Why You Should Not Smoke

Cigarette smoking is a social habit developed through association with peers, friends and sometimes from parents or uncles who are smokers. Statistics and research from every quarter over the years have proven that smoking of cigarette is dangerous to the smoker's health. And smoking of Indian hemp or crack affects the smoker's mental health, thus becomes clear that Nigeria is losing hundreds of thousands of her youths in particular who are addicted to smoking every year. It is also an undisputed fact that cigarette-related diseases cause more deaths than other drugs and other preventable sicknesses. This confirms why cigarette packets carry the warning on: "The Surgeon General Warns That Tobacco Smoking Is Dangerous To Your Health. Cigarette Design: Cigarettes consist of a tobacco column made from shredded tobacco leaf and other parts of the tobacco plant that have been crushed, made into sheets and shredded. Tobacco column is wrapped in cigarette paper that has been layered and laced with accelerants to ensure continued burning even when the smoker is not puffing. This poses a fire hazard. The dried leaves when ignited with fire produces the tar consumed with nicotine which is harmful to your health. The destructive elements following cigarette smoking are globally acknowledged including world reputable organization like the World Health Organization (WHO). This world-acclaimed organisation, the WHO, identifies tobacco as number one consumable item, as the second cause of death in the world. It also reports that cigarette kills more than five million addicts annually across the globe and has the prospect of increasing to 10 million in 2020. The organization has, however, advised that the death toll could be reduced if the countries of the world can implement the World Health Assembly (WHA) resolution on tobacco which was passed by 192 member countries to address the issue of tobacco consumption content. This was the first World Public Health treaty tagged: Framework Convention on Tobacco Control designed to mitigate tobacco-related deaths and diseases globally. Many addicts may feel they smoke to fight stress, without realizing that it is so many times counterproductive in that the active ingredient of tobacco called nicotine is a drug. It is as addictive as heroin and cocaine which makes the consumer physically and psychologically dependent on it. The dependency therefore demands that quitting smoking requires will-power to break the physical and psychological dependency on the nicotine, because it produces a relaxed mood that increases the urge to smoke the more. As the dependency deepens, the smoker's nervous system adjusts to its effect bringing about the urge to smoke more, resulting in an increase of nicotine in the blood level of the smoker. At this level of dependency, when a smoker attempts to reduce the number of cigarettes he smokes per day, it causes withdrawal symptoms. Some of the withdrawal symptoms may include but not limited to the followings: depression, trouble in sleeping, low concentration, irritability, restlessness, quick temperament, headache, increased appetite, tiredness etc. The above symptoms move the smoker who is not strong-willed to start smoking again to boost blood level content of nicotine to the level where the withdrawal symptoms had faded away. Other symptoms and health implications aside from affecting the nervous system are: it increases the risk of cancer of the lungs, kidney, pancreas, servix, colon, blood, rectum, liver, pancreas, throat, mouth, blood and bronchitis. Other dangers of smoking are that it causes early wrinkling of the skin, bad breath and mouth odour, and is an outstanding risk factor in developing heart diseases, stroke and heart attack. Also, women who smoke have been known to have miscarriage and low weight of babies etc. To control or reduce the risk factors or dangers of smoking, the Government of Nigeria must take action to control the sale of cigarette if it must drastically reduce the death toll of her youths who die from tobacco-related diseases. If we must go down memory lane, during General Ibrahim Babangida's regime, the Federal Government banned smoking in public places such as restaurants, and bar, sport arena etc. Such laws need to be reintroduced because a non-smoker who inhales the smoke is equally affected by the nicotine by 50 per cent from the cigarette and is a real and fundamental threat to public health. Aside from the dangers earlier mentioned, exposure to tobacco smoke often results in respiratory disease like asthma attacks and sudden death syndrome in children (SIDS). Other measures to reduce tobacco smoking is for the Federal Government to impose heavy tax on cigarette production, advertising and promotion. This will make the item costly or expensive and thus un-affordable by youths and children below 18 years. Just like the government is imposing stiff penalties and border checks on rice importation and smuggling into Nigeria, cigarette should also be included in the prohibition list. It is the smuggling of cheap and all brands of tobacco into the country that attracts our children and youths into smoking which is counter-productive in all ramifications of their physical and psychological development. You may ask what is the solution to smoking, after all the analysis on why you should not smoke and when you are already addicted to the nicotine and tar of tobacco? The solution is QUITING. No matter how long you have been smoking and of whatever age, quitting or stopping to smoke cigarettes has a lot of health benefits for you. Such health benefits include: decreasing risks of lungs and other cancer-related diseases, stroke, bronchitis, and heart attack. Another important benefit that one enjoys after quitting smoking is healthier and longer life. It is difficult, though, to stop or quit smoking but as in all challenges of life determination to succeed is the driving force; cigarette addiction therefore cannot be an exception. If calls for determination and will-power to quit or stop the habit and preparation while reflecting on the ills of smoking. Many of those who prepared, determined and mustered the will-power have successfully quit and are presently enjoying good health and reasonable savings. Yet some are inconsistent by stopping today and blowing it again the next day, especially among the smoking peer, combined with substance use because they don't believe they can quit. In the course of preparing to stop or quit smoking, you must believe that you can quit with determination being the driving force. One sure driving force that has worked tremendously for those who stopped smoking is the determination that they can quit. You must also have patience with yourself that you are going to part ways with an age-old habit that had been part of your social life because your dependency on the nicotine affects you psychologically and physically. The latter however takes longer time to surmount in the realm of the mind, therefore, try and make your mind to agree with your quitting proposal. During this preparatory period, try and make a list of reasons why you want to stop smoking. Such reasons should cover the risk of reducing certain avoidable diseases, to conserve some energy and endurance to some difficult tasks, eliminate the unnecessary spending on tobacco, stop the foul smell from the mouth and body odour, the danger of fire outbreak and safety of your documents and clothes. When you write all these down, it then forms your list of reasons why you want to stop smoking. Having drawn your list of reasons, you need to recall the following adverse affects of smoking: The health effects of tobacco use are astounding and cigarettes are the only legal products that will up to 50 per cent (per cent) of the people who use them. It kills and accounts for more deaths than alcohol, illicit drugs, HIV, hepatitis C, suicide, murder and motor vehicle accidents put together. Unless we encourage and help people to quit, we will lose millions of our youths daily from smoking tobacco. The health effects of smoking and environmental tobacco smoke exposure are: Cancer of the lungs (85 per cent of lungs cancer occur in smokers. One in 20 smokers will develop cancer). Mouth, tongue, voice box, throat, stomach and bladders. Cardiovascular diseases: heart attacks (smoking accounts for 40-45 per cent of heart attacks and stroke in people younger than 65 years). Lung Disease: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). One in seven smokers who smoke one pack per day for 20 years will develop COPD). Other effects are higher risks of pneumonia and worsening of asthma. Diseases of the mouth: Gingivitis, tooth loss and bad breath. Effects in women: These are breast cancer and adverse effects in pregnancy for mothers, fetuses and children. Effect on skin: Skin wrinkles (smoking ages skin by 15 to 20 years) others are burns, poor wound and fracture healing, peptic ulcers, gastrointestinal problems etc. Delay in Quitting: The risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease is higher in people who use both tobacco and alcohol than in those who use either alone. Drinking affects the ability to fastly quit smoking and is also a risk factor for relapse to smoking. This may be due to the combination of drinking with smoking, the loss of inhibition caused by alcohol and environment in which both may be consumed. The ability to quit smoking, therefore, appears to be related to the length of time of the smokers who abstained from alcohol. Thus, it establishes that abstinence from substances increases the chances of quitting smoking. Conversely, it also appears that quitting smoking can increase the chances of abstinence from substances. Tobacco therefore is a potential gateway drug that kills 50 per cent of people who use it. Given the serious health problems associated with smoking, alcohol and other drugs problem, it is advisable for you to stop or quit smoking so as to enjoy a fresher, healthier and longer life. If I may ask, as youth who have acquainted yourself with the WHO statistics of death from tobacco-related sources, would you hate yourself to be counted among those who died of the dried leaves of no nutritional value or would you love yourself enough to quit smoking?

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