Smokers poorer judge of ‘9 meters’ than non-smokers

The signs are everywhere: you have to be 9 meters from all building entrances and vents to light up. So why does it feel like smokers are still camped out by the front doors, especially in cold weather? Poor judgement? Low intelligence? Laziness? Plain indifference? Studies suggest all these could be factors in this troubling phenomenon.

In “A comparison of odor perception in smokers, nonsmokers, and passive smokers” a team led by Dr. R. Ahlström of the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, observed perceptual deficits in smokers. Habituation, the physiological tolerance to cigarette smoke resulting from repeated exposure, is likely to blame for smokers’ obliviousness to the irritating effects of their habit on non-smokers. “Basically, they stink, their habit stinks, and they honestly can’t tell because smoking has dulled their sense of smell,” one of the researcher’s assistants claimed.

In another study involving over 20,000 young men, Dr. Mark Weiser and a team at Sheba Medical Center found that smokers had IQ scores an average of 7.5 points lower than non-smokers. “They’re definitely dumber than average,” a colleague suggested. “It’s not clear whether the diminished IQ leads to the smoking in the first place, but IQ steadily drops as the number of cigarettes smoked increases, from three points for people who smoke one to five cigarettes daily to 11 points for those who smoke more than a pack a day.”

Research led by Dr. Karina Furlanetto of Universidade Estadual de Londrina in Brazil found smokers to be less active and more unmotivated than non-smokers. In addition to presenting poorer lung function, low exercise capacity, diminished quality of life and symptoms of anxiety and depression, smokers also walked less than non-smokers in daily life, Dr. Furlanetto observed. Unsurprisingly, 9 meters probably looks like an unbearably long trek to a wheezing slacker in the throes of a nic-fit.

Meanwhile, average Canadians point the finger directly at the rapid proliferation of I.D.G.A.F., a particularly virulent mental condition spreading throughout North American society.

“I really don’t give a fuck,” Sean Lancaster of Edmonton explained. “It’s a free country and no sign is going to tell me where I can smoke, and if some cop wants to come out here with his measuring tape and write me a ticket, I’ll see him in court.”

Edmonton Law Enforcement, looking for an easy bust, may be interested to know that Mr. Lancaster favours the Timmy’s on Jasper Avenue NW near 101 Street.

Photo credit: lupzdut (flickr)

Sebastian Panache

Sebastian Panache

Editor-in-Chief. Follow him on Twitter @SebPanache. Or don’t. It’s okay, really.

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