Posted by: Antin Herink | 2012-12-13

Are Stupid Questions Worth It?

To call oneself an " expert"  imposes a measure of reason and perspective when discussing a topic that falls within the ambits of one''s proclaimed expertise.

In my opinion both the headline and part of contents of the article " Can smoking cause global warming?"  are so far removed from these parameters that it''s simply farcical.

It may be so that the smoking of tobacco is very destructive in terms of public health and the concomitant resources that need to be directed at dealing with this are considerable. But the actual usage of arable land and the energy consumed in the production of tobacco are relatively negligible.

It would be much more appropriate to treat smoking from the point of " public health"  instead of trying to attach some convoluted " environmental"  label onto it. THAT cannot be stated often enough!

To pose the question " Can smoking cause global warming?"  is frankly absurd in scientific terms.

I have a comment and a few questions to this.
1) With out the added production input, the growing and burning of tobacco is 100% " green"   in that it is a so called renewable resource.
2) What does the expert estimate the global tobacco industry to be using annually in terms of fossil carbon and how many kilometers can a single wide body passenger jet fly on the equivalent amount of fossil carbon? (Including take off.)
3) How many kilojoules and time did I take to write this and does the expert reckon they are well spent?
4) How much coal needed to be burned for you to use your computer to write this?
5) How much coal need to be burned for the servers of news 24 to be running your page?
6) How much coal needed to be burned for the public to run their computers to read it?
7) What does the expert reckon is the total equivalent of fossil carbon burnt of (4) to (6) and how many cigarettes would this equal?

Thanks for using resources to read this.

Antin Herink

P.S Sorry not be " Please be (sic) descriptive as possible within 8-10 words"  The request is grammatical garbage anyway.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageEnviroHealth expert

It's a QnA, not an article, and the Question was posted on the EnviroHealth forum by a reader (a few readers, it's not the first time I've received the question). It's not an absurd question, actually, if you consider that over a billion people smoke, and that smoking does release carbon. As for the tobacco industry's contribution generally to climate change and environmental degradation, this is very real, especially as regards deforestation. Large areas of forest are cut down in several tobacco-growing areas for e.g. for use in curing tobacco.

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