Licence To Quit?

Freedom atlast

Would you think twice about smoking if you had to apply for and pay for a licence in order to purchase tobacco products? What if the application included a test to establish whether or not you are actually aware of the health implications of smoking or if the licence came in the form of a swipe card which limited your daily tobacco purchases?

Sounds rather extreme and verging on 'big brother' right? Well, it's actually the proposal of Australian public health expert, Professor Simon Chapman of Sydney University. Prof Chapman reckons that such a licence could provide a really practical disincentive for smokers. But how would such a scheme work?

Prof Chapman says that there are insufficient controls in the sale of tobacco products; pretty much anyone can sell them. He cites the analogy of a medical prescription which is essentially a temporary licence which enables the holder to purchase pharmaceuticals. Unbelievable then that a product which causes millions of deaths and costs billions annually in medical treatment which would be unnecessary if no-one smoked, is so freely available.

The licence would take the form of a swipe card which smokers would have to apply for. Retailers would not be permitted to sell tobacco products to anyone without a card. As with pharmacists who supply drugs to someone without a prescription, retailers would risk losing their retail licence if they were caught selling tobacco to someone without a licence. There would also be a component of the licence application process which would limit the quantity of tobacco products the holder could buy.

The licence would incur a cost to the smoker, would require the inconvenience of renewal and could even be refused or revoked in the event that the holder became seriously unwell as a result of their smoking habit. There could even be a financial incentive built in to encourage smokers to quit; their total licence fees might be refunded to them on condition that they were not allowed to apply for a licence at any time in the future.

Critics of the proposal say that the licence would only punish the smoker and not the tobacco industry itself. Bans on smoking in public places have been broadly accepted whereas a smoking licence would be seen as a more targeted attack and deemed to be "health fascism". Smokers should be able to make an informed health choice rather than have to sit a test to obtain a licence; it's just the nanny state gone mad! The scheme would be nearly impossible to police, would be ridiculously expensive to administer and would encourage a 'black market' in tobacco products. It is also suggested that the scheme would merely serve to punish poor smokers who have already been hit in the pocket by increased taxation, although Prof Chapman opines that this is a good thing. The addition of a licence fee, he says, will encourage poorer smokers to quit.

The UK Department of Health was keen to stress that it had no plans to introduce a licence for the purchase of tobacco products.

COPD

COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. Atleast 12 million people are diagnosed with the disease. More may have the disease and do not know it. How is the diseased diagnosed and treated? What are the symptoms to watch for?

This disease makes breathing difficult and worsens over time. It has two main conditions- emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

In emphysema the air sacs of the lungs are damaged and in some cases lose their shape and become floppy. This can also destroy the walls which leads to larger and fewer sacs instead of tiny ones. This causes the amount of gas exchange in the lungs to be dimenished.

In chronic bronchitis the lining of the airways is continually enflamed and irritated causing the lining to thicken. In the airways lots of thick mucus developes making it hard to breathe.

The disease developes slowly and worsen over time. In severe COPD it may prevent you from doing even the most basic activities during a typical day. Things such as taking care of yourself or cooking and walking you may no longer be able to do.

Basically COPD occurs over time when the lungs have been exposes to irritants that damages the airways and the lungs. The most common of these irritants is the cigarette. And, if smoke is inhaled, pipes, cigars and other types of tobacco smoke can also cause the disease. Other things that can contribute to this disease are air pollution, smoke and second hand smoke from the workplace or environment.

Usually a person is atleast 40 years old when the symptoms begin. People younger than 40 can get the disease. For example those with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency which is a genetic condition.

Often a 'smoker's cough' will develope and this is one of the first symptoms. It is a cough that is ongoing and produces a large amount of mucus. Wheezing(a squeeky orwhistling sound when you breathe) or , chest tightness and shortness of breath especially with physical activity is another symptom.

These symptoms are similar to some other diseases but the doctor can run tests to see if this is what you have. Often these symptoms occur years before the actual flow of air in and out of the lungs has declined. Your doctor will diagnose the disease based on these test results, symptoms and signs, and family and medical history. The doctor will ask you questions pertaining to how long you have had these symptoms and how much mucus comes up when you talk, and examine you.

The main test is called a spirometry and it is painless. You will be asked to take a deep breath in and then you will blow as hard as you can into a tube which is connected to a small machine. This machine is called a spirometer and it will measure how much air you breathe out and how fast. Then the doctor will have you inhale a medicine that will help to open your airway and have you breathe into the tube again and can then compare the results before and after adding the medicine.

Your doctor can also do several other type of tests as well. A arterial blood gas test or a chest CT scan can be done. The arterial blood gas test measures the oxygen in your blood and the CT scan creates pictures of blood vessels, lungs and heart and can show other conditions such as heart failure.

Though COPD has no cure yet there are lifestyle changes and treatments that can help to slow the progress of the disease, help you be more active and feel better.

Quitting smoking is the most important way to start. The doctor can help you learn of products and programs to help you quit. Other COPD treatments include vaccines, medicines, tips for managing complications, oxygen therapy and surgery, and pulmonary rehabiliation.

Depending on the severity of your COPD the doctor may prescribe a bronchodilator and these relax the airways and muscles and either short or long acting. And to reduce airway inflammation that flares up an inhaled glucocosteroids are prescribed. To relieve these breathing problems your doctor may ask you to try this for a trial period of six weeks up to three months to see how it helps.

Those with COPD are at higher risk for pneumonia. You may want to discuss with your doctor whether you should get the pneumococcal vaccine which lowers your risk. And a flu shot as well since this can cause serious problems for the COPD patient. Even a cold can cause symptoms to worsen.

Avoiding irritants to the lungs and quitting smoking will make your lifestyle more enjoyable. There is no cure for COPD. Using air filters in the home can help as well.

Strong for Who?

I wanted it so bad the other night. I had braved a beer (my single biggest trigger) and when my sister lit up, I could hardly hold back the words. I could see myself asking “Could I bum one?” and her responding happily, supportively even. It’s not that she wants me to smoke. It’s that she doesn’t want me to not smoke. I mean, really. Who wants to be reminded of the things they are doing “wrong”? Especially when we made it right for each other for so long. Read more

How Smoking Affects Your Health

Smoking tobacco products is responsible for the death of over 100,000 adults in the UK every year. Almost half of these deaths are from cancer. The remainder die from heart and circulatory disease or slowly and painfully from emphysema and other more chronic forms of lung disease. Read more

Important Issues Concerning Smoking

Due to their addiction to nicotine, cigarette smokers are running the risk of getting lung cancer, heart disease and emphysema. This is not only in regular smokers, but in those who are breathing in second hand smoke for even brief periods of time. It doesn't seem to make sense that people see this and do not even try to quit.

Tobacco smokers often get lung cancer and rarely the cancer is killed off with treatment, but often just comes back again later. COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) has become quite common, with about 16 million people in the U.S. suffering from the disease. Wheezing and being out of breath are common symptoms. Some don't even know they have the disease. This is not really what we want our golden years to be.

E-cigarettes offer the smoker a new and different way of getting their nicotine fix. Though it increases blood pressure and speeds up your heart beat (like smoking standard cigarettes), it doesn't deliver the harmful chemicals or tar that regular cigarettes do. This is a step in the right direction. Smokers can cut down on nicotine by using if they choose to work on quiting this way. This does mean that the smoker is still getting the addictive drug, nicotine.

The American Cancer Society says that there is no proof that the e-cigarettes are more healthful or that they provide much help to those trying to stop smoking completely. The ACS also stands by the fact that there is no safe cigarette product. Alternative nicotine products are not yet taxed or regulated.

Nicotine gum and patches are an option, but they don't seem to give the smoker the actual smoking ritual. So these often cause the smoker to fail in their attempts to quit. And this is one reason a lot of smokers are going to the electronic cigarette.

The World Health Organization and The Centers for Disease and Control both feel that tobacco is the most preventable risk to human life in most of the developed countries. Many programs have been created to put the word out on the harm that cigarette smoking will do. It is up to each individual to chose to have a healthy life, or one full of chronic and potentially fatal health disorders.

Don’t Light Up, Psych Up

I used to be a smoker, and I mainly quit by reminding myself constantly of all the advantages of being a non-smoker. I am convinced that this mental technique can work for many other struggling would-be ex-smokers too, in addition to some other psychological adaptations . Here are some tips that can really help, if they are followed scrupulously:

1) Write down a list of reasons why you want to quit smoking. Read this list whenever you feel like lighting up.

2) Decide on a date for stopping smoking, and then make sure you stop (even if you occasionally backslide after that!)

3) Tell everyone you know that you are giving up. You should find that friends and family will be only too happy to support you.

4) Organise a team effort if you can.. Find other friends/family who want to quit too, and do it together.

5) Mark off the days you have not smoked on a calendar. Look at it whenever you feel the urge to smoke.

6) Get rid of all smoking paraphernalia, i.e. not just cigarettes, but also lighters, ashtrays, etc.

7) Be ready and prepared to suffer nicotine withdrawal symptoms. They peak after one or two days, and fade over two to four weeks.

8) Tell people you don't know that you don't smoke.

9) Be prepared for wanting to eat more, but fight the urge.

10) Attend a “stopping smoking “ clinic to get support and help in stopping (your GP should be able to refer you or advise you about one of these).

Many people have used all or some of the above techniques successfully in their quitting battle, so good luck!

Hope you got something from this blog, and I appreciate your votes and comments.

 

Picture courtesy of www.absolutewealth.com

Clear Magic: How Smoking Clouds up My Life

I’ve got a little gray card laying on my table titled “My most important reasons to quit smoking.” It’s been laying there awhile now, and even though I have seriously reigned in my addiction, I haven’t “committed” to it yet. Well, maybe I have. It has been a few days. Oh, maybe I haven’t. It is Friday… This back and forth has gone on for quite some time. Years.

I know that listing my reasons is an important step in my commitment, but I couldn't think of any. Oh, sure, I am excited about not stinking, about nicer skin and hair, about breathing deeply. But there's more to it than that. "Better health" didn't really encompass all the wonderful gifts that would come into my life the less I smoke. 

While I was brushing my teeth the other morning, mentally congratulating myself on the fact that I hadn’t smoked a cigarette in a few days, and feeling mighty fine about it, on every level, my Most Important Reason came to me. It’s a little… ah, shall we say ‘non-traditional?’ but it will work for me because it means something to me.

My most important reason to quit smoking is because it clouds up my ‘magic’.

I personally think we all have a little magic in us, and I don’t mean the Harry Potter kind. I mean our sense of self, our intuition, our belief in what our bodies and minds are capable of and the manifestation of that belief in our daily lives. I get to live a little magic each day. When I come to an intersection and I don’t have to stop my bicycle because the traffic seems to “magically” part like the Red Sea, and I can pedal safely to the other side, that’s magic, for me. When I do my meditation in the morning and I get a clear message, that’s magic. Or when I ask for a clear sign or message about a big decision and I get one, that’s magic. Or when I ask for a windfall of money, and I get it a few days later, that’s magic. All these little instances of the “higher” self within me impacting my real life, are my magic. And when I smoke, they get cloudy. They don’t happen as often, or as easily. I feel more negative about everything, so it’s harder for me to create and enjoy the beautiful, positive things happening in my life.

Smoking robs me of my magic. Just a few days quit and I can already feel myself getting lighter, stronger, more joyful, finding more magic. And I can’t wait to see what I can do when I’ve been clear and bright for months. Or years. Now THAT really will be magic.

Smoking Linked to Premature Births

Most women want to do what's best for their baby during pregnancy. However, sometimes the rules seem a little stringent. No drinking? No smoking? Not even a little? There's a good reason for these rules however.

First, if you have ever tried to cut back on smoking, you know that it's nearly impossible. It's so tough to limit yourself that you would be better off putting that energy into quitting. In addition, smoking can have very adverse effects on your little one. 

Prematurity has been linked to smoking during pregnancy. A baby that is born even a few weeks early can suffer from a number of health issues. Babies need the full 40 weeks in utero to fully develop, though a baby born after 37 weeks is considered full term. Any earlier than this and your infant could suffer from immature lungs and many other problems. A preemie will also have to stay in the hospital for several weeks or even months. It's very difficult 

In Belgium, a smoking ban was enforced and saw a drop in premature births. While the connection between preemies and their mothers smoking, the ban helped prove this.

Other issues faced by some pregnant women who smoke include babies being born below birthweight, babies with cleft palates or lips, placenta problems (placenta previa and placenta abruption) or even stillbirths. Women who smoke are more likely to have ectopic pregnancies, as well, where the embryo implants outside the uterus.

One of the biggest issues is that your baby is exposed to nicotine and all the other goodies in cigarettes. While the placenta is designed to act as a filter, it doesn't stop everything from getting through. Many of the chemicals in your cigarettes will pass through to your baby and be in his bloodstream. 

Ideally, you'll be able to quit before getting pregnant. However, this isn't always the way things work. If you find yourself pregnant while you are still smoking, you can all but eliminate the effects on your baby by quitting as soon as possible. It isn't easy, but you'll know that you're doing the best for your child.

Mental Strength Starts With Learning, Not Training.

Mental strength starts with learning, not training. Do you know that the less you know, the higher risk you are to expose yourself to health issues? Consider this: a child takes his first drag. Nicotine is addictive. He now is eager to taste it again. Riddle me this: Read more

Where Is Your Support Group?

Where is your support group? Is it an organization, where you have to become a member, pay a fee to sit in a class, have a buddy-buddy system that assist you on your journey? Well… Yes and no. Your support group isn’t only them.

An important part of your support group can be a notebook that you express yourself in. Your support system can include new activities you’ve gotten involved with to take your mind off of smoking, the alarm clock that gets you up at a specific hour in the day that you feel you may be most productive, your electronic cigarette, nicotine patch, or gum that you tend to seek out when you need a drag.

YOUR TOOLS FOR A BREAKTHROUGH ARE YOUR SUPPORT GROUP

If you invest the time and energy to focus on using your tools, you and your ambition will become habitual partners. Where you will lose the habit/urge to smoke, you’ll refocus your habits and urges on these tools.

Your support group is you’re self-talk. At first try to talk yourself out of it smoking a quick drag, and then talk to your significant other about why you’d like to smoke. It's important to xpress the need. Speaking on what you feel in the moment will allow your brain to collect alternative treatments, or will allow the person you are speaking with to help you decide on what else will "fix" you in a more productive or healthy way. The people around you are your support group, and if not, bring people around you that will support you or simply observe healthy strangers and feel inspired to quick smoking. A nice walk in the park can do the trick. Perhaps it's scenes like elderly couples feeding birds, mothers chasing their children, or witnessing these strangers enjoy life with energy that you won’t have if you smoke your lungs out. Believe it or not, this will provide you with the support you need. Support groups are every day things and everyday events, and they really are with you everywhere you go. Let the world be your buddy system.