Stop Smoking Now!

This might be turning into the bad habit series for these pages. After doing the page on high BMIs and increase AMD risk, I looked up ‘hot topics + AMD’ and found smoking listed as numero uno. OK. Smoking it is.

I don’t smoke. Never did. It smells and is ridiculously expensive. Worse yet, it is bad for your health. And when I say health, I am including eye health.

BrightFocus Foundation in Smoking and Age-Related Macular Degeneration says smoking brings oxidants into the body. Chemicals can also damage cells. This activates the immune system which can further damage your eyes. These are ways cigarette smoke can increase your risk of AMD. I am sure you have heard cigarette smoking is the largest, modifiable risk factor for AMD. Those are the reasons why it is such a risk.

At least 4 of the Marlboro men died of lung cancer

The problem is it is hard to quit smoking! You have been doing it for years. Many of you remember the coolest commercials on TV were cigarette ads. Remember the Marlboro man? How about Joe Camel? And ladies, how can we forget those long, sleek, sophisticated women who sold us Virginia Slims. Could Joe Camel have steered us wrong all those years ago? Let’s just say Madison Avenue certainly did a number on us!

Anyway, no one ever showed us the Marlboro man using a white cane and hacking a lung out, so we believed the ads. Lots of us smoked and became addicted.

If you have AMD or live with someone who has AMD, you have been told to stop smoking. Quit.com has a whole list of suggestions on how to do this. They are reasonably good. For example, one of them even goes back to one of my favorite psychological theorists, Viktor Frankl, when it says know your reasons for quitting. Remember Frankl said if we have a why, we can endure any how? (“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”) Great philosophy turns up in the damnedest places.

I would add a few more from my DBT distress tolerance toolbox. Stop being sorry for yourself. Be mindful and practice gratitude. Be willing, not willful.

You are totally right. Life is not fair and now they really are trying to take away your one bad habit. It is for your own good. Stop dwelling on what “they” are taking away and think about all you have. Get involved. Substitute some fun activities for smoking, or better yet, do for someone else. Turn your mind.

Next: Kids and Zombies

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