Tami Griffith: Quit Smoking Nov. 19
November 15, 2009
What is SO BAD about smoking? Smoking causes 30 percent of all cancer deaths. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer in the U.S. It also causes cancer of the throat, cervix, larynx, mouth, esophagus, abdomen, and bladder. Tobacco causes several types of leukemia as well.
Why does tobacco cause cancer? There are over 4,000 chemicals in cigarettes and more than 60 of these are cancer causing agents. Among the chemicals found in cigarettes include: Benzene, formaldehyde, ammonia, methanol, and cyanide. One of the chemicals, Benzene, causes DNA damage and inflammation to the cells of the body. These two processes promotes the initiation and growth of tumors.
What other health issues are associated with smoking? Tobacco is a major cause of heart disease. Smokers who have a heart attack are more likely to die within the first hour than non-smokers. Smoking causes peripheral vascular disease. Smoking causes a decrease in the flow of blood to the extremities and elsewhere in the body. This is why smokers are more prone to strokes and erectile dysfunction. Cigarette use also causes gum disease, cataracts, and fractures. Studies show that tobacco use can increase the risk of macular degeneration. This is a disease of the eyes that leads to blindness. Pregnant women who smoke have an increased risk of having a miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight babies and increase the babies’ risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
Why can’t I quit smoking? Nicotine has physical additive properties as well as psychological properties. When a person smokes, nicotine initially causes a pleasant feeling. However, after smoking for some time, the individual feels the need to smoke more and more in order to achieve that same “euphoric” feeling. This is because nicotine interferes with the flow of information to nerve cells.
What are the treatment options for tobacco cessation? Studies have shown that through the use of nicotine replacement therapy along with a stop smoking program-people have been effective in smoking cessation. Nicotine replacement therapy includes the use of patches, gum, and spray. Other options for Tobacco cessation include: Zyban – an anti-depressant medication. This medicine decreases signs and symptoms of nicotine withdrawal and acts on chemicals in the brain to reduce nicotine cravings. This medicine can be used alone or with nicotine replacement therapy. Chantix is another medication used for individuals. It interferes with the nicotine receptors in the brain and decreases the side effects of nicotine withdrawal.
What is the best way to Stop? Pick a quit date. Plan ahead. Some of the medications need to be started approximately one week before smoking is stopped. Tell your family and friends that you are quitting. Change your routine, drink tea instead of coffee, change your route going to work, eat your meals in a different location and throw away all of your cigarettes and ashtrays. Drink plenty of water. Get regular exercise. For more information, call 1-800-227-2345
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Begin today on your new healthy lifestyle.