Tag Archives: smoking related deaths

The Effects of Smoking on Your Health, Wallet & Family

The Surgeon General notes smoking-related deaths to be the most preventable cause of death in the United States.

One in four Americans smoke cigarettes, and each year, over 400,000 people die from smoking-related diseases.

The habit of smoking also leads to tremendous financial and interpersonal relationship strains.

What Smoking Does to Your Health

Each puff of cigarette draws over 4,000 chemicals into the lungs and through the body. Continuous exposure to smoke and these chemicals leads to cellular changes in the body’s tissue, eventually causing cancers such as throat and lung cancer.

Smokers’ hearts beat an extra 20 to 25 times per minutes, increasing the risk of heart attack. There is also a 15% higher chance of a smoker having a deadly stroke or heart attack than a non-smoker.

Cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide, a lethal substance that decreases oxygen levels in the skin, brain, and other organs. The results are a reduced ability to comprehend, an increase in wrinkly-greyed skin, and a significant reduction in energy.

Smoking increase the body’s mucous production, which then increases the chances of bacteria and viruses to multiply. This leads to a smoker experiencing more colds, flus, and cases of bronchitis than non-smokers. Additionally, smoking affects the white blood cells’ functions, leaving smokers with a harder time fighting illness.

What Smoking Does to Your Wallet

All smokers are fully aware of the price of cigarettes when they purchase each pack. But if the price of each pack of cigarettes purchased over a span of 15 years for a smoker with a half-pack a day habit, the sum would total over $16,000.

In addition to the daily cost of this addiction, smokers pay more for health insurance due to the increased health consequences.

What Smoking Does to Your Family

Smoking has dire effects on family members: spouses of smokers are 20% more likely to contract lung disease due to the presence of second hand smoke. The exposure to second hand smoke also causes illness and death in children.

Families also endure extreme emotional trauma when a loved one becomes ill or dies because of smoking-related diseases.

The Real Cost of Smoking

Global Cancer Deaths to Hit 17 Million in 2030

Barcelona – Cancer deaths will more than double to 17 million people each year in 2030 with poor countries shouldering the heaviest burden from the disease, the head of the UN’s cancer agency said on Monday.

An aging population will bump up cancer rates worldwide in the coming years, especially in developing countries where the number of people who smoke and drink is on the rise, said Peter Boyle, director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

And the disease will hit poorer countries harder because of limited health budgets and a lack of treatments such as radiotherapy that can extend people’s lives, he told the European Cancer Conference. “If we put population growth and aging to one side the exportation of cancer risk factors, primarily tobacco smoking, from developed countries will continue to be a major determinant of cancer risk and cancer burden in less developed countries,” he said.

Smoke Drink Watch TVFor many years, many thought cancer was mainly a problem in rich nations in part because health officials assumed people in poorer countries did not live long enough to develop cancer. This trend is changing, however, as residents of these nations live longer and continue cancer-causing activities like smoking that are declining in Western countries, Boyle said.

This will fuel a dramatic increase in worldwide cancer with the disease likely killing 17 million people each year by 2030, up from the current 7 million. The number of people diagnosed and living with cancer will treble to 75 million, he said. “The big issue is aging,” he said. “The speed of the aging of the population is something which is dramatically increasing, especially in the low and medium resource countries.”

But he said Europe offers an example that something can be done because even as cancer cases rise, the disease is killing fewer people these days than expected. This shows that programs such as increased screening and education aimed at preventing tobacco use helped whittle EU cancer deaths to 935,219 in 2000, nearly 10% below expectations.

Click here to learn more about >Cancer

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The Secret Smoker

He would, he says, never cheat on his wife.

But each time he smokes a Camel Light, it feels like an infidelity.

He promised to quit before they married.

He stubbed out his cigarette, washed his face with scented soap and for two months he abstained.

He said his wedding vows, toasted her with champagne and honeymooned at a resort, all without a cigarette.

Back in Charlotte, as he faced work again, he felt an irresistible urge to smoke.

Cigarette SmokerHe opened his desk drawer and there it was, a pack of Camel Lights he had hidden. He reached in. With more desire than regret, he got up and returned to his old haunt, an alcove behind his office where he knew he would find the other smokers standing around a terra cotta flowerpot.

The first couple of puffs tasted bitter the way he remembers his first cigarette in junior high.

Then a familiar heady adrenaline rush kicked in, and he was hooked all over again.

The Closet Smoker

He is The Closet Smoker, and that pack of Camel Lights in his desk is his dirty little secret.

You may know someone like him: an alcoholic perhaps, or a gambler or drug abuser. The pleasure they get from their addictions makes them do things they would not ordinarily do: indulge in risky behavior and lie about it.

The Closet Smoker knows better. In so many other ways he takes care of himself and the people around him. He lifts weights, takes a multivitamin and avoids fast food. He enjoys a good bottle of wine and an occasional sushi dinner out, but he’s not extravagant. If his car needs an oil change or tire rotation, he does it himself.

He’s not yet 40, a professional in Charlotte. His boss says she’s impressed by his savvy and creativity, and by the little things he does to help around the office, such as cleaning up the kitchen.

Most evenings, he cooks dinner for his wife. He phones his mother every day, or sends an instant message. Weekends, he might take his daughter golfing or to Carowinds. On Sundays, you’ll find him in church. His best friends know his secret. Everybody at work knows. But not the people who mean the most to him, his wife, his mother and his daughter.

He’s embarrassed to admit he lies to them. He says he wouldn’t lie for any other reason. He feels guilty, ashamed that he’s capable of deceiving the three most important people in his life for a cigarette. He worries what will happen if they find out.

They’re right, and he knows it. He shouldn’t smoke. It’s bad for him. He researched smoking for a science project in eighth grade and discovered that a few drops of nicotine in liquid form can kill you.

Years of smoking, he knows, might kill him, too.

The Nature of Cigarette Addiction

The Closet Smoker is sensible about most things. Yet his compulsion to smoke overpowers his common sense. That’s the nature of addiction.

It’s part of being human. Our brains are wired to reinforce behaviors we need to survive. Eating, drinking, sex. These behaviors stimulate pleasure circuits in the brain. Nicotine over-stimulates the circuits. It floods the brain with a neurotransmitter called dopamine that makes us feel good. Cocaine and heroin act in similar ways.

One reason nicotine and these other drugs are so addictive is they work on the same brain circuitry we use for survival.

Our brains become hijacked. We have to have more.

Scientists have turned to brain imaging to learn about addiction. They discovered that the decision-making part of an addict’s brain, the region that controls judgment, is no longer as effective. That could help explain why we become hooked on things when we know we shouldn’t.

  • Nicotine
  • Cocaine
  • Alcohol
  • Steroids
  • Gambling
  • Shoplifting
  • Caffeine
  • Sugar
  • Work
  • Sex

We’re all capable of addictive behavior.

Anything to look cool

The Closet Smoker’s initiation came in middle school. His older brother smoked, and The Closet Smoker occasionally sneaked one.

He wanted to like cigarettes. He wanted to look grown-up like his brother.

But what he remembers most from those early attempts is a burning sensation on the tip of his tongue and in his chest, followed by a fit of coughing.

He bought his first pack freshman year in high school. He was 15. State law then as now said no one under 18 could buy cigarettes, and for a while he bummed off older friends. Then he learned about a convenience store on the way to school where the clerk didn’t check IDs.

He asked for Marlboros. Everybody he knew smoked Marlboro’s, the cowboy’s brand, America’s favorite cigarette. He wanted to be like everybody. He paid for that first pack with money he earned bagging groceries at the Winn-Dixie.

He tucked the little red and white box in his backpack and headed off to school, a member of a new fraternity.

He ignored the taste. It was more important to him to be like everybody than to actually enjoy smoking. And it didn’t take too many cigarettes before the taste grew on him like the taste of another adult pleasure he had learned to like, black coffee.

He says most students smoked. The fortunes of their town, like so many towns in North Carolina, were built on tobacco. It was still the state’s biggest cash crop when he was in school, and even now brings in $400 million a year.

Of course, teenagers smoked.

Many of their parents did, too. The Closet Smoker’s dad smoked three packs a day for 30 years before giving it up.

High school students could smoke between classes, at recess and at lunch with a parent’s permission. The Closet Smoker’s parents didn’t approve, but he says he got so he could get in a smoke in 45 seconds and no one ever caught him.

He remembers the night of a basketball game, hanging out in the parking lot with friends, most of them sneaking beer, then one person asked if anyone had a cigarette and another person wanted one, too, and then another. He was the only one with a pack, and he passed it around.

That night, he was The Man.

Loved Ones Worry

His first wife, he says, hated his smoking. Before they married, he was up to a pack and a half a day. Thirty cigarettes every day.

He says she complained about the smell, and the taste when they kissed, and the stale odor of his clothes, and the butts in the flowerpot on the deck.

Most of all, he says, she hated what smoking might do to him: the heart disease and bronchitis, asthma, emphysema, lung cancer and other cancers.

Everyone knows smoking kills. Half of all Americans who smoke will die because of it, about 400,000 people every year, twice as many people as die from alcohol, drugs, fires, car accidents, homicide, suicide and AIDS combined.

Kids in preschool know smoking kills. Yet more than 46 million people in our country smoke. The Closet Smoker, like many addicts, assumes it won’t happen to him.

He Tried To Quit

He really did, he says, and once he almost succeeded.

He went without a cigarette for several months after college and he felt much better. He had more stamina. He no longer had that nagging smoker’s cough.

Then he took a job at a company where most employees smoked. They stopped working every day at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. for 15 minutes of smoking and socializing.

Within two weeks, he was in there with them.

He tried to hide his habit after his daughter was born, but when she was 4 she caught him.

He had sneaked out to the patio like a teenager. She went looking for him. She opened the door and there stood her father, a cigarette dangling between his lips.

Daddy, that’s nasty!

He felt ashamed. He snuffed out the butt between his fingers and flushed it down the toilet. But he didn’t quit. From that day on, he just made sure he never again smoked around her.

He doesn’t want his daughter to smoke.

His parents didn’t want him to.

His dad once offered him $1,000 if he would quit.

The Closet Smokers Deception

The Closet Smoker thinks he’s fooling his new wife.

He smokes his last cigarette at work around 4:30 most afternoons, then washes away the smell from his face with scented soap. He drives home, car windows open, chewing gum or sucking mints. He chews gum on weekends just so she won’t wonder why he’s always chewing gum when he gets home from work.

He doesn’t smoke in his car. He doesn’t smoke on Saturdays or Sundays. He sometimes smokes when he’s out to lunch, but mostly he confines his smoking to the alcove behind his office.

He and two co-workers knock on each other’s doors on their way out, four or five times a day, more on bad days. The Closet Smoker says he enjoys the socializing as much as the smoking. If he didn’t smoke, how could he justify taking so many breaks?

They stand in the alcove in 104-degree heat. They’re out there in freezing rain. They can’t be picky. Finding a place to smoke is not easy any more.

You certainly can’t smoke at school. In your office? Few businesses allow it. Even outdoors in many places, you’re a pariah; no one wants to breathe your secondhand smoke.

As bare and ugly as the alcove is, The Closet Smoker looks forward to being there every Monday morning.

What Happens Inside

Every Monday morning, after two days without nicotine, his first cigarette gives him a kick more powerful than any he’ll get all week.He balances the Camel Light between his lips, then cuffs his hands around his lighter. A flame shoots up. The tip of the cigarette burns. He inhales, drawing smoke deep inside. Particles of tar, the same stuff used to pave highways, carry the nicotine through his windpipe, then down his left and right bronchi and into his lungs.

He holds onto the smoke for a few seconds before exhaling.

The nicotine flows through small tubes in his lungs called bronchioles and into millions of tiny air sacs that puff up every time he inhales. From there, it enters his bloodstream.

It takes about eight seconds to reach his brain.

Before he can take another puff, he feels the effects of the first. The gratification is immediate and that’s one reason nicotine is so addictive.

He feels a lift of energy. His heart beats faster, his blood pressure rises. He is focused, more attentive. He feels ready to tackle work again.

What he doesn’t feel are the poisons circulating through his body:

Cyanide, benzene, formaldehyde, methanol and acetylene, ammonia, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide, more than 4,000 chemicals in each cigarette, the same chemicals used to kill rats, make gasoline and nail polish, and embalm dead bodies.

The nicotine is what hooked him; it’s the chemicals in cigarettes that may kill him.

They’re the reason this summer he couldn’t swim underwater from one end of his apartment pool and back again without coming up for air.

He says his wife blamed his lack of stamina on years of smoking, not knowing he is still at it.

A Partial Confession

Since they married, he says she has confronted him a few times about the smell of cigarettes.

His heart beat faster, his blood pressure rose, but not in a pleasant way. He says he confessed. Sort of. He says he told her each time that, yes, he smoked that day. He didn’t tell her he smokes every day at work.

He says she hates the smell and the taste and, most of all, she hates what cigarettes might do to him. How could he promise to be with her forever, when he shortens forever by several minutes or more with every cigarette?

He says he had every intention of quitting. He’s had every intention of quitting every time he’s tried. Most smokers want to quit, but it usually takes several tries. The Closet Smoker says he has tried 15 to 20 times.

What the Secret Smokers Tells Himself

Maybe he can’t quit. So he gives himself permission, the way addicts do: “I firmly believe that a lot of lung cancer that’s smoking related is because people sit inside and continuously breathe in the smoke. I don’t smoke inside.”

He rationalizes, the way addicts do, that his smoking doesn’t affect his family because he doesn’t smoke in front of them.

But The Closet Smoker is a smart guy and when he hears what he’s just said, he knows it doesn’t make sense. “Now that I’ve said it out loud, I guess it’s a little short-sighted of me because I don’t see it as directly affecting them. Long-sighted, my health and my early demise will affect them.”

Most of all, he says, he hates deceiving the people he loves.

Smoking Kills, Yet We Light Up

One in 20 middle school students in North Carolina smokes cigarettes, according to the American Lung Association. By high school, one in five students in the state smokes, and the percentage grows slightly among adults. They smoke despite evidence that smoking is responsible for nearly one in five deaths in the United States. Consider these statistics from the CDC:

  1. Smoking causes 90 percent of lung cancer deaths in women, and nearly 80 percent in men, and many other types of cancer.
  2. If you smoke, you’re two to four times as likely to develop coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.
  3. Smoking doubles a person’s risk for stroke.

    Smokers in the Closet

    More than 46 million people in the United States smoke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    No one knows how many are closet smokers. After news reports that ABC News anchor Peter Jennings, a former smoker, had lung cancer, New York magazine polled 100 smokers; one-third said they hid their habit from parents, bosses, children or spouses.

    Want to Quit Smoking?

    Call toll-free in North and South Carolina, 1-800-Quit-Now.

    American Lung Association’s “Quit Smoking Cessation Plan”

    Tobacco prevention in North Carolina

    Teens can get help at NCNot.com


    How We Reported the Story

    Elizabeth Leland interviewed Professor Steven Childers of Wake Forest University School of Medicine, who studies the effect of drug addiction on the brain, and Dr. Cindy Miner, a deputy director at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Leland also researched addiction and nicotine through publications such as “Psychology Today” and on Web sites of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Stanford University, Harvard University and others. She read about the history and economics of tobacco, and got data from the N.C. Department of Agriculture and the American Cancer Society. She interviewed The Closet Smoker and his boss. He agreed to be the subject of a story on condition that she not reveal his identity.

    Source: Elizabeth Leland, Charlotte Observer

    Barb Tarbox: A Life Cut Short by Tobacco

    In September 2002 Barb Tarbox was diagnosed with incurable lung (stage IV) and brain cancer at the age of 41.

    She smoked two packs of cigarettes a day since the tender age of 11.

    She smoked for 30 years, totaling a 60 pack-year smoking history.

    She died May 18, 2003 after speaking to more than 50,000 students about the dangers of smoking.

    barb_screen.gifView a fifteen minute video to get a full story.

    We must warn you however, this video contains strong emotional material regarding Barb Tarbox’s experience with terminal lung cancer caused by smoking.

    This is a very sad video and may her life and story offer the power to help others quit smoking by realizing what they are doing to themselves by being willing to be manipulated into smoking by big tobacco.

    Two Nicotine Addiction Puzzles Explained

    The stranglehold of nicotine addiction leads to more than four million smoking-related deaths each year. Scientists at the California Institute of Technology have now explained two roots of that addiction. The discoveries may offer new hope not just for smokers, but eventually also for sufferers of Parkinson’s disease, a debilitating movement disorder that affects some 40 million people worldwide.

    Researchers have known for decades that chronic exposure to nicotine increases the number of nicotine receptors–molecules that are activated by binding to the drug–on nerve cells. The binding of nicotine to these receptors, and in particular to one specific subunit known as alpha4, enhances the release of a pleasure-causing neurotransmitter called dopamine.

    But “this increase is confusing,” says Henry A. Lester, the Bren Professor of Biology at Caltech, “because for opioid addiction, and for many other classes of addictions and of drugs in general, the body attempts homeostasis and adjusts the number of receptors downward if there is a constant stimulus.” Understanding this paradox–how it is possible that smokers become tolerant to the pleasurable effects of nicotine despite the fact that their brains produce new nicotine receptors in response to the chemical–is crucial for defeating nicotine’s addictive power.

    Lester, his postdoctoral researcher Raad Nashmi, and their colleagues at Caltech, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, have now solved the mystery, by developing a special mouse strain with fluorescent nicotine receptors. These fluorescent tags allowed the scientists to monitor the effects of the nicotine throughout the brain, down to the level of individual neurons.

    “We find that alpha4 containing receptors, those with some of the highest sensitivity to nicotine, are upregulated”–or increased in number–“by chronic nicotine in a cell-specific fashion,” Lester explains. “In particular, the alpha4-containing receptors are indeed upregulated in the dopamine-producing portions of the brain, but not in the dopamine neurons themselves.” Instead, the increase in receptor number occurs only in neurons that inhibit dopamine neurons–a group called the GABAergic neurons.

    Dopamine FormulaThis surprising result led the researchers to conduct experiments with delicate electrical probes. In chronic nicotine-treated mice (and presumably in chronic smokers), the dopamine neurons are chronically inhibited from firing in the absence of nicotine. And nicotine itself still excites the dopamine neurons, leading to pleasure, but much less than expected.

    “This research explains tolerance during nicotine addiction,” Lester says. “Once in a while, an important piece of a puzzle does fall into place.”

    “This is outstanding work that will open the door to further studies of nicotinic receptor upregulation in the cognitive and rewarding effects of nicotine,” comments Daniel S. McGehee of the University of Chicago, who studies the neurobiology of nicotine addiction. McGehee was not involved in the present research.

    But there’s more. In the special Caltech mice, the largest number of new nicotine receptors appeared in the mouse forebrain. This is the part of the brain involved in cognition. Electrical measurements showed that these new receptors also helped to boost synaptic transmission. The result may explain why many smokers claim that cigarettes actually help them think better–and why 44 percent of the cigarettes smoked in the United States are consumed by people with mental health problems.

    “People may attempt to medicate themselves with nicotine, and my research is also aimed at trying to understand the mechanism behind that,” Lester says.

    “We now think that we need to concentrate on drugs that manipulate upregulation.” Lester adds. His lab is currently developing simpler cell-based systems using the fluorescently labeled nicotine receptors. Using special microscopes, the effect of particular drugs on those receptors can be monitored.

    One long-term benefit of the research could be the development of better therapies for Parkinson’s disease, the chronic neurological condition that gradually destr

    The Harmful Effects of Smoking on Different Parts of the Body

    Cigarette smoking is always unsafe.

    Men who smoke 20 cigarette per day take twice as many days off work each year than nonsmokers.

    Of men now age 35, the proportion that will die before reaching retiring age is 40% for heavy smokers, but only 18% for non-smokers.

    Smoking causes more than 400, 000 deaths a year in America all alone. Below in this article we will tell you the parts of the body affected by smoking.

    Women are at an additional risk, as their unborn babies can be damaged by smoking. Smoking also increases the risk of cervical cancer.

    Picture of Smoker

    Mouth and throat: Tobacco smoke can cause gum disease and tooth decay. The teeth become yellow or black.

    Esophagus: The tars in smoke can trigger cancer.

    Brain: Headaches are common. Lack of oxygen and narrowing of blood-vessels can lead to strokes.

    Bronchi: Smoke contains hydrogen cyanide and other chemicals, which attack the lining of the bronchi, inflaming them and increasing susceptibility to bronchitis.

    Lungs: People who inhale smoke are ten times more likely to get lung cancer than non-smokers. Mucus secretion is increased, causing chronic catarrh and smoker’s cough.

    Circulation: Nicotine raises blood-pressure. Carbon monoxide leads to development of cholesterol deposits in artery walls, causing heart attacks and strokes. Loss of circulation in limbs can cause amputation.

    Heart: Nicotine in cigarette smoke makes the heart beat faster and so it works hard. Blood clot more easily, increasing the risk of heart attack. Carbon monoxide robs the blood of oxygen, again increasing the risk of heart attack.

    Intestine: Smoking can cause diarrhea and ulcers also.

    Stomach: Increased acid secretion can lead to ulcers.

    Bladder: Excreted carcinogens can cause cancer.

    Source: Health Section, Khalsa News Network

    Smokers Risk Damage to All Major Body Organs

    Health Consequences of Smoking, Surgeon General’s Report

    Smokers risk damage to almost all major organs in their bodies, according to the latest report by the surgeon general

    The list of diseases caused by tobacco now includes cancers of the kidneys, stomach, cervix, and pancreas as well as leukemia, cataracts, pneumonia, and gum disease.

    These illnesses are in addition to diseases previously known to be caused by smoking: bladder, esophageal, laryngeal, lung, oral, and throat cancers, chronic lung diseases, coronary heart and cardiovascular diseases, and sudden infant death syndrome.

    Smoking also reduces overall health, contributing to conditions such as hip fractures, complications from diabetes, increased wound infections following surgery, and various reproductive problems.

    Smoking cigarettes with lower machine-measured yields of tar and nicotine does not help.

    Body Picture“There is no safe cigarette, whether it is called light, ultra-light, or any other name,” U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona commented. “The science is clear: the only way to avoid the health hazards of smoking is to quit completely or to never start smoking” (Health and Human Services, Press Release).

    Statistics of Smoking Related Deaths

    By current estimates, tobacco use causes 440,000 deaths per year and costs about $157 billion in health-related losses. An estimated 46,000 adults smoked in 2001. On average, men who smoke cut their lives short by 13.2 years, and female smokers lose 14.5 years. “Since the 1964 surgeon general’s report, more than 12 million people have died from smoking-related illness,” Dr. Carmona said.

    “These include 4.1 million deaths from cancer, 5.5 million deaths from cardiovascular diseases, 2.1 million deaths from respiratory diseases, and 94,000 perinatal deaths. We’ve known for decades that smoking is bad for your health, but this [latest] report shows that it’s even worse than we knew. The toxins from cigarette smoke go everywhere the blood flows.”

    Quitting smoking has immediate as well as long-term benefits, according to the surgeon general’s report. The heart rate drops towards normal and circulation improves. The risk of having a heart attack or stroke or of developing lung cancer diminishes. Even seniors who quit after many years can experience positive effects. A smoker who gives up the habit at the age of 65 reduces his or her risk of dying from a tobacco-related disease by half.

    Learning More About Tobacco Use

    The surgeon general’s report was based on a review of 1,600 articles. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has made these available to the public online on a searchable database (Health Consequence of Smoking, CDC Database).

    For online tips and advice about how to quit smoking, see Tobacco Information and Prevention, and the American Cancer Society Guide to Quitting Smoking.

    The American Cancer Society Guide provides a smoking cessation plan, explains how to deal with withdrawal and cravings, and lists useful anti-tobacco groups.

    (Health Consequences of Smoking, Surgeon General’s Report).

    Source: http://www.braytonlaw.com/news/mednews/091004_tobacco_surgeong.htm, a web site sponsored by the law firm of Brayton Purcell for educational purposes.

    Just Don’t Smoke!

    At 2.6 years quit I rarely think of smoking anymore.

    If I do entertain the concept of smoking I almost always cancel out the thought instantly.

    The most important aspect of the quit process is to become educated about what smoking does to the human body.

    As a young quit I forced myself to watch a Lung Bronchoscopy of a patient with lung cancer.

    He was a 57 year old man who had a 75 pack year history, with carcinoma in the upper portion of his right lung. Or for those who think that you have a lifetime before you have to quit smoking, check out Brandon Carmichael.

    In hospital settings I’ve watched patients struggle with oxygen tanks and gasp to catch even one breath. I have also stood helpless as a lung cancer patient coughed up bloody phlegm while choking on his own body fluids.

    I’ve listened to the whistling and wheezing while calculating the buildup of bluish discoloration of oxygen starved faces and clubbed fingers. How much longer will they or you suffer from smoking-related diseases, gasping for the air that that is essential to every human in order to survive?

    Hand Holding CigarettesReplacing wispy shrouds of romanticized longings for the daily cigarette ebbed; craves were slowly replaced over time with alpha iron armor structured in smoking-related disease research.

    I began to see myself as a female combatant who existed in a world that was torn between personal inalienable rights and too much governmental control. I also learned that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness could not be achieved at the cost of human addiction.

    Somewhere a line has to be drawn. Should we give the unborn, babies, toddlers, children, and nonsmokers who live on our planet the right to live and breathe in both private and public air space? Or should we simply delegate the right for smokers to pollute our air space and subject everyone to second-hand smoke?

    In 2006 the Surgeon General released a new report on secondhand smoke, which stated that there is no safe level of exposure to the more than 4,000 chemicals, including 11 known human carcinogens in secondhand smoke.

    The World Health Organization States:

    Tobacco is the second major cause of death in the world. It is currently responsible for the death of one in ten adults worldwide (about 5 million deaths each year).

    If current smoking patterns continue, it will cause some 10 million deaths each year by 2020. Half the people that smoke today -that is about 650 million people- will eventually be killed by tobacco.

    If you choose to smoke, your smoke is a toxic air contaminant. Be kind to yourself, other people, and to our planet. Just don’t smoke.

    Smoking Addiction and the Human Choice

    The past week I have seen two fatal accidents along the route 9 corridor heading towards Brattleboro, Vermont. Both could have been avoided if the drivers had not made bad decisions.

    The first accident involved a left turn and the second accident involved a right turn. What did both drivers have in common?

    They both risked their lives and the lives of others by making a turn in front of speeding traffic. They both probably thought that they could beat the odds of dying, and they both failed miserably.

    Picture of CatViewing the aftermath of crushed metal horrifically flattened upon impact, is a painful and disturbing sight to see. The vehicles that had hosted life just moments before, now laid to rest as a testament that the stupidity of human choice can indeed kill you.

    ASH (Action on Smoking & Health) states that “smoking has more than 50 ways of making life a misery through illness and more than 20 ways of killing you.” Imagine all you have to do is make the choice to smoke and you can have a smorgasbord of options to simply die for.

    What’s on the menu today: lung cancer, kidney cancer, or maybe a dash of Ischemic heart disease? Come on how about it.

    Or better yet, you can pick from a grab bag of assorted illnesses! How about acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis in twenty years, peripheral vascular disease in thirty years, or pneumonia next winter?

    Rest assured that smoking is a very disturbing addiction. Though the act of smoking does not veer to the left or to the right, it does remain steady. Day after day, year after year the smoker lights cigarettes laced with radioactive ingredients and garnished with pesticides. Logically speaking self preservation alone should dictate absconding to higher ground. Perhaps smoking is a form of self-harming disease?