How long have you smoked?

Being a smoker since the age of 14 it took my heart attack at 52 to make me decide once and for all to quit smoking. I had heard and read about some of the facts, the good reasons to quit, but it hadn’t made a difference until it happened to me.

As I think back to all the years I have heard many tales both good and bad about how easy or difficult it is to give up. This has influenced my beliefs and my ability to quit.

This is the one belief that I really want to bust:

“It’s too late, the damage is done”.

thought by many

This is so not true. The NHS Smokefree website has this information about how quickly your body can recover.

After 20 minutes - Pulse rate returns to normal.
After 8 hours - Nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in blood reduce by more than half and oxygen levels return to normal.
After 48 hours - Carbon monoxide will be eliminated from the body. Lungs start to clear out smoking debris. There is no nicotine in the body. Ability to taste and smell is improved.
After 72 hours - Breathing becomes easier. Bronchial tubes begin to relax and energy levels increase.
After 2-12 weeks - Your circulation improves.
After 3-9 months - Coughs, wheezing and breathing problems improve as lung function increases by up to 10%.
After 1 year - Risk of heart disease is about half compared with a person who is still smoking.
It’s not too late, it’s never too late – the damage can be undone.

When you want to quit smoking it’s not always the logical decision that helps you quit. Whilst saying that it can be a good motivator to start the emotional thoughts that can drive your behaviour to make changes.

Once we have made the decision in our minds to quit smoking we start thinking about the how and when.

Understanding the facts and the fiction is a good place to start on your journey of exploration.

Some facts

You’ve likely heard all of these before. I’m not including these to scare you but do take a moment after each one and see how this might apply in your life, to yourself and the people that you love and care deeply about.

Chemicals

When a cigarette burns it releases over 5,000 chemicals. Many are poisonous and are known to cause cancer. The chemicals in cigarette smoke come from different sources; when growing the tobacco, the manufacturing process and the actual burning and smoking of the cigarette.

Rolling tobacco

Smoking rolling tobacco is not any safer than a ready rolled cigarette. The chemicals may not be exactly the same but they are still poisonous. Benefits include they cost less and you ‘may’ smoke less as it takes a while to roll them.

“arguing over the difference between roll-ups and straights is like arguing whether it’s safer to jump out of the 20th or 15th floor of a building – either way you’re going to hit the ground and die.”

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of the anti-smoking charity ASH

Heart health

In 2015 it was estimated that tobacco smoking caused 115,000 deaths in the UK. That was almost a fifth (19%) of all deaths from all causes.

Smokers are almost twice as likely to have a heart attack compared with people who have never smoked. The fab news is that it’s never too late to stop and that the risk to your heart health can significantly decrease when you stop.

Looking good

Being a smoker can affect your good looks. If you have bags under your eyes, this might be due to nicotine withdrawal overnight? Nicotine withdrawal can happen without even realising it. How long do you go through the day without a smoke?

Stained teeth as the tar builds up over time, smoking also has an impact on your gums and bones.

Experts agree that smoking increases wrinkles, complexion and aging of your skin. This occurs due to hampered blood supply to the skin tissue looking supple and healthy.

Did I mention yellow stained fingers too?

Just one poison

Dog smoking with hat and earring
Man’s Best Friend

A 40lb dog would get very sick after eating one cigarette – and would need only 11 cigarettes to die from nicotine poisoning. One cigarette contains 15 to 25 milligrams of nicotine depending on the brand and an E-Cigarette contains 6 mg to 24 mg of Nicotine. It is a powerful poison that you inhale into your body.

Smoking costs how much?

You know it burns a hole in your pocket. According to the office of national statistics a packet of 20 king size cigarettes costs £10.63. Not to labour the point but how much is this over a week = £74.41. A month (31 days) = £329.53, a year (52 weeks) = £3,869.32 – I will let you work out the lifetime amount …

If you had to pay for a year’s allocation of cigarettes up front, would you do it?

Sallie Crawley

Logic just isn’t enough

This is only a very few of the facts about why it is a good idea to quit smoking, they may not be enough to inspire you to stop on their own.

Remember I mentioned that a logical decision is not always enough because of the stories and untruths we believe that hold us back. Look out for my next post as I will cover some of these and bust those myths.

I am sure you are already deciding that you want to stop smoking, otherwise you wouldn’t have read this far.

You can read more about quitting smoking here.

Facts to help you quit smoking after a heart attack
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