quit smoking

  1. Don't believe the hype: Smoking won't make you smaller

    Sex, lies and penis size

    The "science" on smoking isn't about finding the truth. It's about getting people to quit, no matter what. The latest research proves again that you can make any wild claim you want as long as it pushes that anti-tobacco agenda.

    This time, the Health Police claim that men who quit get the instant gift of firmer, harder erections -- and I'm sure the headlines alone had plenty of guys ready to kick the habit.

    You know how it is: If a study found that hitting yourself in the head with a hammer would produce a firmer erection, lines at hardware stores across the country would be out the door by the end of the day.

    But don't toss your Zippo yet -- toss this study instead, because it doesn't mean zippo for your penis. For the study, just 20 of the 65 men roped into this one managed to quit smoking, and none of them -- not a single one! -- actually noticed a change in the quality of his erections.

    The "improvement" mentioned in the study was so small it could only be detected by a lab device called a penile plethysmograph. Yet that was all the researchers needed to crank up the old propaganda machine.

    In a rare moment of honesty, study author Christopher Harte even let the cat out of the bag in an interview with Reuters.

    "Regardless of if this really does apply to all men who smoke or not, (the goal was) just getting the word out that men could be aware of this finding, so it could influence their decisions to start the quitting process," he was quoted as saying.

    Translation: "Who cares if it's true -- let's run with it anyway!"

    Reuters was only too happy to play along -- their headline screamed, "Smokers don't make better lovers."

    But I won't play their game.

    I'll pick science over sensationalism every time, and you're not going to believe what the objective science says about smoking: Tobacco can help BEAT heart disease, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and even cancer.

    If you want to learn more about health issues that go against the mainstream click here.

  2. The Termination Of Smokers

    The Termination Of Smokers

    Where there's smoke, there's firing

    Your money or your lifestyle, part 1

    As if it isn't bad enough that the government almost universally bans smoking in the workplace, now some employers are taking these kinds of Draconian measures even farther than the "revenuers"

    According to a recent CBSNews.com story which originated on that network's famous "60 Minutes" news show, a pair of longtime model employees at a Michigan insurance consulting firm have been fired because they smoke cigarettes. Not while on the job, not even while on the premises during break times - but while off-duty and away from the firm. At home. In their cars. In a bar. Anywhere.

    That's right, simply BEING SMOKERS resulted in their termination.

    Apparently, this kind of "lifestyle discrimination" is perfectly legal in 45 out of 50 states. It isn't just in private companies, either. The CBSnews piece states that lots of municipal government entities and even some major metropolitan police departments refuse to hire smokers as well. Almost universally, these smoking-intolerant employers cite bottom-line reasons for the policy. Health care costs and health insurance are costlier for smokers than for non-smokers (a truism I'd challenge on the evidence, for the most part).

    One of the article's sources, a bio-ethics professor, stated that around 5% of employees account for fully half the healthcare expenditures employers shell out. Needless to say, identifying these pariahs can save a boss a lot of dough. However, the same could be said of very obese people (even more so, I'd wager) - yet the fatties enjoy protection from discrimination under federal law.

    Is this fair? I mean, as surely as people can quit smoking, they could also quit shoveling junk food into their faces, right? So why isn't there a law prohibiting discrimination against smokers - especially if they only do it in the privacy of their own homes? And speaking of privacy and "lifestyle" discrimination, why can't employers fire employees who are gay? Isn't this also a riskier way to live, from a healthcare standpoint? The same goes for the disabled. Aren't healthcare costs for the handicapped typically far higher than for the healthy and fit? Why can't companies refuse employment to them?

    Some of these are rhetorical questions, of course. I'm not suggesting that discriminating against the disabled should be allowed-I'm just making a point

    And the part I really don't understand is this: If I'm not mistaken, most companies' health insurance plans are "group" plans. The calculate risk based on the aggregate total risk of all on the plan - smokers and non-smokers, drinkers and teetotalers, couch potatoes and marathoners (talk about high risk!). Yes, theoretically, a work force comprised entirely of non-smokers would cost a company less to insure than one in which everyone smoked

    So why don't they just charge the smokers the difference in their premiums? If they still choose to smoke, they do so on their own dime, with no additional cost to their employers. Problem solved, right? Not quite. Keep reading


    This trend is disturbing on many levels, but most of all this: It opens the door to utter tyranny on the part of employers.

    Now, as you know, I'm usually staunchly on the side of business. I'm a true advocate of the "laissez-faire" system of free enterprise. I hate the very idea of anyone telling an employer who they can or can't hire for any reason

    But this sets a dangerous precedent. Think about it: If you drink too much - and THEY determine what's too much based on a bunch of mainstream junk medicine - you could soon be on the chopping block. Like to ski or play flag football on weekends? Sorry, too risky. You're fired. Own a gun? I don't know, you could have an accident and get hurt, or you might go postal over this ridiculous Big Brother policy and shoot the place up. Gotta let you go, too (more on exactly this in the next Dose).

    See where I'm going with this? Where's it all end - when we're all identical Stepford slaves instead of individuals who bring our own collective differences to a workplace and make it stronger through our diversity?

    So what's the solution - aside from more government legislation that protects this minority but not that one, these activities but not the other ones, or this lifestyle as opposed to another?

    No. It's to rethink health insurance. We should either eliminate it and go back to true free-market "cash on the barrelhead" medicine (costs would plummet overnight), or we should make it ILLEGAL for employers to offer health insurance. If that were the case, folks would pay for their own insurance based solely on their own risk factors, and employers would simply have to offer larger salaries to attract good employees

    Whether they smoke, drink, ski, shoot or not (again, more on this in the next few days).

    Never joking about those shunning smoking,

    William Campbell Douglass II, MD

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