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Health And Wellness > Health Issues > Addictions > Cigarette Smoking

Author: FreeDigitalPhotos

Smoking is an addictive habit and extremely bad for your health. It harms every organ in your body. It’s responsible for lung disease, heart and blood vessel disease, strokes and cataracts. Cigarettes can cause cancer of the mouth, lungs, larynx, stomach, ovaries, kidneys, bladder, colorectum, and pancreas, to name a few

Women who smoke have a greater chance of pregnancy problems or having a baby die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Nicotine in cigarettes increases the risk of heart attack, and may increase the risk of developing hardening of the arteries. Smoking while on birth control can increase your risk of blood clots and stroke. Additionally, smoking doesn’t only risk harming your health – it also endangers the health of others around you. Those who breathe in second hand smoke can suffer many of the same problems that smokers do.

However, many people resort to cigarette smoking; some reasons include:

  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Loneliness
  • Fear
  • Anxiety 

Quitting smoking can be difficult because it’s both a psychological habit and a physical addiction. The nicotine in cigarettes is extremely addictive, and many people associate smoking with social situations, or to manage emotions. These two factors combined make it extremely difficult to quit. In a study conducted by the American Cancer Society, it was noted that while 70% of smokers say they want to quit, only half of that number try, and only 4-7% succeed without help. Withdrawal can send you straight back to smoking. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depressed mood
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Increased appetite or weight gain

However, there are many tools you can use to assist you in quitting cigarette smoking, such as patches, gums, mints, lozenges, and even prescription medication. You may want to consult your doctor to figure out which option is best for you. Additionally, a smoker can increase his/her chances of quitting by being motivated, having a support group and drawing up a personal game plan.

According to the American Heart Association, nicotine is historically one of the hardest addictions to break. However, quitting smoking can reduce your risk of health problems associated with smoking. The sooner you quit, the better off you are. Immediate rewards include better smelling breath, hair, and skin; whiter teeth; better tasting food and better sense of smell; and then ability to breathe easier. According to the American Cancer Society, long-term benefits of quitting smoking are as follows:

20 minutes after quitting

  • Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.

12 hours after quitting

  • The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.

2 weeks to 3 months after quitting

  • Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.

1 to 9 months after quitting

  • Coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia (tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) start to regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.

1 year after quitting

  • The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker’s.

5 years after quitting

  • Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder are cut in half. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker. Stroke risk can fall to that of a non-smoker after 2-5 years.

10 years after quitting

  • The risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking. The risk of cancer of the larynx (voice box) and pancreas decreases.

15 years after quitting

  • The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker’s.

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