Quitting the Stick Can Save Lives —Even Your Own

Smoking is one of the leading causes of lung cancer. This is a warning that has been trumpeted by governments around the world. Almost every pack of cigarette produced today has this warning emblazoned across the cigarette logo. Yet it seems that nobody is listening. People still smoke despite the dire consequences associated with tobacco use.

According to the World Health Organization, tobacco use is the probable cause for at least 25 different diseases. The WHO even announced that smoking is now, in fact, is now “…the greater cause of death and illness than any other disease.” In the United Kingdom alone, at least 20,000 people die of smoking-related lung cancer every year. Doctors have been very emphatic in their warnings about the links of smoking to cancers of the mouth, liver, kidney, bladder, stomach and cervix. Aside from chronic bronchitis and emphysema, other lung and respiratory illnesses are blamed on tobacco use. Smoking is also a very serious risk to pregnant women — those who actually smoke during pregnancy and pregnant women who are exposed to so-called secondary smoke. The US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that smoking harms nearly all organs in the human body. CDC records show that 438,000 people, or almost one in every five deaths in the U.S. is related to excessive smoking. Fact sheets released by CDC state that 90% of lung cancer deaths in women and 80% of lung cancer deaths in men in the United States were positively linked to the excessive use of tobacco.

But if the effects of smoking are so plainly dangerous to one’s health, one do people smoke?

Based on current estimates, there are now 1.1 billion smokers around the world. Each smoker may have a different reason or combination of reasons for using tobacco. One common reason given by smokers for using tobacco is their claim that tobacco helps them deal with stress and anxiety. Many adults with problems at work or in their relationships use smoking as an outlet and a “coping agent.” The “upper” effect of cigarette use can actually help relax. Stress and anxiety, they claim, can be handled a bit easier with the use of a couple of sticks. Among young people, cigarette use is often linked to the desire to “appear” mature. Smoking is seen as a sign of “coming of age” for most teens. A closer look would reveal that many teenagers, too, suffer from stress and anxiety. Their distress can come from their difficulties at home or with schoolwork. The pressure to “belong” also forces some young people to adopt the smoking habits of their peers. But another common yet little spoken of reason for smoking is weight control. Some people claim that smoking helps them reduce their appetite. This claim has solid basis since smoking dulls the taste buds on the tongue. Those who quit smoking usually gain weight because they suddenly find that their food tastes a bit better compared to the time when they still used tobacco.

But no matter the cause of anxiety, one thing is clear: Smoking Kills.

The good news is, smoking is not a habit that is impossible to break. There are a number of ways to quit smoking. For the fortunate ones, they can quit smoking “cold turkey” — or even without preparation. These people are able to drop the habit without the need for medication or therapy. These “cold turkey” quitters know that smoking is definitely not an anxiety treatment. On the contrary, they have realized the continued, uncontrolled smoking eventually becomes the cause of anxiety, and much worse, an assortment of debilitating health problems. People who have come face to face with their “filthy” habit have a range of options to choose from once they decide that they want to quit. Smokers who need medical assistance may be prescribed with Buproprion, a sustained-release oral medication that is used to help quit smoking. This medication is commonly marketed under the brand name Zyban. There are other forms of medications or products that can be used to help a person quit smoking. Nicotine patches and other anti-smoking products have been released in the market to help thousands who want to “quit the stick.”

Indeed, these past few decades, the campaign against smoking has been pursued non-stop. Still, millions of people around the world continue to “puff” their lives away in exchange for the temporary pleasures of smoking. Given the frightening statistics regarding smoking-related illnesses, people would do well to start listening to the “Government Warning” and to good, old-fashioned common sense that smoking does kill. Every smoker that makes a decision to quit, has indeed, saved his own life. By telling others about the risks of smoking and the many ways to quit the habit, former smokers can even help save others like them who once became unwitting slaves of the stick.

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