May 2008

Health advice - Kick the smoking habit



People always have excuses to start smoking. Some say it’s because all their friends smoke; others say it’s to relieve stress and tension, or because it gives them pleasure and status.

Health risk

Whatever reasons you may have for smoking, the truth is that smoking is a serious health risk. It is addictive and causes diseases that can lead to death. Smoking is one of the major causes of thousands of people dying from heart and lung diseases, as well as cancer every year. What makes it worse, is that a lot of people who have never smoked, die each year from diseases caused by breathing second-hand tobacco smoke.

Smoking also dangerous to your unborn baby and reduces your chances of having babies.

Benefits of stopping

  • Stopping smoking has immediate and long-term benefits.
  • Within 20 minutes of stopping, blood pressure, heart-beat rate and the temperature of the hands and feet returns to normal.
  • Eight to 12 hours later, carbon monoxide and oxygen levels return to normal.
  • Over the following months, blood circulation and lung function improves.
  • One year after stopping, the risk of heart attack is reduced by half.
  • After five years, the risk of lung cancer is halved.
  • Ten years later, the risk of lung cancer is equal to that of non-smoker.
  • Ten years later, the risk of lung cancer is equal to that of non-smoker.

How to stop smoking

The most difficult step to stop smoking is making the final decision. But once you have made up your mind, you must stick with your decision. There are different products to help you kick the habit. Check with your clinic or pharmacy for products. The following tips will also help you:

  • Decide on a specific date to stop smoking.
  • Let family and friends know that you are serious about stopping on that date and ask them to support you.
  • Get rid of cigarettes, ashtrays and lighters the night before you plan to stop.
  • Start smoking less before the date on which you plan to stop.
  • Change the habits that you associate with smoking.
  • Start with a plan to do more exercise like walking or running regularly.
  • Drink a lot of water or soft drinks like fruit juice.
  • Join a support group.

- Ndivhuwo Khangale

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