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We can hear coughing or wheezing but how much damage
has the effects of carbon monoxide and nicotine inflicted
upon your blood flow? Do you understand how smoking
destroys the body's blood flow?
The damage inflicted by the four thousand chemicals present in each burning cigarette is real. These bodies were intended to last a lifetime but how many of our lung's 600 million alveoli (air sacs) have already been destroyed and to what degree has the blood carrying capacity of our vital arteries already been compromised? What's the real price of relapse?
Australia - Sydney Morning HeraldSmokers pay heavy price- but who picks up the bill?By Julie Robotham Medical Writer
May 8, 2003It provides relief from debilitating pain, coughing and breathlessness for patients in the months before they die from lung cancer. But the question is whether taxpayers should pay millions of dollars a year for the new drug that would help hundreds of Australians - almost all of them former or current smokers.The drug, Iressa, which was approved for use in Australia by the Therapeutic Goods Administration last week, is one of a growing group of expensive new therapies that attack specific cancer cells, in contrast to regular chemotherapy which is toxic to cells of all types, but particularly to cancers.At $4500 a month on a private script, almost no patients would be able to afford Iressa unless it was subsidised under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, said Michael Boyer, the head of medical oncology at the Sydney Cancer Centre, based at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.The drug would not prolong life nor replace conventional chemotherapy, he said.However, among patients with non-small-cell lung cancer - which accounts for 80 per cent of all lung cancers - almost half of the patients who had become resistant to chemotherapy found Iressa eased their symptoms substantially within 10 days. In 10 to 20 per cent of patients, the treatment shrank the lung tumour.Iressa, made by the drugs giant AstraZeneca, was effective, on average, for seven to eight months before the patient became resistant to it."It's a drug that works," Associate Professor Boyer said.Kwun Fong, a Brisbane thoracic physician and the chairman of the lung cancer group which exists within the Australian Lung Foundation, said there was "a lot of guilt among lung cancer patients" because of the smoking link.AstraZeneca's medical director, Dr Glen Pater, estimated that the number of patients who would qualify to be put on Iressa would be "in the low hundreds", with a cost to the PBS of about $4 million a year.The chairman of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, Lloyd Sansom, said that quality of life was factored into decisions on which drugs to subsidise through the PBS, but for the costliest drugs this posed a dilemma."The so-called 'end-of-life' drugs are difficult to manage," Professor Sansom said."We're not going to cure things like cancer overnight . . . it is going to be a series of incremental gains, which are going to be very expensive."For some things they're just going to be too expensive."Copyright © 2003 The Sydney Morning Herald
What constitutes bottoming out can obviously be different for each of us. In my mind, it is exactly where I was back in April 1999, after one last failed attempt when I openly swore before God that I would never, ever put myself through withdrawal again. It was then that I at last fully accepted the reality that I was a true drug addict in every sense, that I wasn't stronger than nicotine, that I would die a smoker's death. After thirty years of assaulting this body, I figured it would probably happen sooner than later as my health was going downhill, and rather quickly.Increasing tolerance (receptor count up-regulation) having slowly transformed me into a heavy smoker, there was just too much carbon monoxide and nicotine circulating and not enough oxygen. My teeth were beginning to die and I found myself undergoing root canal after root canal. My eyes were paying a price, I lived with chronic bronchitis, and I often wondered if others could hear the constant wheeze with every breath. I had full blown pneumonia two winters in a row, but still somehow managed to **** down a couple of smokes.With 3,500 chemical particles and more than 500 gases in each puff, including 43 known cancer causing chemicals, I guess the only remaining question was which death suitor would come calling. Would some vital body part suffocate after the blood vessel leading to it became completely clogged due to nicotine released fats sticking to carbon monoxide damaged vessel walls? Would one of the carcinogen time bombs that grew a bit bigger with each puff at last detonate? Would I live long enough to see what the doctor called "early emphysema" put me on full time oxygen, the way it did mom at age 61?Looking back, I lived the sick rationalization that Joel shares here, that if the price of addiction became large enough, that the addict's resolve to end their own self mutilation might actually grow bigger than the false beliefs being fed them by their chemically captive limbic brain.Although for three decades my conscious thinking mind had tried to break free from nicotine's grip, it did so in a state of dependency ignorance and darkness. It had zero understanding that drug addiction is about living a lie. These beautiful brains of ours were engineered to make species survival events our #1 priority (accomplishment, gathering, food, water, group bonding, courting, reproduction, nurturing).But there are some external chemicals that so resemble the shape of our own neuro-chemicals that once inside the brain they fit the locks (receptors) that activate these survival priority teaching pathways. Quickly, often after using nicotine only a couple of times, our own mind begins teaching us that smoking or chewing nicotine is at least as important as eating.Soon we're forced to believe that using nicotine defines who were are, gives us our edge, helps us cope and that life without it may not be worth living. Any attempt to stop using may briefly be seen by our deep inner mind as akin to attempting to starve ourselves to death.Yes, our chemically captive pathways correctly did their designed function but not in response to genetic pre-programming but in response to the presence of an external chemical. Those pathways would now command compliance by generating urges and craves to replenish constantly falling blood serum nicotine levels, that decline by half every two hours. They would issue dopamine "aaah" rewards sensations for anticipating and engaging in the act of nicotine replenishment. They would record the entire drug use event in high definition, 3-D type memories that are nearly impossible, in the short term, to forget.Yes, a true chemical addition is born. Welcome to the world of nicotine normal where nearly all remaining memory of the beauty of life without nicotine was quickly buried under the most potent memories appears capable of generating. Yes, drug addition is about living a lie.Ask yourself this, what was it like to reside inside your mind before nicotine took control? What was it like to go days, weeks and months and never once think about wanting to put a new supply of nicotine into your bloodstream? What was it like without the daily addiction chatter associated with trying to comply with a never-ending series of commands to smoke more nicotine? What was it like to not be addicted to a powerful central nervous system stimulant, to not have nicotine causing your heart to pound twenty beats per minute faster? What was it like to be able to fully relax your body and mind, all day long? Is coming home to the real you good or bad?We never once took a puff off of any cigarette that didn't further damage our respiratory and circulatory systems. We each started with nearly 600 million air sacks and, collectively, the toxins in each puff have destroyed more. We can wait until we are told that we have too few still functional air sacks to complete this life and we'll need oxygen, or we can stop their slaughter now.We cannot bring back to life cells we have already destroyed but every living cell not destroyed will benefit by not being assaulted by tobacco toxins. Knowledge truly is a quitting method. What do you have to lose by more fully understanding the chemical that keeps your brain's priorities teacher its hostage? Millions of words here in Freedom's hundreds of thousands of member posts but just abiding principle determining the outcome for all ... no nicotine today, Never Take Another Puff, Dip or Chew!John (Gold x8)