Tuesday 7 August 2012

Do as I say

Smoking is dumb.

I could end this post right there and there would be very little argument or discussion (except possibly from die-hard smokers who will only give up their cigarettes when they die).  I can't blame people for starting to smoke 50 years ago before the dangers were known and it was still considered "cool".  However, do any of these sound cool:
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Lung cancer
  • Emphysema
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Smelling like shit
  • Breath like Satan's ass

In fact, 4 of the top 10 causes of death in the civilised world can be at least partially (if not mostly) attributed to smoking - almost 34% of all deaths are from heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, and COPD.  Not to mention the fact that you just look like an idiot with a flaming stick of dried, poisonous weed hanging off your yellowing fingers.

Surprisingly, several of the surgeons who trained me have told me of them time when they were training, walking through the hospitals on morning rounds, leaving their cigarettes on the window ledge outside their patients' rooms.  One of the cardiac surgeons who trained me will still leave in the middle of a cardiac bypass to step outside for "a breath of fresh air".  Yes, he would scrub out of heart surgery to have a cigarette.

As I was walking out of my office towards my car a few days ago, I noticed not one, not two, but three staff members of other doctors' practices sitting outside smoking.  What kind of example are these people setting?  How could I reasonably lecture someone on the dangers of smoking if that patient saw my receptionist or medical assistant with a cigarette on her lips as she walked in?

Which brings me (finally!) to my point - "Do as I say, not as I do" is utter bullshit.  Practice what you preach.  


  1. Thats a great saying! I personally don't smoke, never have. My elementary school did a demonstration using a vacuum cleaner and 5 packs of cigarettes. They then made the vacuum "smoke" the cigarettes. I was in the very front row and got all the smoke in my face. Right after the demonstration I threw up and still today the smell of cigarette smoke makes me want to puke.
    I love your blog! I found it through fml and just couldn't stop reading. Thanks for all you do. I imagine all your patients are thankful, even the really dumb ones. You help make this world a better place. :)

  2. One of my supervisors was an older Scottish respiratory physician who would routinely counsel patients to quit smoking on ward rounds although he smelled of the stuff constantly. He was fairly unapologetic and his argument was that he'd been smoking for decades and was fit as a fiddle (which he certainly appeared to be). I'm interested in what people think about overweight/obese health workers.

  3. at the university where i studied (physics and math), outside of the med building, you could almost constantly see flocks of aspiring doctors chain smoking in their white coats. one told me smoke is supposed to get the dead people smell out of the nose after pathology courses. but, is cancelling out one bad smell with another bad smell really a sensible strategy?

  4. Thanks you once again show me that not everyone out in the world is not a complete moron. My uncle smokes 3 packs a day and even though I'm close to him Ive already prepared my self for the day he's going to die and he's only 43.

  5. Please don't smoke. Bronchitis is living Hell.

  6. One hospital system where I live does not allow employees to smoke. It is a fireable offense.

  7. My gran has COPD and emphysema, and she still smokes 20 a day, which I just don't understand. It's a stupid habit to start

    1. My grandpa has lung cancer and has had parts of his lung an tounge extracted. He smokes one and a half packs a day.

  8. I can't stand cigarettes. Earlier, my mom was smoking in the house and I asked her to go outside because I have asthma. She complained about how hot it is outside. I told her that if she chose not to smoke she wouldn't have to go outside in the first place. Then she started screaming at me about how she doesn't choose to smoke, she's addicted and that there is a huge difference. People and their cigarettes....

  9. Cigarettes and lung cancer is the most common cause of death in my family, as lung cancer runs maternally and paternally in my family. Anyone who smokes while knowing the dangers of it deserves to die of the effects of it IMO.

  10. I agree completly!

    Do you think that smokers should be subject to longer wait times for treatment of smoking related illnesses than those who suffer from the same illness but do not smoke?


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