I recently had a lengthy discussion with my oncologist regarding smoking, and I would be irresponsible if I did not pass along some of this information.
I was a smoker from my Freshman year of college (9-64) until my daughter Rebecca was born (7-17-77). I smoked about a pack a day, but in those later years stopped smoking cigarettes and smoked a pipe. Looking at the statistics regarding smoking and lung cancer, I felt that, having stopped smoking 35 years ago, I should be back at baseline (as if I had never smoked).
Well I was in for an education. My oncologist told me that once someone is a smoker, they can never return to baseline. His clinical definition of a non-smoker is someone who has never smoked more than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime. Wow! He also feels very strongly that my cancer is due to smoking as a young man.
He also said that lung cancer is not the worst complication from smoking. He feels that emphysema and heart disease are much more common and more serious consequences of smoking, since these diseases affect a person for his/her entire lifetime. Lung cancer simply kills you.
So, to all those smokers out there, take heed. Your lungs can never completely recover from the damage due to smoking. Smoking will probably either kill you outright (through lung cancer) or make your old age miserable due to things like emphysema and heart disease. Please stop!