Friday, February 1, 2013

When You Think About It 2/1/2013

When You Think About It, nothing is for nothing; except, perhaps, nothing. A friend posted an article from by Eli Lake titled My (Electronic) Cigarette Addiction. In an article that is witty and well written, Mr. Lake describes how a doctor's stern warning that Lake's life-long addiction to cigarettes was certainly, and literally, killing him, gave him the impetus to finally quit for good. He goes on to describe how the addiction is not only physical, but psychological, as well. As is the case with most smokers, the act of smoking was a multi-layered affair. And most of that layering ain't good! For example, studies show that smoking tends to increase the use of alcohol and vice-versa. So, Mr. Lake set out on a journey to reduce and then eliminate his dependency on tobacco. That quest eventually led him to the latest alternative to tobacco - electronic or so-called smokeless cigarettes.

I must confess, I don't know much about these "gadgets". I am not a cigarette smoker and never have been. Never. Just never liked it. But I have had roommates, including my wife, who were smokers, at least for a time. I have some friends who still smoke. Virtually all of them wish that they could simply quit. So, in other words, I've been around it know that it just ain't that easy!! So, I applaud every effort to help people to quit. Short of heroin, it's probably the single worse thing you can do to your body. I've seen ads for nicotine patches that are supposed to reduce the craving for cigarettes. I've seen them for various psychological programs that will train your mind to reduce the craving for cigarettes. Well, know I've seen the ones for these electronic cigarettes. I've not seen one up-close but I gather that they use cartridges of fluid that are "smoked" without fire, but, rather, with vapor.

According to the article, the fact that it is not "smoked" is, indeed a good thing. It does eliminate the harmful effects that smoke does causes. However, it does not totally eliminate the nicotine (a carcinogenic chemical) that is also found in smoked cigarettes. Plus, there are OTHER chemicals within the vapor that have not been properly tested and, therefore, the effects of which are little known. Throw in the fact that the cartridges are made in China and, (you'll forgive the pun, but) you're playing with fire. In a sense, you are just trading one dangerous habit for, at least potentially, another one. I won't go into all the data that is featured in this excellent article (you should read for yourself), but, rather say, when you think about it, nothing is for nothing.

I feel the same way about these so-called Quick Energy Drinks that have invaded the market. All you have to do is drink this tiny, little bottle, and for 5 hours or so, you can make Superman look like a pussy and Einstein feel like a dummy! Really? All I have to do is buy your product, drink it, and my life will be so much better? But, when you think about it, could it REALLY be that easy? And if it were, wouldn't ALL of us be doing it all of the time? Do the research. You'll find that in this case, as is the case with so many quick fixes to important issues in our life, you may be just robbing Peter to pay Paul.

I remember as a child, one of Stella's first life lessons to me was when she said, Frankie, when you feel in your heart that something is too good to be true, that's because it isn't true! There are no easy answers to the important questions in life. NOTHING is for nothing. Well, when you think about it, that's so true about everything in life. Nothing is truly free  - not even the wind, or the sun, or the rain. Too much wind causes damage. Too much sun can burn. Too much rain can flood. This is the "price" we pay to have them. There is a cause and effect for everything in life. The sooner that, as the Buddha teaches, we find balance, the middle path, the better, happier, and healthier our lives will be.

Nothing is for nothing, except, perhaps, nothing.

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