Quitting – The Journey Back To Health

When you're trying to quit, everyone keeps telling you how much better you'll feel and the benefits of being smoke-free are extolled endlessly. But what can you expect to experience as time elapses during the process of kicking the habit? What are the timescales? Read on to find out …

20 minutes in

Believe it or not, you'll feel the benefits of quitting in as little as 20 minutes as your heart rate begins to drop back down toward normal levels.

2 hours in

Although your heart rate and blood pressure level will have returned to almost normal levels, nicotine withdrawal symptoms now begin to appear. You may experience severe cravings, increased appetite, stress or insomnia. On the plus side, there may be an improvement in your peripheral circulation.

12 hours in

When tobacco burns it releases toxic carbon monoxide which you inhale into your lungs. Carbon monoxide prevents oxygen from bonding effectively with red blood cells and this can cause serious cardiovascular issues. Only 12 hours after quitting, carbon monoxide levels reduce to much lower levels and your blood oxygen returns to normal.

24 hours in

A landmark! And you've already reduced your risk of heart attack considerably. Keep it up, you're doing great!

48 hours in

After 48 hours without a cigarette, your previously reduced sensory capacity, especially smell and taste, will begin to improve as your nerve endings begin to recover and regrow.

Three days in

After three days cigarette free your body will be completely free of nicotine. Whilst this is a great milestone, it also means that your withdrawal symptoms will peak now. These could include such nasties as headaches, cramps and nausea in addition to the psychological symptoms already mentioned. Now's the time to treat yourself to a much-needed pick me up using the money you've saved by not smoking.

Two to three weeks in

By this time you should find that you're able to exercise without experiencing feelings of nausea giddiness. Why? Well, because your lung function has improved along with your circulation so you can breathe much more easily. And another thing; your withdrawal symptoms will by now have virtually disappeared – result!

One to nine months in

A month or so after quitting, your lungs will begin to repair the damage smoking has done to them. This means that you now have a greatly reduced risk of chest infections and even the heaviest former smokers will find that their withdrawal symptoms have gone completely.

One year in

This is a major landmark – congratulations! You have now reduced your risk of heart disease by half.

Five years in

Many of the substances you inhale from burning tobacco cause narrowing of the arteries. This places you at risk from suffering a stroke. Luckily, from five years onward after quitting your risk of stroke is just the same as a non-smoker.

Ten years in

Everyone knows that smoking increases your risk of cancer; lung cancer unsurprisingly being the most likely and smoking accounts for 90% of deaths from that disease. After 10 years of being smoke free your risk of dying from lung cancer will reduce by half and your risk of contracting other forms of smoking related cancers also decreases.

15 years in

So, here you are 15 years down the non-smoking road and guess what? You are no longer a high risk category for heart attack and disease!

If you haven't already worked it out, the long-term benefits of quitting are truly amazing. Non-smokers (including those who smoked for years and then quit) live 14 years longer than smokers. And you'll feel much healthier, want to be more active and get a whole lot more enjoyment out of the extra life you've bought yourself.

So what are you waiting for?

It’s Time

Time to feel positive about yourself. Time to not feel guilty about smoking outside at home or in the garage to hide it from your family. Time to figure out why you smoke and how you will be able to quit.

Time to track your smoking. Where, when, and why. Time to understand why you smoke and pick a date to quit.

If you smoke, that new baby is three times more apt to die from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Those children you are so proud of are more likely to contract asthma, ear infections, bronchitis, pneumonia and some other lung infections. And second-hand smoke is a killer. You wouldn't let your child step out infront of a truck if you could prevent it, would you? Why bring the poison right there to them then? And children of smokers are twice as apt to become smokers themselves.

How does smoking fit in with what you have planned for you life? Can you think of things you could do other than smoke? And the money you can save could send you and your family on a vacation.

Once you quit you need to stay away from those smoker hang outs. Ask smokers not to smoke around your children. If there are smokers at your job perhaps you can talk to the boss about banning it or atleast in certain areas.

You need to start being active three times a week. What type of area do you live in? Parks nearby or somewhere to walk? You could set a goal each time to walk a little further. Use a podimeter and see how many steps you take seeking a goal of 10,000 or more.

Life is a short endeavor. People are living longer now days but people who have chosen to smoke for 40-50 years and are diagnosed with COPD(Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) when they are in their golden years aren't going to enjoy those years like they would have if they had been smoke free for all those years. Instead they will be carrying a oxygen machine  around and huffing and puffing to make it upstairs. Yes, life is short.

If I Died Today: A Poem About My Smoking

If I died today, would you even care? 

Probably not, but that's just life's fare

If I died today, all I'll leave you are my words

They'll all over the net fluttering like birds

 

I'm just a blogger and some say a writer

But in the end I think all wouldn't really matter

What counts would be the times that we shared

and the memories through the moonlight we heard

 

Don't you fret, don't be afraid 

Because we both know that I once prayed

For strength that I may stop

This I did like a spinning top 

 

T'was a miracle of sorts that we've seen

That somehow through my addiction you may glean

I did it, I stopped smoking 

Through words that may be provoking

 

Now we move on to the next chapter

of new villains and heroes that I'm after

For there will always be some evil plot

Wishing to spread doom and rot 

 

If I die today, can I visit you as a ghost?

I know it sounds creepy, but would you be a nice host?

I'm just kidding of course, don't be afraid 

Now's not the time to launch the modern crusade

 

If I died today, there are a few things I might regret

Though these are also a part of the roulette

There are times when I wish I could be like Perez Hilton

Though that's also silly lest I be a simpleton

 

I'd be writing about Miley Cyrus jiggling her smoking behind

Though I really pity her she must be slaving bear that in mind

Freedom comes with responsibility I often hear them say

Remember this always when you come out to play

 

If I died today, I would leave no insurance

Call it what you want and I know that's no assurance

The field that I have chosen oftentimes gets unrewarded

Though it has its moments at times we are accorded

 

With that said, I don't think I'm ready to die today

I also know that I won't and I hope it does not dismay!

News on Electric Cigarettes

The same governor who banned trans fats and tried to do away with large sugary drink, New Yorkcity governor Michael Bloomberg, is concerned enough with public health that he is now working on getting electric cigarettes banned in New York. Several ordinances are in the works. One that would classify these cigarettes as tabacco products. California's legistlature is looking at doing the same thing as well.

Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association has let several drafts of proposed bills that the New York City Council will soon vote on slip out into the media. They want to redefine "tobacco products". Under the New York Law, they will ban the flavored "e-liquid' from being sold in retail stores or anywhere other than age restricted tobacco bars. This would prohibit even an e-cigarette store in New York from selling the flavored e-cigarettes. And the law also mandates that all e-cigarette products are sold only in their original packaging.

Right now, e-cigarette smokers are allowed to light these up in certain places, such as bars and other public establishments.

(CASFAA is a non-profit organization increasing public awareness,education and encouragingtesting and development of products to achieve exceptable safety standards.) They state: "An e-cigarette is safer for the people around the smoker but it still gives the smoker the nicotine they crave and is little help in eliminating the addiction." They also emphasize that e-cigarettes have not been approved by the FDA. But Why? I believe it's because the electronic cigarettes haven't been on the market for very long and little data is available about the other chemicals used.

On the subject of the chemical risks of electronic cigarettes, Michael Siegel, a tobacco researcher at Boston University said in a paper just published in the Journal of Public Health Policy, that levels of certain harmful chemicals in e-cigarettes were on par with levels found in nicotine patches and hundreds of times lower than what's found in cigarettes. But does this just mean that health implications will just take longer to appear?

In a study done by ASH (Action on Smoking and Health), e-cigarettes have caused a wide variety of potentially serious problems "including racing pulse, dizziness, slurred speech, mouth ulcers,heartburn, coughing, diarrhea, and sore throat." They found that users have to suck much harde on the electronic cigaretes, because over time they may increasingly want more nicotine. Aerosal density decreases much the same as with traditional tobacco cigarres. It's similar to smoking a "light" cigarette and then building up to a more concentrated option. This may make the aerosal reach deeper in the lungs, and this could also mean that smokers of e-cigarettes may need to smoke more to get the needed amount of nicotine.

John Banzhaf, Executive Director of Action on Smoking and Health found that the electric cigarettes do emit a mixture of nicotine (contributes to heart attacks), and propylen glycol, (which is a respiratory irritant used in anti-freeze and known to cause respiratory infections) and other things that the FDA has labeled as carcinogenic and toxic.

So what do these conclusions tell us? It seems that finding a new product that addresses one problem is okay, but it doesn't necessarily erase other ones that are as bad or worse.

Smokin’ Soul

It’s really that important. Yes, the cancer. Yes, the hacking. Yes, the dentures. More than that though, I’m that important.

I’m not a smoker. (I mean, right now.) I’m a quitter, and I don’t want to be a smoker. I want to be a Read more

How Can Your Loved One’s Help?

How can your family, spouse, or significant others help you quit smoking?

A better question would be: Why is it that your loved ones support is effective than your own ambition?!  It is the power of influence. Normally, we look up to these people, value their opinions, and while we may feel that the  things we do may not affect ourselves in the least, as soon as we learn that they too are affected, in negative ways, we feel empathy. Having built good relationships with loved ones, being a good person in life gives you the advantage of caring for others.

This, in turn, allows you to vicariously feel their emotions toward your addiction(s). It's just like when you see a child fall, cry, or experience fear. You are instantly overwhelmed with feelings urging you to protect that person. You may also have found yourself in some pretty brave situations where you did just that.

The same rules of love apply to you when you're in need, on your quest to quit smoking. Ask your loved ones what they think of your addiction, and how it affects them. Of course, it's a difficult question to ask, but it's important and shows them that you know they feel the pain of your actions. Tell them to not only express themselves, but to go ahead and surpass your emotional pain threshold if necessary, and to make the words count (and perhaps even hurt). Allow them to exhibit anger, a human response to feeling ultimately saddened and troubled. Communicate that the therapy of this shunning, may provide you with the protective instincts to quit smoking (in part) for the people you love, even if you’re having a hard time doing it for yourself.

Honestly? It sucks.

I have ‘quit’ at least ten times in the past few years, each effort just a little better than the last, and each wrought with the voice of the addiction: “One isn’t that bad. Everyone else can do it, why shouldn’t I?” or “I’ll just smoke with drinks.” Read more

Smoking and Male Infertility

Everyone knows that smoking whilst pregnant is bad for both baby and mother, but many couples hoping to start a family overlook the fact that smoking can adversely affect male fertility too.

Studies have shown that smoking causes a decrease in the quality of semen. Sperm concentration, that is the number of sperm present in a measured quantity of semen, is reduced by up to 23% in men who smoke. The motility of the sperm, i.e. its ability to swim, is also compromised with a 13% decrease. If the sperm are unable to swim strongly enough to reach the egg, fertilisation may not take place. Sperm morphology, the actual shape of the individual sperm, is also affected. This also interferes with effective swimming and can cause problems with fertilisation should the sperm manage to reach the egg at all. It has also been shown that male smokers experience abnormal hormone levels which will cause problems with fertility.

Poor sperm quality and hormonal imbalances may not cause infertility in all men, but for those whose sperm count is already poor these additional negative factors may be enough to render them infertile.

Research into the effect of male smoking on successful IVF treatment shows that smoking dramatically reduces the success rate of IVF treatment. Given the cost of multiple cycles of fertility treatments, it would be well worth giving up smoking before you embark on this route if you and your lady want to start a family any time soon.

Even if you're not at the stage where you want to father a child, smoking can have a seriously detrimental effect on your ability to even practice! Young men who smoke run a high risk of becoming impotent, depending upon their daily consumption of tobacco and the length of time they have smoked. Smokers are statistically twice as likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction as non-smokers.

Smoking causes hardening and narrowing of the arteries. As the heart becomes affected, it becomes less efficient and less able to maintain a good level of blood pressure to the extremities. To make matters worse, the blood vessels supplying the penis become narrowed. The end result is an inability for the affected individual to achieve and maintain an erection. Impotence in male smokers is extremely difficult to treat.

Luckily, it's not too late. Studies show that quitting smoking sooner rather than later will prevent long term impotency problems in young men and even those who have a longer term smoking habit will suffer less irreversible complications and will respond better to medication.

So, come on guys; if ever there was a really great incentive to quit this surely has to be it! Good luck!

Should We Allow Kids to Use E-Cigarettes?

With flavors as enticing as strawberry, banana, chocolate, cappuccino, lemon, apple and others you can’t help but think that e-cigarettes could be attracting children as much as they are luring smokers who want to quit. The question is should we allow them to or not? A few days ago before the burnt wick incident, I invited my wife to have a puff or two. I bought two new flavors: strawberry and banana. She’s a non-smoker but she enjoyed it nonetheless. I hope I won’t get judged for this, but it really is worth sharing. Two consenting adults are free to do what they wish after all. I let her puff some strawberry and she said that she Read more