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RUSH: Get this. “People who quit smoking by age 44 tend to live nearly as long as those who never smoked, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers from the University of Toronto analyzed health and smoking records collected from more than 200,000 Americans, then compared the lifespans of smokers to non-smokers. One of the study findings was predictable: Those who never smoke live a decade longer, on average, than lifetime smokers. But for those who quit — even well into middle age — the study results are encouraging: Men and women who smoke their last butt before turning 44 die just 1 year earlier, on average, than those who never smoke.”

So basically the way you can look at this is if you are smoking and you’re under 44, have at it, go ahead, no problem. Continue to fund children’s health care programs by buying tobacco products and know that you can smoke safely up until age 44. Then you quit. Well, I ran the calculations. I started smoking when I was 16. I went to electronics school in Dallas at age 16. Back when I started in this business, you had to have what was called the First Class Radiotelephone Operator License. It was not a broadcasting requirement. It was nothing about broadcast skill. It was an electronics demand.

The reason for it was that AM radio stations that had directional arrays or signal patterns had to be monitored very closely and very carefully and at all times to make sure that the signal pattern permitted by the FCC didn’t waver. The theory was that you needed a First Class Radiotelephone Operator License to be able to monitor the transmitter and the area and all that. Now, on small market radio stations these cheap owners are not gonna hire an engineer to sit there and do nothing all day long just to make sure the transmitter is legal, so they required disc jockeys to have first phones. That’s what they were called.

So there was this school in Dallas, the Elkins Institute. It was right near Love Field — well, not far from Love Field. The Elkins Institute of Radio and Electronics. You had to get one of these things if you wanted to be on the radio when you were 16, so my father loaned me the money and I went there to learn. It was a six-week course, and I wanted out of there. It was school. I hated it! I wanted out of there as soon is I got there.

Nothing wrong with the Elkins Institute, it’s just the whole concept. So I got out of there in four weeks. I did nothing but study and work on this stuff. I went down there and class every day was eight to ten hours, and the way I studied was to get up and rewrite my notes by hand. (Of course, there were no computers.) I rewrote everything, and you had to get three classes. The third class license, then the second class — and second class license was actually the toughest.

The third class license you could get in two days of study and it was basically, you know, “Do you know the on-off switch is over there?” The second class, that was the biggie. That’s where all the electronic theory of the day was, and the first class was TV and FM radio. That was a snap. Four weeks for the second class license, a couple days or a week for the first class, and a couple of hours for the third class. Anyway, I was the youngest in this school by four or five years and everybody smoked.

So I started smoking. I was 16. Let’s see, it was 1980, ’81, ’82, somewhere around there when I quit. We played flag football. I worked for the Kansas City Royals, and when the baseball season was over we played — the Royals front office played — flag football, touch football with the Chiefs front office every Thursday afternoon. One day I got a real bad case of bronchitis, almost like walking pneumonia, so I could not smoke a cigarette without coughing spasms.

So I said, “Well, I’m never gonna have a better time than now to quit when I can’t smoke.” So I quit then. So I’m safe, folks. I got out of it long before I hit 44. It’s like I never smoked, because of this research today. (interruption) Yeah, I smoke cigars, but I don’t inhale the cigars. You don’t inhale those. William F. Buckley inhaled his cigars. I kid you not. That was a real man. Mr. Buckley inhaled his cigars. Now, he didn’t smoke ’em all the time, but he was very proud of it. He’d blow smoke rings. He’d exhale smoke. He loved them.

But he inhaled the things.

I’ve never done that.

That would change the entire experience.

A cigar is not about nicotine. A cigarette’s just a nicotine-delivery system. A cigar is a refined, classic, handmade… It’s a work of art, done right. And the experience, the aroma, smoking jackets and all that? I mean, it’s nothing like smoking a cigarette. So, anyway, if you are smoking now and providing health care via the sales tax revenue for your purchases, according to this research… Well, let me read the last paragraph here. “But don’t think of this as your green light to smoke into your 40s, says study author Prabhat Jha, MD, PhD, a professor of public health at the University of Toronto.

“Jha says men who quit by 40 are still 20 percent more likely to die in a given year than those who never smoke.” So what are we supposed to do, ignore the rest of the survey that says you’re free and clear ’til age 44? Then, folks, there’s a new diet out there I want to tell you about called the “Feast & Famine Diet.” It’s known as “the five-day/two-day diet.” Here’s what this is basically. Of course according to all the food experts, it’s “controversial.”

It “claims to reduce the chance of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and several types of cancers.” What you do is this: “Consume 500 calories for two non-consecutive days (men are allowed 600 calories) and eat normally the rest of the week. There’s zero calorie-counting on the so-called ‘nonfasting days.’ No food is banned.” So what you do is, on two nonconsecutive days you eat 500 calories. It doesn’t matter how you get ’em — carbs, protein — it’s just 500 calories, but not two days in a row.

Then the other five days, go to town. Eat whatever you want, whenever you want, however much you want. The key is those two days of 500 calories and no more. So you gotta do it on a Monday and a Wednesday or a Tuesday and a Thursday or you could separate the days by more than one day but you can’t do it two days in a row, and you supposedly lose weight this way. It’s painless. You don’t have this sense of cheating on those five days where you’re eating normally. The trick is 500 calories is not much.

So the way you psychologically approach it is, “Well, I’m gonna be asleep for eight of the 24 hours. I can only have 500 calories. So I’ve only gotta make it through 16 hours.” There are all kinds of psychological tricks. Now, as you might imagine, the plan has skeptics. “Some experts fear that eating a quarter of your usual calorie intake twice a week will lead to a cycle of bingeing and starving. ‘They’ll think they can eat carte blanche those other five days,’ says Joan Salge Blake, of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

“‘Where is the change in behavior to learn how to keep (the weight) off?'” That’s what they always complain about. You go out, you lose the weight, and they tell you you’ve failed ’cause you didn’t the change your behavior. You didn’t change your mind-set. You didn’t become a liberal. Until you become a liberal, you’re never gonna maintain the weight loss. So, anyway, those are our two health tips. If you’re not 44 yet and you’re smoking, have at it. If you want to diet two days a week, have only 500 calories a day for two days a week (but not days in a row), and the other five days go to town and enjoy yourself.

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