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    Smoking is not only hazardous to your health - it can be hazardous to your job prospects as well.  Twice as many smokers are out of work as non-smokers.  Though few will admit it, most employers would reject a smoker competing for a job with an equally qualified nonsmoker.

DON’T YOU THINK THE RISKS OF SMOKING ARE BEING EXAGGERATED?

    No way!  For example, smokers at Dow Chemical, when compared to nonsmokers, had six days more absenteeism, eight days more disability, and 12 percent more illness, costing the company $4,760 more per smoker per year.  
    

    The hard facts consistently point to tobacco as the deadliest drug in the world.  Last year it killed nearly 450,000 Americans - more than all who died from ADIS, street drugs, fires, car crashes, and homicides combined.  It also kills thousands more involuntary smokers - persons forced to breathe secondhand smoke.

HOW DOES SMOKING CAUSE LUNG CANCER?

    Normally your lungs’ air passages are lined with millions of tiny hairs called cilia.  The cilia act like little brooms protecting the air tubes by sweeping dusts, tar, and other foreign materials gradually upward, like escalators, until they can be spit out.
    

    Every time is blast of tobacco smoke hits these cilia, however, they slow down, and soon stop moving.  As a result, the trapped tars from the tobacco smoke begin boring into the cells lining the air tubes.  Over time, this constant irritation turns some of the cells cancerous.
    

    This transformation takes many years.  But once it begins, the cancer steadily eats its way deeper into the lung.  By the time it is discovered, it’s usually too late.

IS LUNG CANCER THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH IN SMOKERS?

    No. Tobacco causes 128,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the United States. In contrast, smoking is responsible for 181,000 heart attacks and strokes.

The nicotine and carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke are the main culprits that promote vascular disease. Nicotine constricts small arteries depriving the heat, brain, lungs, and other important areas of vital oxygen. Nicotine also produces a sense of relaxation and well-being - smoking’s main appeal. But nicotine is also addictive.

Carbon monoxide interferes directly with the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen. This causes shortness of breath, lack of endurance, and acceleration of arteriosclerosis (narrowing and hardening of the arteries).

THAT’S A LOT OF BAD NEWS. IS THERE MORE?

Unfortunately there is a lot more.

* Smokers have much more cancer of the mouth, larynx, esophagus, pancreas, bladder, kidneys, and cervix than do nonsmokers.

* Emphysema gradually destroys lung tissue, producing death by suffocation. In the United States 71,000 of these grisly deaths occur each year as a result of smoking.

* Ulcers of the stomach and duodenum are 60 percent more common in smokers.

* Smoking pulls calcium out of the skeleton, accelerating the bone-thinning process known as osteoporosis.

* Smoking during pregnancy has an adverse effect on fetal development and increases the risk of death after birth up to 35 percent.

IF A PERSON HAS SMOKED HEAVILY FOR A LONG TIME, DOES IT PAY TO QUIT?

About 85 percent of lung cancers and 50 percent of bladder cancers could be prevented if people simply stopped smoking.

Smokers who quit begin to heal almost immediately. As the nicotine and carbon monoxide leave the body, the smoking-related risk for heart disease decreases dramatically. Although the risk for cancer decreases more slowly, the danger lessens as the weeks and months go by.

There are other payoffs to quitting: a sense of victory, increased self-esteem, pleasant breath, better tasting food, increased endurance, improved health and energy, a feeling of well-being, and freedom from an habit. Quitting may also open the way to more job opportunities.

Americans often overreact to the most trivial of risks while ignoring much more substantial threats to their health and safety. For example, every second smoker will die from some disease directly connected to the habit. Smokers will also lose an average of 8.3 years from their normal life expectancy, or 13 minutes for every cigarette smoked. Yet many people react more forcefully to evidence of a on-in-a-million risk of getting cancer from chemicals found in drinking water!

It’s time to get life back into perspective. The biggest favor you can do for your body is to kick the habit and freely breathe clean air again.

DID YOU KNOW that smoking kills 1,200 Americans a day and costs $1 billion a week in extra health-care and insurance costs, while the U.S. government collects $12 billion a year in tobacco taxes.

HOW SMOKING KILLS

Tobacco use kills and maims primarily by promoting vascular diseases and various cancers.

VASCULAR DISEASES: Heart attacks - smoking is responsible for 30 percent of the annual 550,000 US coronary deaths.

Stroke - responsible for 25 percent of the annual strokes.
Peripheral vascular disease - about 90 percent of leg and thigh blockages occur in smokers.

CANCERS: Lung - 85 percent because of smoking. Bladder and Kidneys - 3 times more frequent in smokers. Mouth, larynx, esophagus - 2-2.5 times more prevalent in smokers.

KICKING THE HABIT

The first step in breaking any habit is to decide that you are going to change. It’s not enough just to want to change or to imagine that you will change someday. Breaking an addiction to tobacco requires positive commitment.

REASONS TO QUIT SMOKING

* Quitting is the single most important thing you can do for your health and longevity.

* Reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer of the lungs, mouth, throat, pancreas, bladder, kidneys, and cervix.

* Reduced risk of emphysema and osteoporosis.

* Elimination of the risk posed to the smoker’s family from second-hand smoke.

* Less chance of a smoker’s children and grandchildren smoking.

* Better breath, whiter teeth, and fewer wrinkles.

* Less time spent sick, more physical endurance.

* Lower medical and insurance costs.

The list goes on, and it grows every year as we learn more about the harmful effects of tobacco.

You have everything to gain by kicking the habit- longer life, better health, more vitality, fewer medical expenses and the air is fresher, food tastes better, wallets are fatter, age is longer, life is sweeter!



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