Friday, November 11, 2005
  Smokes beware!
Tobacco Use and Skin Disease

My sister is still smoking. She's, um, 31 now? Has been smoking since 15 or so. She keeps trying to quit but doesn't follow through.. I was giving her a hard time yesterday, as I tend to do, and she said to find her a reason to quit.

I hope this is enough. The statistics are shocking, especially for a woman who worries about facial wrinkles enough to slather on the sunblock above her neck as she cooks the rest of her body. Smoking ages you .4 years for every year you smoke.. and that's only for a 50-pack year. I am pretty sure she smokes more than a pack a week...
Please be gentle in dealing with your sister and other smokers. It has been proven that kicking the tobacco addiction is often tougher than kicking a cocaine habit. It is not that people don't "follow through" - it's that they are up against really tough odds. According to the Zyban people, if you take Zyban as prescribed, you have a 52% chance of succeeding. If you take Zyban and use a nicotine patch, (Which combination, according to Zyban, has the highest percentage of success, even more than 'cold turkey') your chances of success zoom up to 56%. That means 44 to 48 people out of 100 aren't going to make it when they try to quit. So they try again, again and again. They need some support from their families and friends, but not derision. I am gentle with myself and with others in this area, reminding me (and them) that every day without smoking is a day of rest for the body.

Attempting to quit is an extremely stressful thing for the body - to the point where my doctor told me not to quit smoking - my body cannot handle the stress, she said. Maybe another time.

As concerned as you are for creatures, please consider a little more compassion for those who would quit if they could, but who (so far) just can't.

As for the cats - I got my cat, Liberty, from Friends of Strays, and I support them as much as I can. The problem is the kittens. As sweet as they are, there should not be so many of them. Friends of Strays spays or neuters all the cats that cross their threshhold, and that keeps the numbers down. A friend of mine has tended strays for years - it's all he could afford to do. When he ended up in a nursing home and the people taking care of his property (and his strays) called Friends of Strays to come get the cats, they refused because my friend never had them neutered or spayed, and they had taken many many many of his cats over the years. I don't agree with that, but fortunately, here in Pinellas County, we have a no-kill shelter where the cats eventually went. That doesn't solve the problem, except for my friend's "babies". The fact remains there are hundreds of cats dumped off at various places who breed over and over and their kittens end up being feral, which are almost impossible to adopt even if they can be caught and kept in a shelter before they die of predators or illnesses contracted because they have no shots.

Cats deserve better from us. Humans domesticated them. We should be taking better care of them.

I can't even afford a vodka evening with friends - or I'd have sent something for your fund. But Friends of Strays doesn't charge, and they will keep a cat (with full vet attention including spaying and shots) for as long as it takes to find that cat a home. Liberty was there, living in a cage, for over 18 months (she was antisocial and a biter) before I adopted her. You might check to see if there is a Friends of Strays near you that will help with your strays. They're a great bunch of people. They take donations, too.

See you on Flickr --
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I'm Stacey. I'm a 31(!)-year-old Wisconsin girl living in sunny South Florida. The highlights in my life are my lovely boyfriend, my aloof cats, my adorable/adoring stepdogs, my two lumbering tortoises, select family members, being outside, being underwater, taking pictures, yadda yadda. Stay tuned for lots of babbling!

Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States


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Making a difference

A small boy lived by the ocean. He loved the creatures of the sea, especially the starfish, and he spent much of his time exploring the seashore.

One day the boy learned there would be a minus tide that would leave the starfish stranded on the sand.

When the tide went out, he went down to the beach, began picking up the stranded starfish, and tossing them back into the ocean.

An elderly man who lived next door came down to the beach to see what the boy was doing. Seeing the man's quizzical expression, the boy paused as he approached. "I'm saving the starfish!" the boy proudly declared.

When the neighbor saw all of the stranded starfish he shook his head and said: "I'm sorry to disappoint you, young man, but if you look down the beach, there are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see. And if you look up the beach the other way, it's the same. One little boy like you isn't going to make much of a difference."

The boy thought about this for a moment. Then he reached his small hand down to the sand, picked up another starfish, tossed it out into the ocean, and said: "Well, I sure made a difference for that one!"

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