Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Tuesdays with Paulie 5/30/06

Young, Beautiful and Stupid

By no means am I the picture of perfect health. I am overweight, have a stressful job and never sleep enough raising two young children. However, one thing I have never done is smoked cigarettes. I have always believed that not smoking was an easy way to avoid future health problems that eventually come to all smokers who are unable to quit before cancer, heart disease or emphysema set in. Any person who was born after 1964 and more so born in the early 1980's, has grown up with anti-smoking warnings bombarding their lives. Regardless of all the warnings out there, I have noticed that young people, especially women, seem to be smoking more.

Let me say that I have no scientific facts or smoking statistics to back up by concerns. I am simply making a personal observation. This past weekend, the pool opened up at my apartment complex, so Shannon, the kids and I spent a couple hours each day enjoying the warm weather in the water. Many new young singles have moved into our complex and the first thing I noticed, besides the bikinis was how everyone appears to be smoking. I don't believe I saw one young woman who didn't have a cigarette in their hand at all times.

Recently I have noticed when I drive Shannon to work downtown, more and more young people, many professionals, smoking like there is a tobacco shortage. These are people who grew up during unprecedented health consciousness in American history. What is truly scary is a nation that is seeing alarming statistics in childhood and adult obesity and diabetes, many overweight adults are smoking. Unfortunately, fat children will follow in their parents footsteps and also take up the bad habit.

Experience tells me that part of the problem with young adult smokers is they truly believe they can quit at anytime, so they tell themselves they will quit before serious illness takes hold of their lives. Take it from a guy who once believed he would be thin by age thirty. Time creeps up on you and eventually so does your health.

Many of the people I refer to at my complex swimming pool are very physically fit, in fact it's obvious they work out and watch what they eat. Sadly, many people, especially woman continue to smoke because they believe it prevents them from overeating and putting on weight. I have a very good friend who recently lost a bunch of weight. He even decided to lecture me and a few friends about watching what we eat and being more health conscious since we are getting older...He did this with a cigarette in his hand.

I am by no means ridiculing smokers. I simply discussing what appears to be a frightening trend among young people, who grew up knowing better and had to have known someone who died of cancer. I guess people still think it will never happen to them. Take it from a cancer survivor...it can.



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