Sunday, 19 January 2014

Smoking – How Does It Affect Your Life Span?

Cigarette is one of the herbs young and old people smoke everyday and unfortunately while many of the smokers clearly know that this habit is dangerous to health they continue to smoke not withstanding.

Why is this?
It’s because smoking is chronically addictive. Now here’s a fact. Do you know that “on the average, each cigarette you smoke, shortens
your life by 11 minutes” That is a cold hard fact.

I had a friend who smoked.Despite the fact that we talked to him severally about the consequences, he always argued that everyone will die someday. After several unsuccessful attempts at quitting smoking he finally stopped trying.

One day, he suffered a heart attack while working on one of the construction sites that he was overseeing. Why? Because smoking has caused him to have a diseased heart.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the major countries of the world today, and the leading cause of death among smokers. And, on a global level, researchers report that there were 1,690,000 premature deaths from cardiovascular disease among smokers in the year 2000. In contrast, there were approximately 850,000 lung cancer deaths during the same year, and 118,000 COPD deaths from smoking in 2001, worldwide.

Does the statistic above scare you?
Now let’s take a closer look at how smoking a cigarette damages health.
A stick of cigarette have over 400 chemical compounds that are toxic. When a cigarette is lighted, it burns at 700 degrees centegrade at the tip, and 60 degrees around the center. The heat produced is broken down to produce the toxins mentioned above.
When you smoke a puff of cigarette, you inhale the following components.
Tar: This is an element that causes cancer of the lungs.
Nicotine: This element make smokers addictive to cigarettes and also helps in the increase of bad cholesterol level in the body.
Carbon Monoxide: This is a gas that is very dangerous to health and is also the same gas released from the exhaust pipes of automobiles, but this time, smokers take in this dangerous gas into their body and thus limit the oxygen flow in their system.

Other Toxic gases produced during combustion of cigarette causes a condition called Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD).
For every cigarette taken, you shorten your life consequently by 11 minutes.
Now let’s do a little mathematics. If you smoke a packet of cigarette every day (20 sticks per pack),
that means you will lose 3 hours 40 minutes of your life every day.
In one week, you will loose = 1 day, 1 Hour and 40 minutes.
In one month, you will lose = Approximately 5 days.
In One Year, you will lose = Approximately 2 months of your life.
So if you have been smoking for 6 years, that means you will smoke away 1 full year of your life.

But once you get to 3 – 6 years of smoking, your heart would have suffered several diseases resulting from smoking that it becomes so weak to take you for a long time.  And from that point onwards, the above calculations doesn’t apply, meaning you can die any moment you suffer a heart failure.

Now let’s look at the other diseases that smoking induces in the body.

1. Cardiovascular disease
This has been mentioned already as this is disease caused to the heart as a result of excessive smoking. It is the number one cause of death for smokers.

How does this disease develop?
The deposits of fats and bad cholesterol on the arteries happen over many years and this causes the narrowing of the arteries and hence making the passage of oxygen and blood restricted, causing more work to be done by the heart. Depending on the nature of the narrowing, it can be blocked completely causing oxygen and blood to be cut off from the brain and other parts.
In the cases where it is not blocked, but so narrow, blood clots are formed.
Smoking helps to accelerate this process as it causes the production of bad cholesterol which causes this toxic deposits on the artery to build up fast.

2. Cancer
People who smoke have a higher incident of cancer than any other group of people or non smokers. This is especially true of lung cancer disease. Other cancers that can be caused due to smoking are:
Mouth Cancer
Bladder cancer
Oesophagus Cancer
Kidneys Cancer
Pancreas Cancer
cervical cancer

3. COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
This is a term used to refer to ill-health conditions that makes breathing difficult usually because of the blockage of airflow caused by smoking everyday. This condition happens when the air sacs in the lung has been damaged because of toxic gases.
COPD results to to ill-health conditions like breathlessness, excessive coughing with too much mucus that lasts for over 3 months. This condition happen to smokers in the age brackets of 35- 45 years.

Below is a list of other diseases that are a By-Product of smoking.
High Blood Pressure
Bad Breath
Erectile Dysfunction

So looking at it from every angle, there is no advantage to smoking. If are addicted to smoking, do all you can to stop the habit as you have a good chance of a long life when you stop. In a future article on this blog, I will write on steps needed to quit smoking.

Don’t ever think it’s too late for you to quit smoking, and please…don’t waste any more of your life on cigarettes. Smoking offers you absolutely nothing of value.

Take back your life. You deserve the freedom and long-lasting benefits that smoking cessation brings.

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