Smoking is harmful! Period. Smoking is known to be the number one cause of preventable diseases and deaths worldwide. It is also considered to be the topmost cause for people suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer. Smoking cigarettes regularly transforms normal cells into cancer cells leading to a host of health issues, which if not controlled can prove to be life-threatening in the long run.
Sounds alarming? Here are a few more facts related to tobacco and cigarettes that you need to know to stop yourself from becoming addicted to it.
- Tobacco smoke contains more than 60 different toxic substances, which can lead to the development of lung cancer
- If you are smoking 25 cigarettes in a day, you are 25 times more likely to get lung cancer as compared to that of a non-smoker
- A single cigarette contains over 4800 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancers like mouth cancer & esophageal cancer among others
- Smoking increases your chances of lung diseases like pneumonia, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis
Apart from cigarettes, consumption of tobacco in other forms can also have adverse effects on your lungs. The types include:
- Pipe tobacco
- The powdered form of tobacco
- Chewing tobacco
Still not convinced why you must quit smoking right away? Read ahead to know how it can leave you huffing for breath and your lungs damaged over some time.
- Less airflow
Smoking, even one or two cigarettes, inflames and irritates the lungs. It decreases the number of blood vessels and air spaces in the lungs. Thus, resulting in less oxygen to critical parts of the body.
- More mucus
The cells that produce mucus in your lungs grow in size, when you smoke. Consequently, the amount of mucus increases. But when you smoke, your lungs are not effective enough to clean out the excessive mucus. Therefore, the mucus stays in the airways, clogs them and makes you cough constantly.
- More infections
The extra mucus is prone to infections and smoking hinders the natural defense mechanisms from protecting you against the infections.
- Fewer cilia
Cilia clean the lungs. But when you light a cigarette, cilia slow down in movement instantly. Just one cigarette can slow down the action of cilia for hours.
Also, smoking reduces the number of cilia in your lungs, leaving fewer cilia to properly clean the lungs.
How quitting smoking can benefit your lungs
When you smoke your risk of lung cancer is 20 times greater than that of a non-smoker. But, when you quit, your risk of cancer decreases within 5 years. That’s right! Also, when you smoke your pre-cancer tissue can convert into cancerous tissues. But when you quit, the pre-cancer tissue may return to normal.
How to quit?
Cigarette addiction is not only a physical addiction but a psychological one too.
If you want to quit, here’s what you should do to live a smoke-free life.
- Decide a date when you want to quit and mark it on a calendar. Give yourself at least a month to prepare and adjust.
- Decrease the number of cigarettes that you smoke, at least a couple of weeks before you want to quit.
- Tell your friends and family about your plan to quit. Ask for their support and encouragement.
- Make a list of things that you think would be able to distract you during those craving times later.
- Throw away all of your cigarettes, lighters, ashtrays, and matches. Stay away from people who are smoking, or ask them to stop smoking around you.
- Talk to your doctor as he/she can help you stay on track. The doctor can prescribe medication to deal with withdrawal symptoms.