Tips for Healthier Smoking
Now of course the healthiest tip for smokers is to not do it at all! I know that is so cliché. But as adults we are all very well aware of the hazards and detriments of smoking cigarettes. For many of us we just cannot put them down despite the mountains of proof that cigarettes are bad for us.
This article is not intended to encourage smoking, but to offer healthier ideas for those of us who want to smoke and know we need to try to help ourselves regardless. The content is based on my own personal experience smoking, some facts, some humor, and offers a general appeal to all smokers to take better care of ourselves. Links are included to assist with finding more pertinent information.
Your smoking habit is just that – YOURS! Always avoid smoking near children, senior citizens, and non-smokers. Follow public and private smoking policies, such as hospitals' and schools' smoke free campus notices (which does include the parking lot!). Dispose of butts appropriately, preferably not on the ground or on someone else's property. Smokers get a bad enough rap just in general and being a selfish and rude smoker makes all of us seem worse. It's not all about you! Don't be purposefully offensive!
Be mindful of your smoking habits to avoid accidents and possibly death (the instant kind!), Never smoke when you are tired and sleepy. If you smoke in your house make sure you are able to remain aware that you are smoking. Don't take chances with your loved ones, your home, or your life. Keep smoke detectors and alarms is good working order and make sure there is one near all of your usual smoking areas. Best to just smoke outside and put your butts in a can of sand or water.
When driving, keep your smokes and lighter within easy reach to avoid searching for them in traffic. Watch throwing your butts out the window! Sometimes the wind can knock it right back in the car where it can hit you, or a back seat passenger, or fly into an open window of a neighboring car. You also run the risk of setting dry grass on fire and causing a huge problem. And it is littering! Keep some sort of ashtray in the car. Don't smoke in your car with the windows up! You are getting a double whammy by smoking AND inhaling the second-hand smoke. No need to add this extra harm to your lungs. Needless to say, this also really funks up your car and your clothes. Care about yourself and the impression you make to others, especially if you work around non-smokers or must closely interact with customers. Remember that non-smokers have a better sense of smell and can detect the odor of smoke much easier.
Heed Warning Signs
Next to not smoking at all, the most important health tip for smokers is to not ignore warning signs of smoking related illnesses. Negative side effects from anything ingested or encountered are warning signs that your body is having a problem. Certainly we know what the most common of these caused by smoking are:
Cough – The cilia in the lungs are fried and cannot do their job to keep airways clear. That allows for a build up of junk that forces the smoker to cough to try to clear the junk. Watch for gunky sputum produced from the cough, spit it out, don't send that junk back into your system by swallowing it. Watch for blood – a serious sign that you're in trouble.
Shortness of Breath – Usually upon exertion. You know it, and funny how lighting up another cigarette seems to calm it down. Go figure?! Oftentimes our reaction to this SOB is to take it easy, the 'don't take the stairs – find an elevator' mentality. Increased sedentary behavior will only add to health problems, we must have consistent moderate exercise for weight control, circulation, and breathing stamina. Continued smoking may lead to COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or other respiratory ailments.
Poor Circulation – A dangerously gradual progression of suffocating blood veins and vessels. Over time the ears, nose, toes and fingers start to become cold, numb and tingly. Then feet and hands. Then the legs. Then your whole body just can't seem to get warm. This is happening because your warming blood flow is diminishing due to constricting veins and vessels and a decrease in oxygen. Such symptoms are precursors to heart attacks and strokes often due to smoking induced high blood pressure. Oh and if you find your thinking, concentration, and memory not quite what it used to be – less likely because of age than the diminishing amount of oxygen making it to your brain.
General Feeling of Unwellness – All of the above mentioned side effects can combine to produce an overall decline in your vigor for life. Oftentimes depression sets in because you feel powerless to improve your personal situation that perpetuates the “bad for my health” smoking. You think: “if I could just hit the lottery, if my spouse really loved me, if I didn't hate my job,...” Whatever stress inducing situation you are contending with and trying to alleviate by smoking you really know that it is absurd because smoking isn't going to fix the problem. Healthier smoking also includes the reasons why you smoke. Positive reasons: pleasurable? relaxing? social? or Negative reasons: stress relieving and/or just habitual?
Yellowed Teeth– Nicotine is a very staining chemical. If your teeth are showing this yellow browning stain just imaging what your throat and lungs look like.
Bad Breath – You know we have to constantly work on this one! Eating mints, chewing gum, or brushing our teeth extra times a day. It's even worse if we're drinking alcohol. Can get pretty yucky, eh! ___________________________________________________________
Heed the Warning Signs – Act on the Warning Signs!
It is pretty pitiful of us to go to the doctor to complain about our side effects from smoking and expect a miracle cure or medical alleviation that will allow us to continue to smoke more comfortably. Don't take the signs and symptoms that smoking is affecting your health for granted. Don't become so depressed that you stop caring about your health. Get help.
And when it is time to quit you must find a way to do so. For your sake.
Consider detection of warning signs early as a blessing, it is the smart person who acts on the diagnoses to save his/her life, and maybe not have to carry an oxygen tank 24/7. Don't fall for the hype of one of our most noted cop outs “Oh hell, we all gotta die sometime”. Let's try to make it later rather than sooner!
Habit Health. But, as we continue to insist upon smoking, here are further tips on doing so in a healthier manner. While nothing guarantees any efforts to side-step the health hazards of smoking – not even quitting – you may feel better about what you did to help your own self with your addiction.
Take Care of Yourself
Exercise. As mentioned, being sedentary only compounds the negative effects of smoking, which may include weight problems. You will want to try to stay in decent shape. Not too skinny and not too fat. You must do routine moderate exercise such as walking (without a cigarette in your mouth), bike riding either stationary or regular on even paved surfaces (hills and time limit as tolerated). Find something that appeals to you, is not too straining, and offers a moderate type of work out to improve circulation and stamina.
Drink Plenty of Water to help keep your system flushed and hydrated.Smoking has a drying effect on mucous membranes in your throat, your skin – producing premature wrinkling, and possible constipation. Include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and fiber in your diet.
Drink Alcohol in Moderation. Smoking and drinking heavily are a deadly combination when done in excess for a long period of time. The negatives wreak havoc on your body's efforts to defend itself against them. Eventually the body will give up, and disease and degeneration take over. Although, studies have proven that a glass of red wine daily is beneficial for smokers. Moderation is the key. Being intoxicated also brings the risk of irresponsible behavior including unsafe smoking. You don't want to wake up one morning and find out you burnt the house down, burned a big hole on your car seat, or accidentally burned the baby!
Take Appropriate Vitamins. Beef up your body! Help it to fight off the damage that smoking can cause. Smoking primarily depletes the vitamin B's, vitamin C and vitamin E from the body. Eating foods rich in these important anti-oxidants or taking supplements will help with restoration. Consult with your doctor regarding the benefits and dosages.
De-Stress. If you depend on smoking to reduce your stress, other than fooling yourself, take action to relieve what you can. Find ways to cope without chain smoking. Smoking is meant to be pleasurable not used as a crutch. Take up meditation or yoga or Tai Chi. Pray! Chew sugarless gum or candy. Change jobs. Divorce your abusive spouse or get counseling. Move out of your unsafe neighborhood. Get a part time job to supplement your income. I know these suggestions are drastic and possibly not easy to do, but seeking ways to improve your life will prove worthwhile later on.
Try Cutting Back. Map out a routine and stick with it. Figure out a way to gradually reduce the numbers of cigarettes you smoke in a day. Convince yourself that you really only need one in the morning with your coffee, after you eat...whenever... you decide the crucial times you must have a smoke and then eliminate those unnecessary cigarettes.
Try the new Electronic Cigarette. Supposedly the best innovation for healthier smoking. Not sure if it is currently available in the USA market, however there are several companies listed on the web taking online orders. E-cigarettes offer low nicotine and no tar and have become a hit with many former tobacco cigarette smokers.
Try Lung Detox. Research and science have developed methods of cleansing the lungs of harmful toxins built up from smoking and other inhalants. There are medicinal programs and natural programs. Read up on these programs to see if one of them could be right for you.
As with any product, do your research before purchasing anything.
It's All in My Head!
Have a Laugh!
Have a Sense of Humor. As smokers we are often chastised and thrown under the bus by non-smokers. Our choice to continue smoking inadvertently generates a defensive attitude because we are constantly being belittled. We try to fight back because we feel we have rights, too! It's our choice, and basically that is our only defense because of the indisputable proof that smoking is harmful. But so is some of the food we eat!
Research. Take time to do your own research. The internet has much of the information you need, and you can ask your specific question using any of the search engines. And always consult with your doctor before trying anything on your own. Just make it a point to try something! Though following this advice does not guarantee that you still won't get sick from smoking, it just may be worth a try.
I am taking my own advice to improve my health. I pray I am not too late!
The content of this article is to inform and offer advice. Author makes no claim or guarantee regarding the specific content or content of the links contained herein. Specific article content is based on author opinion and research and is not intended to treat, diagnose or substitute for professional advice. Reader assumes all responsibility for self-directed use of this content.
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