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General : Do members of our board seem to be too happy?  
 Message 1 of 5 in Discussion 
From: Joel  (Original Message)Sent: 12/27/2005 3:59 PM
So here is a title that probably seems really out of place at the AskJoel board. It is lifted from the following string at Freedom: Do members of our board seem to be too happy?
I am putting it up here along with the original post from that string because I think it is important to make a point. The AskJoel board, by design, is often going to make it appear that quitting smoking is a miserable experience and that staying free is depressing and fraught with problems. In reality, neither state is a true representation of what the quitting experience is and what being smoke free is for most people. For some people it may be this way, but for others it may be just the opposite.
If people want to get a more realistic overall picture of what it is like to be smoke free over longer time periods, they are better off reading at the Freedom board. Posts like Tell a newbie how many seconds a day you still want a cigarette and the multitude of celebration threads from people who are off for months and years normally depict the feelings of exuberance felt by long-term successful quitters.
Normally though, long term successful quitters are not going to be writing to a board called AskJoel where people write in to discuss longer-term extended problems people have from quitting because they themselves are not experiencing these kind or problems. That is why this board will give a slanted view. Most of the people writing are only the ones experiencing such difficulties.
So for all people looking to get an more accurate picture of what it is like to be nicotine free, visit the Freedom board. For people looking for specific information, the AskJoel is they place to pose such questions. For people wanting to see what life can be like for people who never quit or who wait too long to quit, the site really fills this need.
Taking all three components together can give anyone reading a good overview of the problems caused by smoking, the problems caused by quitting and the long-term benefits and gains derived from making and sticking to a long-term personal commitment to never take another puff.

A number of months back a new member had wrote the comment that the people at our board seemed to be "too cheery" for people who had quit smoking. There are plenty of Internet sites that people can go to if they ever want to be cheered down a bit. If you can find sites that are dedicated to supporting people who are facing the ravages of smoking you will likely find lots of people who just won't seem overly happy or optimistic with their current situation.

Is it right that so many of our members seem happy that they quit? Of course it is for if people  realize just what they have accomplished by quitting and the terrible fate that they would likely have faced if they did not stop they will likely stay forever happy, proud and thankful that they have stuck to the commitment that they had made to themselves to never take another puff!


P.S. If anyone is still looking to get a little more depressed today go check out the following links at

Cancer, COPD & Heart Groups

A couple of my depressing pieces:

The Isolation of a Widowed Smoker

"I Can't Quit" or "I Won't Quit"

A Tribute To Joel's Friend Joe


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 Message 2 of 5 in Discussion 
From: MSN Nicknamek_herczegSent: 12/27/2005 4:59 PM
Dear Joel:
I am a lurker at Freedom/Whyquit and have been from the beginning of my quit that started October 16, 2005 and I am extremely happy too!!
I do have a less than happy question to ask unfortunately.  My partner's mother died from cancer that started in her back, i'm not sure what type to call it. She had no history of cancer in her family and was a smoker for many years.  Is it highly possible smoking cigaretts caused this cancer?
Free from nicotine for 10 weeks and loving it!

 Message 3 of 5 in Discussion 
From: JoelSent: 12/27/2005 6:05 PM
An email I got from Karen:
Do you need to be a member at Freedom/Whyquit to post a question at "ask Joel"?

 Message 4 of 5 in Discussion 
From: JoelSent: 12/27/2005 6:10 PM
Hello Karen:
Without knowing the original site of the malignancy there is no way of knowing that the kind of cancer she has is one that is linked to smoking, or, even in the event that it were a kind of cancer that smoking is known to cause, you can never be sure that smoking caused the exact cancer in a specific individual. Cancer is the number two cause of death in smokers and non-smokers. Smokers just happen to get a lot more of them. Here is a commentary that I have up at the Freedom board addressing the fact that non-smokers even get cancer. Also, in answer to your question about having to be a member of Freedom to post at AskJoel, you do not. I suspect most of the people posting questions as this board are not Freedom members.
Hope this information helps.
There are times when non-smoking people get diagnosed with lung cancer and it seems to cause some smokers to think that the news somehow makes smoking seem less dangerous. The concept is ludicrous.
Not all people who cause auto accidents are drunk drivers. There are people who fall asleep at the wheel from being over tired. There are people who have heart attacks while driving. There are people who swerve to hit an obstacle in the road like a deer or other kind of animal. Some of these people are perfectly sober and yet, end up in an accident that may kill or injure others.
There are some children who are killed in auto accidents even though they were properly strapped into a seat belt or even in a child seat. The parent in fact did everything right and still, circumstances happen where the child is still killed in an accident.
Now that you know that not all people who cause auto accidents are drunk, and that some kids who are killed in auto accidents were in fact properly secured in the car before the accident, would you allow your child to get into a car with an obviously drunk driver and on top of that, tell your child not to bother to put on a seat belt?
Of course you wouldn't for while there is always a risk of something going wrong beyond your control in protecting your children, that realization does not cause you to throw away taking all reasonable precautions to protect them.
Not all lung cancers are caused by smoking. It is pretty well accepted though that over 85% of lung cancers are caused by smoking. The best step that any person can take to minimize their risk of ever contracting lung cancer is still making and sticking to a personal commitment to never take another puff.
I saw that yesterday a national news station did a report about non-smokers who get lung cancer. It is true that non-smokers sometimes get lung cancer, but as this post talks about, that fact should not give any smoker any idea that quitting smoking isn't necessary.
If anything, it should make smokers more worried, considering that it is estimated that smoking is responsible for somewhere between 80% to 90% of all lung cancer deaths, so that everytime you hear of a non-smoker getting lung cancer, understand, that means there are almost ten smokers who got the disease at that same time. The relative risk varies by the amount smoked--the more a person smokes the greater the risk. There are other factors that are possible risk factors for lung cancer, but none of them come close to causing the number of cases resulting from smoking.
Here is the fact sheet from the American Cancer Society that talks about different risk factors for lung cancer:
Overview: Lung Cancer
What Causes Lung Cancer?

A risk factor is anything that increases a person's chance of getting a disease such as cancer. Different cancers have different risk factors. Some risk factors, such as smoking, can be controlled. Others, like a person's age or family history, can't be changed. Several factors can increase the risk of lung cancer.

Smoking is by far the leading risk factor for lung cancer. Tobacco smoke causes more than 8 out of 10 cases of lung cancer. The longer a person has been smoking and the more packs per day smoked, the greater the risk. If a person stops smoking before lung cancer develops, the lung tissue slowly returns to normal. Stopping smoking at any age lowers the risk of lung cancer.

Cigar and pipe smoking are almost as likely to cause lung cancer as is cigarette smoking. There is no evidence that smoking low tar cigarettes reduces the risk of lung cancer.

People who don’t smoke but who breathe the smoke of others also have a higher risk of lung cancer. Non-smoking spouses of smokers, for example, have a 30% greater risk of developing lung cancer than do spouses of nonsmokers. Workers exposed to tobacco smoke in the workplace are also more likely to get lung cancer.

Hookah smoking has become popular among young people. Although there is less tobacco in the product used for hookahs, it is still dangerous and addictive. The ACS believes that people should avoid any amount of tobacco.

Asbestos is another risk factor for lung cancer. People who work with asbestos have a higher risk of getting lung cancer. If they smoke as well, the risk is greatly increased. Although asbestos was used for many years, the government has now nearly stopped its use in the workplace and in home products. While it is still present in many buildings, it is not thought to be harmful as long as it is not released into the air.

Another type of cancer linked to asbestos (mesothelioma) can start in the lining of the lung. The American Cancer Society has information about this type of cancer through our toll-free number or on our Web site.

Radon is a radioactive gas made by the natural breakdown of uranium, which is found at higher than normal levels in the soil in some parts of the US. Radon can’t be seen, tasted, or smelled. Radon can become concentrated indoors and create a possible risk for cancer. Smokers are especially sensitive to the effects of radon. State and local offices of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) can provide information about how to test for radon in the home.

High radon levels in some mines can increase the lung cancer risk for miners.

Cancer-causing agents in the workplace include the following:

  • uranium
  • arsenic
  • vinyl
  • chloride
  • nickel chromates
  • coal products
  • mustard gas
  • chloromethyl ethers
  • gasoline
  • diesel exhaust

People who work with these substances should be very careful to avoid exposure as much as possible.

Marijuana cigarettes have more tar than regular cigarettes. Many of the cancer-causing substances in tobacco are also found in marijuana. Marijuana is also inhaled very deeply and the smoke is held in the lungs for a long time.

Medical reports suggest that marijuana could cause cancers of the mouth and throat. But because marijuana is an illegal substance it is not easy to gather information about its effects on the body.

Radiation treatment to the lung: People who have had radiation to the chest to treat cancer are at higher risk for lung cancer, especially if they smoke.

Other diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) and some types of pneumonia often leave scars on the lung. This scarring can increase the risk of developing lung cancer.People with diseases from breathing in certain minerals also have a higher risk of lung cancer.

Personal and family history: If you have had lung cancer, you have a higher risk of getting another lung cancer. Brothers, sisters, and children of people who have had lung cancer may have a slightly higher risk themselves.

Diet: Some reports suggest that a diet low in fruits and vegetables might increase the risk of lung cancer in people who are exposed to tobacco smoke. It may turn out that fruits and vegetables help protect against lung cancer.

Air pollution: In some cities, air pollution may slightly increase the risk of lung cancer. But the risk is still far less than that caused by smoking.

During the past few years, scientists have made great progress in understanding how risk factors produce certain changes in the DNA of lung cells, causing the cells to become cancerous. DNA is the genetic material that carries the instructions for nearly everything our cells do.

Current research in this field is aimed at developing tests that can find lung cancers at an early stage by spotting DNA changes. But these tests are not yet ready for routine use. Therefore, doctors stress avoiding tobacco smoke and the other risk factors listed above.

Revised: 01/01/2005

 Message 5 of 5 in Discussion 
From: MSN NicknameBrandonsMom1106Sent: 12/29/2005 10:19 PM
I for one am EXTREMELY happy that I quit.  It was hard at first, and I wasn't happy for a few weeks, but then I realized I had a chance to live and avoid an eventual horrible death YEAH!!!  I AM HAPPY!!! 

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