We have known for some time that smoking is a leading cause of lung, throat, oral and bladder cancers, heart attack and stroke (and numerous other afflictions) but breast cancer was not usually linked to smoking. In my search this morning I also found some recent articles out of the UK that are stating that women who smoke prior to menopause and childbirth, are statistically showing an increase in incidents of breast cancer.
What frightens me most about all of this evidence against smoking is that people still start! What will it take to get everyone to stop lighting up for the first time? I feel horrible for everyone out there who is a smoker because the addiction is so horrific and it is hard (maybe impossible for some) to stop. All I can say to everyone who wants to stop - get medical intervention - you probably cannot do it alone. Trust me, everyone you love will support you in your efforts to stop.
I know that there is huge tax revenue from tobacco and that the tobacco lobby is strong - but how can we allow the tobacco companies to continue to legally produce and sell products that are known to kill. I can't even imagine the cost of treating all of the diseases that are a result of prolonged exposure to smoke. Perhaps that is a rant for another time.
I had a great conversation with my daughter about smoking - she is 13. This is a vulnerable age. We talked about how hard it is to stop once you have started and then asked her why kids start. She said because they are stupid and don't think anything will happen to them. I guess that goes with anything - smoking - drugs - unprotected sex - whatever the risk behaviour.
Unfortunately, when I was 13 and lighting up for the first time my invincibility was not a thought. I did not think of - well - anything. It was just what everyone was doing. There were not the warnings we have now, perhaps it might have made a difference. Boy, was I ever lucky everyone was not jumping into a raging river when I was 13. I cannot remember ever being that stupid.
I guess the greatest gift I can give my daughter now is the confidence to do exactly what she wants, without thought or care about the peer pressures around her. My hope is that she chooses the right path.