Smoking is as American as apple pie. An estimated 47 million adults in the United States regularly smoke cigarettes. (1) The media is constantly portraying smokers as being bad and nonsmokers as victims of this pleasure. Yet research points to a different findings. In a 1994 Gallup Poll, it was found that 85% of those surveyed felt that there was no difference in their respect level for smokers.(2) Another survey by Gallup, taken in 1997, showed that over 50% of those polled felt the government should not ban the use of nicotine over a period of years until it is completely illegal.(3)If the majority of Americans are not uncomfortable with smokers than why is there so much noise over this issue?
The media is regularly bombarding consumers with the negative health issues presumably caused by nicotine but rarely report its positive side. A review of the literature produced numerous studies that nicotine IS good for you! An article in the Washington Post states, "with the state's help, Southern Maryland farmers could continue to grow tobacco that would ..produce health benefits." (4) In the December 1999 issue of Prevention Magazine, Denise Foley reported on a number of studies that found that nicotine gives relief from the syptoms associated with ulcerative colitis. (5)
In the last three decades, Keith Wesnes and David Warburton have been studing the effects of nicotine on human rapid information processing performance. Their experiments proved that "cigarette smoking increased both the speed and accuracy of performance. (6,7) In a 1990 study, Robert West and Sarah Heck, concluded "that nicotine cigarettes can sped up memory search time even in regular smokers during the course of a normal smoking day." (8)Warburton, in 1992, found that "nicotine can improve memory by enhancing attention. However, it can also improve memory directly, via some effect on mnemonic processing, prehaps by enhancing the formation of associations." (9) Smoking has many benefits and for too long has been negatively viewed. This needs to stop!
It is clear that smoking is good for you and the NO-Smoking Propaganda Campaign needs to be put out!
2. Gallup, Jr. George, ed. The Gallup Poll : Public Opinion 1994, (Wilmington, DE : Scholarly Resources, 1995), 48.
3. Gallup, Jr. George, ed. The Gallup Poll : Public Opinion 1997, (Wilmington, DE : Scholarly Resources, 1998), 236.
4. Lansworth, Tom. "A Push to Put Tobacco to a Healthy Use." The Washington Post23 Dec. 1999, sec. Southern Maryland:M02.
5. Foley, Denise and Sherry Weiss Kiser. "Wow I Didn't Know That." Prevention 51 Dec. 1999:130.
6. Wesnes, K. and D.M. Warburton. "Effects of Scopolamine and Nicotine on Human Rapid Information Processing Performance." Psychopharmacology82(1984):147-150.
7. Wesnes, K. and D.M. Warburton. "Effects of Smoking on Rapid Visual Information Processing Performance." Neuropsychobiology 9(1983):223-229.
8. West, Robert and Sarah Hack. " Effect of Cigaretts on Memory Search and Subjective Ratings." Pharmacology, Biochemistry & Behavior 38(1991):281-286.
9. Warburton, et al. "A Comparison of the Attentional and Consolidation Hypotheses for the Facilitation of Memory by Nicotine." Psychopharmacology 108(1992):443-447.
Written by Chuck Marlboro for Males Against Cigarette Harassers Organization.