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Longevity Vs Peer Pressure

Can you name someone over the age of 90 who is a heavy drinker or a frequent smoker?

I know I cannot. Indeed when I stop to think of older people I know of who drank / smoked frequently, most of them died in their 50s, 60s and only a few made it to their 70s before kicking the bucket.

I cannot name anyone in their 80s or 90s who smokes / drinks and is still alive to tell about it. Which makes me conclude two things:

1. Smoking / drinking really reduces your life expectancy.

2. Peer pressure when people are younger really has a lasting effect on longevity, or lack thereof in this case.

From my own past I can really only remember a few times when people even offered me a cigarette. One of those times was at a wedding reception and all the "cool people" close to my age were hanging out near the side exit at the back of the church, enjoying the cool night air and most of them were smoking. Several of them offered me a cigarette, because I was a teenager at the time and they must've thought that I smoked. I answered each offer however with the following line: "No thanks, I quit." I feel that was a brilliant lie, but a lie nevertheless. Truth is I had zero intentions of taking up smoking just so I could hang out with other people in my age group.

Alcohol on the other hand I have a steadier hand with, having been raised in a family where it was tradition to have some wine during every Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Birthday, Anniversary, etc. Never to the point of gluttony, restraint is instilled so that the idea of getting drunk just seems stupid to my family...

However that doesn't mean that everyone in my family also believed in restraint. I had two uncles and one aunt who are no longer with is because they smoked and drank themselves to an early grave. Heavy smoking and hard liquor in all three cases. They lived long enough to see their grand-kids born, but not long enough to see those same grand-kids full grown.

Two of my other relatives have since quit smoking and cut back on the drinking. The first because his mother and father had died from it and it scared him to think he would be next, so he quit. The second had a bit of a cancer scare / reality check and has since quit smoking / drinking.

Notice something else? All the smokers in my family were also the heavy drinkers. For whatever reason those two things went hand in hand. While the rest of us, the remaining 90% of the family didn't smoke and rarely drank.

And for those that embraced this life style of sobriety and healthy living? Well lets just say that they all live into their 90s, with only a few exceptions. At present I am 37 and my grandfather is still alive, and he is as robust as ever. I fully expect to live well into my 90s or die an early death from a mountain climbing accident  (not a prediction, just a random possibility).

Still I would rather die from a random accident or old age than an early death from something that is both preventable and problematic.

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