I went off a bit on some of the more ridiculous combinations with smoking the other day. Smoking and asthma. Smoking and heart disease, etc. Some guy (blog name Joe Camel (clever)), took some hard swings at the life insurance industry for being so mean to smokers. Fortunately for me smokers run out of breath quick and the hard swings turn to frail flailing.

So let me throw a little different spin on this subject and see if makes the point. 120,000 people a year die from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), almost all of them smokers. COPD is the number four killer in the US behind heart disease, cancer and strokes.

The American Lung Association shared some interesting facts about the little talked about COPD.

It seems that COPD is another one of those silent killers, not unlike high blood pressure or hypertension. Often the symptoms are shrugged off as natural consequences of smoking or lifestyle. Things like smoker’s cough, or just feeling your age or feeling out of shape. The longer they are shrugged off, the more damage your lungs suffer.

Bottom line. Whether you agree with life insurance companies and their underwriting guidelines around smoking, do the right thing. My wife and I recently vacationed in Mexico and in the duty free shop at the airport they were selling huge boxes of cigarettes. I think each box must have held 10 cartons or something. On the top was the brand name of the cigarette and on the side, in huge letters that covered the whole side of the box, it said SMOKING KILLS! Sounds like someone down there understands the statistics.