The Dangers of Smoking
For a long time, smoking has been recognised as a hazardous habit that grips people worldwide. Regardless of the dangers and facts, billions of individuals continue to succumb to addiction, despite being aware of the severe health risks they face. Join us for our October blog, where we explore the real dangers of smoking, the debilitating health issues it can cause, and the life-enhancing benefits that follow quitting. Start your transformative journey here as we champion the path to a smoke-free future.
The Risks of Smoking
We all know smoking poses a grave risk to our well-being. Numerous carcinogens, including nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide, and thousands of other hazardous compounds are found in cigarettes. The poisonous concoction damages the body, leading to various life-threatening conditions. Smoking has a strong association with respiratory infections, heart problems, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cancer. Furthermore, it causes harm to most organs in the body, resulting in infertility, premature ageing and a compromised immune system.
Health Conditions & Risks
Smoking has a negative impact on our health that cannot be exaggerated. Let's discuss some of the significant health issues and dangers connected to this habit:
· Lung Cancer: Nearly 85% of lung cancer cases can be attributed to smoking as the primary cause. The toxic chemicals inhaled cause the smoker’s lung tissue to become damaged and this can lead to the rapid growth of irregular cells.
· Respiratory Diseases: Emphysema and chronic bronchitis, both types of COPD, are directly attributed to smoking. These illnesses result in recurrent coughing, breathlessness, and permanent lung damage.
· Cardiovascular Disease: The carcinogens in cigarettes result in artery hardening, elevated blood pressure, and decreased blood flow. The risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular issues is increased as a result.
· Cancer Risk: Smoking doesn’t only increase your risk of lung cancer but also cancer of the kidney, stomach, pancreas, bladder, cervix, mouth, throat, and oesophageal cancer.
The perks of Quitting:
Despite the overwhelming risks linked to smoking, it's never too late to quit, break free from addiction and take back control. The benefits of stubbing out cigarettes begin almost immediately and continue to develop the longer you remain smoke-free.
Let’s take a look at a timeline of the benefits you will experience after kicking the habit:
· 20 minutes: Your heart rate and blood pressure start to normalise 20 minutes after you quit smoking, increasing circulation and lowering your risk of heart-related problems.
· 8 hours: The hazardous carbon monoxide level in your blood will have decreased by half while your oxygen levels are recovering.
· 48 Hours: Your body starts to purge itself of carbon monoxide, and your oxygen levels begin to stabilise, resulting in easier breathing and increased lung function.
·72 hours: Your bronchial tubes have begun to relax and you will find that breathing is becoming easier. Additionally, you'll have more energy.
· 1 Month: As lung capacity improves, coughing and shortness of breath decrease. Your general fitness levels improve, and your energy levels increase.
· 1 Year: When compared to a smoker's risk, your risk of coronary heart disease is reduced by half and as your lung health continues to improve, the risk of developing respiratory illnesses is reduced.
· 10 Years: When compared to someone who smokes, your risk of developing lung cancer is reduced by about 50%. The risk of developing other cancers linked to smoking is also reduced.
· There are multiple benefits for your oral health when you stop smoking, a whiter smile, healthier gums and a decreased risk of oral cancer,
· On average a pack of 20 cigarettes costs about £12 in the UK. If you smoked a pack a day, when quitting you would save £84 per week, £364 per month, and £4,380 a year
· Your body starts to go through a detoxification process after quitting, expelling the chemicals and toxins that have accumulated from smoking. The residual smell of tobacco is diminished throughout this cleansing process, which affects your breath, skin, and hair.
· You will gradually develop a better sense of taste and smell.
The side effects
As your body adjusts to a life without nicotine, you are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms when you quit smoking. The severity and duration of these symptoms will differ between individuals.
Withdrawal symptoms include but are not limited to:
· Nicotine cravings: When you quit smoking, cravings for cigarettes are usually the worst during the first few days and then they progressively decrease. However, some people report cravings can persist for several months, but the severity diminishes the longer you remain smoke-free.
· Mood and irritability: You may experience mood swings and be more irritable during the first week of quitting. This may last a few months before your mood improves as your body adjusts to a nicotine-free lifestyle.
· Weariness and attention issue: It is normal to feel fatigued and experience issues when trying to concentrate in the first few weeks of quitting. But these symptoms subside and your energy levels return to normal as your body begins to recover and acclimatise to being nicotine-free.
· Anxiety and restlessness: In the first few weeks and months of quitting you may suffer from anxiety and struggle to rest. Meditation and deep breathing strategies can help to relieve these symptoms.
· Hunger and weight gain: Some people report increased appetite when they quit smoking. Nicotine can act as a hunger suppressant, so when you stop smoking, this may lead to the consumption of more food. This can be combated by making smart food choices and opting to eat low-calorie healthy options, as well as exercising more often.
If you think you may struggle with your withdrawal symptoms or may need support, visit your local Whitworth Pharmacy today!
This Stoptober Take Back Control:
Stoptober is a national campaign held every year in the UK, this 28-day challenge provides support and guidance for those looking to quit smoking for good! Take part and sign up today to get access to resources, guidance, and a community of like-minded quitters.
To take part in Stoptober, visit the campaign website here: https://thestoptober.co.uk/ and register your commitment to stubbing out the cigarettes for a smoke-free future.
Break free from the clutches of smoking and embrace a healthier life!
If you would like further support or information on how to quit smoking for good, visit our online store here for stop-smoking aids or visit us in the pharmacy and ask our friendly team about our NHS-funded Stop smoking clinic!
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