WHY quit smoking? -- Whether you’re a redhead or not, smoking tobacco is bad for your health! (cigarettes, cigars, pipes).
THE DATA IS OUT THERE:
- Use of tobacco causes over 450,000 deaths in the USA each year – increasing risks for lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and more.
- For women who smoke – their risk for heart attacks drastically climbs above that of nonsmokers. For some people, picking up that next cigarette can by like signing your own death warrant – it’s bad for your lungs and also your heart, and your circulation.
- The American Heart Association states that smokers have 2 to 4 times the risk of developing heart disease than nonsmokers do… and you are also at risk if you are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke.
- And the benefits of stopping? – Read this! -- The American Lung Association (ALA) says one year after stopping, your risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker’s; after anywhere from 7-15 years, it’s the same as a nonsmoker’s risk. That’s a POWERFUL reason to stop, wouldn’t you say?
- The ALA also states that more than 1000 people die every day in America from tobacco-related diseases, the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. – they were preventable! Catch that?
SO, WHY DO PEOPLE (especially KIDS) SMOKE?
...And specifically, why do kids/teens smoke? Nearly 70% of adult smokers began before they were 18 years of age. Most try their 1st cigarette around age 11, many addicted by age 14. Despite all the info out there to deter them, why do they do start?
- Stress (they turn to cigarettes to calm themselves) -- HELP THEM BY offering alternatives and help kids deal with stress without turning to drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, etc.
- Peer Conformity This is different than peer pressure – this is a self-motivated desire by kids/teens to fit in with the crowd and be accepted. –- HELP THEM BY talking with our kids very early and teach them to make their own decisions, to feel good about themselves (especially our redheads) so they don’t feel pressured to conform.
- Their parents smoked.
- A way to rebel and show independence.
- Tobacco advertisers target teenagers.
DID YOU KNOW?
-- Your body begins to heal within 20 minutes of your last cigarette?
–- Nicotine will completely leave your body after 3 days?
-- Marijuana smoke contains more carcinogens than tobacco smoke?
-- Cigars have some of the same health risks as cigarettes?
-- Smokeless tobacco products are a known cause of cancer?
|So...WHAT'S IN A CIGARETTE?|
There are around 600 ingredients in cigarettes. When burned, these create over 4,000 chemicals. At least 50 of these chemicals are known to cause cancer and many are poisonous! ...Here are just of few of the chemicals found in tobacco smoke and other places they show up:
- Acetone – found in nail polish remover
- Acetic Acid – an ingredient in hair dye
- Ammonia – a common household cleaner
- Arsenic – used in rat poison
- Benzene – found in rubber cement
- Butane – used in lighter fluid
- Cadmium – active component in battery acid
- Carbon Monoxide – released in car exhaust fumes
- Formaldehyde – embalming fluid
- Hexamine – found in barbecue lighter fluid
- Lead – used in batteries
- Napthalene – an ingredient in moth balls
- Methanol – a main component in rocket fuel
- Nicotine – used as insecticide
- Tar – material for paving roads
- Toluene - used to manufacture paint
So CAN YOU QUIT SMOKING?
-- YES, but it takes Strength and Courage to quit – and you need a plan.
Here are some TIPS I’ve found TO CREATE YOUR PLAN TO SUCCEED:
- Write down your reasons for quitting (see my grandchildren, travel with my family, participate in sports with my kids, dance with my spouse, save money I waste on tobacco, love myself enough to quit, etc.). When you reach for that cigarette, pull out your list of reasons instead.
- To help motivate you, write down all the 'disgusting' things about smoking (house and clothes and car smell like smoke, ashes everywhere, dirty, makes teeth yellow, bad breath, smoker's cough, smoking during pregnancy causes the placenta to be hampered because tissues not get enough oxygen....). If you can't think of any or aren't aware of negatives, ask others around you who don't smoke -- they'll tell you because they notice it.
- Calculate how much MONEY you spend (and thus, can save) on tobacco products per year.
- Decide how you will quit smoking (gradually, cold-turkey, use a nicotine patch or other medication, ...)
- Don't carry cigarettes around with you.
- Quit smoking one day at a time.
- Talk to your physician about getting help to quit, if appropriate.
- Drink plenty of fruit juice the first 3 days to help flush nicotine out of your system (takes 3 days).
- Anticipate and plan for challenges you’ll face as you quit.
- When/if cravings arise, remind yourself why you are quitting and that yes, "One cigarette WILL hurt."
- Manage cravings by change of scene or activity, deep breathing, mild exercise, munching on gum or sunflower seeds, call your support group contacts, divert your attention, etc.
- Identify your tobacco use triggers, and find out what causes you to want a cigarette so you can avoid it? (drinking coffee, after a meal, sitting at a bar, card games, drinking alcohol...)
- Consider yourself a "smoke-a-holic." One puff and you can become hooked again. No matter how long you have been off, don't think you can safely take a puff!
- Remove cigarettes and other tobacco products from your home, car, office, recreational areas.
- Ask for support from friends, family, co-workers.
- If you believe in prayer, ask God to help you, to deliver you from the craving. Ask others to pray for you too. (See my "Prayer" page.)
- Set a date to start your plan and SET A DATE to quit.
ONCE YOU'VE QUIT SMOKING
- Stay away from people and/or places that trigger the urge to smoke (even if years later!)
- Reward yourself by putting aside all that money you spent on cigarettes to pay for a new outfit, little vacation, special day out.
- Be proud of yourself!
- Have a positive attitude and outlook. Take it a day at a time and if you slip and have a cigarette, don’t get all depressed but start again with your 'quit smoking' plan. Apparently it usually takes up to 5 tries before many people finally quit smoking for good -- so hang in there!
- Keep family and friends nearby to encourage you to keep on.
- Visit www.ucanquit2.org (great online resources and web chat
- For military members – www.triwest.com/tobacco and www.tricare.mil/tobaccofree
- Visit the American Lung Association site -- www.lungusa.org/stop-smoking
Sources -- American Lung Association, American Heart Association, TriWest healthcare, Dr. Michael Popkin on RealParentsRealAnswers.com
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