Archive for the ‘Quit Smoking’ Category

Would Your Loved One Quit Smoking If Treatment was Free?

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

How much does a pack of cigarettes cost today? How much does treatment for smoking-related illnesses cost an average smoker each year? How much does a smoking cessation program cost?

I only know the answer to one of those questions, because a few months ago I made an offer to a loved one to pay for a full course of patches or other smoking cessation program if they would stop smoking. My offer came in conjunction with a dentist’s orders to stop smoking, at least temporarily, after some pretty extensive oral surgery. I figured if ever the time was right to give the offer a try, it was right then, when smoking was seriously contraindicated due to the complications it could cause following surgery.

Unfortunately, for a number of reasons, my offer was declined. My loved one still smokes, and can probably answer the other two questions above if you asked. But I was reminded of this experience when I read new research from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention this week.

Smokers more likely to quit if help is free

According to research published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report by the CDC, “Insurance coverage of evidence-based cessation treatments leads to increases in quit attempts, use of cessation treatments, and successful smoking cessation.”

This research focused in particular on patients who were enrolled in Medicaid. In states where smoking cessation programs were covered, smokers were more likely to quit.

Although offering free smoking cessation programs to Medicaid recipients may have a large upfront cost, the reduction in the cost of treatments for smoking-related illnesses could add up to a greater savings over time. It is a mathematical proposition many states are juggling in today’s tight economy.

A consideration for families

The cost of a loved one’s smoking habit could easily fall on family members, particularly as they age. Health problems that develop as a result of smoking could be very costly, in terms of medications, treatments, surgeries, and nursing care.

When one considers how much continued smoking could cost in the long run, it may be well worth the cost of offering your loved one assistance in paying for a smoking cessation program now. Of course, you can’t likely force them to accept the gift, but if the cost of smoking cessation programs is all that is standing in their way, much like many of the patients in the CDC study, your offer could be all it takes to get them to quit.

Would You Date Someone Who Smokes?

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

I Asked 12 Fellow Nonsmokers the Same Question. Admittedly, I’m a bit square: I don’t drink, I don’t do drugs, and I don’t smoke. That includes cigarettes, cigars, pot, or whatever else you can puff on (I really wouldn’t know). Last week, in an effort to push my boundaries, a smoker acquaintance posed a question to me in no uncertain terms: “Would you date someone who smokes?”

I crinkled my nose at the thought of the smell and immediately pictured a pack of cigarettes on a nightstand next to a fat plastic lighter. That image, along with the imagined sound of Camels being unwrapped and “packed” was enough for me to give a pretty definite “NO.” I thought about it more and realized, sadly, how that makes my already thin dating pool even shallower. I have enough hang-ups about intellect and politics, and on top of being a good old homosexual, there’s this “no smoking” issue.

Anyway, I decided that there were numerous reasons why I probably wouldn’t date a smoker – and probably some sociocultural ones why I hadn’t really dated any in the past. For me, it’s some combination of the health risk (both for him and for me as a secondary inhaler), the pervasive smell, and the taste of kissing a smoker. Then there’s the additional fact that most of my family smoked and it grossed me out from a very early age.

Naturally curious about the thoughts of others, I decided to ask an unscientific sampling of nonsmokers the same question that was posed to me: “Would you date someone who smokes?”

Below are the replies I received – some via email and some transcribed from conversations. [Yes, I actually approached strangers in public and told them what I was working on.]

Daniel, 34, retail salesperson – in public
“I don’t know. I guess it not that big a deal. But you know, it’s just kinda gross. You know how people say you get to kiss an ashtray? *laughs* Maybe if she was really hot, I guess, or if I had a bad habit that she forgave me for.”

Emily, 22, barista – in public
“On the right kind of guy, it works. Not, like, the Marlboro man or anything. *pauses* He’d have to smoke outside for sure. I have been cool with it previously.”

Damien, 29, counselor – via email
“I hate going out to bars and coming home with that smoke smell locked into my clothes. It’s also a big turn off when I see an attractive girl reach for a light, so my answer is probably no. But you never know. The less she smokes, certainly the better.”

LeeAnn, 27, grad student – via email
“I make a distinction between people who smoke on occasion and people who smoke all the time. Pack-a-day smokers and I would never work out, but I can handle someone who only did it once a week. The other distinction I’d make is between just dating someone and actually living with them. Smoking would never be okay in my apartment. My current boyfriend does not smoke.”

Thom, 19, landscaper – in public
“Would I date someone who smokes? Doesn’t make a difference to me as long as she ain’t coughin’ up blood or nothin’.”

Kelly, 39, administrative assistant – in public
“It’s funny that you should ask. One of the reasons my last boyfriend and I broke up is that he smoked all the time and I was always trying to get him to quit, supposedly. I definitely wanted him to stop, you know. It’s bad for him, and it’s expensive too.”

Tisha, 35, bus driver – in public
“It’s a dirty habit. I used to smoke but I gave it up when I got pregnant. *grins* Now that I’m a mom, it’s like if I could do it while dealing with a baby on the way and all that, then you could [stop smoking] too.”

Diane, 51, McDonald’s employee – in public
“Haha, at my age, I can’t turn nobody down. *laughs* It’s not the most important thing. It they love you, that’s what’s important.”

Terrence, 25, teacher – via email
“I have dated guys who smoke, but I prefer that they don’t. One thing I can’t tolerate is a cigar odor but that has never come up.”

Sandi, 23, leasing specialist – in public
“It’s never been a problem for me. The types of guys I like are usually pretty athletic and educated about the risks and most of them just don’t smoke.”

Sam, 29, unemployed – in public
“My husband smokes. He’s cut down a lot since we first met. I fell for him so hard when we were getting to know each other, and you just end up caring less about that and more about, you know, can I live with this person for the rest of my life?”

Todd, 44, case worker – over the phone
“Just do it outside or keep the habit away from me so that I am not breathing the smoky air. If she uses Listerine and tries to not let the smoking become a hygiene issue, I can be flexible. When you’re dating someone you have to compromise, and smoking is one of those things I can accept in small doses.”

So, if you are a nonsmoker, would *you* date someone who smokes? If so, under what circumstances? Does it depend on the person and how frequently they smoke and where they do it? Is there a difference between cigarettes and other substances, like pot? And if you are a smoker, “social” or daily, how do you feel about the article above? Please leave a comment if you have any thoughts to share.

Why You Should Quit Smoking?

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

Quitting is a hard thing to do in one’s life most especially if you were already inclined into something you really wanted to do. Just like smoking, it is very difficult for the smokers to quit because they have been addicted to it. They do it several times in a day. How can you please them to quit smoking?

Smoking goes with the experience in man’s life. I would rather say that smoking becomes man’s wife. Just like the military men, they can’t live without their guns. Also like teachers, they can’t live without a record. So does the smokers, they think they are dying if they can’t smoke.

One author whom I remember said that we cannot get out from the smell of smoke out like the smell of failure in our life. This is somehow true because, failure in man’s life leave a scarce, a memory in which we can remember. And true with smoking. When you think of quitting to smoke, a suggestion would be better of you do it with a firm determination that you “should” by hook or by crook.

The urge to smoke of each individual goes away whether you light up or not according to your principle and a strong will to quit from smoking after you have realized its bad effects in your life. Always remember that if you want to try to light up, your next urge of smoking comes much sooner, more often and more intensely because everything starts from a simple “try” until it becomes a “habit” and later becomes an “addiction.”

Smoking is just wanting why people smoke even at the early stage of life. Also, it is the effect of the factors surrounding him. Others did because of their peers. Other men did it because of curiosity. Others because they want to be noticed and still others want to try how does it feel when you are smoking. If you desire to smoke, it comes in your mind frequently and more strongly, then you have a great tendency to give in to the urge to smoke, and you are rewarding the urge.

Why should we stop it? Yes, because smoking creates a good statistics. This happens because if we look at the latest health news, many die because of smoking. Everyday, many smokers die and this contribute to the statistical records in the history. One should quit smoking because of the ill-effect it causes in our personal health like: increasing the risk of lung cancer, cardio-vascular diseases, cancers like breast, mouth, esophagus and other forms of bronchial cancer.

One good reason I think that we should quit smoking is because; it is a complete waste of money for it all go up with the air. How funny to think that we work very hard to earn for living yet it all gone in smoke?

Why Some People Just Can’t Stop Smoking

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

Whether you’ve been smoking for years and know that you need to quit, or you’ve only been at it for a little while and are already starting to feel the pangs of addiction, you already know that giving up smoking once you’re addicted is an extremely difficult thing to do. You may wonder what makes quitting seem a like a breeze from some and more like fight that can’t be won for others.

There are several reasons why some people cannot seem to kick the habit, and with a better understanding of these reasons, you can reach a better understanding of this condition that afflicts so many people. With national awareness on the rise and the figure that one in three smokers who do not quit will eventually die of the damage they do to their bodies, it can be difficult to understand why they might not just stop. While many do try and stop, it can seem impossible.

To understand the nature of cigarette addiction, it is important to understand nicotine. Nicotine is the substance in cigarettes that makes it addictive, and when it enters the bloodstream, it creates a stimulating effect on the brain. Not only can it calm you down when you are upset, it can also affect your hormones and your respiratory system. The nicotine is effective because it stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain. This, along with the chemical dependency, bring smokers back for more. Nicotine is a drug that you can become inured to based on exposure and eventually, more will need to be taken to get the same effect. Many people are addicted to the calmness that smoking brings on; it can be quite hard to give up and it settles in slowly enough that you might not even know that it’s happening.

One reason that scientists have pinpointed that might explain the difficulty in giving up cigarettes actually lies in the DNA. Scientists have identified more than 200 genes quitters do not share with non-quitters. Given this number, it is possible to see that there is a great deal that might be happening beneath the surface. While this data is far from conclusive when it comes to which gene might be the culprit, it puts us one step closer to figuring out the ins and outs of cigarette addiction. When you consider that more than 80 percent of the people who try to quit will relapse, it is time to start looking for a correlating factor that could provide a solution to this problem.

Similarly, researchers have also found that injury or trauma to a certain part of the brain will instantly destroy a life-long smoking habit. This research, originally centered on stroke patients, showed that when damaged, the insula, a small region underneath the frontal lobes, could effectively end the addiction to cigarettes. This break through affects all sorts of addiction research, but smoking is the one that it has proven to be effective with. Like the research in genetics, this fact brings about the idea that the roots of addiction to cigarettes go a lot deeper than might have been originally believed.

When you take into consideration the damage that you are doing to your body and the issues that you will cause your friends and loved ones, there is only one answer to when you should stop smoking: You should have stopped smoking yesterday.

Why Quitting Smoking Makes You Sick

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

Quitting smoking? Way to go, friend! It is one of the hardest habits to kick these days but with the slowing of the economy and increase in costs, more people are realizing that smoking is nasty, nasty habit. However, with quitting comes consequences that aren’t very appealing. Some people experience withdrawals, become intensely angry, or get sick. Let’s focus on the sickness and break it down a bit.

First off, we will start with a healthy trachea. Your trachea is where the air you breathe flows through in order to get to your lungs. It branches off into two bronchi, which branch off into bronchioles, which branch off into alveoli. The alveoli are where the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide take place in our lungs. An average, healthy person has a trachea lined with little hairs call cilia. These cilia function much like a broom to sweep dust and other foreign particles out of the trachea, to prevent them from entering the lungs. Most of the time if you have a productive cough (when you cough and yucky mucus comes up) it is because the cilia are trying to get some crazy junk out. In the event that there is a foreign particle in your trachea, the cilia will move back and forth causing the particle or particles to go back up into either your nose, or down your esophagus which leads to your stomach.

Now for the not-so-healthy trachea. When we smoke, the inhalation of smoke slowly but surely kills these little hair-like cilia. When you kill the part of your body that keeps dust out of your lungs, you have a problem. Now that the cilia are no longer existent, you are prone to choking or aspiration (when fluid, most likely vomit, enters your trachea and travels to your lungs. Pneumonia is caused by fluid in the lungs to give you a clue as to how serious this may be).

Did you get concerned and quit? I am personally very proud of you. Quitting smoking is not an easy task at all! Are you noticing some flu-like symptoms? If you are, this is COMPLETELY normal. As stated earlier, smoking kills your poor little cilia and hinders the protection of your lungs. However, these cilia are not gone forever; they can grow back, which is exactly what happens when you take away the harmful fumes of a cigarette. As these cilia start to grow back, you begin with a tickle in your chest, much similar to when you start to acquire a cold. When the cilia are fully functional, they work double time to push all the excess mucus and foreign particle that layered on the trachea while you smoked. Expect to have a productive cough (remember what that means?) and headaches (usually a normal cause of not having that extra bit of nicotine). Beware, you will cough….a lot. Like I said before, it is totally normal. If you decide to go to the doctor because you are a bit worried, be certain to tell them that you just recently quit smoking. Nobody wants to get inaccurately diagnosed.

Well, good luck with kicking the habit! You will soon be able to enjoy the full functionality of not only your lungs, but your entire body!

Why It’s Okay to Have the Quitter’s Flu

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

Immediately after you take your last puff…of your last cigarette, the body begins to repair itself. Physical changes begin to happen as the body attempts to improve and correct the damage caused by this toxin. As the body goes through withdrawals, both physically and psychologically, this process is deemed necessary in order to permanently “kick the habit”. Although the process can be quite painful, it does not compare to the lifelong benefits experienced from being totally nicotine free.

Symptoms of the “Quitters Flu” For Smokers

The “quitter’s flu” is a term used that refers to the flu like symptoms that cigarette smokers get when they are “quitting” the smoking habit. It is referred to as the flu because often times the symptoms experienced are like that of a person with the winter flu. These symptoms peak 48 hours after smoking has stopped, and is predominately gone by 6 months. Such symptoms included:


*The extreme urge to smoke


*Lack of concentration

*Dry Mouth



*Tightness in the chest

*Postnasal drip

*Sore Throat


*Respiratory problems

*Gas and Stomach Pain

Long-term Physical and Psychological Symptoms

It takes approximately 8 to 12 weeks without smoking, before the body is comfortable with the new smoke free lifestyle. Due to the chemical dependency of nicotine, symptoms will still be experienced on a long term basis, both psychologically and physically. As tension and cravings persist, the body and mind is wrecked with withdrawal pains. Predominately all individuals who are moderate to heavy smokers will have strong mental and emotional responses to quitting. Nonetheless, most long term symptoms will include:

*Temper tantrums


*Mental Confusion




*Weight Gain

*Feelings of dependency



Within The First 2 Days, The Body Begins To Heal

Within 20 minutes after the last puff, blood pressure and pulse rate immediately begins to drop. Then, after 8 hours the unhealthy carbon monoxide levels in the blood decrease, as health oxygen levels increase. Consequently, 24 to 48 hours later, the risk of heart attack decreases, the nerve endings start to regrow, and the smelling/tasting ability improves. Between 2 weeks and 3 months, blood circulation improves, the lung function increases, and walking becomes effortless. As the body begins to heal, the mental load becomes lighter, and the withdrawal symptoms will fade away. Finally, one becomes totally free from the bondage of nicotine.

Although the symptoms for quitting appear to be insurmountable, the benefits far outweigh the risks. If one chooses to continue smoking, then they are at increased risk for major chronic illnesses. These diseases include, several types of cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), coronary heart disease, and atheroclerosis.

Why is it so Difficult to Stop Smoking?

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

Even now, with all the negative press and media attention about smoking, many of us still do it. We like the taste, or we become dependent on the feeling we get when we smoke. I quit smoking about 5 years ago. I realized I was not smoking for the enjoyment of them anymore. I was smoking to avoid the discomfort of nicotine withdrawal.

With smoking addictions, the brain stops producing as much acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter, and it has specific neuroreceptors. To better understand nicotine addiction, it is good to understand the function of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine helps to form the pathways to deliver nerve impulses from our brain to our voluntary and involuntary muscles which control movement, breathing and heart function. Acetylcholine also controls the rate at which information enters the brain; this neurotransmitter also influences memory and learning.

Nicotine is a deadly poison; it is a natural insecticide. The tobacco plant manufactures nicotine to protect its leaves from insects. In the same amounts, nicotine is as potent as rattlesnake venom and strychnine. Also, in the same quantities, nicotine is 3 times more deadly than arsenic.

With a smoking addiction, the nicotine replaces acetylcholine, but nicotine does not work the same way that acetylcholine does. In the body, acetylcholine is regulated by the body; nicotine is not. Nicotine switches the cholinergic neurons to the on position all over the brain. Nicotine revs up the cholinergic functioning within the body, which is why we often feel like we can work and concentrate better when smoking. It works similarly to the way the caffeine in coffee revs us up. Have you ever felt like you couldn’t get going in the morning without your first cigarette and cup of coffee in the morning? This is why; your brain is being flooded with acetylcholine and other hormones.

Why is quitting tobacco so difficult?

An addiction to anything, including tobacco, creates new neural circuitry in the brain. We get a reward when nicotine creates new circuitry; it feels good. The pleasant rewards that we experienced from our first cigarettes enticed us keep using tobacco. The reward we get from smoking is similar to the reward we might get from cocaine and amphetamines, but the reward for nicotine isn’t as intense as it is for harder drugs. The more we smoked, the more the neuronal pathways became reinforced, which lead to habitual smoking.

Breaking an addiction is, oftentimes, may be uncomfortable to endure for a few days or weeks, but it can be done. It takes time for the brain to get out from under the influence of nicotine. It takes time for the neuroreceptors for nicotine to diminish. The presence of nicotine reduces by over 90 percent within the first 8 hours of quitting. Your blood pressure and blood oxygen levels will return to what your normal should be. The carbon monoxide level in your blood should be cut by half within the first 8 hours after quitting.

The worst part of quitting smoking is getting through the first 24 to 48 hours. While the brain is recovering from being hijacked by nicotine, you will likely feel the effects of nicotine withdrawal. The anxiety (part of the fight or flight response), irritability, and other withdrawal symptoms are only temporary. These symptoms will eventually subside when the body readjusts to its acetylcholine levels getting back down to normal.


There is more to a smoking addiction than nicotine. There is also a psychological dependence. The idea of quitting smoking is, oftentimes, a very scary thought. The question arises, “what will I do with my hands?” or “What will I do all day without a cigarette?” You will get through it. Every day you don’t smoke should get easier. A craving only lasts for a few seconds or a minute or two. Nearly all of us who have quit have gone through this. For me, the cravings diminished in intensity every day that I didn’t smoke. However, any day that I “fell off the wagon,” the addictive crave would become strong again, and I was at square one.

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Why Does Quitting Smoking Cause Weight Gain and What Can You Do About It?

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

You want to quit smoking but dread having to deal with the extra five pounds you know will follow when you flush that last pack of cigarettes down the toilet. It’s unfortunate that smoking cessation and weight gain seem to go together. On average, a person who stops smoking will gain between five and twelve pounds in their first year as a non-smoker. Why does quitting smoking cause weight gain and what can you do about it?

There are a variety of reasons why smoking cessation and weight gain are so strongly correlated. For one, people who kick the smoking habit often feel the need to replace it with something else, and that “something” may be food in some cases. Unfortunately, the replacement food, as often as not, is an unhealthy cream filled doughnut rather than an apple. The solution? Keep healthy snacks with you at all times when you stop smoking. Package your snacks into one-hundred calorie snack packs and allow yourself a certain number each day. This will keep your hands occupied. Also, be sure to keep a pack of sugarless gum handy.

The second reason quitting smoking causes weight gain is that nicotine is an appetite suppressant. A study published in Diabetes Obesity and Metabolism in 2005 confirmed this and also showed that the addition of caffeine to nicotine suppressed appetite even more. One tactic you can use to offset your increased appetite is to drink green tea. The caffeine in green tea has a slight appetite suppressing effect and gives you something to keep your hands occupied. Keep a cup with you throughout your busy day and sip from it frequently. You’ll also get the benefits of the healthful catechins found in green tea.

Another reason why smoking cessation and weight gain are so strongly correlated is the fact that smokers burn more calories. The nicotine found in cigarettes speeds up the heart rate and gives the metabolism a boost, resulting in anywhere from one-hundred to two-hundred extra calories being burned on a daily basis. You can offset this by taking a brisk walk once a day. It will feel good to breathe in the clean air and know you’re doing something good for your lungs for a change. It may be the start of a new healthy lifestyle for you.

Does smoking cause weight gain? It certainly can, but there’s a lot you can do to prevent it. Don’t let the prospect of weight gain stop you from kicking the habit.

When to Quit? Now Works

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

When I got off work tonight, it’s simply amazing I did so with my job intact.

It won’t be for long.

To explain the predicament I find myself in, which should answer the question asked by this article, I need to take you back in time, back when I was a very young lad.

At 44 years old, I’ve held quite a few jobs. I began work at a young age, first selling newspapers when I was 8 years old to soldiers at Fort Knox, Kentucky. I worked twice a day, seven days a week. I would get picked up by a guy who had a paper route on the Army fort, he’d fill my paper-boy bag with Louisville Courier-Journal’s, and drop me off near one of the fort’s mess halls, where I’d sell papers at 10 cents a piece, to soldiers entering and leaving the mess hall, or coming and going from their barracks.

I loved the job, I got a free paper, and I always had pocket money, which at that age, came in handy to support my obsession for baseball/football/basketball cards, and junk food (Dorito’s and Pepsi). I stayed in the job for over two years, until my father received orders to go to Erlangen, Germany. Following three years in Deutschland, we were sent back to Fort Knox, my parents divorced, and my mother remarried, and we settled in the city of my birth, Dayton, Ohio.

Once there, from the ages 14-16, I had an easier, yet more profitable paper route, walking through my West Dayton neighborhood, delivering papers to houses. The money was much better this time around, and the price of a newspaper had jumped to 25 cents a copy.

And again, I loved the job, because, as a sports nut, the sports staff at the Dayton Daily News at that time, was seriously second to none.

I read religiously the likes of Cincinnati Reds beat writer Hal McCoy, sports columnists Gary Nuhn and Tom Archdeacon, University of Dayton Flyers and professional golf writer Bucky Albers, and Cincinnati Bengals beat writer Marty Williams.

I mention these guys because, little did I know then, I would eventually become great friends with all the above mentioned writers, and become a professional colleague. Note: I’ll never say I was an equal or anything like that, because those guys were the cream of the crop in the country, in my very biased opinion. But Hal McCoy, God bless him, would eventually be elected to the writers wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Anyway, back to what I was explaining before. I left my newspaper route when I was 16, because I got a full-time job working at the Montgomery County Adult Probation department. I worked there, until I enlisted in the U.S. Army at 18.

After three years on active duty, I got out, and enrolled in college, I also signed up to join the U.S. Army Reserves.

So, after having worked as a soldier, paper boy, law clerk, and even in a warehouse as a general laborer, my mom — my hero, by the way — was looking through the want ads in the Dayton Daily News, and saw they were advertising for a job opening in the sports department at my favorite paper. The job was a simple one: sports clerk.

I had no journalism training, was attending college to become a teacher, and was stretched thin taking classes full-time, working part-time at a warehouse, helping my mom take care of my baby sister, being an Army reservist, playing in competitive softball leagues, and yes, trying to have some semblance of a social life.

But, I wanted that job in the worst way. So, I called, got an interview, and to my incredible surprise, got the job. That was in July of 1989, my first year in the newspaper business. Back then, the industry wasn’t suffering like it is now, and I like to call it the good old days, because, quality of reporting still meant something.

But the main point is, my life changed, school took a backseat, and I quickly discovered I had a knack for the jobs necessary to become a well-rounded journalist.

Within six-eight months, I was the head sports clerk, still part-time, but working close to 40 hours per week, continued to get incremental raises (I never asked for one, if you could believe that), and was learning anything and everything about the business. I was paginating sports pages (mainly the scoreboard page), a key cog in our prep sports coverage, and began to get writing assignments, which at first, terrified me, but with great teachers like the ones I mentioned earlier encouraging me, training me, and helping me by telling my bosses I should be doing more and making more money.

After a couple of years — and one roadblock as my reserve unit was called into action during the first Gulf War — I had made a name for myself, had become an important member of the staff, and when a full-time job opened up at the Piqua Daily Call as a hard news reporter, I went for it.

And got it.

I worked there for four, brutal months. My boss at the time was just like a drill sergeant, as tough and challenging as the real drill sergeants I had encountered in the Army. Which was exactly what I needed.

He taught me to be a bulldog. Chase stories, build sources, shake things up (if needed), turning me into a hard core journalist. I was only there for those four months, before a job at a much bigger daily newspaper opened up, a job as a sports writer, my dream job. So I worked for four years at The Middletown Journal, and then was recruited to re-join the Dayton Daily News by one of my best friends, and night-time sports editor at the DDN, Greg Simms.

The job was only part-time, but Greg helped me negotiate a set number of hours (38) and a pay rate which rivaled the amount I made as a full-time writer in Middletown. The new sports editor at the time was one of the men I’ve respected the most (Simms is one) in Dwayne Bray. Greg told me that Dwayne appreciated what I could bring to the table, and he’d push to create a full-time job just for me.

He did, and I was in heaven.

I was at the DDN, doing what I loved to do, until 2003,

In 2002, luck started to turn against me. I developed two types of meningitis and missed six months of work. When I came back, there was a new sports editor.

Truthfully, he didn’t like me, and I didn’t get along with him either. He liked the person who had temporarily taken my place, so at the first chance, I was fired. The reason was I didn’t give ample warning when I needed to extend vacation time (really it was paternity leave, since my wife had just given birth to our youngest son). She was having a rough time recovering, so I sent an e-mail stating I was taking an additional couple of days off.

Four days later, I received a FedEx envelope with a letter explaining my dismissal. What a way to celebrate the birth of a child.

That’s when I entered a rough stretch, I didn’t recover well from the meningitis. To this day I still have daily headache episodes, go to the Cleveland Clinic once a month or every other month to see one of the country’s foremost neurologists in an effort to come up with some sort of effective relief.

My doctors would not let me work for close to five years. When they finally cleared me, I joined The Columbus Dispatch as a sports clerk. I loved it there, although I was limited on hours, and there was very little chance for advancement. But it felt good to be working again.

I then took a full-time job in November 2009 at a small paper near my home in Mechanicsburg. This didn’t last long, as the company which owns it, went bankrupt and I was laid off.

Then, on January 3, 2011, I was hired, again part-time, by a paper owned by the same company I just got laid off from. The job is too low to be called entry level, I get 30 hours per work, and $9 per hour.

Keep in mind, I have been trained by some of the best writers in the business, I’ve done every job there is to do in this business, in every department, from sports, to hard news, to features, movie/music/book reviews, copy editing, page designer/paginator, I’ve had great bosses, not so great bosses, and for most of the 22 years since I began in the newspaper industry, I’ve been a boss myself, leading a crack team of sports clerks at a major daily newspaper.

So, I know it’s taken several paragraphs to get to answering the question of when is the right time to quit a job, but hopefully now you have a good impression of my skill-set, the level of talent necessary for the size of the papers I’ve worked for, and my ability to mimic a chameleon, blending in in any environment, any newsroom, in any job, mixing with any type of personality.

So, on April Fool’s Day — what I wouldn’t give for the meeting I had with my boss a few hours ago to be a joke! — I had a 90-day performance-review meeting with the editor of this paper and the editor’s significant other, the sports editor (I don’t work in the sports department, and this person is not in my chain of command, so I was confused as to why he was in on this meeting.

For 90 days (half of which my boss was off on medical leave), not one time did my boss, or any of the editors pull me aside and criticize me about anything.

So when the meeting turned into a steady stream of insults about my job performance, again, in front of the sports editor, whom I don’t report to, making me feel even more embarrassed, I had no choice but to get into a defensive position, especially when it’s obvious these two particular people (who’ve also been in the business since the late 1980s) really aren’t worth worrying about.

The paper is a mess, the hierarchy at the top of the editorial staff has stifled any kind of creativity and chance of any other member of the staff to do more than create simple, boring, safe copy, no chance of any enterprise reporting or package features in which the staff’s top talent — the full-time photographer — spends most of her time playing it safe, and only on occasion showing off her immense skills. None of the other members of the staff have been encouraged to try and wow readers by writing pieces which will actually get readers to excited about the content.

Currently, the newspaper reads more like a series of simple, plain press releases, which, unfortunately, dots the paper on nearly every page.

In this meeting, I was actually told to not personalize any stories, actually to take any personality or flair in a story and gut it.

Mainly, during this review, I was not just insulted, but belittled, and humiliated (with the sports editor in attendance). I was bullied and expected to take it. I was told my probationary period would be extended 30 additional days. Yes, you read that write, in a job which pays as little as it does, and calls for basically a glorified receptionist to do most of the job description, a probationary extension.

I bring real, hard-hitting abilities, I think outside the box, I’m outstanding with breaking news, my features receive compliments nearly every time I write one. People stop me on the street and tell me that the paper (and its weekly cousins) have been better to read since I joined.

The sad part is the paper has some excellent talent, it’s just the two-headed monster in charge of the editorial staff, don’t know how to encourage and allow the staff to grow. They are actually repressing the staff. It certainly doesn’t help when those particular two editors stroll in close to 6 or 7 p.m. and leave no later than 11 p.m. I’ve never been around editors who put in less than 40 hour weeks. I’m sure they claim 40 hours, but I haven’t seen it.

When they enter the building, everyone quiets down, and the tension is high. The sports editor acts like the editor’s lap dog, and refuses to cover games. For a paper as small as this, and a full-time sports writer at your disposal, there’s no way he should be sitting in the office every night. He acts like a sports editor at a newspaper ten times their size. Because of this, the sports coverage is a joke, in an area where high school sports is huge.

So, when is the right time to quit? I should have quit during the meeting, but I do have a family to care for, and, I want to go out on my terms.

Under the circumstances, I feel the best way is to do it right. I asked for the weekend to think over whether I want to accept the 30-day extension, and truthfully, I can’t see any way in which I would do this. I will go in on Monday, and request a meeting between the editor, myself and our publisher (not the sports editor, I will specifically request his absence).

And in this meeting I will express my concerns I’ve written here, backing up each of my concerns with the bevy of proof I have at my disposal. My aim is not to get any one fired, but reprimanded? Yes. An apology? Yes. Dropping the 30-day extension? You bet. And, letting the publisher know just how things are, maybe he’ll affect some change, and help heal the serious rift between management and staff.

Still, I’ll be cleaning out my desk over the weekend, with the express intent at working in a different job within the next couple of weeks. Because without serious changes, there’s no way I can work with people who are as spiteful and lacking of tact and understanding, as these two. Ruling with an iron fist is how you intimidate people, and people who intimidate, and under the circumstances where raises are out of the question, at least they could do is make its employees feel good about working there. Because the bottom line is, if you leave the job at night and feel like you’ve been insulted and treated unfairly, then it’s time to look in the mirror, and say “I will not be made to feel inferior”, because you will, and it’ll be your own fault, if you allow them to do so.

What’s Worse? Smoking Clove or FSC Cigarettes?

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

When I first heard that the FDA might begin to regulate cigarettes, I thought it would be a good thing. As consumers, we need control over what additives are put into cigarettes. Smokers have the right to know what’s being added to cigarettes, either physically or as a processing byproduct.

What are the short- and long-term effects of smoking the recently added fire-safe (FSC) materials?
What are the adhesive-looking marks are that can be seen on the inside of FSC cigarette papers?
What procedures are used during the growing, harvesting, and manufacturing process?
Do manufacturers use the irradiation process to kill bacteria and bugs in the tobacco?
What types of pesticides are used while the tobacco is being grown?
Do countries like Indonesia, where many clove cigarettes (Kreteks) come from, still use DDT?
Is the FDA going to reduce harmful additives, or blow it off because smoking is harmful in and of itself? The initial news about the FDA regulating cigarettes implied that limits would be placed on stuff that kids love: candy-flavored cigarettes–chocolate, vanilla, peach, strawberry, and other flavored bidis. But further news was published, with details about clove-containing cigarettes being banned, too; and then came the full details of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that only an “estimated 3% of high school students and 2% of middle school students smoke clove cigarettes, and 3% of high school students and 2% of middle school students smoke bidis.” Taking cloves and bidis off the market may actually have no effect on the number of teen smokers. Who among us doesn’t believe that if teens want to smoke, they’ll smoke what ever they can get their hands on?

What about the brands of cigarettes that the majority of teens actually do smoke? This article sums up my point nicely with these statistics, “A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that three brands of cigarettes–Marlboro, Newport, and Camel–were preferred by 81 percent of middle- and high-school students. Survey results show that 52 percent of established smokers in high-school chose Marlboro, while 21 percent chose Newport, and 13 percent preferred Camel; the middle school percentages were 43, 26 and 9 percent, respectively.”

Why doesn’t the CDC have statistics about the adult population of clove cigarette smokers? And what about menthol cigarettes? The menthol additives aren’t even a natural ingredient being added, whereas cloves are at least a natural ingredient.

I’m just saying that banning clove cigarettes isn’t the answer to preventing teens from smoking, and there should be a lot more concern about the harmful effects of the recently added ingredients that make cigarettes so-called “fire-safe.” Check the links at the bottom of this article for reports of strange reactions to the new FSC cigarettes.

It’s easy to understand that the new flavored cigarette regulations are supposed to prevent teens from smoking-sure, take the candy flavored cigarettes off the market. Sounds like a good idea, but so few teens smoke them, and teens will end up smoking something else if they really want to smoke.
It’s easy to understand that the country needs less home- and forest-fires that end up being started by cigarettes-so yes, fire-safe cigarettes are a good idea, but not if the effects of smoking the FSC ingredients haven’t been tested. And, from all the reports (see links below), the fire-safe cigarettes don’t sound fire-safe at all.
It’s also easy to understand that everyone really should quit smoking. But the reality is that adult smokers have the right to smoke, quitting isn’t easy, and if cigarettes can be less harmful they should be.
Why not take a more regulatory approach? Change the Kretek product names from cigarettes to cigars and make them only available in cigar shops. Add more warning labels, disallow the use of certain chemicals and pesticides. Make the fines more strict for store owners who sell cigarettes to minors. Make it illegal for minors to smoke!
Most importantly, if the government is worried about the effects of smoking on teens and anyone else, it should monitor the effects of the fire-retardant additives. It’s not easy to understand how the country is going to pay for all the compounded ill-effects from FSC cigarettes. What’s the assumption with the newly added toxins? Smokers will either quit or die? Useful Links–Spirit-Examiner~y2009m7d12-Are-the-new-FSC-firesafe-cigarettes-making-smokers-sicker-than-ever

Excerpts from

“The added and higher level chemicals contained in FSC cigarettes has proven to be more toxic than regular cigarettes and cause increased health related problems for smokers. Symptoms/conditions include, but are not limited to: Nausea, sores in mouth and throat, dry throat, constant headaches, extreme coughing, tightness in the chest, vomiting, body aches, pain in the abdomen and respiratory conditions including asthma and bronchitis.”

“The Harvard School of Health reported that when comparing NY Cigarettes (FSC) versus Regular Cigarettes, the FSC cigarettes produced 13.9% more Naphthalene and 11.4% more carbon monoxide than regular cigarettes.”

“Naphthalene is commonly found in moth balls, and exposure in high amounts can result in headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, malaise, confusion, anemia, jaundice, convulsions, and coma. Therefore, it has been proven that FSC cigarettes contain higher levels of chemicals that are harmful to smokers.”

“Phillip Morris USA has reported that the Adhesive ethylene vinyl acetate and polyvinyl acetate are used in the non-tobacco ingredients of cigarettes produced as a side-seam adhesive. However, Phillip Morris USA fails to distinguish the differences in levels between regular and FSC cigarettes. The amount does not exceed .6 % combined. Since additional layers of paper are used in FSC cigarettes, more adhesive is needed in the form of ethylene vinyl acetate.”