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How not to kill a smoking bird! – Are the horrific messages on cigarette boxes causing more harm than good?

20130620_141026This is more of a thought than a blog entry, and maybe it has no place here, and thought is a dangerous thing too but anyway here goes…

I took part in a seminar in Waterford Health Park with Dr. Mark Rowe who is an expert in wellbeing.  He is currently putting a book together on the subject and I have to say that if it’s as good and well researched as his talks it will change lives.

During the seminar Mark spoke about the placebo effect and how pharamceutical companies have it down to a fine art with labelling, shapes and sizes of tablets etc.  The Placebo effect is a mysterious, unexplained phenomenon where by patients who believe a medicine or technique will cure them are more likely to be healed (even if the placebo has no medicine in it at all).  It was discovered during war times when a doctor ran out or morphene and gave a saline (salt water) solution to his patients via a drip.  To his surprise it worked.  Injured soldiers immediately felt pain relief and could be operated on while they thought they had been given morphene.  This is probably the reason why so many alternative therapies work, because if a person believes something then it tends to assist with the effectiveness of the technique/medicine being used.

With that in mind I began to wonder does the placebo effect also work negatively, and I queried Dr. Rowe on the matter and he said it does.  So I was wondering about the side effects of certain drugs because some people tend to read these in detail.  Perhaps it is better not to read the side effects in case you bring them on yourself!!!

Anyway, that got me thinking about positive vs negative messages and the horrific wording images they put on smoking boxes (see image at the top of this article).  If you believe in the placebo effect working positively and negatively then it stands to reason that negative messaging will amplify the ill effect a substance will have.

Think about it, the messages currently state things like “Smokers die younger, smokers get cancer, heart attacks, strokes etc etc.” If these messages are being seen and are imprinted on the minds of smokers then everytime someone lights up a cigarette it will be reinforced further.  Could this actually cause these problems in some who might otherwise escape them, could it cause the problem earlier or make the condition more serious etc. I think it would be worth gathering statistics on and we really need to be careful about all of our messaging as every thing our mind consumes has some effect on us, which is proven, but as yet still unexplained, by the placebo effect.

Personally, I think messaging does need to be present but why can the language not be changed to positive messaging e.g. be free and become healthier, have loads more money just quit, feel better and live longer by stopping today, you have the power to beat the habit etc. etc.

What do you think?

If you require help to be free of cigarettes I can recommend Richard Burke of Safeharbour Clinic who specialises in hypnotherapy to quit smoking, Richard has a very positive outlook and understands the concious and subconcious mind and has a very high success rate when it comes to stopping smoking.

Being from Waterford

Coumshingaun Lake

Me up at Coumshingaun Lake

This is a change from my usual posts here, but I just wanted to share what it means to me to be from and live in Waterford.

I have had several opportunities to leave Waterford for greener pastures on the work scene, but I would rather work for a fraction of the salary I could get in Dublin, London or further afield to stay and raise my family here.

So why do I choose to live here?  Is it because I am from Waterford?  I’m sure that’s part of it, but the main reasons are as follows:

  • The Area: I love the area, I’m a few miles from Tramore beach where I can have a coffee looking out at the waves in the T-Bay surf club, or to Dooleys for a Cod and Chip and then a drive up to the Guillemenes to check out the view over the bay.  I’m 15 mins from the mountains and Coumshingaun, the most beautiful corrie lake you are likely to see in a lifetime. There’s forest walks, rivers, mountains, lakes, fantastic copper coastline and so much more to do and see in the area.
  • Towns and Cities: I’m close to the City and not far from Dungarvan, which both have everything I need from shopping point of view or if I need to go to the flicks or whatever.  And within driving distance to fantastic towns such as Dunmore East, Ardmore, Lismore, Stradbally to name just a few, each unique and beautiful.
  • Food: There are some absolutely fantastic places to eat, both cheap and cheerful and for that special occasion.  For all tastes.  The farmers market on the quay, the bar food at Geoffs, Surf and Turf at the Spinnaker in Dunmore East.  If you like Thai, there’s Sabai on the Mall, for Indian, there’s Cafe Goa, for French, la Bohemme and l’Atmosphere, for Italian there’s a number of choices in the city.  You can also get traditional Irish food and Carvery in many of the hotels and the Holy Cross on the Cork road.  Then of course, there’s the Blaa and Rasher, both invented in Waterford, a hearty Deise breakfast :-)  If you like fast food, there’s plenty to choose from e.g. Gino’s the best pizza you’ll get anywhere (get the special and their hazelnut ice cream is to die for), then there’s chippers where you can get a Waterford Scallop (just don’t eat too many or you’ll turn into a fat puddin).
  • Great Place for Families:  I have two children and it’s a great place for them to grow up.  It’s safe, they people are friendly and have good morals, and there’s loads of community groups and clubs such as Scouts, Stage Schools, Sports Gyms and so on. The schools are well run and trouble free. There’s also loads of places to bring kids on picnics and to explore like ‘The Mossy Woods’, Ballyscanlon, Newtown Cove, and there’s loads of brilliant playgrounds around like Fenor in particular, Kilmeaden, Ballybeg etc. and there are fantastic skate parks in Tramore and The People’s Park.
  • Sport & Activities: Waterford has a great sporting tradition with Soccer and GAA and we love our teams.  We haven’t had huge success lately but we battle on for the county colours.  Other than that people love keeping fit here, there’s great running clubs, cycling clubs, surfing, kettlebells, taekwondo, MMA, Tag Rugby, Boxing and so on.  Something to cater for all tastes.
  • History & Culture:  We are a very proud culture, we love our history, our language our art.  There are 3 museums in the city in the Viking Triangle which has 1000 years of history in 1000 steps. Waterford is the oldest city in Ireland and will celebrate it’s 1100th Birthday in 2014.  We have had some very famous children too such as Luke Wadding, who set up St. Patrick’s day as a festival, Thomas Francis Meagher, who came up with the tricolour flag, Edmund Rice (from Kilkenny) set up Mount Sion School here and started the Christian Brothers.  The Theatre Royal is the main theatre in the city, and there’s Garter lane, which cater’s for a wide range of art.
  • Language: We have our own slang here, I’ve written the book on it ‘The Deise Dictionary of Waterford Slang’ and we have bizarre names for things e.g A snail is a shellakybooky, a catapult is a gallybander… If you’re the tough sort and are looking for a drink in a bar order a Large Bottle off the Shelf.  That’s how real men drink Guinness!
  • Bars: Some good ones have been lost due to the recession, but we still have loads of great pubs including old pubs like Downses and T&Hs, then there’s the trendy Geoffs Bar and the Kazbar which leads you into the Nightclub area.
  • Festivals: We have festivals all year round such as The 1848 Tricolour Celebration, Spraoi, Harvest Festival, Winterval and many others. There’s the Dungarvan Food Festival and the Lismore Book Festival also to name but a few.
  • Community: Waterford has a fantastic supportive business community, we all take an interest in each other and recognise the fact that supporting your own means supporing yourself as the money stays within the local economy.  There’s a great community on facebook and it’s very supportive and welcoming. Without this community I would not be able to make a living here and for that I’m really appreciative.

In conclusion, Waterford is a great place to work, live and play, and the ideal place to raise a family.  If you’re from Waterford you already know all of this, if you’re not, why not come visit us. If you are looking for stuff to do give me a shout and I’ll be delighted to help you out.