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July 23, 2003

On smoking

This was one mail I sent to usc2k1 yahoogroup on 31 Oct, 2002 - those days I was having this high anti-smoking thing. If you dont care, ignore this post.

(for people who can "read")

One evening outside SAL:
S (with a cigarette in one hand): Hi, A!
A: Hi! How are you? Hey, do you know something? Smoking is bad for health.
S: Huh! Nothing new! Everybody knows that!
A: What do you know about it?
S: I know its bad for health man..!
A: What else? Any details?
S: Err...Forget it yaar. Feels great when I smoke. Thats what I care for.
A: 50% of all people who smoke die _due_ to their smoking. So will you like it if the cause of your death is smoking?
S: Err...I dont mind dying a few days earlier. After all, everybody has to die someday, isnt it? Umm....Anyway, I am going to stop smoking someday, then everything will be alright.
A: So you are also one of I-can-always-quit-tomorrow group. Thats where everybody goes wrong. Less than 10% of people who start smoking are able to stop it.
S: Duh! Come on, now dont bug me!... How're your courses? I have to read lots of papers for CS555, man. I am fed up. Have you read them?
A: You know what, I know of one paper, which I can say will be one of the most important things you _ever_ read in life. Well, it was for me.
S: Which?
A: This.
(A takes out a document of 4-5 pages which is actually a printout of this pdf file:
A: This will be one of the most important things you ever read in life.
(S looks at the paper)
S: Hey I dont have time to read _this_!!! You've gone mad...Look I am leaving.
A: This is more important than your CS555 papers. Better miss one CS555 paper and read this.
S: Huh. I'll see.

(That night, S casually picks that paper up and tries to see what its about. Once started, he does not stop until he has read all of it in 15 mins. He thinks about something after that. That night he smokes a lot to satisfy himself. But, from the next day, he stops smoking. Then goes on to live a better, longer, healthier life than he would have lived if he would have continued smoking. Alas! He still could not reach the health levels of the people who never smoked.)

End of boring story! :-)

Now read the paper!!!!

The paper is a must-read for all: smokers, non-smokers and ex-smokers.

1. Smoking accounts for almost 500,000 deaths per year in the US alone, or one in every five deaths.
2. Cigarette smoking contributes to a remarkable number of diseases, including coronary heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, peripheral vascular disease, peptic ulcer disease, and many types of cancer.
3. Many adverse effects of smoking dont cure themselves when you stop smoking.
4. People who smoke for as brief a period as 10 years show a substantially higher rate of death, disease, and disability.
(the conversation was, of course, fictional.)


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