Fake Lungs Lie

Frank Davis once told us that the commonly held belief that smokers lungs are black, is in fact, a lie. His post sparked a lot of discussion, including attempts in medical circles to verify the claim.

The idea that smokers lungs are black is part of established popular culture. We are all brought up to believe it by parents, schools and later on, the media. To stand up and says it's untrue is not just heresy to public health doctrine, it's downright batshit crazy to most normal people

Even I believed I had black lungs before I read Franks post

There was a video shown to us at school that I will never forget. A doctor opened up a lung and poured in a vial of black tar. The tar was supposed to represent the discharge that collects in the lungs of the average smoker

At thirteen years of age unfortunately, I wasn't smart enough to ask why they needed to pour the stuff into a healthy lung rather than just use 'the lungs of an average smoker', which presumably would already be filled with that black stuff when you cut them open

But that's what perpetuates the lie. The 'lungs of an average smoker' are just as pink as the lungs of an average non-smoker. Black lungs are caused by environmental factors, such as heavy pollution or working in a coal mine, or by diseases such as cancer or COPD, which non-smokers also get

Regardless of Franks efforts, the black lung lie is still the popular orthodoxy. But with a little knowledge and an open mind, it doesn't take long to see through the myth when it's presented to you. Take this recent article in Cosmo, for example

You've probably seen this crop up in many other publications this last week, I'm just a huge fan of Cosmo (just kidding)

This video of human lungs after twenty years of smoking will make you want to quit

It was the headline in this particular publication of the story that grabbed me, as it's extremely unlikely anything I could see in a newspaper or magazine is going to make me want to quit. Make that 100% unlikely

But when you read past the headline, even before you get to the editorial, you have the following warnings:

Do not watch if even remotely squeamish.
Warning: contains very graphic videos

Now I'll be honest. I have been known to be squeamish about certain things. There are the odd things that do turn my stomach

I didn't feel a need to be concerned on this occasion though. I figured it was more likely to make me laugh out load

At the risk of sounding like your mum, smoking isn't very good for you

This is what my mum sounds like:  "We're away in a few days, do you want us to bring any fags back?"

And one nurse from North Carolina in the United States has shocked people with her bold illustration of just how much damage cigarettes can do.

Isn't she a bit late to this particular shindig? All you have to do is Google, 'bold illustration of just how much damage cigarettes can do', and it's black lungs akimbo. There are so many 'bold illustrations' of fag damage out there, they may even be more prolific than pictures of cute kittens

Amanda Eller uploaded two videos to Facebook; one of air being blown into cancerous human lungs belonging to a person who smoked one pack of cigarettes every day for 20 years, and the other of air being blown into the lungs of a non-smoker.

I can't speak to her claim to know the lungs came from a person who smoked 20 fags a day, but that's not the issue here. These lungs are from a person who had lung cancer. It doesn't matter if they smoked or not, it was the cancer that turned the lungs black, not the smoking

And that's how it works. That's how it goes from lungs black because of cancer, to all smokers have black lungs

"Still wanna smoke?", the nurse captioned the videos 
Yes please

It's obvious to tell at first glance which lungs belonged to the smoker; one set is completely blackened in colour, while the other is a much healthier pink.
It's obvious to tell which lung you are supposed to think is the smokers, but in reality, they could have both belonged to smokers, one of which had lung cancer

We all know how bad smoking is for us. We've had it drummed into us from a young age that smoking a cigarette means you inhale over 5,000 chemicals 
That's gone up. Didn't it used to be 4000? When did they discover the pull the extra 1000 out of their arse
But sometimes it takes a visual representation of the damage, just like Amanda's videos, to make people believe just how real the dangers can be.
But it's not real. It's a visual representation of a lie
And you're not completely out of the woods if you're just a social smoker
Researchers from the University of Bristol estimated that over a lifetime each cigarette could take 11 minutes off your life
Wow! 11 minutes? So about six months for a 20 year social smoker. I'd take those odds, just to be a sociable person. I love how they come up with these incredible accurate measurements of how much life you loose as a smoker

"A long-term study found that people who smoked between 1-4 cigarettes a day have significantly higher risk of dying from all causes than non-smoker."
Now we're just getting into the realms of the Tobacco Control Twilight Zone.

All causes? Is that why as a smoker, bus drivers keep trying to run me over?


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