Friday, August 7, 2015

The Truth About Smoking

            From reading Scientific Perspectives on Pseudoscience and the Paranormal: Readings for General Psychology by Timothy J. Lawson, I’ve learned that correlation does not imply causation. Many people believe smoking causes lung cancer as they always seem to be linked together, but I’ve known several people who were heavy smokers or had friends who would tell me about their family members who smoked, and they all lived pretty good, long lives. I’m not saying that smoking cigarettes is good for you, or that it doesn’t affect your health, but I just don’t believe that smoking actually causes cancer. I decided to do some research on this correlation, and I found an interesting article by James P. Siepmann, MD.
So, why do people believe smoking causes lung cancer in the first place? Well according to Dr. Siepmann, language is misused on the internet, and messages aren’t interpreted properly. In my opinion, if a message is misread the first time, and you tell someone about it, especially if it’s health-related, chances are the message will spread, and it’ll become a world-famous rumor. Cigarettes and lung cancer go together, it’s not that they don’t, but smoking cigarettes simply increase the risk of getting lung cancer; it doesn’t cause it (Siepmann, J.).
             People exaggerate. Even if some people already know smoking increases the risk of getting lung cancer, they think the risk is abnormally high. Ironically, it isn’t. The average smoker has an 8% chance of dying from lung cancer, but a nonsmoker has a 1% chance (Siepmann, J.). Just because you don’t smoke, doesn’t mean you aren’t at any risk for lung cancer. I just find it interesting how society makes smoking seem like the worst thing you can do, but what about other risk-factors for lung cancer? What about air pollution, dietary supplements, or arsenic in drinking water (What are the risk factors for lung cancer?)?


  1. You make a great point. There are dangerous substances in a lot of things that we consume. Your point about lung cancer and smoking is true, however the leading cancer caused by smoking is actually bladder cancer.

  2. Great points you both make! I am an "ex-smoker" and very proud that I was able to kick the habit, and therefor understand your convictions. However, I have had family members die from lung cancer, and researched it extensively, during their treatment. Lung cancer has the highest death rate of all cancer types in America, and the more you smoke the more that risk goes up. According to the CDC, "Cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer. In the United States, cigarette smoking is linked to about 90% of lung cancers", and "Tobacco smoke is a toxic mix of more than 7,000 chemicals. Many are poisons. At least 70 are known to cause cancer in people or animals".