Around the age of 70, Jackie Gleason gave an interview in which he told a reporter that the doctors had told him to quit smoking the almost five packs of cigarettes that he smoked, or risk losing both of his legs to blood clots. He said that he had refused, saying “What’s a poor fellow to do if he can’t smoke a cigarette.” He died a year later.
Smoking cigarettes causes a whole host of serious problems with your health. They also can affect your personal life as well. Smoking causes lung cancer, COPD, heart disease and stroke, It yellows your teeth and fingernails, makes your breath and clothes stink as well as your furniture and drapes. Smokers have lately become social outcasts.
Back before the dangers were known, a large percentage of the adult population smoked. It was the fashionable thing to do. Famous celebrities like John Wayne advertised them on TV, in magazines, and on billboards along the highway. Even doctors pushed the hand-held nicotine dispensers, saying they were good for your health.
Now, stricter warnings like cigarettes will kill you will be put on packs along with some gruesome pictures. But a lot of people will still smoke. I remember a story about a man who was a victim of throat cancer. They had to cut out his larynx, leaving him unable to speak. A few hours after the operation they caught him trying to smoke a cigarette through the hole in his throat. Talk about a dedicated smoker.
Now you can add one more ill to the long list that smoking can cause. According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch: “Now comes word that smokers are also four times as likely as non-smokers to lose a limb to peripheral artery disease. “Smoking is the number one risk factor for peripheral vascular disease,” says Dr. Scott Stevens, board member of the Amputee Coalition of America and professor of surgery and director of the endovascular program at the University of Tennessee Medical Center.”
This is even more than the second cause, diabetes. Like diabetes, the chemicals in the smoke cause buildup of plaque in the arteries, decreasing the amount of blood circulating in the legs. If it decreases enough, amputation is the result.
November is quit smoking month, including the Great American Smokeout. It’s a good time to quit, and you won’t be stinking up the house during the holidays. If the stress of the holidays is too much for you to quit right now, then make plans to quit right after. Regardless of when you do it, make plans. It will result in a much happier, healthier you. And you just may not be in a wheelchair or dead before you see your grandchildren grow up.