Nobody needs a definition to what smoking is. It is one of the most addictive habits to have and is a serious health hazard.
Did You Know
- Smoking is one of the most common forms of recreational drug use and tobacco smoking is its most popular representation, seen on a global platform.
- According to statistics more than one billion people worldwide smoke. In fact it is said that smoking is rising in developing nations while it is marginally reducing in developed countries.
- Studies show that tobacco use usually begins in early late teens and those who begin smoking at an early age are more likely to develop severe nicotine addiction than those who start later.
- They are the ones who also continue to smoke for at least another 20 years.
- Each day, more than 4,800 adolescents smoke their first cigarette, and roughly 50% of them grow up to become regular smokers.
- Between 80,000 and 100,000 children start smoking every day worldwide and roughly half of them live in Asia.
- Smoking related-diseases kill one in 10 adults globally. If current trends continue, by 2030, smoking will kill one in six people.
- Every eight seconds, someone dies from tobacco use.
- Smoking is on the rise in the developing world but falling in developed nations.
- About 10 million cigarettes are sold daily or 15 billion in a day.
- The global tobacco market is controlled by a few big multinationals -American, British and Japanese corporations.
- There are more than 400,000 deaths in the US alone because of smoking and related illnesses.
- Smoking causes about 87% of cancer in the world and it also is the most common cause for emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
- Cigarettes contain at least 43 distinct cancer-causing chemicals.
- Nicotine is as highly addictive as heroin and cocaine.
- Only 2.5% of smokers successfully quit each year while most try to quit a few times before they are successful.
- The benefits of quitting smoking occur in less than 30 minutes of the last cigarette smoked.
Effect on health
According to the World Health Organization, smoking is the biggest and largest cause of death than any other disease in the world. Everybody knows that cigarette smoking is injurious to health but despite that, smoking is on the rise. The chemical composition of a cigarette is as follows - Nicotine, nicotianine, and tobacco acid or malic acid is common. But Nitric, hydrochloric, sulphuric, phosphoric, citric, acetic, oxalic, pictic, and ulmic acids are also present.
The most potent drug in a cigarette is nicotine though, which is also the main reason behind the addiction. Within 10 seconds of smoking, nicotine reaches the brain and is absorbed by the blood stream and is carried to every part of the body including breast milk. It is also a psychoactive drug which effects and activates ‘pleasure points’ in the brain, which is why smokers feel a sense of calm when they smoke.
- The damage to the body, due to smoking, happens in different ways.
- Carcinogens or cancer causing chemicals in cigarettes cause serious damage to cell growth and regeneration, making them either grow abnormally or replicate too fast.
- The presence of nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarettes, temporarily raises the heart rate and blood pressure, putting a strain on the heart and blood vessels, which can cause heart attack and strokes. Also the carbon monoxide, found in tobacco smoke, gets attached to hemoglobin in red blood cells, preventing affected cells from carrying a full load of oxygen.
- Smoking also affects the body’s immune system. It mutates the DNA, promotes atherosclerosis, and leads to chronic lung injury.
- Smoking also reduces the level of antioxidants in the blood, which is essential in repairing damaged cells.
- Some of the external effects are stained and yellow teeth, nails and fingers, a tendency towards cold and bronchitis, bad breath, tremors, insomnia, skin wrinkles and discoloration of skin, premature aging and even mental depression.
Second hand or Passive smoking
- Passive smoking causes lung cancer in nonsmoking adults
- Babies exposed to secondhand smoke have higher risk of developing allergies.
- Smoking is harmful not just to the smoker, but also family members, coworkers and all others in the vicinity of the smoker.
- Secondhand smoke results in almost 300,000 cases of bronchitis and pneumonia each year, among infants less than 18 months of age.
- Pregnant women who smoke are more likely to have babies whose weights are way below normal. Reports suggest that about 4000 new born babies will not die each year, if the mothers quit smoking.
- Though extensive research is required on the actual affects of secondhand smoking, it is known to increase the risk of breast cancer, nasal sinus cavity cancer in adults while amongst children it can leukemia, Hodgkin’s lymphoma and brain tumors.
Hookah Smoking Many people believe that hookah smoking is safer than smoking cigarettes because the hookah smoke is filtered through water before it is inhaled. But recent studies have shown that hookah smokers actually inhale more nicotine than cigarette smokers because of the increase in the amount of inhaled.
Hookah is essentially a water pipe. When a smoker inhales through the tube of the hookah, a pressure difference forces air past the heating source and heats the tobacco, which gives off smoke. This smoke is pulled away from the tobacco and passes through the water and into the smoke container. This is the smoke that is then inhaled.
According to a recent World Health Organization (WHO) advisory, a typical one-hour session of hookah smoking exposes the user to 100 to 200 times the volume of smoke inhaled from a single cigarette. Even after passing through the water, the tobacco smoke produced still contains high levels of toxic compounds, including carbon monoxide, heavy metals and cancer-causing chemicals or carcinogens. Hookah smoking also delivers significant levels of nicotine.
Hookah smoking is even more dangerous because it is being seen as a fashion statement and a lot of young teens and children are getting used to it.
- Try anti-smoking drugs such as Nikoban, Bantron, Pronicoty but they are not effective for every smoker. Sometimes Vitamin C, B1 and tranquilizers also help to decrease irritability and other withdrawal symptoms.
- Try and change all the force of habit situation such as the urge to smoke after meals or on waking up. After eating don't sit down. Take a walk instead.
- Try to avoid situations that you associate with smoking, such as sitting in a favorite chair, bars and also meeting friends who smoke.
- Sometimes the urge is nothing but boredom or the habit of holding something in one’s hand. Try chewing a gum at that point or even holding a pen. It works.
- When you get that urge to smoke (and you will), drink some water. If that doesn't work, suck a prune and keep the pit in your mouth for an hour.
- Exercise. It has been seen that a number of times the urge to smoke simply passes away if one jumps up and down or runs up and down the stairs.
- Don’t be impatient. Don’t be negative and give yourself time to quit.
- Don’t be harsh on yourself if you trip up and smoke. But neither should you give in and resume smoking. Keep trying till you give up smoking, no matter how often you might relapse
Visit How To Quit Smoking Easily for more tips.
Natural ways to help quit smoking
Acupuncture Therapists maintain that it has proved effective in helping people quit. It involves inserting the pins for about 20 minutes at various points in the ear. There are a number of other procedures also that help people reduce their cravings.
Although the herb St. John's wort is used primarily used for depression, there is some research to show that this herb does help people quit smoking. But tests also show that the effect is temporary. This should, however, be taken under medical supervision for it can interfere with other drugs one is having. It is also not recommended for pregnant or nursing women, children, or people with bipolar disorder, liver or kidney disease.
Another herb that has proved to be effective is Ginseng. Research shows that it prevents nicotine-induced release of the neurotransmitter dopamine. It is often had in the form of herbal tea. The act of brewing the tea and slowly sipping it as it cools normally provides the same stress relief as a hit of nicotine.
Chewing cinnamon flavoured gum is also helpful.
Having about 1 ml of Avena sativa or oat extract, four times a day, did help smokers decrease their number of cigarettes.
Hypno therapists maintain that through hypnosis and psychological suggestions, a person can be influenced to quit smoking.