If you woke up this morning with the decision to kick the butt for good, it could well be the best thing you could do for a healthier and happier you. While campaigns urging you give up the habit do point to the medical problems you might develop, they don’t talk about the professional, social, and emotional repercussions of being dependent on the nicotine drug. Most addicts need long-term and consistent motivation when quitting smoking for good. And, you’ll need all the support you can get on this difficult road ahead.
Do keep in mind that although the process is tough and nerve-racking, it is definitely doable. With the guidance of your medical practitioner, you can opt for various Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) tools that will help overcome your addiction. Like the experts at Blackout Vapors recommend, consider taking up vaping with increasingly lower doses of nicotine, gums, patches, nasal sprays, tablets, and counseling.
Read ahead for an understanding of how quitting smoking can turn your life around – starting TODAY!
1 - Let’s Talk About the Obvious – Medical Complications
Like every smoker is painfully aware, lighting up will cut back years from his or her life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarettes are the leading cause of deaths in the United States and are entirely preventable. You are 10 times more likely to die of smoking than if you had participated in all the wars ever fought for the country. Get into vehicle and firearms accidents or contract HIV but you’ll still have a lower probability of dying from them together than from smoking.
Is that scary enough for you?
Okay, so let’s understand what that high from nicotine can cost you. It could motivate you stay with that quitting smoking decision.
Effects on Your Heart
Even if you smoke less than 5 cigarettes a day, you stand to develop heart disease. And, with every additional cigarette, that risk rises up quickly. Over 16 million Americans develop heart disease with 8 million having a heart attack at some time in their lives. This figure works out to a shocking one in four or 25% people dying from cardiovascular disease.
Nicotine damages your arteries making them narrower so the heart has to work harder to pump blood. As a result, you develop high blood pressure. Narrower arteries and the buildup on their walls raise the chances of developing blood clots. If the clots cut off supply to your brain and block vessels, they could rupture and you’ll get strokes. Know that close to 7 million Americans get a stroke and over 800,000 die from these heart diseases.
While smoking endangers your life, each time you light up, you risk the lives of the people around you who are inhaling that second-hand smoke. Studies show that 33,000 passive smokers pay the price for the addiction of their loved ones each year. Are you adding to these figures? If you are, it’s time to think about quitting smoking to protect the lives of the people who live with you.
Effects on Your Lungs
The American Lung Association has some scary statistics for you. Cigarette smoke contains more than 7,000 highly toxic chemicals of which 69 are proven to be carcinogenic. These toxins can trigger various kinds of lung damage and cancer is only one of them. Another worrying fact is that of the total number of deaths occurring because of lung cancer, 90% are directly related to smoking. You also have an 80% or 12 to 13 times higher risk of dying from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD), bronchitis, or emphysema if you’re addicted to the cancer stick.
Effects on Other Organs
While your heart and lungs are the most affected organs, know that nicotine results in your developing inflammation and cancerous growths in many other parts of the body. Throat, mouth, colon, stomach, kidney and ureter, liver, pancreas, and bladder are all included in a total of 12 different kinds of cancers. You can lower the risk of developing them simply by making the conscious decision for quitting smoking.
The toxins in cigarettes affect your body in many ways as explained by this feature on the Cancer Research UK website.
- The chemical benzo(a)pyrene affects the behavior of your DNA causing serious damage so they are unable to protect your body from cancer.
- Chromium makes your body cells vulnerable to cancer-causing agents by helping them stick to the DNA.
- Various chemicals interfere with the waste removal system of your body so that it is unable to get rid of the buildup of illness-causing agents.
- Nicotine and other chemicals alter your immune system making it difficult to resist even the most basic pathogens entering your system.
- One of the most common conditions that smokers face is blockages in the arteries that stop or reduce blood supply to the arms and legs. As a result, they may develop a condition called nephropathy where the nerves start to die.
If you’re addicted to nicotine, know that the number of cigarettes you smoke in a day is directly proportional to your risk of getting cancer. The sooner you take steps for quitting smoking; the better are your chances of lowering the damage.
2 – Smoking Could Make It Hard to Have Babies
If you wish to have a fulfilling and happy family life, you may want to begin by quitting smoking. Nicotine addiction can result in serious changes in your genetic makeup and affect the transfer of perfect genes to your children. Both men and women need to prepare for fertility issues if they smoke. Men may develop a low sperm count and erectile dysfunction because of inadequate blood supply. When smoking women have babies, the infants may arrive with several birth defects only one of which is the cleft palate syndrome. Still births, low birth weights, premature deliveries, and ectopic pregnancies are only some of the other issues you may deal with.
3 – Smoking Makes You Age Faster
Your looks could possibly one of the best reasons for quitting smoking. Each time you light up, the nicotine and smoke damages the layer of collagen and elastin under your skin making it look saggy. The lowered blood supply to the skin also makes it look ashen with a gray appearance while your eyes may take on a puffed-up look with under eye bags that are totally unattractive. It is not uncommon for smokers to look at least 10 to 15 years older than they actually are thanks to the skin around the eyes and mouth having creases and wrinkles. Add to that are the yellowing skin, fingernails, and teeth, and other skin ailments as explained by this feature on VeryWellMind.
Do you still want to reach for the tobacco stick?
4 – Smoking Affects Your Quality of Life
While nicotine does act like a stress-buster and gives you a high, it takes away from the overall quality of your life. And, that’s a fact verified by studies conducted at the National Center for Biotechnology Information. You'll likely feel exhausted from even the smallest activity and have trouble breathing. The chemicals from cigarettes affect the air sacs and tissues of your lungs which makes taking deep breaths painful. You may also become more prone to colds and have a nagging cough with heavy phlegm that just won’t go away. Further, the inability to sense aromas and taste food are all side effects of your nicotine addiction. If you’re constantly dry-mouthed and thirsty, it’s definitely time to take the first steps toward quitting smoking.
5 – Smoking Makes You Push Away Family and Friends
When you’re dependent on cigarettes for your emotional well-being, you might find that you’re distancing family and friends. A journal published on ScienceDaily reveals how the habit can change your personality completely. The unease, cravings, and a constant sense of inadequacy alienate the people who love you.
Can you recognize these symptoms?
- The minor withdrawal symptoms that you experience all through the day make you irritable and snap at everyone you interact with.
- You're taking breaks in the middle of family time to step outside.
- You're constantly looking for designated areas where you can smoke while your partner waits patiently.
- You take midnight trips to the gas station or other stores to buy cigarettes.
- You live in the dread that you could run out of a stock so you hoard.
- You display trembling hands and fingertips.
- Your loved ones have to make excuses for your behavior all the time.
- You plan dinners, excursions, and vacations around adequate opportunities to get your fix.
- You feel ashamed when people look at you with disdain when you’re puffing away.
- If these signs sound familiar and you’ve been feeling disconnected from your loved ones for a while, know that quitting smoking is highly essential if you want to have people in your life.
If these signs sound familiar and you’ve been feeling disconnected from your loved ones for a while, know that quitting smoking is highly essential if you want to have people in your life.
6 – Smoking Makes Your Career Take a Backseat
If you’ve been sensing low stamina levels and the inability to perform on the job, know that your nicotine dependence could be responsible. Puffing away on the cancer stick lowers levels of oxygen in your body because of which you feel tired and anxious with low energy levels. Trying to balance your habit with a successful career can be challenging when you can’t speak complete sentences without coughing and lack the motivation to work. The time you should be spending on completing tasks is often wasted in the smoking area of the building leading to delays in projects.
Check out this feature on CBSNews that talks about how nicotine addicts may find it harder to get hired and remain employed as compared to non-smokers. Studies have also shown that on an average, non-smokers earn around 8% higher salaries and have more robust resumes. On the other hand, your nicotine habit can cost you lost work days and salary cuts because of related illnesses. Think about how quitting smoking could help you reach new heights of success in your career.
7 – Smoking is an Expensive Habit
Although the average cost of a pack of cigarettes may vary from state to state, Americans can expect to pay $6.28 per pack. If you smoke a pack a day, you’ll spend a total of $188 per month which translates into $2,292 per year. Fuel your habit more and go up to 2 or 3 packs a day, and your wallet will be lighter by $4,022 to $6,033. You may be surprised to know that New York has the highest costs and residents pay a shocking $10.58 per pack as the folks on The Balance reveal.
Aside from the cost to your wallet, you may also want to prepare to pay higher health insurance premiums. Companies providing coverage to smokers are legally permitted to charge up to 50% higher premiums. Though, at the same time, the insurance agency will also provide programs that help you in quitting smoking.
8 – Smokers Live in Unhealthy Conditions
Nicotine addicts will probably not realize the squalor of their living conditions. Once you succeed in quitting smoking, you may realize what a mess you made of your living conditions and how family members put up with it. Regular smokers can’t detect the after smell of cigarettes that hangs in the air around them, in their cars, furniture, and homes. Their clothes and hair reek, and non-smokers can identify a smoker entering the room instantly. Ashes, cigarette butts, loose tobacco, and burn marks everywhere are only some of the annoyances the people around you put up with. You could also find it hard to stay married with at least 53% of couples divorcing because of the nicotine habit of their partners. And, that’s a fact verified by the statistics at LiveAbout.
Quitting smoking is more than just about health issues. You'll find that kicking the habit changes your life in more ways you could have imagined. You'll have stronger relationships, more friends, and a successful career with more earnings and savings, and a much happier future. Are those reasons good enough to kill that habit?
Dr. CHRISTIAN-JEVON BRAMWELL MD
Christian Bramwell, MD uses his own weight loss story as teaching for people struggling with their own weight through blogging, teaching, and writing. His mission in life is to promote health and education, that is why he has chosen to be a family physician and found his own nonprofit Project RAK based on education and empowerment.
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