These banknotes didn’t inhale … they just absorbed second-hand smoke in an Irish pub !

No smoker really believes that smoking actually harms them, otherwise they would stop.

I recently bought a batch of old banknotes that were hanging up on a pub wall.

The notes that were there for a ‘short time’ were re-saleable.

The notes that had been there for a ‘longer time’, absorbing second-hand smoke, were un-saleable. 

To illustrate my point, I have taken 5 American $1 banknotes (from this one batch of notes from this one Irish pub) aged between 30 and 40 years old that were on that same wall, but for different amounts of time.

I don’t know for how long, but the results suggest that the darker ones were there for longer.

I have scanned all 5 notes in a single scan, so no one can say that I changed the darkness filters or fiddled with the images in any way, i.e. they were all scanned at the same time on the same colour scanner and the image was not altered in any way.

What you see is what you get.

What you see is the sludge that adheres to the surface of the inside of a passive smoker’s lungs.

What do you think?


I recently read an online article about the effects of second-hand smoke on

The author went on to say that “By now, it’s become very clear that smoking is bad for your health. The government, American Lung Association, and a variety of other health organizations have launched campaign after campaign to illustrate the grim repercussions (from lung cancer to heart disease) of lighting up and to encourage Americans to kick the habit.”

Despite numerous scientific papers that suggest (beyond all reasonable doubt) that smoking is bad for you, people are still smoking and still poisoning everyone around them with their second-hand smoke.

So, what is “second-hand” smoke?

When you breathe in smoke that comes from the end of a lit cigarette, cigar, or pipe (side-stream smoke) or that is exhaled by a smoker (mainstream smoke), you’re inhaling almost the same amount of chemicals as the smoker breathes in.  This is why non-smokers dislike smokers and this is why smokers should be more considerate about where they smoke.

It is a scientifically-proven fact that tobacco smoke contains more than 4,000 different chemical compounds, between 50 and 70 are known to cause cancer and hundreds of the others are toxic.  Many of the other chemicals are there to keep the smoker addicted.  Among the dangerous chemicals present in second-hand smoke are:

  • Hydrogen cyanide — a highly poisonous gas used in chemical weapons and pest control
  • Benzene — a component of gasoline
  • Formaldehyde — a chemical used to embalm corpses
  • Carbon monoxide — a poisonous gas found in car exhaust

Getting back to my original point, i.e. smokers do not really believe what they are told, because they either do not accept or understand the scientific findings.

  • What would it take for smokers to look and listen?
  • A simple scientific experiment, perhaps?
  • Something that even a non-science person could see, understand and make up their own mind?

Here are a few statistics on the effects of second-hand smoke exposure:

  • 126 million non-smoking Americans are exposed to second-hand smoke at home and work.
  • Second-hand smoke exposure causes nearly 50,000 deaths in adult non-smokers in the U.S. each year.
  • Non-smokers increase their risk of developing lung cancer by 20% to 30% and heart disease by 25% to 30% when they are exposed to second-hand smoke.
  • About 3,000 deaths from lung disease in non-smokers each year are caused by second-hand smoke exposure.
  • An estimated 46,000 non-smokers who live with smokers die each year from heart disease.
  • Between 150,000 and 300,000 children under the age of 18 months get respiratory infections (such as pneumonia and bronchitis) from second-hand smoke; 7,500 to 15,000 of them must be hospitalised.
  • More than 40% of children who visit the emergency room for severe asthma attacks live with smokers.

In a leaked report (16th July 2001) that highlighted a study conducted by Arthur D. Little, found that smokers’ early mortality and cigarette-tax revenue, outweighed the costs of health-care and lost tax revenue from early death.  To put this into plain English, it was a cynical attempt at saying smoking was beneficial to a country because “By smoking, I contribute to the stability of the state budget. By buying cigarettes, I increase state revenues, and I will die of lung cancer, so the state won’t have to pay me a pension.”

This report was unusual as historically, tobacco companies had disputed the link between smoking and early mortality, whereas this report used the ‘early mortality’ as a selling point.  When leaked, it subjected Philip Morris to vitriolic criticism from politicians, anti-smoking activists, and watchdog groups.

Interesting links:


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