In the past, “Medpage Today” featured an article proclaiming that men who smoke at the time of being diagnosed with prostate cancer did not do as well as those who never smoked or quit 10 years earlier.  My first impression was a resounding, DUH!  As those of you who read this column regularly know, smoking is linked to multiple cancers.  Oxygen is a vital molecule and anything that decreases your oxygen intake is going to harm your health.

Smokers don’t get it and I don’t understand them.  There is a mountain of evidence that smoking cigarettes and cigars not only causes cancer and COPD but leads to a host of other illnesses.  Why do people continue to smoke?  Don’t they believe the evidence?  

Do you know any smokers?  Four of my best friends smoke (three guys and a gal)?  The effects are obvious to everyone but them.  It’s frustrating but I can’t help them.  They won’t listen to anyone.  Do you know the frustration I’m talking about?  Perhaps we should start a support group for friends and families of smokers.

Perhaps a support group would serve as a think tank where we could develop novel approaches to helping smokers see the light before they die and see that other light.  My friends tell me they are going to die from something, so it might as well be smoking.  I don’t think it would be so bad if they died suddenly.  I would miss them but could celebrate the life we had together.  Unfortunately, most smokers die slowly, whittled away by COPD or cancer.  It’s agonizing to watch!

If they read this column, they are going to be pissed.  They hate when I nag them.  I’m pissed.  I work hard, seven days a week, to preserve my patients’ health:  they throw it away.  They love those damn cancer sticks more than life itself.  They love their smokes more than they love their children and grandchildren.

Again, I must ask, why are cigarettes legal?  What is wrong with our society and our government that allows us to sanction the slow and purposeful destruction of life?  Until we answer these questions, our children are at risk!  “We owe our children three things: example, example, example.”  Be careful what example you set!

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