About 15 billion cigarettes are sold daily – that is about 10 million a minute. There are 1.1 billion smokers in the world today and the number seems to be rising every year. China is home to 300 million smokers who consume 1.7 trillion cigarettes a year – 3 million cigarettes a minute.
Cigarette smoking is the chief, most preventable cause of death in our society! It is even said that, after quitting, every cigarette shortens life by 14 minutes. Research has shown that a person who smokes is ten times more likely to die from lung cancer compared to a non-smoker. Scientists also claim that on average, smoking removes 15 years from a smoker’s expected life span.
For most these are just statistics; numbers put on paper. Because as smokers, you build up a wall of denial, bolster weak arguments and keep telling yourself that it is not doing as much harm as the media claims. But just take a look around you. The number of people smoking is rising exponentially with a majority of young teenagers starting off as early as 10 years old. Contrary to popular social belief, it is still NOT illegal to smoke tobacco products at any age. It is only the SALE of tobacco products that are age restricted. In other words, the possession of cigarettes by a minor is not illegal at all!
The cigarette industry is still one of the world’s largest industries with approximately 1 trillion being sold from country to country each year. Although the cost of being a smoker is becoming increasingly high, there has been no significant drop in the consumption of cigarettes. The only way to fight this habit is awareness. Knowing how smoking affects your body is the first and most important step to kicking this habit for good.
How it affects your body
In China more than 65% of the male population smoke and about 1 million Chinese people die each year from smoking-related illnesses. Cigarettes contain arsenic, formaldehyde, lead, hydrogen cyanide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, ammonia and 43 known carcinogens (agents directly involved in causing cancer).
When you inhale the smoke, you are letting in these harmful chemicals that pass through your body’s vital organs like your brain, heart, lungs and blood vessels. One of the most powerful chemicals is Nicotine and it is what keeps you smoking. Nicotine reaches the brain within 10 seconds after being inhaled and it is found in every part of the body, even in breast milk.
The carbon monoxide you inhale replaces oxygen in your blood cells, robbing your body of this life-giving element. Smoking also weakens your sense of taste and smell so food will never be good as it once was.
Why quitting can seem so hard
Whether you are a teen smoker or a ‘pack-a-day’ smoker, quitting can still be tough. This is because your brain keeps craving the nicotine it once had. Smokers generally describe effects such as relaxation, calmness, concentration and many others. But the reality is that smoking will produce a different effect in each individual depending on ‘what they want to get’.
Tips to quit smoking
o Understand why you want to quit
o Seek Nicotine-replacement therapy
o Try non- Nicotine medication
o Let somebody know that you are trying to quit
o Avoid alcohol and other activities that may boost the need to smoke
o Keep yourself busy and active physically and mentally