How Smoking Affects Your Body & How to Quit Smoking

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Smoking Just 60 Cigarettes: What It Does to Your Lungs + How to Quit Smoking Naturally
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Most people today are aware of the dangers of smoking and the adverse effect it has on their health. In the UK, cigarette smoking is the greatest single cause of illness and premature death. Still, smoking remains one of the most prevalent habits.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are about 1 billion smokers in the world today. More than 6 million people a year are killed by tobacco. 600,000 deaths are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. The death toll is rising and it is predicted to reach 30 million a year by 2030.

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These numbers are frightening. Many people try to ditch the bad habit again and again. Often, their efforts are admirable and the journey is not without hurdles. Many health organizations offer smoking cessation programs that provide both the practical tools and motivation to stop smoking.

Cigarette Smoke is Full of Toxic Ingredients

The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health reported that tobacco smoke is “a complex, dynamic and reactive mixture containing an estimated 5,000 chemicals.” The journal reported that “this toxic and carcinogenic mixture is probably the most significant source of toxic chemical exposure and chemically mediated disease in humans.”

Some of the toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke include:

  • Hexane – a neurotoxin
  • Ammonia
  • Dimethylformamide
  • Nicotine – used as an insecticide
  • Tar – a material for paving roads
  • Acetone – a neurotoxin
  • Toluene – this toxin damages your vision
  • Acetic acid – an ingredient added to hair dyes
  • Arsenic – for rat poison
  • Cadmium – an active element in battery acid
  • Chromium
  • Carbon monoxide – released by car exhaust fumes
  • Naphthalene – present in mothballs

How Smoking Affects Your Body

According to the NHS (National Health Service), smoking cigarettes every day causes the following health issues.

Blood circulation

Smoking increases the chances of developing blood clots which can lead to heart attack or stroke.

Heart

Smoking damages your heart and increases the risk of conditions such as coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke.

Stomach

Smoking increases your chances of getting stomach cancer or ulcers.

Skin

Smoking makes your skin age more quickly and makes it look grey and dull.

Brain

People who smoke are more likely to have a stroke than someone who doesn’t smoke.

Lungs 

Your lungs can be very badly affected by smoking. Coughs, colds, wheezing and asthma are just the start. Smoking can cause fatal diseases such as pneumonia, emphysema and lung cancer.

Mouth and throat

Smoking causes bad breath and stained teeth. Smokers have higher chances of developing gum disease.

Reproduction and fertility

Smoking can cause male impotence, as it damages the blood vessels that supply blood to the penis. It can also damage sperm, reduce sperm count and cause testicular cancer.

What Happens to Your Lungs After Smoking 60 Cigarettes

You can watch this video in YouTube to see the ill effects of smoking. Scientists used pig’s lungs to demonstrate what smoking does to your respiratory system. After using 60 cigarettes, which is equivalent to only 3 packs of cigarettes, the lungs and windpipe changed significantly and became covered in black slime.

This shows that it doesn’t take a lifetime of smoking to get affected – a short exposure can already make the damage.

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Giving up smoking can make a big difference to your health

But, there is good news. Giving up smoking can make a big difference to your health and reverse some of its ill effects. For example, if you stop smoking by the age of 35, your life expectancy is comparable to that of a non-smoker. And if you stop smoking before the age of 50, you decrease the risk of dying from smoking-related diseases (such as lung cancer) by half. It’s never too late to stop.

This is the timeline of benefits after you stop smoking:

  • After 72 hours: breathing becomes easier and your bronchial tubes relax.
  • After 1 month: skin appearance improves due to better blood circulation.
  • After 3-9 months: lung function increases by up to 10%; wheezing and coughing decrease and breathing problems improve.
  • After 1 year: your risk of a heart attack lowers by 50%.
  • After 10 years: your risk of stroke lowers by 50%.
  • After 15 years: your risk of a heart attack is comparable to a person who never smoked.

There are other benefits too: food and drinks smell and taste better; you get rid of the stale tobacco smell from your breath, clothes and hair; your finances improve and you feel better about yourself.

2 in 3 smokers want to stop with the bad habit and some struggle to leave it behind. Willpower and determination are needed. However, nicotine is an addictive substance and this makes the quitting process a lot harder.

Different methods work for different people. Some use nicotine replacement therapy, which involves gums, sprays, patches, tablets, lozenges, and inhalers. Others go for hypnotherapy. Some decide to change their lifestyle completely.

If you feel tempted to start smoking (again), you can always have another look at this video. Sometimes a shocking image can be the strongest deterrent.

If you are interested to stop smoking then you should try the following 5 natural ways to quit smoking naturally:

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Natural Ways to Quit Smoking

These natural ways are suggested by Amy Goodrich, biologist, natural nutrition expert, and holistic health coach who loves living a natural, eco-friendly, and healthy lifestyle. Hopefully, these proven natural methods will help you to break through the addiction, ease withdrawal symptoms, and help you to quit smoking for good.

1. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an effective, drug-free way to stop your smoking habit.

A scientific study published in the American Journal of Public Health concluded that “acupuncture and education, alone and in combination, significantly reduce smoking”.

Acupuncture helps to calm your mind, enhances the levels of serotonin, helps you through withdrawal symptoms from the nicotine addiction (jitters, restlessness, and irritability), and has shown long term effects which makes it easier to permanently stop. The only downside is that these treatments are quite expensive.

2. Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy is a psycho-therapeutic way of bringing you in a trance-like state to help you realize your true feelings about smoking, and the hypnotherapist will plant the seed in your mind that gives you negative feelings towards smoking and will help you to stay motivated.

However, scientific studies and patients contradict each other. Many experts disagree about the effectiveness, while many patients swear by it. Several studies found that it can be effective for a short while, but doesn’t work long term for most patients, while other studies claim it to be the other way around.

One medical study conducted at the San Francisco VA Medical Center found that hypnotherapy showed some great results for smokers who had a history of depression or struggled with other psychiatric conditions.

Although hypnosis has helped many people to quit smoking, science is still not sure about its effectiveness.

3. Herbal Remedies

Many herbs can help you to quit smoking, reduce the cravings for a cigarette, or ease withdrawal symptoms.

Black Pepper

Black pepper helps to control nicotine cravings.

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A scientific study concluded that “Cigarette substitutes delivering pepper constituents may prove useful in smoking cessation treatment.”

Add a couple of pinches to your water on a daily basis to benefit from its effect. You can find here 10 more ways in which cayenne pepper can revolutionize your health.

Licorice

Chewing on licorice root can help you to quit smoking by satisfying the oral fixation of smoking. But don’t use it for more than 6 weeks as it may deplete potassium levels and raise blood pressure.

St. John’s Wort

This herb is mostly used to treat depression, but has now shown some beneficial effect to help people fight their nicotine addiction in combination with smoking cessation counseling.

St. John’s Wort raises your dopamine levels, just as nicotine, and gives you the same happy or excited feeling as smoking a cigarette. Make sure to use St. John’s Wort under guidance of an herbalist or health care provider as there can be a few side effects.

Rhodiola rosea

One scientific study shows that Rhodiola rosea may reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms. It helps your body cope with stress, improves your mood, increases energy, and reduces the levels of cortisol. Although these studies look very promising, they were conducted on mice and never been repeated on humans.

Herbal Cigarettes

Herbal cigarettes can help you to break through the oral addiction of smoking.

Smokers are not only addicted to the nicotine, but to the habit of smoking itself. These cigarettes don’t contain nicotine and are made of mint, cinnamon, clover, licorice, passionflower, or lemongrass. They should be used as a short-term aid to break through your nicotine addiction, but you shouldn’t use them long term.

4. Massage

Self-massage can help you to curb nicotine cravings.

Simply touching your ear or hand can calm your mind and keep carvings at bay. One scietific study found that people who gave themselves a massage for about 2 minutes when they were in need of a smoke showed lower anxiety rates, improved their mood, had less withdrawal symptoms and smoked less.

5. Mindfulness meditation

People who practice mindfulness meditation are more likely to succeed in smoking cessation. They are encouraged to start living a healthier lifestyle. People who meditate are able to regulate their cravings, experience less withdrawal symptoms or stress, and are able to get their emotions under control.

These natural remedies are all proven to be effective in some way. However, it is important to remember that all of them will not cure the addiction by itself. Your will-power to quit and stay off them is equally important to fight the addiction once and for all. To learn more about meditation, you can find here 7 simple and effective meditation techniques without actually sitting down to meditate.

Withdrawal symptoms are worse within the first week of quitting, after that it will get easier, so hang in there and don’t give up your good intentions to quit smoking and add some years to your life. Be proud of what you are attempting to do. Your body will thank you for that.

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