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The following article reproduced by kind permission of GASP

Deadly mix

Cigarettes are made from tobacco leaves grown with pesticides and fertilizers. The leaves are dried in wood burning ovens using millions of hectares of forest. Then tobacco is treated with additives. Tobacco smoke contains 1000s of chemicals. Hundreds are poisonous and many cause cancer. Let's focus on the biggies.

Nicotine is an addictive drug that affects the brain and the heart. It's a tricky drug. It makes you feel both tense and calm. Then there's tar. Burning tobacco creates tar - similar to what's on roads. Sticky tar coats and damages the lungs making it hard to breathe. Tar causes throat and lung cancer. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that robs the body of oxygen. It will ruin an athlete's career and can harm a baby in the womb. It makes blood thick and sticky and more likely to clot.
There's ammonia, cyanide, arsenic, benzene and DDT.
Tobacco companies add tasty flavours to mask the nasty flavour of tobacco toxins.
But once you're addicted you'll keep buying more. That means more money in tobacco industry's pockets. Most smokers start before the age of 18 and keep on smoking so tobacco companies target their marketing to get to you!

Killer statistics

Last year, over 5 million people died worldwide as a result of tobacco. That many coffins would stretch, end-to-end from London to Bangkok, Thailand.
If you and your friends start smoking and continue to smoke then half will die from smoking. Many will die 15 - 20 years before their time. Stop what you are doing. Look at your watch or the second hand of a clock. Watch 7 seconds go by. In that time someone, somewhere in the world just died because they smoked.

I don't smoke because …

"It's a total waste of money. I'd rather spend my cash on other things."
"I like to look good and feel good. Smoking does the opposite."
"My boyfriend would go off me if I smoked, he hates it."
"My uncle died of lung cancer because of cigarettes. My cousins have no dad."
"I love playing sport. Smoking and sport don't mix."
"I care about the environment. Cigarettes litter the streets and smoke pollutes the air."
"Hardly anyone I know smokes - it just isn't cool anymore."
"I don't want to give my money to tobacco industry fat cats. They're legalised drug pushers as far as I'm concerned."
"I've been put off seeing mum and dad smoke like chimneys. I don't want to go there!"
"I don't want bad breath."
"Just the smell of smoke makes me wheezy. I'm asthmatic."
"Smokers stink."
"Me smoking? You must be joking!"

Dog Breath Dan and Fag Ash Lil

Smoking destroys your appearance. Smokers have dull complexions, age early and by the age of 40 have wrinkles of someone 20 years older, who doesn't smoke. That's because smokers have to manage on less oxygen. The body needs oxygen to keep the skin healthy and to make new cells to replace the old ones.
Smoking causes bleeding gums and loss of teeth. Have you seen smokers' hairy tongue? Tar builds up and stops the natural replacement of the tongue surface and you get a hairy effect. This traps food and causes bad breath. Kissing a smoker is like licking an ashtray.
With bad breath, yellow fingers, bleeding gums, smelly hair and clothes, smokers really stand out in a crowd. Not a pretty sight or smell. And because smoking damages the sense of smell and taste, smokers don't realise how much they stink.

Cash or ash - you decide

Smoking makes you short of breath, cuts your life short and makes you short of money.
The price of a pack of cigarettes is bad enough but the trouble is one is never enough. Nicotine is addictive and smokers keep on buying more and more. It's like setting light to your money and watching it burn away.
Instead of smoking you could go out for a pizza and see a band, a film, go out clubbing or visit a games arcade. You could top up your mobile or buy a new top. Choose a new computer game, CD, DVD, make-up, sports gear or a gift for you or a mate.
Or save it up for holidays, festivals, designer clothes, or a car, computer or … whatever.

Stopping smoking doesn't have to be a drag. So if you are a smoker here are ten tips to help you quit.

1. Decide your reasons for quitting - smell fresher, feel fitter, live longer, stop that cough, have more dosh, stop people getting at you … whatever.
2. Get support. Tell your friends, your family your best mates and warn them you might be moody. Ask them to stand by your decision to quit. Find a friend to quit with can help. Call a smokers helpline. Go see a nurse or your GP. They might give you some patches or gum.
3. Make a date to quit. List your smoking times and situations. What you could instead? Get ready to cope without cigarettes. Practise 'No thanks I don't smoke'.
4. Get rid of the smoking gear and get your head in gear. Your quit day is ahead.
5. Quit day. Wake up and say 'I don't smoke'. Read your list of reasons for quitting. Put on fresh clothes. Break your routines, do things differently.
6. Drink lots of water to flush out the system. Keep sipping. Eat healthy snacks - fruit, raw vegetables or chew sugar free gum.
7. Make like a mad thing on the dance floor, in the gym, in water or on wheels. Run up the stairs. Exercise is a better buzz. The more you move about and work out the less you'll feel like smoking. Then relax and chill out.
8. Treat yourself. You have more money to spend. Buy yourself a present and dream of what you'll buy with the money you save.
9. Beware of trying times. If you get headaches, a sore throat, cough or feeling down you know you're winning. That's the body getting rid of the rubbish inside you and starting to recover. Avoid temptation. Don't even think 'I'll just have one'. Just one is one too many. Non-smokers don't smoke.
10. Be positive. Stopping smoking is the start of a bright new future. But take it just one day at a time. Today you choose not to smoke.

Article from the New Scientist Magazine

New Scientist vol 136 issue 1845 - 31 October 92,  


Hypnosis is the most effective way of giving up smoking, according to the  largest ever scientific comparison of ways of breaking the habit. Willpower, it turns out, counts for very little.  


Smokers are coming under increasing pressure to quit.

Earlier this month the Institute of Actuaries published the results of a study it commissioned which showed that the mortality rate for smokers is twice as high as for non-smokers, and that on average, a smoker dies 6 years earlier than a non-smoker. Surveys suggest that three in four smokers would like to give up, according to the anti-smoking campaign Action on Smoking and Health (ASH).

To find the most effective way to give up smoking, Frank Schmidt and research student Chockalingam Viswesvaran of the University of Iowa carried out a meta-analysis, statistically combining the results of more than 600 studies covering almost 72 000 people from America, Scandinavia and elsewhere in Europe.
By combining the results from so many separate studies, the meta-analysis enables the real effectiveness of each technique to be picked out from the statistical 'noise' that often blights studies involving smaller numbers of subjects.

The results, published in the current issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology, show that the average success rate for all methods was 19 per cent: that is, only about one in five smokers is likely to succeed using methods covered by the study. Patients told that they had serious cardiac disorders, and so a clear
incentive to stop immediately, had the highest quitting rate, at 36 per cent. But for most smokers the most effective technique was hypnosis, in which smokers go into a state of deep relaxation and listen to suggestive tapes. The analysis of treatment by hypnosis, which included 48 studies covering over 6000 smokers, gave an average success rate of 30 per cent for this method.

'Combination' techniques, combining, for example, exercise and breathing therapy, came second with a success rate of 29 per cent. Smoke aversion, in which smokers have their own warm, stale cigarette smoke blown back into their faces, achieved a 25 per cent success rate, followed by acupuncture at 24 per cent.
The least successful method turned out to be advice from GPs, which appears to convince virtually no one to give up. Sheer willpower proved little better, with a success rate of only 6 per cent. Self-help, in the form of books or mail-order advice, achieved modest success - around 9 per cent, while nicotine gum was a little better at 10 per cent.

'We found that involvement of physicians did not have as big an impact as we expected,' said Schmidt 'We speculate that the reason is that it is the content of the treatment that matters, and not the status of the person giving it.' David Pollock, director of ASH, said he was surprised by the success of hypnosis, which anecdotal evidence had suggested was not very effective. One organisation not surprised by the results is the British Society of Medical & Dental Hypnosis. Christopher Pattinson, the society's academic chairman, said that current hypnosis techniques are a far cry from their popular image of music-hall tricks involving swinging fob watches. The latest relaxation techniques achieve success rates of up to 60 per cent from a single session, he said.

Richard Doll, the epidemiologist who carried out the pioneering studies of the risk of smoking, said that the apparent success of hypnosis and the high quitting rate of patients with heart disease backed his own observations. He added, however, that he was somewhat surprised by the low success rate of those who resorted to willpower alone: 'The majority of people find it not too difficult to give up,' he said. 'The only way to succeed is to want to do it enough’.

You have got to really appreciate what the risk is. I smoked and gave up without too much difficulty.'

Robert Matthews

Smoker’s Body