There are currently two different stories about how air kills. Yes, two.
The Air That Makes You Fat
Some puzzling studies appear to show that tiny airborne particles may contribute to obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
But there’s another one:
How oxygen in the air could trigger lung cancer: Rates of the disease found to decrease at higher altitudes
US researchers suggest way our bodies process oxygen is potentially carcinogenic
Free radicals in body can cause damage to cell structures and DNA, which in turn can trigger cancer
Link between elevation and lung cancer not seen with breast, prostate or bowel cancer
‘Viewing our findings through the lens of the literature, atmospheric oxygen emerges as the most probable culprit.
‘Overall, our findings suggest the presence of an inhaled carcinogen inherently and inversely tied to elevation.’
I’m slightly puzzled by this. I know that air becomes less dense with altitude, but doesn’t it remain about 20% oxygen and 80% nitrogen as its density falls? And doesn’t this mean that you just have to breathe more of it? Someone at the top of a mountain needs just as much oxygen as someone at the foot of it, but if the air at the top of the mountain is half as dense as the air at the bottom, they’ll have to breathe twice as much as it to get the same amount of oxygen. So they’re not getting any less oxygen.
Anyway if there’s less oxygen in the air, then there’s also less nitrogen. So maybe it’s nitrogen that’s carcinogenic?
But what if it’s air pressure that’s carcinogenic? Air pressure decreases with altitude. At the bottom of the atmosphere, we all have about one kilogram of atmospheric air pressing on every square centimetre of our external surfaces (which include the insides of our lungs) . And maybe the higher the atmospheric air pressure, the more likely it is that cells in our lungs get damaged, and become cancerous?
Or maybe, to square with the other Air Kills story, it’s just that there’s less particulate matter in the air at high altitudes than there is at the dusty, smoky, smoggy surface of the Earth?
Pretty soon some ‘expert’ will no doubt be telling people to spend as much of their time upstairs in their houses rather than downstairs, and sleep standing or sitting upright.
Anyway, H/T Audrey Silk, the high price of cigarettes in New York has resulted in a fall in tax revenues:
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The number of state-taxed cigarette packs sold in New York has plummeted by 54 percent in the past decade.
That’s far outpacing the 19 percent decline in New Yorkers who have quit smoking over the same time.
Instead, more smokers are buying cigarettes in ways that avoid New York’s $4.35 per pack tax, the highest in the nation. They cross state lines, shop from black market vendors and travel to Native American outlets to save $6 per pack or more, experts say.
New York is losing big. In the past five years, the state’s cigarette tax collections have dropped by about $400 million, according to data and estimates from the office of state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
And this at a time when the number of smokers in NY has been increasing:
New York City’s adult smoking rate rose to 16.1% in 2013, the third straight year that tobacco use has crept up in a metropolis once known for its innovations in getting people to kick the habit, according to government data released Monday.
It’s enough to make you Laffer out loud.
Oh, and I almost forgot. Sleep kills. Yup, you heard it right: Sleep Kills.
Too much sleep is ‘AS bad for your health as smoking and drinking alcohol’: More than 9 hours a night means you’re ‘4 TIMES more likely to die early’
So sleep well tonight! Just make sure to sleep standing upright in a top floor bedroom, with an alarm clock set to wake you up after an hour or two.