I think it’s probably obvious to those in the medical field that smoking is terrible for you. For starters, it can increase your risk for developing all sorts of cancer. Additionally, when you discount skin cancers, lung cancer has the highest rate of mortality. While many of these lung cancer cases may not be attributable to smoking, I think it’s a fair assumption that a decent number of those lung cancers are associated with smoking.
It made me wonder why it’s been so hard to combat smoking. There’s no denying that addiction is difficult to combat–but what about prevention (stopping people from trying it in the first place)? In my personal opinion, I don’t think that a blanket ban on smoking would solve the problem at all. In fact, I think that it would make it worse (see: prohibition). But I wonder how physicians can alter their approach to stop/prevent our fellow citizens from engaging in cigarette smoking. I had one friend who suggested that people should turn to vaping instead. If you or anyone else is looking to quit smoking, why not try Vaping instead? It is less harming than smoking, no nasty smell and the choice of strength allows you to control the Nicotine intake. You can even make you own vape diy kits too! Not as a permanent solution, but rather that it was better to vape than smoke.
In medical school, we are taught to always ask if a patient smokes and if so, whether they’d consider quitting. But given the prevalence of smoking related deaths, it seems that our efforts aren’t working that well.
The concept of advertisements struck my mind. I remembered seeing many signs and video ads that depicted personal stories of patients suffering from cigarette related complications. In fact, some of them could be quite unsettling. However, one cannot deny that fear is a powerful motivator. I did some cursory searching and found some evidence that emotionally coercive advertisements may actually hold some promise to encourage smoking cessation. Obviously I’m not saying that physicians should try to scare their patients into quitting (got to establish that rapport!), but I do think it’s an interesting phenomenon!