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General Climbing Discussion

Topic Date User
Smoking Debate 9-Aug-2006 At 11:08:30 AM M
On 8/08/2006 One Day Hero wrote:

>How many pro cyclists smoke? As far as I know it's none. That tells me
>that smoking is detrimental to cycling ability (which is hugely dependent
>on lungs).
> If you check some of the "How to Climb Hard" training books, they have
>studies which show that single pitch style climbing performance is not
>strongly dependent on the aerobic system.
>If any top, top level climbers smoke (I believe they do) it should at
>least lend strong doubt to your theory.
> If you want to claim smoking as being detrimental to climbing performance,
>get some data to back it up. Otherwise, stick to the multitude of perfectly
>good reasons for not smoking which should be enough for anyone.

My main point wasnít that smoking reduces performance. It was that the evidence presented on this
forum that it doesnít reduce performance is unconvincing. As you state it is clear that smoking does not
prevent climbing performance near the top levels. I have no doubt that the effects of smoking are far
greater in endurance sports. This does not mean it does not reduce performance. There is a lot of
scientific literature detailing the detrimental effects of smoking on our physiology. It is hard to believe that
the combination of reduced lung capacity, damage to the vascular system and reduced capacity to
recover from injury have no affect on performance. Not to mention increased illness/disease/cancer all
being detrimental to climbing performance.

As to your point about single pitch routes this is a fairly restrictive view that a hard climber only climbs
single pitch routes. How many of these smoking hard climbers climb long hard free routes like the nose
route or ozymandius(sp).

It is easy to request data to back up these points point but you havenít presented any data of any
scientific merit to back up you view.
On the subject of data a study on the subtle effects of smoking would be incredibly difficult. Basically it
would require the comparison of a large number of individuals where the only difference between the
groups was smoking. As smoking is not a random occurrence but is linked to other factors such as socio-
economic status, level of education and lifestyle attributing any difference to smoking alone would be very

A couple of studies looking at the effects of smoking on healing,
not particularly interesting there are heaps more if anyone can be bothered to look, i cant

J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2005 Aug;87(8):1801-9.

J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2006 Aug;88(8):1027-31.

Not related but I did come across a study which found that cracking you knuckles is bad for hand
function. i had alway wondered if this was really true. not surprising really.

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