Without doubts, smoking cigarettes continues to be blamed for major respiratory illnesses. Margaux Salazar’s 100 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD KICK THE HABIT enumerates the types of smoker:
* Fiddler: uses cigarettes to give him/her something to do with his/her hands.
* Nervous Type: uses cigarettes to hide feelings of anger, fear, or frustration (though it never solves any problem).
* Habitual Type: has the unconscious habit of having a cigarette in his/her mouth but gains no real pleasure.
* Pleasure Seeker: tries to create a plus pleasant feeling when driving, eating, etcetera, where he/she can’t find substitutes thereof.
* Real Addict: has physical craving that increases with more cigarettes.
* Pep Craver: tries to use cigarettes as a stimulant to get him/herself going-a “lift”.
Out of 100, Salcedo cited ten reasons why this habit must be (gradually) stopped:
* Every cigarette you smoke takes ten minutes off your life.
* Each cigarette makes fatty deposits stick in your arteries. It disrupts your blood vessels. It leads to high blood pressure.
* It may lead to cancer of the mouth. It may lead to cancer of the larynx which surfaces to the neck and spreads to lymph glands. Most laryngeal cancers begin near the vocal chords, causing hoarseness and other changes in the voice.
* It increases the risk of gum disease and tooth loss thus, damages teeth and causes bad breath. It dries the skin thus, lowers the amount of nutrients for the skin and lessens the protection from skin-damaging agents.
* Tobacco is the world’s leading cause of death, followed by lower respiratory infection and AIDS.
* In the Philippines, ten Filipinos die by the hour of tobacco-related diseases. It is estimated that 20,000 Filipinos die each year due to smoking-related illnesses and this is expected to rise steadily over the next few years.
* A smoker more than 40 years old with one or more of the following: chronic cough, lots of phlegm, and breathlessness may be suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Women with COPD are most likely to die than men.
* It can cause impotence. The other reproductive side effects of smoking include menstrual problems, reduced fertility, and premature menopause. Women smokers have an increased risk of cervical and vulvar cancer. They also have lower fertility rates. Those who use oral contraceptives at the same time are up to 40 times more likely to have a heart attack.
Smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke among pregnant women are a major cause of spontaneous abortions, stillbirths, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). It increases the risk of low-birth weight babies and health and developmental problems.
According to the American Council on Science and Health, smoking during pregnancy has been recognized as the single most important determinant of poor fetal growth in the developed world.
* Women who stop smoking reduce their risk of dying prematurely. Ten to 15 years after quitting, a female ex-smoker’s risk of stroke is almost equal to that of a woman who never smoked.
* Spouses of smokers have an approximately 30 percent increased risk of lung cancer.
Although non-smokers get lung cancer, the risk is about ten times greater for smokers.
Passive smoking is known to cause fetal growth impairment, infant, bronchitis, pneumonia, and middle ear disease in children. Exposure to smoke is responsible for up to 13 percent asthma cases, 13 percent of ear infections, and 20 percent of all lung infection in children under five.
In the first twenty minutes after quitting, the blood pressure returns to normal and circulation improves in hands and feet. After eight hours, the oxygen levels in the blood normalize and chances of heart attack drop. At 24 hours, carbon dioxide is eliminated from the body and the lungs start to clear out mucus and other debris.
Two days later, nicotine is no longer detected in the body and the ability to taste and smell is improved. Within 72 hours, breathing becomes easier and energy levels increase. On the second to 12th week, the blood circulation improves. Then breathing improves after three to nine months.
If you are smoke-free for five years, the risk of heart attack drops to half of that of a smoker and if you reach ten years, the risk of lung cancer drops to half and the risk of heart attack falls to the same level as a non-smoker.
Salazar, Margaux. “100 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD KICK THE HABIT”. Style Weekend: December 26, 2008, pages 15-17.