Guy distills tar from 20 packs of cigarettes (video) – and an open thread

A guy collects the tar from 20 packs of cigarettes, and it ain’t pretty.


I know people who used to smoke a pack a day – that means they took this amount of tar into their lungs every three weeks.  Feel free to treat this as an open thread.  Gnite.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

Share This Post

  • SkippyFlipjack

    Vonnegut succumbed to a fall down a flight of stairs at his home at age 84.

    I got confirmation that Vonnegut did indeed only smoke unfiltered Pall Malls when a friend and I bummed a pair of smokes from him after a talk many years ago. We thanked him, took a drag and then stubbed them out when he was out of sight because they were nasty.

  • Ninong

    That is just plain gross!

  • ComradeRutherford

    Unfiltered Camels killed my grandpa. Not all cigs have filters, especially ‘roll your own’.

  • fry1laurie

    But with their lungs coated with asphalt, smokers cars will run much smoother on them.

  • I remember when smoking on planes was permitted—that was ghastly. Do you remember ads from the fifties when sexy doctors or nurses were puffing away in hospitals? Absolutely crazy.

  • Oh yes!!

  • flocculent

    Scientist here, and son of smoking induced SCLC victim (Dad died 9 months after diagnosis). Though I like the principle, I do have a couple of critiques on lab methods.

    1. If the statement about increased viscosity leading to more tar staying in the water phase is true, this is not a fair representation of the real world for a smoker’s lungs. A more true-to-llife design would have water changes between cigs, then a final distillation of the large volume to get a true representation of the mass of tar delivered to the lungs. Here, analyte recovery is non-linear, so the final numbers are a bit of an overestimation.

    2. this is a dangerous process without a fume hood, Handling the material without gloves was not smart.

    3. Nitrosamines areindeed dangerous , but not as bad as the PAH’s (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) are the likely culprit in causing cancer, since they lead to specific genetic lesions known to cause tumor formation.

    Otherwise, a good, worthwhile demonstration. Nice job!

  • Indigo

    I was a heavy smoker for many years but, finally, my body just refused the take it any more and I stopped. 17 years later, I’m not smoking and I can’t say I miss it. In fact, I don’t usually think about it. Kurt Vonnegut, a heavy Pall Mall smoker all his life, once said, “It takes a real man to face lung cancer.” A humorist from another time but eventually he succumbed and now he’s gone. Smoke, don’t smoke, whatever . . .

    “No one gets out of this life alive.
    So leave a footprint of your choice.
    You are writing your epitaph.
    You are writing it now!
    Life is a process, not a goal.
    Live it now, or you will miss it!
    We have time to spend and no time to waste.”

    -Charles Franklin.

  • pricknick

    Interesting fact brought to us by science.
    Great post!

  • Monoceros Forth

    You said that and I remembered the opposite but equally unpleasant scenario of someone forced to leave his air-conditioned workplace and go outside on an intolerably hot and muggy day so he can get his nicotine fix.

    But do you know that there’s one way in which smoking cigarettes can actually save your life? The German chemist Ludwig Gattermann reported that even a trace of hydrogen cyanide imparts a peculiar taste of cigarette smoke and therefore recommended smoking whenever working with a chemical synthesis where release of HCN was possible, as an early warning against leaking apparatus or a faulty fume hood.

  • pricknick

    I hate smoking also, but this is bs propoganda.

  • Los Mortales De Publicacion

    There are plenty of good reasons to stop smoking.

    If you want to stop, get “Stop Smoking and Lose Weight: A
    Buddhadharmically Enhanced Alchemical Transmutation Process,”
    by Tharpa Lodro:

    And just do it.

  • There was a tiny bit of joy I always got seeing the smokers from work all huddled up outside in -30 degree weather, trying to suck back their cigarette before frost bite set in, when I was living in Canada, oh so many years ago. :)

  • Sounds familiar to my own story. I think it is only by a miracle that I didn’t suffer any long-lasting impact from exposure to multiple packs a day of second-hand smoke. I was even stupid enough to try it myself for a time as a teen, and it took far too long for me to come to the realization that it was stupid.

  • Hue-Man

    How do social conservatives become LGBT allies in less than a decade? This National Post article from last month explains how the Canadian Conservative Party made the transition from “Even as recently as 2004, less than a decade ago, the preservation of marriage as the union of one man and one woman was a central plank of Stephen Harper’s election platform, and a rallying point for his base.” to this “We are running an underground railroad from gay communities in Iran and Iraq into Canada.”

    Although the article points out that Conservatives from rural Alberta constituencies may have met their first gay person when they came to Ottawa, I see it more as a part of the Conservatives’ new extreme pro-Israel policy, including making life uncomfortable for Iran/Iraq/fundamentalist Islam (having at least one and perhaps two closeted gay senior Cabinet ministers helps too). I have no doubt the “base” is no less gay-hating but they have been silenced and, as a practical matter, have nowhere else to go politically.

    The biggest difference from the U.S. is the media megaphone wielded by the American anti-gay hate groups – NOM, AFA, etc. Most of what they say is hateful but could not be qualified as “hate speech” in Canada. Instead, my guess is ordinary Canadians don’t care enough to want to send money for these hucksters to spew slime every day.

    BTW, in the June, 2005, marriage equality vote (federal jurisdiction), Conservative MPs voted For 3, Against 93, Abstain 2. Change is possible.

  • Of course it’s performance art, but cigarette filters were designed more to meter consumption than to actually prevent toxins getting to the consumer. They’re not some magical HEPA filter that keeps the bad stuff. If you inhale the smoke, you get the toxins. Repeated studies have shown negligible “protective” effect from standard cellulose acetate filters. Ever heard of second hand smoke? Of course some burns off, and the exact amount of tar a person retains is going to vary by person, by brand of cigarette, etc, but suggesting it is negligible is disingenuous, at best. Then there’s the whole host of other toxins… but I digress.

  • Cletus

    Sorry, but it’s nothing more than a whole lot B.S. Not defending cigarettes by any means, just this bogus attempt at “science”.

    A. Cigarettes have filters that trap the majority of that sticky “tar”.

    B. No one, no matter how heavily they smoke, consume the entire tar load of a single cig. Maybe, at best, a fraction of 1%, with the majority being exhaled.

    C. Smoking sucks, but this is nothing more than revolting “performance art”.

  • All the adults in my family smoked like the proverbial chimneys.

    And most of them have already died of heart disease or some kind of respiratory cancer.

    I used to see the…um ‘stuff’ my father coughed up most mornings. It was more than enough incentive never to want to smoke. Well that, and the crippling migraines excessive 2nd-hand smoke triggered in me, even as early as the age of 7-8 years old.

  • cole3244

    we are amazed at the stupidity of humans on climate change but just look at all the info on cigarettes and the millions that still smoke, stupidity at its zenith.

  • Monoceros Forth

    I used to smoke, although at the relatively slow rate of perhaps one pack every two days. I had some silly idea that it would help me relax; anxiety and bad nerves have been constant problems for me so I was willing to try anything. Of course cigarettes did nothing of the sort (all those Lucky Strike ads on the Jack Benny radio show lied to me!), I disliked the smell and taste even when I was smoking most heavily, and I absolutely loathed being anywhere confined where smoking was permitted. I used to play chess with a guy I knew from work and he’d always insist on going someplace indoors where he could smoke while playing, and I hated it.

    Yet, despite all that, maybe once a year I’ll bum a smoke from someone at a party. There’s a bit of camaraderie to be derived from sharing a smoke break that I honestly miss.

© 2018 AMERICAblog Media, LLC. All rights reserved. · Entries RSS