Cigarette smoking contributes to 440,000 premature deaths per year in the United States, resulting in an annual economic loss of $157 billion from health-related costs. Lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, and chronic respiratory disease account for most of the deaths related to smoking.
But the real loss is much more than money.
According to the 2004 British Study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Health a smoker’s life is shorten by an average of 10 years. The American Cancer Society says you lose 13 to 14 years of life, compared with non-smokers.
Here is a partial list of people who would probably still be with us if they had quit smoking:
*ABC anchorman Peter Jennings.
*Renaldo “Obie” Benson, member of the Four Tops.
*Comedian Alan King.
*Author Stephen Ambrose.
*Singer Rosemary Clooney.
*Baseball’s Cal Ripken Sr.
*Baseball’s Joe DiMaggio.
*Actor Vincent Price.
*Actor Chuck Connors.
*Jazz singer Sarah Vaughan.
*Big band performer and Actor Desi Arnaz.
*Actor Yul Brynner.
*Jesse Owens, Olympic gold medalist.
*Jazz great Duke Ellington.
*Nat King Cole, the great singer.
They each represent a loss for smokers and non-smokers a like. The could have given all of us another movie or another song, read the news for us one more time, told another joke, or enriched our lives like only they could but instead they are all gone because of smoking.
I wise person once told me that “It honestly takes crushing pressure to get most of us human beings to change. We all seek comfort zones and we stay in them unless and until something becomes so uncomfortable that the comfort zone isn’t really comfortable at all.”