1. Almost everybody knows smoking is a major cause of heart attacks, strokes and lung cancer. However, smoking can also cause the following:-
- Wrinkles on your face as you get older
- Sexual problems such as impotence (i.e. difficulty in getting or maintain an -erection during sex)
- Cervical cancer in women
- Mouth cancer
- Low birth rate babies in women who smoke during pregnancy
- Low IQ in children whose mother smoked during pregnancy
2. Apart from these physical ill effects, smoking can also cause bad breath, smelly hair and smelly clothes.
Passive smoking is harmful for children. Children who see their parents smoke are more likely to smoke themselves. Is this what you would want for your children?
3. One third of hospital beds are filled with people with smoking related problems.
While smoking can cause premature death, it is more likely to cause chronic illness such as chronic lung disease, a stroke or angina which can affect your quality of life. Do you want to end up in a nursing home with a stroke or so breathless that you cannot walk to the shop?
Remember, if you get sick from a smoking related illness, you would have brought it on yourself and your family. You will have nobody but yourself to blame. Is this really what you want?
4. People mistakenly believe that smoking helps them relax or deal with stress. This is untrue. The withdrawal effects of nicotine make you feel agitated and you can get temporary relief from these symptoms when you smoke. Withdrawal effects from nicotine usually only lasts a few days or a few weeks at most. Nicotine replacement therapy such as Nicotine Gums or E-Cigarettes may help ease the withdrawal effects from nicotine. However, if you use these nicotine replacement methods you should plan to wean yourself gradually off them over the course of three to six months. “Champex” a tablet that helps reduce cravings, can be helpful for some people. Ask one of the doctors in The Ashe Street Clinic about this prescription medicine if you are interested.
5. There are many benefits to stopping smoking. Not only will you be better and healthier, your food and drinks will taste better and your clothes and hair will not smell like an ashtray. You can also make substantial financial savings by giving up smoking. If you smoke twenty cigarettes a day, you can save enough for a family holiday after one year or a decent family car after ten years. The money you save from not smoking twenty cigarettes a day, over forty years, would buy you a family home.
6. Addiction to nicotine is treatable. After all, people have given up far more addictive habits such as alcohol, heroin and gambling.
Plan the date you intend to quit. Tell all your friends, relatives and work mates your plan and get their help and support. Avoid situations that might make you think about smoking such as drinking alcohol outdoors or drinking coffee after a meal.
7. When you give up one bad habit such as smoking, you should take up a good habit such as more physical exercise. Try walking, jogging, tennis or golf. Physical exercise release endorphins which are natural feel good hormones that will help to counteract the withdrawal effects of nicotine. When you give up smoking cigarettes, you should adopt a healthy lifestyle and try to concentrate on having a good healthy diet, getting plenty of fresh air and exercise. Keep alcohol to a minimum and don’t binge drink. Try to deal with any stress in your life in a positive way.
8. For most people, giving up smoking is an all or nothing process. Complete abstinence will give you your best chance of success. If you do happen to fall off the wagon and have a cigarette, examine the reasons why you smoked and try to avoid that situation in the future, at least until you have gotten over the craving stages. Take your smoking cessation programme one day at a time. Be determined. Recognise your achievements and give yourself a small reward once in a while (i.e. the money you saved might buy you a nice shirt or the pair of shoes you saw in the shop last week).
9. The peace of mind that comes with not smoking should not be underestimated. You will have no more worries about your health and the guilt associated with smoking will disappear. Cravings will pass and you will no longer have to plan your life around your next cigarette.
10. If you do get a craving to smoke, try some or all of the following:
- Take a few deep breaths and remind yourself why you need to stop
- Brush your teeth
- Drink fresh juice
- Go for a brisk walk or a jog
- Chew on some sugar-free gum
Most cravings pass within a few minutes.
Your breathing, circulation and skin will significantly improve within two years of stopping smoking.
For more help and advice about trying to stop smoking please visit the following website: www.quit.ie or phone the HSE’s National Smoker’s Quit line: 1850 201 203 (8am – 10pm, Mon to Sat).
You might also like to contact the local HSE’s Smoking Cessation Service for Kerry at: 066 719 5617.
‘’YOU CAN QUIT’’ Facebook page: www.facebook.com/HSEquit is another useful service for quitters.
All the doctors and nurses in The Ashe Street Clinic are trained in nicotine addiction and how to help people to stop smoking. Please do not hesitate to ask us for our advice and support.