Which is unhealthier: a cigarette or a candy bar? How about 20 cigs or 20 bars?

Greetings fellow dopers,
For an average person with no pre-existing health conditions, which is more damaging to long-term overall health, a candy bar or a cigarette? While the answer to this first question is probably obvious, for the sake of empiricism let’s say the candy bar is a standard Snickers bar, and the cigarette is a plain Marlboro.

Right off the top of my head, I am fairly certain the cigarette is more damaging; however, how about 20? Would the ensuing caloric and glycemic rise from such a huge amount of chocolate be better or worse than the cancer sticks?

If it turns out that indeed the chocophagery is worse, then is there a number where the level of unhealthiness balances out? Does it even work that way? I know there are a lot of variables here, so my hats pre-emptively off to anyone who ventures a solution.

In summary, my three questions are:

  1. a single cig or bar?
  2. 20 cigs or bars?
  3. balance?
    Thanks for your time,

Do the cigs/bars all have to be smoked/eaten today, or can they be strung out over time? If strung out, over how long?

Oh silly me. I knew I forgot something. Yes, they all have to be eaten/smoked in the amount given per day. So 1/1 is per day, and 20/20 is still one day. As per the time within the day, I leave that up to the answerer. They can be strung out over the day or done all at once. For total time, umm… just for one day total wouldn’t make much difference for overall health, so let’s say a minimum of one year, and, keeping in theme, a maximum of twenty years.

I would say that if you did it every day then the cigarettes would be much less harmful. A snickers bar has about 270 calories so that would be about 5400 calories a day for 20 of them and would make someone morbidly obese in short order without any additional food intake. Being ordinarily fat isn’t as harmful health-wise as the public consciousness makes it out to be but being morbidly obese will impair life function as does have some well-defined health problems.

If you are talking about a single Snickers bar versus a single cigarette then I don’t think anyone can measure that because the effect is way too small. Cigarette smoking is definitely harmful but it generally takes dedication and addiction to harm yourself. A typical smoker will smoke a pack a day (20 cigarettes) for many years before health problems become profound for the typical smoker. Let’s say it is 30 years on the conservative side. That is 219,000 cigarettes and many people smoke much more, much longer. I don’t know anyone that eats that many Snickers bars.

My answers:

  1. Neither causes any harm.
  2. 20 candy bars
  3. in increasing amounts, the candy bars will do more harm.

But, methinks you are trying to paint a scenario where you can continue smoking without guilt. The number of people that eat 3 or 4, let alone close to 20 candy bars per day is very minute.

And the number of people who can maintain only smoking 1 to 5 cigs per day is also very small. Most people who start that way go to a pack a day smoker very easily.

So, if you are comparing the two habits, smoking vs. candy, you have to look at a pack a day smoker vs. a 2 candy bar a day eater, which hands-down smoking is far worse for you…

But the fact remains, that on a per unit basis, candy bars are more unhealthy than cigarettes. And they give them to *children! *

Surely you jest.

In case you don’t: A bushel of corn will nourish everyone at a family gathering while a bushel of Xanax tablets will kill everyone there thousands of times over. The equation is true.

But, in practice, who eats corn at the same rate/unit/volume as Xanax tablets?

In the same vein, what overeater eats a Snickers bar in the way that a smoker lights up?

In other words, do you know of a typical candy junkie that wakes up and has a candy bar before getting out of bed. He gets up, has a cup of coffee and another candy bar. He eats 3 candy bars on the way to work and clocks in.

When 10am rolls around he is looking at the clock to get his candy fix. He can’t wait for break time when he gets his morning candy.

Then LUNCH! A candy bar before lunch, and then after. Then the afternoon Milky Way.

Near the end of the day, a customer is pissing him off so bad, he just can’t wait to step outside and have another Snickers. When he is stressed he just fucking needs his chocolate bars!

Three more candy bars on the way home, and another after dinner.

Then he has a some quality (e.g. close quality) time with the wife, and when he’s done, he reaches on the nightstand and eats another Snickers.

/sarcasm off

If this was the way that a typical candy bar eater behaved, then it would be a good comparison with a smoker.

My point remains the same: Eating candy is a bad habit that can be corrected with lifestyle changes. Smoking is a physical and mental addiction which is very difficult to quit.

Do a search for “quitting smoking” v. “quitting candy bars” and see where the majority lies.

It’s a terrible comparison.

Yes I do. Yes it is.

Do you still have that bushel basket of Xanax, leftover from the holidays?

That’s it, I’m gonna start smoking, I need to lose some weight.

Sometimes a question is just a question :wink:

Where is Joe Camel when you need him? Better call Spuds McKenzie also.

I dunno, I would consider the “unit” for cigarettes to be one pack, not one cig. You can’t buy a single cigarette anywhere, but you can buy a single candy bar. If we’re going to be counting things that aren’t individually packaged, then I’ll eat an M&M for every cigarette you smoke, and still come out ahead.

This thread is driving me to drink. :wink:

Well, you would. But it’s more humorously ironic the other way. Straining at camels and swallowing gnats, and all that.

And why is a unit a pack? It takes about the same amount of time to eat a candy bar as smoke a cigarette. Puff = bites, not bites = cigs. It’s not my fault candy is so addictive. And you can so buy single cigarettes, in downscale convenience stores, called ‘looseys’. for one loose cig. Some states have prohibited the practice.

You didn’t say, “unhealthier to whom”.

Your cigarettes are much unhealthier to me than are your candy bars. I could smell the latter all day without a problem but smelling your cig smoke would make me retch.

I’d like to add that if an adult were to eat the cigarettes. Three to four would kill you. Small children are poisoned by eating just one butt.

What about burning the candy bars and inhaling the fumes?

That won’t kill you. Besides, that’s how some people always cook dinner. The fire alarm always goes off.

Then the PAH’s get you. You just can’t have your cake and smoke it too.