An old Arab proverb ‘Smoking is good for you’, ‘The dogs will not bite you because you smell so bad; thieves will not rob you at night because you cough in your sleep and you will not suffer the indignities of old age because you will die when you are relatively young.’
What is in a cigarette?
The most harmful chemicals in cigarettes are tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide. Nicotine causes the addictive effect. Second hand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemical compounds, including carbon monoxide (which poisons the human body), ammonia, formaldehyde, and other poisons. 4 of the chemicals – benzene, 2-
naphthylamine, 4-aminobiphenyl, and polonium-210 are classified as known carcinogens—cancer causing agents.
- * Each year over 20,000 Australians die from diseases caused by smoking.
- * Cancer: Smoking is the major cause of death from cancer, especially lung cancer (86% caused by smoking).
- * Other lung disease: Smoking causes chronic bronchitis (smoker’s cough) and emphysema.
- * Hardening of the arteries: Smoking can cause hardening of the arteries of the heart (angina and coronary attacks), brain (strokes).
- * Smoking in pregnancy increases the risk of:
- * Miscarriage.
- * Complications of pregnancy, including bleeding during pregnancy, etachment of the placenta, premature birth, and ectopic pregnancy.
- * Low birth weight. Babies born to women who smoke are on average 200 grams lighter than babies born to comparable non-smoking mothers. Premature and low birth weight babies are more prone to illness and infections.
- * Congenital defects in the baby – such as cleft palate.
- * Stillbirth or death within the first week of life – the risk is increased by about one-third.
- * Poorer long-term growth, development, and health of the child. On average, compared to children born to non-smokers, children born to smokers are smaller, have lower achievements in reading and maths, and have an increased risk of developing asthma.
- * Smoking reduces life expectancy by 7 – 8 years. That means, each cigarette shortens the life of the smoker by around 8 minutes.
Timeline of health benefits after stopping smoking…
1. Day 1, within a few hours of quitting smoking, all traces of carbon monoxide have left your body.
2. Day 2, all cigarette by-products have left your system and your sense of taste and smell improve.
3. Day 3, hours breathing becomes easier. Bronchial tubes begin to relax and energy levels increase
4. 2 to 3 weeks Most withdrawal symptoms have gone
5. 3-4 weeks the hair-like cilia lining in your lungs starts to sweep out the build up of tar and mucus, enabling you to cough it up.
6. 4 weeks, Exercising is easier because more air is getting into your lungs, the climb up the stairs should be easier.
7. In 1 month Skin appearance improves owing to improved skin perfusion
8. 2 months, the blood flow to your hands and feet improves, keeping them warmer.
9. In 3–9 months, Cough, wheezing, and breathing problems improve and lung function increases by up to 10%
10. 1 year, Risk of a heart attack falls to about half that of a smoker
11. 10 years, Risk of lung cancer falls to about half that of a smoker
12. 15 years, Risk of heart attack falls to the same level as someone who has never smoked
13. Every month Australian tobacco companies lose at least 12,000 customers
14. About 12,500 quit and 1,600 die of diseases caused by smoking.
So, Are you ready?
See your GP, drop in your nearest Pharmacy, call Nurse on call, or visit quit lines. Love and care your family, your health, your country, your environment.