Morning Musically-Minded, Medically-Minded, Masticators!
(Today’s post is sponsored by the letter “M”)
Over the past 600+ episodes, The Simpsons has taken us on an amazing journey involving music, science, and food to name a few concepts.
And what better way to start your week, then by discussing some of these concepts Monday morning?
So let’s get started this week by talking about the habit of smoking.
In the fifty sixth episode of The Simpsons, Black Widower (Season 03, Episode 21), when Selma introduces her new recently paroled boyfriend to the Simpsons family, everyone is shocked to see it’s Sideshow Bob, who Bart helped putaway for framing Krusty the Clown (see Monday Morning Musings 12). While everyone comes around to Sideshow Bob’s reformed ways, Bart continues to mistrust Sideshow Bob. Things escalate when Sideshow Bob proposes to Selma.
Sideshow Bob: “Selma, would you mind if I did something bold and shocking in front of your family?”
Selma: “All right, but no tongue.” (takes out her cigarette and puckers up)
Sideshow Bob: “Although kissing you would be like kissing some divine ashtray, that’s not what I had in mind. Selma, will you marry me?”
Bart: “Don’t be a fool, Aunt Selma. That man is scum.”
Selma: “Then call me Mrs. Scum.”
Sideshow Bob learns a few interesting tidbits about his bride to be before they get married. This includes the fact that she has a lot of money from investing in mace before society started to crumble, she has no sense of smell or taste because of a childhood bottle rocket accident, and she enjoys smoking (though she agrees to cut down to smoking only after meals and her favourite TV show MacGyver).
Selma: “What did I miss?”
Patty: “MacGyver was wearing a tank top!”
Sideshow Bob: “Selma, I thought I was the only man in your life?”
Selma: “Sit down and shut up!”
In Selma’s honeymoon video, Bart realizes Sideshow Bob was extremely eager to have a fireplace in their room. Bart noticed the gas tap. Putting this together with the fact that Selma couldn’t smell the gas as she had lost her senses of smell and taste, that she made a good fortune on the stock market, and that she gave up smoking except for after meals and after MacGyver, Bart came to the conclusion that Sideshow Bob was about to kill Selma.
Bart: “Aunt Selma has one hour to live!”
While Bart’s mistrust does lead to him saving his Aunt Selma, unfortunately Chief Wiggum’s celebratory cigar does lead to the destruction of the Best Western hotel property.
But while Sideshow Bob tried to kill Selma via her own smoking, have you ever wondered whether smoking does in fact kill?
According to the Canadian Lung Association, tobacco continues to be the number one cause of preventable disease and death in Canada. An estimated 45,000 Canadians die each year as a result of smoking. Countless others live with chronic diseases. Despite public health education and prevention efforts, approximately 15 per cent of Canadians currently smoke. There are 70 carcinogens in tobacco smoke.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada adds tobacco use increases your risk of developing heart disease and stroke. Smoking contributes to the buildup of plaque in your arteries, increases the risk of blood clots, reduces the oxygen in your blood, and makes your heart work harder. In fact, smokers are two times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke and are two times more likely to die from them. People who smoke 25 cigarettes a day or more have three times the risk for heart attack or stroke and are nearly five times more likely to die of heart disease or stroke.
Warning Message inside cigarette packs in Canada
Lung Cancer Canada adds smoking is known to cause or increase one’s risk of developing the following cancers: Lung Cancer, Cancer of the Mouth, Throat (Pharynx), Voice Box (Larynx), and Esophagus, Leukemia, Bladder Cancer, Stomach Cancer, Kidney Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer, and Cervical Cancer. The majority of lung cancer cases – about 85% – are directly related to smoking tobacco, particularly cigarettes. Tobacco smoke contains carcinogens, which are toxic, cancer-causing chemicals that promote cell damage over time. Inhaling smoke also destroys the defense system that keeps harmful substances of the lungs. Smoking increases lung cancer risk by causing genetic changes in the cells of the lungs, damaging the lungs’ normal cleaning process by which they get rid of foreign and harmful particles, and lodging cancer-causing particles in the mucus and developing into cancer tumours.
The risks and effects of smoking extend beyond the smoker, and can effect those exposed to ‘second hand smoke’ (the air we breathe in when we are with someone else who is smoking). If you smoke during pregnancy, the health of your baby will be affected. Smoking increases miscarriage risk and birth complications. Infants exposed to second had smoke have a greater risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Children who live with smokers have a higher risk for bronchitis, breathlessness, coughing, ear infections, and pneumonia. Children who have asthma or allergies have more health problems when they live with smokers. According to the Canadian Cancer society, about 800 Canadian non-smokers die from second hand smoke every year.
Smoking almost killed Selma. Think twice before you light that match.
Now that we’ve learned more about the association between smoking and death, be sure to come back next week when we continue our Monday morning musings with the next episode of The Simpsons.
Did you remember the episode? Did you remember how Bart figured out Sideshow Bob’s plot? What is your favourite Sideshow Bob episode? Were you familiar with the risks associated with smoking? Sound off in the comments below. You know we love hearing from you.