Tag Archives: smoking

This Threat Kills More than Murder, AIDS, Suicide, Drugs, Car Crashes and Alcohol Combined

In just a second I’m going to give you an important, free self-defense tip that could protect you from one of the deadliest threats in the world today — and I’m going to give you a specific, bulletproof instructions. 

If you’re in the roughly 85% of readers have already avoided this threat,  congratulations.  Feel free to go read something relevant to you when you get to the big reveal.

But if you’re in the 15% who are still in danger, there’s a good chance you’re going to run like hell as soon as I start discussing this incredible threat.  Do you have enough courage to keep reading until the end?  OK, good. 

The threat that kills more people each year than murder, AIDS, suicide, drugs, car crashes and alcohol combined is cigarette smoking.¹  And my tip is to quit.  Now.

Quitting is hard, trust me I know.  I tried and failed a half dozen times before I finally succeeded.   Here are my insights.

  • Don’t fall prey to “I’ll quit on Monday.”  Thoughts like that are not helpful.  Always quit night here and right now.  Quit smoking for ten minutes.  Then do it again.  Do that ten thousand times and you will have quit for two months.  Every moment in this journey is its own moment.
  • Don’t beat yourself up when you make mistakes.  Just start over and don’t look back.
  • So, if you slip up and buy a pack, don’t think “Oh well, I might as well finish the pack.”  Throw the rest of the pack in the trash and start over right where you’re standing.  You’re not getting your money back, and it’s not “a waste” to prevent the other 19 smokes in that pack from going into your lungs!
  • Do not push yourself — pull yourself.  Treat a person like a slave, abuse them, scream at them and deny them the pleasures of life they will hate you and rebel against you.  Do yourself that way and you’ll rebel against yourself.  Don’t do it.  Reward yourself by spending your cigarette money on a treat that’s good for you — books, concert tickets, gifts for loved ones, travel savings, etc.
  • No matter what happens, don’t give up.  If one method doesn’t seem to be working, try another one.  It’s true that most people who quit successfully quit cold turkey.  But lots of of people who quit use other methods.  I quit by switching to Swedish Snus for two years first.  You might succeed with Chantix, Nicorette, hypnosis. ayahuasca or my father’s method: books and hot baths.  He took a week off from work and did nothing but lay in bed and read Louis L’Amour books.  Every time he got a craving he’d take a hot bath.  It worked!
  • If all else fails, consider reducing harm by switching to a less dangerous nicotine delivery system.  All tobacco is not created equal (see graph below).  According some studies, the only risk of snus is receding gums.  And as for vaping, the Royal College of Physicians London says, “E-cigarettes are not currently made to medicines standards…However, the hazard to health arising from long-term vapour inhalation from the e-cigarettes available today is unlikely to exceed 5% of the harm from smoking tobacco.”


¹ I hope I don’t have to prove this claim.  But if I do, read this, this or this.


Sunday is as Good a Day as any to Save a Few Hundred Thousand Lives


This is can of Swedish Snus by General, a division of Swedish Match (aka Svenska Tändsticks AB). You put it in your mouth so you can get nicotine without inhaling toxic vapors.

What day is it? Sunday? Seems like as good a day as any to save a few hundred thousand lives.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking causes over 400,000 deaths each year in the United States.¹  The CDC doesn’t have any statistics on smokeless tobacco deaths because the risks are too small to reliably track.

Yes, there are some reports from the WHO on the risks of smokeless tobacco in general — if you include all of the various kinds used worldwide — ones prepared with corn starch and lime and creepy additives.  But as for Swedish snus, even the WHO has to admit, “two studies from Sweden that were well-designed and controlled for smoking showed no association between smokeless tobacco use overall, specifically ever use of snus, and oral cancer.”

As Ken Warner (director of the University of Michigan Tobacco Research Network) said,

“The Swedish government has studied this stuff to death, and to date, there is no compelling evidence that it has any adverse health consequences. …Whatever they eventually find out, it is dramatically less dangerous than smoking.”²

Basically, what it comes down to is.  If you are smoker, go to your local tobacco shop and get some snus.  Put it in your mouth and stop smoking.  It may save your life.  If every smoker in the U.S. did this it would save hundreds of thousands of lives.

Don’t believe me?  There’s a nice guy named Brad Rodu who runs a blog called Tobacco Truth, and he has a ton of information on his blog.  Brad is a professor of medicine at the University of Louisville.  He holds an endowed chair in tobacco harm reduction research, and is a member of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center at U of L.  If you ask him questions on his blog, like I did, he’ll answer them.

Snus cans have government mandated warning labels that are not supported by facts.  How stupid is that?

Snus cans have government mandated warning labels that are not supported by facts. How stupid is that?

Still don’t believe me?  Read this report by the Department of Public Health and General Practice at the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Christchurch, New Zealand.  According to the report, snus does not appear to lead to increased risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or diabetes.

But you say, “Mitch, why do snus cans have those scary warning labels?”  Answer: Because there’s a law passed by our beloved Congress that says that all tobacco products have to have warning labels.  And, as we know, our Congress is full of people who are not swayed by facts.  Half of them are scientifically illiterate.  There are quite a few who don’t even believe in evolution.

It comes down to this.  If you aren’t addicted to nicotine, don’t start.  Clearly it’s better to avoid putting tobacco into your body altogether if you can.  But if you’re an addict and you can’t quit, choose smokeless products.  The risks are clearly less.


¹ According to this CDC Fact Sheet.  They have smokeless tobacco fact sheet, but it’s uncontaminated by any hard statistics.

² Courtesy of this Wikipedia article.

The Power of Habit: Goal Setting, Part Deux

I’ve talked about writing goals before.  I mentioned that setting daily goals gets things done.  Now I want to talk about the power of habit.

Habit is a bitch.  It can embarrass or even kill you — as in picking your nose, biting your nails, snacking while watching TV, or smoking.  I should know, since I have a history with all four.  Although I seem to have the smoking thing licked (clean for almost 18 months by the grace of the gods), and the snacking thing too, I  still struggle with nail-biting and and nose-picking.

What can I say.  We all have our demons.

But habit can also work in your favor.  A gabillion books have been sold on the subject of the positive power of habit.   I haven’t read them, because I figured it out all by myself.  A pity I didn’t write a book about it, because I would have made a wheelbarrows full of money.  Anyway, the point is, go form some habits that benefit you.

Here are some of my beneficial habits (there are too many to list all of them):

  • Every night before bed I set the coffee pot to brew at 5:00 am.
  • Each weekday morning I check my goal progress and work social media over coffee until 5:30 am.  At 5:30 am I exercise until 6:30 am (unless I’m injured, like I am now, in which case I write or futz around for an hour).  At 6:30 am I come in, unload and reload the dishwasher, and straighten the kitchen so my wife comes downstairs to a happy kitchen.  I eat breakfast, wash up, and head out for work at 7:30.  On lunch break at the office I write 1,000 words.
  • On Saturday morning I work on secondary writing projects, visit my Mom, go to martial arts club, and grocery shop.
  • On Sundays I rest, blog for the week, visit my Mom, and cook all my breakfasts and lunches for the next 5 days.

What kind of habits could you form that would benefit you?  Give it some thought and you might be able to realize your dreams.

And please try to stop picking your nose.  It’s a nasty habit.