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Doctors Testimony


A physician's viewpoint on cigarette advertising


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Student Smoking
Teen Smoking Freq.
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Students at 5 Yrs
Students & Addiction
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Crossover Appeal
Cig Ads are Killers
Doctors Testimony
Cigs & Addiction
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A Cardiologist's Personal Testimony

Every day as a cardiologist, I care for patients who have fat and cholesterol blockages of the arteries of the heart.  A large number of my patients have already had a heart attack.  Cigarette smoking has been a contributing cause to the development of a heart attack in many of these patients.  Cigarette smoking increases the risk of having a heart attack by at least 300% compared to a nonsmoker.  Even after already suffering a heart attack, stopping smoking substantially reduces the risk of a future heart attack in these patients.

I am continually impressed with the intensity of tobacco addiction.  I try to help my patients quit smoking so they can reduce their risk of future heart attacks and strokes.  However, despite the efforts of my patients in these highly motivating situations, many patients are not successful in stopping smoking.

An example of this is a 41-year-old patient who I first saw in the emergency room when he was experiencing his first heart attack.  He decided to stop smoking prior to leaving the hospital.  Two weeks later at his follow-up office visit, he told me he had returned to smoking,  "Doctor, I tried to stop, but I felt like an animal off tobacco.  If I could have gnawed off my arm for a cigarette, I would have done so.  I know this is bad for me, but I couldn’t help it."   Many patients do succeed in stopping smoking, but unfortunately, many do not despite the current medications available.

 I often feel like I am on a continuous treadmill trying to get my patients to stop smoking.  On one hand, I am trying to help motivate and support patients in the difficult task of stopping smoking.  On the other end of this spectrum, the tobacco industry is advertising and effectively recruiting new young smokers. 

It does not make sense to me for our society to allow the aggressive marketing of a substance that if discovered today would never be legalized because of the associated health problems. Cigarettes are the only legal substance that if used precisely as recommended, leads to overwhelming negative health consequences.  It is truly time to stop the madness of allowing this potentially deadly substance to be marketed with the inevitable consequences of an increased smoking rate and thereby increased addiction rate in our nation's teenagers.  (Making cigarettes illegal is clearly not the right thing to do with millions of legally addicted individuals who would then be criminalized in their need.  Prohibition was clearly a failed experiment in our country's past.)




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