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How to Quit Smoking - The Story of Linda's Dad

Let me tell you about the father of a friend of mine. He used to smoke a lot, and now he doesn't. He 'wanted' to give up smoking for many, many years. And at last, he came to his moment of truth.

He gritted his teeth for 'cold turkey' but he obviously didn't grit them hard enough. He tried the nicotine patches, but he quickly found himself smoking at the same time. And he tried the nicotine gums, but they didn't work either.

Later, he gave hypnosis a go. The hypnotists - many hypnotists - promised him that it would be easy and painless, that he would not need 'will power', that 'naturally' he would rise above the desire to smoke. And that smoking would just fall away from his life.

Nope. Not for him, anyway.

Acupuncture did nothing at all. He just continued smoking as if nothing had happened. Neither did the 'natural' remedies you see everywhere. (They were more expensive than the acupuncture. And they took longer to fail.)

What stopped the habit? What stopped his smoking stone dead?

Emphysema, that's what.

Emphysema is most likely to develop in cigarette smokers, but cigar and pipe smokers also are susceptible. And the risk for all types of smokers increases with the number of years, and with the amount of tobacco smoked.

Emphysema is a progressive lung disease caused by damage to the airways in the lungs, which are called bronchioles. It develops gradually over many years - therefore you may not notice any symptoms before your lungs have already been irreversibly damaged.

It is a chronic lung disease in which air sacs and the surrounding lung tissues are destroyed. Cigarette smoking is by far the most common cause of emphysema.

He is now in his early sixties - prematurely retired some years ago - and he spends his days almost not moving. He is literally tied to a machine the size of a refrigerator that gives him the oxygen he needs.

Without the machine, he would be dead in minutes.

Can you imagine what it's like to live with oxygen in a nose hose 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?

His life took on a completely new direction when he was told that he had emphysema. At this point he realised that he had quit smoking too late. The disease had been creeping up on him for years. He'd been coughing his "smoker's cough" around the clock without giving it a second thought.

Once lung tissue is destroyed, it cannot be repaired.

It is very important to understand that emphysema is chronic - there is no cure - and it may progress and ultimately result in death.

Eventually with emphysema, the walls in the lungs stretch and break, creating larger, less efficient air sacs that aren't able to handle the normal exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Because the larger, less-elastic sacs aren't able to force air completely out of your lungs when you exhale, you have to breathe harder to take in enough oxygen and to eliminate the carbon dioxide. When you exert yourself and need more oxygen, your chest muscles contract, forcing air out rapidly.

Three to five minutes of oxygen deprivation causes irreversible brain damage.

Sometimes he goes out for a little walk, but it's all very slow and frustrating. He feels like an astronaut, he says, carrying his oxygen tank on his back. It weighs a lot, and the walk is not fun. And if there's a mechanical malfunction, he'll choke to death in the street.

And what does he have to tell us?

That smoking addiction is mainly in the mind. That any method to finish with smoking will work fine if you have won the battle in your mind.

Otherwise, no.

My friend, Linda, his daughter doesn't smoke. She really hates it.


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