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If you knew performing a certain activity would kill you, probably in an ugly and painful way, and stopping that activity would add years to your life, what would you do?
It sounds like a no-brainerexcept that roughly one out of five men keeps making the killing choice by continuing to smoke. Once and for all: If you smoke, or spend a lot of time around someone who does, sooner or later it can kill you.
"It's poison, pure and simple," says James A. Pantano, M.D., a cardiologist in Al-lentown, Pennsylvania, and author of Living with Angina. According to Dr. Pantano, cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide as well as radioactive particles. The main ways smoking may kill is by heart disease, lung disease or cancerthree of the top five killers of men.
But first, smoking will make your life miserable. You'll suffer the mood swings associated with nicotine addiction; you'll break into embarrassing coughing and retching fits in front of family, friends and colleagues; food will lose its taste. Meanwhile, the smoke will damage your lungs and pollute your blood with carbon monoxide. This in turn will make your heart work harder and faster, raise your blood pressure and sap your energy. Eventually that smoke might start a reaction in your body that causes cancer cells to grow.On the other hand, you could kick the habit. And here's your incentive: You'll live longer, no matter how long you've been smoking. One study showed that if middle-age men would just kick their smoking habit, they'd prolong their lives by an average of four yearsand the sooner they quit, the longer they'll live. There are dozens of organizations, plans and techniques just waiting to help you stop smoking. Your doctor can prescribe medications to help you get the nicotine monkey off your back, too.
Health your playbook, your game plan for greater health. To write it, the editors of Men's Health magazine polled the leading experts in every fieldfrom neurology to urology. We've packed this volume with thousands of tips for dealing with or getting rid of mental and physical ailements.