Are You Setting Your Life On Fire?

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), tobacco kills more than 7.5 million people, which accounts to 11% of the total deaths worldwide, every year. And India features among the top four countries of tobacco users, with 11.2% of the world’s total smokers. Tobacco, which is considered the leading cause of preventable illnesses and deaths worldwide, is extremely dangerous in any form as it contains nicotine - a highly addictive drug that affects the brain, lungs, heart, kidney, stomach and reproductive system. Cigarette smoking is the deadliest form of tobacco consumption as it exposes the smoker to a toxic mix of more than 7000 chemicals and compounds, of which 69 of them are known carcinogens. Tobacco smoke, when inhaled, enters the lungs and coats with sticky, black tar (particulate tobacco smoke residue), which stays on forever. Across time, the tar clogs and damages the small air sacs (alveoli) and airways of the lungs, leading to serious respiratory diseases like smoker’s cough, asthma and lung cancer.

WHO reports also reveal that cigarette smoking is the cause of 90% of lung cancers and 80% COPD cases reported across the world.

How Does Cigarette Smoking Affect The Lungs?

Every time you smoke a cigarette, you end up inhaling a highly poisonous chemical mix with each puff. These chemicals settle in your lungs and cause complications like lung tissue scarring, loss of lung elasticity/capacity and serious respiratory diseases like:

  • Smoker’s cough
  • Asthma
  • Allergy
  • Bronchitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  • Emphysema
  • Lung Cancer

Constant exposure to cigarette smoke can slow down the normal growth of lungs.

What Are Other Complications Related To Cigarette Smoking?

Apart from respiratory diseases, cigarette smoking can also cause

  • Weakened immunity system
  • Heart diseases
  • Stroke
  • Aortic Aneurysm
  • Damaged blood vessels
  • Decreased blood flow and blood thickening
  • Lowering of Oxygen levels in the blood
  • Mouth and throat cancers
  • Cavities
  • Diabetes
  • Hearing loss
  • Weak bones
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Cataract
  • Premature ageing
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Impotence
  • Low estrogen levels
  • Bladder cancer

How can you quit smoking?

Saying “NO” to smoking is perhaps the best thing you can do for yourself. Yes, quitting smoking will not be an easy task as overcoming nicotine addiction will require tremendous willpower and mental strength. You will need to learn to say a firm “NO” whenever situations warrant and never, ever give into to peer pressure.

Here are some easy, practical ways to avoid smoking:

  • Keep away all things that remind you of cigarettes.
  • When you miss smoking, think about the healthy life you’ll gain after you’ve quit smoking.
  • When you feel like smoking, take a deep breath. Hold for 10 seconds and breathe out slowly.
  • Change activities that were once connected to smoking – read, play games, have a warm beverage (like green tea) or go for a walk.
  • Go for get-togethers to non-smoking restaurants.
  • Use nicotine patches/ gums that help stop smoking.
  • Never switch over to ‘substitutes’ like e-cigarettes.
  • Eat healthy, exercise well and sleep peacefully.

So the next time you light a cigarette, think for a second. Is it really worth killing your lungs to enjoy a few puffs?

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Lungs