Smoking is linked to more deaths than any other disease in the world. When a "drag" from the cigarette is taken, toxins are immediately absorbed through oral mucosa then headed directly to into the bloodstream. Inhaled cigarette smoke goes to the lungs where it displaces the oxygen molecule and leaves residue behind. This smoke is made up of 4,000 chemicals including cyanide, benzene, ammonia and carbon monoxide. These toxins in turn deprive cells the much needed oxygen to nourish, maintain and grow new cells. Smoking harms nearly every organ of your body and diminishes your overall health.
Here are some reasons smokers have given me for why they smoke.
"I know of a guy who smoked for 50 years and they never had a health issue." My response: How do you know what their health status is? Are you a doctor? Are you in the medical exam room with the person? This does not mean you will be as lucky. And what does that person's choice have to do with your life?
"Smoking helps me cope, it's a habit." Response: Learn healthy ways of coping. When your routine calls for a cigarette, do something different. Go for a walk. Take up a hobby. Meditate. Read.
"I'm not ready to quite." "I will quite the first of the month." Response: Why procrastinate? Quit now. What is so special about the first of the month? Each cigarette you smoke you are increasing risk of cardiovascular and respiratory events. Stroke, high blood pressure, heart attack, asthma, chronic bronchitis, respiratory disease. The first of the month sounds like fun! In all essence, your not serious about quitting smoking your just buying 30 more days of your love with smoking. And when the first of the month arrives, so does another excuse and another scratch of the match.
"Smoking keeps weight off." FACT: No it does not. You are not eating as much because your sense of taste is dulled. Your taste buds are layered with tobacco resin.
"I smoke to be social." Response: You are caving in to peer pressure. Try this. Be courageous and not follow what everyone does. You can be social just by being there.
"I have an addictive personality." "I have stress in my life ." Response: Everyone has stress in his/her life. No one is stress free. We learn healthy ways to cope with the stress in our lives. By adding smoking to the mix of an already stressed internal body environment, only makes the effects of smoking worse. Go for therapy.
People living with mental illness have a higher rate of smoking than those without mental illness. If you are taking anti-depressants, this enough should make you want to quit. Speak with your mental health professional about the effects of smoking and taking MAO inhibitors.
"Smoking makes me feel good." Response: Smoking releases "feel good hormones" because you are doing something that you believe makes you feel good. The harsh reality is these "feel good" hormones are causing harm. Your body has become physiologically addicted to nicotine.
This addiction will cause fatigue and illness.
"I'm having money problems. Smoking helps me cope." Response: Again. Learn new coping skills. If money is tight and the health effects of smoking don't interest you, then stop misappropriating funds. Simple economics dictates if your financially strapped, re-allocate funds to the necessities in life. Learn to make your dollar work and spend wisely. If you are a pack a day smoker of an off-brand cigarette, your monthly cost is approximately $166.00. Double that for more than one pack a day. Branded cigarettes are costing you $224.00. Double that respectively for more than 1 pack a day. If you quite smoking, you will soon see the hundred dollar bills. Economics 101!
"I'm going to die anyway, so why should I quit." "Smoking is not the reason I'm on oxygen and take steroids to help me breath. Having a smoke helps me." Response: True. You are going to die. So why quicken it? What is it about a healthy lifestyle that turns you off? On what scientific rationale eluded you to this conclusion?
Bottom line, you must want to quit. Anything else is just an excuse to keep smoking. Switching to a smokeless or chew product will not eliminate your
risk of smoking-related diseases. There is no safe tobacco product. You have a choice. Only you can make it happen. Playing the blame game fools yourself. Not those around you. To those around you, you look the fool.
With all the literature on the side effects of smoking available, common sense tells you to quite smoking. This information is easily found at your fingertips, in front of your eyes and spoken from your doctor.
Be informed. Be educated. Be smart.
Take the first step to a smoke free life. Call your doctor, visit www.nami.org and www.who.int Only you are in control of your life.
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN