Friday, February 4, 2011


1. Can smoking be safe?
No. Smoking any type of tobacco products, at any rate, damages the human body. Smoking even a few cigarettes a day, or several cigars a week, is dangerous for your health. Tobacco is particularly harmful for the lungs, heart, skin, reproductive organs, and teeth. Smoking is a leading cause of lung cancer and directly involved in the development of other malignancies.
Trying to smoke fewer cigarettes, or choosing tobacco products with less amount of nicotine and tar, does not really make smoking safer. In practice, cutting down on the amount of daily cigarettes often does not work. As to switching to “lighter” brands, smokers usually compensate by smoking more, thus inhaling the same amount of tar and nicotine as before, when they were smoking stronger cigarettes. Low-tar tobacco products inflict the same damage upon  the smoker's heath as high-tar “lung rockets”, especially if the smoker takes deep puffs. Even without these compensatory changes, it is much better for your health to quit smoking completely than to try to cut down or select lighter types of cigarettes.
2. How addictive are cigarettes?
Cigarettes, as well as other smoking and smokeless tobacco products, are extremely addictive. Tobacco addiction is caused by nicotine, which is contained in generous amounts in cigarette smoke. When consumed in small doses, nicotine ignites the feelings of pleasure and relaxation, but bigger doses can produce agitation, nausea, and dizziness.  In time, and sometimes already after the first smoked cigarette, nicotine addiction is developed, which leads to a host of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when the smoker tries to abstain from consuming tobacco. These symptoms are both psychological and physical and can include moodiness, nervousness, dry mouth, headaches, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and even a full-blown depression. In addition, nicotine influences the brain chemistry, which can negatively affect the smoker's temper by creating mood swings and triggering mental disorders.
3. Who can become addicted to smoking?
Anybody who smokes is a tobacco addict. Numerous research show that, once started, smoking becomes a deeply rooted habit and quickly leads to a real addiction. Especially vulnerable are those who start smoking during adolescence.
4. What is nicotine and how does it affect our health?
Nicotine is a poisonous chemical substance contained in tobacco smoke. Taken in large amounts, it can paralyze the muscles involved in breathing, causing suffocation and death. Smoking produces relatively small amounts of nicotine, which are immediately metabolised and removed from the body, this is why smokers do not die from their habit right away. However, residual nicotine has an ability to concentrate in certain tissues and cause irreversible genetic damage. It harms the lungs, cardiovascular system, and other organs and systems of the body, thus elevating the smokers' risk of developing lung cancer, impotence, stroke, heart attack, and circulatory diseases.
5. Is smoking really responsible for different cancers?
Yes, it is. In addition to nicotine, cigarette smoke contains more than 40 carcinogenic chemicals, which are involved in the development of different types of cancer. Tobacco-induced cancers account for about 1/3 of all cancers currently diagnosed in the United States. In more than 80 percent of all cases, lung cancer is caused entirely by smoking. Tobacco smoke is also a key trigger of pancreatic, oesophageal, kidney, mouth, and uterine cervical cancers.
6. Is smoking bad for the lungs?
Apart from lung cancer, cigarette smoking can cause a number of other lung diseases, the most common of which is chronic bronchitis. Another dangerous smoking-induced disorder of the lungs, emphysema, causes a graduate deterioration in the breathing mechanism and can lead to death. COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a collective term to describe chronic cases of emphysema and bronchitis, is mostly smoking-related. Annually, smoking-induced CORD kills more than 65,000 people!

About Smoking and Health

7. What is cigarette smoke composed of and how harmful are the “ingredients“?
Tobacco smoke contains a number of harmful compounds that also result from burning of cigarette wrapping and various “flavour-enhancing” additives. The most dangerous of these “ingredients” is tar, which includes more than 43 carcinogenic chemicals and numerous other hazardous compounds which can cause respiratory disorders, cardiovascular disease, and other disabling conditions. A surprising array of dangerous chemicals found in cigarette smoke include methanol, benzene, nitrogen oxide, ammonia , formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and even cyanide. And, of course, a substantial part of tobacco smoke in nicotine, a toxic and highly addictive chemical that harms the smoker's health.
8. How does smoking harm our heart?
Cigarette smoking is known to elevate the risk of cardiovascular disease (hypertension, high blood cholesterol, heart attack, atherosclerosis, stroke , etc.), which is currently the industrialized world's leading killer. In the US, almost 200,000 people die each year from heart attacks and strokes caused by tobacco consumption. In fact, smoking cigarettes almost doubles the risk of developing cardiovascular disease! In addition, for those who have already survived one heart attack but continue smoking, the risk of developing another heart attack or cardiac arrest is much higher than in those who have never smoked.
9. Why smoking is so harmful for pregnant women and their unborn babies ?
Those pregnant women who dare to smoke put their baby' heath in a tremendous risk. Statistics show that babies who have been exposed to cigarette smoke when still unborn have a considerably lower birth rate than babies of non-smoking mothers. Smoking pregnant women generously supply their unborn child with carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, nicotine, and other awful chemicals that enter the baby's bloodstream from the mother's system. Research reveals that smoking women run an increased risk of having a spontaneous abortion. Babies of smoking women are twice more likely to die from SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) than babies of women who have never smoked. A growing body of evidence also shows that children of smoking mothers have an elevated risk of suffering from asthma, chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, and ear infections later in life.
10. How dangerous is prolonged smoking?
Smoking cigarettes provokes the development of cancers. The longer you have smoked, the higher your risk of getting lung cancer and other types of malignancy. Largely due to this carcinogenic effect of smoking, smokers live at average ten years less than non-smokers. After the age of 35, death rates among long-term smokers are several times higher than those of non-smokers. Another harmful effect of prolonged smoking is deteriorated lung function leading to chronic coughing and shortness of breath with increased physical activity. Rapid skin aging, as well as decreased taste and smell sensations, are also observed among long-term smokers.
11. What is second-hand smoke and how dangerous is it?
Passive, or second-hand smoking, is the result of ETS, or environmental tobacco smoke, created by smokers when they light a cigar, cigarette, or pipe and when they exhale tobacco smoke into the air. As a result, non-smoking people involuntarily inhale all harmful substances contained in tobacco smoke, coming from both side stream smoke and mainstream smoke. Some specialists even insist that second-hand smoke contains more dangerous chemicals, including carcinogens, because it is formed at decreased temperatures. Recently, the US Environmental Protection Agency has included ETS into the list of “Group A” carcinogens, meaning that second-hand smoke is proven to cause different forms of cancer in people.
It is estimated that the presence of second-hand tobacco smoke in the atmosphere is a leading cause of lung cancer in people who do not smoke. If a non-smoker is continuously exposed to ETS, for example from a smoking family member or co-worker, his or her risk of developing lung cancer is about 30 percent higher than that of a non-smoker who does not inhale ETS on a regular basis. Children of smoking parents, especially if their parents smoke at home and / or in the family car, have a higher incidence of asthma and other lung diseases than children raised in a non-smoking environment.
Other unpleasant side effects of passive smoking include irritation of eyes and mucous membranes, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, nausea, and headaches in non-smokers.

Best Strategies of Smoking Cessation

There are many different programs that can potentially help you to become smoke-free. To successfully kick the habit, you have to select a smoking cessation program that will work for you. To stop smoking for good, you must be prepared to overcome nicotine withdrawal symptoms that sometimes can be severe, particularly if you are a life-long smoker. Also, be ready to exercise emotional and mental willpower in order to change your established lifestyle habits that are built around smoking. Nicotine is a strong addictive drug and therefore quitting smoking is not easy. It really helps to do your homework and find out what program might work best for your particular needs. This article will give you initial guidelines to get started.

Where to start
Select a date when you intend to stop smoking and then follow your plan. Ahead of time, record your reasons for smoking cessation and read those notes every time you are tempted to start smoking again. Write down why and when you tend to smoke and what triggers your desire for a cigarette. Before quitting, try to abstain from smoking in certain situations that you can perfectly control with your willpower – for example, when you are having your morning coffee, socializing with smoking friends, or driving your car. It is really helpful to write down a list of activities that could be easily done without smoking. Also, be prepared to get engaged into doing something else when your cravings for nicotine are especially strong. Be creative and think ahead about what you can do – for example, you can have a (healthy) snack, watch an interesting movie, or even start lifting weights! A good strategy is to consult your doctor about nicotine replacement products – these would be especially useful during the first several weeks after quitting. Another helpful step is to get counselling or join a support group.
How to prevent relapsing
When you stop smoking, you may get severe nicotine withdrawal symptoms that will make you crave tobacco and provoke irritability, nervous tension, anxiety, or even depression. You may also get headaches , become dizzy, or feel hungry all the time. These unpleasant sensations are due to the highly addictive nature of tobacco. Since your body is used to a constant supply of nicotine, the above withdrawal symptoms are quite natural and signal the healing process. They won't last long – most former smokers report uncomfortable sensations that only last from several days to several weeks after smoking cessation. Stick to your program and try to stay in control!
To avoid starting smoking again, keep away from anything that may remind you about smoking: clean your house of cigarettes, ashtrays, lighters and other smoking supplies. Ask your friends and family members not to smoke when you are around. During work breaks, munch on healthy snacks or chew a gum instead of smoking. When the urge to smoke is almost unbearable, exercise! Aerobic activities, such as jogging, biking, or playing tennis, are particularly recommended to refocusing your mind off cigarettes.
What to do if you relapse
It is estimated that over eighty percent of quitters eventually return to cigarettes. If you are one of those, try not to give up. Some nicotine addicts have to attempt quitting smoking several times before they can finally kick the habit for good. Maybe, next time you will require a stronger pharmaceutical medication to help you overcome nicotine addiction. Or you will need additional supportive therapies, such as acupuncture or massage. Plan beforehand and consider nicotine patches, antidepressants
, or hypnotherapy. Do not lose hope!

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