In some parts of the world, people smoke cigarettes by holding the lit end inside their mouth. Apparently this doesn't burn them. In fact, reverse smokers claim that they enjoy the sensation of warmth it creates inside their mouth.
Journal of the American Dental Association - Mar 1976
The cigarette-smoking habits of people in some parts of the world include a variation called reverse smoking, which is accomplished by holding the lighted end of a cigarette or cigar inside the oral cavity. Air is drawn to the burning zone through the unlighted end of a cigarette, and smoke is expelled back through the cigarette or out through the mouth. The smoke is not usually inhaled; however, the ashes are swallowed. Smoke and tar products are allowed to condense on the surfaces of the teeth, palate, and adjacent mucosa. Tobacco tar and smoke that come into contact with the highly vascular moist mucosa contribute to the pleasurable sensation.
Reverse smoking has been reported to occur in the lower economic groups in areas of India, the Caribbean, Sardinia, South America, Korea, and the Philippine Islands. In the Philippine Islands, reverse smoking is referred to as “ bakwe” and is practiced almost exclusively by married women. It is a symbolic indication of the achievement of marital status and represents the responsibility that is peculiar to a married woman, in contrast to the carefree life-style of an unattached maiden. Many look on an unmarried smoker as a woman of easy virtue.
It is noteworthy that in parts of Korea women begin smoking on their 60th birthday, to represent the beginning of their retired life. This signifies wisdom and experience.
Motherhood and housework are the primary reasons why reverse smoking is practiced only by women. It enables the mother to feed and tend to her child without the risk of the infant touching the lighted end of the cigarette. It also eliminates the possibility of ashes dropping on children, eating utensils, clothing that is being washed, and food that is being prepared.
Reverse smokers give several other reasons for indulging in this peculiar habit: it is more pleasurable than conventional smoking; it gives one the feeling of warmth during the rainy season (This may explain why reverse smoking is practiced primarily in equatorial climates, which usually have a long rainy season.); there is no desire to inhale; and the cigarette or cigar lasts longer.
A study by Quigley and others reported that the average time for conventional smoking of a cigarette is four minutes and six seconds, whereas the average time for reverse smoking is seven minutes 42 seconds. Native reverse smokers may retain a single cigarette for as long as 18 minutes.
Journal of the American Dental Association - Apr 1966
Heavy tar buildup inside the mouth of a reverse smoker. Journal of the American Dental Association - Oct 1964
Back in the early 1980s, orthodontist David Marshall, from Syracuse, NY, liked to speculate about what humans would look like 2 million years in the future. Or what "Future Man" would look like, as he referred to our descendants. Based on previous trends in our evolution, he concluded that Future Man will be hairless, big-skulled, small-jawed, and have few teeth.
Marshall’s version of the future human being is a sleek-featured, diminutive person, much like the creatures seen in many science-fiction movies.
Today’s diet of soft, processed foods will take its toll on the human jaw and teeth, which have been diminishing since prehistoric days when our ancestors used their mouths as weapons, in addition to making tough foods palatable, Marshall says.
“Nature has a wonderful way of providing for her needs. Whatever she doesn’t need, she gets rid of,” Marshall says. “Things develop according to function. If you use something, it develops. If you don’t, it disappears.”
Since people today do not use their teeth the way they once did, future people probably will have much smaller, and fewer teeth, Marshall’s prediction indicates. They will be practically hairless and their jaws will diminish as they have for thousands of years, he says. The chin and nose will be more prominent.
The changes Marshall foresees also will give future people a wider range of facial expressions…
He has turned his office into a museum on the development of the human skull, tracing its evolutionary and embryonic progress in exhibits and photographs… One of the exhibits in his personal museum is a line of busts depicting the evolutionary changes in the human skull from prehistoric times to his vision of what people will look like 2 million years into the future…
But even with the possibility of scientific advances influencing evolution, Marshall expresses confidence that his projections cannot be disputed.
“No one is going to disprove me,” he says. “They won’t be around.”
-The Semi-Weekly Spokesman-Review - June 15, 1981
According to Marshall's obituary (he died in 2006), the anatomical museum he once had in his dental office was eventually moved to Syracuse University. Although I can't find any record of it there now.
David Marshall, “Changes in the skull—past, present, and future—because of evolution.” Journal of the American Dental Association. Nov 1975.
This weekend in New York City, artist Pope.L organized a “group crawl" along a 1.5 mile route from Seravalli Playground in the West Village to Union Square. 140 people participated. Pope.L wasn't one of them. He "walked alongside the crawlers for the duration of the performance, offering support and chatting with viewers."
Over the years, however, Pope.L has personally done a lot of crawling... turning it into an artform. From his wikipedia page:
eRacism, a project that Pope.L began during the late 1970s, included over 40 endurance-based performances consisting of “crawls”, varying in length and duration. In one example titled Tompkins Square Crawl (1991) Pope.L dressed in a business suit and crawled through the gutter in Tompkins Square Park, New York, pushing a potted flower with one hand. Another example titled The Great White Way involved a crawl which stretched over 22 miles and took five years to complete. For this performance he donned a Superman outfit and strapped a skateboard to his back. The crawl stretched the entire 22 miles of Broadway, in New York City.
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.
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