Friday, November 14, 2008

12 Reasons to Really Quit Smoking

Let me preface this by saying that I've never met a smoker who wasn't already aware of the risks. However, what many smokers admit is that they simply don't think about (i.e. ignore) these risks, because they know that if they did give them more than a moment's thought, it would be very difficult to rationalize that next cigarette.

Here, I'll simply list the 12 reasons. The full article is available at the US News and World Report website.

1. It fogs the mind.
2. It may bring on diabetes.
3. It invites infections.
4. It may stultify a sex life
5. It may lead to wrinkles...everywhere. [including the hind quarters]
6. It may hasten menopause.
7. It may dull vision.
8. It hurts bones.
9. It may injure the insides.
10. It may stifle sleep.
11. It shaves years—and quality— off life.
12. It's tied to lots of cancers!

I want to close by mentioning something important about #11 on this list. From the article...

"Men who have never smoked live on average 10 years longer than their peers who smoke heavily, according to an October report in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Moreover, they enjoyed a higher quality of life throughout those extra years, throwing sand in the face of the old smokers' defense that an early death is a small price to pay for a lifetime of pleasure . The study's Finnish authors drew their conclusion after scrutinizing data on more than 1,600 men tracked for nearly 30 years."

This caught my attention in particular because my best friend in the world used to use this defense for continuing to smoke. He would joke around and say "yeah, it might shave off a few years at the end of my life... but those are the worst years anyway."

That gave me a laugh at the time, but the truth is that it doesn't quite work that way. Not only will you die sooner, but the last years of your life are likely to be spent coughing, hacking, having difficulty breathing, possibly strapped to a hospital bed or slowly fading away in a nursing home.

I'm happy that my friend did eventually quit. He had some serious health problems a few years back, and he found out that he absolutely hates being in the hospital... even for a few days.

Imagine spending a few weeks, months or years sitting alone in that uncomfortable bed, eating that lousy food, watching reruns on that TV up on the wall, breathing through the tubes running out of your nostrils, unable to go where you want to go or do what you want to do for the remainder of your life.

It's not as easy to light up that next one when you're looking at things honestly.

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