Some of you will have read the original of this post last year.. I have updated and hope that you will agree that it is an important message to get out.. Especially as there are still young people taking up smoking because it is cool!
The latest statistics indicate that there 1.1 billion smokers in the world with approximately 800,000 being men. There has been a decline in smoking in countries who have banned smoking in public places and made advertising and access to them more difficult. However, every time I go shopping in my local Tesco there are two or three people in the queue at customer services buying three or four packs of cigarettes that are dispensed from a hidden compartment. I am always staggered at the amount they are handing over which is currently 11 euro a packet.
As you will see I am an ex-smoker and I do understand the addiction to smoking.. I just know that the rewards of giving up are more than financial. My addiction, like many of my age group began when we started passive smoking at a very early age.
Where my addiction began.
My father smoked from age 12 he told me. In his time in the Royal Navy he smoked unfiltered duty frees and he continued to smoke until his diagnosis with prostate cancer at 76 years old. He didn’t die of that but the radiation treatment he received caused a fatal blood disorder. It was over 21 years ago and treatment was a lot less refined back then.
I started smoking at 14. My father would smoke around 15 to 16 cigarettes a day and he would then throw the packet with the remaining cigarettes into the top drawer of his dresser and at the end of the week he would consolidate all the extra ones into a packet to start the week. I assumed that he lost count of how many were in the seven packets and working on that assumption; I liberated one cigarette a day for my own consumption. (I never got caught, and sometimes I wish I had been as it might have ended my addiction before it really started)
I finally gave up smoking at age 39 as I was heading for an operation of my own. I was smoking around 20 to 30 a day and apart from anything else at £1.50 a packet I could not really afford the habit. I know that at the current cost of nearly £8.50 per packet, £4,600 per year I certainly could not afford to smoke. Of course of that £4,600 approximately £3,500 is going into governmental coffers!
Bearing in mind that it is estimated that 10 million adults smoke in the UK, and if everyone of them smoked a packet a day, the resulting money going straight into the Government pocket is around £3billion pounds a year. Although they claim that this is to pay for health care of those that smoke I am cynical. Whilst the public message is give up smoking I wonder if they are really keen to lose those billions of revenue per year!
100,000 people die from smoking related disease each year. That is too high a price to pay for a pleasure that simply goes up in smoke.
After 25 years I do not know if I have dodged the bullet but I do believe that I gave myself a fighting chance by giving up when I did. Addiction to anything is tough to beat. But there are plenty of options to help someone these days and they can be effective if you meet them halfway.
It is important to remember that it is not just the lungs that are at risk from smoking but all your major organs including the heart and brain. Yes, there are some lucky individuals who smoke until 100 and get away with it – but they are in the minority and usually have extraordinary immune systems that have kept them healthy.
Some of the people around them however, may not have been so lucky and here is a short but sobering extract from an article that should make any smoker think about the impact they are making on those they love and consider friends.
Breathing in other people’s smoke, also called second-hand smoke, can cause cancer. Passive smoking can increase a non-smoker’s risk of getting lung cancer by a quarter, and may also increase the risk of cancers of the larynx (voice box) and pharynx (upper throat).
Second-hand smoke can cause other health problems too. Every year, second-hand smoke kills thousands of people in the UK from lung cancer, heart disease, stroke and the lung disease Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
Just the words lung cancer are enough to terrify most people but it still does not seem to deter a large number of smokers who continue to inhale carcinogenic fumes every time they light up.
Although there are work-related contaminants that can result in lung cancer such as asbestos and coal tar, they only represent around 15% of all cases of lung cancer. Smoking or inhaling second hand smoke causes the remaining 85%.
The best preventative is not to smoke at all but even giving up right now will reduce the risk from developing cancer in the future.
Cancer is a disease of abnormal cells. Normal cells reproduce through their lifetime in a controlled manner replacing old tissue and repairing damage. Abnormal cells are rogues that are out of control increasing rapidly either in a localised spot in the body (benign tumour) or by spreading throughout the body developing tumours as they go (malignant tumour). The blood and the lymphatic system provide the perfect transport for these rogue cells and when they form a new growth it is called a secondary tumour or metastasis.
There are a number of different types of cancer cell that can affect the lung but they are all opportunists and if the lung tissues are already damaged by smoking it will be vulnerable to them all.
Smoke inhalation damages the normal cleansing process of the lungs so that debris and toxins can accumulate. Hair like cilia on the cells within the bronchial tubes usually beat rhythmically to move mucous continuously upward and out of the lungs but smoke that is inhaled cause these fine hairs to disappear and the lining of the bronchial tubes thickens and narrows in an effort to protect the tissues from further damage.
Perhaps seeing a pair of healthy lungs beside an image of a smokers lungs might convince you to give up smoking more than my words. If you know people who smoke around you then you might like to share this with them.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask me either in the comments section or privately on firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will be covering other lung related diseases later in the A – Z series.