Outside nearly every office building, they stand or sit, smoking their cigarettes. You know cigarette smoking must be addictive because who in their right mind would want to go out in near 100 degree temperatures to smoke. The American Heart Association's latest numbers show that 24.8 million men in this country smoke and 21.1 million women smokers. That's roughly one in every five adults in this country.
And I guarantee most smokers are aware of the risks and they still can't quit. The Surgeon General report from 2004 found that smokers die an average of 13 years sooner than their non-smoking friends. He also concluded that smoking harms nearly every organ in the body... not just the lungs. The diseases caused by cigarettes are too many to list but to name a few: lung cancer, throat cancer, kidney cancer, abdominal aortic aneurysm, even sudden infant death syndrome.
I understand the dilemma smokers' face. My parents smoked but quit long ago. My mom quit because she didn't want her grandchildren to wonder why "G'ma" smelled like smoke.
And that's a good reason to stop... for the kids. The Surgeon General found that in a four year period in the late 90s, there were 440,000 premature births attributed to smoking.
So what do you do if you have a baby on the way and want to quit?
Every Thursday, starting September 2nd and running for six weeks, Norton Healthcare is offering "Smoke-Free for Mommy and Me" classes. The series will be repeated through the fall and into next year. It will address a lot of the stuff you already know but will include ways to help you quit to protect the baby. For more information about the program call 629-1234 or visit NortonBaby.com.