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Why Quit Smoking

Most smokers at some stage have asked the question, why quit smoking? In fact surveys show that 70% of current smokers would like to quit. But how is the smoker thinking about quitting going to tackle the process? This is an important question as there are a bewildering number of quit aids and programs available. But the methods available to help you quit smoking will have to wait for another article. In this article I am specifically concerned with the important question, why quit smoking?

Why Quit Smoking: The List

It's a good idea to make a list of all the reasons why you should quit. It will act as inspiration during the dark times of nicotine cravings. Keep it close by and when the going gets tough take it out and read the contents out loud. What follows is my own personal why quit smoking list. It helped steady my resolve when I was ready to give in to the deadly enemy, nicotine addiction.

Why Quit Smoking: Health

This is the big number one on my why quit smoking list- smoking is hazardous to your health. There is no way of getting round the fact that 50% of smokers will be killed by their deadly habit. The list of diseases directly attributable to smoking is a long one. When we think of cancer and smoking we think of lung cancer. And indeed lung cancer is the big killer of smokers. It is estimated that 1 in 8 long term smokers will develop lung cancer. Lung cancer is a terrible disease and only 5% of those diagnosed will be still around 5 years later. Smoking also increases the risk for mouth cancers and cancers of the food pipe. But it is not just parts of the body in direct contact with the smoke that can develop cancer. Cancer can also occur at remote sites, such as the bladder and pancreas.

The poisonous chemicals and tar present in tobacco smoke directly injure lung tissue. This can lead to a progressive degeneration of the lung, called emphysema. Over time the air sacs in the lung, responsible for oxygen absorption, become destroyed leaving the sufferer gasping to draw breath. There is no cure and the only relief is to stop smoking. Smokers are also at risk of developing heart and vascular disease. The carbon monoxide in smoke causes the blood vessel walls to become 'sticky' thus increasing the possibility of a blood clot resulting in a blockage. Depending on where the blockage occurs, the smoker may suffer a stroke, heart attack, or even gangrene of the limbs. Has this smoking induced list of horrors made you stub out your last cigarette yet? The good news is once you stop smoking the body starts to heal and your relative risk for smoking related diseases starts to steadily decrease.

Why Quit Smoking: The Money

My second item on the why quit smoking list, is money. Quitting is like getting a pay rise and a tax exempt pay rise at that. Within a year you will find that you have saved a tidy sum. Sadly, it is often those that can least afford the habit that continue to smoke. Nevertheless, no matter what your financial status, smoking is becoming an increasing expensive pastime due to government tax hikes.

Why Quit Smoking: Social Pariah

The third thing to be considered on my why quit smoking list is the social consequences. I don't know if you have noticed but not that many people smoke these days; it has become a minority habit with just over 20% of the adult population being classified as smokers, at least in the developed world. Everyone is aware of the dangers of second hand smoke and are jealous about guarding their own and children's health. Smokers are no longer tolerated in the workplace, restaurant and bar; just about every public area is off limits to smokers. Bans are even being implemented in municipal areas, such as parks.

Why Quit Smoking: Because You Smell

It's really no fun being a smoker these days, which brings me to the fourth item on my why quit smoking list. I'll state the obvious: smokers stink. You can usually smell that someone is a smoker. Even if you can't smell it on their breath you can smell the distinctive pungent odour on their clothes and even on their hair. I suspect that few smokers really appreciate how bad they smell, or perhaps they don't care. As a smoker you are a drug addict and personal hygiene will always come second place to the addiction.

Why Quit Smoking: The Bits I've Left Out

The final item, or items, on my quit smoking list is a mixed collection that don't neatly fit into the other categories. Well to be honest I could have placed the following in the 'health category' but for no particular reason they've ended up in the 'odds and sods' section on my list. This one's for the men in the audience: It's official; smoking causes impotence resulting in the inability to obtain or sustain an erection. And sexual and reproductive problems are not just confined to men. Women may experience decreased fertility and therefore have difficulty in conceiving. So, I've come to the final point of my personal why quit smoking list: Smoking damages the collagen in your skin. What this means in practical terms is that the toxins present in tobacco smoke damage the elastic fibres in the skin causing premature wrinkles. Doctors have for some time been able to recognise a characteristic 'smokers face'. Apart from the sallow complexion, regular smokers can be recognised by their 'pucker mouths' and the deeply etched lines around the eyes.

So that's my particular why quit smoking list. Yours may differ to some extent but I'm sure that the main items of health and money will feature somewhere. Anyway, the best of luck with your own list. And in all the excitement don't forget to quit smoking- even if it takes more than one attempt.

By: George Davis

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