Do you smoke? Are you exposed to other people who smoke? Being a non-smoker, how do we convince our friends, relatives, and spouses to stop smoking?
Smokers are hard to convince, but let us try.
First evidence: Please take note (and believe) that there are over 70,000 scientific articles to prove that smoking damages your heart, lungs, esophagus, stomach, bowels, prostate, and predisposes you to all kinds of cancers. It’s been proven beyond any doubt.
Second evidence: Each year, smoking-related illnesses cause the most number of deaths in the Philippines. What is worse is that smokers actually hurt the non-smokers around them by letting them inhale their toxic fumes. A study by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute shows that 47 percent of Filipino males, and 16 percent of females are smokers, one of the highest worldwide. Moreover, 33 percent of Filipino minors are smokers already by age 14.
Why is it hard to quit?
Cigarettes contain nicotine, which is the substance responsible for the addiction. Once nicotine reaches the brain, it will release chemicals called norepinephrine and dopamine, both of which make us feel good. However, this nicotine high doesn’t last very long. Soon, you will develop a tolerance for nicotine, which means you will have to smoke more cigarettes to get the same pleasurable feeling.
Just like any other addiction, the problem is that once you stop the supply of nicotine, you will feel weak and down. This will stimulate you to get your next puff. Hence, your brain is now addicted to cigarettes.
Certain situations can serve as a trigger and give you the urge to smoke. For example, it could be seeing someone smoking, a cigarette carton, the smell of an ashtray, after eating a good meal, or feeling sad or happy. It is as if your body is just looking for an excuse to get a cigarette.
If you really want to quit smoking, you must identify the situations that trigger you to smoke, and do your best to avoid them.
Some people can quit smoking just like that and suffer no side effects. However, for others, it can be a difficult process. Three factors are responsible for the difficulty in quitting: 1) how many cigarettes you smoke per day, 2) the people around you who also smoke, and 3) the real reason why you smoke. It could be due to peer pressure or for weight control. Knowing these factors will help you prepare yourself for the quitting process.
1. You’ll be healthier and reduce your chances of getting a heart attack, stroke, and cancer. You will also reduce your risk of having emphysema, bronchitis, impotence, fertility problems, cataracts, blindness, and wrinkles.
2. You will live longer. Based on data, smoking 10 sticks or more a day will reduce your life span by an average of four years. Those who are exposed to cigarette smoke (called passive smoking) will have a one-year reduction in life span.
3. People around you, especially young kids, may develop asthma, lung problems, and even heart problems because of your smoking.
4. Kids who see their parents smoke or drink are also more likely to smoke and drink themselves. Quit smoking and save your children from smoking-related illnesses.
5. The money you save can be spent on your family.
6. Pregnant women who smoke place two lives at risk because of the possibility of having an abnormal baby.
7. For those who have already suffered a heart attack or stroke, quitting smoking can reduce your risk of getting a second attack.
8. For those with cancer, quitting smoking can reduce your risk of getting a second cancer.
Actual health benefits of quitting
According to the American Lung Association, the health benefits of quitting will begin just 20 minutes after your last cigarette. Your blood pressure and heart rate will decrease, and the oxygen content of your body will increase.
After the first day of quitting, your risk of suffering a heart attack will be reduced.
On the second day, your nerve endings will start to heal and your ability to smell and taste will improve.
Between two weeks and three months after quitting, your blood circulation will improve. Your smoker’s cough will be lessened and walking will become easier. Soon, your lung function will improve dramatically.
From one to nine months, you will breathe easier and your lungs will continue to get better. Specifically, your lungs have tiny hair-like structures, called cilia, which push mucus out of the lungs. Your lung’s cilia will slowly regain its previous function.
In one year, you will have reduced your risk of getting heart disease or a heart attack by 50 percent, compared to a smoker.
Between five and 15 years after stopping, your risk for a stroke will be similar to a non-smoker’s.
Because of the bad effects of smoking, it will take 10 years of quitting before your risk of getting lung cancer drops. However, you will still be at greater risk for lung cancer compared to a non-smoker.
In 10 years, your risk of getting other cancers (mouth, throat, pancreas, kidney, and bladder) will also decrease.
By the time you reach 15 years of never touching a cigarette, your risk of dying will be the same as that of a non-smoker. This just goes to show that the ill effects of smoking are serious and deadly. Quit early and quit now. Quit while you are still young to obtain the full health benefits of quitting.
Blog Source: Philstar Global | The benefits of quitting smoking