Tobacco and coffee: not as bad as we thought?

Smoking is bad.But is tobacco bad too? Scientific American recently reported on research on the effects of tobacco and coffee on the br...

Smoking is bad.  But is tobacco?
Smoking is bad.But is tobacco bad too?
Scientific American recently reported on research on the effects of tobacco and coffee on the brain.  It turns out that there's something in tobacco and coffee that helps keep dopamine cells healthy, which means that we may be on the verge of figuring out why coffee-drinkers and smokers tend to have a lower risk of Parkinson's disease.  This reinforces what I've always thought: value judgements suck.

This could be great news for those who suffer from a variety of dopamine-related illnesses, but I think the most interesting bit is that there's something good about coffee and tobacco.  It's not caffeine or nicotine, but there's something else in these substances that seems to be quite beneficial.  This is interesting because of how generally reviled coffee and tobacco are (especially the latter).  It's an important lesson we all need to learn: just because something seems bad doesn't mean there's nothing good about it.

Too often we make foolish value judgements based on how we use something rather than on the thing itself. We drink too much coffee and get sick, so we blame coffee.  And we identify tobacco as a bad substance because we smoke the stuff and get cancer.  This is, of course, ridiculous.  Plants are neither good nor bad.  These are only labels we put on things to make ourselves feel better when we screw up.  We smoke excessively, we ignore the warnings of doctors, we get cancer and die.  And thus tobacco becomes "bad," when rather it's us who are being stupid.  And thus labelled, curiosity about it's potentially beneficial uses are ignored completely.

I have to wonder, if it weren't for the stigma attached to, say, tobacco over the last few decades, would we have found out long ago about the benefits of some elements of tobacco to dopamine production?  And would we now have better medicines for diseases like Parkinson's?

It bothers me immensely that the answers to these questions could very well be "Yes."

We need to stop making value judgements about things, because they make us stupid.

COMMENTS

Name

academia activism adaptation admin aesthetics affect ageing AI analogy android anthropology anticipation app architecture art arts Asia assistive technology automobile balance biology biomimetics book branding building business CAD Canada care case cfp change revision children codesign cognition collaboration colonization commercialization commonplacing communication design competition complexity computation computer science computing concept map conference constructivism conversational analysis craft creative arts creativity CSCW culture cybernetics degrowth dementia design design thinking digital digital media digital reproduction digital scholarship disability dissertation drawing economics education effectiveness efficiency emotion engineering environment ergonomics ethics ethnography Evernote evolution exhibition exoskeleton experience experimental studies fail fashion featured film food function modeling futurism gender studies Germany globalization grantsmanship graphic design Greece HCI health heritage history housing human factors humanism identity image inclusivity industrial design informatics information innovation interaction interior design internet of things intervention iphone journal journalism language law library life life cycle lifehack logistics luxury making management manufacturing material culture materials mechanics media method migration mobile motion design movie new product development Nexus 6 olfaction online organization packaging paper participatory design PBL pengate performance PhD philosophy planning policy politics practice predatory preservation prison proceedings productivity project management public space publishing reading Remember The Milk reproduction research resource-limited design reuse review Samsung scholarship science science fiction semiotics senses service design simplicity society sociology software space strategic design student sustainability systems tactile tangibility technology textile theatre theory Toodledo Toronto tourism traffic transhumanism transnationalism transportation tv uncertainty universal design urban usa usability user experience visualization wearable well-being women workshop writing
false
ltr
item
The Trouble with Normal...: Tobacco and coffee: not as bad as we thought?
Tobacco and coffee: not as bad as we thought?
http://filsalustri.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/no-smoking.jpeg?w=150
The Trouble with Normal...
http://filsalustri.blogspot.com/2010/09/tobacco-and-coffee-not-as-bad-as-we.html
http://filsalustri.blogspot.com/
http://filsalustri.blogspot.com/
http://filsalustri.blogspot.com/2010/09/tobacco-and-coffee-not-as-bad-as-we.html
true
389378225362699292
UTF-8
Not found any posts VIEW ALL Readmore Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS CONTENT IS PREMIUM Please share to unlock Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy