Quit smoking. Just quit, stop smoking, put it down and never pick it up again. As any smoker can tell you, it’s not that easy. Tobacco – whether cigarettes, cigars, pipes, or chewed – is a habit, a social symbol, a lifestyle, and a very strong addiction. People who successfully quit smoking have very strong reasons for doing so. I can think of no better way of starting a blog on the smoking habit than by giving you some reasons to quit.
Smoking Is Bad For You
Okay, this is a no-brainer, right? We’ve heard the health issues, seen the scarred-lung photos, and been given the lectures by friends and family. Still, let’s review the facts.
Tobacco causes cancer. Even the tobacco companies have admitted to this one, and paid out billions in compensation for it. Smoking directly causes mouth, throat, and lung cancer, and has been implicated in many others. Your first tool to help quit smoking: type mouth cancer into a Google image search. Brace yourself.
Cigarettes contain over 4000 chemicals. Some of these, such as nicotine, come with the plant. Some, such as carbon monoxide, come with smoke. Some, like 2,2,6-Trimethylcyclohexanone, are among the list of 599 officially approved tobacco additives. Mmm, yummy.
Shorter lifespan. An earlier death. Fewer sunrises. Smokers die an average of 12 years sooner than non-smokers. Half of long-term smokers will die from their habit. What could you do with 12 years?
Tobacco use is linked to: heart disease; strokes; emphysema and bronchitis; asthma; blood clots; impotence; sudden death.
Your Smoking Hurts Others
Secondhand smoke is the new demon of the quit-smoking campaign. The health effects of having someone else’s cigarette smoke in the air we breathe are almost the same as if we’d smoked it ourselves. Children, who breathe faster than adults and have more sensitive systems, have a 200 – 400 percent increase in asthma risk, tendency to middle ear infections, and experience changes in cognition and behaviour with steady exposure to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke around a pregnant woman can demonstrably affect her baby in seconds, and lead to low birthweight. The smoke you leave behind is damaging the people around you.
Smoking Is Not Cool
Peer pressure and social context are one of the main reasons people start smoking. Everyone else is doing it, so why not, right? Our friends can keep us smoking, too. Quitting smoking, especially for teens, sometimes needs a change of friends as well as habits. Quitting smoking around smokers is an exercise in frustration.
My advice is, take a hard look at your friends. Do they support your wish to improve your health and life, or wave a butt in your face? Do you want your life to look like theirs? If your peer group is not supportive or not what you want, change it. You’re making a major shift anyway, go all the way. And you’ll have lots of choice in new friends – in Canada, 79% of teens don’t smoke.
Quit Smoking And Win
There is lots of help for quitting smoking, including some financial gain. Check out the Web, your employer, your family doctor, and your government. Many websites give advice and programs to help you quit. Your doctor can give more advice, and medical addiction aids. General Electric discovered that giving employees $750 to quit boosted their chances of long-term success by 300%, and lessened sick days and costs. Governments are starting to pay people to quit, run contests with interesting prizes, and find other innovative ways to help.
There are many reasons to quit smoking. Pick one – or several – that mean something to you, and build a wish for them that is stronger than your urge to puff. That will be your most important tool to help you stop smoking.