Give it up

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 20, 2003

It is said that the first step is always the hardest for anyone trying to quit smoking or stop using chewing tobacco.

Mustering the will power to put down a cigarette and start benefiting from cleaner more efficient lungs is tough….real tough. Some of our News-Herald readership has quit for a period then returned. The grip of nicotine addiction is a difficult cycle to break.

Today, Nov. 20, the annual American Cancer Society will provide a great excuse to start down a road of better health. Doesn’t matter if you smoke cigarettes, cigars, chew tobacco or &uot;dip&uot; snuff. It doesn’t matter if you have &uot;dipped&uot; for 50 years, or just tried your first cigarette last Wednesday. Everyone who smokes, and there are an estimated 46 million adults that do, should consider quitting…if even for a day.


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The numbers regarding nicotine are staggering. For example, did you know that smokeless tobacco delivers a higher dose of nicotine than cigars, making it even more difficult to quit. The American Cancer Society estimates that the average dose of nicotine for chewing tobacco is 4.6 mg, snuff comes in at

3.6 mg, and cigarettes are 1.8 mg. Every time you light up your tolerance increases, which means you need more nicotine.

The risk from cigarettes, in particular, has been well documented for over a decade. Even elementary school children know that cigarette smoking can cause lung cancer. Public awareness campaigns have done a good job there. However, that same cigarette can cause an increased chance of cancer in the stomach, the larynx, the mouth, and the pancreas. In addition many smokers may also get chronic emphysema and or bronchitis…all from smoking. It is a lot to consider.

Smokeless tobacco users are not risk-free. Potential problems for this group include bone loss around the teeth, cancer of the mouth, gum recession, and cancer of pharynx.

One final note….smoking is directly responsible for one in five deaths in this country.

On Nov. 20, give quitting a chance and take the Great American Smoke Out!