If you are a smoker, then there is one thing you absolutely positively must do to improve your health and that's to quit smoking! There are no "ifs or buts" about it, smoking tobacco products not only can damage your health, but they DO damage your health.
Despite the health warnings, anti-smoking campaigns on television and in magazines and newspapers and overwhelming evidence that smoking causes lung and other cancers, more people around the world than ever before are cigarette smokers. So many lives are unnaturally shortened and ruined by this single pastime than any other, including road traffic accidents.
So if you have a mind to quit the habit that is costing you far more than just money, this article and related articles on the subject might help you to do just that. Here is the information you may need to help you quit along with some almost unbelievable facts about smoking that you may not get in many other places.
Dangers of Smoking
No article on smoking would be complete without a big technical sounding page or several on all the medical evidence that conclusively shows that smoking seriously degrades health. However, most people who see this kind of information tend to see it as scaremongering and generally dismiss it, no matter how compelling the evidence may be.
For this reason, I have decided to skip the medical horror accounts and just give you a few good reasons why what you are doing to yourself is not something any sane person would knowingly do to themselves.
Tobacco smoke contains:
- Carcinogens including formaldehyde (embalming fluid) and benzo(a)pyrene (a constituent of tar). These can cause the creation of cancer cells and tumors in your body. No point in saying anything more on that, as I guess you get the picture.
- Carbon monoxide, the poison that is emitted from automobile exhausts. When you breathe in carbon monoxide, it dulls the senses by retarding the nervous system, displaces oxygen in your bloodstream leading to tiredness and lethargy and in high doses can be fatally toxic.
- Nicotine, a toxic nerve poison which constricts the blood vessels making it tougher for your heart to pump it around your body. Nicotine is a stimulant and while the common belief is that it is a chemically addictive substance, there is no scientific evidence to prove this. In fact, the overwhelming proof shows nicotine to be no more addictive than fingernails (more on that later).
- Hydrogen cyanide, interestingly, which is a fatal poison that is still used in some cases to euthanize death row criminals. Yes, you heard right, CYANIDE!
They are just a few of the many harmful substances that constitute tobacco smoke that smokers breathe into their lungs all day, every day. Would any sane person knowingly put these chemicals into their bodies every single day?
Apparently, yes they do! There are plenty of perfectly sane smokers. So why do they continue to smoke when they know full well what the health consequences are?
Why Do People Smoke?
It may seem baffling at first glance as to why people still smoke despite the overwhelming evidence to prove that it is harmful to health. But not so baffling when you consider the power of the mind and mental stubbornness that can come into play when a person believes a thing so completely that it is the absolute truth to them no matter what anyone else says.
Most smokers truly believe in the mantra "It won't happen to me!"
We all know of someone who smoked two packets a day from the age of 14 and lived into their nineties without ever having a day sick in their whole lives. Sure, there are a handful of these examples, which gives smokers a crutch to lean on whenever they are told that smoking is dangerous to health. It's a case of, "Yeah, I hear you, but my aunt still smokes a packet of her favorite brand every day and she's 96, so I probably have her genes and will live that long too!"
The part about those examples is that they are a drop in the ocean compared to all the people you may know of who died prematurely because of smoking, or who suffered many years of ill health because they smoked. But the power of the mind is something to be believed because it can latch onto the one old aunt who survived and make that its role model while it discounts the millions who died young as not real.
Why the mind does this is easily answered by our in-built instinct to avoid anything that gives us pain, while being attracted to anything that gives us pleasure. Psychologists call this the "Pain and Pleasure Principle" and its pretty self explanatory. We would rather be warm than cold, so if it's cold, we build a fire to bring warmth to us. Cold is perceived as painful whereas warmth is perceived as pleasurable. I'm sure you get the picture.
So our example of that long lived heavy smoking aunt is a pleasurable image to hold onto because we want to be able to live long and in good health. We naturally prefer to have that as our model of pleasure. While the image of millions of people suffering with cancer and dying in great pain because they smoked is a painful image that we don't want to think about. So we quite naturally deny its existence in our own little bubble and only see the prospect of mimicking the longevity of the smoking aunt.
Smoking is a habit, pure and simple. A habit is formed in the mind and played out in repeated physical action, which reinforces the habit through repetition.
Breaking the Habit of Smoking
Smoking is not addictive in the sense that a drug like heroine is chemically addictive. Although it is mentally addictive in the same way that biting your fingernails is.
If you ever tried to break the habit of fingernail biting, then you will know how tough that can be. Habits can have us enslaved with an iron grip if we let them. On the flip side, any habit can be dissolved by a re-framing of our mental state and an altering of our beliefs. We just have to want to make the change.
A drunkard only ever becomes reformed when he decides to stop drinking.
Look at the above statement for a moment and see if you can pick out the vital part of what makes it so true. The answer to a lot of things is right there and will seem obvious to you once you see it, digest it and really understand it. Take a moment and really think about it, don't just pass it by. Then I'll explain it.
To break any habit, no matter if it is something as benign as fingernail biting or something as potentially life threatening as alcohol or drug abuse the person has to decide to stop doing it. They have to come to the conclusion, all by themselves that they no longer want to keep doing the thing that they have been doing. No amount of pressure from other people will make a person break a habit and no amount of medical or scientific "evidence" that what they are doing is harmful will make them stop doing it if the have not decided or chosen to stop!
Think about that for a moment and you'll see it's perfectly true and reveals the answer to the mystery of why sane people still smoke.
As this article is getting rather long winded and there is still much information to give you. I'll break it here and continue in the following articles: