I met Jack a few years ago. He was practically everything I wanted. We got talking and I couldn’t help but admire him. He was an awesome fellow. But I always noticed he had a whiff of nicotine breath each time we met.
By the 3rd week, he confessed to me he was addicted to smoking cigarettes following a request from him to smoke in my presence.
He smoked at least 2 packs of cigarettes each day, he admitted.
Seriously, I tried to talk him out of it. But when it was clear to me he wasn’t ever going to change, I walked out of his life without looking back.
You can call me selfish, yes, but I don’t want to spend my life taking care of a partner who failed to take care of himself while he could, or battling with a disease acquired through passive smoking.
Tobacco kills up to half of its users.
Tobacco kills more than 8 million people each year. More than 7 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.
Cigarette smoking, according to the CDC, causes more preventable deaths each year than the combination of HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use and motor vehicle injuries.
Smoking is addictive and sometimes difficult for those who smoke to easily walk away from this habit. This addiction also drives up the profit of Tobacco companies. They ain’t gonna stop producing cigarettes anyway.
You can have some of these effects of cigarette smoking even without being an active smoker. Passive smoking is as dangerous as active smoking. Passive smoking is the inhalation of smoke (secondhand smoke) by persons other than the active smoker.
We probably all know at least one person who smokes cigarettes. The effects on the body are varied and widespread, however, no one has told you these things I’m about to share with you today…
- Smokers are at an increased risk of CANCERS:
Smoking can cause cancers almost anywhere in the body.
Lung cancers, in more than 90% of cases are caused by smoking. Lung cancers are also seen among passive smokers and rarely among non-smokers. The link between smoking and lung cancer is very strong and almost always diagnosed very late.
Mouth, tongue, laryngeal, esophageal, liver and stomach cancers are also strongly linked to smoking.
Pancreatic and skin cancers have also been linked to cigarette smoking.
Many who smoke also ingest alcohol. This combination exponentially increases the risk of all cancers.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a medical condition that affects the respiratory system. In this case, the chemicals from smoking cigarette destroys the lung tissues, making them less efficient in their function. Individuals tend to cough a lot with copious sputum production and poor body oxygenation. It is progressive and irreversible, usually leading to respiratory failure and even heart failure. It commonly reduces the life span of affected individuals.
Tobacco smoke is capable of triggering an asthmatic attack even in previously undiagnosed individuals.
- Atherosclerosis which is the thickening of blood vessels can lead to stroke, heart failure and other diseases. Smoking leads to premature or a rapid ageing of the blood vessels, making them stiffer, clogged and narrower.
This limits blood flow to vital organs of the body including the brain (causing a STROKE), heart (causing HEART ATTACK or myocardial infarction), kidneys (causing KIDNEY FAILURE), eyes (causing DETERIORATION IN EYESIGHT), leg vessels (causing pain on walking or CLAUDICATION) and the penis (causing ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION).
Male smokers produce less viable sperms and are more likely to be infertile compared to their non-smoking peers.
- Cigarette smoking in pregnancy causes low birth weight, premature labour and an increased risk of sudden death of the baby (within the womb) before it is delivered.
Smoking also makes it more difficult for a woman to get pregnant.
- For those who are so concerned about their skin, smoking damages the skin. Making it rougher, wrinkled with an increased risk of developing skin cancers.
If you want a smooth and shiny skin, then smoking cigarettes actively or passively must be avoided at all cost.
- Maintaining a beautiful set of teeth is out of the question with cigarette smoking. Tobacco blackens the teeth and causes gum disease with early enamel erosion. Regular toothaches and dental visits is their lot. I am yet to see a smoker with an inviting healthy smile.
- A bad breath is the norm with smokers too. Long after smoking, it stays with them. A bad breath among smokers can not be eliminated simply by brushing the teeth or licking tom-tom, as the breath comprises exhaled air from the lungs. It can be irritating, a regular source of a bad impression from strangers.
- Exposure to cigarette smoking at an early age causes delay in lung maturation.
These effects, which by no means is exhaustive as smoking affects every organ in the body, can similarly be caused by either smoking cigars or pipes. So one does not go on playing the ostrich.
You mustn’t be an active smoker to have any of these, passive smoking can also result in these.
Do you see why I said what I said? I can not suffer for another man’s foolishness.
Bringing an end to the habit of smoking is, admittedly, not an easy endeavour. It requires a strong personal desire to quit and stay smoke-free.
One will need:
*Family and friends support…Encouragement from supporting family members can be motivating.
*Behavioral changes (like avoiding joints/clubs or places where others smoke and seeking a diversion for when the cravings arise).
*Nicotine replacement therapy (nicotine patches) help when those who were avidly addicted develop withdrawal symptoms like headaches and the shakes.
*Prescription drugs to discourage smoking are also available.
*Join a support group. These groups comprising anonymous repentant addicts who chose to support each other may be uncommon in Nigeria for now. But some organizations can be reached by phone or online for psychological and material support.
Taking the first step by making a firm resolution is key as the necessary help can easily be assessed wherever one is in this country.
Say no to cigarette smoking, and say NO today.
Do not wait until the claws of a debilitating disease bring you down to a level of helplessness, forced to give up this habit when it is too late.
Disclaimer: The character depicted is fictitious. Any similarity to actual person living or dead is purely coincidental