Smoke ’em if you light ’em


Two words that should send chills down the spine of ex-smokers everywhere.

Peter Jennings

The sad thing is according to new research even if you are an ex puffer such as the ABC news anchor you still stand a pretty good chance of joining Peter in that big ex smoker lounge in the sky.

The reason I bring this up is not to crusade against smoking. There is nothing worse than an ex-smoker getting on your case if you still suck on the cancer sticks.

You may know that Northeast Pa has a huge amount of smokers, by percentage way ahead of the rest of PA and the country. How far ahead?

According to a study done here in 2002 more than 40% of you aged 30 to 44 years old are puffers. The national average? 20%. So four out of ten of you are putting yourself at risk. Twice as many as the rest of the US. We are

Number One!

But smoking is your choice- here’s my point. The ex smokers among us, Like Peter Jennings who said he quit 20 years ago except for a slip during 9 eleven, are still at risk. The conventional wisdom that quitting now greatly reduces your chances of a visit from the grim reaper may be somewhat overstated.

Here’s the bottom line: Not everyone who smokes will get lung cancer and not everyone who quits will be protected. Why? No one knows for sure.

People who smoke have a 10- to 15-fold greater risk of developing lung cancer than those who never light up, experts say. And, for the most part, the more you smoke — or smoked in the past — the greater your accumulated risk.

“The risk does decline with time after you stop but those numbers aren’t clear,” according to the American Lung Association.

Some things to look out for if you or someone you love is an ex smoker.

A cough that doesn’t go away and gets worse over time

Constant chest pain

Coughing up blood

Shortness of breath, wheezing, or hoarseness

Repeated problems with pneumonia or bronchitis

Swelling of the neck and face

Loss of appetite or weight loss


So if you are an ex smoker with a cough, maybe a visit with the Doctor is on your agenda.

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About James Rising

A recovering radio addict wrestles with the written word.
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