receptors in the brain normally targeted by direct exposure to tobacco smoke (i.e., from smoking), which has implications for those who don’t already smoke becoming more vulnerable to addiction if they begin to smoke and making it more difficult for smokers trying to quit who are exposed to second hand smoke. As for other risks associated with second hand smoke, we know that living with a smoker increases your risk of lung cancer by 20-30%. Additionally, it is estimated that as many as 3400 nonsmokers die from lung cancer each year as a result of second hand smoke, and around 46,000 deaths from heart disease are attributed to second hand smoke exposure, per the US Surgeon General’s Reports.
Questions for you! Q: Have you had success with quitting smoking? What worked for you? Do you have a question we can help find an answer for? Please leave your thoughts in a comment at the bottom of the page.