Smoking Is Not Harmless, But It Does Not Kill Everyone

© Patty Inglish, MS/Preventive Medicine 2010. All rights reserved;may not be used without written permission of the author.

The Risk of Cancer

In our preventive medicine degree program, we learned from the CDC and NIH that smoking cigarettes does not kill everyone, but that in combination with exposure to smog, other air pollution, and automotive/trucking fumes, its risk of cancer production increases by 8,000%. Therefore, if you smoke and live in smog or work in the automotive industry, you are more likely to develop lung and other cancers. In fact, 1) smoking and 2) alcohol consumption increase the health risk of all types of cancers in the general population. Still, not everyone in the highest risk behaviors develop cancer(s).

For a complete list of possible health problems caused or linked to smoking, access the websites of the CDC, NIH, and Mayo Clinic.

Effects Other Than Cancer

When my mother was pregnant, my parents were advised to cease smoking and limit caffeine intake. They refused. One result of this is that my adult height was about 4 inches shorter than expected and shorter than the parental generation. However, it is usual for children to grow to heights taller than parents -- No, there were no short people on either side of the family - only tall people for many generations, including a 7-footer. I was still tall enough to enter the US Armed Forces, if I had chosen that career path, so the height effect was not life-altering in that respect. I still wonder about unknown effects.

By the time I reached middle school, both parents smoked 5 full packs of cigarettes a day (a total of an entire carton daily), filling the house with smoke and refusing to open a door or window for air during 9 months of every year. I suffered a new cold every 2 to 3 weeks for at least 15 years and pneumonia twice, at ages 6 and 16. Somehow, I never contracted influenza and have not done so to this day. Looking back, I would have expected to have it several times.

My hair and clothing smelled like stale cigarettes, even after washing. The kitchen and food tasted like cigarettes. The loud hacking cough of both parents interrupted sleep and homework concentration - and probably affected thinking processes. The irritability caused by the chemicals contained in cigarettes contributed to the unwanted behavior of one parent - yelling and shouting from dawn until dusk. I was irritable as well.

My father smoked from ages 13 to early 70s, quit, and died of lung cancer at age 76. My mother smoked because he smoked, with the same result several years later.

I do not smoke, because at age 5, viewing a television commercial about the good taste of a cigarette, I went to the cigarette box on the coffee table, took out a cigarette and ate it. I can taste it now. Commercials are liars, I thought - I still think it.

Smoking and second hand smoke have now been shown to affect a number of human body systems in a negative way. While not everyone that smokes will quit smoking, everyone that smokes can be considerate enough to keep smoking away from children, in my opinion.

Death Wish

In the film Harrison Bergeron, starring Christopher Plummer, Sean Astin, and others, the shadow government's leader (Plummer) is berating an incompetent aide in one scene and giving orders to several. The specifically mentioned incompetent aide asks, "What do you want me to do?"

Plummer's character replies, "I want you to get cancer!"

In my worst moments, I want to say this to people that smoke around children, but know that it won't help and is futile.

More by this Author


Comments 8 comments

chspublish profile image

chspublish 5 years ago from Ireland

Smoking may not kill or cause cancer for everyone, but I think the idea of putting smoke in your body on a continuous basis can't be a healthy way to be. People who give up smoking notice how their general health improves on many levels. Inhaling smoke from the environment is ineveitable and can't be controlled, but inhaling cigarette smoke can be controlled and limited.

Thanks for your stimulating hub.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

My father, brother and ex-husband smoked two packets a day and in those days nobosy ever thought anything about it. I never did and nor my mother. Noadays the very smell of smoke makes you turn your noce.


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

Well put Patty. My Grandpa's folks smoked heavily in the house he grew up in and he suffered from many ailments his entire life including asthma. His wife, aka my Grandma, used to blow smoke in his face when they would fight. She is somewhere in her upper 80's and still smokes!

I have read and heard from fellow Native American Indians that the original tobacco was not so addictive, was more psychoactive and therefore medicinal, but since it's European manipulation for profit, it has been turned into a demon. I believe products like American Spirit and Drum may offer a purer form. Products like Marlboro and Camel have hundreds of additives including gun powder!

Well done, I'm with you, people who smoke around children will hopefully encounter a karmic response.

Ben


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 years ago from North America Author

chspublish - Right I think - bad for overall health; if not cancer, smokign can make any and all other conditions and illnesses worse.

Hello hello - I really hate the smoke and there are not too many things I hate.

Ben Zoltak - I've seen many here switch to American Spirit and feel better, in fact. Gunpowder!- I'd no idea but am not surprised. How about the old Raleighs without filters - poison. Joe Camel is not a friend to anyone. I'm glad you posted. Your poor Grandpa!


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 5 years ago from USA

Hello Patty - Your title says it correctly. Smoking does not kill everyone. Neither does driving your car into a great big oak tree; however, that too, is not a habit that is advised.

Gus :-)))


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 years ago from North America Author

Gus - That's a good way of putting it! Made me laugh as well.


Support Med. profile image

Support Med. 5 years ago from Michigan

It's definitely a bad habit and may cause harm, as you stated, that we are not aware of, even though not life threatening. v/r


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

...(Spam is removed)

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working