“A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic” (Joseph Stalin). Grace and forgiveness are like oxygen to the mind, body, spirit, and soul. We cannot live fully without harmonious synergy between each realm of our being, while damage ensues when any of them are neglected. Oxygen is life. Remember that our hemoglobin molecule on the red blood cell carries oxygen to every cell in our body. Nicotine has an affinity for hemoglobin, which takes approximately 50% of the oxygen away from our cells when consuming nicotine. Results of any disease-killing process is the cessation of oxygen in the end. Pollutants from smoke cause hepatic injury, leading to elevated low density lipoprotein (LDL aka bad cholesterol), thus creating plaque and narrowing of arteries. Averting heart attacks, stroke, peripheral vascular and arterial disease, among myriads of other unwanted ailments is within our control. Nicotine weakens the esophageal sphincter, causing gastroesophageal reflux. Please stop smoking or using any nicotine-releasing substance if you do not want suffering and misery in later years, as well as becoming a statistic.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC),

“Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States. Nearly 40 million US adults still smoke cigarettes, and about 4.7 million middle and high school students use at least one tobacco product, including e-cigarettes. Every day, more than 3,800 youth younger than 18 years smoke their first cigarette. Each year, nearly half a million Americans die prematurely from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. Another 16 million live with a serious illness caused by smoking. Each year, the United States spends nearly $170 billion on medical care to treat smoking-related disease in adults.”³

Don’t leave your one and only beautiful unique life to chance or try fatally reasoning with fate. Create your own present and future well-being by choosing to live a healthy lifestyle. Struggling for each single breath of air that we may currently take for granted, or dying precipitously from cancer or another awful avoidable disease is within our control. Govern the controllable factors and forget about the rest. Remove I can’t from your vocabulary. Saying or believing, “I can’t,” only associates stronger connections uniting undesirable behaviors and self-limiting beliefs linked to your identity. Saying, “I can’t,” may be a character flaw, when indeed you can. Stop lying to your beautiful self, creating a deleterious mental movie. If someone threatened to harm your loved ones if you did not terminate smoking permanently, you could stop. Muster up enough faith, courage, and powerful reasons to end smoking forever and you will. You can do it!

Most of us want to be around to see our sons and daughters get married, spend time enjoying grandchildren, or relish in the splendors of true living. Living and aliveness have their own relative connotations. Each of us has to decide how we want to live, therefore let’s help each other, while casting no judgement upon anyone.

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