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Cigarette smoking is not that bad…right?
April 24, 2014
By Kin Wai Wu, MSPT
Well, you probably know the answer. Of course smoking is bad for you. There are countless researches of the adverse effect on cigarette smoking. Just to name a few, cancer (not just lung cancer), heart disease and stroke. I am going to give you some fact about that “toxic stick”. After reading this blog, it’s up to you to quit smoking or not.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are approximately 4000 chemical components found in cigarettes and at least 250 of them are harmful to human health. There are few examples of those toxins: (From American Heart Association)
Nicotine- a dangerous and a highly addictive chemical. It increases blood pressure, heart rate, blood flow and a narrowing of the arteries (blood vessel). Nicotine could also harden arterial walls, which may lead to a heart attack.
1,3-Butadine- a chemical used to manufacture rubber. it may increase risk of cancer in the stomach, blood and lymphatic system.Acrolein- a gas linked to lung cancer. It inhibits DNA repair and can destroy the lining in the lungs that protects you from lung disease.
Arsenic- It used to preserve wood. In humans, it can cause heart disease and cancer.
Benzene- It used to manufacture other chemicals. It can cause cancer, particularly leukemia, in humans.Cadmium- a metal used to make batteries.
Cadmium can interfere with the repair of damaged DNA, as well as damage the kidneys and the lining of the arteries.
Chromium VI- It used to make alloy metals, paint and dyes. It has been proven to be linked to lung cancer.
Formaldehyde- a chemical used to kill bacteria and preserve human and animal remains. It’s a known cause of cancer, one of the main substances linked to chronic lung disease and a very toxic ingredient in secondhand smoke.
Polonium-210- a radioactive element inhaled directly into the airway. Some studies show that people who smoke a pack-and-a-half of cigarettes a day are receiving the same radiation they’d get from 300-plus X-rays per year!
Tar- a solid, inhaled chemicals linked with an increased risk for cancer. It also leaves a sticky, brown residue on your lungs, teeth and fingernails.
Carbon monoxide- a harmful gas you inhale when you smoke. Once in your lungs, it binds to your red blood cell and then transfer to your bloodstream. Because of the binding, it decreases the amount of oxygen that is carried in the red blood cells. It also increases the amount of cholesterol that is deposited into the inner lining of the arteries which, over time, can cause the arteries to harden. This leads to heart disease, artery disease and possibly heart attack.
Environmental tobacco smoke (second hand smoke):
It’s a common sense that smokers are not the only ones affected by tobacco smoke. Secondhand smoke is a serious health hazard for nonsmokers, especially children. Environmental tobacco smoke causes about 46,000 heart disease deaths and 3,400 lung cancer deaths. Some research studies show that people who exposed to secondhand smoke environment are 25-30 percent higher to develop heart disease. Secondhand smoke also promotes other illness. Children of smokers have many more respiratory infections than do children of nonsmokers. Nonsmoking women exposed to tobacco smoke are also more likely to have low-birth weight babies.
How do I quit?
Smoking is a highly addicted behavior because nicotine has the “feel good” effect on the brain. Ask yourself if you are associating smoking with things like stress and anxiety. You need to know what trigger your smoking habit before you could kill it.
There is no specific protocol to quit smoking. However, you will need a strategic plan to tackle your addiction. There are serious of question you should ask yourself. Question like when do I feels like to smoke? Am I more like a social smoker? Do I associate smoking with drinking and gambling? Do my friends smoke? How am I treating my body? Do I have any profession help?
After all these questions, you need to set a time line for your quit date. First, make sure not to wait too long (1-2 weeks max) because procrastination could kill a man spirit! Second, you would need some moral support to keep yourself accountable. Tell your family, friends, and co-workers that you are going to quit smoking. Third, you need to remove ALL of your cigarettes from home, work place and car. If you can’t find it, you can’t smoke it. Also, try to avoid places like casino and bar. The lesser of the cigarette exposures, the better the odd you succeed. Lastly, talk to your doctor about quitting. Your doctor could prescribe some medication to help with withdrawal.
The journey of getting “clean” is not going to be easy. It could be one of the toughies things you do in your life. You need to set your mind right to prepare for the worst. Sometime, you need to distract yourself from your addiction. Pick up a new habit, or hang out in a coffee shop with your friends could get your mind off smoking. Make your goals visible all over your house. Trust me; you will need lots of reminder from time to time. Last but not least, celebrate all victory. The money you save from buy cigarettes, you could buy whatever you want (not exactly)! A pair of new shoes, a nice dinner, a new haircut.
But, what happen if I don’t make it?
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”- Winston Churchill. The truth is that you probably will slip and fall short again. By hey, it’s the human nature. You will reach your goal if you don’t give up! It is imperative to have a support group (family, friends, and medical professional) to give you a boost at your healing journey.