The “Smoking” Gun

The Airbus A380-800, is the biggest airplane in the sky.  It can carry 555 people, maybe more depending on how the seats are configured.  What would you think — how would you react if two of these monstrous planes crashed every day for evermore?  I imagine the public outrage would be monumental.  “But wait,” as the commercial says, “There’s more.”  What if these disasters were totally preventable?  What if the planes were crashing because of a faulty switch that everyone knew about but ignored — and the planes just kept on crashing killing 438,000 Americans a year — year after year.  Would there be outrage?  Would congress act?  Would there be demonstrations in the streets?  Count on it! 

Far-fetched as it may seem the equivalent of two fully loaded Airbus A390-800’s are crashing every day. 438,000, that’s the number of Americans who die as a result of cigarette smoke each year.  And — these deaths are almost totally preventable, like fixing the switches on the airplanes.  This disgraceful situation is a national tragedy, a crisis that cannot be allowed to continue. 

I’m writing this because there is a clear and present danger to every one of us, even the unborn and those not yet conceived.  There is also a direct relationship between smoking and organ transplantation.  Simply put, if fewer people smoked, the need for organs and tissue would be greatly diminished and there would probably be a corresponding increase in the availability of tissue and organs.  Wow! 

Cigarettes are like bullets only far more deadly.  Bullets generally harm or kill only the people they strike.  Cigarettes not only affect anyone who inhales the smoke, they kill you slowly and painfully. I started smoking in 1954 at the age of 15.  There were no warnings then and almost everyone smoked.  Cigarette advertising even alluded to the beneficial health effects of smoking, “XXX brand cigarettes relieve scratchy throat…etc. “ 

I’ve seen the effects of smoking up close and personal.  My father died of emphysema and I lost a wife to lung cancer.  Both were smokers.  Now I am suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).  COPD is progressive and cannot be cured.  Four months ago I had a heart transplant, probably necessitated in part because of 37 years of smoking three or more packs a day.  My heart is working exceptionally well but my lungs are in a weakened condition.  Even though I quite smoking 18 years ago the effects may slowly be killing me.  But — had I not quit I would probably have died long ago.

Smoking affects every part of you.  According to “The Scoop on Smoking” (, smoking has a negative effect on the following: Respiratory system (lungs), Skeletal system (bones), Muscular system (muscles, joints), Circulatory system (heart, arteries), Urinary system (kidneys, bladder), Digestive system (stomach, intestines) Nervous system (brain, nerves), Endocrine system (thyroid, hormones), Female reproductive system (uterus, ovaries), Male reproductive system (penis, testes), Immune system (t-cells, anti-bodies), Skin, The senses (eyes, ears, nose, mouth, throat) and mental health. 

While the number of deaths caused by cigarette smoke is appalling, the cost in dollars is also extremely disturbing.  Smoking costs taxpayers nearly $200 billion a year in health-care alone.  Can you imagine the good that would come from properly spending that $200 billion on medical research and education? 

I have but three messages.  1) I know it is hard to quit, it took a dozen tries for me to do so but you can do it!.  You owe it to yourself, your family and all the people affected by your second hand smoke.  2) Don’t start, it’s not cool and it likely will kill  you and maybe some of your family and friends.  3) Spread the word.  Out of love, encourage and help friends and loved ones to quit so none of them are in my position and feel compelled to write a blog on how smoking may be killing them.

Bob Aronson of Bob’s Newheart is a 2007 heart transplant recipient, the founder of Facebook’s nearly 2,500 member Organ Transplant Initiative and the author of most of these donation/transplantation blogs.

You may comment in the space provided or email your thoughts to me at And – please spread the word about the immediate need for more organ donors. There is nothing you can do that is of greater importance. If you convince one person to be an organ and tissue donor you may save or positively affect over 60 lives. Some of those lives may be people you know and love.

Please view our video “Thank You From the Bottom of my Donor’s heart” on This video was produced to promote organ donation so it is free and no permission is needed for its use.

If you want to spread the word personally about organ donation, we have another PowerPoint slide show for your use free and without permission. Just go to and click on “Life Pass It On” on the left side of the screen and then just follow the directions. This is NOT a stand-alone show; it needs a presenter but is professionally produced and factually sound. If you decide to use the show I will send you a free copy of my e-book, “How to Get a Standing “O” that will help you with presentation skills. Just write to and usually you will get a copy the same day.

Also…there is more information on this blog site about other donation/transplantation issues. Additionally we would love to have you join our Facebook group, Organ Transplant Initiative The more members we get the greater our clout with decision makers.


About Bob Aronson

Bob Aronson is a former journalist, a Minnesota Governor's Press Secretary and talk show host. For nearly a quarter of a century, he led the Aronson Partnership, a Minnesota-based communications consultancy that prepared corporate and government executives for crisis situations, regulatory testimony, media interviews and Presentations. Among his clients were all three U.S. Mayo Clinic locations, 3M, general Mills, CH2M Hill, the U.S. Department of Energy and scores more. In 2007 bob had a heart transplant after suffering from idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy for 12 years. Shortly after he got his new heart he founded the now 4,300 member Facebook support group, Organ Transplant Initiative. At the same time, he established the Bob's Newheart blog where he has posted nearly 300 columns on organ donation, transplantation and other health related issues. The Viewpoint blog was started in late 2016 and bears the name of the Radio Talk show Bob did from 1966 until 1974, when he resigned to become Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich first Press secretary. Bob and his artist wife Robin, live in Jacksonville, Florida with their two dogs, Reilly and Ziggy. Bob is also a woodworker and makes all of the furnishings for Robin's art festival booth. He also makes one of a kind jewelry or "memories" boxes that he donates to select transplant patients, caregivers, donor families and others who have somehow contributed to making life easier for the ill, the elderly and the less fortunate. Bob is in the final stages of editing two full-length novels that will be available on Kindle when ready for release sometime in early 2017. One is a sci fi novel about an amazing discovery near Roswell, New Mexico and you will be surprised to find it has nothing to do with the Roswell story everyone knows. It features a woman scientist who investigates impact craters for the U.S. Department of the Interior, Dr. Rita Sylvester and her female student intern. The other book is a political thriller that introduces a new hero to the genre, Fargo Dennison.

Posted on December 19, 2007, in Cigarette smoke kills 555 people a day. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Dear Bob,
    Thank you for re-posting this. My husband is just beginning the journey for a new heart. He is 65. He was a smoker for many years and finally quit 5 years ago when diagnosed with CHF. He has a family history of heart disease on both sides of his family. He had his first heart attack at 37 yet still continued to smoke. I too smoked occassionally and on and off over the years.

    We have a young daughter of 26 that smokes and it is killing me. I talk and I talk. I send her information. I bought her nicotine patches, etc. All to no avail. She said she has to be ready and she’s not. I know what it’s like. I too tried many times. There was a period of 15 years that I didn’t smoke, at all, and then I stupidly took one cigarette and started all over again. I quit this time with the help of gum, the patch, and medication. It’s been three years.

    Question is, how do I help her get get ready. She sees what is happening to her father now. If that doesn’t work, what will?


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