FROM CANADIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION JOURNAL :
"Cigarette smoking has been shown to increase serum hemoglobin, increase total lung capacity and stimulate weight loss, factors that all contribute to enhanced performance in endurance sports. Despite this scientific evidence, the prevalence of smoking in elite athletes is actually many times lower than in the general population. The reasons for this are unclear; however, there has been little to no effort made on the part of national governing bodies to encourage smoking among athletes..."
Well of course times change and the statement above from CMAJ was something of a spoof anyway to show how data can be manipulated to make the implausible sound plausible.
But the facts are simple - it's just over one year since I quit smoking and started running and even though I've bought rather a lot of running shoes, a gps watch, shorts, t-shirts, etc. I've still made a profit and I feel 100 times more healthy, have found a new sport and friends, have run a 10K race, and am enjoying life so much more. There've been a few niggling injuries along the way but I have stronger muscles, lungs and heart and am mentally a stronger person too. Through running I've started to appreciate the area I live in more and have gained a real pleasure in setting myself challenges and beating them.
Perhaps most importantly I've been able to read about the lives and aspirations of others on this forum, see their triumphs and occasional failures and hopefully support them a little as I have been supported.
To anyone taking up running for whatever reason - stick at it - it will change your life... and even make it longer!