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Posted by Oceanside Private Practice on 3 March 2018

The information on cigarette smoking on this website is not designed to provide medical or professional advice. It is designed to provide information only and if you have any health questions or problems please consult a medical doctor.

Smoking cigarettes is highly addictive. In Australia about 12.8% of Australians aged 14 years or older smoke every day and all studies have shown that the risk of dying increases with the number of cigarettes smoked, for example, if you smoke 10 cigarettes per day, your risk of dying doubles and if you smoke more than 25 cigarettes per day, your risk of dying quadruples compared to those who have never smoked. This means that if you smoke you will die at least 10 years earlier than non-smokers. It is well known that cigarettes contains at least 7000 chemicals and some of these chemicals are known to cause cancer.  Some of the chemicals include:

1. Tar - it contains cancer causing chemicals and it is the sticky brown substance that stains your lungs, fingers and teeth yellow-brown.
2. Carbon monoxide - it is a poisonous gas that starves your body of oxygen as it reduces the amount of oxygen carried by the blood.
3. Nicotine - this chemical in the cigarettes is very addictive and that was causes you to get addicted to smoking.

Many of the chemicals in smoke harm the lungs by increasing the amount of mucus or phlegm in the lungs and also by increasing your risk of infection. These chemicals also damage your lung cilia, which are the tiny hairs in your lungs that move together like a broom or a mop to keep your lungs clean. As a result when you breathe in the cigarette-smoke these dangerous chemicals enter your body and start to damage your body and slowly start to kill you. It is important to remember that smoking also affects those that are exposed to cigarette smoking even if they do not smoke themselves, in particular children where it has been associated with asthma and sudden infant death syndrome.
Quitting smoking at any time has significant health benefits even if you already suffer from smoking-related health problems, in particular it reduces your risk and your exposed family's risk of dying prematurely and it also saves you money. It is important to know that most medical conditions if not all, associated with tobacco smoking are some of the largest preventable causes of death and disease. Tobacco smoking is associated with an increased risk of many health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer, kidney disease, eye disease and respiratory conditions such as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis and about 16000 deaths per year in Australia.

Reasons to quit smoking:

1. Better health - your health will start to improve in just six hours after you stop smoking.
2. Save money - one cigarette cost almost one dollar and smoking a 20-pack a day costs an average of $9000 a year - https://www.quit.org.au/tools/cost-smoking/
3. Take control of your life - smoking is an addiction and so do not let cigarettes control your life.
4. Become an example and role model - If you stop smoking, you become an example and role model to you children and all your loved ones.
5. Spend time and money with family and friends - if you stop smoking you will have extra cash and energy to spend with you loved ones.
6. Take care of others - if you stop smoking, others do not suffer from passive smoking.
7. Less stressful - if you stop smoking you do not have to hide anymore or have to deal with input from non-smokers and trying to find money to buy cigarettes.
8. Physical looks - if you stop smoking you will start to look good physically as your skin will show less wrinkles and ageing, your teeth will get brighter and whiter, nicotine brownish-yellowish stains on your fingers vanish and you will stop smelling.
9. Better recovery after surgery - if you stop smoking before having surgery, you will recover and heal better and quickly.

Health benefits from quitting smoking:

Smoking is very addictive and when you quit smoking your body will immediately go through withdrawals where you may feel anxious, irritable, snappy, moody, sweaty and edgy. All these symptoms are temporary and if you persevere they will pass after a few weeks.   At the same, when you quit your body will immediately start to reap the rewards of breathing in fresh air and starts to recover.

Within 6 hours

Your heart rate improves as it slows down and your blood pressure becomes steady and evens out.

Within 24 hours

Your body is clear and free of all of the nicotine, your body is almost full of oxygen and the poisonous carbon monoxide gas levels plummet down, your hands do not shake or tremor as much and the coldness in your fingertips vanishes.

Within 7 days

You start to smell well and taste things well and at the same time your lungs become very efficient and good at cleaning themselves and your blood vitamin C levels improve so that you can fight infections better.

Within 60 days

You start to fight infections easily as your immune system recovers and your blood becomes less stick allowing it to flow easily within your body and you will find yourself coughing and wheezing less.

Within 180 days

You find yourself not coughing phlegm after all.

After 365 days

Your lungs are much better and healthier and your breathing is pretty much better compared to if you had continued smoking.

Within 2 to 5 years

At this stage your risk of having a heart attack or stroke or developing a lung disease is significantly reduced and the risk of developing cervical cancer for women becomes the same as those who never smoked.

Within 10 years

At this stage your risk of developing lung cancer is lower than that of someone who still smokes.

After 15 years

At this stage your risk of heart attack and stroke is close to that of a person who has never smoked.

Quitting smoking cigarettes at any time is benefical and if you quit early the more benefits you gain. There are no safe cigarettes as both low tar and low nicotine cigarettes are not safer or healthier alternatives.

How to quit smoking:

Quitting smoking can be challenging but your family and friends can help and support you. Professional help can be obtained from your medical practitioner or pharmacist or the Quitline on 13 78 48 or visit http://www.quitnow.gov.au. Some approaches that you can use to try and quit smoking include:

1. Stopping smoking "cold-turkey"
2. Cutting down over a period of time the number of cigarettes you smoke each day
3. Medications including using gums, patches or tablets. (e-cigarettes there is not enough evidence at present to recommend this approach)

Author:Oceanside Private Practice

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