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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Health Effects of Smoking

"Smoking-related diseases claim an estimated 438,000 American lives each year, including those affected indirectly, such as babies born prematurely due to prenatal maternal smoking and victims of “secondhand” exposure to tobacco’s carcinogens..."

Let’s take a look at the health effects of smoking i.e. what actually happens inside your body each time you light up. Think about how quickly tobacco smoke can produce harmful effects. The following are some of the health risk of smoking.

Your Eyes, Nose, & Throat

The health effects of smoking can be found on your eyes, nose and throat. Within a few seconds of your first puff, irritating gases such as formaldehyde, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and others begin to work on sensitive membranes of your eyes, nose, and throat.

Your eyes water, your nose runs, and your throat is irritated. If you continue smoking, these irritating gases will contribute to your smoker’s cough. Continued smoking produces abnormal thickening in the membranes lining your throat, accompanied by cellular changes that resemble those that occur in throat cancer.


The health effects of smoking are very dangerous with regards to lungs. Continued exposure can entirely paralyze the lungs’ natural cleansing process. (Smoking and Lung Cancer)

  • Your respiratory rate increases, forcing your lungs to work harder.
  • Irritating gases produce chemical injury to the tissues of your lungs. This speeds up the production of mucus and leads to an increased tendency to cough up sputum.
  • Excess mucus serves as a breeding ground for a variety of bacteria and viruses. You become more prone to colds, flu, bronchitis, and other respiratory infections. And if you do come down with an infection, your body is less able to fight it, because smoking impairs the ability of the white blood cells to fight invading organisms.
  • The lining of your bronchi begins to thicken, predisposing you to cancer. Most lung cancers arise in the bronchial lining.
  • Smoke weakens the free-roving scavenger cells that remove foreign particles from the air sacs of the lungs. Continued smoke exposure adversely affects elastin, which is the enzyme that keeps your lungs flexible, predisposing you to emphysema.
  • Many of the compounds you inhale are deposited as a layer of sticky tar on the lining of your throat and bronchi and in the delicate air sacs of your lungs. A pack-a-day smoker pours about a pint - 16 ounces - of tar into his or her lungs each year. This tar is rich in cancer producing chemicals.

Quit Smoking Motivation Tips

"He who cannot change the very fabric of his thought will never be able to change reality..."
~Anwar Sadat~

Does quit smoking was one of your New Years Resolutions? What motivates you to quit smoking? Nagging by your spouse is rarely a motivation to quit smoking. It takes a lot of resolve to stop smoking habit and it isn’t easy.

You not only miss the effects of the nicotine, but the habit is there and if you’ve smoked for a long time, it’s well fixed in both body and mind. No matter why you have decided to quit smoking, you will probably need help.

Quit Smoking Products

Several products on the market can help you kick the habit. You can pick up at most any drugstore patches, gum, and mints. You may substitute hard candy when the desire to smoke hits you.

If you’re worried about weight gain, try sugarless candy or fresh veggies. It’s important to fill your hands and mouth with something to help you not reach for that cigarette.


Motivation is significant if you want to quit smoking. Your motivation might be a new baby in the home, being pregnant and wanting a healthy baby, early signs of lung cancer (Smoking and Lung Cancer), or the onset of heart disease are all good physical motivational reasons. Maybe you just don’t want to smell like an old ashtray all the time.

Quick Tips to Help You Quit Smoking and Keep It

20 Quick Tips to Help You Quit Smoking
By Fred H. Kelley

1. Believe in yourself. Believe that you can quit. Think about some of the most difficult things you have done in your life and realize that you have the guts and determination to quit smoking. It's up to you.

2. After reading this list, sit down and write your own list, customized to your personality and way of doing things. Create you own plan for quitting.

3. Write down why you want to quit (the benefits of quitting): live longer, feel better, for your family, save money, smell better, find a mate more easily, etc. You know what's bad about smoking and you know what you'll get by quitting. Put it on paper and read it daily.

4. Ask your family and friends to support your decision to quit. Ask them to be completely supportive and non-judgmental. Let them know ahead of time that you will probably be irritable and even irrational while you withdraw from your smoking habit.

5. Set a quit date. Decide what day you will extinguish your cigarettes forever. Write it down. Plan for it. Prepare your mind for the "first day of the rest of your life". You might even hold a small ceremony when you smoke you last cigarette, or on the morning of the quit date.

6. Talk with your doctor about quitting. Support and guidance from a physician is a proven way to better your chances to quit.

7. Begin an exercise program. Exercise is simply incompatible with smoking. Exercise relieves stress and helps your body recover from years of damage from cigarettes. If necessary, start slow, with a short walk once or twice per day. Build up to 30 to 40 minutes of rigorous activity, 3 or 4 times per week. Consult your physician before beginning any exercise program.

8. Do some deep breathing each day for 3 to 5 minutes. Breathe in through your nose very slowly, hold the breath for a few seconds, and exhale very slowly through your mouth. Try doing
your breathing with your eyes closed and go to step 9.

9. Visualize your way to becoming a non-smoker. While doing your deep breathing in step 8, you can close your eyes and begin to imagine yourself as a non-smoker. See yourself enjoying your exercise in step 7. See yourself turning down a cigarette that someone offers you. See yourself throwing all your cigarettes away, and winning a gold medal for doing so. Develop your own
creative visualizations. Visualization works.

10. Cut back on cigarettes gradually (if you cut back gradually, be sure to set a quit date on which you WILL quit). Ways to cut back gradually include: plan how many cigarettes you will smoke each day until your quit date, making the number you smoke smaller each day; buy only one pack at a time; change brands so you don't enjoy smoking as much; give your cigarettes to someone else, so that you have to ask for them each time you want to smoke.

11. Quit smoking "cold turkey". Many smokers find that the only way they can truly quit once and for all is to just quit abruptly without trying to slowly taper off. Find the method that works best for you: gradually quitting or cold turkey. If one way doesn't work do the other.

12. Find another smoker who is trying to quit, and help each other with positive words and by lending an ear when quitting becomes difficult. Visit this Bulletin Board and this Chat Room to find a "quit buddy."

13. Have your teeth cleaned. Enjoy the way your teeth look and feel and plan to keep them that way.

14. After you quit, plan to celebrate the milestones in your journey to becoming a non-smoker. After two weeks of being smoke-free, see a movie. After a month, go to a fancy restaurant (be sure to sit in the non-smoking section). After three months, go for a long weekend to a favorite get-away. After six months, buy yourself something frivolous. After a year, have a party for yourself. Invite your family and friends to your "birthday" party and celebrate your new chance at a long, healthy life.

15. Drink lots of water. Water is good for you anyway, and most people don't get enough. It will help flush the nicotine and other chemicals out of your body, plus it can help reduce cravings by fulfilling the "oral desires" that you may have.

16. Learn what triggers your desire for a cigarette, such as stress, the end of a meal, arrival at work, entering a bar, etc. Avoid these triggers or if that's impossible, plan alternative ways to deal with the triggers.

17. Find something to hold in your hand and mouth, to replace cigarettes. Consider drinking straws or you might try an artificial cigarette called E-Z Quit found here: http://www.quitsmoking.com/ezquit.htm

18. Write yourself an inspirational song or poem about quitting, cigarettes, and what it means to you to quit. Read it daily.

19. Keep a picture of your family or someone very important to you with you at all times. On a piece of paper, write the words "I'm quitting for myself and for you (or "them")". Tape your written message to the picture. Whenever you have the urge to smoke, look at the picture and read the message.

20. Whenever you have a craving for a cigarette, instead of lighting up, write down your feelings or whatever is on your mind. Keep this "journal" with you at all times.

Good luck in your efforts to quit smoking. It's worth it!

Monday, September 14, 2009

What Are the Risks of Cigarette Smoking

There are many risks of smoking and the purpose of this page is to outline the specific risks that are associated with smoking.

Smoking kills over 400,000 people a year -- more than one in six people in the United States -- making it more lethal than AIDS, automobile accidents, homicides, suicides, drug overdoses, and fires combined. It is estimated that the U.S. spends an astounding $50 billion each year on smoking-related health costs. Smoking may be even more dangerous now than 30 years ago, most likely because the lower tar and nicotine levels in most cigarette brands cause people to inhale more deeply. In one study only 42% of male lifelong smokers reached the age of 73 compared to 78% of nonsmokers.

People who are exposed to second-hand or side-stream smoke are also at risk. Smoke that is exhaled not only contains the same dangerous contaminants as inhaled smoke, but the exhaled smoke particles are smaller, so that they can reach distant sites in the lungs of involuntary or passive smokers and do great harm.

Does Smoking Affect Blood Pressure?

Smoking a cigarette raises the blood pressure by 5-10 mm Hg for about 30 minutes. If this is combined with drinking a cup of coffee, the effects are bigger and last longer.

Despite this, numerous epidemiological studies have found that people with hypertension are not more likely to be smokers than those with normal blood pressure, and conversely, that smokers are not more likely to be hypertensive than non-smokers. One possible explanation for this might be that smokers tend to weigh less than non-smokers, and that the effects of obesity and smoking on blood pressure cancel each other out. But even when smokers and non-smokers of the same body weight are compared their blood pressures are the same. This is probably because the blood pressure measurements are usually made when people are not smoking. If you smoke a pack a day, it will raise your average daytime pressure by about 5 mm Hg, even though your doctor may not detect this during an office visit.

The important thing about smoking is not what it does to your blood pressure, but that it greatly increases your risk of heart disease.

WHO - Smoking is a greater cause of death and disability that any single disease

According to their figures, it is responsible for approximately 3.5 million deaths worldwide every year - or about 7% of all deaths. Tobacco smoking is a known or probable cause of approximately 25 diseases, and even the WHO says that its impact on world health is not fully assessed.

Heart attack and stroke

UK studies show that smokers in their 30s and 40s are five times more likely to have a heart attack than non-smokers. Tobacco contributes to the hardening of the arteries, which can then become blocked and starve the heart of bloodflow, causing the attack. Often, smokers who develop this will require complex and risky heart bypass surgery. If you smoke for a lifetime, there is a 50% chance that your eventual death will be smoking-related - half of all these deaths will be in middle age. Smoking also increases the risk of having a stroke.

Lung problems

Another primary health risk associated with smoking are lung cancer, which kills more than 20,000 people in the UK every year. US studies have shown that men who smoke increase their chances of dying from the disease by more than 22 times. Women who smoke increase this risk by nearly 12 times. Lung cancer is a difficult cancer to treat - long term survival rates are poor. Smoking also increases the risk of oral, uterine, liver, kidney, bladder, stomach, and cervical cancers, and leukaemia. Another health problem associated with tobacco is emphysema, which, when combined with chronic bronchitis, produces chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The lung damage which causes emphysema is irreversible, and makes it extremely difficult to breathe.

Harm to children

Smoking in pregnancy greatly increases the risk of miscarriage, is associated with lower birthweight babies, and inhibited child development. Smoking by parents following the birth is linked to sudden infant death syndrome, or cot death, and higher rates of infant respiratory illness, such as bronchitis, colds, and pneumonia. Nicotine, an ingredient of tobacco, is listed as an addictive substance by the US authorities. Although the health risks of smoking are culmulative, giving up can yield health benefits regardless of the age of the patient, or the length of time they have been smoking.

Future impact

By 2020, the WHO expects the worldwide death toll to reach 10 million, causing 17.7% of all deaths in developed countries. There are believed to be 1.1 billion smokers in the world, 800,000 of them in developing countries.