I am not going to bore you with the harmful effects of smoking. We all know them by heart.
So, let me try using some positive reinforcement to try to get you to consider quitting…not just for your health, but for those around you. Really, why wait until New Year Day to start this resolution? If you are not a smoker, but you love (or really, really like) someone who is, print this post out and leave it where they can see it.
After 20 minutes without a cigarette: – heart rate and blood pressure normalize (unless you light up within 1 hour) (smoking constricts blood vessels and the raises heart rate)
After 12 hours without a cigarette: Carbon Monoxide level drops to normal
After 1 day without a cigarette: damage to skin stops (smoking breaks down elastin in skin causing wrinkles and sagging)
After 2 days without a cigarette: taste buds start to regenerate nose hairs and nerves that effect smell begin to repair (smoking destroys taste buds and burns the nerve endings of the nose)
After 2 weeks without a cigarette: circulation improves
After 3 months without a cigarette: lung function improves up to 30 percent (do I really have to explain this one?)
After 1 year without a cigarette: You cut your risk of heart disease in half (cigarette smoking is the leading cause of heart and cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and stroke)
After 5 years without a cigarette: risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder are cut in half. risk of stroke is that of a non-smoker
After 10 years without a cigarette: risk of lung cancer is cut in half
After 15 years without a cigarette: risk of heart disease is the same as a non-smoker
- It takes most people 4 tries to quit, so if you’ve tried before, try again! Maybe this time it will take.
- The best results occur when therapy involves counseling and support groups as well as nicotine withdrawal medication. There are natural methods of quitting, however because they are natural there is no good data to list success rates. I am not a proponent of drugs, but in this case, if other methods have not worked, the benefits of not smoking far outweighs the risk of taking something short term while you quit.
- Cigarette smokers not only have higher risk of heart and lung disease, but also erectile dysfunction, decreased sperm count, and macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness.
- Secondhand smoke damage causes asthma, cancer, and sudden infant death syndrome. If you are smoking in your car with your child, even if you are holding the cigarette out the window, you are exposing them to the harmful effects of smoking.
- Just because you don’t smoke a pack a day doesn’t mean you’re fine. Even just 2 cigarettes a day have harmful effects.
- When I was a nurse, I watched one of my favorite patients die of cancer. The last thing he did before he died was smoke a cigarette (his family had to hold it up to his lips so he could take a drag). He would always say, “How I wish to God I never picked one of these things up.”
- stay away from cleaners of filters which emit ozone into the air as these will compromise your lungs
- do not take pills to “dry up” mucous like antihistamines. The production of mucous is body’s way of expelling toxins and impurities.
- Increasing water intake will help to get the mucous up. Steam will also help (either in the shower, or by making a tent holding a towel over your head over a pot of boiling water and breathing deeply)
- stay away from other smokers
- Dairy causes the body to produce mucous. Stay away from milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, etc.
- increase your lung intake by taking walks, or just mindfully breathe deeply during the day.
- aromatic herbs help the lungs to heal. Try to expose yourself to ginger, thyme, cayenne or other strong smelling herbs.