Predisposition to smoking: differences in sensitivity to smoke?

In summary: I mean. In summary, the poll asks how people feel about various smoking categories, and includes three options for smoker, non-smoker, and ex-smoker. People who have never used tobacco products are not included in the poll. The poll includes four reaction categories, always bothered by smoke, used to be bothered by smoke, didn't used to be bothered by smoke, but are now.

Which of the following best describes you? I am a(n):

  • Smoker: Always bothered by smoke.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Smoker: Used to be bothered by smoke, but not anymore.

    Votes: 3 7.9%
  • Smoker: Didn't used to be bothered by smoke, but am now.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Smoker: Never bothered by smoke.

    Votes: 1 2.6%
  • Non-smoker: Always bothered by smoke.

    Votes: 20 52.6%
  • Non-smoker: Used to be bothered by smoke, but not anymore.

    Votes: 3 7.9%
  • Non-smoker: Didn't used to be bothered by smoke, but am now.

    Votes: 3 7.9%
  • Non-smoker: Never bothered by smoke.

    Votes: 5 13.2%
  • Ex-smoker: Didn't used to be bothered by smoke, but am now.

    Votes: 2 5.3%
  • Ex-smoker: Never bothered by smoke.

    Votes: 1 2.6%
  • Ex-smoker: Used to be bothered by smoke, but not anymore.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Ex-smoker: Always bothered by smoke.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    38
  • #1
Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
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Okay, this came up as an aside in the thread about the outdoor smoking ban, and it just struck me that maybe the division in understanding between smokers and non-smokers is that we experience second-hand smoke differently prior to any first experience/opportunity to experience smoking first-hand.

So, I thought I'd toss up a poll on this just to see how things shake out. I know PF is never a representative sample of the general population, but we do have smokers and non-smokers and ex-smokers here, so let's see how this turns out.

This is NOT another discussion on the good and evil of smoking, but about how people's experiences with smoking may affect their choices to have begun smoking in the first place. Typically, we attribute starting smoking to things like peer-pressure, or other social factors, but what if there's a real biological difference that has been overlooked (or maybe it hasn't been overlooked, just those of us discussing it haven't delved into the literature far enough to know this is not novel...I know I haven't delved in on this topic very far).

The polls are limited to 10 choices, and I'll really need 12, so I'm going to insert some bias in the 10 I put on the poll, and allow people to write-in responses for the two remaining choices (unless I find a way to override the limit on poll options).

The options are a choice among three smoking categories (smoker, non-smoker, ex-smoker). Just to be perfectly clear, a smoker is someone who is currently using some form of tobacco (technically, chewing isn't smoking, but for the sake of this poll, I'll include it under the category of smoking...when you respond, you only chew and have never actually smoked, that would be useful to write-in as well in case that makes a difference in the results). A non-smoker is someone who has never used any form of tobacco beyond a single incident of experimentation that never led to further use. An ex-smoker is someone who has used tobacco products in the past, including only occassional use, as long as it was more than just one time, but no longer uses such products.

Combined with that are another 4 reaction categories (always bothered by smoke; used to be bothered by smoke, but not anymore; didn't used to be bothered by smoke, but am now; never bothered by smoke). By "bothered" I mean physical feelings of illness, such as nose or throat irritation, asthma attacks, headaches, coughing, nausea. I do not mean opposition of smoking based on knowledge of it's effects on health, or social effects, such as family tensions or loss of a loved one to smoking-related illness. I'm looking for physical effects, not social effects. I think the rest of the break-down is obvious, but just in case, "always" means as long as you can remember back from childhood until now, "never" means you can't ever recall any incident where you felt any ill-effects of exposure to smoke, all the way back from childhood until now. "Used to be bothered...not anymore" means at some time in the past, you experienced ill-effects (described above) from exposure to smoke, but have not experienced them during your most recent exposures to smoke. And, finally, "Didn't used to be bothered...but am now" means that at some point in the past, you were able to tolerate being around smokers, or smoking yourself, with no feelings of illness, but am now sensitive to those effects (during your most recent exposures).

Edit: Okay, I was able to create an extra two entries for those remaining choices, so they don't need to be written in (hence the reason the ex-smoker choices are a different order from the others).
 
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  • #2
You have no options for ocassional\social smokers.
 
  • #3
Couple more variables to plug in somewhere: cigarette tobacco, cigar tobacco, and pipe tobaccos; occasionally bothered by some cigarette tobaccos, always bothered by some cigar tobaccos, can't stand to be on same planet with Latakias, love a good Cavendish --- not trying to pick on you, or anything. Just throwing a few observations in for you: Turkish tobaccos are inexpensive, tarry, and strong, hence their use in cheaper cigarettes (Camels, Chesterfields, mentholated versions of every brand); Burleighs are quite a bit milder, more expensive; cigar tobaccos, I couldn't tell from old newspaper soaked in feedlot runoff; wars have been fought over pipe tobaccos in all their myriad varieties; cigarette tobaccos are heavily nitrated in the casing process in the U.S., resulting in higher burning temperature, harsher taste, and usually more irritating smoke --- there are some (I think properly cured, handled, cased Burleighs) that are really quite pleasant, in the sense that the aroma of coffee is pleasant, and the taste is totally unrelated to the aroma.
 
  • #4
I love the smell of a good pipe. (And for some reason I find the smell of cigarettes to be good too)
 
  • #5
cyrusabdollahi said:
I love the smell of a good pipe. (And for some reason I find the smell of cigarettes to be good too)
UNBURNED pipe tobacco smells great. I love the smell of some of them, once they're burning, not so great. Smoke makes my lungs hurt and makes breathing very difficult.
 
  • #6
Weenies, SUCK IT IN BABY :P

*blows smoke into this whole thread*
 
  • #7
Pengwuino said:
Weenies, SUCK IT IN BABY :P

*blows smoke into this whole thread*
Suggests where pengwuino can blow his smoke. :devil:
 
  • #8
Evo said:
UNBURNED pipe tobacco smells great. (snip)

Actually, unburnt Latakias smell exactly like their curing process would lead one to think they'd smell --- like something smoked over a goat dung fire.
 
  • #9
Bystander said:
Actually, unburnt Latakias smell exactly like their curing process would lead one to think they'd smell --- like something smoked over a goat dung fire.
Mmmmm, burning goat dung. :approve:
 
  • #10
...awkward :rolleyes:
 
  • #11
In the days when practical jokes weren't politically incorrect, mixing dried-out, crumbled rubber bands into tobacco pouches was popular. Latakia users never noticed.
 
  • #12
well, i put that i didn't used to be but am now. i grew up in a family of smokers, never liked it, but it was a fact of life, and it never bothered me. since going to college especially, its started really bothering me. on the roadtrip cross country last summer, i got real sick every time someone lit up (which was often) and whenever i smell smoke on a classmate i want to gag. cigs are the worst, cigars have a sweeter smell that i don't like, but i don't get real physically ill till I'm around it a long time.

also though, when i smoked a hookah, i didn't mind that at all, and i didn't mind the smoke around me. i also don't mind marjuana smoke at all.
 
  • #13
Moonbear, this would be an interesting larger study, don't you think? I think it's an interesting question. I would suspect that responses would be different amongst a younger crowd than an older one, but that's just me guessing. And I'm wondering how much growing up under the influence current attitude has to do with how people perceive it.

I think your list of questions is very good, though. It's like you do studies for a living, or something. :wink:
 
  • #14
cyrusabdollahi said:
You have no options for ocassional\social smokers.
Yes, I do. If you read the definitions I provided, that would be under the "smoker" category.

Sure, if I were doing this as a full-blown study, I'd want to know things like how frequently someone smokes, the type of tobacco product (thanks Bystander...even without that stuff being poll options, it's interesting to see), when the last time was that they smoked if they claim to be an ex-smoker or occassional smoker, etc. I'd even want to break down the categories further into the type of "bothering" smoke does to people, or if some even found it pleasant smelling, not just non-bothersome. This is hardly a scientific survey, but I thought it was an interesting question, and I'm curious to see how the results come out.

Yes, Georgina, it would be interesting to see a larger study on this. I would even like to see that broken down by those non-smokers who did experiment once or twice vs those who never even tried one single puff (I'm in that latter category...smoke has always bothered me, thus I was never even a tiny bit curious about trying a cigarette). Afterall, this seems related to THE question everyone is always asking...we understand the process of addiction somewhat to know why it is that once someone has tried a cigarette, they are likely to become addicted to smoking, but why is it that someone tries that first cigarette and someone else doesn't when they are both aware of the potential health risks? I'm glad you asked your own question, G, in the other thread, because that's what got me thinking about this in this particular way.
 
  • #15
I haven't always been bothered by it, though I've often had breathing problems of some sort (I've been particularly susceptible to bronchitis and pneumonia for whatever reason, and have had each several times over the course of my twenty-five years - I guess I would have died as a child if I wasn't lucky enough to be born into the late twentieth century). I only started to develop allergies about five or six years ago, and asthmatic symptoms more recently than that.

It does run in the family, though. Neither of my parents has any problem, but all of my sisters do (two of them since early childhood). Go figure. Actually, to be specific, I should mention that I have no idea whether any of my sisters are bothered by cigarette smoke (one of them is a marijuana smoker, so I would guess she is not); I just know they have environmental allergies. Personally, I'm allergic to any kind of scented smoke (whether from cigarettes, cigars, incense, marijuana, scented candles, whatever), but not to smoke per se. I'm perfectly okay around barbecue smoke or car exhaust, for instance.
 
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  • #16
One very useful trick I learned, for when there's a grossly inconsiderate smoker in front of a doorway, assaulting anyone who tries to get past. At 3m distance, inhale as much air as you can, and hold it like some kind of puffer fish to maintian positive pressure in your lungs as you walk by. If you [very slowly] exhale through your nose, you won't even smell it either!
(edit: It helps to walk fast.)

And if the cigarette-smoker laughs and thinks you look stupid doing this, well, twice the irony.
 
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  • #17
I smoked cigarettes when I was 12-13, but quit because I stopped enjoying it and several close friends encouraged me to do so, and a few gave me grief about it. Besides, having had chronic asthma as a child, continued smoking would have severely diminished my health.

I would occasionally smoke a cigar, but finding good ones was hard, so that didn't last long.

I wasn't a heavy smoker, although I suppose I am an ex-smoker. I am usually bothered by second hand smoke, but that depends on the concentration, and it seems that it doesn't take much. :rolleyes:
 
  • #18
I think the only thing I'm really learning from this poll so far is that more non-smokers than smokers and ex-smokers respond to polls about smoking. I'm not sure how many smokers and ex-smokers we have here, but I know more have spoken up about quitting in the past to be fairly confident it's more than have answered here.

Though, out of the small sampling of smokers so far, the responses aren't supporting my hypothesis. :frown:
 
  • #19
My father smokes, so I grew up with it and always disliked it. I used to have asthma so I would never be able to go near my father when he smoked. He's usually pretty good about it though.

My reaction to smoke now is pretty minimal and sometimes I even find the smell mildly pleasant (ok, maybe that's not cigarette smoke). I guess that's probably why I felt a ban on smoking outdoors is really absurd - it's just a generally unpleasant odor to me, not a possible life-or-death matter.
 
  • #20
loseyourname said:
Personally, I'm allergic to any kind of scented smoke (whether from cigarettes, cigars, incense, marijuana, scented candles, whatever), but not to smoke per se. I'm perfectly okay around barbecue smoke or car exhaust, for instance.
That's pretty interesting, considering they would each be scented by different compounds. Overly strong scents can have a similar effect on me as cigarette smoke. I actually enjoy scented candles, though, they aren't generally smoky. I do sometimes find my sinuses irritated by certain scents, or overly strong scents (and walking into a candle shop is an overwhelming assault on my senses), but that's usually specific to certain scents, not to the actual burning of the candle. Incense is an iffy one for me. I like the scent that lingers after someone has used incense (assuming it's one of the types I like), but I'm bothered by the smoke itself. So, at least for me, it's more of a general response to any sort of smoke, no matter the source, rather than the scent that's associated with it. What makes the difference in whether it's just a really temporary watery eyes type thing or a prolonged headache type thing is how long I'm exposed to it.
 
  • #21
I think that people should be more considerate to others when it comes to smells.. there's this lady at work who wears this incredibely strong and cheap perfume, you can smell she's been around when she's long gone :rolleyes:

The most annoying is when someone with a strong perfume comes and sit next to you in a train, especially in the morning, or the people who feel the need to slip gas when sitting in a train compartment, so that you have to sit the rest of the ride barely breathing.

Then when you can finally exit the train, all excited to take a long awaited fresh breath of air, you inhale cigarette-smoke instead

oh, and it should not be allowed to take french-fries with any kind of sauce into the train, the smell of it is torture.

As for the title: sure people have different sensitivities, there are people who will respond astmatic to cigarette smoke. When chronically exposed to second-hand smoke this can lead to chronic bronchitis.
 
  • #22
'or the people who feel the need to slip gas when sitting in a train compartment, so that you have to sit the rest of the ride barely breathing.

BAHAHAHAHAHA. :smile: :smile: :smile:
 

Related to Predisposition to smoking: differences in sensitivity to smoke?

1. What factors contribute to an individual's predisposition to smoking?

There are several factors that can contribute to an individual's predisposition to smoking, including genetic factors, environmental influences, and personal experiences.

2. How do genetics play a role in an individual's sensitivity to smoke?

Certain genetic variations can make an individual more sensitive to the effects of nicotine, making them more likely to become addicted to smoking. These genes can affect how the brain responds to nicotine and how quickly it becomes dependent on it.

3. Are there any environmental factors that can increase an individual's sensitivity to smoke?

Yes, exposure to secondhand smoke during childhood or adolescence can increase an individual's sensitivity to smoke and make them more likely to become smokers themselves. Additionally, living in a household where smoking is prevalent can also increase the likelihood of smoking.

4. Can personal experiences influence an individual's predisposition to smoking?

Yes, personal experiences such as peer pressure, stress, and trauma can all play a role in an individual's likelihood of smoking. These experiences can impact an individual's coping mechanisms and make them more likely to turn to smoking as a way to cope.

5. Are there any differences in sensitivity to smoke between genders?

Research has shown that there may be differences in sensitivity to smoke between genders. For example, women may be more sensitive to the effects of nicotine and may have a harder time quitting smoking compared to men. However, more research is needed to fully understand these differences.

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