Fags have got the lurgey, apparently.
The tobacco in cigarettes hosts a bacterial bonanza — literally hundreds of different germs, including those responsible for many human illnesses, a new study finds.So what ordinal description should this be termed? Fourth hand? Fifth hand? Who knows, but what this is effectively saying is that even unlit cigarettes are dangerous.
“Nearly every paper that you pick up discussing the health effects of cigarettes starts out with something to the effect that smokers and people exposed to secondhand smoke experience high rates of respiratory infections,” notes Amy Sapkota of the University of Maryland, College Park. The presumption has been that smoking renders people vulnerable to disease by impairing lung function or immunity. And it may well do both.
“But nobody talks about cigarettes as a source of those infections,” she says. Her new data now suggest that’s distinctly possible.
If these germs are alive, something she has not yet confirmed, just handling cigarettes or putting an unlit one to the mouth could be enough to cause an infection.
Time for a ban on possession of tobacco products in a public place, perhaps? You may think that's a bit far-fetched, but such a law already exists in some mad US counties.
Unsurprisingly, there is much use of the words 'if', 'could' and 'maybe', because this is merely wild speculation, as the researcher readily admits.
And here’s “a really wild idea,” she says: What if the smoke particles traveling through the still-unburned part of a cigarette pick up some germs and then ferry them deeply into the lung, where they’re unlikely to be cleared? Wouldn’t that be the prescription for disease?Err, what about the danger from an unlit fag? Didn't you say earlier ...
One sometimes wonders if there is any new angle to be probed by anti-tobacco obsessives, but the capacity of US researchers to amaze and amuse in equal measure is fed by the massive funding pool afforded to them by the Master Settlement Agreement and subsequent hypothecated tax increases on tobacco.
This particular study, like the recent one relating to third hand smoke, appears to be trying to shift the focus of danger away from the smoke and onto the smoker. Not only are we apparently covered in deadly nicotine, we're now rumoured to also be breathing out lethal infections.
It will soon be time for the colony on the outskirts of town and a big bell for society's new lepers.
H/T Neal Asher