General Question

zerocarbon's avatar

If smoking kills, anybody know why they don't ban barbecues?

Asked by zerocarbon (173points) March 15th, 2009

I was at a barbecue last night and the chef was engulfed in smoke for a good two hours.
He probably smoked a years supply of Cigs in one barbecue.
Is anyone aware of incidents or health issues regarding the inhalation of smoke from cooking on a Barbecue.

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16 Answers

ninjacolin's avatar

well, they haven’t banned cigarettes so..

Mamradpivo's avatar

While inhalation of any smoke is far from ideal, I don’t think it’s the smoke itself that causes all of the health problems associated with smoking cigarettes. It’s everything else that comes in the tube: nicotine, tar, all kinds of preservatives you don’t want anywhere near your lungs.

The smoke associated with a cookout is also far less concentrated than the smoke from a cigarette. It’s mixed with all of the outside air, instead of inhaled straight into the lungs in a concentrated form.

So yeah, smoke inhalation is bad (and a leading cause of death in fires), but it’s much worse when it’s packed with nicotine and tar in a thin tube and inhaled directly into the lungs without mixing with any outside air.

El_Cadejo's avatar


ubersiren's avatar

Smoke from barbecues don’t usually include Tar, Nicotine, Arsenic (Used in rat poison), DDT (Banned Insecticide), Acetone (Paint stripper),
Ammonia, Butane (Lighter fluid), Hydrogen Cyanide (Extremely deadly poison), Nickel (Metal that is toxic), Cadmium (Linked to cancer), Benzene (Linked to Leukemia), Polonium (Radioactive element that is related to uranium)

Plus barbecuing makes you smell like a delicious cut of southern style summer beef. Smoking cigarettes make you smell like a crusty hobo.

btko's avatar

Actually it is just as bad for your health. The number varies depending where your source is but roughly 2 million to 4 million people die per year with illnesses related to cooking over open fires (coal, propane, wood, cow dung, etc.).

Smoke is smoke.

zerocarbon's avatar

@btko that was my thinking though i can see the concentated theory argument.
Barbecues should carry a health warning.

ubersiren's avatar

@btko : That’s a good point. I didn’t know that. I wasn’t able to find anything on Google, but I believe you. You’re sure you mean, illnesses and not “accidents?” I did see some about indoor hazards… poor ventilation and the like.

I’m sure that people who are constantly sucking in smoke from any source are going to have major health problems, but a couple of outdoor summer barbecues every year (which is what we’re actually discussing) are not going to amount to much.

Also, smoke isn’t smoke. That’s why burning different materials yields different odors.

Still, smoking is just one more senseless risk to put your body through. I don’t believe it should be illegal (me being an anarchist and all) I just think it’s sort of dumb. I never saw the appeal. If you’re doing it around me, I’m going to let you know my distaste. That’s my major beef with it. It’s offensive.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

they haven’t banned cigarettes, so why should they ban barbecues? and the smoke is just as dangerous (as far as i know), but the contents are different. cigarettes have tons of bad components that barbecues do not have, and those ingredients in cigarettes are a huge huge factor in why they’re so bad for you.

dynamicduo's avatar

Because cigarette smoke and barbeques do not produce the same end results. You do not smoke a charcoal brisket, you generally don’t stand over the BBQ inhaling the smoke either. @ubersiren elaborates greatly on the components that cigarette smoke impart, which barbeque smoke does not.

Your line: He probably smoked a years supply of Cigs in one barbecue. is sadly completely incorrect, and is simply speculation on your part based nowhere in real science, so I can tell. The simple fact is one or two hours around a smoky barbeque, while not great for you (no smoke is good for you), will not cause any long term harm. I wouldn’t say it’s even as bad as smoking one cigarette. I base this conclusion on the fact that there is no epidemic of smoky lunged barbequers in the summertime, and there are no warnings plastered onto barbeques or T-bone steaks.

zerocarbon's avatar

They never warned about asbestos or vermiculite until the horse had bolted and i beeing percieved by you as a quote “troll“wonder why on earth you would engage yourself in one of my troll questions?mmmh “nothing so funny as trolls”.

btko's avatar

@ubersiren, true about smoke isn’t smoke, I didn’t mean to sound so general. Just that any smoke isn’t “good” for you. :)

chasy's avatar

Smoke from barbecues doesn’t affect you the way smoke from cigarettes does. And they haven’t banned smoking – so why would they ban a more harmless smoke? ~_^

WyattFNEarp's avatar

No, you don’t ‘smoke a charcoal brisket’ but you do eat the meat cooked over it… same as you don’t eat a cigarette. They both have their risks… smoking has lung cancer whereas eating smoked meats gives you a higher incidence of colorectal cancer (yay!).

Eating meat cooked over smoke/heat can add to the multitude of cancer causing free radicals already available in read meats. Inhaling any smoke can also be comparable to equal amount of inhaled cigarette smoke.

So while smoking is clearly bad since it can help cancer along and also has no nutrional value… having smoked meat also can be bad for you.

My advice is to have everything in moderation (except maybe water and air) while trying to enjoy life. You can’t enjoy life by not living it… so enjoy your bbq.

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