JOE CAMEL MUST GO
Don't rust out with nicotine. If you see Smokey Joe as your friend, you can’t quit smoking. You should live to be 85, but will die at 71 if you keep Joe Camel around. ADD ANOTHER 14 YEARS TO YOUR LIFE
WARNING LABELS ON YOUR CIGARETTES SHOULD ADD: “You are cutting 14.5 years off your life!”
A down economy is making more Americans light up. Your plans to quit are going up in smoke. Many of you are smoking more, resuming smoking, and switching to cheaper brands because of tight money. You are resurrecting other bad habits as overeating and sleeping less.
Refocus your attention! Most of your friends who smoke die at age 71. Your friends that don’t smoke add another 14 years to their lives. Why shouldn’t you?
TROUBLE AT 60
You find smoking fun, and it sure beats tranquilizers. When you hit 60, suddenly things start happening to your body. Your blood pressure and cholesterol are a little high. You are having some trouble breathing. Twinges in your chest concern you.
Angiograms and other tests show you have narrowed arteries and need a stent or perhaps bypass surgery. You are told you will be like new, till the stent breaks and shoots to your lung; but this doesn’t occur for three years and only one of six patients need worry.
That spot on your lung CAT scan looks suspicious. It’s an early cancer; radiation and chemotherapy should work.
You have a lump in your right breast. You have a 300% chance it could be cancer. But we doctors are on top of it and are sure we can remove it. With chemo after, you should be just fine.
You have sleep apnea and would be helped with oxygen. Some blood pressure pills would also help. Don’t worry about them causing impotence, Viagra often helps.
You say you are getting a little forgetful? A carotid angiogram shows quite a bit of narrowing, and a graft to your neck should open that quite well. An impending stroke may take weeks or even months. Tiny blood vessel clots cause only minor strokes anyway.
What! You have cataracts at 60. That kind of young, but it offers no problem. Intraocular lens work fine, if there are not a lot of hemorrhages in the retina.
THE FUN YEARS: 60-70
The last ten years before you say goodbye at 71 will be filled with doctor visits, medications, oxygen, numerous examinations and lab tests. You will become friendly with your pharmacist who will explain everything to you.
Don’t worry about your golden years and those Medicare payments. You find rusting out with nicotine is easier than spending another 15 years to wear out.
ON WITH THE DOCTOR NEEDLES INTERVIEW
DOCTOR: “You have come to me to quit smoking. Why do you want to quit smoking?”
YOU: “ I think it is getting too expensive and besides I am getting short of breath and have a cough that will not go away. It’s about time.”
DOCTOR: “When did you start smoking?”
YOU: “Well, I think I was about 13. It was a macho thing to do then, and besides my mom and dad smoked. I was a little on the short side and most of the gang I met, thought I was twelve, even though I was a teenager.
Once I started smoking, wow, the world opened up to me. I felt liberated as a teenager now. No one messed with me and I had a lot of friends.”
DOCTOR: “You said your mom and dad smoked. Are they still alive?”
YOU: “No, my dad died of lung cancer, when I was 8, but he also had a bad liver; from drinking I guess. He really suffered. My mom died of breast cancer when I was 15.”
DOCTOR: “Did you ever try to quit smoking before?”
YOU: “Oh sure, many times; the gum, patches, wellbutrin, and even hypnosis. Nothing seems to work. I guess I am really hooked.”
DOCTOR: “Does your spouse smoke?”
YOU: “She hates it, and so do my kids. I just tell them to bug off. I will quit when I am ready.”
DOCTOR: “Lets imagine you are having a party tomorrow, and you invite your best friend, Smokey Joe. Now you and Smokey go way back to your high school years;
Smokey is your best friend, like a twin brother. You go golfing, fishing, drinking, and gambling together.
Now imagine you go into the kitchen to get some beer from the refrigerator, and there is Smokey. He is making a pass at your loved one; grasping her breasts and trying to get up her dress.
Will you forgive Smokey, for his one minute of say indiscretion?”
YOU: ”Hell no. He would be flattened out and be history.”
DOCTOR: “When I call you the next day for Smokey’s phone number will you give it to me?”
YOU: “No way. He would be history! “
DOCTOR: “You mean you would let one minute of indiscretion ruin a lifetime friendship?”
YOU: ”Yep. He could never be my friend after that.”
DOCTOR: “Can you see that Joe Camel faked you out the same way Smokey faked you out? He approached you at a vulnerable time in your life and sold you his friendship. You never asked him any questions about who he was, and what he did for a living. He said: I can help you. You said: Great, buddy!
Hey, here’s Smokey Joe now. Let’s ask him a few questions. Smokey! What do you do for a living?”
SMOKEY JOE: “I help people. I am like a psychiatrist. I calm people down and help them think straight.
Sometimes I get a bum rap from guys like you saying I kill people, close their arteries, and even do ridiculous things like cause cancer.
And besides, I would never do that to that guy next to you doc. He’s my best customer.
DOCTOR: “If you see Smokey Joe as your friend, you can’t quit smoking. You haven’t got that many friends in town. With the recession, they are all leaving. And even if you quit for a while you will gain a ton of weight and get Dolly Madison as a friend.”
But if you see Smokey Joe as garbage, a killer, a destroyer of your health, there is no problem giving him the gate. After all, he killed your parents and is slowly killing you and you don’t see it happening.
He is taking away the last 15 years of your life and making miserable the last 10 years you have left.
You are a strong person. When you make up your mind, there is nothing that will change it. Your parents in heaven are cheering for you now that you kicked Joe Camel out of your life.
And besides, you have now added another 15 years to your life!”
DOCTOR NEEDLES: THINK IT OVER
From 60 until your death, you will daily be visiting doctors, labs, chemotherapists, and cancer and heart specialist, and undergo heroic bypass surgery, stint placement, chemotherapy.
You will have MRI and Cat scans, and lab tests weekly, and takes a pocket full of pills. Your golden years will be filled with medical appointments. This will make you a very busy chap!
With a very poor quality of life, you certainly can’t travel. Your nursing home, doctor, and pharmacy bills, will put your financial nest egg in a greater dive than this recession.
Your Medicare payments will stop 14 years earlier; maybe people like you will balance the Medicare budget this way?
My friends enjoy these coming golden years. Stop smoking.
Wear out instead of rusting out with nicotine.