New Anti-Smoking Public Service Announcements Get Straight To The Point – Are They Going Too Far?
Shocking Results of Smoking
Are the recent no-beating-around-the-bush public service announcements on smoking going too far? Paid for and presented by the Centers for Disease Control, the new video clips feature former smokers/cancer survivors giving smokers who may well find themselves in the same situations one day, hints on how to manage once they have had a tracheotomy, or no longer have a voice box, or jaw.
Some former smokers also show the results of their amputations – yes, amputations. I had never heard of this before myself, so I learned something new while researching this subject. Apparently some smokers experience something called “Buerger’s disease, a disorder linked to tobacco use that causes blood vessels in the hands and feet to become blocked, which can result in infection or gangrene.” Some people have lost not only fingers and toes as a result, but even hands, feet, and legs! Who would want to start smoking if they knew this could happen to them?
For a long time I have wondered why people, especially young people who have not yet started smoking, are not shown the reality of what smoking does to most people.
Smoking, in my opinion, is a smelly, dirty, expensive habit. Most of the smokers I have encountered are extremely inconsiderate. They are far more concerned with getting their drug than in making sure I, and other nonsmokers, do not have to inhale their drug with them. Smokers may be thoughtful and kind in so many ways, but when it comes to getting their drug fix, so many of them seem to care nothing about anyone else or any discomfort or future disease they may be causing other people around them. Often even their own children’s health is sacrificed to feed their smoking habit. That is caused by the addiction. Addiction makes people thoughtless and inconsiderate, one more reason not to let it become THE BOSS of your life.
This is a very controversial hub, and I worried that perhaps some people might be offended by it. Yet I think if even one person stops smoking, or convinces their child(ren) not to start smoking as a result of reading it, offending a few people is a small price, a worthwhile price.
Pay Now AND Pay Later
You have probably heard the expression, “You can pay now or you can pay later,” usually alluding to eating healthfully now, or paying the price for not eating healthfully when you are older, and suffering from disease as a result of poor eating habits. Well, smoking is one of those things that you pay for now, AND then you pay for it again later, too.
Currently smokers bear not only the cost of the tobacco product itself, but also the cost for more trips to the doctor for illnesses related to tobacco use, for everything that is ruined before its time by being covered with, or clogged up with tobacco tar, and by losing some relationships because some people do not want to be around smokers. Everything around smokers will stink from the tobacco, and it will take on a disgusting yellowish film (tobacco tar).
Unfortunately, smokers cannot see their own lungs. Smoker’s lungs collect tobacco tar and become gross and disgusting in appearance as well as becoming so diseased breathing may be barely possible for some of them.
Chewing gum will not get the stench out of a smoker’s clothes or their car, and if a person is a heavy smoker, chewing gum will just make the tobacco smell on their breath more nauseous to some nonsmokers. The mixture of tobacco and mouthwash can be pretty disgusting, too.
Fun Tests To Determine If You Have Lung Cancer
Later, after a person has been smoking for a while, come all the fun tests to verify if a person has lung cancer. Here is a description of tests from the Mayo Clinic that are often used to determine if it really is lung cancer, and if it is, what stage of lung cancer it is:
Tissue sample biopsy: A sample of abnormal cells may be removed in a procedure called a biopsy. Your doctor can perform a biopsy in a number of ways, including bronchoscopy, in which your doctor examines abnormal areas of your lungs using a lighted tube that's passed down your throat and into your lungs; mediastinoscopy, in which an incision is made at the base of your neck and surgical tools are inserted behind your breastbone to take tissue samples from lymph nodes; and needle biopsy, in which your doctor uses X-ray or CT images to guide a needle through your chest wall and into the lung tissue to collect suspicious cells. A biopsy sample may also be taken from lymph nodes or other areas where cancer has spread, such as your liver. (If it’s spread to your liver folks, you best get your affairs in order, and soon.)
Those tests sound like more fun than a barrel of monkeys, don’t you think? If a person tests positive for lung cancer, then come all the surgeries, needles, and intravenous catheters to treat it and keep a person alive as long as possible.
Something that is not widely publicized is that smoking contributes to many other types of cancer besides lung and throat cancer. Stomach cancer, bladder cancer, and other types of cancer, too. Yes, it requires fun tests to determine if a person has any of these types of cancer also.
If you have never experienced watching someone you love suffer and/or die from cancer, perhaps you do not understand just how agonizing both living and dying with cancer is. Cancer is one of those things you should not have to experience in order to determine you will not like it. Just like you should not need to jump from a 6-story building to discover that activity is not for you, not likely to become a favorite hobby even if you survive, so cancer is unlikely to become an enjoyable new experience either.
If You Smoke Your Second Hand Smoke Is Affecting Everyone Around You Including Children
Not only will smokers pay both now AND later for smoking, but if their children are forced to inhale their second hand smoke, their children will pay now, AND later, too. They will pay now because they will be more susceptible to colds and respiratory problems, and they will pay later with lung diseases and lung cancer due to inhaling second hand smoke.
According to the National Cancer Institute, “Secondhand smoke is responsible for an estimated 3,400 lung cancer deaths and 46,000 deaths due to heart disease among non-smokers each year. Secondhand smoke is also responsible for lower respiratory tract infections in an estimated 150,000 to 300,000 children each year.”
Does This Information Sound Harsh and Scary? Would You Prefer A Candy Coating On This Information?
Does this all sound a little harsh? Scary? I hope it does sound scary. Cancer is one of the real monsters in our world, and unlike the make believe monster under some people’s beds, this one is very real and it CAN get you if you do something foolish – like smoke, or hang around other people who smoke.
Cancer is very harsh and unforgiving. Giving cancer a white wash or a candy coating to make it more palatable to talk about will not change its reality. Children especially, before they feel the pressure to conform, need to know the harsh truth about cancer and smoking.
When Should You Begin Teaching Your Children About The Realities of Smoking and Other Drug Abuse?
I started programming my daughter about smoking (and recreational drug use) when she was just three years old. We had a children’s book called, “No Way, Slippery Slick, No Way,” that we read several times a week. It covered the subject of drugs in general, not only smoking, and it was written especially for young children.
Your child’s brain is like a high quality sponge and the best time to program them, and yes, that is what you are doing, programming them, is before they enter prekindergarten. However, starting now, if that time has already passed, is better than not at all.
The information you put in your young child’s head about drugs, tobacco and alcohol, will stay in his/her subconscious mind, influencing him/her continually, but you will have to read this book together often. You will have to discuss the dangers and ramifications of smoking and other drug abuse often, if it is to stay uppermost in your children’s minds.
My daughter loved the book, “No Way, Slippery Slick, No Way,” because of the way the information was presented. The book is available used at both Amazon and eBay for as little as one penny plus shipping. From my perspective, it was an excellent investment, and the book I purchased over 20 years ago, cost more than a penny.
For older children, watching the new Public Service Announcements and even getting to know someone who is dealing with the aftermath of cancer surgery can be a pretty powerful message. Make sure they get that message so that their lives will be healthier and longer. Better to experience nightmares in your sleep, if it comes to that, than to live a nightmare for real, because of smoking or secondhand smoke.
There is no guarantee that beginning early instruction will be sufficient inoculation against your child(ren) using drugs, or taking up smoking, but it cannot hurt. My daughter is a nonsmoker and does not use drugs --and yes I do know that for a fact. Her father was a smoker and he has been paying the “later” price of that habit for the past 15 years. We hope he will continue to pay that price, because the alternative is death, and those are the only two options available to him. Educate your children about smoking now so that they will have more options available to them than my former husband now has for himself.
Keep in mind that if you smoke and tell your children it is bad for them and that they should not do it, what you will end up with is adult children who smoke and tell their own children it is bad for them and that they should not do it. Your example has more influence and power than your words. If you are a smoker with children, set a good example and quit right now so that your children know you are serious and that you mean what you say.
Once In Your Life Addiction Is Always The Boss
It is like this: Addiction is a bully of sorts. Once a person becomes addicted to any drug, or gambling, or any number of different things, the addiction is the boss. The addiction determines what you will do, when you will do it, and who you will do it with. The addiction will determine what you are willing to do in order to get the money to feed it.
The addiction will determine if a person is going to be late for work because they stayed up all night feeding their addiction, or whether a person is going to wager their family’s home because the addiction has convinced them they are going to win the next hand of cards or the next roll of the dice. The addiction will decide if a person is going to study for an exam or waste the night feeding the addiction.
Addiction will drain your resources (money, health, time, etc.), prevent or destroy many worthwhile friendships and relationships both with friends and family, and even after all that your addiction is still not satisfied. It will not be satisfied it has destroyed your life until it kills you and literally takes your life.
Once a person is addicted to anything, the addiction calls the shots. Addicted people are slaves to their addiction and for many people it takes unbelievable, incredible willpower and stamina to fight the addiction to the point of overcoming it, but it remains a daily, even hourly battle, for most people even then.
Addiction, once it has a hold on a person, is never truly beaten, and will stalk a person for the rest of their life trying to tempt them back into slavery if a person ever manages to break free of addiction in the first place. The best solution is not to let addiction into your life. No addiction is cool, and there is no person or persons on the planet worth fitting in with if doing so requires you to flirt with addiction or to include addiction in your life.
Check out some of the new Public Service Announcements by clicking here.
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