Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Effects of Smoking

I know a certain mother of three who is all up in arms today about smoking. She e-mailed me this article , (which I assumed meant she wanted me to blog about it) with this statement from her:

Tell me again why it's not illegal to smoke at all? It literally kills people... Does marijuana kill people? (Yes, if they are high and try to operate machinery...) I'm so confused. How does a product that's only redeeming value is that it kills people still on the market?
There are several things that I think you have to consider with this topic.

1. You have to factor in addiction.
2. You have to remember that politics and money play a huge part in it.
3. You have to look at the dichotomy of smoking vs non-smoking healthcare costs.

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Addiction:
According to GDCADA, (and two other places on the Internet, which means it has to be true)
Each year, nearly 35 million people make a concerted effort to quit smoking. Less than 7% succeed in abstaining for more than a year — most start smoking again within days.
This is consistent with what I have seen. Non-smokers have no idea how hard it is to kick the habit. Addiction is not something that can be quantified, nor does it have an easy solution. That's one of the reasons why so much money is made by smoking cessation products and programs every year.

Politics and Money:
Those of us out here away from the political arena have no clue how much money changes hands in relation to tobacco taxes, smoking laws, and the like. The anti-smoking people inflate the figures, the pro-smoking people deflate the figures, and there's no way to tell exactly how much is being spent. But it's a staggering amount, no matter whose figures you look at, and it's not going to go away. Just an example:
From 2000 to 2002, the tobacco industry spent around $4 million lobbying in New York State, according to reports filed with the NYS Temporary Commission on Lobbying.
I know this is a biased article. But it points out that
Despite the fact that a 2002 poll showed that 84% of New Yorkers surveyed support bills banning smoking in public places, such legislation died in the state legislature in 2001 and in 2002.
It does give you something to think about.

Healthcare Costs:
This article in the New England Journal of Medicine compares the projected healthcare costs of smokers and non-smokers over time. They found that
Health care costs for smokers at a given age are as much as 40 percent higher than those for nonsmokers, but in a population in which no one smoked the costs would be 7 percent higher among men and 4 percent higher among women than the costs in the current mixed population of smokers and nonsmokers. If all smokers quit, health care costs would be lower at first, but after 15 years they would become higher than at present. In the long term, complete smoking cessation would produce a net increase in health care costs.
What does this show? Well, one of two things. Either health care costs aren't a valid reason to call for nationwide smoking cessation, or we should euthanize healthy senior citizens before they start costing us money. I'm fairly certain that euthanization is not a viable option.
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So to sum up. Smoking is bad. Smoking kills. It's hard to quit smoking. Big Tobacco is powerful. Smokers cost money for healthcare. Old people cost money for health care.

None of this is new. And frankly, my dear Scarlett.....

Because no matter what, people are still lazy and stupid. According to this article,
This year, about 168,000 cancer deaths will be caused by tobacco. And an estimated 186,550 of the 559,650 cancer deaths expected in 2007 will be attributable to poor nutrition, overweight and obesity, and physical inactivity.
So it all translates to job security. The End.

6 comments:

Babs RN said...

Very nice :)

I dread the day they try to outlaw everything that is "bad" for you. The day I can no longer have a nice juicy steak off the grill and a good cold beer to go along with it will be the beginning of the end of life worth living. Of course, those who want to do so are certainly welcome to move away and start their own little fascist regime wherever they want to.

As long as they don't forget that stress from always worrying about what's "bad" for you kills as much or more than any of the rest of the "ills". Lightening up not only adds to quantity of life...it adds to its quality as well.

MonkeySister said...

It just amazes me that all the campaigns to not start smoking or to stop smoking come from the actual companies that make the cigarettes... Can you imagine any other company saying, "You really shouldn't use our product. Don't even buy it. It will kill you."

DK said...

When I decided to go to back to school to become a nurse I also decided that I HAD to quit smoking. Not just talk about it, get serious about it.

I did, I'm very proud of what I did because it was my 5th try and it was one of the hardest things I've done. Partially because of the physical and mental stress and partially because it's a long term goal (most people who try to quit don't understand the time aspect of quitting).

I quit 5 years ago and I still want a cigarette every time I smell second hand smoke. You can't understand the pull of tobacco unless you've fought the beast yourself.

Anonymous said...

I don't get it. What exactly is so hard about smoking? I quit on Feb 27, 2006, by throwing out everything smoking-related and celebrating my return to non-stupidity by buying a maul and bashing the cr*p out of my last pack of smokes.

Since then, all that not smoking took was to not touch a cigarette. It is not hard, it just takes willpower and, initially, denying ourselves some instant gratification.

Cheers,
Felix.

Anonymous said...

I have to admit I grew up in a tobacco state, started smoking when I was 12 years old and was a three pack a day smoker.

I quit once for three years (new hubby didn't like it), once for four years (got pregnant and knew I had to quit for someone else's sake) and 14 years ago quit for good (realized I had to quit for MY sake).

No pills, no patches, no fake cigarette nicotine delivery systems, etc. It takes saying, I quit and then doing it.

I used to predict that smoking would become illegal when I was still a smoker. I do believe it is truly ONLY money that keeps it still legal.

Our city, in a tobacco state, just went smoke free....and I'm thrilled.

Quit whining and do it.

Jacques Maritain said...

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