Friday, January 17, 2014

50 Million Americans!

I realize I write a weird blog. It's usually upbeat, but not quite always. Sometimes it is silly, sometimes bossy, sometimes sad. That's life, though, isn't it? Life is not flat. There are ups and downs. Having said that, I probably should warn you that today's post is very serious and rather a rant. I can't stop myself.

So, I'm going to tell you what has me going. This evening I heard on the news that the number of Americans killed by cigarette smoking over the last 50 years is now at 50 million. Think about that...50 million! That is 1 million people a year who's death is attributed to cigarettes. That is just in the United States! I simply can't comprehend how this can keep happening. How can we let so many people continue to die?  Think how panicked we would be if 1 million Americans had died during the last year due to influenza or chicken pox or alligators or strep!

Quite recently I was shocked to hear a man say he didn't believe doctors knew for sure that cigarettes could cause cancer. Although he had quit for several years, he decided to smoke again. Really? Two heart attacks, one requiring CPR, had not convinced him. Bladder cancer had not convinced him. COPD had not convinced him. He coughed and wheezed as we spoke. I had to wait while he caught his breath... more than once. It broke my heart.

When I was 24 years old my Grandpa Red died from lung cancer. I know I've talked about that before. He had been a smoker and it took his life. Grandpa had started smoking before he knew it was harmful. Those were the days when cigarettes were given to soldiers to help calm them. Before his death, he asked me to try to help stop young people from smoking. I've tried. I'm still trying.

I've been with people as they died from the result of those horrible cigarettes. I have seen their suffering. It is not a gentle death.

We have all heard of people who smoked well into their 90's. Well, I want you to know that they were the rare, lucky ones. 50 million people have been unlucky. Cigarette smoking causes damage to

E V E R Y...   S I N G L E...   O R G A N...  I N...  T H E...  B O D Y!

every single organ

all the organs

no organs are safe

This is a dreadful addiction. Most people I have met who smoke, began as teens. Sure, many knew better but we all know that those teen years are not always the best decision-making years. Did you know that it can take as little as 2 weeks for a teenager to become addicted to cigarettes? Also, for some reason the strength of the addiction is not the same for everyone.

I've known people who managed to quit cigarettes cold turkey. I've known people who struggled for a long time to end their dependence on cigarettes. I don't know the best way to quit but there are many aids available. Check out articles on WebMD, Reader's Digest or this Government Site. Seriously, just google "quit smoking" and there will be all sorts of help available. None guarantee it will be easy.

I'm done.... for now. Thanks for reading.

This one was for you, Grandpa Red.