The other night we had a phone call in the middle of the night to advise us that a dear friend was gravely ill and about to be taken to hospital. It was feared that he wouldn't last the night.
The problem was our friend couldn't breathe properly. Having been diagnosed some time back with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD for short, this wasn't an actual shock to hear he was having problems with breathing.
Luckily the ambulance staff are well trained to handle this type of emergency and stablized him in readiness for the hospital doctors. We went to the hospital and were allowed to see him an hour after he was admitted.
The thing that really rammed home the dangers of smoking was the amount of older patients that were seeking help on that night for breathing difficulties. Half the people that came through the hospital doors while we were waiting to see our friend had breathing diffficulties and you don't have to be an Einstein to be able to work out that smoking is the cause.
Once you have been diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, your life expectancy is no more than 10 years. You will slowly deteriorate and finally need oxygen all the time just to be able to breathe.
Almost always the main cause of COPD is smoking. If you don't think that smoking kills, go to the emergency ward of your local hospital and watch the older people shuffling through the doors, gasping for every breath of air.
If you smoke, quit now, as this is how you will finish your life if you don't die of lung cancer first.