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Trapped Miners Will Now Get to Smoke!

September 13, 2010 · 43 comments

in Commentary

I have felt terrible for the poor miners that have been trapped for over a month in Chilean mine.  CNN had an article this past weekend further describing the life of these trapped miners.  They are finally going to be able to get some light down into the mine to help the miners regulate their sleep cycle.  I never even thought about how our body’s natural clock relies on daylight to establish our sleep patterns.  There was also some discussion of how the miners will need to protect their eyes when they finally emerge from the mine, as they will have been in darkness for so long.  That all makes sense, even though I had never even considered sleep cycles and light sensitivity as an issue.

However, there is one part that doesn’t make sense to me, at least not entirely.

The miners are now getting 2 packs of cigarettes sent down to them everyday, which is a new development.  Apparently, the miners have been asking for cigarettes from day one, and they are just now receiving them.  I assume they will be getting lighters and matches too.  (Previously they have been getting nicotine patches and gum.)  But, since the ventilation has been improved, it has been decided that can just go ahead and smoke now.   To me, that seems dangerous.  Imagine the risk if a fire broke out.   The combination of fire and trapped smoke could be catastrophic.

I am sure those miners are more than miserable being trapped, and may be scarred for life.  So I guess having a smoke now and then isn’t unreasonable when everything else is so awful.  (Hopefully the smokers can enjoy their 1.5 cigarettes per day or whatever their allotment is somewhere in the mine where the smoke won’t just be trapped and stagnate.)  I just think providing cigarettes and matches is a risky proposition.    I am not talking about risk from cancer, but more from the matches/cigarettes themselves.  However, I am all for giving those miners anything that can make their life easier and more comfortable.  Especially considering it is expected they will be stuck down in that mine until November.

I imagine the stories that will be told will be remarkable when the miners are finally rescued.  I have no idea, but I am sure there has been some nicotine withdrawal, possibly alcohol withdrawal, and a whole lot of fear in that mine.   I just wish there was an easier way to get to them, so they wouldn’t have to suffer so long.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicole September 13, 2010 at 10:35 am

It does seem a bit dangerous, but who knows. It’s good they’ve been getting gum and patches.


Kris September 13, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Nicole, I admit, at first I thought ‘what the heck, why should they be encouraged to smoke?’ Then I thought ‘hey, why not. I bet it is a real bummer down there!’. I just hope they are safe!


The Biz of Life September 13, 2010 at 11:36 am

I guess there is no shortage of air down there, or any danger of a natural gas leak. At least they can get food and water down to them. I think smoking would be the least of their worries.


Kris September 13, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Biz – I believe it is a copper mine, so I don’t think there should be an natural gases. (I thought the same thing at first.)

I can’t imagine how crabby they must have been that first month. First being trapped, then going through nicotine withdrawal. So far, their requests for liquor have been denied…


Squirrelers September 13, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Being denied cigarettes for an extended period of time could have been a great way for them to make great progress toward quitting smoking!

From an outside perspective, I do agree with you that this seems a bit peculiar.


Kris September 13, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Squirrlers – I agree, it could have been a great time to quit. But just imagine being trapped down there with nothing to do but thinking ‘I wish I had a smoke’. Hopefully fights won’t break out over the cigarettes!


Kevin@InvestItWisely September 13, 2010 at 12:50 pm

It does sound strange, but for those men trapped deep underground, it may be the only luxury they get to enjoy. I hope that the rescue goes smoothly and everyone down there is able to get out safe.


Kris September 13, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Kevin – I agree, they should get whatever luxury they want. I just hope they don’t set anything on fire. I think they should send down some beer instead!


Suba @ Wealth Informatics September 13, 2010 at 1:43 pm

I do agree it weird. I was thinking may be they are having withdrawal symptoms or something like that, but its been a month, so it would have been a good way to quit smoking if they stopped it completely. Oh well, as Kevin says may be they want their only luxury. I hope they have thought this through and there is enough ventilation and no danger of natural gas leaks.


Kris September 13, 2010 at 4:28 pm

Suba, I had similar concerns about gas leaks and such, but from what I understand, there shouldn’t be any gas leaks since it is a copper/gold mine. But, I would not want to risk it myself!


Money Reasons September 13, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Hmmm that’s a good point about the fire!

At least it will be a positive ending for them. What a hardship, that’s for sure!

It’s kind of a shame that they got the cigarettes. Some of them would have been off of the cigs by the time they get out. It would be a small positive from the event, but now they won’t even have that opportunity.


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