By Anderson Slempski
The tremendous cost of a smoking habit can be counted in
monetary terms, but also mounts up in loss of health, loss
of life, and human suffering. Compared to these results of
smoking, the price of a pack a day is trivial.
The word tremendous is an apt one, for this harmful practice
has shattering consequences. To begin with, the price of
cigarettes has gone up about as fast as the economy has gone
down. Throwing money away on something so bad for you makes
no sense at all, but then that is the sad reality of an
The smokers puts their money down for fragrant white tickets
to the high risk seats, where they can play the odds with
congestive heart disease, heart attack, stroke, emphysema,
and cancer. Like all those with a compulsive gambling
problem, the fact that the odds are stacked against them
means nothing compared to the satisfaction of the next
Besides cigarettes, there are other tobacco products that
carry just as much risk. Young athletes who start chewing
tobacco for fun become addicted, and find that they can't
stop when they are old enough to understand the dangers. One
day they may face losing the lower part of their face to
mouth cancer. The pleasure of savoring cigar smoke by
holding it in the mouth can result in gum disease, can
damage the tongue, destroy the sense of taste and smell, and
cause mouth cancer.
Even before the final bill comes due, smokers have paid the
price in health. They are too short of breath to enjoy the
exercise they should have, they can't climb stairs or take a
good deep breath of fresh air, they can't work or play very
long without needing a break, and they get irritable and
nervous if they go too long without their 'fix'.
Others who may not smoke themselves can be exposed to
harmful second hand smoke. The dangers of this have led to
recent legislation that makes most restaurants and public
places smoke free areas. Children especially suffer the ill
effects of their parents smoking in the home or the family
car. Another hazard for children is the bad example that
their parents are setting for them.
Finally, think about the people left alone after the death
of their lifelong partner, dead of the effects of smoking.
Or the kids growing up without a parent, the baby injured in
the womb, the brilliant actor or musician or scientist or
doctor who cannot live to do all they could have done for
the rest of us. What waste of human potential. What a cost
to all when medical facilities are overfilled with those who
traded health for an addiction to nicotine.
A consequence of this addiction is the painful attempts to
stop. Not only does the stopping period cause physical
symptoms, the mental strain is so bad that many people
simply cannot do it. In desperation, they buy the patch and
chew the gum, eat too much, yell at the kids or kick the
dog, bum cigarettes off their friends while promising to
never buy another pack, get hypnotized, and then often give
up and let the monkey climb back on. Ask them, and they will
tell you the attempt was true misery.
Money, quality of life, health, and longevity - all of these
are some of the tremendous cost of a smoking habit.
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