Second-Hand Smoke Kills; or News from the Front

So, you thought you knew how second-hand smoke kills, right?

Well, during WWII, it did so in a way markedly different from today.  On the Eastern Front, the Russians were out-gunned and crippled by Stalin’s initial poor strategizing.  Their advantage, however, was in their being accustomed to both the terrain and the Russian winter.  They could “disappear” into it, allowing them to successfully ambush the German troops.

So, what the Germans took to doing, was placing their non-smoking officers in the front-line, where they could detect the scent of their opponents: cigarettes, sweat and cheap perfume to fight the insects.  It worked.

Second-hand smoke kills.

Central Park, NYC

Central Park, NYC


About sputnitsa

Born in the US, I grew up in Africa and the West Indies, and returned stateside in my teens. After a decade in international development, democracy work, and inclusivity training for domestic NGOs, I joined Peace Corps, and after a year, experienced my first Russian invasion. I followed that up by volunteering with refugees and youth, and after some vacation time climbing minarets and mountains, I returned to New York City, where today I work on social justice with college students, produce short films, and write.
This entry was posted in Central Park, health, New York, photos, random info, second-hand smoke, WWII and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Second-Hand Smoke Kills; or News from the Front

  1. ralfast says:

    It also destroys your “night vision”. The light from the cigarette forces the eyes to adjust to it thus making it hard to see into the darkness beyond and the light can be farther away that one might think.

    Indeed, smoking kills.

  2. Beth says:

    Wow! That’s really interesting.

  3. matthewgraybosch says:

    That was definitely an interesting story, though I suspect that the Russians might have been able to get around it by being downwind of the Germans. 🙂

    • sputnitsa says:

      I imagine they didn’t realize how they were being caught. 🙂

      I think I also read in the same book–Russia’s War–that the soldiers were eating the berries of the land, gooseberries I think, that are great for eyesight in the dark. My sense is that the historian was saying that their bettered night-vision is what revealed this “use” of the berry.

  4. sputnitsa says:

    Matthew: interesting!!! 🙂

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