Why Quit? 2
It was the summer of 1954, and I was in San Francisco taking coursework that would enable me to complete college the next year.
One morning, just off Market Street, I walked by the Civic Center Convention Hall—and discovered that the Annual Meeting of the American Medical Association was in session. Inside I found the entire hall filled with medical exhibits of various kinds. One was a twicesize plastic model of a human being, showing blood vessels, nerves, and organs beneath the transparent skin. Another key exhibit was a display in honor of Dr. Albert Schwitzer, "the physician of the year."
Yet among the dozens of exhibits, the most interesting to me was one that few stopped to look at. It was as if no one had called attention to it. This exhibit, of photographs and papers mounted on the wall, told about pioneer research by Drs. Evarts Graham and Ernest Wynder into lung cancer. Their recently completed findings showed a clear link between cigarette smoking and that rapidly increasing disease that was causing the death of large numbers yearly.
The next day, all America became interested in that research; for, on that day, the Graham Wynder's, research was publicly reported on the floor of the Annual Meeting of the American Medical Association. Immediately the news media caught the story and sent it around the world. It quickly became the medical news sensation of the decade.
The rest is history. The AMA immediately voted to ban tobacco ads from their influential Journal, and extensive new tobacco research projects were launched that would ultimately reveal many diseases that a person could contract by using tobacco.
This chapter will explain that—for you—quitting tobacco is a matter of life and death.
THE POISONS IN TOBACCO
Let us first examine the contents of a cigarette: Tobacco leaves have very complex chemicals in them—over 2,000. When tobacco is chewed, these chemicals go directly into the body; when it is smoked, the only chemicals that are not taken into the body are those that have been changed or combined by burning into new chemical combinations. And once inside you, the physical weakening and disease begins. Remember, that when it comes to tobacco, you always lose and the tobacco industry always gains. Unless, of course, you say goodbye to the whole thing. Smoke is a mixture of chemical gases and very small particles of solid chemicals. Oxygen combines with the original substance and converts it into other chemical compounds.
Nicotine (named after Jean Nicot, who first introduced it to France in 1559) is one of the most powerful poisons in tobacco. But there are many others, including such things as arsenic, carbon monoxide (the highly dangerous automobile exhaust gas), ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, hydrogen cyanide, and other hydrocarbons. Some volatile acids, such as formic acid, acetic acid, and benzoic acid are included. The aldehydes in tobacco are also highly irritating. It is the poisonous chemicals combined with these acids and aldehydes that irritate your throat as you smoke. But those "great American chemical factories"—cigarettes, pipe tobacco, and snuff—do more than irritate your throat; they cause trouble to your lip, mouth, bronchial passages, lungs, internal organs, and brain.
One of these 2,000 chemicals is benzopyrene, one of several proven cancer irritants in tobacco smoke. Then there is the arsenic. Arsenic is not natural to tobacco; it arrived there through insecticides; but, for some reason, tobacco farmers are applying much more arsenic to their crops than twenty years ago.
And, of course, there is nicotine. This is the principal alkaloid found in tobacco. It stands near the top of the list for its powerful, and very harmful, effects on the human body. Any experienced gardener will tell you that nicotine is one of the best bug killers there is. This is because nicotine is one of the most powerful poisons known to mankind.
There is a surprisingly large amount of nicotine in tobacco; it averages about 2%. The tobacco in an average cigarette weighs about one gram. Therefore an average cigarette contains about twenty milligrams of nicotine. The 440 billion cigarettes consumed each year in the United States contain about 2.2 million gallons of nicotine. This chemical is so poisonous—that only fifty milligrams of it, injected into a vein, will kill a person. That is the amount of nicotine in two and a half cigarettes. All the cigarettes used each year in America contain enough nicotine to provide 176 billion lethal doses! And that is enough to kill, through single doses by vein—one thousand times as many people as live in the United States.
It is of interest that only part of the nicotine in each cigarette is in the "mainstream" smoke that enters the body of the smoker; much of that nicotine goes into "side stream" smoke—and is inhaled by your family, children, and everybody else that is nearby as you smoke your cigarette!
About 90% of the nicotine in the "mainstream" smoke you inhale—is absorbed into your body.
Tar is another problem, but what is it? There is no tar in tobacco. It is only as tobacco is burned that tar forms. It is a recombination of some of the chemicals. Tar is a dark, sticky substance that collects on the walls of your lungs as you smoke. Dr. A. C. Hilding of the Research Laboratory of St. Luke's Hospital in Duluth, Minnesota, discovered that when a smoker inhales and holds his breath for only ten seconds—the smoke will be colorless when it comes out. Think about what is happening inside you, every time you smoke a cigarette! After extensive work on this, Hilding determined that, normally, one half of the tar in the smoke you inhale—is deposited on the surface of your lungs!
FACTS ABOUT THE SPECIAL CIGARETTES
While we are on the topic of nicotine, we should mention that "de-nicotinized" cigarettes (the label says "less than 1% nicotine") have about one-half as much nicotine as regular cigarettes, but just as much of the other poisons. The tendency is for people to increase the amount they smoke of the "de-nicotinized" packs, thereby obtaining about as much nicotine as before.
"Low nicotine" cigarettes use varieties of tobacco containing less nicotine. But it has been found that each "low nicotine" cigarette produces more tar than usual. So less nicotine and more tar.
King size (extra long) cigarettes are supposed to be safer because they provide a longer distance for the nicotine and other poisons to travel before being inhaled. But how many people half smoke a cigarette and then throw the other half away? Research by the AMA Chemical Laboratory revealed that a half smoked king size yields slightly less poisons than usual, but a fully smoked one is far higher in its output of nicotine and tar.
Then there are filter tip cigarettes. A House of Representatives subcommittee declared in February 1958 that filter tips only add to the problem! Their report said that instead of quitting, people switch to filter tips, thinking that these will protect their health; when, in reality, they are still smoking cigarettes, still inhaling poisons, and still sharing poisons in the "side stream" to those around them.
Here is the dirty little secret behind this: The tobacco companies know it is the chemicals and tar which give the "taste" to cigarettes. So they are careful to only filter out a small amount of those poisons, so sales will not be jeopardized. By producing a filtered cigarette that still has taste, the cigarette manufacturers have canceled out the advantage of the filter. They do this by shifting to stronger blends of tobacco containing higher contents of nicotine and tar for their filter cigarettes. Then they can advertise that they have filtered out 30% to 40% of the smoke, yet the taste remains about the same; however the chemicals and tar inhaled from a filter cigarette is comparable to that of regular cigarettes. Pretty neat trick.
"Sales of filter tips zoomed with the controversy over a link between lung cancer and smoking. At first, says the committee, tips did cut down on tars and nicotine; but, to satisfy smokers' tastes, manufacturers then 'loosened' filters and switched to stronger, coarser tobacco. As a result, the committee says, smokers now get more tar in filter tips than in the regular cigarettes they switched from."—U.S. News & World Report, February 28, 1958.
We have reached the 553,500 mark in America. That means that—day after day, every day in the year—1,516 people die of cancer. More people die of that dread disease in our nation every year—than died in the entire Vietnam War! Over eight times more! A lot of tobacco research has been done since Graham and Wynder reported their findings to the AMA in 1954. It is now known that smokers significantly increase their chances of contracting many different types of diseases—and dying from them.
Did you know that cigarette smokers die at a 70% faster rate than nonsmokers? Think about that a moment. There is no doubt that your decision to read this book and move out from tobacco—may be one of the most important decisions of your life. Did you know that stomach cancer occurs twice as frequently in smokers as in nonsmokers? And then there is cancer of the lower part of the large bowel; it is the most common internal cancer and clearly afflicts smokers more frequently than nonsmokers. These are facts that should sober any smoker.
Then there is cancer of the throat. This is a living horror that no one wants. Corrective surgery for this problem often removes the vocal cords. If you lose your vocal cords, you must learn to speak by "regurgitating swallowed air"! 80% of all incidents of cancer of the throat occur in cigarette smokers. It is the irritating effect of the various chemicals in the smoke that induces this form of cancer.
The advertisers talk about "cigarette country" with its he man cowboys, lariats, and all the rest. But cigarette country is leading a lot of people to cancer country—for if you smoke, your chances of dying from some form of cancer are 110% greater than that of those who have never smoked on a regular basis!
Well, we haven't come to the back part of this book yet—the part that tells you how to quit smoking. So you may be taking a deep drag on a cigarette as you read these words. Every time you inhale that smoke, it is plunged deep into each corner—every remote part—of your lungs. Thus tar, nicotine, and many chemical compounds are taken into your lungs; from there, they go to other parts of your body. The tar, itself, is primarily deposited on the inside surface of the lung. And it is tar! It is black, sticky, and tarlike.
Ordinarily, cilia (small, waving, hair like structures) in your respiratory tract try to brush dust and dirt back up into your throat so you can spit it out. But the tar immobilizes the cilia, eventually destroying them.
As the tar builds up, the surface of the lungs change in appearance and more cells are formed. Eventually, cancer cells begin forming. This is the way it begins. But it does not end there. The cancer cells in the lung enter the blood and lymphatic vessels and spread to other parts of the body.
Unfortunately, by the time a positive diagnosis confirms the presence of lung cancer—the disease is out of control and spreading.
People may talk about the "spectacular advances in medical science," but they are not able to solve the lung cancer problem. This is because the solution is to stop smoking!
So, by way of summary, think about these two facts—and, having read them, determine that you are going to read this book all the way to the end and do what it says:
(1) 90% of those who contract lung cancer die of it; and (2) if you smoke, your chances of dying from lung cancer are 700 times greater than that of nonsmokers or those who have never smoked on a regular basis.
Emphysema is a big word, but it is bad news to those that get it. Emphysema occurs when the surface cells of the lungs begin to grow abnormally. They do this because too many irritating substances have been deposited on them. As this growth continues, these added cells begin to block the very small air tubes inside the lung. But it is the purpose of these tubes to exchange body air with the outside air that has just arrived, fresh, into the lung. Because these tubes are increasingly becoming blocked, you feel as if you are drowning! Your carbon dioxide cannot get out and fresh oxygen filled air cannot get in. But the condition keeps getting worse. Tobacco chemicals in the lung weaken the air sacs, which then break open and make larger balloon like sacks, called "blebs."
Would you like to have constant shortness of breath, lack of energy, inability to carry on your work properly, and an increasing drowning sensation? If so, just keep smoking and emphysema may be a special gift to you before long.
More than a million Americans now have emphysema and 15,000 die every year because of it. A major problem is that if you acquire emphysema, and then stop smoking—your lungs may work better, but the broken air sac walls will never heal to normality. How shall we summarize this terrible problem?
In just one sentence: If you smoke, your chances of dying from emphysema are about 10 times greater than those who have never smoked at all or have never smoked on a regular basis.
HARDENING OF THE ARTERIES
We have all heard of hardening of the arteries; we know that it can have a number of causes, but did you know that tobacco is one of the biggest?
More people die of hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis) and other cardiovascular diseases than any other single cause of death in our nation. This amounts to about 50% of all deaths.
Extensive scientific research has shown that a high fat diet is a major culprit here—and that nicotine is another one. For some reason, nicotine speeds up the buildup of fatty deposits on the inner walls of your arteries. But more: Nicotine also causes the arteries to narrow, or constrict! This double whammy effect means that if any of your friends want to stick with tobacco, they might as well begin thinking about where they wish to be buried.
The arterial fat buildup, combined with arterial shrinkage, makes it more difficult for the blood vessels to carry urgently needed blood throughout your body. This shortage of blood especially shows up in the heart, brain, other organs, and extremities. Tissue damage from lack of fresh blood results, but don't worry about that—for the big problem is the greatly increased likelihood of a small blood clot at some point in those clogged arteries. A heart attack or stroke immediately occurs.
Is tobacco chewing, cigarette smoking, and pipe smoking really worth all this danger? Okay, let's summarize this one: Tobacco can increase your chances of dying from heart disease by 103% over those who leave it alone!
EFFECTS ON THE BRAIN AND NERVES
There is no one who would not agree as to the importance of his brain. But research is now revealing that tobacco can bring injury to delicate brain tissue, and even produce brain damage.
Tobacco slows mental activity and reflex responses. At first it does this temporarily, but a gradual buildup effect eventually develops. Earp and Clark did research studies on college students—and found that only 18.3% of the smokers received academic honors while 68.5% of the nonsmokers did. Bush, another research clinician, found that a 10.5% drop in mental efficiency occurred following smoking.
Experiments conducted at George Williams College revealed that unsteadiness of the hand increased as much as 100% after smoking just two cigarettes. Calm you down? No, they make you more nervous!
In order to function properly, the brain must have an adequate supply of blood with its nutrients and oxygen. A major cause of brain damage, through strokes or apoplectic seizures, is cholesterol buildup in the arteries. Strokes result from blood clots on the roughened surface of blood vessels or from brain hemorrhages from these vessels. Either of these conditions stops blood flow to a portion of the brain and produces loss of speech, partial or total paralysis, or death.
But this cholesterol buildup can also bring on senility through brain tissue starvation. It is now known that this cholesterol buildup has two primary causes: improper diet (eating animal fat or certain vegetable oils, especially the hardened ones) and tobacco. Nicotine has the strange characteristic of speeding up the laying down of cholesterol on the walls of veins and arteries.
We all know that carbon monoxide can be a killer. This is due to the fact that it replaces oxygen in the body. Cigarette smoke contains 1% to 2½% carbon monoxide. Experiments show that the smoking of only one pack within a seven hour period results in a 5% to 10% carbon monoxide saturation of the blood! This reduces the amount of available oxygen within the body, and hinders muscle action and mental function.
The problem here is that blood hemoglobin is the carrier of oxygen to the entire body; and, whenever it is given a preference, it will always link up with carbon monoxide instead of oxygen.
HEART ACTION AND PHYSICAL ENDURANCE
Knute Rockne, the well known football coach, said this: "Tobacco slows up reflexes and lowers morale; any advertising that says smoking helps an athlete is a falsehood and a fraud."
Ty Cobb, a leading baseball player of yesteryear added: "Cigarette smoking stupefies the brain, saps vitality, undermines health, and weakens moral fiber. No one who hopes to be successful in any line can afford to contract so detrimental a habit."
Muscles work because nerve impulses tell them to do so. But the use of tobacco weakens those nerve impulses. And carbon monoxide and other tobacco poisons in the bloodstream weaken the muscle itself. Slower reaction time and weaker muscles; this is the conclusion of scientific studies on the relation of tobacco to physical endurance.
The recently developed ballisto cardiograph has established that after smoking a single cigarette, many individuals undergo a temporary change in heart function. The cause was nicotine. The amount of change increases with age, and is most often found among people with coronary artery disease. This is an ominous warning to anyone who uses tobacco.
Dr. Walter Bastedo, a well known pharmacologist, sums it up this way: "At the time of smoking there is a lowered cardiac efficiency, with diminished power of the heart to stand strain, and in some cases there are premature beats. In the young adult, recovery from this state is prompt. The continued use of tobacco sometimes results in a chronically lowered cardiac efficiency, in over rapid pulse, in palpitation, and in subjective discomfort about the heart, or in disturbance of rhythm."
So, let us say it again: Nicotine weakens nerve impulses to the muscles; carbon monoxide and other tobacco poisons in the blood bring on muscle tissue weakness; Nicotine reduces heart rhythm, efficiency, and strength.
SMOKING AND PREGNANCY
Studies in Germany among women workers in tobacco factories show more abortions and a greater infant mortality rate (while their babies are between one and three years of age). Miscarriages were also significantly higher among such workers. Similar studies in Brazil indicated that abortions and stillbirths were double the normal rate.
In animal experimentation, the offspring of female rabbits exposed to cigarette smoke were smaller at birth by 17%; the stillbirth rate was 10 times higher; the mortality rate was much higher.
Dr. M.F. Ashley Montagu, one of America's leading physicians, says this: "There can be no question that consistent smoking places a very dangerous strain on the heart and other connected organs. There is not the least doubt that smoking mothers are responsible for the increase in cardiac trouble." He bases his conclusion on the fact that a single puff of cigarette smoke inhaled by a pregnant woman has been shown to increase the heartbeat of a seven month fetus from 140 to 179 times a minute!
A three year research of 7,499 hospital patients by Dr. W.J. Simpson, of the San Bernardino, California, County Health Department clearly proved that the number of premature births is twice as great for smoking mothers than for nonsmoking mothers.
OTHER SIGNIFICANT EFFECTS
There is not adequate space to describe the many other effects that science has traced to the use of tobacco. But here are a few samples: It is now known that the poisons or tars from chewing or smoking tobacco strangely speed up body metabolism and pulse rate. This puts the entire body on emergency status, as the heart works faster and fuel is burned up more rapidly. The body, and especially the heart, are being worn out more quickly.
There is a very definite and, for some, a very dangerous increase in the blood pressure. For example, a person who has a high blood pressure of 190 and smokes one or two cigarettes will raise it to as much as 240!
Smoking greatly aggravates asthma. So much so, that a Mayo Clinic report disclosed that "the best possible regimen for the relief of chronic asthma may fail if the patient is allowed to continue smoking." We will not take time here to explain why this is so.
Smoking hurts the eyes. Continual irritation from the smoke has longterm effects that are not good. In addition, some smokers contract "tobacco amblyopia," which blurs vision and color identification at the center of visual focus. A similar, but different, form of amblyopia is caused by drinking alcoholic beverages.
Smoking affects the ability of the nose to detect and identify odor. The sense of smell is decidedly weakened. Continual irritation of the nose by tobacco smoke also brings on a "postnasal drip" which is common among smokers, especially on awakening in the morning.
And there is the chronic cough that smokers develop. This cough, which exists in about 80% of smokers, is actually dangerous; for it damages lung tissue and, in many persons, causes a rupture of the walls of the minute air sacs of the lungs. What you are here reading is the beginnings of emphysema, a condition relatively rare in nonsmokers. But once established, emphysema brings chronic invalidism. And who wants a future like that?
Smoking increases stomach acid output and leads to peptic ulcers. This relationship has been well established, both by research and by clinical studies. And the same holds true for duodenal ulcers as well.
SHORTENING YOUR LIFE
Several studies have been done on the relationship of tobacco to longevity, or length of life. In 1938, Dr. Raymond Pearl, of Johns Hopkins University, working with the records of 6,813 males between 30 and 95 years of age, found that the smokers lived shorter lives than nonsmokers. Here are a couple of examples from this study: At age 45, nonsmokers have a death rate of 12.04 deaths per thousand individuals. For heavy smokers, it is 25.69 per thousand. Thus, at 45 years of age, there are twice as many deaths by the heavy smokers. Comparing those who use tobacco with those who do not: A person of 30 years of age will live, on the average, ten and a half years longer than a heavy smoker, aged 30.
Drs. Richard Doll and A. Bradford Hill did research in England on 34,497 male physicians, aged 35 and above. Over a period of nearly four and a half years, 1,714 deaths occurred among these 34,497 individuals. The smokers died much faster than the nonsmokers.
A group of 187,783 men between the ages of 50 and 69 were checked over a 44 month period by Drs. Hammond and Horn. The number of deaths among the regular cigarette smokers was 2,763 more than the corresponding nonsmokers. In those forty four months, 1,644 nonsmokers died and 4,406 cigarette smokers died. Their statistics were also broken down by number of packs smoked per day. It was obvious that the death rates increased with the number of cigarettes smoked per day.
Dr. Harold F. Dom studied 200,000 military veterans; he found that the death rate among all types of cigarette smokers was 58% higher than among nonsmokers.