We all know that smoking is bad for us and that we should not do it. But have you ever really thought about how this very unhealthy habit affects you and what it does to your health?
It is worth remembering that all medications can have unwanted side effects and smoking is no different.
Here are some ‘side effects’ of smoking.
- cancer: It is common to recognize that smoking can cause lung cancer. But, did he know that it also increases the risk of cancer of the lips, tongue, mouth, nose, esophagus, pharynx, throat, pancreas, cervix, vagina, penis and anus. There are also links between smoking and stomach, kidney, liver and blood cancers.
(That should be enough for someone to quit smoking right away! But there is more …)
- diabetes mellitus: Smoking raises blood sugar levels, making it even more difficult to control the high blood sugar levels caused by diabetes. Some of the health complications caused by type 1, or insulin-dependent diabetes, are exacerbated by smoking.
- Circulation: Because when you smoke, your blood carries less oxygen and more plaque, you are more likely to suffer from dangerous blood clots and strokes. Back pain and blockages of the tiny blood vessels in the eyes, ears and other organs can affect you as well. This can lead to poor flow in your hands, feet and limbs, which can cause intense pain, especially during exercise, and can lead to gills and amputation.
- infections: Smoking will damage the lining of your throat and health and weaken your immune system, making it easier for bacteria and viruses to catch your body.
- breathing problems: In the long run, regular smokers are more likely to have emphysema, a disease that causes persistent shortness of breath, as smoking reduces the amount of oxygen that can be carried from the air into your bloodstream. As a smoker you will be more prone to asthma attacks because smoking narrows your airways.
- aging: You will see in old age, because wrinkles will appear around your eyes and mouth earlier and deeper than in a non-smoker. A smoking woman tends to reach menopause a year or two earlier than a non-smoker or ex-smoker because smoking reduces the amount of estrogen in the body, and she is more likely to develop osteoporosis – the weakening of the bones that accompanies aging.
- hearing: You will likely lose your hearing sooner than non-smokers, and will be more susceptible to hearing loss due to ear infections and loud noise. This is because of a decrease in blood flow to the inner ear resulting from the accumulation of plaque on the walls of the blood vessels.
If you are tempted to smoke, or are already smoking, here are some strategies for you the next time you want to light up. I do feel that the “decision” is the most important thing. If you do not make the ‘decision’ to quit, you will never be able to do so.
On the other hand, if you make ‘this decision’, you will make it even though it will not be easy. Once you have made the decision, if you feel the urge to ‘turn on’:
- Stop yourself, drink water, take a deep breath and find something else to do;
- Do try to eat healthier food and exercise more;
- Recognize that social pressures may influence your choice not to smoke;
- Get help and support from family and friends;
- Quitting smoking is a challenge – it will help you believe in yourself;
- Beat this challenge and be prepared to take on other challenges;
- Find new ways to deal with stress and hard feelings;
- Be proud of saying “no thanks”.
I hope this will help you ‘make the decision’ to give up the very unhealthy habit of smoking and experience the benefits of quitting.
The ‘side effects’ of smoking are far worse than the withdrawal symptoms or the ‘side effects’ of stopping treatment.