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Smoking: One of the Most Destructive, VOLUNTARY Things You Can Do to Your Health!

Notice that the title of this article says that smoking is voluntary, if you are a smoker and have tried any number of times to quit, you probably think that smoking is anything but voluntary. But let's admit to the truth, you do choose each and every time you light up, you could just as well choose not to.

I have a good friend who is and has been a heavy smoker for the 20 years I have known him. About 10 years ago he had a heart attack at age 45, which resulted in a quadruple bypass. When I visited my friend at the hospital, he was scared half to death, he said that his doctors told him he would need to make some lifestyle changes, one of which was to quit smoking. He swore that he was at that point, done with tobacco forever...well that lasted 2 weeks, he had made a choice. This is a guy who was and still is in fairly good physical condition, his job is physically demanding, he is active in some sports, not overweight. So his major risk factor is most likely smoking, and he has chosen to still smoke. He is about 5 years younger than me and , sadly I fully expect that I will attend his funeral. So you see it really is a choice, not always a wise one, but still a choice,

Well let's get real...I know, I was a heavy smoker for over 25 years before I convinced myself that I had a choice. Quitting by whatever method you choose is not a walk in the park! That's what this newsletter and in fact what this entire site is all about, helping you with tips, motivation and resources to overcome your health challenges.

Because they are all equally as damaging to your health and the health of those around us we should include all of the methods that we abuse our health with tobacco in this article. We will deal with each of them one at a time.

Smokeless tobacco - snuff, dip, chew, etc.

Using smokeless tobacco causes bad breath, stains and wears down your teeth, can cause painful mouth sores, can raise your blood pressure and your cholesterol. Over time you will be at higher risk for heart attack and cancer.

Pipe smoking

Pipe smoking increases the risk of periodontal disease (loss of gum tissue, bone loss, and loss of teeth), mouth and lip sores and lesions, several oral cancers, heart attack and vascular disorders.

Cigarette smoking

Cigarette smoking causes 87% of lung cancer deaths, raises the risk of heart disease, contributes to high blood pressure, and vascular disease, and increases those risks for other people by exposing them to second hand smoke.

Cigar smoking

Many ex cigarette smokers are cigar smokers and try to convince themselves that this is a safe way to smoke, because they don't inhale. In fact almost all cigar smokers who were cigarette smokers do inhale. Cigar smokers who never were cigarette smokers tend not to inhale. Cigar smoking whether you inhale or not is still as damaging to your heath as any other form of tobacco use, there may be somewhat less risk of lung cancer, however there is no decreased risk of many other types of cancer, if you inhale a few other cancer types are added to the list.

We are exposed to a great numbers of advertising messages each day that try to glamorize tobacco use. To balance the message read the 1964 Surgeon General Report on smoking this was the first real indication to the public that there were dire risks associated with tobacco use. At the time this report was published about 70% of the U.S. adult population were smokers, smoking was depicted in movies and on television, in ads, on billboards, and glamorized in any way possible.

What changes have we seen?

There are fewer movies and television shows that promote smoking as blatantly as before.

There are fewer ads that promote smoking.

There are health warnings on cigarette packs, smokeless tobacco containers, pipe tobacco containers, however not on cigars.

The places that you can smoke are far fewer. most workplaces, many bars and restaurants, theatres, airplanes, buses.

Are these and many other changes and restrictions working?

About 23% of the US adult population now smokes, this is down from about 70% in 1965.

However there is still much that needs to be done, many high school and college students still smoke and many are starting everyday, with the information that is available today it simply amazes me that these otherwise intelligent persons are still smoking.

Resources for more information:

Smoking 101 Fact Sheet American Cancer Society

Tobacco Hurts Everyone
Tobacco Information and Prevention Source (TIPS)

Action on Smoking and Health
QuitNet

What's So Bad About Tobacco?
Smokefree America

American Lung Association
No Smoke Software

To Your Health,

Jim Newell

Please visit http://www.ToYourHealth101.com for current and timely health & wellness information, links to other health & wellness sites, and to subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

Jimmie Newell is the webmaster for http://www.ToYourHealth101.com, a health & wellness website, featuring editorials, tips, information and links addressing many of the health issues of today.

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