Go to any zoo in the country and you will find cages protecting the public from the wildlife that inhabits the zoo. Cages are commonplace and everyone understands that what is locked inside the cage is often dangerous to your health or even lethal. No sane individual would go into the lion’s cage!
Last week, I was shopping in Costco when it occurred to me that Costco cages its supply of cigarettes. While Costco’s motive is probably to cut down on theft, the message should be clear. Danger, entering this cage could lead to loss of life or limb! No sane individual should enter Costco’s fenced in tobacco refuge.
In November of 2010, I wrote the following article:
It’s no secret that smoking is bad for you; but, did you know that, if you smoke and your kids get influenza, your children are twice as likely to be hospitalized than if you did not smoke?
"Having smokers in the house increases the risk that a young child with flu will need inpatient care, according to a large retrospective case-control study reported here."
Most patients who know me know that I work hard at getting smokers to quit. Most of my patients are hard workers and I rely on their work effort to help them quit. I recommend that they hire themselves to do a not so simple job. Their job is not to have a cigarette today. I advise that they use the same tools they use in their everyday jobs. I explain that they go to their 9 to 5 job to make a living and that they go to their not smoking job to stay living. Just as in any jobs, I expect my patients to make mistakes. A mistake is simply picking up or lighting a cigarette. As in any job you expect to be successful at, the first thing you do when you make a mistake is correct it. The next step is to learn from your mistake. Ask, “Why did I pick it up? What am I going to do the next time I’m frustrated, lonely, and angry or just craving a smoke?” With time, most people master this job.
Sometimes, my patients need to be given tools to help them succeed in their jobs. I prescribe Chantix, Committ, nicotine patches, gum, bupropion and other aides. Sometimes, I use guilt. Having your child admitted to the hospital because you needed a smoke should suffice.
So, the next time you’re in Costco, beware of the dangerous animal that lurks behind the fence. Not only can it eat away at your health, but it can devour your family as well.