Wednesday, September 3, 2008

We Need More Help For Those Trying to Quit Smoking

Many insurance policies do not cover programs or medications to quit smoking, yet quitting smoking is the best thing a smoker can do to improve their health. The long term cost savings alone would more than cover the initial cost. 50% of smokers will die from a direct cause of their smoking, which are very expensive diseases-heart disease, cancer, emphysema, stroke, just to name a few. But does that mean the 50% of smokers can smoke without consequences??--No, it just means that they die from something that is not smoke related but that doesn't mean that their health wasn't affected by smoking. A man with emphysema was in one of my workshops and told of the time he was driving from Texas to California and someplace in Arizona, his oxygen tank ran out of oxygen and he passed out and wrecked his car. Luckily he wasn't hurt. Mr. O'Kelly was a patient I took care of, who came in for daily treatments for his emphysema. He died from complications from his medications for his emphysema. In neither of these two cases would "smoking" have been the "cause" of death and would fall outside of the 50% statistic.
Statistics don't apply on an individual basis. The average American family has 2.4 children--have you ever seen a .4 child? But we kid ourselves that not all smokers are affected because they don't die but what we should really be talking about is--disability. How many smokers become disabled because of smoking? I haven't seen any statistics on that but from the individuals that have been through my workshops since 1990, I would estimate that close to 90% have some kind of health problem related to smoking.
So why don't the insurance companies do more? Politics--individuals who have never smoked, will say--I don't understand why the smoker just doesn't put down their cigarette and walk away? Smokers will agree that it is their right to smoke and that is isn't an addiction. Then we have the smokers that really do want to quit but need help but can't afford medications (even though cigarettes are expensive, the cost is spread out over days, instead of one big upfront cost, like with medications). Some will get information from the internet or from the very few books that are out there. but many don't want to spend anymore needless money on another 100% guaranteed program or gimmick that just doesn't work.
Helping others quit is my passion because I know that misery that being treated for cancer can be--and I'm a survivor but will have effects from the treatment for the rest of my life. That's the reason for this blog--to share with you free information that will hopefully help you to live smoke free. Let me know what you need help with and I will post suggestions for all questions.

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