Dr. Richard Johnson is an Addiction Medicine Physician in Mansfield, TX. Dr. Johnson evaluates patients using many different procedures, in order to determine what treatments must be carried out in order to properly assess their symptoms. Addiction Medicine Physicians provide medical care in addition to consultation for... more
Albert Einstein is given credit for using the phrase, "The definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." Maybe he did say it or maybe he didn't originally use it, but it is still a great definition of how we sometimes behave. We appear to be doing just that when it comes to dealing with a huge national problem that everyone will admit exists but wants to ignore.
There is massive attention to our opioid problem that reportedly killed around 70,000 people in our country last year. There should be massive attention directed to this problem because it is really bad. If we can agree that opioids are a problem, why can't we recognize that tobacco and nicotine addiction kills about 480,000 every year in our country? This is the 800 lb gorilla in the room that everyone wants to ignore.
We are led to believe that tobacco and nicotine addictions aren't that bad. We have hundreds of programs that help people quit smoking, so if they really want to quit there are resources to do so. Absolutely, there are many resources that will supposedly help people quit smoking. The problem is that they DON'T work. The chances that someone who just quits using tobacco will return to using again are 90-95%. Some national organizations have had smoking cessation programs for 35 years or more. The problem is that they can't prove that they work. When questioned on their programs, they are never able to produce any concrete data to prove that they work.
Why is this allowed to happen? It's all about the money! The states receive over $25,000,000,000 every year from the tobacco companies from the tobacco settlement. This money is like the "insurance" money (like people paid in the Godfather movies) to be protected from lawsuits being filed against them by individuals claiming (rightly so) that their products harmed or killed them. Many States do have smoke-free programs, but for the vast majority it is only an illusion to lead people to believe that they are doing something positive. The individual States receive ten's of millions of dollars (up to $876 million) just last year from the tobacco companies. Most spend a small fraction on their smoke free programs.
If the States can show some token programs (even if they don't work) then they have millions of dollars to spend anyway they want to. So where is the incentive to change? It should be in attacking the problem. Implement programs that really work and can be proven to work.
What can individuals do about addressing a problem that affects EVERYONE in our country? Even if you don't use tobacco products, this pandemic costs you hundreds to thousands of dollars each year. Call your congressman and ask where they are spending the money they get every year from the tobacco companies. Contact the large organizations and ask for their proof that their programs work. Contact the Kick Butts Program LLC (kickbuttsprogram.com) for a program that is proven to work on this tobacco and nicotine addiction issue. Help yourself or someone that you love to have a Healthier, Wealthier, and Happier life.
Let's not do the same things over and over again and expect a different result!