Before we begin, you must be aware of these facts on smoking:
- Daily, 3,000 children start smoking. A third of them die prematurely because of this.
- Most start smoking in their teens.
- Every eight seconds, tobacco claims a life (five million deaths annually).
- Cigarette smoke contains 4,800 chemicals; 69 of these cause cancer.
- Bidis deliver twice the amount of tar and seven times the amount of nicotine of regular cigarettes. They are very addictive.
The number under 70 years who die from smoking-related diseases exceeds deaths caused by breast cancer, AIDS, accidents and drug addiction.
A cigarette shortens a smokers life by around 11 minutes! Tobacco and lung cancer Smoking causes lung cancer. Besides this, it causes heart and blood vessel disease, bronchitis, asthma, other cancers, impotence, depressed immune system disease and birth defects and growth retardation in babies born to pregnant and feeding mothers. It leads to bad breath, stained teeth, poor healing of wounds, and early fatigue. Innocent loved ones around you who inhale second-hand smoke are also affected.
Symptoms usually develop only when the disease has grown to a sizeable mass when cure rates are low. Get yourself checked if you have any of these:
- Cough for over three weeks
- Blood-stained sputum
- Difficulty breathing/chest discomfort/wheezing
- Change in voice (typically hoarseness) for more than three weeks
- Unexplained weight loss/fatigue
How to quit
You can eat fruits and veggies and go jogging, but healthy habits mean little if you smoke. Quitting smoking is, therefore, the single biggest thing you can do to improve your health! No tips guarantee success, but determination, support of family and friends and professional help are keys to success. You can: Decide on a date and quit completely; simply reducing doesnt help. List reasons for quitting. Ask for support from family and friends. Keep a record of when, how much and why you smoke/use tobacco. Seek medical help for nicotine cravings; do not selfmedicate. Be prepared for a relapse, but keep trying.