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Ross Porter Communications Directos American lung AssociationBy Ross Porter, Communications Director, American Lung Association of San Diego California

Surprising costs, benefits can sustain New Years Resolutions to Quit

The American Lung Association of California offers some new oddball reasons to keep your New Years resolutions to quit smoking. Resources for quitting are free at 800-NO-BUTTS (the California Smokers’ Helpline) and a free online program is available at (look for the Freedom From Smoking program).

Here are ten new reasons to quit:

1. Your cigarettes are radioactive! Polonium 210 – the same poison that recently killed a former Soviet spy – occurs at significant levels in tobacco products, according to a recent article in Science magazine.

2. If smokers were cars, they wouldn’t pass a smog inspection. Just ask Christopher Delo, an Orange County mechanic, who took a drag and then blew into his auto shop’s smog tester pipe. Huge hydrocarbon numbers make him a “gross polluter” according to tailpipe emission standards.

3. Smokers’ pets get cancer more often. The American Journal of Epidemiology published findings that dogs in smoking households had a 60 percent greater risk of lung cancer; long-nosed dogs (collies or greyhounds) were twice as likely to develop nasal cancer if they lived with smokers. Vets from Tufts University found that smokers’ cats are three times as likely to develop lymphoma, the most common feline cancer. Here are links to the studies:

Pets also can have asthma and allergies, made worse by secondhand smoke. See

4. Unsexy: fewer dates and likely impotence. Smoking constricts blood vessels, reducing circulation everywhere - including your erogenous zones. And an Australian study of online dating shows that smokers’ advertisements are less likely to be popular.

5. Smoking outdoors still may not protect your kids. In a recent study, smoking-related contaminants in the dust, air and surface samples from homes where smokers attempted to protect their children by smoking outdoors were up to seven times as high as in the homes of non-smokers. For kids, a few weeks of such exposure can equal several hours of adult smoking.

6. Less value in your home. Hilary Smith at recently wrote on the costs of smoking. “Smokers' houses often require all new paint and/or wall treatments, as well as professional drapery and carpet cleaning. According to, priming and painting an average-size living room, dining room and two bedrooms would cost around $2,100. The Carpet Buying Handbook puts the average cleaning cost per square foot at 28 cents, and the average home has 1,000 square feet of carpet. That's $280. Add $55 to clean a typical sofa and $25 for a chair, says Diversified Carpet in San Diego.”

7. Less value in your car. Aside from miscellaneous burn holes, your car will smell like smoke. More calculations from Hilary Smith’s story: “Figure a minimum of $150 for a good cleaning with an extractor. On a trade-in, dealers can easily knock off more than $1,000 on higher-end vehicles like vans, SUVs and expensive sport-types. Terry Cooper, a car dealer with seven new- and used-car stores, says he took a 1999 Porsche 911 Cabriolet in on trade for $37,000. That sounds OK, but the previous owner could have fetched $40,000 for it had he not ‘smoked out’ the car's interior.”
Read the full story at:

8. Fewer opportunities to smoke. In San Diego County, many parks, beaches, patios, and attractions are now non-smoking areas. What could this mean?

9. Got tar? If you’re a pack-a-day smoker, you’ll collect about a quart in one year.

10. Now with more nicotine! Since 1998, nicotine content in cigarettes has gone up, making it harder to quit and adding poison to your system… your free gift from America’s cigarette makers and the folks who market and sell them.

Bonus points: plenty of medical conditions can be alleviated when you quit, including snoring. Here’s more information:

American lung association logoThe American Lung Association will celebrate 100 years of working for lung health in San Diego County at the 2007 event, Evening in the Sky. At work on cures, clean air, and smoke-free kids, the American Lung Association holds its annual Asthma Walk in September. Learn more at or call 800-LUNG-USA.


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