Although I experimented with smoking cigarettes in my early teens, it wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties until I really started. A bunch of us restaurant managers went out after work for a few beers and all of them smoked, so I started too. It is, of course, a decision that I regret.
I’ve tried to quit several times over the years, but to no avail. I’m down to 2-3 cigarettes a day for the past couple of years, but I just can’t seem to quit. I’ve tried everything from hypnosis to the nicotine gum, but nothing seems to work. At least I don’t smoke a pack and a half a day like I used to.
When I was growing up there were no warnings on cigarettes. The dangers were known but largely ignored. At least they didn’t have doctors advertising them like they did back in the twenties and thirties. Then they banned cigarette advertising from some of the media and put the stern warnings that they have today.
No more maybe and might, now it’s they DO cause cancer and other health problems. Pretty much everybody in the world knows that now. New health warnings that are coming out now show graphic pictures of lung cancer victims. One of the illustrations is supposed to be from the movie Saw IV. It says something like “smoking can cause death.”
Another big issue is second hand smoke. One time the little bookstore that I hung out at allowed smoking there after it closed. A group of us would have meetings and talk about books then. I remember during one meeting, a guy lit up a cigarette and the lady sitting next to him started coughing and almost fell out of her chair trying to get away from the cloud of smoke that was drifting her way. At the time, I thought that was ridiculous, but now I’m not so sure.
Smoking is a universal habit that causes universal health problems. It seems like there isn’t a system in the body that it doesn’t affect. The latest report is that second-hand smoke can cause hearing problems.
According to Medical News Today: “Passive smoking, or regularly breathing in smoke from other people’s cigarettes, is linked to some degree of hearing loss in non-smokers, say US researchers in a leading journal.”
The report goes on to say that doctors have realized for some time that there is a risk of hearing loss in smokers, but until now the risk to people who inhale second-hand smoke has not been established.
The hearing loss was in the high frequency hearing range and men were more likely to be affected than women. Quitting smoking but still being around people who smoke doesn’t decrease the hearing loss. I guess we who went to loud smoke-filled bars were really damaging our hearing as well as everything else.
Sources: “Secondhand smoke exposure and the risk of hearing loss.”
David A Fabry, Evelyn P Davila, Kristopher L Arheart, Berrin Serdar, Noella A Dietz, Frank C Bandiera and David J Lee.
Tobacco Control, Published Online First 15 November 2010.