Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November Is Lung Month

November has quite a few observations, giving me plenty of fuel for the fire. Speaking of fire and smoke - November is Lung Cancer and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Awareness Month. As two of the leading causes of death in America, the American Lung Association is drawing attention to these two deadly and highly overlooked diseases and highlighting what is being done to reduce their toll on people in America and their loved ones.


Smokers hear it over and over yet they seem to ignore it so easily despite the dangers it poses. And it is dangerous. Though it is easy to ignore the common day to day side-effects, all along it plays havoc with not only your own, but others' - including loved ones' - health. Per the American Lung Association: Every year in the U.S. over 392,000 people die from tobacco-caused disease, making it the leading cause of preventable death. Another 50,000 people die from exposure to secondhand smoke.

As a pet lover, I find it important to note that for those with pets it is highly dangerous. Dogs that inhale secondhand smoke are three times more likely to develop lung or nasal cancer than dogs living in a smoke-free home,  dogs can experience allergic reactions to secondhand smoke. And the smaller the pet the more effects: Cats exposed to secondhand smoke have a higher rate of feline lymphoma, a deadly form of cancer, than cats not exposed to secondhand smoke. These are just a few of effects on all pets.

Because of these effects on those outside the smoker, I can compare smoking to something like drunk driving. In drinking and driving, those who do it expose not only their own bodies and souls to the effects of the alcohol and possible accidents, but since accidents are as likely to include another vehicle as a single car accident, they most often effect other people as well, and often worse than the offender. The same goes for smoking - you are not only jeopardizing your own health but that of others as well.

Then there are the financial aspects of smoking. The sad part is that a large number of smokers are in lower income demographics and yet the cigarettes themselves are expensive not to mention direct and indirect health care costs. I entered my info in a 'what if' scenario on a public web site calculator and if I did smoke since I was 16 (and am no 41 so 25 years of smoking) it states I will have reduced my life span by 3 years 299 days 2 hours 22 minutes and will will have paid (for cigarettes alone) approximately $39420. $40,000. That could be a large portion of a student load, a car or more, even a big piece of an average home mortgage. All literally blown away in smoke.

The evidence should be staggering and convincing and yet so many debate or simply ignore the truth: smoking has a huge negative effect on your life both in health and finances.
Perhaps one of the biggest pieces of the month-long awareness program is the Great American Smokeout where across America efforts are made to get smokers to quit for just one day - and then hopefully that will carry on to the next day, and beyond to a permanent smoking cessation. The smokeout is always the Thursday before Thanksgiving, which this year is November 17. I will continue with notices on this effort, trying to get my friends, family, and followers that smoke to participate, but for now please consider it and start planning in advance to succeed this day and maybe beyond.