Monday, December 25, 2006

Smoker's Damaged Arteries Heal After Last Puff

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I Love

The Open Air...

The Red Maples are more glorious than you've seen them in years, or... Maybe, confined to your bed, tethered to that darn oxygen machine, it's just a whimsical trick of your eyes as you study them from afar. No matter. Trick or true beauty, you relish this day and let your mind wander back to better times - times filled with energy and strength, walks in the woods, the spring in your step catapulting you skyward...

You remember the little spot, back by the creek, where you and Sarah used to sit and watch the world according to wildlife pass by without a care. Red Headed Woodpeckers, beaver, the occasional fox. It was splendid. On cool fall days you'd tote along a thermos filled with fresh coffee. Sarah always laughed, saying you looked like a fog machine, what with the hot coffee, cold air and ever-present cigarette dangling from your lips.

Ah, you'd love to have a smoke right now...

Is the future this bleak? It doesn't have to be - especially if you're young and... you quit.

A recent study indicates the damaged arteries of young smokers heal quickly after they take their last puff. This is fabulous news and provides even more incentive for young smokers to ante up and nix the nicotine.

Blood flow in the human body is regulated by the alternating contraction and relaxation of the lining of the arteries, known as the endothelium. Smoking causes this lining to harden, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. The new study, conducted by scientists in Japan, studied men in their twenties and thirties who had smoked a pack a day for at least five years. The subjects agreed to stop smoking for at least six months.

PET scans (positron emission tomography) revealed subjects exhibited abnormal arterial function at the beginning of the study. However, within a single month after quitting, the abnormal coronary function returned to normal. One month - normal... The results remained the same at six months, with the previously damaged arteries functioning normally. This is very good news.

What's it going to be? Well... The view from the bed, even with the whining of the oxygen machine, is spectacular. Or - you can hike on out to your favorite spot, start a little campfire and pour yourself that hot cup of shade-grown, fair-trade, $14.50 per pound Peruvian Pangoa and settle back. Now, pull out that twenty-pack and light it up - over the hot embers of the campfire. Watch as the tobacco incinerates, the smoke swirls and wafts into the air and disappears, leaving nothing but - cool, fresh air.

Now, sit back and take a look around. Get used to it. It looks like you're going to be around to enjoy it for a long, long time.

To explore resources to help you quit smoking, see


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