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YOUR HEALTH TOBACCO CAN KILL

Tobacco is a product of the leaves of the 'nicotiana' plant. It is used in things like cigarettes and cigars, hand-rolling tobacco, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco and snuff.

It is said that nicotine, which is the substance found in tobacco, is one of the most addictive of all drugs. It is poisonous in large doses and is sometimes even used in insecticides.

Chemicals

People who smoke increase their risk of dying from lung cancer 22 times more than non-smokers and from bronchitis and emphysema 10 times more.

Every time you inhale smoke from a cigarette, small amounts of these chemicals get into your blood stream through your lungs. They travel to all parts of your body and cause harm. Smoking makes you smell bad, gives you wrinkles, stains your teeth and gives you bad breath.

Immune system

Smoking also affects your immune system. This means that when you are sick, it will take you longer to recover from illnesses, colds and flu. Teenage smokers have smaller lungs and weaker hearts than non-smokers and also get sick more often than non-smoking teenagers.

Every time you inhale smoke from a cigarette you kill some of the air sacks in your lungs called alveoli. This is where the oxygen you breathe in is sent to your blood. Alveoli do not grow back, so when you destroy them you have permanently destroyed part of your lungs. This can affect your breathing and doing well in sports, dancing or singing.

Stop smoking

When you decide to stop smoking, it will help a lot if you change your lifestyle and your eating habits.

Leading a healthy lifestyle and eating healthy, nutritional food will restore the balance in your body and boost your immune system.

Fruit, vegetables and proteins will help to put back the minerals, vitamins and nutrients your body lacks from smoking. Protein is very important and is found in fish, poultry, pork, lamb, beef, cheese and eggs. Avoid white sugar and flour products like sweets, pastries, biscuits and sweet drinks. Avoid deep fried foods and oil.

Don't give up!

When you stop smoking you will find yourself feeling very uneasy because you have to get used to being without nicotine. This will pass as your body adapts. Whatever you do, once you've decided to stop smoking, stick with your decision and don't give up - just think about the benefits of not being addicted to tobacco!

Eat celery or carrot sticks, chew bubblegum, take deep breaths and drink lots of water. There are also nicotine patches and special bubblegum that will make it easier for you to stop.

Ask your family and friends to support you. Speak to your doctor or clinic for more information about how to stop smoking.

- Samona Murugan