Reasons to quit smoking: Risks AND health benefits
By Barbaros Dinler, MA
Steps to quitting a difficult addiction to nicotine
It is no secret, taboo, or surprise to read the health consequences and effects of tobacco. You have probably had a lecture, class, conference or just about any sort of presentation discussing this serious health matter. But are you informed enough to make a decision to quit?
Here, we offer you some reasons for quitting smoking. Then, we invite your questions at the end. In fact, we try to respond to all legitimate questions with a personal and prompt response.
What’s in a cigarette?
The use of tobacco is proving to be an ongoing healthcare problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tobacco use leads as a preventable cause of disease, death and disability. In addition, cigarette smoking has resulted in more than 480,000 premature deaths in the United States (U.S) every year.
According to MedlinePlus, tobacco contains a harmful composition of 19 known chemicals that cause cancer and the addicting substance called nicotine. What is even more astonishing is there are more than 4,000 chemicals found in tobacco. So, how does tobacco and nicotine really make for an addiction?
In a published infographic on community platform for data visualization and infographics, Visual.ly, explains the nature of the addiction of tobacco and nicotine. The detailed visual graphic highlights that cigarettes deliver a potent dose of nicotine within just 10 seconds of inhaling. What is even more harmful is withdrawal effects or symptoms begin just hours after cigarette use. Other sorts of physical and psychological effects from trying to quit are irritability, depression and lack of sleep.
Reasons to quit (and never try) casual smoking
No matter what the circumstances are or just how difficult your situation may be turning to cigarette smoking is a dangerous habit that will become a life-threatening addiction years later. Here are some reasons for you to consider quitting:
1. Cigarette smoking is responsible for nearly 90% of all lung cancer cases identified and diagnosed. Lung cancer isn’t the one health complication you need to be concerned if you are a smoker. There are more than a handful of other related diseases that are triggered and it’s all a matter of time before it starts to take a toll on the body.
2. Over 440,000 Americans die from tobacco use on an annual basis.
3. There is a risk of infertility in women of childbearing age.
4. Your life span significantly drops depending on the number of cigarettes you smoke and for how long you have been smoking.
5. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists the following diseases associated with smoking:
- Buerger´s disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Gum disease
- Vision loss
Want to know more eye-opening statistics on nicotine dependence? If you are curious more people in the U.S are addicted to nicotine than any other drug. Research findings do suggest nicotine may be as addictive as cocaine, alcohol and heroin.
Health benefits of quitting smoking and using alternatives
If you have become addicted to tobacco smoking thankfully there are steps, information, resources and organizations that can facilitate the process. There are plenty of programs and over the counter products that can help people with addictions like tobacco smoking. Plus, when you quit smoking, you:
- reduce your risk of lung cancer, and other types of cancer; this includes reducing heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease
- end up eliminating respiratory symptoms (coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath)
- increase life expectancy; for example, the average 35-year-old who quits will live five years longer than those who continue smoking
There is always hope for smokers to quit and for non-smokers to stay away from this very addictive habit. There is new research out of the United Kingdom(U.K) that e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful and possibly an avenue for smokers to quit smoking. A separate report by Medical New Today (MNT) confirmed e-cigarettes, also referred to as vaping, do appear to be contributing toward the falling rates of smoking among adults and young people. Considering all of the controversy that has revolved around the use of electronic cigarettes the MNT analysis goes on to emphasize the highest successful quit rates are for those using e-cigars. This review also found there is no evidence at the present time that would suggest that vaping is a gateway to smoking for children or non-smokers.
Nevertheless, 85% of smokers who try to quit without any sort of aid, assistance, or counselor end up relapsing. So, seek out help wherever and whenever possible to prevent the worse case scenario from happening to you.
About the Author: Barbaros Dinler has over 12 years of experience in the field of drug and addiction treatment. His vast experience has helped him to become a Clinical Director at Alpha Healing Center. He holds a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Lesley University and an undergraduate degree from University of Tennessee. He believes in the professionalism of counseling field with due respect to addicts who are seeking for help.