Smoking really isn’t that bad for you and cigarettes may even extend lifespan in certain situations was the big takeaway from a study recently published in the prestigious Personal Choice Journal.
The comprehensive study conducted by the Personal Choice Foundation, a private foundation that enjoys funding from a diverse and disinterested array of corporate backers ranging from Ventilator-Plus, Inc. to vintage accessory company Pipe Up, compared rates of heart disease and cancer among 62-year-old men who consumed at least 24 ounces of meat and 12 servings of butter per day, exercised less than 15 minutes per day, and smoked a half-pack to a pack of cigarettes every day, with the heart disease and cancer rates of men of comparable age and lifestyle habits who identified as non-smokers and rarely smoked more than three cigarettes per day.
The results came as a surprise to many.
Yes, the non-smokers fared better - but not by much. Statistically, the group identifying as non-smokers showed only 18 percent lower rates of heart disease, and less than 25 percent lower rates of cancer.
“In other words, the differences were scarcely statistically significant," summarized Personal Choice Foundation Director Carol Brasser, "Even we were taken aback," she admitted. "But the numbers don't lie."
The Personal Choice study additionally highlighted remarkable anecdotal evidence regarding the supposed risk of cigarettes, taken from verbal accounts of correctional officers at New York City jail complex Rikers Island. According to Rikers Island officers, inmates in the habit of keeping at least ten cigarettes on hand at all times tended to have lower incidents of concussion, bone fractures, and even sudden death – regardless of whether they even smoked the cigarettes.
“The fact that being in the presence of cigarettes seemed to extend lifespan literally turns on their head the outdated studies purporting to prove the dangers of secondhand smoke,” said Brasser. “From this new anecdotal evidence, it's quite clear that not only are cigarettes not harmful to be around, but in certain situations, they may even lessen risk of catastrophic injury and even death."
Brasser concluded by emphasizing the good news for smokers and those potentially interested in taking up smoking.
“These research studies can get incredibly abstract and difficult for the average person to comprehend," she noted, "so we do our best to break them down in a way that people can understand. The bottom line: if you already enjoy smoking cigarettes, there’s no significantly compelling health reason to stop. And if you’re interested in enhancing the quality of your life by responsible consumption of tobacco products, you could find that your overall well-being actually improves as a result of cigarettes."
The Personal Choice study research results should help smokers and non-smokers alike breathe a big sigh of relief, emphasized Brasser. "With health out of the picture, people can feel that much freer to exercise their power of personal choice and explore all of the pleasures that life has to offer."