Who would happen to plant himself right next to us but a burly, breathless, wrinkled-face man whose mouth was glued to a cigarette, puffing and exhaling grey smoke every few seconds.
My family knows I can’t play poker because I have no “poker face” whatsoever, so my disapproval must have shown on my face because this gaunt-looking man begrudgingly asked us, “Mind if I sit here?”
“Sure,” my friend wide-eyed friend replied.
But, our discomfort was soon voiced by his scratchy low voice, “Oh, it’s my cigarette.” Grimacing, he took one long last drag and snuffed out the cigarette in the grass.
Do I dare? I did! “Did you know how dangerous smoking is for your health???”
I felt my friend’s sudden firm and obvious grip on my elbow while she bellowed, “Let’s change the subject! Otherwise, I’ll have to bind and gag my friend from giving a 5-hour lecture on the evils of cigarette smoking. Let’s enjoy the concert instead.” She smiled at the man and glared at me to be silent, but I spent the entire length of the concert reviewing my anti-smoking lecture in my head hoping to give a shortened version to our stinky neighbor as soon as the concert was over.
Second Hand Damage
Let’s talk a second about the dangers of second hand smoke. There is no question second hand smoke is harmful. Here are some facts according to researchers at Ohio State University:
- The spouse of a heavy smoker is 3.5x more likely to develop lung cancer than a non-smoker.
- Second hand smoke creates high-risk pregnancies, causing fetuses to pull away from the placenta.
- Infants who are exposed to smoke are afflicted with more colds and pneumonia.
In fact, medical tests can detect a dramatic change in platelets, which are essential to blood clotting, in subjects who spend more than 30 minutes exposed to second hand smoke.
Thankfully, America has wised up and many states across the country have smoking bans in all general workplaces and public areas.
What can convince kids from starting a habit that can be so hard to kick? Some say each cigarette can shorten a person’s life by 5.5 minutes! Those who smoke regularly are slashing their lifespan by about 7 years! Would scare tactics work to turn young adults off about smoking?
Years ago, I remember schools in Minnesota asking kids in junior high what would discourage them from ever smoking. It wasn’t the long term health dangers….It was negative social stigma: poor physical appearance (yellowed teeth, bad breath) coupled with less social acceptance. Teach them acceptance and you are teaching children to avoid smoking!
Like many of those on the “young” side, negative health consequences seem too far off in the future to worry about them.
For those of us with a few more miles logged onto the timeline of age, how can we protect ourselves and our loved ones from smoking?
If you are subject to second hand smoke, or are looking for a strategy to quit smoking, the following nutrients will build your body strong from any smoking related damage.
- Vitamin A helps to protect the respiratory tract by promoting healthy mucous membranes. Take 5,000-10,000 IU daily of vitamin A.
- Vitamin E helps protect lung tissue from cigarette smoke as an anti-oxidant. Take up to 800 IU daily of vitamin E.
- Vitamin C fights off many toxic pollutants associated with tobacco smoke. Take 1,500 mg or more daily of vitamin C.
- Zinc builds your immune system to resist pollutants. Take 30 mg of zinc a day.
- For cravings, take cayenne, which desensitizes the respiratory linings to tobacco and chemical irritants. It’s an antioxidant that stabilizes lung membranes preventing damage. The warm peppery taste also reduces cigarette cravings.
- Oats reduce or eliminate tobacco cravings. They even reduce the number of cigarettes desired even in those people not trying to quit.
Prayer is another powerful weapon that often works miracles. If you have repeatedly failed to break the habit – or so hopeless you want to quit quitting – you can experience cold turkey release from smoking addiction through prayer. Find a church that has a prayer team that would be willing to pray you through a miracle.
Parents who love their kids and are interested in their welfare should stop smoking. Smoking parents help introduce children to the habit. Unless a drastic change is made, the longevity of our children will go up in smoke.
Kids are quick to observe any contradiction between what their parents say and what they do. Despite what you might think, most kids say that the adult whom they most want to be like when they grow up is a parent. Does this motivate you to quit?