A bunch of Bengalis hypothesized that the oxidative stress caused by cigarette smoke could be countered by the antioxidants from black tea. So in order to test this hypothesis, they exposed guinea pigs to cigarette smoke from five cigarettes (two puffs/cigarette) per guinea pig /day for seven days [Yes, in exactly that amount!] and then gave them water or black tea to drink. As a control, they had another bunch of guinea pigs exposed to air instead of cigarette smoke. They measured the lung damage caused by the exposure.
They observed that cigarette smoke exposure indeed caused lung damage (surprise surprise ...!!), and not only that - the damage was prevented when the guinea pigs exposed to cigarette smoke were given black tea to drink instead of water.
Conclusion - lung damage from cigarette smoke can be prevented by drinking chai ...
The results have been accepted for publication in the Journal of Inflammation.
Black tea prevents cigarette smoke-induced apoptosis and lung damage
Shuvojit Banerjee , Palas Maity , Subhendu Mukherjee , Alok K. Sil , Koustubh Panda , Dhrubajyoti Chattopadhyay and Indu B. Chatterjee
J. Inflammation 4(3) , 2007, doi:10.1186/1476-9255-4-3
Newsflash: Major tobacco companies just announced strategic partnerships with Tata Tea and Hindustan Lever to market cigarettes with genuine Darjeeling and Assam tea that will prevent lung damage.