Cinema audiences reproducibly vary the chemical composition of air during films, by broadcasting scene specific emissions on breath
All living organisms from the smallest plants and bacteria to trees and primates emit chemicals into their local environment1,2,3,4. Such chemicals may act as signals, eliciting wide ranging responses5,6. The atmosphere has been shown to be an effective conduit for chemical communication between plants and plants7, plants and insects8, insects and insects9…
Of the 872 volatile compounds identified in human breath1, a fraction is thought to be produced endogenously. These compounds can be used to track chemical changes within the body, over long (with age)21,22 and short timescales (medication response, food, disease or exercise)2,23,24,25. Within this cinema based study we hypothesize that if films elicit strong emotional responses then volatile products from the internal biochemical response (cardiovascular, skeletomuscular, neuroendocrine, and autonomic nervous system)26,27 may be vented shortly afterwards over the lungs, and observed as transient peaks in concentration in air exiting the cinema.
I think the thing that struck me about this was the sheer number: 872 volatile compounds in human breath. That’s almost as many chemicals as there are supposed to be in tobacco smoke.
And that’s just the volatile compounds. It’s almost as if breathing is just as bad as smoking. In fact worse, because we all continually belch out thousands of chemicals all day every day throughout our entire lives. Smokers don’t smoke continuously. And they don’t smoke when they’re asleep. The only difference is that you can see tobacco smoke, and you usually can’t see breath.
And of course some of them will be carcinogenic compounds, probably the same ones in tobacco smoke. In which case, maybe 70 years of breathing will cause lung cancer just as effectively as 30 or 40 years of smoking?