Smoking leaves us breathless

Any way you look at it, smoking is a filthy habit.

It fouls smokers’ lungs.

It fouls the air around smokers – air that ends up in nonsmokers’ lungs, too.

It creates a foul stench that hangs about smokers and the environments they frequent.

It creates a dirty amber-yellow film that coats surfaces and stains skin and teeth.

It makes people sick.

And it makes people dead – a fact recognized 50 years ago this month by the US Surgeon General, the first government agency world-wide to publicly acknowledge the dangers of smoking.

Smoking is such a filthy habit that it simply takes your breath away.

And all along the way, it costs both smokers and nonsmokers a lot of money.

The cost of treating diseases caused by tobacco consumption is huge, and the cost of tobacco-related health problems to the general economy is astronomical.

It goes without saying that the cost in human suffering caused by smoking and other tobacco consumption supercedes any monetary price tag. About 17 per cent of British Columbians smoke tobacco. And about 6,000 die every year from causes directly attributed to tobacco smoke.

And it’s not just the smokers who suffer.

B.C.’s Smoking Cessation Program and QuitNow services have already helped hundreds of thousands of British Columbians protect their own health and that of their families. Support in quitting as well as free smoking cessation aids are easily accessible by calling HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 or visiting www.quitnow.ca.

This week is National Non-Smoking Week, and tomorrow is Weedless Wednesday – a week and a day to encourage smokers to rethink an unhealthy lifestyle choice and put away their cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and chewing tobacco. The hope is that they extend their abstinence, to improve their health and spare those around them the damage that smoking causes.

It’s time to catch your breath.

It’s time to quit.

– B.G.

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