Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Breathalyzer for smokers


Are you a secret smoker? Have you been fooling your family and co-workers into thinking that you're smoke free? Well, your days of secrecy are coming to an end - because of a science project. Yes, that's right, a high school science project.

Ashray Reddy, a sophomore high school student, and his father Dr. S. Reedy presented data at the American College of Chest Physicians meeting in Chicago on Monday. They took a pulse cooximeter, a machine used to identify carbon monoxide in patients and firefighters, to identify if the study subject was a smoker (HealthDay News).
The device, which Reddy said costs $4,000-$5,000, measures the level of carbon monoxide in hemoglobin. It accurately spotted up 95 percent of all smokers when Reddy looked only at those who had a 6 percent or higher level of carbon monoxide.
It will be interesting to see if these results are able to be repeated. If they are, then the ramifications of this are huge. I can see insurance companies using this to see how high your premiums will be if you're identified as a smoker. I see other entities like schools and employers utilizing this machine for their own purposes. Who knew a high school science project could have such wide ranging implications? (image credit)

5 comments:

Julie said...

And isn't it cool that a child has come up with this?

Too cool!

Bond said...

Sorry... this smacks of big brother to me...
OK, the insurance company maybe, but my employer??? screw that

Anonymous said...

Insurers have long tested for cotinine, a metabolite of nicotine.

As for employers? I *am* an employer. I buy your insurance. If you're a smoker, you cost me extra premium dollars, and your infernal addiction means less time working for me and more time enriching Philip Morris's pockets.

I'd sooner rot in a cold dark hell than hire another smoker. I hire smart people, not the addicted or the mentally-ill-who-self-medicate (schizophrenics are incredibly likely to smoke relative to the general populace).

E

SeaSpray said...

Being a nonsmoker...I can instantly smell cigarettes smoke. I suppose if they showered and everything was fresh I wouldn't know. interesting experiment. next thing you know they will pull drivers over for that.

Recently someone told me about a teenage driver totaling her father's brand new car in the driveway because he lost control around driving around the bend.

After checking to see if everyone was alright...the next thing he did was check the kids cell phone to see if he was on it.

Frank said...

I *am* an employer. I buy your insurance. If you're a smoker, you cost me extra premium dollars, and your infernal addiction means less time working for me and more time enriching Philip Morris's pockets.
What a crock. I've never seen anywhere on an insurance form where it asks if you're a smoker, and I personally have never lost time at work from smoking related illnesses. This is all a bunch of BS the anti-smoking groups put out. And, as far as not hiring smokers, the reverse is true, too, Pal. I quit a job because they were starting with the non-smoking facism.