In what seems like the most ridiculous anti-smoking campaign to date, Phillip-Morris is offering free cigarettes to smokers who feature the best tips on how they quit the habit. I am not serious, of course, but I would not put it past them. Seriously, we have known that cigarettes and tobacco are killing us for decades and yet the habit is still popular as hell.
Here's the space where I tell you how to effectively stop using those evil cancer sticks. First and foremost you have to be like an alcoholic and admit you're powerless against these inanimate consumer products. Next, coat your your ass with nicotine embedded patches to pacify your cravings.
Also, purchase plenty of Nicorette gum so you can avoid being pissed-off at everybody who crosses your path throughout the day. Continue these actions for ten days and avoid stress for three years and you'll be cured. Follow this prescribed regiment to the letter and you will be sufficiently convinced you have no will power.
But, let's move on the the meat of the story, anti-smoking ads are having an effect and there's new evidence to support that claims.
On March 14th, the online Journal of the National Cancer Institute published data that suggests that nearly 800,000 new lung cancer cases have been avoided by public efforts to discourage smoking. This data only accounts for data from 1975 to the year 2000. I think this figure is surprisingly low. Yes, 800,000 is a big number, but don't more people die in traffic accidents, we still drive cars don't we?
Dr. Suresh Moolgavkar, of the biostatistics and biomathematics program at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle comments on the trend:
"Quitting smoking most definitely reduces deaths from lung cancer. However, too many people continue to smoke,"
"The most effective way to reduce the burden of lung cancer is to get smokers to quit and to prevent non-smokers from taking up smoking."
So if the surgeon general had not published all the reports and all the warnings we would probably have had more like a million new lung cancer cases. That's not even taking into account how many people who quit just because the habit is so damn expensive.
Eric Feuer, chief of the Statistical Methodology and Applications Branch of the U.S. National Cancer Institute adds to the anti-smoking sentiments:
"We can't let our guard down and we really need to continue our efforts,"
Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonary specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City says that smoking accounts for more disease than just lung cancer:
"Smoking cessation would also reduce rates of heart attack, stroke and the lung disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,"
He claims they find new damage caused to our bodies by smoking all the time. So more than likely the 800,000 lives figure is missing the mark in a number of ways. The number probably finds itself in the millions rather than thousands.
Regardless that's the news for a 25-year span from 1975 to 2000. I wonder what they'll have to report about smoking in 2025 when another two and a half decades has passed? Perhaps people won't be smoking anymore, but I doubt it. I think it's human nature to seek destructive behavior, and some people just do anything they're told not to do. We'll see.