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The “Smoking” GunDecember 19, 2007

Posted Nov 04 2009 10:02pm

The Airbus A380-800, is the biggest airplane in the sky.   It can carry 555 people, maybe more depending on how the seats are configured.   What would you think — how would you react if two of these monstrous planes crashed every day for evermore?   I imagine the public outrage would be monumental.   “But wait,” as the commercial says, “There’s more.”   What if these disasters were totally preventable?   What if the planes were crashing because of a faulty switch that everyone knew about but ignored — and the planes just kept on crashing killing 438,000 Americans a year — year after year.   Would there be outrage?   Would congress act?   Would there be demonstrations in the streets?   Count on it! 

Far-fetched as it may seem the equivalent of two fully loaded Airbus A390-800’s are crashing every day.  438,000, that’s the number of Americans who die as a result of cigarette smoke each year.   And — these deaths are almost totally preventable, like fixing the switches on the airplanes.   This disgraceful situation is a national tragedy, a crisis that cannot be allowed to continue.   

I’m writing this because there is a clear and present danger to every one of us, even the unborn and those not yet conceived.  There is also a direct relationship between smoking and organ transplantation.   Simply put, if fewer people smoked, the need for organs and tissue would be greatly diminished and there would probably be a corresponding increase in the availability of tissue and organs.  Wow!   

Cigarettes are like bullets only far more deadly.   Bullets generally harm or kill only the people they strike.   Cigarettes not only affect anyone who inhales the smoke, they kill you slowly and painfully. I started smoking in 1954 at the age of 15.   There were no warnings then and almost everyone smoked.   Cigarette advertising even alluded to the beneficial health effects of smoking, “XXX brand cigarettes relieve scratchy throat…etc. “ 

I’ve seen the effects of smoking up close and personal. My father died of emphysema and I lost a wife to lung cancer.   Both were smokers.  Now I am suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).   COPD is progressive and cannot be cured.    Four months ago I had a heart transplant, probably necessitated in part because of 37 years of smoking three or more packs a day.   My heart is working exceptionally well but my lungs are in a weakened condition.   Even though I quite smoking 18 years ago the effects may slowly be killing me.   But — had I not quit I would probably have died long ago.

Smoking affects every part of you.  According to “The Scoop on Smoking”  ( http://thescooponsmoking.org/ ), smoking has a negative effect on the following:  Respiratory system (lungs),Skeletal system (bones),Muscular system (muscles, joints),Circulatory system (heart, arteries),Urinary system (kidneys, bladder),Digestive system (stomach, intestines)Nervous system (brain, nerves),Endocrine system (thyroid, hormones),Female reproductive system (uterus, ovaries),Male reproductive system (penis, testes),Immune system (t-cells, anti-bodies),Skin, The senses (eyes, ears, nose, mouth, throat) and mental health. 

While the number of deaths caused by cigarette smoke is appalling, the cost in dollars is also extremely disturbing.   Smoking costs taxpayers nearly $200 billion a year in health-care alone.   Can you imagine the good that would come from properly spending that $200 billion on medical research and education? 

I have but three messages.  1) I know it is hard to quit, it took a dozen tries for me to do so but you can do it!.   You owe it to yourself, your family and all the people affected by your second hand smoke.  2) Don’t start, it’s not cool and it likely will kill  you and maybe some of your family and friends.  3) Spread the word.  Out of love, encourage and help friends and loved ones to quit so none of them are in my position and feel compelled to write a blog on how smoking may be killing them.

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