SMOKING A SERIOUS RISK FACTOR
Tobacco kills approximately 7 million people annually this includes more than 6 million who are users and around 600,00 who are non-smokers and are exposed to second-hand smoke.
Smoking is a risk factor for at least 6 to 8 of the leading causes of death in the world due to heart disease, lung disease, kidney failure, infection, and cancer. It also increases your chances of getting osteoporosis, a condition that makes your bones weak and increases the occurrence of bone fractures.
STOP SMOKING AND IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH
If you already have illnesses due to tobacco smoking,
once you stop your health improves. Information from the World Health Organization states that within 20 minutes the heart rate and blood pressure will be reduced. After 12 hours the carbon monoxide in the blood circulation will also be reduced. Within 2-12 weeks the circulation and lung function will improve. Within 1-9 months the coughing and shortness of breath will decrease, the risk for Cardiac heart disease will be reduced to about half of that for smokers and the benefits roll on. The younger the age at which you quit the greater the increase of your length of life. A case in point, if you stop smoking at 30 years of age then 10 years of life expectancy is added. At age 60 a quitter will gain 3 years life expectancy. Quitting tobacco smoking reduces the occurrence of illnesses related to second-hand smoke for children such as asthma and ear infections. Quitting smoking increases fertility for females who will find it easier to become pregnant, have less miscarriages, premature births and reduces the chance of impotence among men and problems with having sex.
COST OF SMOKING
Economically the amount of money saved due to reduced income spent on cigarettes daily, monthly, and yearly will also be realized. Also, your body will love you for it, because when you quit you will not smell bad, your skin will be healthier, teeth whiter and you will look younger.
Quitting is not easy for most people, and it can take several attempts to be completely successful. But help and support are available. Quitting smoking will improve your health no matter how old you are, even if you have smoked for a long time.
What should I do if I want to quit smoking? — It's a good idea to start by talking with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist. It is possible to quit on your own, without help. But getting help greatly increases your chances of quitting successfully.
When you are ready to quit, decide to:
- Set a quit date
- Tell your family and friends that you plan to quit
- Plan ahead for the challenges you will face, such as cigarette cravings
- Remove cigarettes from your home, car, and work
GETTING MEDICAL HELP
How can my doctor, nurse or pharmacist help? — Your doctor, nurse or pharmacist can give you advice on the best way to quit. They can also recommend medicines to:
- Reduce your craving for cigarettes
- Reduce your "withdrawal" symptoms (these happen when you stop smoking)
Your doctor, nurse or pharmacist can also help you find a counselor to talk to. For most people who are trying to quit smoking, it works best to use both medicines and counseling.
QUITTING IS NOT EASY
When you try to quit there are challenges you may encounter these are called withdrawal symptoms they are listed below:
- Trouble sleeping
- Feeling irritable, anxious, or restless
- Getting frustrated or angry
- Having trouble thinking clearly
These symptoms can be hard to deal with, which is why it can be so hard to quit. But medicines can help.
Some people who stop smoking become temporarily depressed. Some people need treatment for depression, such as counseling or medicines or both. People with depression might:
- No longer enjoy or care about doing the things they used to enjoy
- Feel sad, down, hopeless, nervous, or cranky most of the day, almost every day
- Lose or gain weight
- Sleep too much or too little
- Feel tired or like they have no energy
- Feel guilty or like they are worth nothing
- Forget things or feel confused
- Move and speak more slowly than usual
- Act restless or have trouble staying still
- Think about death or suicide
If you think you might be depressed, tell your doctor, nurse or pharmacist right away. They can talk to you about your symptoms and recommend treatment if needed.
There are 2 kinds of drugs to help you stop using tobacco. One kind of drug replaces the nicotine you get from cigarettes or tobacco. Another kind of drug helps you deal with cravings and signs of withdrawal.
The ones that replace nicotine allows you to use the nicotine in doses which can then be gradually reduced. These must not be used whilst smoking tobacco products or this combination can result in dangerous effects.
They may come in different forms;
- a patch
- nasal sprays
The other medications which help with the withdrawal effects including depressions and anxiety are bupropion and varenicline. It is best to start these two weeks before quitting smoking for them to be fully beneficial.
OTHER WAYS OF QUITTING
Electronic cigarettes, e-cigarettes, or “vapes” also have nicotine. These are not approved to help persons quit smoking.
Its best to quit but to make it easier use the ACRONYM "START" to help you remember the steps to take:
S = Set a quit date.
T = Tell family, friends, and the people around you that you plan to quit.
A = Anticipate or plan beforehand for the tough times.
R = Remove cigarettes and other tobacco products from your home, car, and work.
T = Talk to your doctor about how to get help to quit.
Complementary approaches to quitting tobacco smoke:
Supportive Mind/Body Therapies
It is best to introduce these practices before the attempt to physically stop tobacco use. The many benefits of integrative therapy are:
- Lowering of blood pressure
- Promoting restful sleep
- Reduction in anxiety
- Stress management and reduction
- Reduced cravings
- Mental and physical stability
- Less hostility
- Greater sense of confidence
A few recommendations from myself and clinical insights from Gail Dawson
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and Faculty lecturer at the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine La Jolla California.
- Acupuncture once weekly ( I recommend use of moxibustion in addition)
- 5 point auricular therapy once weekly
- Massage at least twice monthly
- Moist heat sauna sessions
- Energy Work ( cranio-sacral work) to mention a few
Self -care would include:
- Eating regularly balanced meals to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Supplementing with protein smoothies with added coconut oil.
- Exercising daily with exposure to sunlight for at least 30 minutes daily.
- Restorative yoga daily if possible.
- Walking on the grass barefoot known as earthing.
“COMMIT TO QUIT YOUR BODY WILL LOVE YOU FOR IT”