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Dying to Smoke

Z.S. Deller

Why does he keep smoking when he knows how dangerous cigarettes are? How can you help a husband or son escape the dangerous smoke rings encircling him?

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

“It’s easy to quit smoking! I’ve done it hundreds of times!”

The truth is that it’s hard, extremely hard, to kick the habit for good. The “last” cigarette can be savored to the end, its package-mates given to friends who haven’t yet decided to quit, and the fancy lighter donated to your cousin’s collection. Breathing is easy and the world is rosy.

And then, in a moment, a single cigarette — but only one, and that’s it! — slips into fingers whose nicotine stains were starting to fade.

And the best of resolutions goes up in smoke.

 

The Dead Honest Truth

Smoking causes one out of every two smokers (yes, 50 percent!) to die before their time. On average, smokers lose eight to ten years of their lives. InIsrael, a country that is all too familiar with sorrow and bereavement, more people die each year from smoking than died all together in the last 50 years in wars and terror attacks. According to data provided by the Department of Health, 8,600 Israelis die each year because they smoke, 23 times the number of those killed in car accidents in 2009.

The tar in cigarette smoke penetrates the lungs. It contains tens of carcinogens and other poisonous substances that affect lung function and enter the blood stream, causing blockages, constricting arteries, and affecting oxygen transport — thereby impacting other body systems.

The list of diseases that are caused by this constant, long-term exposure to poison is chilling: lung disease (including, of course, lung cancer), and cancers of the urinary tract, mouth, esophagus, lips, stomach, and blood. Not to mention the “everyday” diseases: high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes.

“Chronic lung disease, which is characterized by destruction of lung tissue due to smoke, is an extremely serious disease,” said Dr. Yosef Kleinman, head of the diabetes unit inJerusalem’sShaareZedekMedicalCenter. “Worse than that is lung cancer.

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