Smokers in a cave

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Smokers in a cave

Postby Dustin » May 7, 2006 3:36 pm

I forgot what it was like to cave with non-cavers. This past weekend during the Banker’s Cave trip at MVOR we came upon the evidence of non-respectful spelunkers. Myself and my fellow grotto member we’re the slowest members of the cave trip. When we got to the last room of the cave it smelled of cigarette smoke. Banker’s Cave isn’t very long so I don’t see how someone can’t wait the half an hour or so to smoke when they get out. :rant:
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Postby Cheryl Jones » May 7, 2006 4:10 pm

Did you say anything to the smokers about their cave pollution?
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Postby Evan G » May 7, 2006 4:39 pm

Cave isn’t very long so I don’t see how someone can’t wait the half an hour or so to smoke when they get out.


Physical exercise causes the tar and junk to break loose in the lungs causing some nicotene to be released back into body from lungs. Then the nic fits start, nothing like an addicition

I've been smoke free for a while now, but the hardest part was getting the junk out my lungs. I was always very active while I smoked, more than a lot of non smokers. But I very concious of the smell and never smoked in a cave. I hope, if you saw them doing this that you said something.
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Postby Dustin » May 8, 2006 3:37 am

Cheryl Jones wrote:Did you say anything to the smokers about their cave pollution?


Unfortunately we we're unsure of who it was, and there we're several people smoking in different groups when we came out. I personally didn't want to go up to each group and accuse them of it.

We did go up and speak with the trip coordinator about it, but that was all we did.
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Postby mgmills » May 8, 2006 8:49 am

Dustin wrote:
Cheryl Jones wrote:Did you say anything to the smokers about their cave pollution?


Unfortunately we we're unsure of who it was, and there we're several people smoking in different groups when we came out. I personally didn't want to go up to each group and accuse them of it.

We did go up and speak with the trip coordinator about it, but that was all we did.


I cave with a lot of different groups. Some groups accept smoking on long trips. Others don't. I don't smoke so it is not a burning issue for me. I can see that is some caves it might be detrimental to the cave but in many caves the air movement is so great and the cave so large I can't see how it can cause harm. (Waiting for the flames :flamed: )

I am one of those weird non-smokers who associates mostly with people who do smoke (haven't figured out how that happens) so perhaps I'm somewhat desensitized to smoke odors.
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Postby Dustin » May 8, 2006 9:57 am

mgmills wrote:I am one of those weird non-smokers who associates mostly with people who do smoke (haven't figured out how that happens) so perhaps I'm somewhat desensitized to smoke odors.


It's not the smoke odor that's the problem, it's the effect it leaves on the cave. From my understanding (please correct me if I'm wrong) the cigarette smoke leaves a thin layer of certain chemicals (can't remember which, nicoteen I believe) that settles on the cave walls and formations. Thereby damaging the ecosystem in the cave.

Hopefully someone who is more knowledgeable on the subject will clarify the effects of smoking in a cave for us (read: me).
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Postby Evan G » May 8, 2006 10:16 am

From my little research:

The carbon is what you see as smoke. It comes from the burning of the sugars with in the tobacco leaf. The poison nicotine is smokeless. I called nicotine a poison not figuratively but at a high dose it can kill someone. I would think that the carbon reacting with the 100% humidity of the cave would create carbonic acid in small quantities thus etching the surface of speleothems. Just as an idea. :flamed:
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Postby ScottM » May 8, 2006 12:41 pm

Actually, anything given to someone in a high dose will kill them. I was wondering, does the burning of carbide cause damage to a cave also? I don't mean to sound flippant, but I would think that any kind of material being burned would give off gases or smoke that could damage a cave.
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Postby wendy » May 8, 2006 12:52 pm

I think that smoking in a cave is inconsiderate of the others in the cave that don't smoke. I have not smoked now for 3 years, maybe 4, and when I did smoke, I always asked permission of those around me before I lit up.

If I am outdoors enjoying the scenery and the fresh air, I don't want to smell cigarettes messing it up. Even this weekend, I was kayaking and picked up butts out of the river that the smokers were just throwing in the water. What's worse than an inconsiderate smoker is a careless smoker.
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Postby Evan G » May 8, 2006 12:56 pm

Actually, anything given to someone in a high dose will kill them.


The dose is quite small:

40–60 mg can be a lethal dosage for adult human beings. This dose makes it an extremely deadly poison. It is more toxic than many other alkaloids such as cocaine, which has a lethal dose of 1000mg.


It does seem that burning anything in a cave would damage what we call the "cave environment".
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Postby Mike Cato » May 8, 2006 1:13 pm

Including carbide lights?
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Postby Evan G » May 8, 2006 3:59 pm

They were and are banned from Lechuguilla Cave because of many fears, some of them pertain to cave pollution and the taining of the cave environment.
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Postby Ralph E. Powers » May 9, 2006 1:14 am

I smoke, and 99.9999% of the time I'll have a smoke just before entering (or at least while preps are being done; i.e. rigging, etc.) and hold off until I'm out of the cave again ... the time span difference is anywhere between 2 1/2 hours to 16 hours between smokes. Dammit, if I can hold off that long then THEY can too.
Of course it's been brought up that if I were to do a several day trip (like Lech) would I be able to hold off that long??
Hell, it might help me purge enough nicotine outta my system long enough to actually want to quit... which I've been trying to do anyway.

I know my vertical and I know how to survey... anyone going to Lech in the near future... it's for a good cause ya know. :woohoo:
Without the possibility of death, adventure is not possible. ~ Reinhold Messner


http://ralph.rigidtech.com/albums.php
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Postby Dwight Livingston » May 9, 2006 8:13 am

Ralph E. Powers wrote: Hell, it might help me purge enough nicotine outta my system long enough to actually want to quit... which I've been trying to do anyway.


I quit in '89 and have never regretted it. I'm still one cigarette away from being a two-pack-a-day smoker again, but it is not at all hard. I go months without even thinking about it.

Good luck quitting.

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Postby Peggy Renwick » May 9, 2006 12:35 pm

When I lived in Italy, I had to get used to cavers smoking underground. CONSTANTLY. Climb a pitch, get bored waiting at a rebelay, light up. Occasionally they'd lean in to my carbide lamp for a quick light.

I pestered them to no end about it, and they'd just chuckle at me.

But then when Italy banned smoking in all public buildings, they had a big debate about whether that applied to caves or not... ;-)
and remember when you found the key
to his hideout in the pyrenees
but you wanted to keep his secret safe
so you threw the key away
-- the decemberists
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