Bits and Pieces — Some Facts

Contraband tobacco provides an incentive for teens to smoke, dissuades smokers from quitting, encourages former smokers to start up again, generates significant losses of revenue for small retail stores and causes the government (and, by extension, all of us) to lose millions of dollars in uncollected taxes.

Contraband tobacco only benefits organized crime, which uses the money earned to reinforce its presence in drug smuggling, prostitution networks and other criminal activities. In other words, if you buy contraband tobacco, you're encouraging organized crime.

When you burn a plant, whether it's tobacco, pot (yes, indeed) or a piece of firewood, the smoke NATURALLY contains all kinds of chemical components that are harmful if inhaled, such as soot, tar, carbon monoxide and benzene components.

As far as your health is concerned, the difference between smoking so-called "natural" cigarettes and major brand cigarettes is equivalent to the difference between jumping off a 30-storey building and a 35-storey building. In other words, the end result is the same ...

Smokers don't necessarily lose weight, and some actually become fatter! Research in Qu�bec has shown that teens who smoke are no thinner than teens who don't smoke.

The widely-held belief that smoking reduces stress is a myth. In reality, cigarettes don't help you relax; they're actually a major source of tension!

Tobacco smoke kills more than 37,000 people every year in Canada, including 10,400 in Qu�bec. That's four times more than murders, alcohol, drugs and car accidents combined.

Smoking increases the risk of miscarriage for pregnant women and impotence for men.

According to a recent Qu�bec study, boys who smoke 10 cigarettes or more per day, for two and a half years, between the ages of 12 and 17, are likely to be 2.5 cm shorter than other boys their age who smoke less, or not at all.

Tobacco use spread throughout the world in less than a century after Christopher Columbus first discovered it in the Amerindian communities. At the time, only the richest members of society could afford it.

Around 1850, a machine was invented that was capable of producing large quantities of small paper cylinders stuffed with chopped tobacco, known as cigarettes. As a result, the cigarette manufacturers were able to make their deadly products available to every social class.

Approximately five billion cigarette butts (the figure 5 followed by 12 zeros!) are discarded into the environment by the world's smokers. It takes between one and five years for a cigarette butt to decompose in water and up to 12 years on land.

Cigarette butts top the list throughout the world as the most abundant form of marine waste. They are instrumental in killing millions of creatures that live in the water (fish, turtles, marine birds, etc.).

Every year, tobacco production is directly responsible for destroying an area of forest equal in size to 100,000 soccer fields, as well as impoverishing soils. More than 15 million people could be fed if food crops were planted instead of tobacco.

Second-hand smoke contains at least twice as much tar, carbon monoxide and nicotine, six times as much formaldehyde and 40 times as much ammonia as the smoke inhaled directly by smokers.

The fact of smoking in a limited space, such as a closed room or car, significantly increases the concentration of harmful chemical substances in second-hand smoke.

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