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Stop Smoking Cigarettes and Tobacco

Кто не курит и не пьёт, тот здоровеньким помрёт
Whoever does not smoke or drink will die in good health. - Russian proverb.

If we take a fatalistic view of life, nothing is important. However, deep down inside, we feel that even though our life is finite, we can accomplish much. It is this desire to live a long, healthy life with our friends and loved ones that can provide a motivation to quit smoking.

Many smokers feel that they are the masters of their own destiny and that they could quit smoking anytime they want, but then they convince themselves that they enjoy smoking and that they will not quit today. As time passes, the habit becomes ingrained until it becomes a lifestyle and an addiction that causes physical discomfort if stopped. The only way to stop smoking is to overcome the psychological dependence on tobacco and treat the physical addiction to nicotine.

Smoking is certainly not an easy habit to kick. While a small percentage of people are capable of quitting cold turkey, many eventually pick up the habit again. If you really want to quit smoking and properly shake the habit for good, you should seriously consider an outpatient treatment center. Recently, the affordable care act, or ACA, has helped many smokers since there are more coverage options for smoking cessation programs. These centers are wonderful resources that give you access to support groups and allow you to speak with counselors. This way you won't feel so alone in your efforts to cut smoking out of your life, and ultimately you will be more likely to stop this harmful addiction.

My Time to Quit Smoking 
Quit Smoking

Harmful effects of Tobacco
You have probably heard that cigarette smoking is a leading cause of death in the United States. Cigarette smokers die an average of 10 years sooner than nonsmokers. Tobacco is responsible for over half of the deaths from cancer. The Surgeon General issued a report in 1964 saying that smoking was harmful.

Surgeon General's Warning

In 1983, cigarette smoking was ranked as the largest preventable cause of coronary heart disease (CHD). Smoking one to five cigarettes a day increases heart attack risk by 40% compared with nonsmokers, and smoking one pack per day quadruples the risk. In 1984, cigarette smoking was found to be the major cause of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD), such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema, for both men and women. COPD is a progressive disease that makes it hard to breathe. COPD can cause shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness, and coughing that produces large amounts of mucus. COPD may make it difficult to do basic activities like walking or climbing stairs. A 2004 report stated that cigarette smoking causes diseases in nearly every organ of the body, and that it is conclusively linked to leukemia, cataracts, pneumonia and cancers of the cervix, kidney, pancreas and stomach. Unborn children and non-smokers who breathe smoke exhaled by smokers and burning tobacco (second-hand smoke) can also become sick, and thousands of smoking-related fires occur yearly. Statistics from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) show that smoking kills over 440,000 people per year in the United States.[1]  For comparison, approximately 400,000 Americans died in World War II, 58,000 American soldiers died during the Vietnam war, and 2,800 people died when the World Trade Center towers collapsed after being hit by two hijacked airplanes on September 11, 2001. We mourn this great loss of life.  However, every year, the number of deaths caused by smoking is over 157 times greater than the World Trade Center, 7.5 greater than Vietnam, and exceeds those of World War II, but strangely, this does not cause any great outrage because we voluntarily inflict this on ourselves.

Death statistics

Smokers know that tobacco is addictive and harmful, but the tobacco companies have tried to allay the fears of their customers by adding filters and advertising "low tar" and "light" tobacco products. As a result of a 2006 judicial ruling in a lawsuit filed by the federal government, starting in 2017, tobacco companies were forced to place full page ads in newspapers saying that 1) low tar and light cigarettes are just as harmful as regular cigarettes, 2) smokers of "low tar" and "light" cigarettes inhale essentially the same amount of tar and nicotine as they would from regular cigarettes, and 3) all cigarettes cause cancer, lung disease, heart attacks and premature death. There is no safe cigarette.

Why is smoking harmful?
Tobacco smoke contains more than 60 cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens), including polycyclic hydrocarbons, N-nitrosamines, aldehydes, and inorganic compounds. Twenty of the carcinogens cause cancer in the lungs and throat.[2]  The most carcinogenic chemicals in tobacco are the nitrosamines. These are found in tobacco smoke, including second-hand smoke (environmental tobacco smoke), and chewing tobacco. The chemicals cause irritation and inflammation that gradually damage the cells of the mouth, nose, throat, and lungs causing them to become cancerous.

Lung Cancer
X-Ray of lung cancer.
The white mass in the red circle is a lung tumor

Oral Cancer
Oral Cancer

An average size dip or chew of tobacco held in the mouth for 30 minutes provides as much nicotine as about 3 cigarettes. This makes smokeless tobacco highly addictive. Even though there is no smoke, tobacco held between the cheeks and gums releases chemicals that cause changes in the oral mucous tissues in as little as seven days. As the tissues of the mouth degenerate under the influence of the harmful chemicals, precancerous white or red patches (leukoplakias or erythroplakias) may develop.

Oral cancer includes cancers of the mouth, parts of the throat, and pharynx or voice box. Oral cancer is very difficult to treat because both the cancer and the treatments make it impossible to eat a proper diet. Only half of those with the disease survive more than five years. About 30,000 new cases of oral cancer (mouth, oral cavity, and pharynx) are diagnosed every year, and more than 8,000 people die from mouth cancer every year.[3]

E-Cigarettes and Vaping
Electronic cigarettes are battery-powered vaporizers that atomize a liquid solution to produce a vapor that resembles smoke. The solutions usually contain nicotine and flavorings in a propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin base. Manufacturers are supposed to submit the ingredients of vaping products to the Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA), but it is uncertain that the products are analyzed to verify compliance. While e-cigarettes do not use tobacco and do not contain the tars and pyrolitic products of tobacco smoke, the nicotine that they supply is still addictive. E-cigarettes have been studied as a nicotine replacement therapy similar to chewing gums and patches used as aids to quit smoking.[5]  Some advertisments have promoted e-cigarettes as an alternative that is supposedly less harmful than tobacco cigarettes, but there have been many instances of vaping-related lung injuries and deaths. Electronic Cigarettes have surged in popularity among teenagers because vaping doesn't have the tell-tale smell of cigarette smoke and it is easier to conceal the nicotine habit from parents and school teachers. According to the FDA, among middle and high school students, 3.62 million were current users of e-cigarettes in 2018. E-cigarette use, from 2017 to 2018, increased 78 percent among high school students (11.7% to 20.8%) and 48 percent among middle school students (3.3% to 4.9%) from 2017 to 2018. Dependence on nicotine or any addictive drug is not a healthy habit, and it indicates weakness of character.

E-Cigarette Danger: January 17, 2017 - Andrew Hall of Pocatello Idaho was seriously injured when an e-cigarette exploded in his mouth — scorching the skin of his face and knocking out seven of his teeth. He was vaping before going to work when the device suddenly blew up. He was rushed to intensive care at his local hospital, where doctors removed chunks of plastic from his throat and lips. Exploding batteries have caused more than 25 e-cigarette explosions reported in the US since 2009. The lithium-ion batteries that power e-cigarettes, also known as vaping pens, can explode with enough force to knock out teeth and crack vertebrae. The flames that shoot out of a failed battery can cause burns that require skin grafts to heal. The chemicals in the batteries also cause chemical burns on top of the thermal burns. Sean Ritz, 35, of Canton suffered third-degree burns on his left leg when the battery of an electronic cigarette exploded in his pocket Oct. 22, 2016.

Leg burn
Photo: Courtesy of Sean Ritz

Smoking causes wrinkles and accelerates aging
The chemicals in the smoke of tobacco narrow the blood vessels in the outermost layers of the skin. The reduced blood flow depletes oxygen and important nutrients, such as vitamin A, and results in damage to the collagen and elastin fibers that give strength and elasticity to the skin. As a result, the skin starts to sag and wrinkle prematurely, accelerating the normal aging process. Smoking is associated with increased wrinkling and skin damage in other parts of the body, including the inner arms. Repeated exposure to the heat from burning cigarettes and the facial expressions made when smoking, such as pursing the lips and squinting the eyes to keep out smoke, may also contribute to wrinkles. The following photographs of identical twins, aged 52, shows the wrinkling caused by smoking. The twin on the right smoked approximately three cigarettes per day (52.5 packs per year), and her skin has a lot more wrinkles and more severe aging.[4]

non-smoking, and smoking twins
LEFT: Non-smoking twin,   RIGHT: Twin who smokes 3 cigarettes per day
(Click image to enlarge it)

CONTINUED: The Psychology of Smoking
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© Copyright  - Antonio Zamora

It does not matter how you spell it, 
smoking is bad for you.  Here are some typical misspellings:
smokinf, smokinh, smokinq, smokin9, smokibg, smokimg, smokihg, smokung, smokong, smok1ng, 
smojing, smoling, smohing, smiking, smpking, sm0king, swoking, amoking, dmoking, smokign, smoknig, smoikng, 
smkoing, somking, msoking, smokigg, smoknng, smoiing, smkking, sooking, mmoking, smokinn, smokiig, smokkng, 
smooing, smmking, ssoking, smokee, smokke, smooke, smmoke, ssmoke.
kto ne kurit i ne pyot, tot zdoroveen'kim umryot. COPD.