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Reasons to Quit Smoking

There are may reasons to quit smoking, the first being your health. You CAN quit! But it will be easier if you have a strong reason - like saving money, better health, for your children, no smelly clothes and hair or because life's good and you want to live longer to enjoy it.

Complete your own Reasons for Quitting checklist, put it on your fridge or your bedroom wall and remind yourself EVERY DAY why you want to quit and the main reasons to quit smoking.

Cigarettes and Poisons

cigarette poisons

One the main reasons to quit smoking is the amount of poisons used in making cigarettes. Tobacco smoke is made up of a complex mixture of over 4,000 chemical substances. At least 43 of the chemicals found in tobacco smoke are known to cause cancer, including lung cancer, and cancer of the throat, mouth, bladder and kidneys.

The chemicals in cigarette smoke come from burning tobacco, burning cigarette paper, residues in agricultural chemicals left on the tobacco leaf, and chemicals added during the cigarette-making process.

Tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide are all found in cigarette smoke and are all known to contribute to most smoking related disease. There are many other chemicals in tobacco smoke which have a role in causing disease.

Click here to see the chemicals in a cigarette and the smoke it produces.

Radioactive Compounds are found in cigarette smoke and are largely established as causing cancer. The most common compounds found are polonium-210 and potassium.

Nicotine is the main addictive ingredient in tobacco. The mixture of nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarettes increases the heart rate and blood pressure, stimulates the sympathetic nervous system and constricts the small blood vessels under the skin. It slows your blood flow reducing oxygen to your feet and hands. Some smokers end up having their limbs amputated.

Taris the term used to describe the mixture that is formed from the tiny particles in cigarette smoke. It is made up of lots of chemicals, including nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, as well as other organic chemical compounds. Tar is the main cause of throat and lung cancer. Changing to low tar cigarettes does not help because smokers usually take deeper puffs and hold their smoke in for longer, dragging the tar deeper into their lungs.

Nickel increases the risk of cancer of the gastrointestinal tract and may result in irritation of the upper respiratory tract. It is commonly used in the production of stainless steel and alkaline batteries.

Chromium compounds have been recognized as causing cancer and can cause allergic reactions.

Pesticides are used to grow tobacco and are therefore present in cigarettes and tobacco smoke.

Butane commonly used in cigarette lighter fluid.

Ammonia is also added to speed up the delivery of the nicotine. It is also commercially found in floor cleaners.

Carbon Monoxide is an odorless, poisonous gas that reduces the amount of oxygen taken up by a persons red blood cells making your whole body, especially your heart work harder. It is strongly linked with the development of coronary heart disease. It is the same chemical that is emitted by cars.

Arsenic is causally associated with cancer in humans and is commonly found in white ant poison.

Hydrogen Cyanide is a gas that reduces the ability of the body to carry oxygen and was used in the gas chambers during World War II. It damages the tiny hairs (cilia), which are part of the natural lung cleaning mechanism.

Cadmium causes cancer in humans, primarily targeting the kidneys. The main industrial uses of cadmium include metal coating and car batteries.

Lead may cause cancer, kidney disease and affect sperm formation. It also increases blood pressure. It is commonly used in batteries, glass, plastics and ceramics.

Formaldehyde is suspected to cause cancer in humans, in particular cancers of the lung, pharynx, liver, bone, skin, prostate gland, bladder, kidney and eye, leukemia and Hodgkins disease. It is also known to produce allergic reactions and asthma-like conditions. the main commercial use of formaldehyde include fertilizer, dyes, disinfectants, germicides, preservatives and embalming fluid.

Acetone can cause dizziness, light-headedness and damage to the liver and kidneys. It is also an irritant to the eyes, nose and throat. It is commonly used as a solvent to remove nail polish.

Naphthalene commonly used in mothballs and toilet bowl cleaners.

Flavor Enhancers, such as licorice extract and fruit extracts are aded to cigarettes to make the taste nicer.

Health Effects

Smoking Kills.
Another one of the reasons to quit smoking is that it will kill you. Each year, about 19,000 Australians die from diseases caused by smoking. One in two lifetime smokers will die from their habit. Half of these deaths will occur in middle age.

Smoking Causes Diseases
Smoking is a slow way to die. The strain put on your body by smoking often causes years of suffering. Each time you have a cigarette you put yourself at risk of Emphysema, Lung Cancer, Heart Disease and Stroke, and a host of other serious conditions.

Emphysema is an irreversible illness that slowly rots your lungs. People with emphysema often get bronchitis again and again, and suffer lung and heart failure.

Lung Cancer
The tar in tobacco smoke causes lung cancer. Smoking causes the majority of lung cancer. Smoking damages a gene called p53 and this allows lung cancer to develop.

Heart Disease and Stroke
Heart disease and stroke are more common among smokers than non-smokers. Smoking makes the blood cells and blood vessel walls sticky which allows dangerous fatty deposits to build up. Smoking causes one in three deaths from heart disease in those 65 years old and younger.

Pregnancy and Children
Babies born to mothers who smoked in pregnancy are more likely to be premature, stillborn or die shortly after birth. A baby exposed to tobacco smoke has a higher risk of dying from SIDS (cot death).

Children whose parents smoke are more likely to get pneumonia and bronchitis in their first year of life, to suffer from more frequent and more severe asthma attacks, and to become regular smokers themselves.

Most people know the bad news about smoking, but many people don't think about the benefits of quitting.

Benefits of Quitting

Quitting Has Some Major Benefits
Much of the damage caused by smoking is reversible, and the sooner you quit, the more chance your body has to repair itself. The longer you stay stopped, the greater your chance of avoiding a smoking-related disease. As soon as you stop smoking, your body begins to recover:

  • After twelve hours almost all of the nicotine is out of your system.
  • After twenty-four hours the level of carbon monoxide in your blood has dropped dramatically. You now have more oxygen in your bloodstream.
  • After five days most nicotine by-products have gone.
  • Within days your sense of taste and smell improves.
  • Within a month your blood pressure returns to its normal level and more air is getting into your lungs.
  • Within three months the blood flow to your hands and feet improves, and your lungs will be working better.
  • After twelve months your increased risk of dying from heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker.

Quitting smoking is a challenge.

Once you have quit, you will know you can succeed at a difficult job and take control of your life.

Quitting helps you believe in yourself so you can take on other challenges.

Skin starved of oxygen by smoking becomes dry and grey. Wrinkles around the eyes and mouth develop much earlier, and the tar stains your teeth and fingers. Quit smoking and your hair and clothes smell cleaner and you'll look and feel healthier.

Save Money
Quitting smoking saves money that can be spent on other things. In a way, giving up smoking is like getting a pay rise, more than $2,500 a year if you smoke 20 cigarettes a day.

Second Hand Smoke

The chemicals and cancer-causing substances found in tobacco smoke also harm non-smokers who breathe in second-hand smoke. Second-hand smoke refers to the combination of smoke from the burning end of a cigarette and the smoke exhaled by a smoker. The act of breathing in second-hand smoke is sometimes referred to as 'passive smoking'. Just as there is no safe level of active smoking, there is no evidence of a safe level of second-hand smoke exposure.

Exposure to second-hand smoke is a significant cause of death, illness and discomfort. In the short-term, non-smoking adults exposed to second-hand smoke suffer from irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, headaches and coughs.

In the longer term, a number of comprehensive reviews have confirmed that exposure to second-hand smoke increases a non-smoker's risk of lung cancer, heart disease and respiratory illnesses, including bronchitis and emphysema.

Babies and children are particularly sensitive to the effects of second-hand smoke. Infants exposed to second-hand smoke have a greater risk of 'cot death' or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and children are more likely to suffer from sore and/or watery eyes, sneezing, coughing and wheezing. Exposure to second-hand smoke has also been proven to cause bronchitis and pneumonia, and middle ear infection (or 'glue ear') in children, as well as being a risk factor for the development and worsening of asthma. Women exposed to second-hand smoke during pregnancy face an increased risk of having a low birth-weight baby.

For more information about how smoking can affect babies click here.

There are laws designed to protect people from second-hand smoke exposure in enclosed public places, including the workplace. For more information on the legislation, see 'Smoking and the Law'.

There are many ways that you can reduce your exposure to second-hand smoke. You can:

  • Make your home and car smoke-free;
  • Work with your employer to implement a smoke-free policy in your workplace;
  • Choose smoke-free entertainment venues;
  • Be aware of the laws relating to second-hand smoke exposure and assist in ensuring that proprietors of public places comply with the regulations;
  • Ask proprietors of licensed public venues for non-smoking areas (and if existing non-smoking facilities are inadequate, notify management); and
  • Help your loved ones to quit.

As a smoker, the best thing you can do for both yourself and those around you is to quit.

In the meantime, while you are trying to quit you can smoke outside when you are at home; and smoke away from others, especially children.

Site Resources

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