Dept. of Weird Science: Second Hand Smoke Is Cool

6 Jul

I know lots of people harbor all sorts of folk theories about natural phenomena, but it’s always fun to watch someone play amateur scientist using an idea you’ve never heard of (courtesy of NRO’s The Corner):

But it has long seemed to me that one of the things that make cigarettes so dangerous to smokers is the high temperature of the smoke; the paper and the additives make it very hot. Cigars are just tobacco, and cigar smoke is much cooler…so it follows that second hand smoke, having cooled down significantly, isn’t as dangerous as the stuff cigarette smokers inhale.

What does “smoke temperature” have to do with anything? I could cobble together some amateur scientific speculation of my own to cover how temperature might affect things like smoke volume or the amount of chemicals you take in, but that’s not what Ledeen sees as the problem.  It’s the temperature of the smoke itself, which I would agree with if we were talking about a burning building and burns due to smoke inhalation.  Regardless of the temperature of the smoke itself, burning a cigar or cigarette (at whatever necessary temperature) and turning it into smoke is the problem–either way you’ve just created the delivery system for the nicotine and other chemicals.

Picture used under Creative Commons license from Flickr user neilbetter.

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