The harmful effects of smoking and the benefits of quitting it

Every smoker is aware, of the harm smoking does to the body. But they choose to smoke for the sake of stress relief, pleasure, or in social situations despite the negative health consequences. Studies reveal that,in a year,only 6 percent of the compulsive smokers who try hard to quit smoking,  are successful in quitting smoking. Though there are lot of alternatives that help people quit smoking, many of them are unable to do so since they  have a compulsive drug seeking behavior that doesn’t seem to abate.

The main reason for this addiction is the presence of nicotine in cigarette and other forms of tobacco. Nicotine primarily affects the brain, which is the control box of your entire body along with the other parts of the body. Whenever you smoke, nicotine reaches the brain within 10 seconds of entering the body and causes the brain to release a hormone called Adrenaline – a rush hormone that creates a buzz of pleasure and energy in your body. This short lived buzz that smoking creates is what people enjoy, especially when stressed or when depressed and it makes them smoke again and again. The belief is that it alleviates the mood and helps improve the concentration. However, it has more ill effects than just this one benefit that will damage the body to such an extent that it might be difficult to reverse it beyond a point.

How does smoking affect the body

No matter in what form you consume, tobacco is dangerous to your health. It affects almost every part of your body and causes a variety of ongoing complications and long-term effects on your body.

The long term effects of smoking include the following:

• Poor vision
• Sense of taste and smell
• Unhealthy teeth
• Immune system
• Persistent coughing
• Lung cancer
• Heart disease
• High cholesterol
• Increased clotting of blood
• Decreased functioning of the immune system
• Mood instability
• Irritability
• Depression
• Infertility & erectile dysfunction
• Problems with pregnancy and the new born

how smoking affects the body

Image source:Hillbrokedental.com

Apart from damaging the internal organs, smoking also causes an overall dull outer appearance. It speeds up skin aging, making smokers more prone to wrinkles on their face and body and damages skin in other ways that affect one’s appearance and puts smoker’s lives at risk.

Quit Smoking. Why?

Even though quitting can be a challenge, the benefits on your physical and mental health are worth it. You will be surprised with the positive changes your body experiences within just 10 days of quitting smoking.

Addiction cycle gets broken

Many nicotine receptors in the brain will return to normal within one month of quitting smoking, thus breaking the cycle of addiction.

Blood Circulation gets better

Within 2- 12 weeks of stopping to smoke, your blood circulation improves, making physical activity lot easier and lowering the risk of a heart attack.

Taste and Smell Improves

Smoking damages nerve endings in your nose and mouth, dulling your senses of taste and smell. Within just 48 hours of quitting, the nerve endings begin to grow, and your sense of taste and smell begin to improve.

A boost to your immune system

Quitting smoking improves circulation, increases oxygen levels, and lowers inflammation — all of which give your immune system a boost, so it’s easier to fight off colds and other illnesses.

Cleaner teeth and mouth

Smoking yellows your teeth, causes bad breath, and increases your risk of oral infections. Within a week of quitting, you’ll begin to see and feel a difference in your mouth.

Fertility problems averted

Smoking can harm your sex life. It increases the risk of erectile dysfunction in men and contributes to female sexual dysfunction by reducing genital lubrication and orgasm frequency.

Lower risk of cancer

Once you stop smoking, the risk of cancer (especially lung cancer) is lowered by a considerable amount.

Steps to help quit smoking

1. Prepare yourself

Nothing is impossible if you put your heart and soul to it, is a famous saying. Prepare yourself psychologically, to say that you will, and you can quit smoking. Think of the numerous benefits that you would have if you quit smoking. Identify real reasons that can help you stick to your plan and hold yourself accountable.

2. Get a Buddy

Partner up with someone else who wants to quit and support one another. Set up buddy goals and support each other towards quitting smoking.

3. Get Counseling

If you aren’t able to quit smoking by yourself, get help from a professional counselor to get yourself diverted from the habit.

4. Find Nicotine Replacements/ Use Prescription Smoking Cessation Aids

Nicotine replacements have proved time and again to increase the likelihood for success. Nicotine gum, lozenges, patches, sprays, and even lip balms can help curb your cigarette cravings and offer distractions from the oral fixation that comes with smoking.

5.Alternate therapies

Some therapies address the mental and physical habits you have developed around cigarettes. These therapies include:

• hypnosis
• acupuncture
• meditation

6. E-cigarettes

Some people believe that e-cigarettes can help them quit smoking tobacco. Researchers are testing whether this may be true. However, nicotine patches and many other FDA-approved quit aids are available now to help people quit smoking.

Takeaway

Smoking kills and there’s no hope of life beyond it. Though it’s quite hard, there’s quite a benefit in quitting in every bit of it. Don’t look elsewhere, your will power is enough and is the ultimate solution to help you quit smoking.

You can work with your doctor or a medical professional to find the right plan to quit smoking. It’s time to stop smoking now.

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