The 'miracle' pill that could make you sick

The Good Life Letter

28th August  2009

  • The 'miracle' pill that could make you sick

  • What comes first... £500million or your health?

  • A natural tonic that beats the strongest addiction in the world 

  • Ladies! Is your smoking driving you towards this embarrassing ailment?

With my challenged physique, my lack of dance skills and my inability to master Sudoku, I rarely say this...

But I'm one of the lucky ones.

Not because I own a program for a 1970s England vs Wales rugby clash signed by the entire Welsh team...

And not because I can fit 3 Cadbury's Creme Eggs in my mouth at once (surely we've all tried that at some point or other, haven't we. Haven't we?).

No - I'm one of the lucky ones because I've never been a smoker.

Oh I've been tempted. But no matter how much I tried it, I could never get hooked, unlike so many of my friends and relatives - my mum and dad included.

So even though I've never suffered personally, I know how hard it is to kick the habit.

But do you really think this is the answer...?

The 'miracle' pill that could make you sick

Want to give up smoking but can't? Withdrawal symptoms getting you down?

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the  incredible stop-smoking pill.

Just pop this little fella down twice a day and quit smoking the easy way.

How's that for a jingle? I should patent it.

Now all I need is a flat-belly pill a don't-look-like-an-idiot-when-you-play-football pill, and a stop-Lara-nagging-me-about-cleaning-out-the-garage pill.

Then my life would be perfect.

Well, only if I took the 'perfect life' pill 3 times a day before meals.

In theory, this pill - Chantix - sounds reasonable.

It mimics the effects of nicotine on the body, which dulls cravings and withdrawal symptoms.  And if you do cave into temptation, Chantix limits the damage done.

Those are the good points.

But as ever, there are bad points...

What comes first... £500million or your health?

First off, the dreaded side effects.

The official line is that side effects include nausea. Include nausea. I wonder what the other ones are?

There's no mention.

And secondly, this pill is set to make Pfizer (the drug company behind Chantix) £500million a year.

Now call me a cynic (go on, you can - Lara calls me much worse), but I just wonder how clear your judgement is when £500million a year is dangled in front of your nose.

I'm not for a second suggesting that Lord Pfizer stands astride his empire laughing like some pantomime villain as his scientists are lashed by evil trolls to invent more pills (though as you can see I have given it some thought)...

But what comes first with drugs companies... their profit or your health?

I'll leave you to make your own mind up on that one, but in the meantime, here are a few natural ways to curb cravings and protect your body from the perils of nicotine...

A natural tonic that beats the strongest addiction in the world

  • Avena sativa has been used in India for centuries to treat opium addiction, but recently it's been suggested that this nerve tonic could numb your nicotine cravings by neutralising the imbalance in brain chemicals caused by addiction.

  • Garcinia cambogia is a member of the citrus family that reduces your appetite, helps burn off fat, and controls sugar cravings that can hit you when you give up smoking.

  • Smoking strips away your body's nutrients, so you need to pack them back in. Add plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit into your diet.

  • Water helps you flush toxins you build up through smoking out of your body, plus it also waters down (sorry!) your cravings.

  • Breathe yourself off the fags! When you want a cigarette, it's usually an intense need that lasts for a minute before slowly fading away. It's something akin to a panic attack, where you think an immense danger will disappear the moment you light up.

So the trick is, don't panic. Focus on your breathing. Close your eyes and breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth slowly. The urge will pass

  • Detox. It's a tough job for your body to clean you up when it's full of smoke, so give it a helping hand by removing as many of the pathogens and free radicals as possible.

By reducing the toxic load in the body, the immune system has more time to deal with any cancer cells that may be present. Great detox foods include broccoli, cauliflower, onions, garlic, artichokes, beets, and red and green vegetables

And here's a strange fact that you lady smokers ought to be aware of...

Ladies! Is your smoking driving you towards this embarrassing ailment?

A study published in the American Journal of Obsterics and Gynecology showed that women smokers - even those who had kicked the habit - were two to three times more likely to suffer from incontinence than women who had never smoked.

The theory is that all that coughing and spluttering eventually wears down and damages the pelvic muscles.

And... how do I put this delicately...?

They control the urine flow.

And to kick a man (or woman) when he (or she) is down, nicotine constricts the bladder that can cause unintentional urine leakage.

I love the use of the word unintentional.

I mean, I can't think of a single occasion where I'd want to experience intentional urine leakage.

Or is that just a doctor's way of saying 'going to the loo'.

Either way, it's not very nice is it?

Right, that's it for today.

Take care of yourself, and remember - it's the start of the weekend so give yourself a treat and enjoy yourself!


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