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Why You Should Quit Smoking Right Now | World No Tobacco Day | May 31

Within merely 10 seconds of your first drag, the toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke get into your brain, heart, and other organs. Smoking harms every part of your body and increases your risk of many illnesses. Smoking also impacts how you look and feel, your finances, and the people close to you.

What happens in your body

When you smoke, toxic chemicals penetrate your lungs and get distributed through your body. They can:

  • reach your brain, heart, and other organs within 10 seconds of your first puff

  • go everywhere your blood flows, spoiling every part of your body.

Even if you don’t inhale tobacco smoke, you still absorb toxic chemicals through the lining of your mouth.

How you become addicted

The nicotine in tobacco is highly addictive. It makes your brain release a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine is a ‘feel-good chemical' that:

  • makes you feel satisfied

  • helps you to focus

  • gives you a better power

But this effect does not last long, and is just a temporary feeling. As the nicotine levels in your body fade, your brain desires more dopamine. The longer you have been smoking, the more dopamine you need to feel good. You become dependent on nicotine.

Once you are dependent on nicotine, you will begin to have withdrawal symptoms without it. You may find it difficult to concentrate or feel nervous, restless, irritable, or worried. A good rehabilitation center can certainly help you overcome your addiction easily. These two things — nicotine addiction and nicotine withdrawal — make you want to smoke more. You become addicted to tobacco.

How tobacco harms your body

The chemicals in tobacco smoke can damage your body in many ways. For example:

  • Nicotine narrows your veins and arteries. This can:

    • damage your heart by pushing it to work faster and harder

    • slow down your blood and reduce oxygen to your feet and hands.

  • Carbon monoxide deprives your heart of the oxygen that it needs to pump blood around your body. Over time, your airways swell up and let less air into your lungs.

  • Tar is a sticky substance that coats your lungs like soot in a chimney.

  • Phenols paralyze and kill the hair-like cells in your airways. These cells sweep clean the lining of your airways and protect them against infections.

  • Tiny particles in tobacco smoke irritate your throat and lungs and cause a ‘smoker’s cough’. This makes you produce more slime and damages lung tissue.

  • Ammonia and formaldehyde irritate your eyes, nose, and throat.

  • Cancer-causing chemicals make your cells grow too fast or abnormally. This can result in cancer cells.

How tobacco affects the way you look

Smoking tobacco can:

  • cause yellow-brown stains on your fingers, tongue, and teeth

  • improve your risk of tooth loss and bad breath

  • make your skin saggy and give you early wrinkles

  • make your hair lose its natural shine.

Health effects

If you smoke, you:

  • decrease your life expectancy and your quality of life

  • raise your risk of many disorders and diseases as well as of dying prematurely.

It can be a long time before smokers get a smoking-related infection or disease. Because of this, some people believe it won’t ensure them.

In fact, up to ⅔ of long term smokers will:

  • die of a smoking-related disease

  • have their life cut short by about 10 years on average, approximated to non-smokers.

There is also growing evidence to suggest that smoking harms mental health. For example, some studies show that smoking is associated with improved rates of anxiety, panic attacks, unhappiness, suicide attempts, and schizophrenia.

Some of the conditions and diseases that can be caused by smoking

Did you know?

Tobacco use is the one risk factor shared by 4 of the main varieties of non-communicable diseases. These include cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, and diabetes.

1. Cancer

Smoking causes most lung cancers and can cause cancer almost anywhere on the body. This retains the lips, tongue, mouth, nose, esophagus, throat, voice box, stomach, liver, kidney, pancreas, bladder, blood, cervix, vulva, penis, and anus.

2. Breathing problems and chronic respiratory conditions

Smoking is the main cause of the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a serious, advanced, and disabling condition that limits airflow in the lungs. Active smoking also worsens asthma in active smokers and is associated with an increased risk for asthma in adolescents and adults.

3. Heart disease, stroke, and blood circulation problems

Smoking is a major cause of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart disease and stroke. Smoking increases the risk of blood clots, which block blood flow to the heart, brain, or legs. Some smokers end up having their limbs amputated due to blood circulation issues caused by smoking.

4. Diabetes

Smoking causes type 2 diabetes, with the risk of developing diabetes 30 to 40% higher for active smokers than non-smokers. Smoking may also worsen some of the health conditions related to type 1 diabetes, such as kidney disease.

5. Infections

Smoking weakens your immune system so you’re more likely to get bacterial and viral infections.

6. Dental problems

  • Smoking increases the chance of gum diseases, tooth loss, and tooth sensitivity. Once somebody has gum damage, smoking also makes it harder for their gums to heal.

7. Hearing loss

  • Smoking reduces blood flow to the inner ear. Smokers may also lose their hearing before a non-smoker.

8. Vision loss

  • Smoking harms the eye and can lead to macular degeneration — the main cause of blindness in Australia.

9. Fertility problems

  • Smoking can make it more difficult to fall pregnant and affect sperm quality. Find out more about smoking and tobacco and pregnancy.

10. Osteoporosis and menopause

  • Smoking is a risk factor for osteoporosis and in women, may result in early menopause compared to a non-smoker.

What the numbers say

  • The most recent available estimates show that almost 21,000 Australians died from tobacco use in 2015. This equates to one tobacco-related death every 25 minutes.

  • Up to ⅔ of deaths in current smokers can be attributed to smoking and current smokers are estimated to die an average of 10 years earlier than non-smokers.

Effects of Smoking on those around you

As a smoker, you can impact the health of other people when they breathe in your second-hand smoke. This means they’re breathing in the same toxic and cancer-causing chemicals that you are.

Financial effects

Smoking is costly. You can save a significant amount of money by just quitting one unhealthy habit. The numbers add up over a year.

If you smoke a pack of cigarettes a day, you could be spending more than $10,000 a year (more than ₹7.5 lakhs) on cigarettes.

Reducing the effects

There is no safe level of smoking.

To reduce your risk, the best option is to quit smoking. You’ll feel the health benefits almost straight away.

Do you or someone you love needs help to quit addiction? Learn more about our deaddiction treatment or call us to discuss in detail: +91 981 022 3987 OM This blog post is written by a recovering addict who found his wings in the hands of 'Shafa'. Shafa Home is India's largest & oldest rehabilitation centre for correction, detoxification and treatment of alcohol and drug related problems. To see us in action, Please Visit our YouTube Channel. #nashamuktikendra #alcoholaddiction #drugrehabilitation #addictiontreatment


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