Do Addicts Really Recover?

In my line of work as addiction professional, I’m often asked “Do people with addiction get better?” The question may sound simple but it’s not really that simple. There are so many facets to addiction. The chemicals are but one aspect. There also are the addict’s personality attributes, attitudes, lifestyle, and values – all contributing and feeding the addiction syndrome. For most people, the obsession by the addict to consume chemicals is the most salient aspect of addiction. This becomes their focus of attention when asking the question, “Do addicts really recover?” Meaning can they give up drugs and become “normal” people again?

After a closer look at addiction, one begins to realize that the chemical abuse is intimately tied to the person’s mental health, lifestyle, and personal values. For example, it is hard to ignore an addict’s criminal activities related to supporting his drug habit or an alcoholic’s scheming and manipulating behavior to hide his alcoholism when the addicted or alcoholic is trying to pursue “recovery.” Can people “recover” from addiction and still carry on with these criminal or anti-social inclinations? What are the chances of a recovering person remaining abstinent while continuing to sell drugs or maintaining his connection with friends who are involved in criminal activities? Can a recovering alcoholic remain sober while bar-tending?

My point is that there is a “quality of life” a recovering addict or alcoholic must maintain to achieve a certain level of healthy living. For some this may mean pursuing counseling or following medication regime to control psychiatric symptoms. For others, a complete lifestyle change may be necessary to re-align personal priorities and internalize pro-social values. With addiction, old associations — people, places, and things – can easily trigger a relapse to old “bad habits.” There is a common belief among recovering persons that “picking-up” drugs or any substances is the last step in the relapse process. Long before the actual substance use, the person has already relapsed in his thinking – reflected in noticeable changes in attitude, values, and over-all behavior.

To go back to the original question: “Do addicts really recover?” The answer is a relative yes. For some who consider their addiction as a disorder of the whole person and take a holistic view of recovery, they aspire more than giving up the chemicals to include a reinvention of themselves, psychologically, socially, and spiritually. Others are content with minimizing the harmful effects of illicit drug use but still resort to alcohol use. Still others give up drugs but continue to have dysfunctional patterns of coping or residual manifestations of personality disorders.

Do Addicts Really Recover?
Dr. Fernando B. Perfas

Healthy Diets Specifically For Teenagers

Individuals in their teens need more concern when planning their food habits. It’s critical that as a teenager that you get all the nutrients you need as you are still growing, however to prevent problems some time down the track, it can be necessary to consider doing something about it if you are overweight. Then what are the criteria for a correct food regime for adolescents? Read on for an overview…

It is always important that you eat healthy especially during your teenage years. Similar to adult diets though, losing weight can be accomplished via a calorie deficit. That is, compared to what you are taking in, you will need to burn more calories. Of course, this does not mean eating too little! Instead, it involves choosing healthful alternatives that include all the necessary nutrients.

The number of calories that can satisfy a teen’s requirements in the process of their rapid development is pretty much what they’ll continue to take in as they turn into adults: two thousand calories for girls and two thousand five hundred for boys.

Teenagers who would like to go for a slimming program are advised to abide by these basic considerations. Burning off more calories than you consume can not only be controlled by what you eat, but it can also be obtained by being more active and taking up some exercise. It is always advisable to put your safety first, so content yourself with a maximum loss of two pounds a week in order to avoid potential health concerns. By monitoring and changing your diet to eat healthy, reduce junk and picking up a little exercise, you hold the answers to losing weight smartly.

Rather than cutting out food, change your focus to choosing healthier food options. As opposed to drinking lots of soda, switch to water instead and you will be surprised just how many calories you have reduced! Have large amounts of fruit and veggies, as they are rich in nutrients.

Computer games are a lot of fun and can keep you hooked for hours at a time. Try to ensure that you have a break from these and do something active. It is recommended that you take part in school team sports or work out at some health club. These can be fun and you won’t even notice that you are helping yourself lose weight in the process. You should aim for 30 minutes of exercise, 4 times a week at least if you want to start seeing a change.

Quick fixes like severe limitation in the amount of food you consume are not suitable solutions for the majority of teenagers, unless their obesity is extreme. Since such fixes might negatively impact your health at a later time, stay away from them. You have a young body and the negative effects might not be visible when you first use them, but given a few years you might discover conditions caused by such choices.

Some eating habits are not suitable for adolescents. The Atkin’s low carb diet for example is one that teenagers should avoid. It cuts out a major food group and doesn’t support a healthy eating plan option whilst encouraging an increase of fat content to lose weight which could be damaging to a teenager.

The South Beach Diet is a finer choice because it doesn’t exclude low GI carbs, enabling you to have foods that belong to all groups.

For young people with ages between 8 and 16, a unique food regime was tailored with their needs in mind as a part of the Zone diet. It is made up of a special ratio of proteins, fats and carbs in its compilation of 3 meals and 2 snacks each day.

Even though the Zone diet and the South Beach diet are claimed to be appropriate for teens, experts prefer other alternatives. In order for the youth to develop properly, the right method is to eat healthy and work out regularly so that their bodies become balanced.

Here’s some good news for those with more dramatic slimming needs out there. Consider a teen diet camp. The advantage of such camps is that you’ll find people there who are trained to motivate and guide you through the dieting process that’s suitable for your goals. There you can be sure you will have to stick to proper nutrition and workouts throughout the duration of the camp. With camps located in the US, Canada and the UK (google it if you require another country), some camps claim that you will lose 4.25lbs per week. It is true that for most teens no more than two pounds per week is advised, but these places are different, since they provide specialized personnel to guide you.

In conclusion, while there might be various ways to reduce weight, the ones that teens will benefit from are those that rely on maintaining a healthy diet and workout. Once you change your diet approach to incorporate it into your lifestyle and throw in a little exercise to boot, you will never have to worry about gaining weight again once you have reached your target.

Which Is More Cost-Effective, Cabs or Car Rentals?

Rent it or cab it?

People like the freedom of having their own vehicle to drive about in, at home or when they travel, and the tendency is to book a rental car when you are away. But freedom comes with a price and it depends where your travel destination is as to whether you’re best to rent a car or take a taxi.

Cheap ground transportation depends upon location, accessibility and extraneous expense factors, like gasoline costs and parking fees. Add to that the potential complexity of finding your way around a strange city, especially a large one, and you might change your mind about what freedom means.

A trip to, for example, New York City or Montreal, two North American cities with decent public transit systems, plenty of cabs, walkable areas in their cores, and very high parking fees, and you’ll realize that a taxi will almost inevitably surface as the cheapest mode of getting around.

But what if you want a day trip to the Laurentian Mountains or the antiques stores of Hudson? That’s the day to rent a car, or to find out if there is a luxury coach service to those destinations that returns the same day.

Car rentals are convenient, to be sure, but the costs add up quickly (don’t forget insurance and occasional peak-season added fees), unless your airline points cover all or most of the cost; even then, in large cities gasoline and parking is very costly, and that is not usually included in credit card or airline rewards perquisites.

When does a rental car make sense? If you live in North America (and can’t drive across the Atlantic Ocean!) and are vacationing in Italy, for example, landing in Rome and taking a motorcar tour of Tuscany and other regions from there, your only other viable option is the train. Like anywhere else, gasoline in Europe is expensive, but you can’t take a full driving holiday in a taxi. But don’t forget, there are guided tours and some taxi drivers will gladly spend a day with you, exploring San Gimignano; they are often the best tour guides, full of information about their homeland. And driving in other countries can be a harrowing experience, especially if it involves driving on the opposite side of the road than you are accustomed to!

Plan your itinerary, do an accurate cost comparison and decide whether a taxi or car rental, or combination of the two, is the cheapest way to get around when you reach your destination. And don’t forget to ensure that your driver’s license is current, and if you need to, get an international license before you set off for your trip. Happy motoring!

The Life Cycle of Acquisition-Based Companies

A few years ago, I was discussing this phenomenon with the CEO of one of our clients. His company had grown almost entirely through acquisition, and for several years the company had experienced revenue growth rates exceeding 20%. However, the company had plateaued with respect to earnings, and looking at their overall performance it became clear to him (and to the Wall Street analysts that watched his company) that a great deal of money had been left on the table. Working with that CEO, I developed a model called the ACL Life Cycle. Understanding and using the ACL Life Cycle has proven enormously beneficial to clients depending on an M&A strategy for continued growth.

The ACL Life Cycle

The ACL Life Cycle describes the maturation process of companies who grow substantially through acquisitions and mergers. Using the ACL model, we can clearly identify the company’s current position. Knowing that position, and then looking forward at the company’s financial objectives through the lens of their business strategies, the specific actions that are needed become clear. Those actions can then be formed into an executable plan with associated performance measures, and managed through completion to bring the overall enterprise to heightened levels of financial performance. It is important for acquisition-oriented executives to understand the major phases and characteristics of the ACL Life Cycle.

Businesses who have survived one or more acquisitions and/or mergers are usually left with some degree of disintegration among their processes and systems. A company’s success in reaching the financial objectives of the merger or acquisition is directly correlated with the degree to which that disintegration has been replaced by a set of business processes and information systems that are common enough to generate enterprise-wide leverage. Implicit in that commonality is enterprise-level direction and guidance, manifested in company-wide business strategies and performance measures that align all of the combined business units. These businesses move, in this post-acquisition or post-merger environment, from an acquisition-based operating model to one characterized by shared services and a general commonization, to a stage where the enterprise “whole” really is able to become something greater than the sum of its business unit “parts”. It is more than the typical cost-reduction synergy anticipated in most of these transactions; it is a new platform for innovation, and an even higher level of innovation-based leverage.

Companies who experience substantive growth as a result of business acquisitions typically follow the ACL life cycle. ACL in this context stands for: Acquisition, Commonization, and Leverage. Many companies never leave the first stage of this maturity scale, and still more remain at the second stage. The most successful companies are usually those who recognize the importance of moving through all three stages, and consistently implement a structured process for doing so.
All companies experience pressures that push them toward decentralized operations, including idiosyncrasies of specific market niches served, the uniquenesses of isolated business processes, unusual needs of specific customer populations, and Uncategorized organizational entropy. At the same time, most of the companies that are successful in achieving the financial performance objectives established for the newly merged enterprise manage to overcome those challenges, electing to pursue the advantages of leverage, including:

  • broad synergistic brand recognition, enabling cross-selling, bundling of products and services, and improving revenue
  • interchangeability of business process resources, enabling the company to reduce its asset base
  • commonality and scalability in equipment / skills / facilities, facilitating innovation and growth into additional markets
  • higher utilization of business assets, reducing unit cost
  • lower levels of redundancy, resulting in reduced operating costs

These companies also typically find that maintaining compliance with financial reporting standards such as Sarbanes-Oxley requirements are enhanced as a result of strengthened internal controls.
Some companies make a deliberate decision to remain “holding companies”, which simply buy and sell diverse businesses that have only marginal relationships with one another. These conglomerates prefer to manage the portfolio through buying and selling components, and allowing the leadership teams at the individual companies to manage ongoing operations from strategy through execution. A few of them have been quite successful, and this article is sometimes not as directly applicable to those at a corporate level. It works very well, however, for their major divisions. Companies that benefit most from understanding the three stages of the ACL Life Cycle are those companies who have decided to focus on a single core industry – Aerospace & Defense, Automotive, Chemicals and Polymers, Textiles, Electronics, Telecommunications, Consumer Products, Medical Equipment producers, Healthcare providers, and Financial Services providers are all good candidates. 

The Acquisition Stage of the ACL Life Cycle

Companies in the Acquisition Stageof their life cycles are usually focused on revenue growth, and capturing market share. They are characterized by high levels of autonomy in management, in the reporting of site-level data to the corporate parent, and in the design of their business processes and systems. Companies who remain in this stage for long periods of time following acquisitions usually act as holding companies, with the corporation allowing individual divisions or sites to operate almost as independent companies with their own P&L, strategic plans, and market-facing branding. Often, companies in the Acquisition stage lack a common vision of the future of the overall business, and tend to operate at cross-purposes among the operating units. They sometimes even compete against one another for the same customers. They share little operating information, making it nearly impossible to coordinate and deploy “best practices”, effectively distribute work load, utilize general market intelligence, and grasp other elements that could provide corporate-wide leverage of the businesses’ assets and resources. A few industry-specific examples here should help to illustrate the situation:

Manufacturing companies in the acquisition stage are usually characterized by redundancies in raw materials, equipment, staffing, and other business resources. Because manufacturing companies are relatively material-intense, a great deal of cost can be tied up in raw materials, work-in-process, and finished goods. Since acquisition stage companies have so little visibility between business units, there is little opportunity for them to reallocate these assets in order to use them effectively. As a result, the most costly resources remain the most underutilized. In addition, acquisition-stage companies have not centralized the management of even commodity-level business processes, such as finance, human resources, and information technology. This lack of centralization leaves additional inefficiencies in place around accounting staff, employee benefits provider subscriptions, business software applications, data centers, and computing equipment. 

Telecommunications companies in the acquisition stage also have unrealized opportunities for greater leverage from their business assets, but these more often take the form of redundancies in network equipment, network coverage, retail outlets, partner agreements related to the sale of their products, and interconnection agreements with other carriers. In addition, acquisition stage telecom companies often have a substantial amount of unrealized leverage in the lack of integration among the data bases and information of their various divisions that could enable shared service operations for commodity-type processes such as billing and cross-selling of products and services. Like manufacturing companies, telecom companies in the acquisition stage also typically have unexploited opportunities around the consolidation of data centers and related equipment and staffing.

Healthcare providers in the acquisition stage usually find opportunities in different areas of their businesses, because of the differing cost structure of their operations. The bulk of their costs and their opportunities while in the acquisition stage of maturity in the ACL Life Cycle are related to employee salaries & benefits, and to medical supplies and drugs. It is less common for these businesses to be able to effectively share inventories and equipment, since the nature of their business is rooted in community health care that requires local service provision. The opportunities that do exist, which are typically not exploited well in acquisition stage health care companies, are related to centralizing commodity type business processes such as finance, human resources, and information systems, and leveraging required service and supply procurement across the enterprise. 

Financial Services providers, such as banks, brokerages, credit unions, financial planning companies and tax & audit services exhibit yet another cost profile, with the largest elements typically including personnel and occupancy costs. In these businesses, like health care provision, being where the customers are is critical. The companies’ ability to understand the changing demographics and match up their branches as well as their skills to the targeted customer base is often a differentiator between the companies that succeed and those that fail. Financial services providers who are still in the acquisition stage of maturity in the ACL Life Cycle often do not have the commonality in fundamental business processes and systems to readily reconfigure their operations to meet the changing needs of their marketplace. Their acquisitions or mergers have enabled them to grow horizontally, typically into adjacent markets. However, lacking an adequate foundation of commonality in processes and systems, there is substantial money left on the proverbial table as a result of ineffective resource deployment, and delays in the reporting of operational performance data that would enable the company to be more responsive. These companies also fail, in their acquisition stage, to take advantage of their larger purchasing power to gain leverage around purchased services spanning items as diverse as employee health care and branch-level office supplies.   

The Commonization Stage of the ACL Life Cycle

Companies in the Commonization Stage of their life cycles have usually awakened to the value of focusing on Return on Net Assets (RONA) and Return on Invested Capital (ROIC). In order to begin to capture improvements in these areas, companies in the Commonization Stage often turn to shared service models of operations for selected business processes and systems. Strategies and performance measures begin to crystallize around common themes that span multiple operating units or divisions. Among the areas of focus for a shared service model in this stage are Finance (A/R, A/P, General Ledger, and Financial Reporting), Human Resources (Payroll, Benefits, and Employment Records), and Information Technology (Computer Hardware, Network Administration, and selected Software Applications Management). Some companies in the Commonization Stage also move Procurement and other aspects of Materials Management to a shared service model, enabling the corporation to more effectively leverage its broadest possible purchasing power.

Manufacturing companies in the commonization stage of maturity typically have shared services in place for commodity types of business processes such as finance, human resources, and information systems management. As they advance through the commonization phase, some of them also begin to pull together a common platform for procurement, encompassing at least their most costly and common raw materials. A few in this stage reach a point where their data center
operations are completely centralized, and may even be outsourced to a third party like CSC. Toward the end of the commonization phase, centralization of work deployment and capacity utilization as well as process quality emerge as companies begin to deploy common processes and systems in customer requirements management, enterprise requirements planning, manufacturing execution systems, and distribution management systems. 

Telecommunications companies in the commonization stage of maturity also typically have shared services in place for commodity types of business processes such as finance, human resources, and information systems management. As they advance in maturity through this stage, telecoms also become aware of the available leverage in centralizing the management of some of their most valuable assets. However, unlike the manufacturer’s raw material focus, for telecommunications operations those elements are things like spectrum licenses, network equipment, connection agreements, partner agreements, distribution centers, and retail outlets. Centralizing the management of those assets to identify overlaps and redundancies enables telecoms to emerge from the commonization stage with much more effectively leveraged business assets, providing broader market coverage with a lower total asset base and generating much higher earnings on that consolidated foundation.

Healthcare companies in the commonization phase of maturity find substantial benefit in the commonization and centralization of their commodity type processes and systems.  This is primarily because of the impact on cash flow and earnings when the employee base is reduced through shared services, and employee benefits and supplies are both leveraged in terms of the broader purchasing power of the company following a business acquisition of significant size. However, there is also an especially rich opportunity available to healthcare companies in the commonization stage that stems form the leverage available related to insurance coverage – not for the employees directly, but covering the potential liability of the company itself. This category of cost is typically about the third largest slice of the pie, and significant reductions there can translate quickly to a meaningful earnings impact. 

 Financial services providers in the commonization stage of the ACL Life Cycle, like healthcare providers, often find substantial benefit in the commonization and centralization of their commodity type processes and systems. With roughly half of their cost of operations wrapped up in employee salaries and benefits, there is an opportunity for meaningful impact on cash flow and earnings when the employee base is reduced through shared services, and employee benefits and supplies are both leveraged in terms of the broader purchasing power of the company following a business acquisition or merger. The next significant area for financial service providers in the commonization stage is the capability for rapid reconfiguration of the business based on enterprise-wide visibility of operational data and market intelligence.

The Leverage Stage of the ACL Life Cycle

Companies in the Leverage Stage of their life cycles are usually embarked on a fierce drive toward adding real value. They are relentless in their efforts to fully utilize the assets of the entire corporation, driving out redundancy and its associated costs. They are then able to pivot on the fulcrum of those more agile processes and systems to implement innovations that foster organic growth resulting in greater market share, greater revenue, and improved earnings for their shareholders. Leverage Stage companies also establish a structured and repetitive process of assimilating new businesses, gathering and incorporating market intelligence into company-wide strategies, and innovating on the basis of these new combinations to capture additional market segments. These companies are characterized by coordination and centralization of major business functions such as the planning and allocation of R&D, production work, inventories, raw material purchases, personnel, and factories & equipment. They centrally manage a broad spectrum of common business processes and systems, including customer requirements management, product data management, enterprise requirements planning, manufacturing execution systems, and logistics management. They are constantly changing, evaluating and configuring business assets to meet future market needs, acquiring and developing new businesses, and shedding assets that no longer fit their evolving model.

Manufacturing companies in the leverage stage of maturity typically have shared services in place for most of the critical business processes of their company, having reached beyond the commodity level processes and into those which deliver the most value to their customers. Examples include sales & marketing, order entry & customer service, capacity planning and management, production scheduling and shop floor control, and distribution requirements planning. As they move through the leverage stage of the ACL Life Cycle, some of these companies leverage the commonality of their processes and systems to produce innovative new products and services, identify additional market opportunities, and develop industry-changing relationships that reach through their supply chains. 

Telecommunications companies in the leverage stage of maturity also have shared services in place for most of the critical business processes of their company, including the seamless provisioning (often called “flow-through provisioning” by industry insiders) of all telephonic services to customers stemming from a single telephone conversation responding to an individual inquiry about a service. This type of capability is only enabled when all of the information from what have historically been disparate data bases is available in an intelligent form through excellent systems integration, based on exceptional levels of commonality and strength in enterprise-wide business processes.

Healthcare companies in the leverage stage of maturity have typically discovered and implemented leverage-based improvements in their major cost structure elements as a result of enterprise-wide information visibility flowing from systems integration and centralized management of critical business processes. Health care companies generally also have uniquely challenging business conditions related to three other areas where leverage level operations can be a powerful tool. 

The first of these areas is employee safety. Most health care organizations are spending a substantial amount of money in this regard, with training and documentation of company polices and safety-related practices requiring an increasing amount of company attention. The integration of systems and commonization of processes in a leverage stage health care company offers opportunities to more quickly incorporate internal best practices, externally imposed business requirements, and feedback about lessons learned across the entire health care organization regardless of geographic dispersion. Commonization and centralized management here can result in substantially lower cost, and more importantly, substantially higher and more uniform levels of employee safety. 

The second area is bad debt. The integration of customer data, and effectively interfacing a common set of enterprise-wide processes and systems with outside service providers such health maintenance organizations and insurance carriers, substantially reduces the amount of bad debt in leverage level health care companies. 

The third area, and perhaps the area of richest opportunity, is the area of patient medical information. This area is tricky because of legislation related to patient privacy and guidelines recently established for the maintenance and communication of patient medic
al information. However, one of the fundamental challenges faced by health care providers is the absence of available medical history, particularly when a patient is admitted to an emergency room or urgent care facility. Particularly when a patient is unable to respond to questions directly due to an incapacitation illness or injury, time can literally mean life or death. Making all necessary information available to the physicians and other health care professionals involved as quickly as possible is extremely important. When critical business processes and information systems for the management of this information are brought to an effective level of commonality, the rapid dissemination of the needed information can be greatly improved, while patients’ expectations around the privacy of their information are still met. 

Financial services companies in the leverage stage of maturity, like health care companies in some ways, must balance the needs of differing local customer geographies against the advantages of centralized management in critical business processes and systems. There is real value in allowing some latitude to local branch officers and customer-facing staff such as loan officers to accommodate the unique circumstances involved in specific cases. However, these companies often find that a significant advantage of the leverage provided by enterprise-wide commonization of processes and systems is the ability to see the nuances of differing markets at a corporate level, and recognize broader trends among those different markets more quickly and clearly than they could before. This improved visibility, in turn, enables management to reconfigure their service offerings, redeploy resources such as sales dollars, and organize sales campaigns for those specific markets more quickly than they could previously.  

The best of these companies, regardless of what industry they occupy, utilize their common platform of processes, systems, and information to understand the needs of their customers in unique ways, and fluidly translate those needs into the features of their products and services. A few, at the very top of the game, come to understand the customers’ needs even before the customer recognizes them, and when necessary they reconfigure their entire business to meet those needs, gaining unassailable competitive advantage. The enterprise-wide leverage they achieved as a result of carefully and skillfully handling the post-merger or post-acquisition integration of processes, systems, and data provided the platform from which innovation launched them to new levels of performance. Examples could as easily be provided for companies in pharmaceuticals, retail operations, or the food & beverage industry. The lessons learned and the techniques vary a little, but the principles are the same.

Car Colors And Personal Choices

If you look at the stories on car colors and the popular shades available in the color spectrum, you’ll see that white, followed by silver and black, has been a persistent choice for new car buyers. Of all cars sold in America, almost a quarter are white. In Asia, it seems that silver is more predominant while in Europe, somber black is more popular. This trend, specially the preference for white, has been popular only since the 90s. Before that, there was a more colorful array of cars, with red, green and orange vehicles common on U.S. roads.

It would take a sociologist or some other specialist to accurately speculate about color trends. Evidently though, external factors make people prefer some colors to others. For example, some colors, like gray, have become known to be less visible during dusk. This is a time when drivers have not yet turned on their headlights and daylight has become twilight. Maroon also seems to disappear as night falls, and anecdotal reports of dark or dull cars being more accident-prone may have become a reason why colors like these aren’t so popular in cars nowadays.

You’ll find some sites with table correlating some value or characteristic to particular colors. For example, red is supposed to be for dynamic, high-energy people, while yellow is for intelligent and comfort loving folk. Black would be for empowered, elegant business types while silver are for future-looking dudes. We can’t say that there isn’t any grain of truth to these classifications, but with white being a perennial favorite for several years, should we say that a majority of motoring enthusiasts are fastidious people? Because that’s what a lot of racing cars are painted with. White. There is a more practical reason to that though. White makes a terrific background for all those sponsorship decals and inspection of car parts for leaks or damage is easier if a car’s engine compartment or underchassis is white.

Dupont and PPG, both major paint suppliers to automotive manufacturers, have been keeping meticulous records on what colors sold most in years and decades past. Their data shows that people buyers are quite exacting in their color choices, although some consumer surveys indicate that a wider range of colors would be welcome too. Maybe the somber mood borne by not-so-optimistic economic news is affecting color choices too, which is why neutral tones are prevalent. But then, with more car owners opting to keep their cars longer, safe color choices will not look dated after just a few years.

E-Cigarette – A Safer Substitute to Smoking?

I am not a smoker, so I sat comfortably on a chair resting my arms on the arm rest and try to analyze how chain smokers can ever get out from the dilemma of smoking cigarette. I take a mild drag as I watch people exhale white wafts round their face, wondering how many nicotine they save from years of smoking.

I wonder how celebrities made through like Audrey Hepburn when she smoke, yet she isn’t. Many times I have been wondering what an e-cigarette is and wonder if it really a solution to safer smoking. E-cigarette is not a smoke at all, but they resemble like smoke. This is a perfect solution if you want to quit smoking but cannot.

E-cigarette is battery powered device or I would say an electronic device to help you get free from nicotine yet doesn’t have the stamina to quit smoking. Its physical appearance looks like a real cigarette. The tip of e-cigarette glows red just like when you lit one real cigarette. It even emits smoke or produces puffs but it is not burning and so you can use it anywhere you are even in those places where smoking cigarette is banned.

Smokers definitely enjoy smoking but the nicotine it gives is another story. E-cigarette allows anyone to enjoy the pleasure of smoking less the guilt of bad effect it does to our body. The actual effect of smoking simply puts it to physical act, like when you want to have a cigarette in your hand always.

Regardless of the pleasure it gives, smoking is still and will always be harmful to health, but e-cigarette is free from this side effect and definitely harmless. The world is full of bad elements, for this reason the public in general has covered a propaganda regarding the effect of smoking cigarette to the body, particularly our lungs.

Because of these information, a lot of smokers wanted to quit their bad habit but the question is, how will they do that when addiction have almost gotten into their nerves. E-cigarette is a break through to this kind of problem most cigarette smokers are facing and this breakthrough has begun to increase popularity on e-cigarette.

What makes it appealing to smokers is the fact that it does not contain harmful ingredients than an ordinary cigarette. It does not produce nicotine and most importantly it is free from carcinogens. It is also free from second hand smoke, which means you can use it even in front of your co-workers or even in front of a baby.

In addition, because it does not produce ash, e-cigarette is considered to be environmental friendly. What e-cigarette does is it provides smokers with a taste that is similar to real cigarette and so cigarette smokers still feel the act of smoking real cigarette when in fact they are not smoking cigarette at all. For this reason you can use it anywhere, even in private places like air conditioned room and states were cigarette is prohibited.

Tips to Boost Your Commercial Real Estate Career

When you start work in commercial real estate sales or leasing, there is a real temptation to do what everyone else does. That is a real danger in that most salespeople in the industry are not good role models. In fact some agents are really ordinary and they do not share information effectively for new people.

So to improve your chances of being a top agent, you can start to focus on the right things and those things that will build your market share and business. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Find out just who dominates the local property market as a top salesperson in your office and then watch what they do. Review their listings and market share. Drive around their listings and see what makes their listings and marketing different. Do they have more exclusive listings than open listings? How do they market property in this economic environment? What has their sales record been like over the last 12 months? How does their market share compare to other agents?
  • They are likely to have a solid database of local contacts. You will need to start this process for yourself anyway, so ask them what database software they use and if they could show you how they build their prospect list. How do they interact with their clients?
  • They may have been operating in the local property market for some time and this will have bearing on the activities that they undertake every day. They should however still be prospecting to maintain their position as a top agent. Ask if you can sit in on their cold calling time one day to see how they do it and what they say. Perhaps you could replicate their script to words that suit you and your area or property type.
  • Get to know your area really well, and that will mean property owners, business owners, vacant land, property developers, and professionals like solicitors and accountants.
  • Identify the top property locations in your area and inspect the properties for a real understanding of why those areas are favoured. Survey the factors that impact location such as transport, services, amenities, highways, roads, ports, and infrastructure.
  • Get to know the top property owners in the area. Whilst they will be dealing with many agents, you can connect with them now and start to build a level of trust for the time that you will have some property solution that you can offer them.

To rise to the top of your market, you simply need to watch the right people and practice what they do. Build your database from deliberate and directed effort; the property market awaits your involvement.

Auriculotherapy And Phytotherapy Used in Cancer Treatment

Auriculotherapy or ear acupuncture is a therapy based on the piling of needles in the ear. Its historical roots date back to classical antiquity of Mediterranean people, Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, described the scarifications of the posterior ear against sexual impotence and treat sciatica. And again, Galen described the therapeutic use of scarifications in some diseases of the ear. Auriculotherapy is based on the principles of conventional medicine and Western uses of specific points of the ear that correspond to somatotopic areas distant parts of the body, such as the stomach, the muscles of the spine, and so on. By insertion of needles or other stimuli can cause reflexes that induce stimulation of neurogenic type in organs and tissues of the human body. In this discipline the therapeutic concept of the disease remains the same medicine, the only thing that changes is the way of doing therapy, then gastritis or gallstones are the same disease described in the treaties of Medicine officer, have nothing to do with particular beliefs or philosophies, and the same condition is given the same treatment.

The acupoint used to treat nausea in all these diseases is always the same and does not vary according to personality the patient’s eating habits, etc. Scientific research in this field is developing rapidly, although at the moment auriculotherapy in cancer patients has proved especially useful for pain treatment.

Phytotherapy deserves a separate mention because herbal medicine is the discipline that comes closest to the Uncategorized conventional medicine as it is based of course on the use of chemicals present in plants, with organic farming activities. Besides, just think that 30 – 40% of conventional drugs derived from herbal substances. Herbal medicine is the medical discipline so using medicinal plants and derivatives in prevention and treatment of diseases, in relation to the pharmacological properties of chemical constituents present in the plant, or better in the preparation used. It does not follow diagnostic or therapeutic methods different from those of scientific medicine. The medicinal plant, so it can simply be considered, a container of chemicals, sometimes isolated and used as such in therapy, in other cases the source of raw material for the production of drugs or as a basis for the production of herbal medicines themselves. Herbal medicine is a discipline particularly promising for the cure cancer, both as a preventive measure or as a complementary therapy to chemo and radiotherapy or surgery. It is used as an immunostimulant, for treatment of gastrointestinal disorders and radiodermatitis and to combat certain symptoms such as fatigue, depression, constipation, etc.

There are also many studies that confirm the pre-clinical anticancer activities of substances present of many plants. The substances of plant origin may also be toxic, causing serious interactions with pharmaceutical drugs taken concurrently, or be responsible for allergic reactions. For these reasons, suitable extracts must always be used, quality controlled, standardized active ingredients, purified from useless or dangerous, and used only with medical prescription. For example, cancer patients often use honey and aloe smoothies (presented as a miracle cure for cancer!), not knowing that just some substances present in the plant cut the effectiveness of Chemotherapy.

Please consult an oncologist or more than one before you begin a cancer treatment.

What It Takes to Save Money on Car Insurance

You can save money on car insurance and you can do so without going to extraordinary lengths to do so. Insurance costs continue to rise, but you can hold these increases in check by employing several proven strategies that are designed to save you money.

Driving Record

Your auto insurer is likely already familiar with your driving record and has a record of your driving history going back several years. Do not assume that this information is complete or accurate. If you have a flawless driving record, your insurer will typically reward you with a discount of at least 10 percent. Contact your insurer to ensure that your clean driving record is reflected in your current rates.

Insurance Savings

You can enjoy additional insurance savings if you insure at least two vehicles with the same insurance company. Such multi-policy plans result in discounts that are applied to your entire policy. The more cars insured, the deeper your discounts.

You can also realize savings by bundling your insurance plans. For instance, if you own a home or rent an apartment, or have some other insurance plan, your insurer will thank you for you business by offering you a discount on a bundled plan. Ask your insurance represent about discounts for multiple insurance plans or policies.

Life Changes

If you were single last year and are married this year, certain life changes can impact your insurance rates. Let your insurer know about your current marital status if different from last year.

You can also receive discounts if you are a college graduate or if your high school children are excellent students. Discounts for customer loyalty are also given.

Your Information

If you have moved within the past year or have had made some other change such as a reduction of driving points for completing a driver awareness program, then your rates could be adjusted downward. Your credit score may have an effect on what you pay too — the higher your credit score, the lower your insurance rate. The opposite is true too.

Vehicle Considerations

The information your insurer has about your car should be accurate too. Typically, your agent will ask for the vehicle identification number or VIN, a step that will offer detailed information about your car including engine displacement, transmission and trim level. However, if you had aftermarket enhancements completed, including the addition of a security system, your insurer probably is not aware of this. Contact your insurer and review your car details to ensure that it accurately reflects what you are driving.

Car Insurance Costs Driven Down By Technology

Surprising for many is the fact that sometimes car insurance rates can actually go down. In fact, there are lots of exciting things happening that pose to save drivers lots of money. New technology that is already in the marketplace is saving money and lives already. Below are 3 new technologies that will keep more people safe on the road and reduce the cost of car insurance.

1. Electronic stability control (ESC). ESC systems use computer-controlled braking systems that help the driver maintain control of a vehicle that is beginning to lose control. In 2007, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began requiring all manufacturers to install ESC in all passenger cars, SUVs, vans, and pickup trucks. According to a study done by NHTSA, more than 2,200 lives were saved from 2008-2010 due to the installation of ESC. When more people are safe on the road, car insurance premiums tend to decrease.

2. Driver-less car technology. Google is leading the charge in developing cars that drive themselves. In fact, the Nevada DMV issued the first license for a self-driven vehicle in May 2012. While many do not want their car to drive them to work, the technology being developed will do amazing things to keep accidents to a minimum. Basically the car will know before you do that you are about to hit something and will react for you. Less accidents means less of a car insurance premium.

3. Attention control system. Driver fatigue causes thousands of crashes every year. Volkswagen has a new technology to combat this. A camera in the car monitors your blinking and if it detects a shortage of blinks, it assumes the driver is asleep. An alarm will sound that will alert the driver that is time to either pull over or switch drivers. Again, more safety means less accidents, which results in car insurance that is more affordable.

I would love to see a technology that would not allow a drunk driver to even start the car. That would also save thousands of lives. I’m sure this technology would be easy to develop if it hasn’t been developed already. Technology is improving every aspect of our lives. It’s even saving the lives of thousands. As better safety technology is developed, less accidents will occur on the road.

The safer everyone is on the road, the less we will have to shell out for car insurance. Car insurance companies will no longer have to spend millions of dollars on claims and we’ll all benefit!