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Cadaver’s Black Lungs Help Smokers Quit

Non-smokers lungs vs Smokers lungs

Non-smokers lungs vs Smokers lungs

Body Worlds & The Cycle of Life, the first anatomical exhibition of its kind to display real human remains, is unwittingly helping visitors kick the habit. This is thanks to a display that features the blackened lungs of a smoker in a side-by-side comparison with healthy lungs, making a strong impact on those who have yet to stub out.

Independent surveys conducted at the Body Worlds exhibitions have revealed that 68 percent of visitors resolved to pay more attention to their physical health after seeing the exhibition. A long-term survey showed that 10 percent of visitors had smoked less and consumed less alcohol since their visit to the exhibition.

According to CANSA, tobacco kills almost six million people a year, an average of one person every six seconds with the biggest rise in low- and middle-income countries.  Over 44,000 people die each year from tobacco related diseases in South Africa. Couple this with news from the American Lung Association that smoking related illnesses are responsible for some 86 percent of all lung cancer cases, and the motivation not to light up is stronger than ever.

“The exhibit does a wonderful thing; it shows the verities of tobacco use and jolts smokers into realising that despite the damage, they are powerless over their addiction.  This segues to the first fact about smoking, smokers don’t choose to smoke any more than alcoholics chose to be alcoholics, or heroin addicts choose to be heroin addicts. The second is to understand that the vast majority of all smokers secretly wish that they could stop,” says Dr. Charles Nel, CEO Allen Carr South Africa.

Continues Nel, “The blackened lungs of the smoker initially instil fear, but not enough fear to stop viewers from smoking. What keeps smokers smoking is the fear that they will not be able to enjoy life without smoking, that they will not be able to cope with life without smoking, fear that they will have to go through some awful trauma first before they can be free and finally, the most awful fear of all, that the cravings will never go away. The way to permanently stop smokers smoking, is to effectively remove these fears and thereby deal with the psychological addiction to smoking.”

The specimens on display, including the lungs, are real and preserved through Plastination, a revolutionary preservation technique invented by Dr. Gunther von Hagens in 1977 while he was working as an anatomist at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. Referred to as plastinates, the bodies have been flayed, a process whereby the skin is removed for a realistic and authentic look at the inner workings of the human body.


For more information on exhibits, the process of plastination, free downloadable guides to assist with educating learners and family and much more, visit Follow Body Worlds on Twitter or Facebook.

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