Mark Twain once said, “To cease smoking is the easiest thing I ever did. I ought to know because I've done it a thousand times.”
He is not alone and the habit may kill the 650-million people who currently smoke.
This may take some parents by surprise, but each day, roughly 4,000 American kids try their first cigarette between the age of 14 and 17.
In a special Medical Moment, Maureen tells us that if they make the decision to light up, more than six million of today's children can be expected to die at an early age.
Sixty-year-old Elmer Trumbull is finishing up his last round of chemo after having a third of one lung removed.
Elmer starting smoke in his youth and, like most young people do, never thought cancer would hit him.
“They removed a third of my right lung. It is painful; everybody told me to quit and I didn't listen to them. I thought: I’m tough,” says Trumbull.
Bob Lindgren has a similar story. He started smoking toward the end of high school and this past summer he got sick.
“I thought it was bronchitis or something, but then when they called me three, four days later they said there was a mass there,” says Bob Lindgren.
A big surprise for Bob who quite smoking 37 years ago.
Elmer and Bob believe they have a fighting chance at beating the disease because of a new Fast Track Treatment and Diagnosis clinic at Memorial Hospital.
Dr. Jim Kelly tries to get his patients diagnosed with a treatment plan within 72 hours.
Some patients get better news than others since there are 170,000 Americans diagnosed with cancer per year. And of that 170,000 diagnosed with lung cancer this year, statictics show about 160,000 may die from the disease.
We have known since 1964 that cigarettes cause lung cancer, yet in Indiana one out of four adults smoke and one of out three high school students light up.
Dr. Kelly says older adults are getting the message, but not teenagers and young adults.
“(They) think that it's cool, I think that people perceive this as something you do as an adult, that you can stare this risk down and that you're taking your own mortality into your own hands,” says Dr. Kelly.
"Natalie" started smoking when she was a high school senior.
“I was running around with a group of friends, there was like three or four of us and all of our friends smoked and I was kind of curious what the big deal was,” says Natalie.
Natalie's curiosity eventually got her hooked, and she has been smoking for five years just under a pack a day and since tried to quit.
“I wasn't raised around smoke, I don't like that my friends raise their kids around smoke; I’m not doing it,” says Natalie.
Natalie plans to ask her doctor to help her nip her habit in the butt.
If she is lucky, she will avoid the pain and suffering lung cancer has caused Elmer and Bob, who are both in remission.
So, if you are a smoker, or were a smoker, should you be concerned?
Indiana University School of Medicine performs CT-scans on heavy smokers who have a cough, shortness of breath or weight loss.
The Indiana University School of Medicine says chest x-rays do not find lung cancer early enough.
If you are a heavy smoker and have developed these symptoms a CT scan can give doctors a better look at your lungs.
Dr. Kelly would like to get rid of all tobacco tomorrow, but since that’s not likely, what the next best solution?
Some say, don’t start.
Currently cancer-free, all Elmer Trumbull wants for Christmas are his taste buds and his health.
A taste Elmer will savor along with a second chance at life.
According to the American lung association, 87-percent of lung cancers are caused by smoking. And while quitting is the best thing, M.D. Andersen Cancer Research shows former smokers remain at risk years later.
If you are--or were--a smoker, Memorial has a free online risk test that could qualify you for further free testing. The test is said to be fast and easy.
The top four cancer risk factors are;
-Smoking which contributes to 87 percent of lung cancers.
-exposure to second hand smoke
-exposure to pollution
-Family history of lung cancer.
Memorial Hospital says dozens of people have already taken the test; For more on the Fast Track Clinic and Memorial's online risk test, just click on the Big Red Bar on the left of the WNDU homepage.