- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Stub it Out! Stop Smoking before it Stops You!
All the Information You Need to Stop Smoking or Encourage You Not to Start.
With all the publicity anti-smoking campaigns receive it’s surprising there’s anyone left puffing away but there is and, yes, here I am getting on the band wagon and advising any of you willing to listen to stop smoking!
Just you look at the image of the tobacco plantation and I’m sure you’ll find its beauty impressive but that is the stuff cigarettes are made of and they used to be called coffin nails. Nowadays I’ve heard cigarettes referred to as cancer sticks― they earned that name for a reason; if in doubt check the statistics.
"With more deaths to its name than all the illicit narcotics put together, there can be no doubt that tobacco is the most dangerous drug in the world" The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Substances.
Even if you do not indulge in the nicotine habit you need to read this; that way you will possess the ammunition to convince your friends to quit as well as proving to yourself that you never want to start.
Luckily all the bad publicity this age-old habit has received during the last decade has had an effect on populations in many areas of the world. Finally governments have stepped in by banning smoking in many public places, a protective move that has prevented innocent non-smokers from suffering contamination from others smoke. Smoking is increasingly perceived as a dirty and unsociable habit as well as an unhealthy one and a cigarette is no longer the cool accessory it was once seen to be. Unfortunately some youngsters still get hooked, and having drawn in a lungful of smoke, find it impossible to avoid being reeled in.
Tobacco smoking―past to present
If we look at the history of tobacco there is evidence that the plant tobacco was growing 2.5 million years ago. There is even evidence that 18,000 years ago tobacco was used by migrant Asians on reaching the Americas. Certainly for the last 5000 years tobacco has been cultivated and consumed. Three ways in which humans have enjoyed tobacco are chewing, inhaling it in a powdered form, or smoking. Smoking was not just a pleasant habit though; it has other uses too and has been used against lice, as an insecticide when burned in fields and even as an analgesic or antiseptic. Tobacco has had many spiritual and ceremonial uses for cleansing, healing, as part of boys’ manhood rites of passage rituals and even to increase fertility.
In the more recent past―the last 500 years or so―tobacco usage has spread throughout the world. Columbus recorded that on his arrival in the New World they were offered gifts among which were certain fragrant leaves. It was claimed that two of Columbus’s crew studied the way in which the indigenous population used tobacco. In fact it was sailors who spread the growth and use of tobacco through planting and nurturing the plant. In The Mighty Leaf; Tobacco through the Centuries, Jerome Edmund Brooks writes how the Portuguese planted small farms along sea routes and used it for personal use as well as for bartering. Gradually smoking became a popular pastime and remained so over the centuries. It is only recently that it has become known as a killer and earned an evil reputation.
The No Smoking Rule
Do you agree with the ban on smoking in public places?
Regulation of Smoking
Tobacco smoke contains nicotine, which is a poisonous alkaloid, as well as approximately 4000 other harmful substances which are inhaled with the smoke. Among these substances are such ugly names as carbon monoxide, ammonia, prussic acid, and tars. As far back as 1971 television advertisements of smoking were banned and during the 1980s warnings became a big part of print packaging and advertising. Since then airlines and in some countries other forms of public transport have become smoke free. Now in many countries internationally it is forbidden to smoke in public places. According to World Health Organization nineteen countries have now banned the advertising of cigarettes. Many countries have organized campaigns to encourage addicts to stop smoking and there is proof that they are working.
This is an effort to protect non smokers from passive smoke, prevent youngsters and children from witnessing the habit and copying it as they grow up, and protect the health of the smoker, hoping to discourage him by making it more difficult to smoke.
Legal battles have been fought and won against the tobacco industry in the United States. These cases have been brought by individuals and by states, further bringing the dangers of smoking to public notice.
Although most of the major religions state it differently they all seem to discourage the nicotine habit. It is not one of the Ten Commandments but there is now a move in Judaism towards condemning tobacco usage. The bible states "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body," (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
Although the Quran does not specifically refer to smoking as haram there are several ayas that indicate that usage of such substances as tobacco are against Islamic conduct:"...make not your own hands contribute to your destruction..." (Qur'an 2:195); “…but spend not wastefully (your wealth) in the manner of a spendthrift. Verily spendthrifts are brothers of the devils…”(Qur’an 17:26-27); and “...he [the Prophet] commands them what is just, and forbids them what is evil; he allows them as lawful what is good, and prohibits them from what is bad..." (Qur'an 7:157), are among the words most quoted.
Hindus consider habits which are harmful, such as the consumption of tobacco, to be immoral, "From purity of food follows the purity of the internal organ," (Chandogya Upanishad, vii.26.2),and from my megre understanding of the Buddhist religion it seems to me that Buddhists are on a quest for purity of body, mind and spirit which abhors harming themselves or others.
What does it take to stop smoking?
There are many aids to assist you in this, varying from hypnotism and acupuncture to nicotine patches and fake cigarettes, but I think everyone agrees that basically it comes down to motivation and the motivation must come from within. There are many tips that I can give which will help you quit; these are props, distractions and aids, but even with all the help you can get there is really only one person who can make you stop smoking and that is yourself, you are the person who will benefit the most. If you feel that you really are motivated then here is a list of the benefits you get from quitting the deadly habit. I suggest you print them out and stick them on your fridge!
Benefits of Quitting
·High self esteem
·Ability to look your kids in the eye
·Skin that looks alive
·Greater energy level
·Fewer health fears for the future (cancer, heart etc.)
Do you ever wonder about the physical change that takes place in your body when you give up smoking?
You have been smoking for most of your adult life so will it make much difference when you quit?
- Blood pressure and pulse improve after about twenty minutes.
- After eight hours―one third of a day―nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in the body are halved and oxygen levels in the blood return to normal.
- Just one day after your last cigarette the carbon monoxide has been completely eliminated from your body and your lungs have begun to restore themselves by cleaning out accumulated tar. The chance of your having a heart attack has already decreased.
- Two days have now passed and you are nicotine free. Probably, by now, you are discovering fresher tastes and smells!
- Three days now and you will suddenly notice that it’s getting easier to climb the stairs, pick up toys and any other tasks which usually leave you breathless. That’s because your breathing has improved due to the relaxation of your bronchial tubes. Now is the time you might even begin thinking of taking up a physical activity, joining the gym, buying a bike or some blades with the money you are saving from giving up cigarettes and having some fun.
- During your first year as a non-smoker your risk of suffering coronary heart disease is half that it was as a smoker, your lungs have improved with the regrowth of cilia leading to a greater ability to handle mucous, clean the lungs and combat infection. Furthermore excessive shortness of breath is a thing of the past while sinus congestion has decreased.
- Let’s leap forward to the next five to fifteen years. During that time lung cancer death rate for a pack a day smoker will halve and then equal that of someone who has never smoked. Risk of other cancers such as mouth, throat, esophagus bladder, kidney and pancreas decreases and precancerous cells have been replaced. Risk of coronary disease is the same as that of a non-smoker.
- One last point to add: each cigarette smoked shortens your lifespan by approximately one year.
Negative thinking about quitting smoking
OK, what I’m saying is positive but you’ve heard that there are a lot of negative physical affects out there just waiting to pounce! It’s true there are but they are relatively short lived and not worth mentioning when set against this long list of benefits. Cigarettes are responsible for approximately 130,000 deaths from cancer, 170,000 deaths from heart disease and 50,000 deaths from lung disease every year. Personally I think it is worth putting up with a slight cough for a few days while your lungs do a vast spring clean. If you notice your skin’s a bit patchy for a while just remember that all those blemishes are simply your body detoxing and soon you will find clear eyes and fresh healthy looking skin the norm. For a small amount of time you may have to put up with a little grogginess but that is not the norm and the increased energy and feeling good about yourself will counteract that. Trust me-I know-I’ve been there! If you want to know more about the withdrawal symptoms and the length of time it might take to recover from them you might find this table enlightening.
Number of People Affected
Up to a month
About fifty percent
Up to a month
About sixty percent
Up to a month
About sixty percent
About 48 hours
About ten percent
About seventy percent
Inability to concentrate
About two weeks
About sixty percent
2 to 3 months
About seventy percent
Aids Can Help You Stop Smoking
There are lots of tips to help you get over quitting and some of them are fun!
For a start you don’t have to do it cold turkey! Plan your attack, consult your doctor, find out about the aids available to you if you need them. There are a huge mix of nicotine patches, gum, sprays, inhalators, sublingual tablets, lozenges and even alternative therapies such as acupuncture, hypnotherapy and meditation.
While researching this article I nipped over to a website which displays letters by quitters to the cigarettes they love. You might like to take a look as well. You could get inspired and it’s a fun way of making an assertion and an ultimatum at the same time.
Don’t underestimate the power of the enemy.
Nicotine is a strong addiction that hits you physically and psychologically. The psychological withdrawal packs a mightier punch than the physical for most of us; that being the case here are some ideas on how to avoid temptation and get the most of the gift of extra time you have given yourself.
- Take up something new; I’m talking about a hobby. This is something simple that you can pick up whenever you get the urge. I took up embroidery, a friend of mine knits, another has a hand-held exercise spring which he keeps in his pocket to clench and unclench, and a fourth uses worry beads-anything that helps you survive those few minutes of craving that assail you for the first 12 months.
- Get up and take shower, do some pressups, walk around the block, paint your nails―anything to take your mind of having a smoke and to release the pressure.
- Snack on foods you would usually reserve for dieting; prepare a load of carrot sticks and cucumbers and take them to work to nibble on or keep them in the fridge if you’re at home all day. That way you’ll have something to chew on when the going gets tough―plus you won’t be able to use the excuse that you’re putting on weight and take up smoking again.
- While choosing the salad option above increase the amount of water you drink. It will help clear out the toxins, prevent the cravings and make you look good!
- Now you’re on track for a healthier lifestyle try walking a little further everyday and take up some form of exercise―statistics show that people who exercise smoke less. You might choose to invest in a treadmill at home or be really adventurous and buy a bicycle or even inline skates to zip around on―remember that now you’ve given up cigarettes you can afford to spoil yourself.
Smoking during pregnancy
With so many things considered unhealthy these days we are all concerned about what we can do to stay fit and keep our kids that way. There is the extra motivation to quit smoking once a woman finds she is pregnant and in fact it is preferable for both partners to quit beforehand if the pregnancy is planned. Somehow people expect it to be easier for a woman to stop smoking when she is pregnant but it is an assumption that is not necessary true and can even be annoying to the expecting mother. If both partners smoke and work together to provide a smoke-free environment for the unborn child the pregnant woman will not feel so hard done by.
It is important to realize that when a woman smokes her baby is, in effect, also smoking. The chemicals that she is inhaling are travelling to the placenta and the growth of the child is affected; this can lead to a low birth weight (approximately 20 percent of low birth weight babies are accredited to the mother smoking. Furthermore, about 14 percent of babies whose mothers smoke are delivered before they come to full term. and a staggering 10 percent of all infant deaths are caused by the same problem. (American Lung Association). Long term, a baby whose mother smoked throughout the pregnancy is likely to have health problems such as colds, lung problems and middle-ear infections
Smoking during pregnancy can cause your baby to have more colds, lung problems, learning disabilities, and physical growth problems. If a mother continues to smoke after the baby is born, the baby may get more colds, coughs, and middle-ear infections. Did you know that secondhand smoke causes death and disease in adults and children who do not smoke? Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), lung ailments, and severe asthma attacks can be the result of kids inhaling secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke contains at least 250 toxic chemicals and at least 50 of those are carcinogens; all the more reason why quitting smoking is the best policy for you and your children. Babies have very small lungs, and smoke from cigarettes makes it harder for them to breathe. This can cause the baby to get bronchitis and pneumonia; they might even suffer learning difficulties. With that in mind it is important that babies do not suffer from smoke pollution prior to birth, or from second, or even third-hand smoke after being born.
Why is all this so important to me? You may well ask. Off and on I smoked for about 35 years. I've quit for years at a time and then been seduced back to cigarettes. Why is this time different? It isn't different; smoking is an addiction and you fight it forever. My advice is to take it one day at a time, just say "no"; I don't say I've given up, I just don't take a cigarette.
Jerome Edmund Brooks, "The Mighty Leaf; Tobacco through the Centuries." Boston, Little, Brown (1952), Gately; Wilbert Sander L. Gilman and Zhou Xun, "Introduction" in Smoke, p. 12, http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/sci/A0861142.html, http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/smoking.html,