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A Gift for the Whole Family

(This article was culled from Smoke No More,
a smoking cessation program now offered
by Dr. Fred Wicks and available at

Every child alive wants to look forward to a life of happiness and good fortune.  Every teenager alive nervously thinks they have at least some idea of what that life might look like.  And, every parent alive has been handed the responsibility of doing their best to bring that good life to reality.

Infants and very small children are, of course, totally dependent on adults – mostly parents – to provide their happiness and well-being.  Hence, parents basically decide most things for small children.  Of course, brothers and sisters, grandparents, and other care-givers connected to the family can certainly play a role, as well. 

During the years of what might be called middle childhood, children start to realize that there are some choices they themselves can make, however.  It is normal for them to decide to join others for play, to explore their environments as they actively construct things like forts and tree-houses, form clubs, and play sports together.  Most often, boys play with boys and girls with girls.

The teen years are the time when young people want to exercise greater autonomy and make more and more choices for themselves, as they begin to establish their individual identities. 

Parents, of course, are charged with the privilege (and responsibility) of making all the decisions for the very young, most of the choices that affect the young, some critical choices for their teenagers, and all of the determinations regarding themselves and the on-going life of the family.

With that as background, let’s take an honest look at the subject of smoking

Here’s the bottom line up front – DON’T!  Choose life!  If you have never smoked – congratulations!  Feel good about that.  If you are an occasional smoker or more involved with this habit, stop now.

If you have a child that you sense is wondering what it is like to smoke because they see others doing it, urge them to push those thoughts out of their mind.  Smoking is not what it looks like.  Keep reading – you’ll understand why.

If you are a teen and maybe feeling that smoking will gain you acceptance by a certain group of friends, or that you will look cool and more mature, or that it is an opportunity to decide something for yourself – like being your own boss – don’t be deceived This may surprise you, but once you start smoking you will have lost most of your capacity to choose or decide for yourself about smoking.  The oft-heard statement “I can quit anytime I want to” is mostly self-deception.  It is really only true to a very limited degree.  Yes — you certainly can quit; but, the experience of millions of people all over the world says, it is an excruciatingly difficult thing to do

Yes, excruciatingly difficult is the right phrase to describe it.  To stop smoking puts us at war with ourselves, and it is torture for one’s body and mind.

If you are a parent who has never smoked or who has been able to get free from the habit, be proud.  Yes, be proud – not pompous just rightfully proud.  And, enjoy that feeling.  You are giving your children, your teenagers, and your spouse a gift -- everyday.  It’s a gift that brings them better health, more friends, increased attractiveness, more money for life’s needs and pleasures, and longer life – immediately.

For those who struggle with this addiction, here are the alarming facts.

            Over 1100 people die prematurely every day from smoking.  It has been estimated that 440,000 Americans died prematurely every year from 1995 to 2002.  Let’s put that statement in perspective.  More people die each year from smoking than from alcohol, illegal drugs, AIDS, car crashes, murders, suicides, fires, and the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan combined!

            Smoking costs at least $150 billion each year in health care costs and lost productivity in the U.S. alone.  And, sadly, the costs are significantly higher in much of the rest of the world where smoking continues to be accepted and highly promoted.

            Smokers risk cardiac arrest (heart attacks) 2 to 4 times more than others.  Because of smoking, 1.4 million cancer cases and 559,000 deaths are projected for this year, according to an American Cancer Society’s recent report.  Someone dies every 72 seconds from smoking.

            Children of smokers are more likely to be smokers themselves and have more smoke-related health problems than children of non-smokers.

            Americans who smoked on average only one pack per day last year, spent $1850 to $2000 on cigarettes (depending on where they live) — about the price of a nice vacation, a good computer, or some living-room furniture.   A two- packs-per-day smoker spends well over $150,000 on cigarettes in a lifetime.  What would that buy?

             Smoking is an addiction.  Nicotine, the addictive substance in tobacco products, is even harder to get free from than other illegal drugs.  In 1988, the Surgeon General of the United States released a report clearly documenting that smoking is a true addiction, and not just habit-forming as a favorite snack food might be.

Interestingly, when the Surgeon General gave his report in 1988, some respected health experts predicted that smoking would all but vanish from within our borders by the turn of the century, because the hazards were becoming clearer all the time.  But, 2000 came and went, and an estimated 50 million Americans continue this deadly habit. 

Happily, many adults have quit; and, for the second straight year lung cancer deaths alone in the United States have gone down appreciably, according to the American Cancer Society.  But, adolescent smoking continues to rise.  Currently, about 1300 teenagers start to smoke everyday; and, whether they believe it or not, a third of them will die from smoke-related illnesses, too — if they continue this course.

What most teens do not understand is that the tobacco industry spends millions (some reports suggest billions) to tempt and encourage them to smoke.  Then, it spends additional millions to keep them smoking and millions more to have access to the U.S. Congress and state legislatures to keep their business glowing and growing.

If you are a teen, realize too, that when you smoke, you are taking into your body about 4000 identified chemicals – many of which are very harmful and 43 known carcinogens (cancer causing chemicals), as well as one of the most addictive substances known to mankind.  Once you start smoking, your power to choose your own path in life begins progressively to slip away.

Clearly, the situation is serious; and the teens and adults of America have some important decisions to make.

My suggestion is this – give yourself and everyone in your family the gift of not smoking.  For those who are currently captive to the habit, you can get free; but, realize that smoking is a multi-dimensional problem that requires a concerted, multi-dimensional response. 

It is a problem because it kills someone every 72 seconds and causes, or contributes to, many physical illnesses – including respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema; circulatory problems such as strokes, heart attacks, occlusive vascular disorders; and many forms of cancer.  

It is multi-dimensional in that it involves our physical bodies, our emotional make ups, our perceptions of ourselves and others, learned behavior patterns, and cultural issues.

The best thing you can do for yourself and the others in your family is find professional help to stop smoking.  If you try to do it on your own, the success rate is about 5 percent.  Doing it with the help of a knowledgeable professional, however, increases your odds of success by at least five times.  It will be money well spent.

If you live in the greater Philadelphia area, get one on one professional help by joining the Smoke No More program at the Alliance Center for Change and calling 215-699-2437.

The Smoke No More program is also available across the world at www.smokenomoretoday.com where you can learn about and purchase my fully-researched and recently-released comprehensive cessation program as an ebook to follow in the privacy of your own home for complete freedom from tobacco.  Use this link:


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Phone: 215-699-2437

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