Tag Archives: Tobacco smoking

I Need To Quit

Everybody I know or knew, who has quit smoking, has died of lung cancer.  I’m not making that up.  It’s a true fact for me.  It’s what keeps me afraid to quit smoking. 

Let’s take my father as an example.  He quit smoking in his late 40s.  Cold turkey.  Just said one day that he was going to quit and he did.  Thirty years later, in his early 70s, he‘s diagnosed with lung cancer and told that it was from his smoking which he quit, like I said, cold turkey 30 years ago.  After chemo and radiation treatments, my father died from fluid buildup in his lungs as a result of his treatment for cancer.  He got radiation pneumonia.  Basically he drowned in his own lung fluid. 

Now, I’m standing on a balcony having a cigarette.  I’m helping someone move and taking a break.  A person I have never met, who is also helping this girl move to a new apartment, comes out on the balcony and lights up a cigarette.  This was a few years ago.  The guy says to me, “I need to quit.”  I say to him, “Why?” 

“Everybody I know that has quit smoking has died of cancer, makes me afraid to quit,” I says. 

“Funny you should say that,” my uncle quit smoking a long time ago and he died of lung cancer recently, and a friend of my father’s was just diagnosed with lung cancer.  He kicked the habit over 10 years ago.” 

“See what I mean,” I says. 

Well, I’m sure there’s no clinical evidence to prove my theory, but what I’m going to theorize, is that is doesn’t make a damn bit of difference if you quit or not.  If you are going to get lung cancer, and if you can explain Brian Piccollo to me I will reverse this entire opinion, you’re going to get lung cancer.  Smoking is NOT going to be the cause.  It may be a contributing factor, but that’s a big difference.

“If excessive smoking actually plays a role in the production of lung cancer, it seems to be a minor one.”  –The National Cancer Institute, 1954.  Stupid thing to say, or was it based on studies of the National Cancer Institute? 

I remember being told that your lung tissue recovers if you stop smoking, and it only takes 10 years for your lungs to look like you’ve never smoked.  It’s all hokey.  Your lungs will never recover from the tar deposits that are now a permanent fixture there if you’re a smoker.  And, as evidenced by my father and others, your risk of lung cancer doesn’t change much either.  Blood pressure will definitely improve though.  Your sense of taste and smell will improve quickly.  Heart attack risk will be lower.  But not getting lung cancer only drops by about 30%, pancreatic cancer by about the same. 

In other words, quit or not, you may or may not get cancer.  I’ve known smokers from the previous generation that are in their 80s and 90s, in decent health, highly functioning and smoking a pack a day.  I also know people in their 50s and 60s who are walking around with an oxygen tank or not able to walk a few feet without losing their breath or coughing incessantly.  Explain it to me. 

I remember the Marlboro Man was a big proponent of smoking until he was diagnosed with lung cancer.  Then he became the most outspoken of reformed smokers.  My x-father-in-law died of lung cancer when he was 54.  He smoked two packs, sometimes three of Marlboro Reds a day.  While he was in Albuquerque getting radiation treatments for his cancer, he caught me outside smoking and asked for a cigarette. 

“I don’t think I should give you one,” I said. 

“Why not?  It’s not going to make any difference now is it?  I’ve already got cancer.  Not smoking isn’t going to make it go away, and smoking isn’t going to make it worse.  Give me a goddamn cigarette.” 

It was hard to argue with the logic, so I gave him a smoke and lit it for him.  His wife caught him with it, and I was on everybody’s shit list for a long time.  He died of lung cancer a year after that encounter. 

So here’s the thing about smoking.  There is no causal link between smoking and lung cancer no matter what you’ve been told.  Go to the National Institute of Health website and see for yourself.  Better link to heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease (although drinking is the number one causal culprit there) mouth, nose and throat cancer.  But then you dippers, users of chewing tobacco, have more of a worry there than smokers.  There is absolutely no causal link between second-hand smoke and lung cancer.  Other respiratory disease, allergies, maybe.  Again check out the studies, note particularly the number of individuals in the studies. 

Now this is frightening, but a cross section of lung looks frightening to me anyway. This one has cancer (the lighter tissue) and from the dark portions at the bottom, was a smoker.

If smoking causes lung cancer…causes….then everyone who smokes should get lung cancer.  The odds numbers they put out…30% chance, relates to 30% more of a chance than a non-smoker.  A never-smoking professional athlete can still get lung cancer.  Proof: Brian Piccollo.    I think the statistics will change noticeably as more baby-boomers enter the later life stages with their renewed health interests, like quitting smoking because they can’t afford to pay the taxes on a pack of cigarettes with their social security checks. 

On my evidence alone, I could put together a study and claim that quitting smoking, is a major cause of death and lung cancer in reformed smokers.  I’ve studied as many subjects as they have.  I’m probably wrong, and I’ll probably pay for it myself, but based on my evidence quittin’ scares me. 

I say lay off the cigarettes, they’re not the cause.  Something out there is, and we need to figure it out.  Taxing the beegeezuz out of cigarettes is not making people quit, it’s hurting them financially.   



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Welcome To Our Smoke-Free Air

The United States Department of Transportation is reported to be issuing an official ban on the use of  electronic cigarettes on airplanes.  The ban is expected this Spring.  A letter from DOT Secretary, Ray Lahood,  to Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey indicated that the DOT considers the e-cigarette to be banned under the 1987 legislation that banned traditional cigarettes on airplanes, and asked for a clarification.  Sen. Lautenberg wrote the original legislation and does not want the use of e-cigs to become common since there are insufficient studies to show the effects of e-cigarettes on others.  The old “second-hand smoke” argument.

The problem is the electronic cigarette uses a battery operated vaporizer that creates a sensation of smoking using a glycerin base with different levels of nicotine or none at all.  The e-smoker exhales visible WATER vapor.  Water vapor similar, if not the same as, what is exhaled by everyone when it’s cold out.  There is no fire, no smoke, no smell, and they’re having a hell of time finding anything harmful about it.  You can actually “smoke” an e-cigarette without even exhaling the vapor if you choose.

So I ask you.  What is the issue here?  I understand that smoking offends people and some have allergies to cigarette smoke.  It was once explained to me that the smoking ban was really all about smell, and frankly, I believe it.  It certainly has nothing to do with a health issue.  You can’t make me believe that those of you that voted for the smoking bans care about smoker’s health.  Car emissions are much more dangerous than any second-hand smoke could possibly be.  Nicotine is found in vitamins, potatoes, tomatoes, and asparagus just to name a few.  Feeling healthy yet?  I remember walking off an airplane in San Diego and being greeted by a banner over the down escalator proclaiming “California – Welcome to Our Smoke Free Air.”  When I got outside looked out over the smog and took a deep breath of jet fuel emissions I couldn’t help but laugh.

Thousands of people have quit smoking conventional cigarettes by using the e-cigarette which appeared in the US around 2006.  There are none of the 4000 chemicals in “vape,” some that have been identified as known carcinogens, that are found in conventional cigarette smoke.  There is no evidence that the vapor causes any damage to lung tissue.  The FDA is trying like hell to find something though because of the increasing popularity of the e-cigarette.  They recently handed down a decision that it was not considered a drug delivery system which was a big win for the e-cigarette industry.  This effectively means that they won’t control e-cigarettes as a controlled substance.

So here are the real issues:  There is currently no Cigarette Tax on e-cigarettes because they’re not cigarettes.  A tax that is almost 60% of the cost of a pack of cigarettes I should add.  As millions switch to the “safer” e-cigarette the $20 billion or so  in yearly tax revenue will take a hit.  Tobacco companies are losing millions of their addicted customers to the new smoking method as well.  The Tobacco Lobby is huge and powerful and probably donated to Sen. Lautenberg’s campaign.  I promise you Big Tobacco will get into the manufacture of e-juice, the flavored glycerin base that is used in e-cigarettes, if they haven’t already.

So go ahead, argue away.  It’s all about one group forcing their beliefs on another anyway.  A very powerful thing in society.  Oh, and of course, taxes.  Perfume is the next big target by the way.  Fragrances are being blamed for allergies, migraine headaches, and, well, there’s that smell issue again.      

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