Clear the Air: Motorcyclists & Smoking

Tobacco companies target motorcycle rallies to increase revenue, even though smoking statistics continue to decrease. Remember why you ride: The wide-open road, the clean, fresh wind, and the freedom.

riding and smoking

According to this report, registrations and new motorcycle purchases continue to skyrocket, bringing more motorcycles onto increasingly crowded roadways. With America’s increasing income disparity, continued economic recession and elevated gas prices – coupled with a relatively low initial investment when purchasing a motorcycle, low cost of maintenance, higher gas efficiency and easier parking, motorcycles have become a cost-effective strategy for transportation. These conditions ensure a continued presence of motorcycles on American roadways, as well as increased use in less than optimal riding conditions. However, by attending to factors impeding a successful progression, injury rates may be stabilized.

Smoking and Riding

Riding a motorcycle is dangerous enough in itself. In 2013, motorcycle fatalities reached 4,381, a total of 13% of all motor vehicle deaths. Considering the ratio of cars to motorcycles, this is quite a large number. With all of the distractions while riding a motorcycle to contend with, smoking while riding would not be a viable option. The wind blowing smoke in your eyes, or a hot ash flying toward your face or clothes may result in an accident.

There are also dangers associated with second and third-hand smoke most often attributed to rallies or other similar events. Many of these forms of events do not regulate smoking, and leave many nonsmokers vulnerable to the secondary effects of tobacco smoke. Though it may be difficult to avoid areas which are heavily polluted by cigarette smoke, it is possible.

Dangers of Smoking

The number of deaths from motorcycle accidents doesn’t compare to the deaths caused by smoking. Smoking is the most preventable cause of death and illness in the world today, according to the American Lung Association. Cigarette smoke contains over 7000 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer. Chronic lung disease affects 73% of current smokers. The list of smoking related illnesses is huge, including but not limited to, COPD, coronary heart disease, stroke and several cancers such as mouth, throat, lung, kidney and stomach cancers.

Advertising Effects

Tobacco companies spend millions of dollars to target specific audiences. Civic groups, athletic events, cultural and entertainment venues are popular choices. This includes motorcycle rallies and events. The advertising is especially important in drawing in young people and introducing them to a lifelong addiction before they are mature enough to fully understand the consequences of their actions in the long term.

Ride Safe and Ride Smoke-Free

Quitting smoking is not an easy thing to, do but there are resources that can help. Over the counter aids such as nicotine gums, lozenges and patches have helped many to quit. There are also pills that are very effective such as Chantix or Zyban, which are non-nicotine alternatives. Therapies and support groups are especially helpful, and the benefits you receive from quitting are priceless. Electronic cigarettes are also an extremely popular choice, especially for those who have smoked for many years. This is due to the fact that e-cigarettes offer an easy way to transition from one to the other, since they more closely simulate the act of smoking. However, e-cigarettes produce vapor, and do not contain the harmful chemicals found in cigarette smoke.

Health Benefits: You are never too old, or too young to quit. Health benefits are greater for those who stop earlier, but there are benefits at any age. According to the CDC, your risk of cancer diminishes by quitting now. Heart disease risks diminish within one/two years of quitting, respiratory risks are reduced, and the risk of developing lung diseases decreases, as well.

Clean Air: Having clean air to breathe is a basic human right. There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke, and it is proven to cause heart disease, cancer and other diseases. The movement towards smoke-free environments in the workplace, bars, restaurants, and rallies is a step in the right direction. Making it less socially acceptable can protect nonsmokers from the effects of secondhand smoke, both in the public arena and at home. Remember why you ride to begin with: the fresh air blowing against your face, and the open road.