Smoking is a serious risk factor for many diseases, and it is one of leading causes of illness in the world – and it’s preventable!
Risks of Smoking
- Cardiovascular Disease – Heart attack, stroke, blood clots, high blood pressure, kidney failure, dementia
- Cancer – Lung, mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, ovary, pancreas, and kidney
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – Emphysema, chronic bronchitis – causing shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, phlegm, lung dysfunction, need for oxygen, respiratory failure and death
- Asthma – Worsens asthma, prevents asthma control, causes more flare-ups, causes shortness of breath, coughing, phlegm, and wheezing, reduced endurance
- Allergies – Worsens allergy symptoms like coughing, sneezing, wheezing, itchy eyes, and rashes
- Infections – Increases the risk of respiratory tract infections, sinusitis, and dental cavities. It impairs your immune system when fighting infections or diseases.
- Impotence – Reduces the blood flow to vessels needed for normal sexual function
- Macular Degeneration – Increases the risk of developing this condition causing blindness
- Pregnancy – Increases the risk of miscarriage, premature delivery, low birth weight, and having a child with a respiratory problem. It reduces that amount of oxygen to the baby, and allows toxins to reach the baby.
- Stomach Ulcers – Increases the risk of developing a dangerous stomach ulcer that can bleed, causing low blood levels (anemia)
- Bad Breath – Alters the bacteria in your mouth and digestive system, causing mucous, phlegm, and bad breath
- Second Hand Smoke – Affects those around you. Even the smell of smoke on your clothing can cause health problems for your friends, family, and co-workers
There are several resources available to help you quit smoking.
The key is to develop a plan with your Physician and learn about options that are right for you.
Smoking Cessation Resources
Some Tips to Help You Quit
- review the resources available to quit
- develop a plan to quit with your Physician
- make a list of the top 10 reasons you want to quit, and post it where you will see it
- chose a quit date that has some significance, like a birthday, anniversary, pay day etc
- throw out everything related to smoking, including ash trays, lighters, matches, and cigarettes. No secret stash!
- add the money you would normally spend on smoking to a jar on your desk, so you can see how much you are saving by not smoking
- buy yourself something with the money you save by not smoking
- change your routines when you smoke, for example in the car, at work, on breaks
- replace smoking with another more positive behaviour, like eating a healthy snack, getting fresh air, exercising, etc
- plan for cravings – they will happen, so have a backup plan like chewing gum, using toothpicks, candies, veggie snacks, artificial cigarettes (water vapour)
- avoid other stimulants like caffeine and alcohol and sugar that may stimulate your urge to smoke
- get plenty of exercise
- designate some smoke free places, like your home or car
- work on stress reduction – through exercise, hobbies and stress outlets
- ask others not to smoke around you
- avoid places, people, and situations where smoking occurs
- ask for support from a friend or family member
- quit smoking together with someone else, and support each other