Are you ready to face the facts? –
Current diseases –
- Smoking already affects your health in many ways and you may not be aware of it.
- Since the day you started smoking, it has been interfering with your immune system to make you more vulnerable to viruses and other infections.
- Since the day you started smoking, it has been suppressing your body’s wound healing processes which means it takes longer to recover from physical injuries.
- Since the day you started smoking, it has been interfering with your brain and nervous system making you more susceptible to stress, anxiety, depression and other psychological problems.
- Since the day you started smoking, cigarettes have been pumping your lungs full of invisible, odourless, tasteless poison. Carbon monoxide gas drains your energy by preventing your blood from absorbing life-giving oxygen.
- Smoking undermines self esteem. Failure to resist the habit can undermine ‘self efficacy’ – the sense of being in control of one’s life. Everytime a smoker puts a cigarette in their mouth, they are sending a signal to their brain that says ‘I give in’, ‘I have no willpower’, ‘I’m a failure’ etc…. By contrast, when people successfully stop smoking, they tend to become more self confident. Research published by the World Health Organisation has confirmed a link between smoking and low self esteem.
Death and Future Diseases –
- Smoking is associated with scores of different physical and psychological ailments. The latest report of the US Surgeon General (Dr Richard H Carmona) shows that smoking causes disease in virtually every organ of the human body.
- The late Sir Richard Doll’s research shows that the average smoker will on average die 10 years prematurely. Some researchers put this figure higher. The US Surgeon General’s report concludes that male smokers die 13.2 years prematurely and female smokers, 14.5 years on average.
- Many smokers die 20 to 25 years prematurely in their 50’s. 50% of all smokers will die as a direct result of smoking.
- The last few decades of life can be particularly miserable for smokers who may begin to feel the much more serious effects of their habit.
- The death toll from smoking is incomprehensible. 1 in 5 deaths in the UK are smoking related, rising to 1 in 3 deaths in middle-age. Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the developed world.
- The cigarette companies have killed more people than Hitler. In the 20th Century, tobacco killed roughly the same number of people in Britain alone as the Nazi holocaust killed in concentration camps (c 6 million). Internationally, approximately the same number of people died from smoking (c 60 million) as were killed, in total, throughout World War II. These may be conservative figures as the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently estimated that 5 million people currently die each year from smoking related illnesses.
Financial Costs –
- ‘The Cancer Mortgage’ – The total lifetime cost of smoking is on average £140 000 (not accounting for inflation).
- The profits made by the tobacco industry are invested into making their businesses grow (i.e. to entice younger people to smoke).
- Over £8 billion per year (80% of the cost of cigarettes) goes to the government in the form of combined VAT and excise duty.
Physical Ugliness –
- Smoking makes your breath smell and decays your teeth.
- Smokers tend to underestimate the strength of the smell caused by tar and the bacteria on the breath.
- To many, the sight of a full ashtray is as unappealing as a dustbin full of rubbish.
- Smoking causes wrinkling of the skin, especially around the eyes and mouth. Most plastic surgeons will refuse to perform facial operations on smokers because the nicotine-induced constriction of the capillaries makes such operations dangerous.
- Comparably, having a leg amputation or a breast removed because of a smoking related illness is probably more of a cosmetic concern than bad breath or wrinkling skin.
- Smoking changes the waist to hip ratio (WHR) of fat distribution in women which makes them more likely to develop a male paunch.
Wasted Time and Energy –
- Smoking is a colossal waste of time and energy. Smokers spend a huge amount of time smoking, buying cigarettes, finding places to smoke or thinking about smoking.
- ‘The Whore of Big Tobacco’. Many smokers resent the inconvenience of smoking and the sense of being enslaved by a drug.
- Smoking is increasingly becoming an inconvenience due to current legislation which restricts smoking to places where it is deemed to be acceptable.
Social Problems –
- Children of smokers are 3 times more likely to smoke themselves. Alternatively, they may justify their parents’ smoking as justification for taking cannabis or other drugs.
- Many people are critical of smokers and see them in a negative light as being dirty, weak willed, unhealthy etc….
- Smoking around others also encourages them to begin or continue smoking. Loved ones find it harder to quit while there is another smoker in the house.
- Smokers subject others to the anti-social effects of their own habit, inflecting ash and tar on them and through passive smoking.
Stress-Smoke Spiral –
- Self-medication. Most smokers use cigarettes to calm their nerves (i.e. to self medicate as if they were mild sedatives). However, cigarettes are powerful stimulants and smokers may as well be injecting adrenaline in their attempt to relax and cope with stress.
- ‘The Smoke-Stress Spiral’ – The more you smoke the more stressed you become. Far from relaxing you, the stimulant effect of smoking keeps your heart rate at about 10-15% higher than normal. Smoking to relax is like banging your head on a wall to ease a headache.