Indian doctors seem to be ‘struck by the more than casual relationship between the appearance of lung cancer and an abrupt and recent cessation of the smoking habit in many, if not most, cases’. We are not. We said it six years ago.
A new theory seems to be developing, according to which quitting smoking may cause lung cancer. These researchers (who did NOT make an epidemiological study, but just observations), ‘surmised a biological mechanism protects smokers against cancer, which is strengthened by years of determined smoking. When the smoker quits, "a surge and spurt in re-activation of bodily healing and repair mechanisms of chronic smoke-damaged respiratory epithelia is induced and spurred by an abrupt discontinuation of habit," and "goes awry, triggering uncontrolled cell division and tumour genesis."‘
Maybe – and, of course, there is as much scientific proof on this as there is for the “smoking-causes-cancer” credo – that is, none. Interestingly enough, however, these researchers bring forward explanations that we enunciated several years ago. In 2001, answering to a reader, we wrote: ‘…the human lungs ARE designed and evolved to take in poisons – including formaldehyde and carbon monoxide – in whatever combination made possible by natural processes, such as the combustion of organic materials; that’s how we kept warm, exposed to greasy fires in caves during winters for tens of thousands of years. If lungs could not take that, our species would not be here.’
The author of this Ottawa Citizen piece reports on the researchers stating: ‘An evolutionary argument could support this hypothesis. Man is the only animal who cooks his food, and thousands of generations of our ancestors, pent up in smoke-filled caves, could easily account for this biological mechanism.’
As to the argument on the ‘chronic smoke-damaged respiratory epithelia’ caused by smoking (and the consequent point “why causing the damage in the first place”?) the answer is simple: as humanity was not born with a cigarette in its mouth, it is clear that the mechanism was there before cigarettes and even tobacco, to compensate for damages that we no longer have – i.e., the strong grease and wood smoke pollution from fire pits and fireplaces without appropriate exhaust — so we may as well use it for something else that is less essential but it is definitely more pleasurable.
In fact you know the old saying: ‘If you don’t use it, you lose it’ – and for everything, not just for smoking.