Medical Implications of Smoking

Medical Implications of Smoking

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

14 Aug 2000, 04:05 #1

Medical Implications of Smoking Some people who enroll in our program are not quite convinced that they really want to quit smoking. Others claim that they cannot even think of good reasons to quit. In fact, there are many good reasons. The most important one is to avoid the dangerous health effects of cigarette smoking.

Over 400,000 Americans will die this year from cigarette smoking. That is more Americans than die from all accidents, infectious diseases, murders, suicides, diabetes, and cirrhosis combined. In fact, this is more than all of the Americans killed in World War II.

The disease most often associated with cigarette smoking is lung cancer. One hundred years ago, lung cancer was so uncommon that if a doctor ever saw a case of it he would have written it up in a medical journal. Even as recently as 1930 most doctors never came across a case of primary lung cancer. This disease, which 50 years ago was almost unheard of, is now the leading cause of cancer deaths in men and women. Lung cancer accounts for one third of all cancer deaths of men. Lung cancer was once believed to be predominently a disease of males. By the mid 1980's, lung cancer overtook breast cancer to become the number one cause of cancer deaths in women. Over 85% of the people who die of lung cancer could avoid the disease completely if they just didn't smoke.

Besides the lungs, other sites where cigarettes exert a carcinogenic effect include: mouth, lip, tongue, larynx, pharynx, and espohagus. In addition, cigarettes contribute to cancers of the kidney, bladder, pancreas and stomach.

While most people associate smoking with cancer, even more people die from circulatory problems caused by cigarette smoking than from cancers caused from cigarettes. The effects on the circulatory system are both immediate and dangerous. Nicotine is a stimulant which raises the heart rate and blood pressure, constricts the arteries, and, in conjuction with carbon monoxide, causes atherosclerotic conditions within the artery walls. This clogging process affects the heart as well as other sites of the body such as the brain or peripheral circulation in the extremities, sometimes resulting in gangrene and amputations. Over 200,000 of smoking related deaths are attributed to the combined effect of nicotine and carbon monoxide on the circulatory system.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis, are major cripplers caused by cigarette smoking. While emphysema is not as deadly as lung cancer, patients with it often envy patients with cancer. People with lung cancer will usually die within six months of diagnosis. Patients with advanced stages of emphysema are permanently crippled, but it may take years for them to die from it. In its later stages, emphysema is a living ****. As one of our popular panelists proclaims, "When I die, I'm going to die healthy!"

Some smokers come into our clinics wondering if they need to quit smoking. They claim to feel fine. No symptoms of any diseases are yet obvious. Even their doctors say they appear normal. Unfortunately, the first sign of some of the smoking related illnesses is sudden death. This is not a preferrable time to consider smoking cessation. The best time to quit to maintain the optimal benefits from not smoking is when you are alive and relatively healthy. If you are off cigarettes now, stay off. Your risk of all of the smoking related illnesses will eventually drop down to that of a non-smoker. They can still happen, but it is much less likely. If you currently smoke you will destroy more tissue and cause more damage and irritation every day you smoke.

We only have one body and one life. Some people feel they should have a choice to do the most with the time they have, so they should eat, drink, smoke and be merry. These people are partially correct. We should have the choice of what we can do to obtain the most fun and fulfilling life. But going through a long crippling period, followed by a long lingering death is not the best utilization of time. It is not fun. Consider all of the risks in comparison to the momentary pleasures the minority of your cigarettes brought you. Give yourself a chance for a long, productive and happy life.

When things get rough and you feel like you want a cigarette, just take it one day at a time. You can always go out and buy cigarettes tomorrow. You cannot go out and buy health. I guess that is why it is said that "The best things in life are free." Stay free-NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

06 Feb 2001, 12:26 #2


Last edited by Hal(Gold) on 07 Jul 2009, 14:26, edited 1 time in total.

amcanuck ( GOLD )
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

06 Feb 2001, 12:52 #3

When I was a smoker,I heard this kind of talk and tuned it out,you know,the risks. But now ,reading the facts serves as an incentive that I really couldn`t face before.Thanks, I`m listening now.amcanuck

Sewquilts (GOLD)
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

26 Apr 2001, 08:12 #4

Thanks for bringing this thread up...I have been doing alot of junkie thinking today...this aritcle reinforces all the reasons why I quit smoking in the first place.
Nicotine free for 1w, 3d, 20h, 26m, 45s.....

Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 18:59

11 May 2001, 03:23 #5

Thanks Joel. Another helpful page when the urge is hitting strong. I already have lung trouble, and still part of my brain wants to smoke, even though it will make me sicker. Logically not acceptable, emotionally charged tho ... and the emotions and the ciggerette is in control. Leaning how to take my control back. Need lots of practice! Whew! Keep looking at those lung pictures in the Library, the ones of the livers were very educational as well.

sunshineray 14th day and counting Image
Last edited by SunshineRay on 07 Jul 2009, 14:27, edited 1 time in total.

S Sweet
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

11 May 2001, 03:36 #6

the other day i was reading the notes that came along with my medications. The note "cigarette smoking while taking this medication will greatly increase your risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke" popped out at me. How many times did i read that when i smoked and said "that won't happen to me". Back then I could care less and ignored it.. now i sit here scared to death reading this article and shaking my head,.. what those health implications above werent enough? i needed to INCREASE my odds?

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

22 Jul 2001, 05:56 #7

I have a number of strings now that are starting to build a real profile of the dangers posed by cigarette smoking. I am going to use this string to keep them all together so as to be able to bring them up for all new members and lurkers. Also I will attach the links to articles specifically on the dangers of smoking.

Most of what we do at the site is help people in understanding the nicotine addiction and how to treat it. The posts referred to in this string are not really indicative of that specific support supplied here at Freedom, and are more for the reinforcing ones ammunition of why they should quit and stay off smoking. But if people come across this section first, please continue reading other stings here throughout the Freedom board for the vast majority of the activity here at Freedom are not about the dangers of smoking but more importantly on the benefits of quitting and the joy of being an ex-smoker.

Pictorial stings:

Smoking and cancer of the lung
(Message 32 of that string is a good place to start)

See how smoking effects your lungs
(some of the same pictures as above string but with a different slant on the topic

Smoking effects on cilia

Smoking and the circulatory system

Non-pictorial strings

Medical implications of smoking

If cigarettes were as deadly as you say they are the government would not sell them.

Feel how smoking effects your lungs

Smoking and Pregnancy

What's the use in quitting now

Because now it really hurts

Zep also has some good threads on the issues of the dangers of smoking.

What is emphyhsema

Smoking and heart disease

Murder, accident, suicide or stupidity

I suspect there are more that may be appropriate to place here and invite Zep and anyone else who may recall strings that they have started or that were started by others but were influential in helping them to quit to attach links to these articles on this string here. I think over time reading the links to this thread will serve to make a really strong case for anyone who is not yet convinced of the importance of quitting or who may have started to lose their initial motivation for having quit. Remember, it is always easier to keep a quit going than it is to start another one. To keep on the track of maintaining all the benefits of having quit smoking always remember to never take another puff!

mirigirl (silver)
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

22 Jul 2001, 22:45 #8

I'm really glad Joel you continue to bring up these threads (as you do!:-) I love coming to the board and finding them posted here. We can all support each other but it really is the education about nicotine addiction and it's consequences, that I got here at Freedom, that turned my thinking around. One can never be too educated when it comes to quitting!

yqs Maz
Six months, two days, 50 minutes and 45 seconds. 4575 cigarettes not smoked, saving $1,464.61. Life saved: 2 weeks, 1 day, 21 hours, 15 minutes.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

01 Sep 2001, 09:16 #9

One topic I didn't discuss earlier in this thread that is particularly noteworthy when considering medical implications is the risk of diseases or injuries not directly caused by smoking, but in which smoking may play a dangerous interaction in treating. I am referring to the risk of postoperative complications.

Many doctors will hold off doing elective or non-essential surgeries for as long as possible in order to give a patient time to be totally smoke free. This is not a practice done for arbitrary reasons. Surgery is much riskier to perform on a smoker.
Your risks of complications of anesthesia or postoperative complications are much higher while you smoke. These complications can be serious, making you suffer much longer and possibly putting your life at risk. The longer you are off prior to surgery, the lower the risk becomes. One cardiologist I worked with in smoking cessation programs over 25 years ago studied the risk of postoperative complications at the hospital where he was then chief of cardiology and thoracic surgery.
At that time he found that in non-smokers the postoperative complication rate was 1 in 50. Smokers had a rate of 1 in 3. If the surgeries were elective and they could wait for the patient to quit, he found that if the smoker would quit for just a week, the rates were 1 in 12. Of course it wasn't as good as a person who had been off for years but it was far superior to current smokers. The longer people were off the closer the rate became to non-smokers levels. The important thing is to quit as far ahead of any procedure as soon as possible. The only way to get maximal benefit of longest-term cessation prior to any future surgery is to stay smoke free today and for as long as you live remember a day at a time to never take another puff!

John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

04 Jan 2002, 19:27 #10

If you need a bit of extra reinforcement today you may want to spend a bit of time reading about where relapse would take you. When you stop and think that tobacco actually kills half of all adult smokers, almost 1/4th in middle age, those are pretty lousy odds!

Adjusting to life with with natural dopamine production and will require that you develop a bit of quit patience - just one day at a time! We're nothing fighting an entire pack or even a whole cigarette but simply one little puff of nicotine! John