Effects of Smoking and How to Quit

Campaign against smoking is one of the most popular public health campaigns worldwide. An estimated 100 million deaths over the past 20th century have been reported to be caused by smoking. Even though smoking causes deadly effects, smokers still find it hard to quit it.
[Page-Contents]
Effects of Smoking and How to Quit

How Smoking Affects your Dental Health
Hypnosis for Quitting Smoking: Does It Work?
Probing Oral Cancer
Link Found Between Learning Disabilities and Secondhand Smoke
Decline in Lung Cancer Rates in American Women
Women Smokers Prone to Clogged Arteries in Legs
Smoking in Pregnancy Raises Birth Defect Risk
The Link Between Secondhand Smoke and Hearing Loss in Teens
Reduce Stress While Quitting Smoking
Smoking Cessation: Exploring The Dangerous Substances In Cigarettes
The Effects of Smoking on Your Health
Secondhand Smoke: It's as Bad as Smoking
Respiratory Problems that Smoking will Give You
E-Cigarettes: Are They Safe?
How to Quit Smoking NOW

Campaign against smoking is one of the most popular public health campaigns worldwide. An estimated 100 million deaths over the past 20th century have been reported to be caused by smoking. Even though smoking causes deadly effects, smokers still find it hard to quit it.

Contents of Cigarettes
One alarming thing about smoking is the contents of cigarettes. Most of the components of cigarettes are made for industrial purposes such as cyanide, butane, ammonia, acetic acid, and methanol. Inhaling all those chemicals is dangerous enough to cause harmful effects to the body.

Effects of Smoking
Smoking causes shorter life expectancy. Smokers are more likely to die before the age of 60 compared to nonsmokers who die after the age of 70 to 80.

The effects of smoking include but not limited to lung cancer, laryngeal cancer, colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, COPD, tuberculosis, peripheral vascular diseases, coronary artery disease, gingivitis, periodontitis, infertility, impotence, premature deaths, addiction, depression, malnutrition, impaired cognitive functions and increased level of stress.

Aside from these harmful effects to your health, smokers also compromise the health of the people around them. Secondhand smoke or passive smoking brings about more harmful effects than those who actually smoke. People are unaware of how much smoke they are inhaling compared to the smokers who can control smoke inhalation. Passive smoking can cause headache, eye irritation and an increased risk for cancer and heart diseases. Fetuses are considered second hand smokers when their mothers are smoking. The effects of smoking on the fetus may cause cognitive disabilities and physical malformations. Infants who inhale smoke are at greater risk for sudden infant death syndrome.

Some effects of smoking are reversible and some are permanent. When smokers quit smoking, the health greatly improves. Quitting smoking will help the body repair damaged tissue.

How To Quit Smoking
They say that smoking is hard to quit because of the growing dependence against the substance. But if you are determined to improve your health, quitting smoking is the best gift a smoker can give to one's health. Some of the tips are:

• Prepare Yourself For Quitting
By preparing yourself to quit, you will be able to anticipate what you need to do and the obstacles you might encounter. You need to decide positively to avoid negative thoughts at how difficult it is to quit. It might be helpful to list five to ten personal reasons for why you want to quit smoking. You need to condition yourself physically and decide when you will start to quit smoking. You can start by decreasing the number of cigarettes you smoke per day until you are used to not smoking at all.

• Know What To Expect
Set your expectations to realistic situations. Quitting is not easy but not impossible to do. Know the withdrawal symptoms, the causes for relapse and situational triggers. It will really be helpful to think that all the difficulties are temporary and the reward for this hard work is worthy and glorious.

• Involve Other People
Tell your support group such as your friends and family that you are to quit smoking. They can help you with encouragements and motivations. You can also join support groups that support smokers who want to quit. Support groups help you relate to others who are experiencing your struggles.

• Other Ways to Quit
- You may want to switch to a cigarette that you find distasteful so that you will be discouraged to smoke.
- Do not buy packs of cigarettes. Buy sticks instead to make smoking inconvenient and not easily available.
- Find new habits so that your attention will be diverted to other matters and away from smoking.
- Use oral substitutes if you are tempted to smoke, such as sugarless gums, carrots and celeries.
- Take deep breaths regularly when you feel like smoking.

street drawing of a smoker in pain

There's a big mystery surrounding smoking. We all know it's bad. It can cause emphysema, heart disease, stroke, and cancer of the lung and throat. The weird thing is people still do it. Yes, we also know that nicotine is to blame, as it's the addictive substance found in cigarettes. But what makes you wonder is why start the habit in the first place when you know you can possibly get hooked into a habit that's bad for you?

As if the above-mentioned ailments are not enough to make you quit this unhealthy habit, another thing that you should know about smoking is that it can take a toll on your dental health. It can give you bad breath, stain your teeth, cause inflammation of the salivary gland openings, increase buildup of plaque and tartar, increase risk of tooth loss, increase risk of leukoplakia (an infection characterized with white patches on the insides of the cheeks and on the tongue), bring gum disease, delay healing process in oral surgery and tooth extraction, and increase risk of oral cancer.

Smoking and Tooth Decay
As mentioned earlier, smoking increases plaque and tartar. Plaque is the layer of bacteria that cling onto the teeth's surface. If not removed, it hardens and becomes tartar. These bacteria produce acids that eat up the enamel of the teeth. The enamel is the outer layer covering that protect the nerves. When the enamel is worn out, tooth decay and cavities result. This can eventually lead to tooth loss. Also, when the tartar along the gum line causes it to recede, it can expose the tooth root. It can also weaken the gums to the point that even a strong tooth can easily fall off.

Smoking, Teeth Stains and Bad Breath
Cigarettes contain nicotine and tar that can leave stains on your pearls. This is the reason why you'd often see smoker with yellowish teeth. Tar and nicotine can also be blamed for the "smoker's breath". These chemicals build up on the surfaces inside the mouth such as on the tongue, side of cheeks, and teeth. The buildup brings the foul odor. Also, smoking can dry the mouth and inhibit the flow of saliva. When there's a low amount of saliva inside the mouth, bacteria are not neutralized and bad breath is the result. Moreover, smoking can also worsen gum disease and sinus problems such as the post-nasal drip, which can cause foul odor from the mouth.

Smoking and Gum Disease
Smoking interferes with the proper functioning of the cells in the gum tissue and thereby affecting the attachment of soft tissue and bone to the teeth. Not only that, the nicotine habit can also hinder blood flow to the gums making it more difficult to heal than usual. When these things happen, a smoker becomes more prone to periodontal disease.

Smoking and Cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, about 90 percent of people who have oral cancer smoke tobacco. Smokers are six times at greater risk than nonsmokers in developing certain forms of cancer. These are due to the carcinogens found in cigarettes.

Now is the right time to kick your smoking habit. No matter how difficult it might be for you, if you put your mind into it, you can successfully quit this habit that is not doing any good for your health or of those around you.

cigarette tied into a knot

Hypnosis is now being used in hospital treatments to supplement medical interventions. When you are hypnotized, you are placed in an imaginative state. The procedure is carried on while the subject is still awake and his/her attention is solely focused on the one who is conducting the procedure. Even though the subject might seem to be in trance, he/she is still awake and conscious on what is happening around the room. Likewise, a hypnotized person cannot be forced to do a task that he/she is very unwilling to partake in.

What does it have to do with my quitting smoking?
Hypnosis is now used to help one stop smoking. The process hypnosis usually asks the subject to think of what could be the worst possible thing that could happen to them if they would not kick the habit. They could imagine their lungs being filled with thick black smoke, which could be emitted through the mouth as they speak. The subject is requested to widen their imagination so they could foresee the worst possibility.

Hypnosis techniques for smoking cessation usually reiterates the three core aspects:
- the subject's will to live
- how much poison smoking injects into the body
- how the subject can protect his body from these poisons.

Will hypnosis work for me?
As with all medical treatments, the hypnosis procedures do not guarantee 100 percent effectiveness on all individuals. This procedure will be effective to certain individuals who do not respond well to hypnosis. Some experts say that although this procedure may not necessarily make the subjects stop smoking right away, it could somehow help them along the way, eventually resulting in successful smoking cessation. It is also suggested to treat hypnosis as a supplement rather as a sole source of treatment.

Finding the right person to hypnotize you
If you want to try this method, you must find a hypnotherapist, an professional at this method. Only seek the individuals with the proper certification.

• Don't hesitatte to ask questions regarding their training background and experiences.

• Don't be fooled by false promises; remember hypnosis doesn't work for everyone. If the hypnotherapist promises a 100 percent positive result, consider looking elsewhere.

• Hypnotherapists should be licensed and trained for this method. Someone who is already in the medical field could obtain the training for hypnosis, such as nurses, psychiatrists and psychologists.

smoking woman

Oral Cancer is a collective term for the cancers of the tongue, lips, cheeks, hard palate, soft palate, floor of the mouth, sinuses and pharynx/throat. This appears as a mouth sore that does not go away like the nonthreatening canker sore. Oral cancer can be fatal if not detected and treated early.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer?
The most common sign of oral cancer is an unusual growth in any part of the mouth. The growth can be:
- lump
- bump
- swelling
- rough spot
- crust or thickening in the lips, gums, or any other parts of the mouth

Another common sign is the emergency of white, red, or speckled spots in the mouth.

Other signs are:
- ear pain
- hoarseness of voice
- dramatic weight loss
- unexplained numbness
- unexplained bleeding in the mouth
- difficulty swallowing, chewing and speaking
- feeling that something is stuck in the throat
- pain and tenderness in the face, mouth, or neck
- persistent sores that do not heal even after several weeks

Who are at Risk?
According to the American Cancer Society, men are twice more prone to oral cancer than women. Men who are above 50 years old are at increased risk of this form of cancer. In 2008, more than 35,000 people were diagnosed with this form of cancer.
Risk factors include:
- family history
- excessive sun exposure
- excessive alcohol consumption: Heavy drinkers are six times at greater risk than nondrinkers.
- smoking: People who smoke cigarettes, cigar, or pipes are six times more vulnerable than nonsmokers.

However, it's important to note that about a fourth of oral cancer cases occur in people who are nonsmokers and occasional drinkers.

What is the Outlook for People with Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer patients have 81 percent one-year survival rate, no matter what the stage of cancer is. The five- and 10-year survival rates are about 50 percent and 40 percent respectively.

How is this form of cancer Diagnosed?
If you go to the dentist for a routine dental exam, the dentist will conduct screening exam for oral cancer.
- He/she will determine if there is any presence of lumps or tissue changes in the head, face, neck, and oral cavity.
- He/she will also search for any sore and the other signs and symptoms mentioned earlier.
- An oral brush biopsy will then be performed if the dentist finds any suspicious looking tissues inside the mouth. In this test, the dentist will take a sample of the tissue to analyze it and see if there any abnormal cells.
- Your dentist may also recommend scalpel biopsy, which typically requires local anesthesia.

These tests are done to conduct oral cancer early before it worsens and spreads.

What are the Available Treatments for Oral Cancer?
Method of treatment is similar to other forms of cancer:
- First, the cancerous growth is removed through a surgery.
- This is followed by radiation therapy and chemotherapy to destroy the remnant cancer cells.

Can Oral Cancer be Prevented?
Looking at the risk factors stated earlier, you already have an idea how this form of cancer can be prevented.
To lower your risk:
- drink alcohol in moderation
- do not smoke or use any tobacco products
- live a healthy lifestyle such as eating a nutritionally balanced diet
- limit your exposure to the sun and always use protective lotions such as sunscreen for UVA and UVB rays on your skin and lips

cigarette butts at school entrance

Secondhand Smoke and Children
The results of a recent Harvard School of Public Health study are showing a disturbing link between secondhand smoke and learning disabilities such as ADHD in children. The results were published in Pediatrics online in July 2011.

After analyzing the data taken from the 2007 National Survey on Children's Health, the results showed that secondhand smoke might be responsible for over 250,000 cases of ADHD in children, along with other neurobehavioral disorders in the United States.

The study focused on information on more than 50,000 children from birth to age 12 who had been diagnosed with learning disabilities. It was found that those who were regularly exposed to secondhand smoke were two times more likely to acquire a learning disability than those who were not.

It is estimated that there are approximately 5 million children in the U.S. under the age of 11 who are subjected to secondhand smoke on a regular basis.

It was found that:
- 8.2% of the children exposed to secondhand smoke have learning disabilities.
- 6% of the children exposed to secondhand smoke have ADHD.

While there is an apparent correlation, researchers have not determined as yet what the connection is. However, researchers estimate that 274,100 learning disability cases could have been avoided had the children not been exposed to secondhand smoke in the home.

Since children are still growing and their bodies are developing, this puts them at greater risk to detrimental elements in their environment. It is estimated that 4.8 million children in America live with smokers.

The results of another study conducted by the Washington University School of Medicine, in St. Louis, MO, were released in March 2011. This study surveyed 165 kids, ranging in age from 8 to 13, regarding how they feel about smoking.

The results showed that:
- Children who felt that secondhand smoke is "gross" or "unpleasant" were less likely to become smokers later in life.
- However, the study also showed that the longer children are exposed, the less they believed that smoking is unpleasant.

Ever More Reasons to Quit Smoking
Most of those who smoke know that it is hazardous to their health and that secondhand smoke can be detrimental to the health of those around them. Not only can it cause breathing and allergy problems for those exposed to secondhand smoke, this recent research shows that it can also contribute to learning disabilities and neurobehavioral problems.

The message continues to be that adults need to protect their children from the effects of secondhand smoke by not smoking near their children, or to quit smoking, not only for their own benefit, but also for the benefit of everyone around them.

woman smoking a cigarette

Lung Cancer kills more people than any form of cancer in the United States. Like other cancers, this one also results from the abnormal growth of cells in the lungs. Uncontrolled growth and proliferation of cells form a mass known as tumor. In 2007, about 205,000 people were diagnosed with lung cancer, 109,000 of which are men and more than 93,000 are women. An estimated 158,000 people died from this cancer, 88,000 of which are men and 70,000 are women.

Declining Occurrences
The good news is that the rate of new lung cancer rates is beginning to decline for women as much as it has been for men for years. This is according to a report released by the government of the United States. There was a drop of 2.2 percent per year starting last 2008 after there was a 0.5 percent increase from 1999 to 2006. The statistics were provided by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These findings are very heartening, particularly for those who have family history of such form of cancer. But experts agree that more has to be done to lower the rates even further. Here are some things that we can all do to beat lung cancer.

Kick the Nicotine Habit Today
Since smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer, quitting this habit is also the number one preventive measure. About 87 percent of lung cancer deaths are brought about by cigarette smoking, so it's a must that you put a stop to this unhealthy habit today. When you quit, your body will reap the benefits of being free of tobacco and of the countless other chemicals that can cause cancer.

Eat Fruits and Vegetables
A healthy diet is one that is packed with fruits and vegetables that contain antioxidants. Antioxidants do an excellent job in protecting the DNA of the cells and repair those that have been damaged by free radicals. Experts agree that a diet rich in these foods is a very good way to prevent cancer of the lung.

Have Your Home Tested for Radon
Radon is a by-product of uranium, which is naturally found in the soil. Radon is a radioactive gas that cannot be seen, smelled, tasted or felt. High levels of radon exposure can lead to lung cancer. It is imperative that you have your home tested for this radioactive gas.

Stay Away from Secondhand Smoke
Secondhand smoke is the smoke that comes from a smoker or from a lit cigarette, cigar or pipe. This smoke has more than 60 carcinogens that disrupt normal development of the cell. The interference to the cell development triggers the start of the cancer process.

- Your home should be made into a smoke-free zone.
- If any of the family members are smoking, encourage them to quit.
- If they won't budge, the least they can do is to keep smoke away from the house.
- When you're in public, stay away from people who smoke.
- It's also best to keep away from smoke-filled places like bars and nightclubs.

woman drinking and smoking

Here's another good reason to kick that nicotine habit of yours. New research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that women smokers are 17 times more prone to develop Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) than non-smoking women. This condition is characterized by the narrowing and hardening of blood vessels (atherosclerosis) that restrict the flow of blood to the legs. As a result, leg pain and cramps are experienced during normal activities like jogging and walking.

The study also revealed that smokers who quit this habit immediately had lower risk of PAD. It is very important to remember that people with this condition also often develop atherosclerosis somewhere else in the body, most likely in their heart. Today, over 8 million Americans have this condition.

So what do you do now? Do you just sit there, go on puffing your cigarette, wait until your leg arteries get clogged and suffer from PAD? If you're smart enough, you'll put down that stick of cigarette and do something about this habit.

Here are some practical ways to quit smoking for good.

Set Your Mind To It
The first step is always the most difficult one, as many long-time smokers can attest regarding quitting cigarettes. But if you equip yourself with the right reasons to quit, it would be much easier for you to do so. Some of the reasons you can use to motivate yourself to get rid of this addiction include:
- heart disease
- secondhand smoking
- economical costs

Heart Disease: As you know, smoking is one of the leading causes of death from heart disease, not only in the United States but also in other parts of the world.

Secondhand Smoking: Also, if you love your family and people around you, you won't subject them to the risk of secondhand smoking and health problems it brings.

Economical Reasons: Finally, if you do the math, you'll find that getting rid of smoking can save you significant amount of the money in the long run.

Delay the Urge, Do Something Else
Whenever you crave for a cigarette, tell yourself that you're going to have one after five to ten minutes. Then while you're waiting, do something that will keep you occupied and engaged so that you can forget about your urge to smoke. This technique works well for many smokers. When you learn to delay gratification, that's the time when it would be easier for you to quit smoking.

Look for Alternatives
Chew gums, enjoy candies, or go for electronic cigarettes. Sometimes, it's not the puffing that makes you addicted to the habit but just the thought of putting something in your mouth. For that, you can find alternatives that won't subject you to hundreds of harmful chemicals.

Chewing gums or having candies are good alternatives to smoking. Another is to try electronic cigarettes that do not contain any nicotine. Remember, however, that electronic cigarettes have not yet been approved as a healthier alternative to cigarettes. In fact, it is still under investigation in terms of its long-term effects to the body. But you can try it and see if it helps you get rid of your smoking addiction.

pregnant woman smoking

Smoking is one of the worst things a pregnant woman can do. It's the number one cause of poor health and complications among newborns. There are too many dangers associated with smoking during pregnancy that it's imperative for a pregnant woman to do something about this nicotine habit that she's addicted to. Here are some of the risks that any smoking mother-to-be should be worried about.

What Makes Smoking Dangerous?
Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 harmful chemicals. About 60 of these are carcinogens. If a woman smokes during pregnancy, the toxic substances would get into her bloodstream. Since this is the baby's only source of oxygen and nutrients, the baby is put at risk with the ingestion of harmful compounds. Nicotine and carbon dioxide are particularly dangerous. These are linked to almost all types of smoking-related complications during pregnancy.

The most serious complications are:
- low birth weight
- stillbirth
- premature delivery

These are caused by the reduction of baby's oxygen supply. Nicotine narrows the blood vessels in the body, including those in the umbilical cord, which explains this phenomenon. Not only that, the red blood cells that carry the oxygen get the carbon monoxide instead, narrowing the blood vessels even more.

Low Birth Weight
Smoking a pack a day while you're pregnant can reduce your baby's birth weight by a half-pound. Some women make the mistake of thinking that it's a good thing since a lighter baby is easier to deliver. But it's important to remember that stunting the growth of your child would have negative repercussions on his physical and mental development.

Lung Problems
Most undersized babies also have underdeveloped bodies. One of the most commonly affected areas is the lungs. Many babies born from women who smoke have lungs that are not yet ready to work on their own. Because of this, they would require assistance from a respirator to be able to breathe. But that's not all. As they grow up, they will continue to have breathing problems such as asthma.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Babies whose mothers smoke even just a few sticks a day are at great risk of sudden infant death syndrome. Smoking doubles or even triples the risk of SIDS, which is one of the leading causes of death among newborns in the United States.

Heart Disease
Pregnant women who smoke particularly in the first trimester of pregnancy are likely to deliver babies who have heart defects. In a study made by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in February 2011, a mom who smokes increases the risk of congenital heart disease for her baby by 20 to 70 percent.

Heart defects include:
- right ventricular tract obstructions
- atrial septal defects.

Right ventricular tract obstruction refers to the obstruction of blood flow from the heart's right side into the lungs.
Atrial septal defect is obstruction of the blood flow in the openings between the heart's upper chambers.

Low IQ
As if all these problems are not enough, smoking can also cause low IQ, as the chemicals in cigarette smoke have negative effects on the child's brain. Low IQ can lead to learning disorders and behavioral problems.

woman smoking

Everyone knows that smoking is bad, not only for your health but also for other people and the environment. So why do people still keep on smoking? Is it because there's that unexplainable pleasure in doing something that you know is bad for you? The thrill of living life on the edge, is that it?

People have various reasons why they puff a stick of cigarette every now and then. Whatever it is, it doesn't really matter. What matter more are the good reasons why you should quit now.

Hearing Loss
Another reason that might be able to convince you is the recent discovery that secondhand smoke can affect a teenager's hearing.
A study done on 1,500 people ages 12 to 19 in different parts of the world showed that passive smoking from tobacco doubles the risk of hearing loss among teenagers. These young people who were involved in the study were evaluated inside their homes. They were given extensive hearing tests and blood tests to determine the nicotine levels in their blood.

- Sensorineural Hearing Loss
The results of the study, which were published in the Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery, July issue, indicate that teens exposed to passive smoking were more prone to having sensorineural hearing loss. This refers to the hearing loss condition caused by problems in cochlea, a hearing organ inside the inner ear. This is common among aging people and children with congenital deafness.

The findings are very alarming, especially when you find out that more than 50 percent of children and teens in the United States are exposed to passive smoking. This means that more than half of the young population are bound to develop hearing problem later in life.

The study concludes that there should be more measures implemented to ensure that childhood exposure to secondhand smoke is reduced not only in their homes but also in public places. It is also suggested in the study for the children to be screened regularly for hearing problems, since it's quite hard to recognize the onset of these types of conditions. In fact, more than 80 percent of the affected teenagers involved in the study did not even know that they have any hearing problem.

How to Quit Smoking
This and so many other reasons should convince you to kick the nicotine habit for good. Here are some ways to help you do that:

- Switch to a brand that you hate. This will help you in the process of reducing the pleasure that you get from smoking. At the same time, it's a good idea to go for something that's low in tar and nicotine. Nicotine is the addictive substance in cigarettes. By diminishing the nicotine, you can slowly get rid of your smoking addiction.

- Cut down the number of cigarettes you smoke each day until you can do without smoking completely. This works if cold turkey would only make you go back to smoking again and again.

- Drink milk. Milk is usually incompatible with smoking. Drinking milk more often is not only good for your bone health, it also helps you quit the nicotine habit.

- Take up a new hobby. Many smokers smoke because they have nothing better to do. If you have a new hobby, it would be easier to dodge the temptation to light up a cigarette.

- Make smoking inconvenient for you. Don't have cigarettes readily available at home or at work.

man smoking

Reality check for smokers: smoking is not a relaxing activity. When a smoker feels anxious or nervous, he would light up a cigarette in hope to calm his nerves. But he's just fooling himself. This belief is rooted from the fact that when a smoker tries to break free from the nicotine addiction, he experiences stressful withdrawal symptoms that go away when he starts smoking again.

This is why many smokers make the mistake of thinking that smoking cures their stress. It's not like that. Quitting the nicotine addiction tenses the body and mind, but cigarette is not the remedy for it. When you get stressed over this, your brain releases a chemical called epinephrine, which has been known to interfere with a person's ability to think clearly and concentrate. This makes it hard for smokers to quit smoking even more. To reduce the stress that comes with kicking the nicotine habit and have better chances for success, here are the things to keep in mind:

Maintain a Positive Outlook
The stress that comes with nicotine withdrawal can leave you feeling discouraged and even depressed. It's imperative that you fight these nagging negative thoughts and maintain a positive outlook. This will help you focus more clearly on your goal, which is to quit gradually but surely. Don't be critical of yourself even if you've tried and failed before. Remember, some quitters take several attempts before achieving a successful quit.

Engage in Relaxation Techniques
Lighting up a stick of cigarette is not the only solution in the world. There are plenty of other things that you can do to sooth your sense and calm your nerves. Find out what works for you. As long as it's healthy, then you're all good. Some ideas to try include:

- breathing exercises
- meditation
- massage
- yoga

You can also distract yourself by:

- having fun
- watching a movie
- taking a trip
- catching up with old friends

Avoid Stressful Situations
The withdrawal symptoms of nicotine are more than enough to leave you anxious and jittery. Do yourself a favor and avoid situations that are known to trigger your stress. For example, don't take too much work during this time, and hire a professional cleaner to do the monthly house general cleaning. See to it that you give yourself a break so you can escape from the stressful circumstances from time to time.

Exercise
Exercise has been known to be a great way to relieve stress and anxiety. That's because physical activity boosts the release of brain chemicals that are associated with feelings of well-being. You don't have to enroll in a gym or take up an aerobics class for this purpose if you're not up for it. Simply walking around the neighborhood, swimming with your friends, or going on a biking adventure with your family can get you moving.

skeleton somking

"Quit in order to Win". There probably is no other statement that is as inconsistent as this. Didn't they say, "quitters are losers"? Apparently not, when it comes to smoking.

Quitting the habit for good actually puts you on the winning lane. Why? Because cigarette is made up of not just one but countless dangerous substances. Nicotine, for example, is not only highly addictive, it also causes your blood vessels to constrict, and that deprives your cells of essential nutrients. Not only that, it also forces your heart to work doubly hard.

Also a dangerous (as dangerous or perhaps even more so as nicotine) component of cigarette is tar. Tar is carcinogenic, and since it gets into your lungs when you smoke; smoking therefore puts you at risk for lung cancer.

And, there's more.

There are carbon monoxide (a type of gas that goes out of vehicles – poisonous when inhaled!), ammonia (a chemical found in cleaning agents), acetone (a chemical used to remove nail polish), DDT (an insecticide), arsenic (a chemical used to kill ants), vinyl chloride (a plastic material), cadmium (used in car batteries), naphthalene (a chemical used to exterminate pests), and a host of many others.

With these toxic substances, smoking a cigarette puts you closer to your deathbed. And the biggest irony is that it's even worse for passive smokers. Passive smokers are smokers who are not cigarette smokers, but are only exposed to cigarette smoking.

But quitting the habit is easier said than done. Nowadays there are tons of products that are supposedly designed to help you quit the habit for good. There are nicotine patches and nicotine sprays that are designed to gradually reduce to zero one's dependence on nicotine, but remember these smoking aids contain nicotine.

A recent invention which many claim to be a better alternative to traditional cigarette is electronic cigarette. E-cigarettes do not emit smoke, only vapor, and they do not contain tar and many of the other dangerous chemicals found in traditional cigarettes. But, and it has to be emphasized, e-cigarettes still contain nicotine, and propylene glycol, an anti-freeze ingredient used in car coolants.

Smoking aids may be beneficial to a certain degree, but quitting all on your without relying on smoking aids is way much better. You'd need to have a strong support system, though, plus the determination and the will, and then you can employ your own creative, but natural strategies to quit smoking for good.

quit somking sign

Smoking is one of the major causes of death today. According to the World Health Organization, 100 million deaths in the 20th century have been caused by smoking. Researches have shown that smoking compromises the health of an individual in many ways.

The effects are:

Death
The most popular and alarming effect of smoking is death. Male and female smokers lose an average of 13.2 and 14.5 years of life, respectively. They are most likely to die before the age of 60 according to the American Journal of Public Health.

Cancer
Smoking increases the risk of cancer, with lung cancer at the top of the list. The components of cigarette contain carcinogens such as cyanide, carbon monoxide, acetic acid, ammonia, butane and many others known to kill healthy cells and develop cancer. These components are most commonly used for industrial purposes and are found extremely harmful to human body. These components cause inflammation and irritation to different organs. Cancer in kidney, larynx, breast, bladder, esophagus, pancreas and the stomach can also occur from smoking.

Pulmonary Problems
If not lung cancer, smoking still causes pulmonary conditions such as Emphysema and Chronic Bronchitis. The tissues, organs and linings of the Respiratory System become irritated and inflamed due to smoking therefore causing difficulty in breathing, chest pain and if not treated, even death.

Cardiovascular Problems
The effects of smoking increase the chances of heart diseases, stroke and peripheral vascular disease. Components of cigarettes are known to constrict blood vessels therefore narrowing the passage ways of blood that carry oxygen. This can lead to fast heart rates, heart attacks, stroke, and Buerger's disease. Buerger's disease is where inflammation and clotting in the arteries and veins occur in the hands and feet. Smoking also causes the platelets to become thicker, therefore damaging blood vessels that may lead to heart attack.

Oral
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human services, there is high prevalence of Periodontitis in smokers. This is a serious gum disease that results in loss of teeth and bone.

Infertility and Impotence
Panayiotis Zavos, Ph.D. confirmed that smoking affects the quality of the sperms in every way such as in their longevity and motility. The ovaries and the reproductive system are also affected. Damage to these organs may cause infertility.

There are many other conditions wherein smoking compromises the health such as premature deaths, impaired cognitive functions, increased levels of stress and many more. These effects may lead you into thinking of why many still patronize this activity. Do not wait until you are diagnosed with a certain disease or condition.

The earlier you quit the better because prevention is better than cure.

secondhand smoking baby

If you think you're safe from all the ailments that cigarettes give because you don't smoke, think again. If you live in a house where another person smokes or you are constantly exposed to secondhand smoke, you're not safe at all. Constant exposure to secondhand smoke is like engaging in the activity yourself, or even worse.

Also called passive smoke, secondhand smoke is tobacco smoke inhaled by a person who doesn't smoke. This is usually a combination of the smoke from the tobacco called sidestream smoke and the smoke exhaled by the smoker called mainstream smoke.

It contains almost the same amount of chemicals, toxins, and cancer-causing substances. But what some people don't know is that secondhand smoke is even worse than active smoking in some aspects. It exposes you to twice more tar and nicotine per volume, thrice more carcinogen benzpyrene, five times more carbon monoxide, and 50 times more ammonia.

Lung cancer is the number one health risk associated with passive smoking. As you know, cigarette smoke contains more than 70 cancer-causing substances. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) labels secondhand smoke as "known human carcinogen". A carcinogen refers to a substance that causes cancer.

If you live with a person who smokes, you have 30 percent greater chance of developing lung cancer than a non-smoker who's not exposed to secondhand smoke. In the United States, lung cancer kills more than 3,000 people yearly due to passive smoking.

Cancer isn't the only disease caused by secondhand smoking. This can also increase heart rate, contribute to fatigue, and thicken the walls of the arteries that can lead to a heart attack. If you're pregnant and your baby is exposed to secondhand smoke, you're at risk of miscarriage or stillbirth. Your child may be born with low birth weight, decreased lung function, middle ear infections, sinus infections, deciduous teeth, and so on. Babies exposed to passive smoking are also at greater risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

If you smoke or there's a smoker in the family, the best way to prevent diseases or premature death is to quit smoking. That is undeniably the best way to protect your family, particularly the children from the serious repercussions of passive smoking. If this is not an option for you, the next best thing is not to allow smoking inside the house. Never smoke near the children. Smoking in front of the children will not only harm their health now, but would also encourage them to take on this activity when they grow up, thinking that it's a normal part of life.

In the United States and other countries, smoking has been banned in public places. Workplaces and public buildings have separated designated areas for smoking. Air purification and ventilation systems have also been improved to lessen the threats associated with passive smoking.

ruined lungs from smoking

There is always a ring of truth to the adage "Smokers don't grow old - they die young". According to the World Health Organization, seven people die every day due to smoking tobacco. Tobacco, which contains over 400 toxic substances, can cause countless health problems including respiratory ailments.

The most hazardous components found in cigarettes are tar which is a carcinogen, nicotine which is the addictive substance that increases cholesterol, and carbon monoxide which decreases oxygen levels and damages the blood vessels. Below are some of the respiratory problems caused by smoking that should finally convince you to kick this bad habit for good.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
COPD is a collective term for health problems that are characterized by blocked airflow and difficulty in breathing. Smoking is the cause of almost all of COPD cases around the world. That's because when you smoke, your lungs decline 3 times faster than non-smokers. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema fall under this respiratory problem category.

Chronic Bronchitis
Chronic Bronchitis refers to the chronic condition of having inflamed bronchial tubes or airways in the lungs. It is also described as a persistent cough that produces phlegm and mucus for at least three months each year for two consecutive years.

Emphysema
Emphysema occurs when the alveoli or air sacs in the lungs have been damaged. This long-term, progressive lung disease causes shortness of breath after the alveoli become over-inflated after years of smoking. It is described as an obstructive lung disease since the over-inflated alveoli does not allow easy inhalation and exhalation.

Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is a form of cancer that occurs when there is an uncontrolled cell growth in the lung tissues. The growth of these cells can lead to metastasis. This means that the adjacent tissues located beyond the lungs will be invaded and infiltrated. The common type of lung cancer is carcinoma, which is from the epithelial cells. Around the world, around 1.3 million people die yearly because of this cancer. Symptoms of lung cancer include coughing up blood, weight loss and difficulty in breathing.

Other Diseases Caused by Smoking
The respiratory system is not the only part of the body affected by the harmful chemicals of tobacco. Smoking can also damage other bodily organs including kidneys, liver, heart and many more. In fact, lung cancer is not the only type of cancer brought about by smoking habit. Cancer of the throat, gullet, mouth, bladder, pancreas, esophagus, cervix and kidneys are also prevalent due to smoking.

Apart from these, smoking can also increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases by 80 percent. These are diseases of the heart and the blood vessels (including the arteries and veins). Heart diseases are in fact some of the worst killers in the history of medicine. These diseases occur because nicotine shoots up the cholesterol levels in the arteries, making them rigid and narrow. This in turn creates blood clots that bring about cardiovascular diseases like peripheral coronary thrombosis, coronary heart diseases, vascular disease, cerebral thrombosis and cerebrovascular diseases such as stroke.

man smoking an e-cigarette

Many years back, if someone told you that one day, you'll get to see a battery-powered cigarette that doesn't contain any of the harmful elements a traditional cigarette has, you'd probably laugh and think it's a crazy idea. But there's no such thing as crazy wherein technology is concerned. In 2004, the first ever e-cigarette was introduced in the market.

E-cigarette is an electronic smoking device that is designed to simulate the sensation of smoking without exposing the users or people close by to harmful chemicals found in traditional tobacco products except for nicotine. It delivers nicotine like a cigarette but the user has the control on what amount to take in. Also, the e-cigarette does not contain tar, tobacco, and other chemicals that you'll find in a standard cigarette.

Because of its appeal as an alternative to smoking, e-cigarette has become an overnight sensation. You'll now find it for sale on the internet and in various kiosks and stores nationwide. But just because it is widespread, it doesn't automatically mean that it is safe and effective.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet proved the safety of these alternative smoking devices and is therefore, seeking to refuse its sales in the country. An open investigation is currently being undertaken to discover whether the e-cigarette is indeed the harmless alternative to smoking or not. If you're also considering an investing on a stick of e-cigarette, here are some things that you have to know in order to make an informed decision.

How Does E-cigarette Work?
To use this smoking device, you need to inhale through the mouthpiece. The airflow triggers a sensor, which would then switch on a battery-powered heater. This heater vaporizes the liquid nicotine that is contained in the small cartridge. The cartridge may or may not have nicotine. This also activates the light at the end of the stick to make it seem like a real cigarette. The heater then vaporizes the propylene glycol inside the cartridge. This is the chemical used by theaters to make smoke during plays. As the user exhales, a cloud of propylene glycol is emitted, looking like smoke from a usual cigarette.

Positive Side of E-cigarette
E-cigarette is said to be good for many things. For one, if you're planning on quitting smoking, this can help you in the process. It can give you the sensation of putting a cigarette into your mouth and inhaling smoke without having to expose yourself and others to harmful chemicals. It is also beneficial for the environment because it doesn't give off any smoke. You can even smoke an e-cigarette in smoke-free places like airplanes, restaurants, offices, and so on.

Negative Side
As for the negative side, the safety of e-cigarettes is yet to be proven. But some people say, real cigarettes are already harmful so there is probably no harm in trying e-cigarettes if that would cut down the habit of smoking tobacco. Some experts also claim that e-cigarettes can possibly worsen and not improve a user's nicotine habits. Having e-cigarettes around will only encourage people to take in nicotine. And because this is socially acceptable, it might encourage children to get into the habit as well.

Until scientific research gives us a conclusion, all we can do is to speculate about the safety of e-cigarettes. If you are trying to quit, the smart way would be to quit on your own without the help of electronic cigarettes and get rid of the habit permanently. Now, if you are not a smoker, there is no reason for you to use this product, which might just get you into the habit.

woman smoker cutting her cigarette with scissors

Quitting smoking is easier said than done. Nicotine, which is the addictive substance found in the cigarette, makes smokers crave for more despite their desire to kick this unhealthy habit. But we only say it's difficult. We never said it's impossible. To help you get through this challenging task, here are 5 ways to resist smoking.

Delay then Distract
One of the most effective strategies to get away from your cigarette craving is to tell yourself that you would wait first for 10 minutes and then use this time you've bought for yourself to do something else. Create a diversion that will make you forget about your craving. Just make sure that the distraction you create will completely derail your attention away from smoking, such as watching your favorite movie, going out with your friends, or making a DIY (do-it-yourself) project. This technique is effective because most urges pass after a while. Repeat this strategy as needed.

Stop Having "Just One"
If you want to quit smoking, cold turkey is the best method. Even if you're tempted to have even just one cigarette, don't give in to that temptation. Stop fooling yourself that you can quit one cigarette at a time. If you want to quit slowly without nicotine withdrawal symptoms, use a nicotine patch or nicotine gum then slowly decrease your nicotine consumption until you are able to get away from it completely.

Stay Away from Triggers
Most smokers would agree that certain places or situations make them want to grab a stick of cigarette. These can be anything from work pressure or boredom to any place like bars and restaurants. While you're in the process of quitting smoking, identify your triggers and do your best to stay away from them. If that's not possible, alter the situation in such a way that you won't be tempted to smoke. For example, if you used to smoke while watching television, why not make yourself a bucket of tasty popcorn instead? Also, if you used to meet your friends regularly at the bar for no other reason than drinking and smoking, why not suggest that all of you meet at the basketball court instead for some active a pickup game?

Do Physical Activities
Physical activities are useful in distracting you from your smoking habit. Even a few minutes of exercise can get rid of the craving instantaneously. Go out for some brisk walking around the neighborhood. Invite your friends for a group jog around beautiful areas in your vicinity. Before going to work, do some stretching, squats or running in place. Of course, physical work doesn't always have to be standard exercises. It can also be house chores like cleaning the house or taking the dogs for a walk. It can also mean engaging in sports like tennis, basketball, or even Frisbee. Anything that gets your muscles working can do well not only for your cigarette-quitting endeavor but also for your overall health.

Have a Support Group
Sometimes, it's much easier to quit smoking when someone is rooting for you. You may join organizations that cater to this specific purpose. If not, you can round up your family or friends for some moral boost. Getting together with people who matter would give you feelings of satisfaction that would help lessen the need to puff a cigarette stick.

 


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