Calculus 3 Continues...
In the first section we took a quick look at the overall pressure to smoke cigarettes. In the second section Intensity, Resistance and Threshold were examined. This page will examine the indicators that point to the warnings in self.
Lung/Heart Necrosis Indicator
This presupposes several things...
- That each puff of every cigarette smoked, damages lung and heart tissue by a miniscule but partly reversible fixed ammount.
- The frequency, how often each puff is taken, is also a factor.
- The intensity, how deeply and for how long is each puff inhaled, is also a factor, (but difficult to evaluate).
- That genetics and gender are a factor
This damage reduces the capacity of the lungs to absorb the tobacco drugs and the ability of the heart to pump the drug laden blood to the brain. The smoker is pressured to get more from each puff by inhaling longer and more deeply - causing an even more pernicious kind of damage.
(This in part is why so called 'light' cigarettes can be more dangerous than the regular strength variety).
Here is a first stab at what researches might need to be done before attempting to quantify a necrosis indicator....
- Calculate how many cigarettes have been smoked during the smokers life time of smoking..
- How many inhalations would that be? assuming 10 puffs per cigarette?
- Over how many years were these cigarettes smoked?
- Then factor in an adjustment for frequency.
- How deeply does the smoker inhale?
- And for how long?
- Then factor in an adjustment for intensity.
- How many years under 21 when smoking began? (Child smoker factor)
- Gender? Family cancer history? Obesity? Alcoholism? Drug use? Other health Issues? Diet? Psychology? Environment?
- Then factor in an adjustment for genetics and predisposition...
This makes the assumption that the longer and more often a person smokes the more damage is caused. Clearly qualitative and quantitive research needs to be done to confirm this approach. But what we are after in this instance is a rough and ready guide to the state of affairs that a smoker is in after the years of smoking. And as you can see this has got to be just about impossible...
Any lung/heart necrosis factor number would have no absolute meaning. Its value would be in providing a numeric quasi-comparison between one smoker and another.
The levels of uncertainity in this modest research demonstrates that anyone who smokes is playing roulette with his or her life. Actual numbers would probably demonstrate that smoking at any significant level is utterly dangerous to the smoker's health. Its not just the tobacco, it is also the way in which it is administered.
However here is a rough and ready scale of what to expect if you are male, began smoking past the age of 18, have been smoking for thirty years with an average intensity; have a family history of robust health, and maintain a positive psychological outlook with moderate stress. It might just prove useful...
- Terminally ill.................................600,000 plus cigarettes
- Severe Chronic Disease.................500,000 cigarettes
- Chronic Disease............................400,000 cigarettes
- Severe Disease.............................250,000 cigarettes
(Final Warning to get rid of cigarettes now)
- Disability......................................100,000 cigarettes
(Strong Warning to stop smoking)
- Mild illness....................................25,000 cigarettes
(First Warning to quit)
- Occasional symptoms....................5,000 cigarettes
(Perhaps humans were not designed to smoke?)
These rather arbitrary figures are meant to represent overlapping zones...
The body is a marvel of adjustment technology and the smoker often does not realise that he or she is ill until chronic bronchitis or some other chronic disease manifests. Low levels of emphysema will always be present in anyone who smokes, so there will always be some permanent damage as a result of smoking even a few cigarettes.
These figures will not prorate very accurately. Anyone who has smoked for as little as three years will probably have developed some form of lung irritation that a kindly M.D. will describe as 'Bronchitis' (Unspecified chest disease!)
Smoking one cigarette or less per month may be a reasonably safe way of going on, but only if the smoker has been specially trained to be able to do so...
Psychologists have, from the dawn of time, been baffled by the problem of quantifying human psychological reactions. The author is no psychologist, and consequently ought to avoid the subject like the plague. But smoking and psychology travel arm in arm, and it is a subject that cannot be avoided.
The most common external pressure for lighting up smoking a cigarette is usually reported as stress.
How to gauge stress? Stress factors come and go and a sort of stress average is needed...maybe a scale from 1 to 10 would be appropriate. So if you use cigarettes as your primary means to manage stress then here is a rough and ready chart...
- Wired............................9 points
(Chain Smoking, Chronic insomnia)
- Extreme stress..............7 points
(Every worry causes a cigarette to be lit)
- High stress....................5 points
(Light up every time the phone rings)
- Medium Stress...............3 points
(Often light up before talking to any one)
- Low Stress....................1 point
(Light up by choice? really?)
The 1 to 10 scale was chosen since 10 would be a chain smoker doubling up. Or you might assess your general level of stress as six, somewhere between High and Extreme....
It would be preferable if the stress factors at play in each life could be independently assessed. Ask ten friends to give you their stress ratings of you...
Most smokers wishing to get rid of cigarettes, will need to find better and more practical ways to handle stress.
Reading the Results
This now needs to be put in a form that can be made sense of...
Continuing to use the example of the forty-four year old smoker...
- Age. 45years old
- Number of years smoking... 29years.
- Current level of smoking 45 cpd.
- Pressure index of 45+? cpd.
- Resistance of ...?
- Frequency of 32.586 cpd.
- Intensity of ...? (on a scale of ?)
- Lung/heart Necrosis Factor of... ?
- Stress Factor of...? out of 10?
What does all or any of this mean? Not much since it is full of holes. If the FDA approve a new drug a thousand questions have been answered, risks evaluated and so on before it is cleared for general use. With cigarettes it is still the big unknown
Commentary on The Methodic
The method described in the main body of these web pages suggests to cut down gradually to three per day and then maintain this level of smoking until it feels right to stop.
This page of calculations reveals the authors thoughts about smoking.
Three cigarettes per day, whilst still being dangerous to a smokers health, ought to be sufficient to maintain a nicotine(+) habit/addiction. Those three should be pleasure enough. Once a smoker smokes more than three per day, the other factors start to weigh in more heavily and reduce the quality of the experience of smoking. This leads back into the spiral of addiction/habit process...
The main idea of the methodic is to train the systems to accept three per day as a limit. Thus when the smoker stops he or she stops as a three per day smoker and not as a 45 per day tobacco consumer. It may not feel like it at the time but later the smoker will come to know this and be content.
There are chronicled tales of smokers stopping smoking for as long as fifteen years. Then for some inexplicable reason choosing to return to smoking cigarettes and not long after contracting some fatal, smoking related, disease.
There is a vast difference between being thirty, healthy and fully intact, and being fifty-eight and well past ones prime. The shock of going back to smoking after a long absence can trigger serious health related problems.
So if against all better advice and natural wisdom you choose to smoke again after stopping. Then it would still be very risky business. Even if it was 'at least ten years later' and only 'the one now and again', '12 cigarettes per year as an absolute maximum', 'a tobacco ritual if one likes'... AND even if you also knew with complete certainty that you could, yet again, evade the grasping tentacles of the octopus of tobacco addiction.
BEWARE: The personal fantasies created by the 'rose tinted glasses' of tobacco addiction... will forever lurking be, in every minds' psychology...
Let it Pass.