i was recently at a gathering where I was answering questions from someone who was really interested in health and how to improve his well-being. A dear friend of mine, sitting opposite me and chain-smoking away, was getting clearly exasperated by the topic. He had heard this stuff before. I think the last straw for him was when I ordered a large pizza, with extra cheese, double pepperoni and mushrooms, and then proceeded to polish off the entire topping, leaving behind on the plate the entire thin-crust dough in a pile of plain carb slices!
It is not a pretty sight when I eat a pizza.
Pierre leaned across the table, blew a puff of smoke in my direction and exclaimed in his delicious French accent, “Puf! This is so borrring! You always talk about this stuff when we are together. I can tell you that I don’t do any of this health stuff, and I am much more healthier than you are. Puf!”
I am sorry, Pierre, for upsetting you so, and I hereby dedicate the rest of this blog post to you! But you, dear friend, are nowhere near being healthier than I am. First of all, it is not a competition and you don’t get prizes for showing how healthy you are. Each of us is master of our own body and we make daily choices that affect our health. These choices cumulatively determine not only how long our life span is, but how healthy we are in the last stage of life.
If you divide human beings by health outcomes, there are only two broad categories of people; those who smoke, and those who do not.
I have mentioned before one simple fact. Smokers live on average 14 years less than non-smokers. There are many many reasons why, including heart disease, lung cancer, lung disease, strokes, etc. I won’t bore you with complicated details. But overall, what the statistics show is that smokers have a metabolic age fourteen years higher than the average, which by definition is why their life spans are shorter by the same amount.
The problem is that smokers are leaner than average, so physically they look younger than average. This lulls them into a false sense of security, so much so that in fact, they are bring fooled twice. First by the fact that the smoking ages them nearly twice as fast as average, and second by the fact that they give the appearance of actually looking younger than average. This is the ultimate self-deception in human health, because it happens to the entire 20% of the human population who are smokers.
When people ask me for advice on health and wellness, my first question is ” Do you smoke?” A yes answer is a show-stopper. I genuinely have no other health advice to offer a smoker than, “quit smoking now”. No matter what else you do in your lifestyle habits, all that is eclipsed by the harm caused to your body by a smoking habit.
In other words, if you have reconciled yourself to being a life-long smoker, do not take the slightest notice of any health tips you come across, because that advice does not apply to you. If you are unable to solve the 95% root cause of your ill-health that a smoking habit is, then what is the point worrying about the other 5%?