Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dangers Of Smoking

Almost everybody knows that smoking is bad for the health. Images of blackened lungs line school hallways and hospital waiting rooms, but despite this people continue to take up smoking. This may have to do with the pervasive romantic image of smoking -- an image that has nothing in common with reality.There are many ways to take tobacco. You can chew it, inhale it through the nose, and smoke it in the form of cigars or cigarettes. No matter how it's taken it is dangerous, but because smoking is the most popular way to consume tobacco it has also received the greatest attention from the medical field and the media.When a smoker inhales a puff of cigarette smoke the large surface area of the lungs allows nicotine to pass into the blood stream almost immediately. It is this nicotine "hit" that smokers crave, but there is a lot more to smoke than just nicotine. In fact, there are more than 4000 chemical substances that make up cigarette smoke and many of them are toxic.Cigarette smoke is composed of 43 carcinogenic substances and more than 400 other toxins that can also be found in wood varnish, nail polish remover, and rat poison. All of these substances accumulate in the body and can cause serious problems to the heart and lungs.Cancer is the most common disease associated with smoking. Smoking is the cause of 90% of lung cancer cases and is related to 30% of all cancer fatalities. Other smoking-related cancers include cancers of the mouth, pancreas, urinary bladder, kidney, stomach, esophagus, and larynx.Besides cancer, smoking is also related to several other diseases of the lungs. Emphysema and bronchitis can be fatal and 75% of all deaths from these diseases are linked to smoking.Smokers have shorter lives than non-smokers. On average, smoking takes 15 years off your life span. This can be explained by the high rate of exposure to toxic substances which are found in cigarette smoke.Smokers also put others at risk. The dangers of breathing in second-hand smoke are well known. Smokers harm their loved ones by exposing them to the smoke they exhale. All sorts of health problems are related to breathing in second-hand smoke. Children are especially susceptible to the dangers of second-hand smoke because their internal organs are still developing. Children exposed to second-hand smoke are more vulnerable to asthma, sudden infant death syndrome, bronchitis, pneumonia, and ear infections.Smoking can also be dangerous for unborn children. Mothers who smoke are more likely to suffer from miscarriages, bleeding and nausea, and babies of smoking mothers have reduced birth weights or may be premature. These babies are more susceptible to sudden infant death syndrome and may also have lifelong health complications due to chest infections and asthma.It is never too late to give up smoking, even those who have smoked for 20 years or more can realize tremendous health benefits from giving up the habit.

Quitting The Habit – How To Choose The Right Method?

Once you have made the decision to quit smoking, you should choose a method to help you overcome the habit. Each method has advantages and disadvantages, so it's a good idea to examine all of them before deciding.No matter which method you choose, it is important to have the support and encouragement of family and friends. You can quit smoking on your own but you are more likely to succeed if you have moral support from the people around you.For most people, the desire to smoke comes in waves. One way to deal with those waves is to pick up the phone and talk to someone who knows that you are trying to quit. This has the dual benefit of offering some distraction as well as getting encouragement in your battle against tobacco.Ways to QuitCold Turkey - If you have a great deal of willpower and a strong desire to quit smoking, you may be able to do it cold turkey. Quitting cold turkey means that you simply stop -- no intermediate steps, just going from your regular habit to no smoking at all.Certain individuals that metabolize nicotine relatively slowly are more likely to succeed by quitting cold turkey. This is because they are not as physically addicted to nicotine as other smokers are. People with a higher dependence on nicotine may find they need to use a nicotine substitute such as patches or gum.Slowly Cutting Down - Rather than quitting cold turkey, some people prefer to gradually reduce the number of cigarettes they smoke each day. In order for this to work you need to have a plan to reduce your smoking by a certain amount each day and a goal for the day when you want to be completely smoke-free.There are many strategies you can use. You could smoke one less cigarette each day; you could delay smoking the first cigarette of the day by a greater amount each day; or you could limit your smoking to a certain number of cigarettes within a three hour period.Nicotine Substitutes - Either of the above methods could be supplemented with the use of a nicotine substitute like gum, spray or patches. This helps reduce the craving for nicotine which is behind the desire to smoke. The brain has become accustomed to regular doses of nicotine so by supplying the nicotine by other means quitting the habit becomes easier.Before using a nicotine substitute consult with your doctor concerning any health risks that may be associated with it. Nicotine substitutes are available in the form of chewing gum, nasal spray, lozenges, inhalators, or tablets that are kept under the tongue. Patches can also be worn on the skin to provide a constant supply of nicotine to the bloodstream throughout the day.Zyban - Zyban is an antidepressant drug that has been proven effective reducing nicotine withdrawal symptoms. It is available by doctor's prescription.Hypnosis - Hypnosis has also been used to help overcome nicotine cravings. It seems to be most effective in those who have a strong desire to quit.Acupuncture - As with hypnosis, acupuncture works best with people who are committed to quitting smoking. Both acupuncture and hypnosis may work by reinforcing the commitment to giving up smoking. There is no evidence that they are any more effective than other methods.

Natural Ways To Stop Smoking

There are many paths to a smoke-free living. You can use aids like patches, gum, or drugs like Zyban to help get over the physical addiction to nicotine. You may decide to quit cold turkey and suffer the withdrawal symptoms, or you may gradually cut down on your cigarette habit.As an alternative to nicotine substitutes, you can treat the challenge of quitting the habit as an opportunity to make changes in your lifestyle for the better. At the end of the process you will not only be a smoke-free, you will have also gained new eating habits and lifestyle changes for healthier living.Making changes to your lifestyle and eating habits is a big challenge, and requires a certain level of dedication. You will find, however, that eating healthier and living healthier also makes it easier to quit smoking. You will also develop strategies for dealing with nicotine withdrawal.Since we are talking about several changes to your style of living, it's a good idea to take at least a week or two off your regular routine to make the changes. If you can take some time off work and get away from your regular schedule you will be exposed to fewer situations which you associate with smoking. You can also take the time to recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.A regular exercise routine is an essential part of healthy living. If you have not exercised previously, build up to it gradually. Rather than starting on an ambitious two-mile jog every morning, begin by going for long walks. As your stamina increases and your health improves you can add more vigorous activities to your exercise routine.Healthy eating is also very important for regaining the health that may have been lost from your smoking habit. Eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits and cut down on fatty meats and foods high in saturated fats like fast food and desserts. Eating good-quality food can help eliminate toxins from the body faster which makes it easier to overcome your nicotine habit.You are likely to experience symptoms from nicotine withdrawal. Nicotine is a powerful drug that affects many parts of the body but particularly the brain. Smokers become accustomed to the regular stimulation that nicotine provides, and may feel sluggish and inattentive when it is deprived. Rather than depending on nicotine substitutes to overcome the symptoms, simply take short naps whenever you feel drained.Another symptom of nicotine withdrawal is irritability. Whenever you feel this way or are craving a cigarette, go for a brisk walk. This helps clear your mind and overcome the desire for nicotine.You may also find that your mouth and throat feel dry or that you develop a cough or postnasal drip. This is caused by the body ridding itself of excess mucus produced because of exposure to smoke. To overcome these symptoms drink plenty of juice and water or suck on lozenges.Cutting down on caffeine should be part of your new healthy lifestyle. There is no need to eliminate caffeine completely, but it is particularly important to avoid it after six pm. Nicotine withdrawal can cause insomnia and you do not want exasperate that by stimulating yourself with too much caffeine.It is important to find natural ways to relax. Many people are tempted to smoke when exposed to stressful situations. It is far healthier to learn relaxation techniques like deep breathing. Nicotine withdrawal may also cause headaches which can be relieved by hot baths or gentle body movements like rolling the head.All of these techniques are extremely helpful in overcoming the cigarette habit but they are also useful for maintaining good health. Make them part of your regular lifestyle and you will feel better, look better, and have a healthier outlook on life.

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