17 February 2008

Nicotine Addiction Steals Smoker's Right to Choose

Nicotine Addiction Steals our Right to Choose48-year-old Skip Legault has suffered a long list of horrendous physcial ailments due to tobacco use: two heart attacks; a stroke; 7 blood clots; 14 surgeries; a leg amputation. And he's still smoking.

Anyone who has lived with nicotine addiction knows that it is insidious and extremely powerful. It's hard to quit smoking, and the sad fact is, many thousands of people don't find their way free of this killer habit in time.

Mr. Legault openly admits the power that nicotine addiction still has over him, even after all he's been through because of it. He's put himself out there in the public eye, knowing that people may ridicule him because he hasn't been able to quit smoking. But he did it anyway, because he knew that his struggle with this addiction would send a powerful message that could help others find and claim their own inner source of strength to lay their cigarettes down, once and for all.

In the ad, Legault, looking into the camera and supporting himself on crutches, recites a litany of health woes, including a first heart attack at age 28 and another at 29, then says: "Every bit of this is from smoking." Legault, who once smoked three packs a day but has cut back to half a pack, was paid $4,000 for his time in producing the ads, the health department said.

Dr. Richard F. Daines, the state health commissioner said the fact that Legault hasn't been able to kick the habit "demonstrates how extreme this addiction can get. Smoking is still the single most reversible, avoidable cause of premature vascular disease," he said. "High blood pressure typically takes lifetime treatment. For smoking, you just have to stop smoking and the risks decline."

Globally, tobacco-related diseases kill 5 million people annually, or put another way, someone dies every 8 seconds somewhere in the world due to tobacco use. And worse than that, tobacco-related diseases are expected to claim one billion lives this century unless serious anti-smoking efforts are made on a global level.