Believe it or not, despite the overwhelming evidence for the harm from cigarette smoking, a proportion of the population continues to smoke. Fortunately in Australia, this is now only 13% of the adult population, but in my view, it should be zero. Without all of the civil libertarians coming out of the woodwork wanting to throw knives at me, it’s my opinion that no one has a right to smoke. Certainly, no one has a right to smoke in front of any other human being, and especially in front of children. Smoking in front of anyone else is a form of abuse.

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Every time you put one of those disgusting things in your mouth and suck the smoke in, you are potentially causing significant mutations in your cells, possibly building up fat in the walls of your arteries, and over many years, accumulating significant damage to your lungs.

I often tell the story of the 42-year-old man who was a 20-cigarettes-a-day smoker who woke up one night coughing blood. He visited his general practitioner the following day. A chest X-ray was performed and lung cancer was diagnosed. He died six weeks later, leaving his wife and two small children without a husband and father. I’m sorry, but no one has any right to do this to themselves and their family and, in my view, with the overwhelming evidence of harm from cigarette smoke, it should be banned completely.

The most preventable cause of cancer

A recent report from the US clearly shows that tobacco is still the most preventable cause of cancer, contributing up to 40% of diagnosed malignancies. Most people associate cigarette smoking with lung cancer, but there’s also a significant association with acute myeloid leukaemia, cancers of the mouth, throat and larynx. There are also associations with oesophageal, stomach, kidney, liver, bladder, cervical, colon and rectal cancer.

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80% of drug related deaths in the modern world are directly related to cigarette smoke. Unfortunately, one in five people carry strong receptors in the brain for nicotine addiction, so once they are exposed to this toxic habit, it’s very difficult for them to give up.

Three choices

Life basically comes down to three choices. These choices include protection, life maintenance and following our urges. Protection, of course, refers to avoiding danger and when confronted with certain situations, is always our primary choice.

Life maintenance, although rather obvious, is following the five keys to being healthy:

1) You cannot be healthy and have any addictions, including cigarette smoke. Therefore, anyone who smokes is clearly unhealthy.

2) Seven to eight hours of good quality sleep is as good for your body as not smoking.

3) Eat less and eat more naturally.

4) Three to five hours of testing exercise per week.

5) Cultivate peace and happiness in your life.

Following these five keys to good health will reduce your risk for all diseases by around 70% and cardiovascular disease by 83%.

Your final choice is to follow your urges. The paradox of life is rather obvious i.e. following your urges will always bring you down. Whether it’s the urge for the next cigarette, desire to over consume alcohol, infidelity, or bad habits such as gambling — I’ve never seen anyone experience significant benefits.

Forget about New Year’s resolutions and think about where you are right now. If you are still smoking, why not make the commitment to yourself and your loved ones to give up immediately. I promise you, it will be one of the most important health decisions you’ll ever make.