A remark by regular non-smoking commenter Wobbler:
I cannot fathom out no matter how hard I try how breathing in concentrated smoke directly into the lungs can possibly be good for you.
I replied that what I inhale isn’t particularly ‘concentrated’. It’s not as if I suck smoke out of a cigarette straight into my lungs. What I actually first do is draw a little smoke into my mouth, and then inhale with my mouth open so that I draw in a lot of air with the smoke. The intake of air serves to cool and dilute the smoke.
It’s like using hot and cold taps. Some hot taps produce scalding hot water, which can actually cause harm. But if you mix it with water from the cold tap, the scalding hot water is cooled to a temperature at which it is harmless. It’s the same with smoking.
It’s even the same with drinking tea or coffee. Tea starts out at near boiling point with water out of a kettle. But add some milk, and it’ll cool the hot tea enough to make it drinkable. We do stuff like this all the time. Nobody ever says: “How can you swallow hot water into your stomach? It must be causing harm!” Or at least I haven’t heard it yet. and nobody ever says, “You cook food at 200°C, and then you take it out of the oven and eat it! You must be damaging your mouth and throat!”
It occurred to me that maybe this is the problem with antismokers (Wobbler isn’t one of them): they never learned the art of smoking. They probably just thought you lit the things, and sucked the smoke out of them straight into their lungs. And when they tried doing that, they ended up with epic coughing fits, and decided, “Never again! That could’ve killed me.” And could never understand why anyone else would want to do it either. Maybe that’s how antismokers start?
They’re perhaps like people who never learned to swim or ride bicycles, because when they tried they nearly drowned or they fell off and hurt themselves. And they end up being frightened of water and bicycles. And when there’s enough of them, they’ll ban swimming and cycling – out of sheer spite for something they can’t do.
I think swimming and cycling is far more dangerous than smoking cigarettes. People quite often drown, or die in cycling accidents. But nobody ever dropped dead from smoking a cigarette or – same thing – drinking a cup of coffee. It took me a long time to learn to swim, and quite a long time to learn to ride bicycles. But I stuck at it, even though I nearly drowned a few times, and came off the bikes pretty regularly.
Nevertheless, everybody now thinks that the harmless pastime of smoking is far more dangerous than swimming or cycling. When actually it isn’t.