Living Life without a filter in Rome

"With delicious dangerous crap, there are no halfsises."
Rome, Italy
Giordano's Couchsurfing Oasis

Story & Media: Ben Rubin

After running out of cigarette filters in Zagreb, Croatia, I've been happily going without. I figured outside of saving a bit of change, whatever health benefit of using filters has to be canceled out over time.  Even one cigarette in 100 that you accidentally smoke one drag too long is a dose of plastic smoke directly to your lungs. I'm not saying that tobacco alone is such a great thing to smoke in terms of health, but for sure smoking plastic is bad news.

Drinking fascist-era Orzo coffee around the table this morning with my Roman Couchsurfing host and fellow Greek Couchsurfer, I found myself rambling about my filter philosophy while rolling a cigarette. Giordano, who has hosted perhaps 150 travelers from around the world in his flat over the last 10 months, also happens to be studying medicine. He shared with us that there are two main kinds of cancer from smoking; the kind from smoking with filters and the kind from smoking. And the filter kind is arguably worse.

Giordano dug through some of the books in his library of medical tomes and found the Italian terms for me. Smoking without filters can lead to Carcinoma Broncogeno Centrall, when funk collects over time in the mouth and throat. But this is actually much easier to diagnose than Carcinoma Broncogeno Periferico, the kind that comes from filters. While a filter pulls out the larger pieces of funk, it also pulls the finer pieces farther down your tubes and results in a deeper kind of lung cancer that can be harder to catch.

Don't get me wrong, nobody smokes for their health. Humphrey Bogart, along with many of the other Hollywood greats from the Golden Era of film, were fond of filterless cigarettes and died to tell the tale.  They would agree that blowing smoke is harder to do 6 feet under the dirt if they could.  But nobody drinks soda or beer for their health either. Even Giordano, with his stack of illustrated medical books about cancer sitting on his night table, smokes from time to time when he is out and about (and Balkan doctors are another story altogether!).  Drink, eat, and smoke what you will, but fuck diet soda, light beer, and filters full of false promises. You can't make junk healthy, it just makes it worse. One out of one Italian almost-doctors polled for this article will tell you: with delicious dangerous crap, there are no halfsises.