My dad quit smoking years ago.  He often fell asleep on the couch while ashes from a lit cigarette fell to the floor.  The fact that his bed once caught afire, did not temper his cravings.  Today, in addition to being a cigarette Nazi, he takes to the treadmill regularly and continues to adhere to a vegetarian diet.  His diabetes is under good control but he’s sure that his naturopathic teas will bring him closer to a ‘complete cure’.  My mother, in contrast, flirted with cigarettes when she was a young hot party animal.  She hasn’t smoked since her twenties, but she has an affinity to cheesecake despite her uncontrolled diabetes, her weight and her hypertension.  She has cardiovascular disease.  Ladies and gentlemen, your lifestyle matters.

Over 200,000 people were diagnosed with lung cancer in 2008.  Ninety percent of them were smokers.  About 35% of men and 22% of women who live in the United States are smokers.  And, one in ten lifelong smokers will develop lung cancer.  This is bad.  People who continue to smoke after they have been diagnosed with lung cancer do not respond to treatment as well as those who quit.  Bad.  And, unfortunately, 4 out of 25 cases of lung cancer are due to second hand smoke.  Really bad.  Even worse, children of smokers tend to become smokers and are twice as likely to develop lung cancer as adults.

Stop smoking and one can reduce the risk of getting lung cancer by up to 50%.  The best!  Diets rich in fruits and vegetables, i.e. lots of antioxidants, may help to protect the lungs.  Good. Cigarette for cigarette, the Harvard Alumni Health Study showed that exercise could reduce the risk of lung cancer, a drop of 39% for the men who did strenuous exercise on a regular basis. Great!

Ladies, you, and the men in your lives, should stop smoking.  I’ll admit, I’ve puffed on a couple of Marlboro lights while I sipped cocktails.  Think Sarah Jessica Parker in “Sex in the City”, when she was still a smoker.  Then I noticed tiny wrinkles around my eyes—the damage to small blood vessels leads to premature aging–I was all too happy to pay for facials instead.  Shear panic was my antidote.  Dig deep and find yours.  My father had friends who were always bumming cigarettes. So he stopped, cold turkey, out of spite.

Spread the word! Happy Father’s Day.

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