As a child, I grew up with two parents who were smokers. I have vivid childhood memories of my brothers and me trying to get as low to the backseat floorboards of the car as possible (before the time of mandated seat belt usage!) to have air that might be a bit easier to breathe. My memories were the harsh reality of growing up in the ’60’s when smoking was more common among adults than not. I was fortunate that the acrid smell of cigarette smoke was enough of a deterrence for me to never consider the habit.
Dangers of Smoking
Consider these facts about cigarettes:
- Tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 different chemicals. At least 50 are known carcinogens (cancer causing agents) and many are poisonous.
- Tobacco has been linked to killing up to half of its regular users.
- Tobacco caused over 100 million deaths in the 20th century.
- Cigarettes are one of only a few products which can be sold legally yet can harm and even kill you over time if used as intended.
- Scientists claim the average smoker will lose 14 years of their life due to smoking.
- Europe has a slightly larger gap (46% of men smoke, 26% of women smoke), while most other regions have few women smokers. The stats: Africa (29% of men smoke, 4% of women smoke); Southeast Asia (44% of men, 4% of women), Western Pacific (60% of men, 8% of women).
- Nicotine reaches the brain within 10 seconds after smoke is inhaled. It has been found in every part of the body and in breast milk.
- Sugar is a component part of up to 20% of a cigarette, and many diabetics are unaware of this secret sugar intake. Also, the effect of burning sugar is unknown.
- ‘Lite’ cigarettes are produced by infusing tobacco with CO2 and superheating it until the tobacco ‘puffs up’ like expanding foam. The expanded tobacco then fills the same paper tube as ‘regular’ tobacco.
- Smokers draw on ‘lite’ and menthol cigarettes harder (on average) than regular cigarettes; causing the same overall levels of tar and nicotine to be consumed.
- Several active ingredients and special methods of production make the nicotine in a cigarette many times more potent than that of a tobacco plant.
Enough of the negatives for now, why not some positive information?
20 minutes after you smoke that last cigarette, your body begins a series of changes that can continue for years:
- 12 hours after quitting, carbon monoxide levels in your blood drops to normal.
- After 24 hours, your lungs begin to clear out accumulated mucous and tar. Your pulse rate and blood pressure begin to lower.
- After 48 hours, your sense of smell and taste begin to improve as nicotine is eliminated from your body.
- After 72 hours, your bronchial tubes begin to relax, making breathing easier and your lung capacity increases.
- After 2 to 12 weeks, circulation improves, making walking and physical activity easier.
- After 2 weeks to 3 months, your heart attack risk begins to drop and your lung function begins to improve.
- One to 9 months after quitting, coughing and sinus congestion decreases.
- 1 year after quitting, your added risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smokers.
- 10 years after quitting, your lung cancer death rate is about half that of a smoker’s. Your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas decreases.15 years after quitting, your risk of coronary heart disease and lung cancer is back to that of someone who has never smoked!
For additional reasons to quit, here are 10 common side effects of smoking.
If you are interested finally kicking the habit, and would like to consider natural methods that have met with great success, contact Eastside Chiropractic for more information.