Fibber Magees' owners, Ciaran Levanzin and Ronan Lawless, faced a tough decision in early July 2004. Close their Galway, Ireland, pub quietly, or let their patrons light up a ciggi for their last few pints. Due to Ireland's smoking ban, the pub owners have lost too much patronage to keep the doors open -- indeed a stress on their nerves. In defiance of Ireland's smoking ban, Fibber Magees openly allowed customers to smoke. Ireland's Western Health Board promptly gave the pub owners one day to comply or fines and jail time would financially ruin Levanzin and Lawless... for as long as they shall live. The pub is now closed.
Which countries, most like the USA, have higher life expectancy rates AND have higher rates of smokers than the USA?
(Numbers represent percentage of adults who smoke in 2003.)
If you guess "ALL" you are correct!
Fewer people smoke in the USA, and yet our life expectancy rate fails to meet those rates in countries with more smokers. We have more stress. Think & Ask
It is likely that no one, smoker or non, disagrees that smoking cigarettes is a messy habit. And indeed one should only take-up the habit when s/he is of legal age and has for whatever reason decided the habit is right for their lifestyle. But as far as archeological evidence supports, smoking is not new to society -- man has smoked "something or another" from the moment man lit his first fire. Stress however has increased, and tops smoking as a leading cause of disease.
Oddly enough, people in the United States don't live as long as Europeans, where smoking remains popular. Smoking cigarettes fails to compare to stress-related illnesses; and yet no bans are planned or rallied for the elimination of stress. Professional workers in the U.S. worked an average of 47 hours per week in 2003, nearly 10 hours a week more than citizens of Europe.
In mid-2004, the US-government reported that 65 million have high blood pressure, a 30 percent increase from 10 years earlier. High blood pressure is the "silent killer" the report states. An aging population and obesity are largely to blame, but only weight is the controlling factor, and obesity is tied back to stress.
Leading causes of stress in the United States are:
"I wish they'd just leave us alone, you know?" said Jana Whitcomb, 29. "What do they expect us to do, bite off our toe nails? I mean you lay us off, and tell us there are jobs, and hell yeah, I'm stressed.
"There aren't jobs, and I'm never gonna be rich and successful like [Mayor] Bloomie or Bush." Whitcomb takes a long drag on her cigarette infront of a famous coffee chain in Brooklyn. "Take away the only thing left that I enjoy, why not? Life sucks as it is."
Ireland's smoking ban follows many similar bans in the United States and Norway. In the past 100 years, smoking cigarettes has simply gone out of style for the majority. In Western nations as many as 7 in 10 people smoked at the height of cigarette popularity (1940s-1960s,) and that number has now dropped by half. But will anti-smoking advocates eventually win? If their goal is to, at some point in the future, bury smoking with ancestral remains forever; that is achievable, although not likely worldwide.
Even with California's ban on smoking in its fifth year, the state fails to see further drops in the number of citizens who light-up -- steady at 19 percent. Kentucky holds the highest percentage of adult smokers at 31 percent, Utah is lowest at 13 percent. Across the U.S. roughly 1 in 5 citizens smoke cigarettes. The U.S. Federal Government plans to fine states that do not meet 2010 guidelines to discourage no more than 12 percent of its population to smoke.
"If anti-smoking advocates are trying to save the world from premature death, they stand no chance" to win, said Matt O'Neil, 42. "Hey, they seem to forget we have a 100 percent shot at death. What are they hanging on for?" he said.
O'Neil shares a cigarette with a friend in front of his office building in Manhattan. "I have a stressful job, if I didn't smoke a few times a day I'd probably drink to stay calm, and drinking is bad news."
Medical research continues to address factors of stress, concluding that some forms of stress are healthy. To put it bluntly, a little stress may kick-start you into evaluating your circumstances, eventually leading to positive changes in life. However, ongoing stress from employers or financial hardship creates more health problems than smoking.
Stress, as a factor of cause, is the leading cause of suicide and may be the leading cause of heart disease. Some medical professionals hypothesis that even stomach cancer and stroke have a root cause in emotional or mental stress. Together, heart disease and cancer account for more than half (52 percent) of premature deaths in the U.S. Those who suffer stress increase their likelihood of heart disease three times more than cigarette smokers. And while smoking may lead to forms of poorer health, which in turn cause additional worries, smokers claim that lighting-up helps them deal with stress.
As one systems administrator said on an outdoor smoke break, "I work 80-hour weeks and have to be on call every night -- 24 / 7 -- I'm not complaining, but my whole life is dedicated to this job. Some liberal do-gooders are going to begrudge me a fucking-cigarette? Give me a break, tell them to get a life, I've got one," said David "Kip" Londos, 39.
Taken from the most recent statistics (U.S. data only), the leading cause of death is natural causes -- or simply old age. It is an important notation however, because statistics do not factor in what we all experience, only those who have died of disease or injury count in the Center for Disease Control numbers.
So, starting with the second leading cause of death -- heart disease takes the top spot, followed by malignant neoplasms (cancer,) cerebrovascular diseases (stroke,) lower respiratory diseases, accidents, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, Alzheimer's disease, nephritis, septicemia (blood poisoning,) suicide, liver disease, homicide, and hypertension. Accepting that cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's and strokes may be hereditary, that leaves heart disease, accidents, suicide, liver disease, homicide and hypertension as the most preventable forms of premature death.
"This society only cares about 'me,' it's always 'I want,' never, 'how can I help you,'" said Whitcomb. Single (thus lonely) people die five to eight years earlier than those who are married. Those who suffer depression die 11 to 15 years earlier than those who are not. (Based upon life expectancy rates of 73 years for men, 77 years for women.)
Extending a helping hand -- a far more difficult and lawless act of courage -- befriending a lonely shut-in, encouraging a teenager to talk through his/her problems, working on ways to cut-back work-related stress factors are all activities required to truly prevent the leading causes of premature death.
Banning smoking is a simple charade hiding root causes. The real work -- helping fellow humans overcome life's stress -- "requires outreach that smoking bans fail to address in this selfish world," said Londos.
"There is ample evidence to show that smoking is deadly. Sure we all die, but why die a horrible death due to lung cancer? When I see someone outside smoking on a coffee break I think that they are so stupid."
"I know stress is a problem, but we really should ban the sale of cigarettes and that would stop people from smoking. It sounds easy, I know, but if there were no smokes, there would be no problem. Isn't that simple enough?"
"I'm one of those horrible smokers who light up. This article is the best. I know it is an expensive habit to keep, but life is difficult and having a smoke helps keep me calm. At least I'm not shooting at cars like some idiot out here is doing right now. He needs a cigarette to calm down."