Sigmund Teicher

“If you want to live a long life, smoke cigarettes until you’re 100.”

The foregoing, told me more than 40 years ago by my father, is a childish joke. However, it does hint at the relationship between smoking and age.

85% of disease related death is a function of age. Consistent with this proposition, smokers who quit by 40 have a life expectancy of never-smokers. Old age and smoking is what kills us, smoking alone does not. Likewise, death at a young age due to high cholesterol or high blood pressure is very rare but common in the old.

The key to a long life is essentially not getting old.

To keep from getting old and dying before our time, we need make healthy discretionary choices on matters of sleep, diet, laughter and physical exercise. Alternatively, being young at heart, childish and childlike, will keep us young.