29 January 2005


Ivan Noble is a BBC News' science and technology writer. On August 2002, he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor and since then, he has been writing about his experience with the cancer in an online diary.

Last Thursday, he posted his final entry, and from his usual 100,000 a day traffic, more than 300,000 visited him on that day. Read his final entry here.

His post is meaningful and thought-provoking. But what moves me more about his post is his plea:

I will end with a plea. I still have no idea why I ended up with a cancer, but plenty of other cancer patients know what made them ill.

If two or three people stop smoking as a result of anything I have ever written then the one of them who would have got cancer will live and all my scribblings will have been worthwhile.

[Ivan Noble's Final Post]

In what might be perceived as a very painful phase of his fight with his cancer, he is still able to find the strength to motivate people to do something good for themselves and their loved ones: STOP SMOKING NOW.

I admire him for his courage. He is a man who lives true to his name. He is noble indeed.

The importance of quitting cigarette smoking has been emphasized many, many times. Just yesterday, the online edition of the British Medical Journal (BMJ) came up with results of another prospective study that says smoking is not only bad for those who smoke, but also for people around them --- specifically children of smoking parents. The Guardian said:

Children who grow up in homes where parents smoke every day are three times more likely to get lung cancer than the children of non-smokers, even if they do not take up the habit themselves as adults, research has found.

Researchers questioned 60,000 people who had never smoked and found that the more they had been exposed to cigarettes in childhood, the more likely they were to get lung cancer.

Those who were exposed daily over many hours were 3.63 times more likely to get lung cancer than those who lived in non-smoking homes.

Children who were exposed to passive smoking a few times a week were 1.45 times more likely to get the disease in adulthood, and those exposed daily but for not many hours were twice as likely.

"This study raises a terrifying spectre for smoking parents," said Robert West, Cancer Research UK's director of tobacco studies. "Exposing their children to cigarette smoke not only damages the child's airways at the time, but may lead to development of lung cancer in later life.

[The Guardian]

Read the study abstract from the BMJ here.

Elsewhere, employers are tired of playing hooky with stubborn employees who won't quit smoking. The message is clear: QUIT SMOKING or GET FIRED!.

No matter how it is achieved, through a sick man's final plea, through an alarming study of the effects of passive smoking on children, or through a harsh threat on one's job, the message is crystal clear --- all smokers should do themselves and their family a BIG favor --- QUIT SMOKING NOW!

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