What would you do if you had diabetes, heart disease, even a cough or cold? Chances are that you would probably head to the doctor for some medications to get healthy again. However, not many would do the same if they were smoking.
During a media workshop conducted by pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer, it was revealed that smoking is actually a disease, as nicotine creates changes to the brain and body cells, many that are irreversible in the long-term. The problem is that most people view smoking as a personal lifestyle choice, preferring to ignore its long-term implications.
But let’s say you decide to stop smoking one fine day.
Perhaps you have just had a baby or is recently diagnosed with a health condition and advised by your doctor to stop puffing. Or perhaps you are just tired of your smoke-laced breath, fingers, hair and clothes.
So you stop buying your daily pack and tell yourself you have to stop. But hey, it’s not as easy as you think, because you have developed an addiction to smoking. Research shows that most smokers actually try –and fail- seven times before they manage to break the habit.
But willpower alone is not enough. In a 2004 study published by Hughes JR in the Addiction Journal, 95-97% of people fail to give up smoking using willpower alone.
You need help to fight the craving that comes at certain times of day when you are most likely to smoke – that first puff in the morning, after a meal, after a lengthy meeting or discussion, just before bedtime.
That’s where smoking cessation resources such as Champs Circle (www.champscircle.com) come in handy.
BEATING NICOTINE ADDICTION
Want to know what type of smoker you are or why smoking is an addiction? If you are a woman, you might want to know how smoking affects your reproductive health, hormone levels, skin conditions and increases your risk of heart disease, early menopause and cancers of the lung and breast.
There is also Quitting Calculator that helps you calculate how much money you can save in a year, 5 and ten years if you quit smoking now. The amount can be substantial if you are a walking chimney who light up a few packs a day!
The site also provides valuable recommendations to people who want to quit – whether using Nicotine Replacement Therapy (in the form of gums, patches, inhalers, tablets, lozenges and sprays), going cold turkey or taking medications that trick your brain to dislike smoking, while reducing withdrawal symptoms at the same time.
TIMELINES TO GOOD HEALTH
The best part about being able to stop smoking is how your body feels. Here’s what happens once you stop:
First 8 hours: Nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in body are reduced by half. Oxygen levels in bloodstream return to normal. Blood circulation improves.
First 24 hours: Carbon monoxide and nicotine are eliminated from the body.
2 days: Taste and smell improves.
1 month: Skin loses pallor and becomes less wrinkled.
3-9 months: Coughing and wheezing declines.
1 year: The risk of heart attack is reduced by half.
10 years: The risk of lung cancer is reduced by half.
15 years: The risk of heart attack is reduced to that of a non-smoker.
The question is: Do you really want to quit?
If the answer is yes, speak to your doctor or pharmacist for a solution. There is no better time than now.