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Heart Surgeon Attacks Ad with Female Cigar Smoker: Why It Is Harder for Women to Quit and How to Stop

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio, March 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — The Ohio cardiac surgeon Surender R. Neravetla who took Costco to task for publishing a pro-salt article in its "Costco Connection" magazine is at it again. This time he's taking on Karrass, the self-proclaimed "worldwide leader in negotiation training" for running an ad featuring an attractive businesswoman smoking a celebratory cigar. When Dr. Neravetla saw the ad in two separate in-flight magazines—US Airways Magazine and Delta Sky Magazine—he was incensed.

(Photo: )
(Photo: )

"Women don't need a cigar to break through the glass ceiling or to celebrate their business successes," says the heart surgeon who sees the destruction tobacco wreaks on the heart on a daily basis. "To suggest either is the height of corporate irresponsibility not only because of the damage that tobacco does to the heart but because of how much harder it is for women to quit smoking."

Although heart disease has long been considered a man's problem, it is the number one killer of women in this country.  Half a million American women die each year from heart disease, which actually means the disease now actually kills more women than men (and disables even more). Those numbers exceed the next seven causes of death combined.

Smoking is a huge contributing factor. A study that analyzed data on smoking and health from 86 previous studies published between 1966 and 2011 uncovered that women who smoke have a 25% higher risk than men of suffering from heart disease. The study published online on August 11, 2011 in The Lancet also revealed that a woman's extra risk increases 2 percent for each additional year she smokes.

Dr. Neravetla, who is the author of Salt Kills, witnesses this connection every day in his practice, along with how tough it is for women to actually quit.  "Whether prompted by celebration or frustration, I have seen far too many patients who had successfully quit smoking start back up again after a single smoke," he says. "This happens even when the physical price is devastatingly obvious."

One of the Doctor's patients, we'll call her Jennifer, is a prime example. "I have tried everything to quit smoking," she cries from a wheelchair after complaining of severe pain in the left foot. "I have tried pills, patches, acupuncture and hypnotherapy, you name it. I have tried them all; many times over. Nothing has worked. I don't want to be in so much pain all the time. I don't want be cut so many times and in so many places over and over."

Jennifer, who must use oxygen all the time now because of emphysema caused by years of smoking, has suffered any number of health problems caused by her addiction to smoking. Even she has lost count of how many surgeries and other procedures she has undergone. She has had heart surgery twice along with multiple vascular procedures to open blocked arteries in just about every part of her body.  Typical of women smokers, the benefit of surgery does not last very long. Because she has continued to smoke, the same arteries keep getting blocked again and the disease spreads to even more arteries.

The last surgery on her right leg did not succeed in reestablishing blood flow to the right foot. The pain from a foot that is not getting enough blood is unbearable. That is how she lost her right leg. She is now facing the prospect of losing her left leg.

Jennifer is well aware of the connection of smoking and her health challenges. After each surgery she tries to quit smoking. Despite her intensely motivated desire, she fails every time.

Unfortunately Jennifer's story is not uncommon among women smokers who are trying to quit. Well-documented studies have shown that compared to men, women smokers are not as successful in quitting.  The following reasons are most commonly cited.  SEE TIPS FOR QUITTING BELOW

  1. Women trying to quit smoking typically gain at least 10 pounds or more, which is not socially acceptable compared to men gaining weight.
  2. A woman's menstrual cycle symptoms conflict with the effects of tobacco withdrawal symptoms making it much harder to quit smoking.
  3. Women don't respond as well to anti-smoking drugs.
  4. Pregnant women are not allowed use the anti-smoking drugs.
  5. Women smokers trying to quit get less support from their spouses.
  6. Many women may enjoy the feeling of control, independence and accomplishment associated with smoking.
  7. Women are more susceptible to the peer pressures that lead to smoking.

FIVE TIPS FOR QUITTING FROM A 25-YEAR EX-SMOKER (now smoke free for more than 10 years).

  1. Convince yourself that you are a non-smoker.  Write down 100 times every day "I am a non-smoker." Yes, just like you had to do in school.  Leave yourself notes.  Tell your friends to remind you.
  2. Create a diversion:  Walk the dog; chew on a swizzle stick; have sex; do some deep breathing. The urge to smoke usually disappears in one minute.
  3. Don't worry about gaining weight: most women who quit gain an average of 10 pounds and lose it within one year of quitting.  A few pounds gained will help you lose the possibility of having a debilitating stroke, heart disease and vascular disease (which could result in the loss of limbs) or a variety of other smoking related disabilities.
  4. Drop your smoking friends for at least 60 days.  If they are true friends, they will understand!
  5. Tell the world that you quit smoking.  You will be amazed at the amount of support you will receive, and it will be harder for you to start smoking again losing face to your friends, family and children.

We know that women are more likely to succumb to peer pressure and start smoking. We know that they pay a much higher price in health problems than men. And we know it's more difficult for them to quit smoking.

The problem is with corporations like Karrass contributing to this problem with ads like the one of the woman celebrating with a cigar.  "If you want to succeed, you must know how to negotiate," reads the Karrass website. This issue, however, is non-negotiable.

For more information about Dr. Surender R. Neravetla, his book Salt Kills log onto

Contact: Sharon Cook
415-302-1752 or 707-268-8784