-=Effects and Risks=-
Smoking and Death
Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
- Cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States. This is nearly one in five deaths.
- Smoking causes more deaths each year than the following causes combined:
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- Illegal drug use
- Alcohol use
- Motor vehicle injuries
- Firearm-related incidents
- More than 10 times as many U.S. citizens have died prematurely from cigarette smoking than have died in all the wars fought by the United States during its history.
- Smoking causes about 90% (or 9 out of 10) of all lung cancer deaths in men and women. More women die from lung cancer each year than from breast cancer.
- About 80% (or 8 out of 10) of all deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are caused by smoking.
- Cigarette smoking increases risk for death from all causes in men and women.
- The risk of dying from cigarette smoking has increased over the last 50 years in men and women in the United States.
Smoking and Increased Health Risks
Smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to develop heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer.
- Smoking is estimated to increase the risk—
- For coronary heart disease by 2 to 4 times
- For stroke by 2 to 4 times
- Of men developing lung cancer by 25 times
- Of women developing lung cancer by 25.7 times
- Smoking causes diminished overall health, increased absenteeism from work, and increased health care utilization and cost.
Smoking and Cardiovascular Disease
Smokers are at greater risk for diseases that affect the heart and blood vessels (cardiovascular disease).
- Smoking causes stroke and coronary heart disease, which are among the leading causes of death in the United States.
- Even people who smoke fewer than five cigarettes a day can have early signs of cardiovascular disease.
- Smoking damages blood vessels and can make them thicken and grow narrower. This makes your heart beat faster and your blood pressure go up. Clots can also form.
- A stroke occurs when a clot blocks the blood flow to part of your brain or when a blood vessel in or around your brain bursts.
- Blockages caused by smoking can also reduce blood flow to your legs and skin.
Smoking and Respiratory Disease
Smoking can cause lung disease by damaging your airways and the small air sacs (alveoli) found in your lungs.
- Lung diseases caused by smoking include COPD, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
- Cigarette smoking causes most cases of lung cancer.
- If you have asthma, tobacco smoke can trigger an attack or make an attack worse.
- Smokers are 12 to 13 times more likely to die from COPD than nonsmokers.
Smoking and Cancer
Smoking can cause cancer almost anywhere in your body: (See figure above)
- Blood (acute myeloid leukemia)
- Colon and rectum (colorectal)
- Kidney and ureter
- Oropharynx (includes parts of the throat, tongue, soft palate, and the tonsils)
- Trachea, bronchus, and lung
Smoking also increases the risk of dying from cancer and other diseases in cancer patients and survivors.
If nobody smoked, one of every three cancer deaths in the United States would not happen.
Smoking and Other Health Risks
Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body and affects a person’s overall health.
- Smoking can make it harder for a woman to become pregnant and can affect her baby’s health before and after birth. Smoking increases risks for:
- Preterm (early) delivery
- Stillbirth (death of the baby before birth)
- Low birth weight
- Sudden infant death syndrome (known as SIDS or crib death)
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Orofacial clefts in infants
- Smoking can also affect men’s sperm, which can reduce fertility and also increase risks for birth defects and miscarriage.
- Smoking can affect bone health.
- Women past childbearing years who smoke have weaker bones than women who never smoked, and are at greater risk for broken bones.
- Smoking affects the health of your teeth and gums and can cause tooth loss.
- Smoking can increase your risk for cataracts (clouding of the eye’s lens that makes it hard for you to see) and age-related macular degeneration (damage to a small spot near the center of the retina, the part of the eye needed for central vision).
- Smoking is a cause of type 2 diabetes mellitus and can make it harder to control. The risk of developing diabetes is 30–40% higher for active smokers than nonsmokers.
- Smoking causes general adverse effects on the body, including inflammation and decreased immune function.
- Smoking is a cause of rheumatoid arthritis.
Quitting and Reduced Risks
- Quitting smoking cuts cardiovascular risks. Just 1 year after quitting smoking, your risk for a heart attack drops sharply.
- Within 2 to 5 years after quitting smoking, your risk for stroke could fall to about the same as a nonsmoker’s.
- If you quit smoking, your risks for cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder drop by half within 5 years.
- Ten years after you quit smoking, your risk for lung cancer drops by half.
Make an honest list of all the things you like about smoking.
Draw a line down the center of a piece of paper and write them on one side; on the other side make a list of all the things you dislike, such as how it can interfere with your health, work, family, etc., suggests Daniel Z. Lieberman, M.D., director of the Clinical Psychiatric Research Center at George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Think about the list over time, and make changes. If you are brave enough, get feedback from family and friends about things they don’t like about your use of cigarettes. When the negative side outweighs the positive side, you are ready to quit.
Then make another list of why quitting won’t be easy.
Be thorough, even if the list gets long and discouraging. Here’s the important part: Next to each entry, list one or more options for overcoming that challenge. For instance, one item might be: “Nicotine is an addictive drug.” Your option might be: “Try a nicotine replacement alternative.” Another reason might be: “Smoking helps me deal with stress.” Your option might be: “Take five-minute walks instead.” The more you anticipate the challenges to quitting, and their solutions, the better your chance of success.
Set a quit date
Write a “quit date contract” that includes your signature and that of a supportive witness.
Write all your reasons for quitting on an index card
Here are some to get you started: “My daughter, my granddaughter, my husband, my wife…” You get the idea. Keep it near you at all times.
As you’re getting ready to quit, stop buying cartons of cigarettes
Instead, only buy a pack at a time, and only carry two or three with you at a time (try putting them in an Altoids tin). Eventually you’ll find that when you want a smoke, you won’t have any immediately available. That will slowly wean you down to fewer cigarettes.
Keep a list of when you smoke for a week before quitting.
Also note what you’re doing at the time and how bad the craving is to see if specific times of the day or activities increase your cravings, suggests Gaylene Mooney, chair of the American Association for Respiratory Care’s Subcommittee on Smoking and Tobacco-Related Issues.
Prepare a list of things to do when a craving hits.
Suggestions include: take a walk, drink a glass of water, kiss your partner or child, throw the ball for the dog, play a game, wash the car, clean out a cupboard or closet, have sex, chew a piece of gum, wash your face, brush your teeth, take a nap, get a cup of coffee or tea, practice your deep breathing, light a candle. Make copies of the list and keep one with you at all times so when the craving hits, you can whip out the list and quickly do something from it.
Quit when you’re in a good mood.
Studies find that you’re less likely to be a successful quitter if you quit when you’re depressed or under a great deal of stress.
When your quit date arrives, throw out anything that reminds you of smoking.
That includes all smoking paraphernalia — leftover cigarettes, matches, lighters, ashtrays, cigarette holders, even the lighter in your car.
Put all the money you’re saving on cigarettes in a large glass jar.
You want to physically see how much you’ve been spending. Earmark that money for something you’ve always dreamed of doing, but never thought you could afford, be it a cruise to Alaska or a first-class ticket to visit an old college friend.
Switch to decaf until you’ve been cigarette-free for two months.
Too much caffeine while quitting can cause the jitters.
Think of difficult things you have done in the past.
Ask people who know you well to remind you of challenges you have successfully overcome, says Dr. Lieberman. This will give you the necessary self-confidence to stick with your pledge not to smoke.
Find a healthy snack food you can carry with you.
In place of smoking cigarettes, try sunflower seeds, sugar-free lollipops, or gum, or carrot or celery sticks if you’re concerned about weight gain. You can also switch your cigarette habit for a nut habit, and eat four nuts in their shell for every cigarette you want to smoke. This way, you’re using your hands and your mouth, getting the same physical and oral sensations you get from smoking.
Switch to a cup of herbal tea whenever you usually have a cigarette.
The act of brewing the tea and slowing sipping it as it cools will provide the same stress relief as a hit of nicotine. Or carry cinnamon-flavored toothpicks and suck on one whenever a cig craving hits.
Instead of a cigarette break at work, play a game of solitaire on your computer.
It takes about the same time and is much more fun (although, like cigarettes, it can get addictive). If your company prohibits games like that, find another five-minute diversion: a phone call, a stroll, or eating a piece of fruit outdoors (but not where smokers congregate).
Picture yourself playing tennis.
Or go play tennis. British researchers found volunteers trying to quit smoking were better able to ignore their urges to smoke when they were told to visualize a tennis match.
Create a smoke-free zone.
Don’t allow anyone to use tobacco in your home, car, or even while sitting next to you in a restaurant. Make actual “No Smoking” signs and hang them around your house and in your car.
Post this list in a visible location in your house.
Whenever you’re tempted to light up, take a look at all the ways smoking can damage your health:
- Increases risk of lung, bladder, pancreatic, mouth, esophageal, and other cancers, including leukemia
- Increases risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure
- Increases risk of diabetes
- Reduces levels of folate, low levels of which can increase the risk of heart disease, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease
- Affects mental capacity and memory
- Contributes to thin bones
- Increases likelihood of impotence
- Reduces fertility
- Affects ability to smell and taste
- Results in low-birth-weight, premature babies
- Increases risk of depression in adolescents
- Increases your child’s risk of obesity and diabetes later in life if you smoked while pregnant
- To minimize cravings, change your routine.
Sit in a different chair at breakfast or take a different route to work. If you usually have a drink and cigarette after work, change that to a walk. If you’re used to a smoke with your morning coffee, switch to tea, or stop at Starbucks for a cup of java—the chain is smoke-free.
Swing by the health food store for some Avena sativa (oat) extract.
One study found that, taken at 1 milliliters four times daily, it helped habitual tobacco smokers significantly decrease the number of cigarettes they smoked.
Tell your friends, coworkers, boss, partner, and kids how you feel.
Don’t bottle up your emotions. If something makes you angry, express it instead of smothering it with cigarette smoke. If you’re bored, admit to yourself that you’re bored and find something energetic to do instead of lighting up.
Make an appointment with an acupuncturist.
There’s some evidence that auricular acupuncture (i.e., needles in the ears) curbs cigarette cravings quite successfully, says Ather Ali, N.D., a naturopathic physician completing a National Institutes of Health-sponsored postdoctoral research fellowship at the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center in Derby, Connecticut. You can even do it yourself by taping “seeds” (small beads) onto the acupuncture points and squeezing them whenever cravings arise.
If you relapse, just start again.
You haven’t failed. Some people have to quit as many as eight times before they are successful.
Smoking, second hand smoke, and air pollution are all common causes for lung problems.
Genetics also plays a role in whether serious problems will develop from exposures to these elements. Everyone should be interested in a lung cleanse due to the dirty air pollution that exists in our environment. This isn’t a several week long endeavor either. It actually only takes a few days.
First, there are some things to eliminate from your diet before starting the cleanse. Dairy creates mucous and you want to eliminate that first. The cleanse will be useless if it has to deal with mucous from dairy.
Day one will have you drinking herbal tea before bed as to get rid of toxins in the intestines which cause constipation. You want ease the lung workload as much as possible. You don’t want to force the body to focus on another part, thus not allowing it to focus on purifying the lungs.
Next you’ll want to squeeze a couple of lemons in a cup of water and drink it down before eating in the morning. Either grapefruit juice or pineapple should also be consumed (300 ml) as they contain natural antioxidants which have effects on the ease of breath.
Another drink is carrot juice (300 ml), which is to be taken in between your breakfast and lunch and causes alkalizing to take place in your blood which is important to fight disease.
Potassium rich juices should be had during lunch (400 ml), and at bedtime, cranberry juice should be consumed to top off the cleansing actions.
A hot bath, sauna or steam at the end of the day helps greatly to sweat out much of the toxins. Also, Eucalyptus drops in a bowl of hot water are great for inhaling. Place a towel over your head for best result and you should have a feeling of clarity come over you. Check out this video below to get all the details on this amazing lung cleanse!