Still Smoking? Still???

You’d have to be living under a rock to have not witnessed some aspect of the public campaign against cigarettes. Whether it’s the cleverly covert messages in various truth ads or the in your face images of amputees or throat cancer victims, the underlying deterrent message is clear and the threat is real. Unfortunately, for various reasons, people continue to partake in the act of igniting a toxic chemical stick and inhaling poison into their lungs, providing a gateway to the rest of the ENTIRE body. This is despite that the fact smoking is recognized by multiple factions as the most preventable cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide.

This post will not get into the deceitful and corrupt sequence of events that led to cigarettes rise and hopefully progressive fall. A sequence of events that lasted long enough to allow an industry to double and triple its prices while also being the target of an increasingly aggressive awareness campaign, YET still retain chemically and emotionally addicted consumers. This post is designed to once again explain the “why” for doing or not doing something. Hopefully this will serve as a reminder, re-enforcer and maybe an introducer of new to you information that can help serve as your own or someone you love’s motivating factors to make an essential lifestyle change.

If you’re a smoker or know someone who is, I encourage to not just mindlessly skim over the facts listed below. Take the time to read and re-read. Understand what you just read and how utterly ridiculous and sad it is to willingly expose yourself to the proven dangers listed below. In these posts we always talk about doing things to stack the deck in our favor. Smoking cigarettes, my friends, is the exact opposite.

To start, cigarettes contain anywhere from 4,000 – 7,000 chemicals, with at least 250 being proven as harmful to human health and approximately 70 being carcinogenic. These include:

o Formaldehyde: used to embalm dead bodies

o Benzene: found in gasoline

o Arsenic: used in pesticides

o Lead: used in paint

o Ammonia: used in cleaning products

o Hydrogen Cyanide: used in chemical weapons

o Carbon Monoxide:

Oh, you know; car exhaust. When you inhale cigarette smoke this works the same way as it does when someone attempts suicide by way of a running car in a closed garage. The carbon monoxide has a high affinity to bond with the hemoglobin of our red blood cells. This is particularly troublesome because oxygen is also transported to every cell in your body via hemoglobin. However, when competing for the hemoglobin transport, carbon monoxide wins the battle. What this boils down to is that ALL the cells and ORGANS in the body are now becoming oxygen deprived and are subject to dysfunction. As if that weren’t enough; instead of simply being low on oxygen and thus function, a poisonous gas (carbon monoxide) is being delivered instead.

So that should do it, right? What I just listed should be more than enough to deter someone from smoking. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Unfortunately, the damage goes deeper than this.

The introduction of all these toxic chemicals into your system forces your immune system into constant overdrive. This leads to a couple of crucial issues:

o First, your body is now using a large majority of its fuel to provide energy to the immune system.
Fuel is already on the low end due to the decreased oxygen consumption that we spoke of above. This
leaves less fuel for every other bodily function. We are talking about sub-par function at best.

o The second issue with the immune reaction is that of a key player that’s associated with almost every
disease. We are talking about the immune system’s first line of attack; inflammation. So now we
have foreign chemicals entering through the lungs and transported by the blood to EVERY inch of your
body, and thus creating an across the board irritated and inflamed state.

o In treating someone holistically, there is no way to even consider achieving optimal results if the
patient is a smoker. Systemic inflammation equals body wide damage and an immune system that is
using all of the body’s fuel. So not only has the patient lowered their chances to stave off any
other illness, but any other condition will now be amplified from arthritis to thyrotoxicosis to
infertility.

If both of the above described mechanisms still don’t motivate quitting, we can re-iterate the traditional heavy hitters.

o How about CANCER?!?! For some reason the exponentially increased risk of a mutilating and deadly
disease still doesn’t cut it for people. Common culprits include esophageal, laryngeal, lung, mouth,
throat, cervical, kidney, stomach, and pancreatic cancer. Some motivation: the CDC reports that
within 5 years of quitting smoking, your chances of mouth, throat, esophagus and bladder cancer is
cut in half.

o The other obvious target is the lungs. Outside of cancer, we’re referring to COPD (Chronic Pulmonary
Obstructive Disease) which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

o We must also consider substantially increased chances of cardiovascular disease, stroke and aneurysm
all caused by nicotine and the other toxic substances in that heater. These substances damage the
artery walls, leading to cholesterol deposition (plaques) as a band aid for the damage. Damage and
subsequent narrowing of the arteries leads to diminished blood supply to everywhere. With this you
see slower wound healing, peripheral vascular diseases that can culminate in amputation, as well as
further reduction of fuel delivery to all organs and tissues, which again contributes to dysfunction.

If this still doesn’t get you there, how about just flat out death? As reported by the CDC, smoking related illnesses claim the lives of almost half a million Americans each year. On average smokers live approximately 14 years less than non-smokers. Is that extra decade plus worth enough to you?

I realize that quitting this habit is harder than it sounds. If you’ve tried and failed, don’t get down on yourself. These masterminds at friendly corporations have launched their chemical attack on your internal chemistry. They know that just like cocaine or heroin, nicotine changes the way the brain works and causes you to crave more nicotine. Today’s cigarettes pack more nicotine and deliver it quicker than before. Couple all that with marketing to teens who don’t realize the addictive nature, and naturally don’t care about adverse future consequences, and the stage is set for addiction prior to entering your 20s. Brilliant.

If someone is tired of being a slave to and donating their hard earned cash and years to crooked corporations, there is always a way out. If pure will power isn’t cutting it, don’t feel bad. As we described above, you’ve been intentionally, chemically manipulated by big business. Statistics show it generally takes multiple attempts to finally kick the habit.

First, find your reason for quitting. What’s important enough to serve as a motivator and goal? Long life and health seems like a start, but make it your own. Obviously, the natural path is always preferred, but in this case exploring the options of various nicotine replacement therapies or medications as a temporary solution to wean off the habit is definitely a reasonable consideration.

Hopefully information like this will play a part in shedding more light on the voluntary blind eye so many choose to utilize. In this case, ignorance may indeed be bliss; if bliss is constant sickness and eventual death. Remember, choosing to ignore the facts doesn’t make them any less true.

REFERENCES

http://www.lung.org/stop-smoking/about-smoking/facts-figures/general-smoking-facts.html

http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/sgr/2010/consumer_booklet/pdfs/consumer.pdf

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/QuitSmoking/QuittingSmoking/Smoking-Do-you-really-know-the-risks_UCM_322718_Article.jsp

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