Authors Note: I ran this post this past December and deiced to re-post it. I ran across another sad reminder of the consequences of smoking and second hand smoke this week. Smoking is a habit and like all habits it can be broken. Make goal to quit smoking. Do it for yourself, do it for your kids or what ever motivates you but just do it. To you teens out there: Don’t start smoking because it isn’t cool! It is an expensive and nasty habit that will end up costing you not only money lost on cigarettes but cost you your health.
There are many who smoke, and maybe a few who do not, that believe smoking hurts no one but them. I have had many discussions with smokers over the years who deny the risk factors to their health lest alone someone else’s. I smoked many years ago and can tell you it does hurt you and others. I can also tell you the monetary cost of smoking and it’s impact on health is astronomical. In 1982 as I lay in a hospital bed smoking the doctor come in and informed me my back pain was caused by a collapsed lung. Twenty nine days in the hospital, one lung surgery, one-third of a lung gone and one bankruptcy ( at the age if nineteen) due to medical bills later I was a believer in the hazards And the high cost of smoking.
Lets talk a bit first about the non- health risk: Besides smelling like an ashtray to those around them the cost of smoking is thus: The cost of a pack of cigarettes averages around $4.50 to $5, including taxes, depending on where you live. A pack-a-day smoker burns through about $31.50 per week, or $1,638 per year. We won’t do the math on the two- or- so -a -day smoker. Trying to get life insurance? Health insurance? You can expect to pay at least one and a half to two times that of a non-smoker.
There are also risks to the those living and working around cigarette smokers. So what are the health risks to the smokers health? Well the list is long so I will attach a link to the CDC’s site that list the risk: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/tobaccocancer/secondhand-smoke
The one I see most in my job is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD for short. It is one of the most common of the lung diseases. There are two main forms of COPD :Chronic bronchitis and emphysema. What happens if you have COPD? If your condition is bad enough you get a neat little machine delivered to your house called an oxygen concentrator.
This is a picture of a oxygen concentrator. They are used to deliver supplemental oxygen when prescribed by a physician. So you might ask what does an oxygen concentrator do. WiseGeek.com states: “An oxygen concentrator is a medical device which is designed to deliver a concentrated flow of oxygen to a patient. The air from an oxygen concentrator has a higher concentration of oxygen than the surrounding ambient air, but the device does not rely on the use of oxygen tanks.”
Why would someone need a O2 concentrator? For oxygen therapy. What is oxygen therapy? Here is a brief description from Wikipedia:“Oxygen therapy is the administration of oxygen as a medical intervention, which can be for a variety of purposes in both chronic and acute patient care. Oxygen is essential for cell metabolism, and in turn, tissue oxygenation is essential for all normal physiological functions. “
In my job I set up O2 equipment for oxygen patients and make sure our current patients equipment is operating properly. I cannot verify because of HIPPA laws who has or who hasn’t smoked but I surmise that not all oxygen patients are smokers or former smokers but I can say there are some who are on O2 therapy who smoke.
Now if smoking effects the smoker health does it effect others around them as well? There is as much debate about second hand smoke as there has been on global warming. the difference? Second hand smoke proponents have hard data to back up their claims not just theories. Here is link to the ACS ( American Cancer Society) about second smoke so you can judge for your selves: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/tobaccocancer/secondhand-smoke
So what set me off on this little soap box post of mine? A few weeks back I went and checked a O2 concentrator that was alarming at a patient that was a smoker. Alarming is a annoying buzzer that alters the patient the machine is not operating properly. I found the machine was alarming because there was low O2 output. I, per company policy, replaced the machine with a another one.
I took the machine back to the shop to check it out before sending it out for repair. I checked the internal filter and found that it was very “dirty”. I replaced the filter and the machine quit alarming so I ran the machine for several minutes and the output levels came up to normal. Below (right top) is a filter out of a smokers machine. The left bottom one is a new , clean filter. And the middle is a side by side view of both filters. Now imagine what this is doing to a smokers lung because this filter was filtering second hand smoke!
As I sit here thinking how to end this rant I simply want to say as a former smoker: Quitting is a bitch but living tethered to a machine is no picnic either. Count the cost and decide of it is worth the price of admission.