Don't Send Your Life Up in Smoke

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Here's some sad news: cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of Lung Cancer, and Lung Cancer remains a leading killer of African-American men and women. Here's the good news: fewer young people are starting to smoke and social pressure in the form of smoking bans in public places and prohibitions against television advertising are helping people quit.

With every new day, smokers have a new opportunity to quit. Reflect on how many lives have been lost through tobacco use. The American Cancer Society estimates that over 430,000 deaths are caused by tobacco use each year. In addition to Lung Cancer, smoking also causes cancers of the mouth and throat, Emphysema and accelerates the life–threatening potential of many other conditions like Stroke, Heart Disease, Hypertension, Diabetes, and Osteoporosis.

With all of the negative side effects, you would think that smokers would "just say no", but kicking the habit it not easy. Nicotine is a strong addiction comparable to cocaine or heroin. Nicotine is absorbed from tobacco smoke in the lungs and it doesn’t matter whether the tobacco smoke is from cigarettes, cigars or pipes. Nicotine is also absorbed when tobacco is chewed. With regular use, levels of nicotine accumulate in the body during the day and persist overnight. So, daily smokers are exposed to the effects of nicotine 24 hours each day.

Few Blacks, or anyone for that matter, is strong enough to battle this powerful addiction without a good deal of mental preparation and outside help. Over the counter stop smoking aids like the nicotine patch, mouth and nasal sprays and chewing gum have met with success for many smokers. There are also prescription drugs that curb the desire for tobacco. Even with these products, however, most tobacco users fail the first time they try to quit — and given the strength of the addiction, that’s okay. The point is an attempt has been made to stop. Each successive attempt will bring the smoker closer to quitting for good.

With commitment and support, you can quit this nasty, dangerous habit and enjoy a smoke–free life! Seek help and get started today!

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