Whether cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, e-cigarettes, hookah or similar products, if you want to preserve the pink of your lungs and prevent cancer and many other diseases, it’s wise to steer clear. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that tobacco was responsible for 100 million deaths in the 20th century. Smoking is the No. 1 preventable cause of death in Canada and kills more than 37,000 Canadians each year – six times more than vehicle collisions, suicides, murders and AIDS combined.
Moreover, tobacco costs a lot to canadian companies. Total indirect costs (the value of lost production due to inability to work, either because of short- or long-term disability or premature mortality) due to smoking in 2012 were $9.5 billion.
Many people who smoke say they smoke to relieve stress, or smoke more when they are experiencing stress. Click here to discover some easy steps from our expert Dr. Poirel to reduce your stress at work.
Cigars vs. Cigarettes
One cigarette contains about 4,000 toxic chemicals of which 60 are known carcinogens. Among the chemicals found in cigarettes include ammonia, arsenic, hydrogen cyanide, mercury, lead, tar, butane and acetone. Some people believe smoking cigars is safer than smoking cigarettes because the smoke from cigars is not inhaled. On the contrary, cigar smoke can be even more toxic than cigarette smoke because it contains higher levels of tar and nitrosamines which are known to cause cancer.
Why is it so hard to quit nicotine products?
Nicotine is highly addictive, plain and simple. In the central nervous system it increases the body’s levels of many neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that relay, amplify and modulate signals between cells. The feelings of relaxation, euphoria, and a reduction in anxiety experienced during smoking, are believed to be the result of increased levels of dopamine. This biochemical reaction leads to a dependency comparable to that experienced with drugs like heroin or cocaine.
Just in case you haven’t heard...
Just in case you haven’t heard it all before, smoking increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), osteoporosis, lung cancer, as well as cancers of the cervix, kidney, stomach, pancreas, bladder, esophagus, larynx and mouth. Smoking is linked to a whole host of other conditions including erectile dysfunction. Smoking is responsible for about 30% of all heart attacks and death from cardiovascular events, 30% of all cancer deaths, 90% of lung cancer deaths and over 80% of deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (eg. emphysema and chronic bronchitis). A 2013 study from researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center also found that smoking tobacco can alter the expression of clock genes in both the lungs and the brain, thus ruining a restful night's sleep.
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Steps to quit for good!
1. Choose a specific date to stop smoking, mark it in your calendar. Write down the reasons why you want to quit and plan new activities to keep your hands & mind busy. Ask friends and family members to support you, and make concrete plans to push smoking out of your life for good.
2. If you would like to include medications as part of your quitting strategy, consult your physician to discuss available options. Join a support program and contact a counselor.
3. On the appointed day, cease smoking completely. Throw cigarettes, cigars and ashtrays away and stay away from places that you associate with smoking - even if it is your favorite lazyboy. Stay positive, celebrate your success, and take things one day at a time. If you try and do not succeed the first time - do not give up. Try again.
Need some more help?
There are a number of tools at your disposal to help you quit smoking and ensure lasting success. The combination of drugs, physician guidance, and social support have shown the highest rates of success. Three popular options for smoking cessation are outlined here:
1. Nicotine therapy using patches, gums, lozenges, sprays or inhalers.
2. Bupropion, marketed as Zyban is an antidepressant that has been shown to aid in managing nicotine withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
3. Varenicline, marketed as Champix can be used to relieve nicotine withdrawal symptoms, but it can also be used as a form of aversion therapy by smokers to make the act of smoking unappealing to them.
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