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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Are You Still Smoking?

Fifty years after the release of the US Surgeon General report on smoking, the percent of adult smokers has gone down from 42% to 18%. With it, the number of people dying of lung cancer has decreased somewhat. But smoking remains the number one direct cause of death in the US!

The cost of tobacco use to the US economy is close to $300 billion (yes, with a "b") a year in direct medical cost and productivity loss. For every dollar spent on cigarettes, $5 are spent on related health care. And for every cigarette you smoke, you are likely to lose more than 20 minutes of life.

More than 440,000 people die in the US each year as a direct result of smoking, of which 10% are innocent, second hand tobacco smoke inhalers. Most frequently, these are the children of smoking parents. Many more suffer from chronic, tobacco related lung and heart disease.

In my book, the main issue remains the “hard core” smoker. He or she has more than a 50% chance of dying of  lung disease and spending years with an oxygen mask. But the more casual smoker is also at risk.

It’s my hope that, if you are a smoker, the horrible statistics I brought to your attention would give you pause. Stop smoking now, before it’s too late. Do it for yourself, for your spouse, for your kids and your friends.

There are several ways to quit, from “cold turkey” to stress management, to hypnosis and medication. In our practice, we have seen many successful quitters, and most of them did it on their own.

Remember that stopping to smoke is one of those times when becoming a quitter is really becoming a winner.

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