Am I warming myself when I smoke a cigarette in freezing weather?

See subject. Thought of it while waiting for the bus today. I can see all sorts of physiology busting loose to say no, but it made up for my guilt in not reaching for my e-cig.

Plus, more of a MPSIMS: it was so cold today ::how cold was it?:: I kept my hands in my pockets non-stop after I lit my cig, and I smoked it down till it hit the filter and went out while never moving James Dean from my lips. First time.

Well, I’ve certainly never noticed a difference back in my smoking days. But logically, it seems like it would. You got hot smoke going into your lungs which ought to warm your core up ever so slightly.

I recall reading decades ago that no, smoking would actually make you feel a bit colder in that it restricts blood flow to the capillaries. I suspect that both this effect and any warming from the smoke are rather miniscule, as Shakes suggested.

I understand this is a long time effect, not something that makes its presence known while smoking just one cigarette.

If you’re heading out into freezing weather for the express purpose of smoking, then no, the heat from the cigarette won’t compensate for the increased rate of heat loss from the rest of your body.

You suck in a mouthful of smoke - partially cooled by passing through the unlit portion of the cigarette and the filter - and then inhale it along with a lungful of fresh air. That’s a pretty small heat input. And then you exhale, and breathe freezing cold air for 15-30 seconds before taking another drag. And the entire time you’re losing heat at a rapid rate through exposed/underinsulated surfaces of your body.

If you’re already outside for some other purpose, then yes, in theory inhaling warm smoke would warm you up, but the amount is negligible. If someone is cold, there are much more effective ways to warm them up than smoking a cigarette.

And smoking a cigarette could have the nasty side effect of giving you cancer…

As long as you never cough. That could ruin the whole thing.

Restricting flow to the capillaries would make you warmer, as you would lose less heat.

Expanding the capillaries, with the concomitant increase in blood flow - which I believe is a short term effect of nicotine - would make you colder.

Let me check on the effect of nicotine …

no, I cannot find a reference for nicotine expanding capillaries; but I do know my blood pressure would drop after a cigarette - I always thought it was the nicotine.

I think it’s akin to drinking alcohol in cold weather to ‘warm’ you up, i.e. it’s a psychological illusion, not a physiological process. In fact, as mentioned above, just as alcohol actually lowers your body’s ability to stay warm, my guess is that smoking would do the same (though short term only a tiny amount).

Even though a cig ember is 900°F the smoke you inhale isn’t even close to that. Plus, regardless of it having any higher temp the smoke isn’t going to have much thermal energy (mass) so it’s ability to ‘heat’ your insides via convection is negligible.

And of course, cancer, emphysema, think of the children etc… :smiley: