Tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. And, yet 40 million American adults still smoke. Why? Because tobacco is one of the strongest addictions and it takes a powerful will to quit. That’s probably why the American Cancer Society started the Great American Smokeout which just so happens to be tomorrow, November 16.
ACA says that quitting is a process and that rather than going cold-turkey for one day, one should develop a plan. But first, you need to decide to quit. To help you do that here are ten great reasons, with thanks to WebMD.com, to stop smoking:
- 1. Smelling like smoke. Or, in other words, you stink. “There’s no mistaking the smell of cigarette smoke, and it’s not one many people describe favorably,” Web MD says. “Smokers are commonly self-conscious about the smell of smoke on their clothes and in their hair. And the smell of their breath is one of particularly sensitivity to most smokers.”
- 2. Sense of smell and taste. “Smokers also experience a dulling of their senses; smell and taste in particular take a hit when you smoke,” Web MD explains. This reduced ability is gradual, so you most likely won’t realize it until you quit using tobacco.
- 3. Premature aging. Skin changes, like leathery skin and deep wrinkling, are more likely in people who are regular smokers. The American Academy of Dermatology says that smoking leads to biochemical changes in the body that speed the aging process.
- 4. Social pressures. The word WebMD uses is “marginalized.” They say that smoking has become widely unpopular and as a result those who continue to smoke are being treated as insignificant or unimportant. Only you can determine if that’s an issue for you, but generally people are social animals and it’s unsociable to smoke.
- 5. Finding a mate. “Anyone who has perused the dating advertisements in papers, magazines or online, has seen more than is or her fair share of the phrase, ‘no smokers, please,’” WebMD tells us.
- 6. Impotence. You smell too bad to get a mate? That’s okay because smoking increases the chances of impotence dramatically for men by affecting blood vessels, including those that must dilate in order for an erection to occur.
- 7. Increased infections. Did you know that smoking makes you more susceptible to colds and flu? WebMD explains:
- 8. You’re a danger to others. In step with not getting a mate is the point that around 50,000 deaths each year are attributed to secondhand smoke. Studies in smoke-free communities have shown a 20 to 30 percent drop in heart attacks according to WebMD.
- 9. Impact on physical activity. Out of breath when you climb a flight of stairs? I’ll say no more.
- 10. Cost. With federal and state taxes a pack of cigarettes in Idaho, on average, will cost you $5.41. That’s $1,975 each year. If you’re imagining the presents you could buy your family with that money, think about giving them the best present ever, you – your health, your life — you.
“Breathing in the hot fumes of cigarette smoke is toxic to the senses. Smokers can’t appreciate the taste of many foods as intensely as they did before smoking, but it’s really the loss of the sense of smell that diminishes the ability to taste.”
“For example, smoking deprives the living skin tissue of oxygen by causing constriction of the blood vessels. As a result, blood doesn’t get to your organs as easily, and that includes the skin.” AAD explains.
Add the nicotine stains on your hands and the wrinkles around your mouth from puff, puff, puffing that cigarette and you have another reason to quit.
“Tiny hairs called cilia that line the respiratory tract including the trachea and bronchial tubes, are designed to protect us from infection. Cilia are constantly waving in a way that grabs bacteria and viruses that get into the trachea and pushes them up and out so we cough them out and swallow them and destroy them with our stomach acids. One of the toxic effects of cigarette smoke is that it paralyzes the cilia, thereby destroying this core protective mechanism.”
Kathy Hubbard is a member of Bonner General Health Foundation Advisory Council. She can be reached at 208-264-4029 or email@example.com.