Monday, September 30, 2013

CoxHealth New Hiring Policy Gets Tough On Smokers

The hospital chain out of Springfield, MO, CoxHealth will no longer hire people who use tobacco products.

CoxHealth announced at a news conference on Friday Sept 29th 2013, that it is adding nicotine screening to the tests that an applicant must pass in order to get hired.  CoxHealth leadership has said that the new policy is part of their overall mission to improve the health and wellness of their community.

Click here to see the press conference:

The employees at CoxHealth all too often see first hand the effects of smoking.

Dr. Abe Abdalla, medical director of Hulston Cancer Center, "Simply put, smoking is the worst self-inflicted harm any human being can do to herself or himself.  Certainly as a cancer doctor, I see the devastating impact of smoking every day, not only on the patient, but also on their family."

So if you're want to work for CoxHealth you'll need to live and lead by example. Starting on November 21, all new hires will have to pass a nicotine screening.  If they don't pass, they don't get the job.  Period.  What's cool though is they will be offered admission into a stop smoking program, they can get no cost help to stop, and they will be invited to reapply in 90 days.

CoxHealth President and CEO Steve Edwards:  "We want employees who are healthy.  We think our employees must be role models to lead our community, to inspire our community to be a healthier place to work."

Smoking at Cox is already a challenge.  It is a smoke free campus for started and employees have to go at least 500 feet off the property to have a smoke.  AND they have to change clothes before coming back to work.  (Love that!)

"We think that if we're going to be leaders, we have to do things that not everyone likes, but we have to do what we believe is right, and so we intend to do that," Edwards said.

Cox is also offering an incentive for current employees to stop.  Edwards is creating a prize fund named after his father, Charlie, who was a smoker, but was also dedicated to healthcare.  Employees who quit could win $1,000 if they stay smoke-free for a year.

With that in mind, I'll make the following offer:  Any Cox employee or would be Cox employee can get my book "How To Stop Smoking Without Killing Anyone" for 50% off when ordered off this blog.  Send an email to for an invoice via PayPal.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Pete Turner's Story: Switch From Cigarettes to Jogging and How It Changed His Life

From Yahoo's Contributor Network out of the UK and Ireland comes the story of Pete Turner.  Read his inspiring story about how he used a little illness to turn his life around, introduced exercise and fitness into his lifestyle to kick the habit and accomplish something massive!

"I smoked for about a decade so I consider myself lucky that I got out when I did. Who knows how much harder it would have got if I'd waited longer?

Smoking was something I took up at around fifteen or sixteen. I was part of the generation who really should have known better. Unlike my parents' generation I had always known smoking was a stupid and unhealthy thing to do. Like many other teenagers however I had very few thoughts beyond what I was doing at the weekend in those days.

I started slowly, nicking fags off friends when I was socializing and then eventually fell into the routine of ten a day, maybe twenty on the weekends.

Then about four years ago, shortly before I turned 30, I got bronchitis. I couldn't move, couldn't breathe even without wheezing and spent months on antibiotics and puffing on an inhaler for the first time in my life. That summer I told myself I should quit and managed to not smoke through most of my illness. But cigarettes are sly and the odd one or two quickly became a full time habit again.

The following summer my bronchitis returned with a vengeance. Not only that, but when I was trying to clear my airways by breathing in menthol scented steam, I spilled boiling hot water all over my thighs, burning me so badly I still have the scars. I was at my lowest, lying in bed all summer with bandaged thighs and barely able to breathe and determined to quit the habit once and for all. I didn't want to just quit smoking either; I wanted to never be stuck in my bed due to ill health again.

I decided to eat better, exercise more and quit smoking as soon as I was recovered. I went through about three courses of antibiotics and finally felt better. I immediately took up jogging. Two years ago I could barely run a mile and struggled to get myself around the park near my house. Now I'm training for Paris Marathon 2014 and running my second Cardiff Half Marathon this October.

In quitting smoking and starting running at around the same time, I used jogging as a distraction from wanting a cigarette in the evenings. It worked and soon I found myself craving a jog, rather than a fag after work.
Annoying as it may sound to those who still smoke, now I find it very unpleasant to even be near smokers anymore. The smell has gone from comforting to disgusting and I don't think my lungs have ever fully recovered as passive smoking can often leave me in a coughing fit. I'm lucky to have quit right around the time smoking became illegal in pubs and clubs, saving me both from temptation and discomfort.

To smokers I say, don't let it get to the point I found myself at. Bronchitis is far from fun and lung cancer I imagine is a hell of a lot worse. Jogging can be a brilliant alternative and please believe me; you will eventually feel so much better for it."

If you want to, check out Pete's marathon training tips for advice on how to keep motivated when first starting jogging:

I've been saying this the whole time, exercise has multiple benefits for anyone looking to kick the habit.  My book will also give you multiple options for reclaiming your lung capacity but the point here is look at the resilience of the human body and it's amazing ability to repair and rebuild itself.  So for now, Mr Gump can take a back seat and let's all give a shout out to Mr Turner and say, "RUN PETE RUN!"

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Who's a smoker and what's that gonna cost you?

Stop Smoking Detroit!  People in Detroit, MI have another solid reason to stop smoking.  This reason will have a national effect, but according to the  Detroit Free Press and the U.S. CDC, there are about 44 million people in the U.S. that smoke cigarettes.  In Michigan, that's about 1 in 5.

Recent health care reforms is allowing insurance companies  to adjust premiums for tobacco users upwards of 50% in some cases!

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death and illness.  The CDC says that tobacco use costs the US approximately $96 billion annually in medical costs and $97 billion in lost productivity.

SIDE BAR:  Add those two up and we're talking about $193 billion dollars a year.  If you could redirect these funds, how would you spend that money?  The national debt could be paid down in about 85 years assuming we accrue no additional debt...  like that'll ever happen.  

Smoking is the only behavior or habit that an insurer can actually penalize a consumer for doing under the federal law.

The questions now is, what makes a smoker a smoker in the eyes of Uncle Sam?

Here at The StopDontQuit blog, we wanted smokers and occasional smokers alike to know so they can make a educated decision on specifically how and when they decide to continue smoking.

  • If you've used tobacco an average of four or more times per week within the last six months, your considered a tobacco user.
  • Since a minor cannot purchase tobacco products legally, an insurance company cannot take tobacco use into account to set premiums if the tobacco user is younger than 18.
  • An insurance company can't penalize smokers or tobacco users for using it for religious or ceremonial uses.”  It uses Native American ceremonies as an example, but it does not clarify this provision further.
  • Good news is that the law requires that all individual and small-market policies cover tobacco cessation programs.

Here's another fun fact.  Let's say you lied about your smoking, then get caught.  Caught meaning a tumor in your lung or throat cancer that can't be explained away in any Michael Douglas fashion.  Now what?  Well the insurance company can't drop your lying ass, but they can charge you what you should have paid and do retroactively.

If you're a number guy, consider this.  The law also allows an adult smoker to be be charged three times more than a young adult smoker.  And it also provides that smokers don't get to use government tax credits available to help pay premiums to offset the surcharges from smoking...  [insert Homer Simpson DOH! here]

So do that math.  What does it really cost you to keep smoking?  Would you invest $20 to learn how to stop?  Clearly you need to learn how to stop.  You haven't quit yet, obviously, because you're still smoking. What if you didn't have to quit, but all you needed to do was stop? Every time you get on a plane, you stop.  Every time you go to the movies, you stop.  Why not stop all together?  Who said anything about quitting?  I stopped in 2002, haven't had a cigarette since and still haven't quit.  And look, if I can do that, certainly you can too.  Listen to yourself and the excuses you're making up right now.  Hopefully you feel like that really isn't you talking and would like to let the real you back out to play.  Pick up a copy of "How To Stop Smoking Without Killing Anyone", invest $20 in saving the rest of your life.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Gene Therapy and Hedge Funds For Smokers

In a recent article from Tele Management, scientist are working with genes to see if they can determine which smokers may or may not get ling cancer.  I'm pasting the article below and will peanut gallery it as I go through it like the two old men on the muppets....  enjoy!

Predicting Which Smokers Will Get Lung Cancer [who want's to know, addicts?]

Cigarette smoke is the leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, accounting for approximately 90 percent of all lung cancer cases. [holy crap!]  Unfortunately, at this time, there is no reliable test for predicting which smokers are at highest risk for developing lung cancer. It is also difficult to detect lung cancer at an early stage, when treatment might be more effective.  [So, who would smoke anyway if they knew they could without getting lung cancer?  What about emphysema?  Esophageal cancer? Prostate cancer?]

Now, according to a study published journal Science Translational Medicine, [Translational Medicine sounds made up to me, how about you?] a team of researchers from around the United States has identified a gene pathway that is activated in the airways of people with lung cancer. Cigarette smoke causes injury to the entire respiratory tract and not just the lung. So, these researchers collected normal tissue from the airways of smokers both with and without lung cancer to study early smoking-induced damage. They found that activity of a gene pathway called phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) is significantly increased only in the airway cells of smokers with lung cancer. In addition, the scientists were able to demonstrate that PI3K activation in the airways was associated only with lung cancer, and not with lifetime smoke exposure, smoking status, or presence of other smoking-related lung diseases. [So there ARE other smoking related diseases!  That's good to know...]

Lung cancer develops deep in the lungs, but based on the findings of this study, PI3K activation is present even in normal airway cells of smokers with lung cancer. This means that physicians might be able to identify smokers who are at risk for, or already have, lung cancer using a procedure called bronchoscopy to collect cells from their windpipes rather than having to perform more invasive lung tests. It also means that smokers with lung cancer might be diagnosed and treated at an earlier stage of the disease with better outcomes.

[BOTTOM LINE:  Smoking is a deadly activity.  If it's not lung cancer, it will be something else.  How many times has looking for a short cut taken twice as long or been twice as hard then if you just did the thing you were trying to avoid.  I wonder how many of these translational doctors smoke.  There's no safe way to smoke and there's no way around the fact that you're not the 90 year old Russian lady who's been smoking since she was 12 and can still lift a small cow over her head.  There's a word for people like that...  mutants!  You are not Wolverine.  Smoking will lead to your premature death.  So, if you like committing a passive aggressive for of suicide, keep at it.  If on the other hand you're ready to shed the shackles of Big Tobacco and reclaim your health and freedom, pick up a copy of my book, How To Stop Smoking Without Killing Anyone.  Take back your self control, your health and response-ability]

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Coxhealth Helping Pregnant Women and Parents Stop Smoking

Stop Smoking SPRINGFIELD, Mo.  Congratulations goes out to CoxHealth who will be the host of a no cost Freedom From Smoking course starting on Sept. 26.  The curse is for pregnant women and their significant others who smoke.

CoxHealth is urging women who smoke or who are around second-hand smoke to participate in the this free event.  Cox has partnered up with the American Lung Association on this one.

Denise Vaughan who is a nurse educator for the CoxHealth Women's Center says that, “The dangers of cigarette smoke to an unborn child are well-documented.  We also know that many women return to smoking as soon as they deliver and we want to do everything we can to help mothers and their significant others quit smoking for good."

Good job Denise!

Research will show that smoking can double the risk of placenta problems, both of which can put mother and child in grave danger.  Cigarette smoke can also slow a child’s growth, which increases the likelihood that the baby will be born under weight, with an increase in the chances of a premature birth, and the odds of SIDS goes up by two.

Denise also points out that, "There is no question that quitting smoking is best for baby. But it’s important to remember that it’s best for a family’s long-term health, too.”

So, if you're in the Springfield are and want to attend, here are the details of the class:

When:  The Freedom From Smoking course will be offered as a seven-week session beginning on Thursday, Sept. 26 from 6-7 p.m.

Where:  Classes will be held in room 006 at Olin Library on the Drury University campus, 900 N. Benton Ave., Springfield, Mo.

Parking:  Participants may park along Drury Lane and Burnham Circle, and in lots #1 and #2 at the corner of Durry Lane and Centeral St.

Registration is required for this program, which is made possible by a grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health.

To register, or for more information, call 417-269-LADY.

BONUS OFFERING:  Anyone who attends this event, email me a copy of your registration and I will send you an autographed copy of my book, "How To Stop Smoking Without Killing Anyone" at 50% off.  You will be able to use this book to support what you learned and reinforce your resolve to stop smoking for your child and your family.  My email:

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Smoking, Obama, Free-Trade and States Rights

Stop Smoking Cleveland - From Washington D.C., Plain Bureau Chief Stephen Koff, brings to light (pun intended) a challenging question:  

"Should trade treaties, which encourage the global flow of goods and services, trump public health and safety?"

In Steven's article from, there comes this question that I hadn't considered.  What if all these restrictions on cigarette packaging and marketing could actually violate international trade rules?  This is the debate on tobacco and trade right now championed by Sen. Sherrod Brown who wrote a letter to Obama administration asking that basic question.

How this pans out will determine how hard (or not so hard) it is going to be for Big Tobacco to challenge a country's laws and regulations regarding the marketing of cigarettes.  The tobacco industry is playing the free trade card.  It seems their logic is; if it has worked for the steel industry and the textile industry, maybe Big Tobacco can take a shot and get busy working the system in the trade courts.  

Big Tobacco is already attacking package restrictions in the land down under and in Uruguay.
Packaging laws in both countries are designed to inhibit the ability of flashy marketing and style to influence smokers.  

Tobacco giant Philip Morris says this is a violation of their free-trade rights.  Anti-smoking advocates want to make it even harder for Big Tobacco to use this "free-trade" argument to fight public health laws, but Brown and others feel the Obama administration isn't fully helping with the cause.  

So here's the question:  Does a free nation have the right to determine how a product is marketed in their country?  Especially if that product is a danger to public health.

"The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, specifically state that countries have a right to uphold their tobacco rules and laws, despite the free-trade goal of an unhampered exchange of agricultural products."

This trade agreement gives preference to a country's health policy over a company's trade rights.  

The Obama administration, reversed course on this last month which is why Brown and company is upset. They are looking for Obama to go back to the earlier proposal, which is equally important "that cigarette smoking is deadly and countries have a right to regulate and restrict the product."

The rest of Koff's report goes on to show the struggle of the Obama Administration trying to burn the candle on both ends and again avoid making a clear and decisive decision.  

Here's the bottom line and my two cents.  

1.  A sovereign nation trumps a corporation all day long
2.  Consumers since Adam and Eve have a God given right to choose
3.  While tobacco is a plant, it should be treated and regulated like a drugs, not agriculture.

An of age consumer who wishes to use tobacco should have every right to do so.  The free nation that the tobacco is sold in has every right to determine exactly how and where that product is sold and how it can be used in a public place.  The next step then is to eliminate the whole agriculture crap.  Tobacco, while a plant, is also a drug and should be treated as such.

Why the gov needs to complicate this to such a degree is beyond me.

Said Brown: "It's too weak.  Americans are willing to support international agreements when there is a clear public good," he said in his letter. But in the case of tobacco, "such an upside-down approach will lead to greater global public health risk, disease, and premature death."

You can read Stephen's full report here:

Make sure to put your two cents in on it too...

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Beware of Dorffs Baring Gifts

Claudette Colbert circa 1942, dressed as a nurse passes out Chesterfields to GI's during WWII.

Implications are smoking is safe because a nurse is handing them out like candy and it's American because the guys bringing down Hitler and Japan all smoke.

Fast forward to 2013, Lorillard owner of Newport and Kent amungst other cigarette brands also owns Blu e-cigarettes and has recently returned to advertising.

Celebrity endorsements and television commercials rise from the ashes to promote, justify and encourage those addicted to nicotine switch their delivery device to electronic cigarettes verses the traditional tobacco cigarette.

Stephen Dorff and Jenny McCarthy have whored themselves out to Lorillard and joined in this new deception and virtual hedge against the declining cigarette industry.  E-cigarettes, while supposedly "vapor" do contain carcinogens such as formaldehyde and acrolein.  And while admittedly safer than a traditional cigarette, what will the long term effects be?  No one really knows.

I find it HIGHLY irresponsible of any celebrity to hop into bed with any company or industry who has spent the last 90 plus years lying to it's customer base, manipulating the addictive properties of it's product and packaging it's product to minimize the perceived risk.  If you smoke a "light" cigarette, keep in mind, there's no such think as "light" cancer.  You don't get "light" emphysema and there is no "light" trachea.

Dorff, you're too cool for your own good.  You and McCarthy over there are both being used by a company in desperation with years of experience in manipulation.  Selling your soul didn't end well for Robert Johnson or Jerry Garcia.  Both of those cats were way cooler than you so what chance you think you got?  Get out now and step up.

Teens are picking these up because of you and the e-cigarette is becoming a gate way for traditional cigarettes.  Is this the legacy you want to leave?  30 years from now will you be going into radiation therapy saying (assuming you're still with us and not another early departure caused by big tobacco) "we all thought it was just vapor..."

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Name this drug for a chance to win real freedom

This drug has mood-altering effects.  In particular it is both a stimulant and a relaxant.  First it causes a release of glucose from the liver and epinephrine (think adrenaline), which causes stimulation. Users will have feelings of relaxation, sharpness, calmness, and alertness.  This drug can also reduce the appetite and boost the metabolism.  This drug can pass the blood brain barrier within seven seconds of ingestion and immediately stimulates the release of many chemical messengers such as acetylcholine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, vasopressin, histamine, arginine, serotonin, dopamine, autocrine agents, and beta-endorphin.  This release of neurotransmitters and hormones is responsible for most of this drug's effects. This drug can enhance concentration and memory due to the increase of acetylcholine. It also appears to enhance alertness due to the increases of acetylcholine and norepinephrine. Arousal is increased by the increase of norepinephrine. Pain is reduced by the increases of acetylcholine and beta-endorphin. Anxiety is reduced by the increase of beta-endorphin. This drug also extends the duration of positive effects of dopamine and increases sensitivity in the brain's reward systems.  These effects can be seen in doses of only 1 to 3 milligrams.

How much tar is in 20 packs of cigarettes (shocking video)

This should be motivating....

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Punitive damages upheld in Miami-Dade County smoker case

FROM:  The News Service of Florida  Pointing to decades of efforts by the tobacco industry to mislead the public, a state appeals court Wednesday upheld a $25 million punitive-damages award against Lorillard Tobacco Co.  [FYI:  Lorillard, also owns Blu e-Cigarettes]

The 3rd District Court of Appeal also said Lorillard should pay $8 million in compensatory damages to Dorothy Alexander, whose husband, Coleman, started smoking cigarettes while in sixth grade and died at age 59.

The Miami-Dade County case is part of a wave of lawsuits against the tobacco industry stemming from a 2006 Florida Supreme Court decision. The lawsuits, known in the legal world as “Engle progeny” cases, have been bolstered by parts of the Supreme Court decision that established critical findings about the health dangers of smoking and misrepresentation by cigarette makers.

In the Alexander case, Lorillard argued, in part, that the $25 million in punitive damages was unconstitutionally excessive.

But a three-judge panel flatly rejected the arguments. “The plaintiff provided more than sufficient evidence to show Lorillard’s conduct, both individually and as a member of the tobacco industry, of continuous, repeated, and aggressive attempts to discredit the scientific research revealing the harmful and addictive nature of cigarettes and to cast doubt on the validity of the scientific research by mounting advertising and public relations campaigns,” the ruling said.

“The plaintiff similarly provided evidence of more than a half-century of Lorillard’s reckless disregard of the scientific findings and of its indifference to the potential physical harm to consumers caused by its product for its own purely economic gain.”

Sunday, September 8, 2013

E-cigarette use more than doubles among U.S. middle and high school students from 2011-2012

According to the CDC, More than 75 percent of youth users smoke conventional cigarettes too...

The percentage of U.S. middle and high school students who use electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, more than doubled from 2011 to 2012, according to data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The findings from the National Youth Tobacco Survey, in today’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, show that the percentage of high school students who reported ever using an e-cigarette rose from 4.7 percent in 2011 to 10.0 percent in 2012. In the same time period, high school students using e-cigarettes within the past 30 days rose from 1.5 percent to 2.8 percent.  Use also doubled among middle school students.  Altogether, in 2012 more than 1.78 million middle and high school students nationwide had tried e-cigarettes.

"The increased use of e-cigarettes by teens is deeply troubling," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.  "Nicotine is a highly addictive drug.  Many teens who start with e-cigarettes may be condemned to struggling with a lifelong addiction to nicotine and conventional cigarettes."

The study also found that 76.3 percent of middle and high school students who used e-cigarettes within the past 30 days also smoked conventional cigarettes in the same period. In addition, 1 in 5 middle school students who reported ever using e-cigarettes say they have never tried conventional cigarettes. This raises concern that there may be young people for whom e-cigarettes could be an entry point to use of conventional tobacco products, including cigarettes.
“About 90 percent of all smokers begin smoking as teenagers,” said Tim McAfee, M.D., M.P.H., director of the CDC Office on Smoking and Health.  “We must keep our youth from experimenting or using any tobacco product. These dramatic increases suggest that developing strategies to prevent marketing, sales, and use of e-cigarettes among youth is critical.”

Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are battery-powered devices that provide doses of nicotine and other additives to the user in an aerosol. E-cigarettes not marketed for therapeutic purposes are currently unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA Center for Tobacco Products External Web Site Icon has announced that it intends to expand its jurisdiction over tobacco products to include e-cigarettes, but has not yet issued regulatory rules. Because e-cigarettes are largely unregulated, the agency does not have good information about them, such as the amounts and types of components and potentially harmful constituents.

“These data show a dramatic rise in usage of e-cigarettes by youth, and this is cause for great concern as we don’t yet understand the long-term effects of these novel tobacco products,” said Mitch Zeller, director of FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. “These findings reinforce why the FDA intends to expand its authority over all tobacco products and establish a comprehensive and appropriate regulatory framework to reduce disease and death from tobacco use.”

Although some e-cigarettes have been marketed as smoking cessation aids, there is no conclusive scientific evidence that e-cigarettes promote successful long-term quitting. However, there are proven cessation strategies and treatments, including counseling and FDA-approved cessation medications.
Cigarette smoking remains the leading preventable cause of dis­ease, dis­ability, and death in the United States, responsible for an estimated 443,000 deaths each year.  And for every one death, there are 20 people living with a smoking-related disease.