Cigarettes Aren’t Always ‘The Bad Guy’

Planning for a great backwoods camping trip, a vacation that involves visiting a third world nation, or just a hike or climb in a remote area? Don’t become a victim of overly optimistic planning: be sure to plan for possible emergency situations–such as getting lost, becoming trapped, or getting injured–and ensure your survival.

Survival medicine is what you have to be prepared to practice, when no other medical option exists for the treatment of disease, wounds, or injuries. When things don’t go quite as planned on a camping trip or hiking/climbing excursion, the odds go up significantly that you will encounter wounds, skin infection, intestinal parasites, or burns. Here are three realistic survival situations in which you’ll be glad you had a cigarette with you.

Situation 1: worms and other intestinal parasites

In the case of intestinal parasites, you can eat one to one and one-half cigarettes (a treatment that you may repeat every 48 hours, if needed) to flush the parasites from your intestinal tract. Your other survival guide options are to mix four tablespoons of salt with a quart of water and drink it (do not repeat this treatment), or to drink two tablespoons of kerosene. My guess is, a cigarette never tasted so good! Odds are good that you won’t feel very good after eating cigarettes, but odds appear to be even better that whatever intestinal parasite is wreaking havoc on your system will be feeling much, much worse.

Situation 2: the unexpected and severe toothache

If you break a tooth or experience a toothache, and are lost in the woods or stuck in another equally helpless survival situation, pull out a cigarette. Tobacco is a natural antiseptic with pain relieving properties, and the tobacco found in a cigarette can be used to pack a broken or aching tooth, in order to help relieve the pain and help guard against an infection.

Situation 3: staunching the flow of blood from a wound

Tobacco products are known to constrict blood vessels and limit the delivery of blood and oxygen to the body’s tissues. This normally is a bad thing, and you will not hear a doctor advise you to use tobacco if you intend to heal properly from a wound; but in a survival situation in which you have a bleeding wound, a cigarette may be just what you need because tobacco is an antiseptic with pain relieving properties. In this case, you can take a cigarette and remove the tobacco from it. Pack the wound with the tobacco, and then wrap the wound with a strip of cloth, from your shirt or pant leg. You can follow this advice for burns, as well, in an attempt to relieve pain and guard against infection.

In a survival situation, you can also use the filter of an unsmoked cigarette to absorb fluids and act as a further deterrent to debris and possible infectives. The same fibers in a cigarette filter are found in infants’ diapers and womens’ feminine products, because of their highly absorptive properties. In the case of a puncture wound, you can opt to pack the wound with clean cigarette filters, and sprinkle with clean tobacco, and finish the wound dressing up with a clean strip of cloth.

Bonus: odd but useful things to add to your first aid kit

These may sound like strange additions to your first aid kit, but you never know when an emergency will happen–particularly in an outdoor situation, and being prepared is your best bet:

– Feminine products, such as pads or tampons. Put a couple of these in your first aid kit because they are super absorbent, usually prepackaged in a sanitary manner, and are light and compact.

– Unlubricated, nonspermicidal condoms. Put a couple of these in your first aid kit for use in the emergency situation in which you need to protect a wound on an appendage, or collect water and have no other container. Condoms are sanitary, compact, and can be stretched to fit over a hand, fist–or if things are really bad off, a leg arm or stump–to help protect wounds from the environment, and constrict swelling and the flow of blood.

– A pack of filtered cigarettes. If you have any doubts as to their usefulness after reading this article, I didn’t do my job.

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