This will most assuredly be a controversial topic I am about to undertake. Some might say that its on par withtopics such as abortion, the death penalty, and gay rights, all topics of serious debate in todays torrid social climate. Others will say that this a non sequitur. I hope you will help get the word out no matter which side of the fence you are on.
I loath smoking. Lets just get that statement out in the open. I implore you, as either a smoker who is now instantly offended, or a non smoker that may be turned off by the harshness of my comment, to continue indulging my fancy for just a bit longer. I think you will be surprised and who knows you may learn something, if not about the inner workings of my mind, then perhaps you will learn something about the inner workings of your own mind. Hell, you may even learn something you didn’t know at all~!
My opinion about smoking is based on several factors, first and foremost, my mother, father , AND brother all smoke. My brother’s wife smoked through two pregnancies. Secondly, my own brief attempt to try smoking gave me great insight into the experience of a smoker. Finally, I have two wonderful children that mean the world to me and, whose health is something I want to look out for and preserve at all costs. My own health is already degraded because of my parents ignorance as to what smoking does to a child’s body. I have asthma.
I want to examine why a smoker starts smoking in the first place. I have interviewed many people who are current and former smokers looking for the reasoning behind why a person starts such a habit.
Some say that its a simple case of calming the nerves, which they claim smoking does. Well there are two things about this myth that I find issue with. When you start smoking there is a natural adjustment period that your body must go through, after all, you are attempting to ingest something the body, by design tries desperately to keep out. The body’s reaction is uncontrollable spasming of the lungs which induces violent disruptive coughing. Now we all know that a bad cough attack calms your nerves right? The second issue I have is that smoking, in fact does the opposite. Smoking increases the stress level of the body because it raises the blood pressure and heart rate. Research from New York’s Columbia University suggests smoking may impact mental health, by increasing the risk of certain anxiety disorders. Hmmm, sounds calming to me..anyway I digress.
Some say its to lose weight. Well, this semi-myth may in fact have some basis in truth. As you have already read smoking by nature increases through various bodily functions your metabolic rate, which can given the right body type equate to a loss of some weight. Smokers need to ask themselves a crucial question. “What am I loosing the weight FOR?” The answer for most initially anyways, is to look and feel better. This is an oxymoron, because with decreased lung capacity, the oxygenation in your blood will actually DECREASE causing you to “plateau”, meaning you may loose some weight initially BUT you will stop loosing as your lungs begin to loose efficiency. This will lead you down the out of breath, lack of exercise path that will eventually bring you full circle back to potentially having GAINED weight while filling your lungs with TOXIC CHEMICALS. Its the quick fix that’s so tantalizing, don’t you think?
The NUMBER 1 all time reason ANYONE picks up a paper rolled, wood filled stick, lights it on fire and inhales the ash laden smoke into their lungs is : drum roll please : “because everyone else is doing it, and it looked cool”. This is the Achilles heal of our society, in all things, not just smoking. Can you imagine your son or daughter coming to you and saying that they started [insert self mutilation, self torture, self debasement here], because they saw someone else do it and it “looked COOL?” The obvious, glaring health benefits be damned, its “cool”? This needs no further explanation, we all hear this one and its just crazy, isn’t it?.
Now lets hear the NUMBER ONE reason why folks don’t stop smoking. I know this is lengthy but I assure you its for a great cause.
“My [insert aged wise relative here] smoked 3 packs a day until he/she was 84 and he was always fine” This statement makes no sense. A person CAN survive a gunshot wound to the head, its unlikely but it HAS happened. Hearing that make you want to run out and grab a gun and try it? Take a good look at this :
– Secondhand smoke causes premature death and disease in children and adults who do not smoke.
– Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, ear problems and more severe asthma. Smoking by parents causes respiratory symptoms and slows lung growth in their children.
– Exposure of adults to secondhand smoke has immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and causes coronary artery disease and lung cancer.
– The scientific evidence indicates that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.
– An estimated 126 million Americans, both children and adults, are still exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes and workplaces — despite substantial progress in tobacco control.
– Eliminating smoking in indoor spaces fully protects nonsmokers from exposure to secondhand smoke. Separating smokers from nonsmokers, “cleaning” the air and ventilating buildings cannot eliminate the exposure of nonsmokers to secondhand smoke.
On Thursday, Nov. 20th, millions of smokers will hopefully take part in the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout. During the last 30 years, we have learned that the combination of a smoke-free community and smoking cessation support is vital to helping smokers quit.
For those of you who smoke, it is my hope that the Great American Smoke-out will motivate you — as well as give you an opportunity — to quit. I urge smokers to contact the American Cancer Society for help in making a plan to quit smoking. I am also urging you to advocate for smoke-free communities.
Smoking serves no purpose? Why would you ever start? Those of you smoking now, give a good reason not to STOP, think of all the money you will save, and the lives you will improve around you, INCUDING YOUR OWN. Would we stand over a brush fire and inhale deeply? Do we hear on the news how people in house fires that breathed in the smoke lost weight, or were very calm? What excuse are you telling yourself every day, when you wake up, after sex, at the store?