Though scientists and researchers have proven that smoking is harmful to the health, an estimated one thousand million people smoke worldwide. Smoking-related illnesses are the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
There are a variety of reasons why someone may begin smoking. An estimated 90 percent of smokers begin before the age of 18. Young smokers probably do not think about the health risks. They may try smoking as a way to fit in with the fast crowd, or simply to find out what all the fuss is about. Smoking may be an act of rebellion against parents or a way to look and feel older. In countries where tobacco companies are allowed to advertise, teenagers may be particularly susceptible to advertisements.
Smoking may also be indicative of a deeper, underlying issue such as low self-esteem or an inability to deal with stress. It can serve as an emotional crutch, distracting people from their problems and making them feel more comfortable or confident in social situations.
If you´re looking for a reason to quit smoking, you don´t need to look far. Among the many reasons why it is a good idea, health is probably at the top of your list. Having a smoking related illness today can be costly, especially when you do not have health insurance. Smoking has been shown to cause a variety of health problems, ranging from stroke and emphysema to heart disease. According to a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control, approximately 2.6 million cases of tobacco-related cancer were diagnosed in the United States alone from 1996 to 2004. In 2004, the Surgeon General assured that there is a direct causal relationship between tobacco use and a wide array of cancers, including kidney, cervical, pancreatic, lung and bronchial, kidney and renal pelvis, urinary bladder, stomach, and esophageal cancer. In a recently published article in Reuters, Dr. Prahbat Jha at the Center for Global Health Research in Toronto states that five to six million people die annually from smoking-related illnesses worldwide.
Another reason to quit smoking is to have more energy. Within weeks of quitting smoking, many former smokers find that they can walk up stairs without getting out of breath, and that they have more energy in general. Furthermore, a report published in the Archives of Internal Medicine states that men who have never smoked have a life expectancy of approximately 10 years longer than their heavy smoking peers. Kicking the habit can mean living longer and going about life with a renewed vitality.
The yellow teeth, brown hands, increased appearance of wrinkles, and smelly breath, clothes, hair, car, and home can also be improved by quitting smoking. Not only do non-smokers feel better, but they look and smell better too.
The habit of smoking can be expensive. Someone who smokes one pack of cigarettes a day at five dollars per pack spends about 150 dollars on cigarettes each month. Taxes on cigarettes account for about half of the price of the pack, so smokers also pay significantly more in taxes. The real cost of tobacco, however, is in healthcare. Approximately 6.6 billion dollars are spent on healthcare for tobacco-related illnesses each year. Smokers also pay higher insurance premiums.
Additionally, quitting smoking can improve your interpersonal relationships. If you smoke, you may find that you cannot spend time with your grandchildren, or other friends and family. Meals may be interrupted because you need to go outside to smoke between courses. Without tobacco, you would be able to spend more time around non-smoking friends and family, especially children.
There are many ways to quit smoking, some more effective than others. Heavy smokers often benefit from nicotine replacement therapy, in the form of a patch, gum, or inhalers. Some individuals respond well to the simple doctor suggestion to quit smoking. Others benefit from antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication as well as group or individual therapy. Roughly half of smokers who decide to quit are able to do so using the “cold turkey” method, that is, a sudden, complete cessation. Regardless of the method chosen, quitting smoking will help you save money and improve your heath, energy levels, appearance and relationships!