Before You Puff That... Read This!


Cigarette smoking is the greatest single cause of illness and premature death in the UK. Smoking has been associated with 400,000 deaths every year in the U.S.
Sitting in the lobby of my hotel on one of my trips, while trying to relax my mind from the frenzy of my busy training schedule and also to get my brain into “relax mode”, I chose to sit at the lounge, sip some juice and milkshake while looking through the papers.
As I lift my head up, I notice a colleague of mine through the glass door standing in the “smoking area”, puffing hard on his cigarette.
Not long, I observed several others stepping out the same door in to this area to smoke as well. Not long and that exit was like a small “cocktail for smokers” with about 15 ladies and men briskly chatting up and puffing at their cigarettes.

These were some of the thoughts and questions that popped in my mind as I sat there watching my colleagues through the glass door. 
It prompted me to ask some questions and I did a little bit of research and found out some amazing facts about smoking. According to Cigarette smoking is the greatest single cause of illness and premature death in the UK. Smoking has been associated with 400,000 deaths every year in the U.S. $96 Billion in health care costs and $97 billion in lost productivity costs as observed by Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.

I came across some facts that were rather shocking to me and also quite interesting. Some researchers have good reason to believe that smoking does have some benefits to the human body.

Let's look at some of the benefits of Smoking:
1. Smoking lowers risk of knee-replacement surgery: While smokers might go broke buying a pack of cigarettes, they can at least save money by avoiding knee-replacement surgery. Surprising results from a new study have revealed that men who smoke had less risk of undergoing total joint replacement surgery than those who never smoked.

The study, from the University of Adelaide in Australia, appears in the July issue of the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism. What could be the connection? Knee-replacement surgery was more common among joggers and the obese; smokers rarely jog, and they are less likely to be morbidly obese.
After controlling for age, weight and exercise, the researchers were at a loss to explain the apparent, albeit slight protective effects of smoking for osteoporosis. It could be that the nicotine in tobacco helps prevent cartilage and joint deterioration.

2. Smoking lowers risk of Parkinson's disease: Numerous studies have identified the uncanny inverse relationship between smoking and Parkinson's disease. Long-term smokers are somehow protected against Parkinson's, and it's not because smokers die of other things earlier.
The most recent, well-conducted study was published in a March 2010 issue of the journal Neurology. Far from determining a cause for the protective effect, these researchers found that the number of years spent smoking, more so than the number of cigarettes smoked daily, mattered more for a stronger protective effect.

Harvard researchers were among the first to provide convincing evidence that smokers were less likely to develop Parkinson's. In a study published in Neurology in March 2007, these researchers found the protective effect wanes after smokers quit. And they concluded, in their special scientific way, that they didn't have a clue as to why.
3. Smoking lowers risk of obesity: Smoking—and, in particular, the nicotine in tobacco smoke—is an appetite suppressant. This has been known for centuries, dating back to indigenous cultures in America in the pre-Columbus era. Tobacco companies caught on by the 1920s and began targeting women with the lure that smoking would make them thinner.

A study published in the July 2011 issue of the journal Physiology & Behavior, in fact, is one of many stating that the inevitable weight gain upon quitting smoking is a major barrier in getting people to stop, second only to addiction.
The relationship between smoking and weight control is complex: Nicotine itself acts as both a stimulant and appetite suppressant; and the act of smoking triggers behavior modification that prompts smokers to snack less. Smoking also might make food less tasty for some smokers, further curbing appetite. As an appetite suppressant, nicotine appears to act on a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, at least in mice, as revealed in a study by Yale researchers published in the June 10, 2011, issue of the journal Science.

No respectable doctor would recommend smoking for weight control, given the toxic baggage accompanying cigarettes.
4. Smoking lowers risk of death after some heart attacks: Compared with non-smokers, smokers who have had heart attacks seem to have lower mortality rates and more favourable responses to two kinds of therapy to remove plaque from their arteries: fibrinolytic therapy, which is basically medication; and angioplasty, which removes the plaque by inserting balloons or stents into thearteries.

There's a catch, though. The reason why smokers have heart attacks is that smoke scars the arteries, allowing fat and plaque to build up in the first place. So, one theory as to why smokers do better than non-smokers after such therapies is that they are younger, experiencing their first heart attack approximately 10 years before the non-smoker.
A study published in an August 2005 issue of the American Heart Journal, however, states that age alone is not enough to fully explain the survival differences and that "the smoker's paradox is alive and well." No alternative theories have been put forth since.

5. Smoking helps the heart drug clopidogrel work better: Clopidogrel is a drug used to inhibit blood clots for those patients suffering from coronary artery disease and other circulatory diseases leading to strokes and heart attacks. Smoking seems to help clopidogrel do its job better.
Again, no respectable doctor is encouraging patients to start smoking to get the most out of clopidogrel. But this and the other four "benefits" of smoking reveal how tobacco—perhaps not unlike other potentially toxic plants—might contain certain chemicals of real therapeutic value.

Source: Christopher Wanjek on
Before you go puffing...hold it! There's more...

Why do people even smoke? Is it a bad/good thing?
Lets’s look at the top ten reasons people start smoking

Top 10 Reasons People Start Smoking

1. Family attitudes that condone smoking – Young people who start smoking in their teen years frequently have siblings, parents, grandparents or “broader family”members who smoke. The risk that a person might start smoking is often higher if one or both parents smoke.
2. Peer pressure – Peer smoking is a stronger predictor of smoking onset for high school students. And the number of cigarette offers made to students can affect whether or not they become smokers, or not. Also, young people who play sports are less likely to smoke. If you’re a parent, better start encouraging your child to be active in sports.

3.Copycatting what is cool in popular culture – Although peer and family influences have been shown to be powerful predictors of adolescent smoking, social influences also exist in the larger cultural sphere. Movies, advertisements, and other forms of media shape teen views of what is “cool,”attractive, and grown up. Therefore, some people start smoking to emulate their heroes or to embody what is chic in order to “belong” or “feel among”. I have a friend who is not a regular smoker–I wouldn’t classify him as a real smoker–but he smokes whenever he is at a party, or in a club, or in the company of other people who are smoking.

4.Socio-demographic factors – The environment in which a person grows up in has an indirect but powerful influence on whether or not s/he will smoke. Young people living in or at the poverty line, with one parent who has little education are most at risk of becoming smokers. Kids who grow up in “hoods”,ghettos and slums are at high risk of being exposed to marijuana, cannabis and cigarette smoke.

5.Personality traits – Internal determinants of smokers include certain inborn or nurtured personality traits such as unconventionality, risk taking, thrill seeking or rebelliousness. These types of individuals opt for smoking as a way of showing off their ruggedness, toughness and individuality.

6. Making up for poor social or personal skills – Young people who are less socially competent, who are not trained in refusal self-efficacy, who participate in antisocial activities, who have low self-esteem or who are disengaged from school may be more attracted to smoking than those who are socially engaged and confident. Sometimes, shyness and poor social interaction abilities can trigger one to engage in smoking as an activity to keep one away from boredom and aloneness when one cannot keep company with other people.

7. Smoking for weight loss – Some people start smoking because they worry about their weight and figure and smoke to try to be thinner. This is more common with ladies who are very “body conscious” or have a low self-esteem and need their shape and size to feel comfortable in their own skin.

8.Availability – Although it is illegal to sell tobacco products to minors and in some American States smoking by minors is also illegal, cigarettes are highly available to young people. In fact, the more smokers there are who smoke around children, the more children have an opportunity to handle cigarettes and smoking accessories from an early age: they get, buy, or even light cigarettes. So, some people start smoking simply because cigarettes are around.

9. Already using other drugs – Teens who already smoke marijuana, drink alcohol, or use illicit drugs are more likely to smoke cigarettes than those who do not, perhaps due to a decreased perception of harm.

10. Stress relief - Some people initiate tobacco use because they believe that it helps them cope with personal problems, deal with stress, escape from their immediate reality or evade boredom.
 Still thinking about puffing? These facts are gonna shock you!
Here are 7 Shocking Facts about Smoking you should know:
1.       About 8.6 million people in the US have at least one serious illness that’s caused by smoking.
2.       For every person that dies from a smoking-related disease, there are 20 more who suffer from at least one serious illness associated with smoking.
3.       The CDC estimates that adult male smokers lose an average of 13.2 years of life and female smokers lose 14.5 years of life because of smoking, and given the diseases that smoking can cause, it can steal your quality of life long before you die.
4.       Smoking is the cause of 1 in 5 deaths in the U.S. annually. And tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death.
5.       Every day, over 3,800 teens, 18 and younger, smoke their first cigarette. While 1,000 teens start smoking on a daily basis.
6.       A single cigarette contains over 4,800 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer.
       ·         Secondhand smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals, including 70 cancer-causing chemicals
7.        Smoking increases your risk of getting lung diseases like pneumonia, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

 So, knowing all these facts–some of them rather scary–how come millions of people worldwide still smoke? If you ask anyone who smokes, they most times have a very good reason or excuse why they smoke.
Some smokers may not really be able to give clear reasons why they do smoke since their smoking was/is as a result of other factors asides themselves.
So, if you still think smoking is a god idea, you should think again and perhaps go over this article again.

Learn More about Tobacco Control in Nigeria and Quitting Smoking, Click Here: 
 AdvocateTobaccoCtrl! Click Here: #NoTobacco


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