by Kenneth Lyen
In 1954, Richard Doll published his findings in England that there was a link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. Fifty years later, the United States government sues the tobacco industry $280 billion in damages for deliberately deceiving the public about the risks of smoking.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, in the United States alone, 1 in 5 deaths, or 440,000 deaths annually, can be directly attributable to cigarette smoking.
Compared to nonsmokers, the risk of dying from lung cancer is increased more than 22 times in men, and more than 12 times in women. The risk of dying from other cigarette-related diseases, such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema, is increased more than 10 times for both men and women smokers. And smoking increases the risk of dying from heart disease by more than 3 times.
The medical cost associated with smoking-related illnesses in the United States is estimated to be $75 billion each year.
The medical community has tried to reduce cigarette smoking. In 1954, some 80% of British adults smoked, and now it is only 26%. Concomitant with this decrease in smoking is a fall in the incidence of lung cancer. But even though there is a drop in the number of smokers, in the United States, 33 million Americans are still smoking today.
Cigarette packets carry a warning: "Cigarette smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema and other serious diseases in smokers." In fact the cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris gives the following advice: "If you're a smoker and you're concerned about the health effects of smoking, you should quit."
Sir Richard Doll himself gave up smoking the moment he realized the link between smoking and lung cancer. He is now 92 years. But most smokers do not quit. Why?
The reason is that the degree of addiction to cigarette smoking continues to be underestimated. The question is how addictive is addictive?
We can look at it this way... what percentage of dependents succeed in quitting their addiction?
In the case of alcohol dependency, some 15.4% of alcoholics are unable to stop drinking. In the case of heroin, some 16.7% of heroin users fail to kick the habit. Dependence on drugs other than heroin, the failure rate is 14.7%, However, in the case of tobacco dependency, 24.1% are unable to quit. According to the Surgeon General's report, 75-85% of cigarette smokers in the United States have tried unsuccessfully to stop smoking.
In fact some people look at these data and conclude that cigarette smoking might even be more addictive than heroin.
So where are we now? We know that cigarettes can cause lung cancer, and this most devastating illness is largely preventable. We know that other potential killers, including chronic bronchitis, emphysema, ischemic heart disease and strokes are also linked to cigarette smoking.
And yet this mass murderer is still at large.
Well, maybe not much longer. Finally, at long last, the killer is being brought to trial.
Lets hope justice can be seen to be done!