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Why Tuesday?

The Girlfriend's Guide to Health will be updated every Tuesday.... Stay tuned dear readers and let me rock your world.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Day Carrie Bradshaw Broke my Heart




Truth be told, I am a bit of sucker for old movies. Make no mistake I am not a fan of the often-archaic roles relegated to women in these vestiges of the “Golden Age of Cinema”. However, if you look past the stereotypes and chauvinism, you can really see a clear “take home message” - the clothes were fabulous. On my top ten list of Must See flicks has to be Aunty Mame with Rosalind Russell. Dear readers, anyone looking for a little wardrobe inspiration need only rent the movie and fall in love with all that was and is truly fabulous. The woman made wearing a power suit a work of art. She put on a fur muff and a Chanel and had all the swaggart needed in today’s day and age. Almost as important as her wardrobe was Mame’s verbal wit. I will even admit to stealing a few of her lines and using them in my everyday conversations.

Trying to stay interesting and looking for some fashion inspiration, I spent last weekend watching Auntie Mame for perhaps the 10th or so time. Amidst the fabulous lines (words and fashion combined) I realized something pretty disheartening about my style icon. The woman SMOKED! I was floored. She had perfect hair, perfect skin, perfect taste and a perfect (insert irony here) cigarette in her mouth! I felt cheated, betrayed and inspired for my next healthy ranting.

What exactly is the “skinny” on smoking? I’d like to think that cigarettes have been relegated to the relics as easily as stirrup pants but truth be told the statistics have caused me pause. Almost 19% of Canadians smoke (4.9 million Canadians overall). This means about two out of my ten readers (and I know who then ten of you are… thanks for your support) are lighting up as I write this. The numbers vary by province with the highest amount of smokers in Saskatchewan at 23.7% and the lowest numbers in BC (16.4%) and Ontario (16.6%).

Yes, I myself dabbled in the nicotine. I blame being awkward in high school and needing a definite statement to affirm my sense of rebellion. Hell enough with the pedantic word findings, I smoked because it was cool. As a socially uncomfortable chubby 16 year old with good grades and great ambition, I was most certainly in need of something to gently shove me over into the dark side of teenage angst just far enough to emerge one day fairly unscathed with aspirations intact. I needed something that would give me an edge socially but would not jeopardize my future. At first I tried piercing my ear three times but that did not seem to be enough and so, naturally I came up with smoking as the solution. This irony is not lost on me now, after 10 years of being smoke free, I am fully aware that I did sacrifice my lung function at the alter of cool.

The doom and gloom of it all is that smoking kills one in two smokers. In fact there does not exist another government licensed product that knocks off half of its consumers. Female smokers according to the Nurses Health Study have three times the risk of premature death compared to non-smokers. Unfortunately this “death risk” is not dose dependant. Several recent studies have shown reducing the amount of cigarettes one smokes does not lower a person’s risk of heart attacks or strokes.

Why do I nag, you ask?

Well, because according to a recent study in the Canadian Journal of Respirology, I SHOULD. The study shows that 60% of people who do smoke WANT to quit. Furthermore, one randomized control trial of smokers showed that a one-on-one motivational talk with a doctor was 5.2 times more effective at getting patients to quit smoking than simply providing anti-smoking pamphlets.

There it is people, precise evidence that nagging helps. I am no longer a “pain in the ass”, I am a woman of science.

Furthermore, a 2001 study in the Lancet done by doctors at Dartmouth Medical School looked at the 25 top U.S. box office releases for the years 1988 to 1997 -- 250 movies in total. They found that more than 85 percent of the films featured tobacco use and specific tobacco brands appeared in 28 percent of the movies. Hollywood still pushes the smoking agenda and I like so many other vulnerable and easily influenced fashion victims will no longer be sold. You can lead the horse to the PRADA outlet but you can not make her smoke a Marlboro.

SO to my fashion icons of the silver screen… be it Mame Dennis, or Carrie Bradshaw I hereby proclaim…. Please put on your best Dior suit and make an appointment with me immediately. We need to discuss your smoking cessation program. With that, another blog is laid to rest as thousands of smokers stub out their LAST cigarette. My work here is done.

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