Today's Post: Wednesday, 4-11-2012
I once worked for a man who smoked 5 cigarettes a day. I said I’d heard smoking was harmful enough he should quit. (He was a really nice guy so I didn’t want him to be harmed.)
He simply ignored my suggestion that he even try. His main reason was that he smoked so little it just wasn’t that harmful.
I wish I’d known then what I know today.
But now you will know!
A recent story reported research that found that smoking 3, repeat THREE, cigarettes a day regularly boosts your heart disease risk by 72%!
For most people, statin drugs reduce your risk by 1%. Even the people with the genes where statin drugs are somewhat effective only get a 41% risk reduction.
That means that relatively speaking even smoking 3 cigarettes a day creates a huge increase in your risk of getting a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
And, most smokers like my previous boss, don’t yet know that every exposure to tobacco smoke causes a measurable increase in your heart disease risk. Since that includes plaque build up, the effect is also cumulative. The more it happens, the stiffer and more closed up your blood vessels will be.
Of course smoking far more than 3 cigarettes causes even more heart risk.
Worse, tobacco smoke has been found to trigger heart attacks in people who otherwise would have escaped them.
Too bad I didn’t know to ask him then if he knew these things. Clearly he did not.
Maybe if he knew them, he would have quit. I think he’d have been more likely to try and make much more of an effort to do so.
Most smokers have heard that smoking causes lung cancer and he may have heard that too.
But although 25% of heavy smokers get lung cancer, 75% die of something else. So smokers have just assumed they would be in the group who would escape and kept smoking.
But commercially grown tobacco contains the radioactive element polonium and tobacco products – not just the smoke – causes 30% or more of ALL cancers. The polonium gets into the blood of tobacco users. And your blood goes everywhere in your body.
Oops! Who cares if you escape lung cancer but get fast acting pancreatic cancer or brain cancer?
So between the very high heart disease risk that with certainty harms ALL smokers and the much worse real odds of cancers that actually is in effect and the fact that even smoking 3 cigarettes a day is that harmful, no smoker would voluntarily keep smoking if they were in any kind of good mental health.
If they are addicted to nicotine and have never heard of these facts, however, quitting is far less likely.
There are even a large group of less educated, lower class smokers who think smoking is not dangerous at all and see no reason whatever to quit.
Now you have read this post, you are no longer in any risk of being in that group.
You now know better!
And, if you know any smokers who are very light smokers, you now know what to tell them so they know why they should quit.
Why exercise helps:
A recent study found that smokers who also managed to exercise regularly had a lower risk of getting cancer and lung cancer.
Of course, anyone who manages to exercise regularly will have lower risk of getting cancer likely including lung cancer. But it’s nice to know it protects smokers somewhat too.
But exercise has even more value for people who quit smoking or are trying to do so.
People who exercise from before they quit and keep doing it while they quit and keep doing it are twice as likely to succeed in quitting smoking or more than people who do no exercise.
But there are reasons this is so and extra benefits for people who exercise.
Smoking short drags helps people wake up but even shorter sessions of vigorous exercise do too.
Smoking slow drags during good times and after dinner and when you are stressed is a conditioned stress relief process. But yawning and both shorter sessions of vigorous exercise and overall regular exercise both relieve stress and increase your ability to tolerate stress.
That means that people who quit smoking and exercise have something effective they can do to get the effects of smoking.
And, since they are more energetic and less stressed all the time that also helps.
People who quit AND exercise gain less fat and can lose it later more easily than people who don’t exercise.
Best of all, once you quit, regular exercise will help you prevent the things smoking was heading your way and reduce the damage smoking caused you more quickly.