Lee Kirksey, MD  
Cleveland , OH

Specialties: Peripheral Arterial Disease, PAD

Interests: vascular, specialist, treatment options
All Journal Entries Journals

President Obama Smoking addiction reflects national concern

Mar 15, 2010 - 10 comments

President Obama's recent physical examination documenting his ongoing struggle with tobacco addiction illustrates that the national problem has no boundaries. President Obama has struggled with attempts to stop smoking for over 20 years.

Democrat, Republican or Independent. For healthcare reform or against. Our President needs your support. President Obama like, 46 million other American , is a victim of nicotine addiction at the hands of the tobacco industry. The 1982 United States Surgeon General's report stated that "Cigarette smoking is the major single cause of cancer mortality in the United States." This statement is as true today as it was then. The CDC reports that cigarette smoking is responsible for one in five deaths in the United States. And because it is something that an individual chooses to do-it is an entirely Preventable cause of death.

In this year of vigorous healthcare debate, most Americans feel that something needs to be done about healthcare. Support our President and millions of other Americans in overoming this addictive, unhealthy and expensive habit.

Effects of smoking on how long you live and your quality of life
Based on data collected from 1995 to 1999, the CDC estimated that adult male smokers lost an average of 13.2 years of life and female smokers lost 14.5 years of life because of smoking. In 1988, the U.S. Surgeon General concluded the following:

Cigarettes and other forms of tobacco are addicting.
Nicotine is the addicting drug in tobacco.
The ways people become addicted to tobacco are much like those that lead to addiction to other drugs such as heroin and cocaine.
These statements are as true today as they were then. All forms of tobacco have a lot of nicotine. It is easily absorbed through the lungs with smoking and through the mouth or nose with oral tobacco (spit, snuff, or smokeless tobacco). From these entry points, nicotine quickly spreads throughout the body.

Tobacco companies are required by law to report nicotine levels in cigarettes to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). But in most states they are not required to show the amount of nicotine on the cigarette package label. The actual amount of nicotine available to the smoker in a given brand of cigarettes is often different from the level reported to the FTC. In one regular cigarette, the average amount of nicotine the smoker gets ranges between about 1 mg and 2 mg. But the cigarette itself contains more nicotine than this. The amount people actually take in depends on how they smoke, how many puffs they take, how deeply they inhale, and other factors.

How powerful is nicotine addiction?

About 70% of smokers say they want to quit and about 40% try to quit each year, but only 4% to 7% succeed without help. This is because smokers not only become physically addicted to nicotine; there is a strong emotional (psychological) aspect and they often link smoking with many social activities. All of these factors make smoking a hard habit to break.

Why quit smoking?

Nicotine is a very addictive drug. People usually try to quit many times before they are successful. But the struggle can be worth the effort. In September 1990, the U.S. Surgeon General outlined what you gain when you quit smoking:

Quitting smoking has major health benefits that start right away. This is true for people who already have a smoking-related disease as well as those who don't.

Former smokers live longer than people who keep smoking. For example, people who quit smoking before age 50 have one-half the risk of dying in the next 15 years compared with people who keep smoking.

Quitting smoking lowers the risk of lung cancer, other cancers, heart attack, stroke, and chronic lung diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Women who stop smoking before they get pregnant, or even during the first 3 to 4 months of pregnancy, reduce their risk of having a low birth-weight baby to that of women who never smoked.

The health benefits of quitting smoking are far greater than any risks from the weight gain or any emotional or psychological problems that may follow quitting.

Your risk of having lung cancer and other smoking-related cancers depends on how much you have been exposed to cigarette smoke over your lifetime. This is measured by the number of cigarettes you smoked each day, how you smoked them, how young you were when you started smoking, and the number of years you have smoked. There is no way to precisely measure a person's risk of getting cancer, but the more you smoke and the longer you do it, the greater your risk. The good news is that the risk of having lung cancer and other smoking-related illnesses can be reduced if you stop smoking. The risk of lung cancer is less in people who quit smoking than in people who keep smoking the same number of cigarettes every day. The risk decreases as the number of years since quitting increases.

Post a Comment
Avatar universal
by snowman76, Mar 15, 2010
I quit  in 2003, but I know it took me a good 4 or 5 times before I successful.   And I'm sooo glad that I quit that nasty stuff.

Avatar universal
by Patmountainrat, Mar 15, 2010
I was brainwashed and it worked! That was three years ago. It was so easy I hardly noticed and it was really kinda of freaky that someone could get inside of my head and do what I couldn't do in thirty years on my own. Its not being hypnotized! Its brainwashing and its very effective! It was done for me for free by a brilliant head doc who basically was using me for an experiment to help people quit smoking without any drugs or new crutches. I don't know if its still in the experimental stages or if it has hit the market but its a gold mine for whoever gets it out there. I don't recall having many withdrawal problems at all. Hope anyone else who like me has tried it all to quit, finds a doc who can brainwash them. I thought it was a joke and laughed at the prospect that it would work. But it did! I am living proof and happy as a lark to be smoke free. I don't think that will help the President though. Don't think they would allow him to be brainwashed.

874521 tn?1424116797
by opus88, Mar 16, 2010
I have been a smoker for 45 years!!...I can't even count the number of times I've tried to quit...100's.
I've tried drugs, patches, gum and hypnoses. everything works for a short time, for me its the physiological addiction more so than the cravings.
And to top it all off, this last year I can't stand the smell or the taste of those devils.
I am trying once again....day #7.

Oh just wanted to mention just how addicting these things really are, I was shocked.
My son who's been at me for 35 (out of his 39 yrs) years about how disgusting a habit this is. Borrowed one from me last summer when in an extreme state of anxiety, he thought lets see if this will calm me down, the next day he borrowed 2...so on. within 1 month he was smoking a pack a day...still finds it disgusting and horrible tasting but cannot quite, he has tried everyday for 6 months!! he's said he can NOT believe this has happened to him, and I cannot believe it was ME who got him started!!

147426 tn?1317265632
by Quixotic1, Mar 17, 2010
You left off an important effect of smoking that I care about.

Smoking raises a person's chance of developing Multiple Sclerosis and if they already have MS, the disease is likely to progress faster.  The evidence is indisputable.

Good luck Opus88

Quix (Co-CL MS Forum)

751951 tn?1406632863
by PastorDan, Mar 17, 2010
One of the hardest things I have ever done in my life was quitting.  It took lots or prayer, lots of Nicorette (significantly more than the instructions specify, and for a lot longer), lots of persistence, and the shame of being the only smoker in the house, getting screened out of a job opening because of it, etc.  I can tell you now, some 15 years or so later, that I am more glad every time I think of it.  I will pray for the President in this regard, and for his daughters, that they will learn early to steer clear of the dangers of this powerful poison.

Avatar universal
by turbosonicblue, Mar 18, 2010
I quit seven years ago. Best thing I ever did for myself. Personally could care less if the presidents stops or not , I'm sure HE will get the best of care anyway. Not like he has to worry about HEALTH CARE!!!!!!
But I encourage everyone else to!!!!

Avatar universal
by Barbarella, Mar 18, 2010

I totally agree with you.  I could careless about Obama's smoke addiction.  He DOES get the best of care plus HAS the money too.

My husband smoked 4 packs a day for 45 yrs.  He tried everything to stop smoking, nothing helped.  Until a doctor prescribed him a pill he had to take every day for one year, that prescription did cost $120.00 for 30 pills,  It was worth it, he smoked his last cigarette 6 yrs ago.

I'm sure Obama can afford such a pill.  All we know is that he has an addiction, but he never spelled it out what all he tried to quit.  At least I never read anything about it.  How can we have sympathy for him if he doesn't want to help himself??

If my husband could do it after smoking 4 packs a day for 45 yrs anybody can.

BTW, my husband has NO health problems due to the smoking all these yrs.  However, I do know and so did he that smoking is bad for your health.

Avatar universal
by Jackfit, Dec 11, 2010
I'd like encourage everyone to know that they can quit successfully. I did it after 45 years of one to two packs a day. I used nicotine patches and gum. Quit the gum too, recently, after using it on and off for a few years. I think one of the most important mistaken beliefs or misperceptions is contained in the word "addiction." This word fosters feelings of helplessness, of being trapped by alien forces and unable to escape. A better word is habit, or habituation. Long-standing habits are hard to break, but everyone has the power to break them, just as we had the power to make the habit in the first place. Determination and belief in your own strength are vital. Everyone has those qualities. It's just a matter of deciding and applying them, bearing the short-term pain and winning through.

We need to get away from the victim mentality that goes with the addiction theory. Let's stop blaming the tobacco companies for something that we chose to do. We can choose not to do it, any time we want. It's that simple. But as with going to the dentist, getting well is accompanied by a little pain for a little while...

Best of success to all quitters. Remember you are strong and capable and you will do it.

Avatar universal
by exsmoker44, Feb 26, 2011
Thanks, Jackfit!  That's just what I needed to read, even though it is an old post. I quit 2 months ago and have recently had some unexpected strong cravings, possibly due to a steroid pack I was prescribed for a dental issue.  Anyway, it is very helpful to me to think of this as a habit, because bottom line, whether it is in fact an addiction or not, I need to remember that I have a choice about whether to smoke or not!

As for those who seem so mean spirited about the president's struggle with quitting, wouldn't it be a nicer planet if we sought to be kind and find our commonalities once in a while?  We may not always agree with someone else's politics, but surely we can empathize with another person struggling with the trials of just being human!

Avatar universal
by MJ5279, May 04, 2011
If you had President Obama's job would you be able to quit smoking?  I doubt it.

Post a Comment