"When I have found intense pain relieved, a weary brain soothed, and calm, refreshing sleep obtained by a cigar, I have felt grateful to God, and have blessed His name. "
Those words were reportedly spoken by the British Baptist preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon, a famous smoker and the “Prince of Preachers" who founded the charity organization known as Spurgeon's. Spurgeon's love of smoking is shared by many people.
Drew Barrymore started smoking at 9 ½ years old and smokes 2 - 3 packs a day. Model Kate Moss smokes four packs a day and has been smoking since age 12. Other famous smokers include Albert Einstein, J. R. R. Tolkien, Thomas Edison, John F. Kennedy, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Pierce Brosnan, Johnny Depp, and Meg Ryan.
These are just a few of the people who have glamorized smoking. Their image has helped advertisers and cigarette manufacturers sell millions of cigarettes all over the world. The United States alone is the home of over 40 million adult smokers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More than 1 out of 5 people smoke and the numbers are higher in younger age groups.
"In 2006, CDC reported almost 24 percent of those 18 to 44 years old were current smokers, compared to 10.2 percent in those aged 65 or older. Nationwide, 22.3 percent of high school students and 8.1 percent of middle school students were smoking in 2004. More White and Hispanic students smoked cigarettes, " according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).
Traditionally, smokers have always been pictured as brave, bold people who love adventure and the good things in life. But behind this glamorous and sophisticated image is a grim message of death. The little pleasure one gets from smoking is a high price to pay for the many bad effects this deadly habit brings.
Consider these cases: American actress Bette Davis fought a losing battle with breast cancer and died in 1989 after suffering from several strokes caused by smoking. Singer/actor Sammy Davis Jr. died of throat cancer from smoking at age 64. Years of smoking also caught up with Walt Disney who died of lung cancer at 65. So did former Beatles member George Harrison and more recently Peter Jennings, former anchor of ABC World News Tonight.
Since 1982, the US Surgeon General has warned that smoking is the major single cause of cancer mortality in the United States. Yet many choose to ignore this warning and continue to smoke. This has led to many needless deaths.
"About half of all Americans who continue to smoke will die because of the habit. Each year about 438,000 people in the United States die from illnesses related to cigarette smoking. Cigarettes kill more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, suicide, AIDS, homicide, and illegal drugs combined, " the ACS revealed.
What makes smoking dangerous? What are the chemicals in cigarettes that kill? Learn the answers to these questions in the second part of this series. Don't miss it!
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Sharon Bell is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and published author. Many of her insightful articles can be found at the premier online news magazine http://www.HealthLinesNews.com