A friend of mine recently posted, via our most trusted newspaper, Facebook, that he has decided to kick the butt…the cigarette butt, I mean. It’s gonna be tough luck I think for him to actually do it this time, cuz he’s tried about ten times in the past and didn’t quite get through. I’m wishing him the best of luck and that he will succeed this time round. Fingers crossed. What struck my interest, though, is that under his status, that he was going to quite and has been clean since the last two months, was one of his friend’s comments that he applauded him for trying because if he were to try too he would die after only half an hour of no smoke. Imagine that!
Well, I’m not a smoker, so it’s kinda hard for me to relate, but I’ve heard this from several others too. As kids we’ve all been told by our parents that it’s dangerous to our health to smoke, but while we are growing up we see cool smoking scenes in movies that, in spite of smoking-is-injurious-to-health lines running below the screen, make us want to look awesomely cool too. Aside from that, family members themselves or even our own parents smoke but have a “do as I say, but don’t do as I do” attitude when it comes to smoking. It’s tough to know what to do in such cases.
After doing a bit of research on the matter, I found out that each cigarette you smoke contains acetone, acetic acid, ammonia, arsenic, benzene, butane, cadmium carbon monoxide, cyanide, chloroform, dieldrin, ethanol, formaldehyde, hexamine, methane, methanol, napthalene, nicotine, nitrobenzene, nitrous oxide phenols, stearic acid, toluene, and vinyl chloride. What’s wrong with that, right? Let’s break it down with several examples of what each of these chemicals are used for. Acetone is used in nail polish remover. Acetic acid is used in Vinegar. Ammonia is used for cleaning floors and toilets. Arsenic is used in poison. Benzene is used in making dyes and plastics. Butane is a lighter fluid. Cadmium is used in NiCad batteries. Carbon Monoxide is found in car exhaust fumes. Cyanide is used in metabolic poison. Chloroform is an anaesthetic. DDT is an insecticide. Ethanol is used in alcohol. Formaldehyde is a preserver of body, tissue, and fabric. Hexamine is a BBQ lighter. Methane is a swamp gas. Methanol is a rocket fuel. Napthalene is used in the making of the mothballs that you use in your closet. Nicotine is used in insecticide, stimulants, and addictive drugs. Nitrobenzene is a gasoline additive. Nitrous Oxide Phenols is used in disinfectants. Stearic Acid is used in candle wax, Toluene in industrial solvents, and Vinyl Chloride in making PVC pipes. I guess the realisation of all these ingredients is that they are being inhaled into your body and never fully leave. Somewhat sad in my opinion.
It’s true that cigarettes have a superb nicotine kick, but actually the nicotine in cigarettes alters the chemical levels of dopamine and noradrenaline in your brain. Although this feeling may initially be perceived as enjoyable, in the long run it takes more and more nicotine to reach the same desired effect. If and when a smoker decides to quit smoking his/her levels of dopamine and noradrenaline again will swing out of balance and result in feelings of deprivation, depression, irritability, and anxiousness. The cravings for nicotine can reach an extreme to the point of making it difficult to lose the urge to smoke.
It’s interesting how companies are thinking up a whole bunch of new ways to smoke without actually “smoking”. A friend of mine recently told me about these unique devices called E Shisha, Electronic Shisha Sticks, which are shaped like cigarettes and can be used as them but don’t have nicotine, tar, tobacco, or anything in it. Electronic Shisha Sticks supposedly entirely harmless, and are more like toy cigarettes so that you can get the feel of smoking without actually doing the deed. It’s supposed to be great for weaning oneself off of cigarettes. E Shisha Sticks come in five flavours apple, strawberry, peach, grape, and blueberry so that there is a flavour for every smoker. And then of course there is also Champix which another popular way to kick the habit and get over withdrawals.
I recently was handed an interesting flyer that read “Stop Smoking, Start Repairing”. It laid out some pretty convincing statistics. For example:
- In 8 hours of not smoking, excess carbon monoxide is out of your body.
- In 5 days, most of the nicotine is out of your body.
- In 1 week of not smoking your sense of taste and smell improves.
- In 3 months of not smoking, your lung function has increased 30%
- In 14 weeks, your lungs regain the ability to clean themselves.
- In 11 months your risk of heart disease has halved.
- In 1 year of not smoking, you can save over $ 4,000 not buying a pack a day.
- In 5 years, your risk of a stroke has dramatically decreased.
So, I guess the big thing I’m trying to say here is that with every cigarette you don’t smoke, you’re that much closer to kicking the habit for good. Keep your eyes on why you are doing it and pace yourself to not give up. As that leaflet said: Every cigarette you don’t smoke is doing you good.
By Jem Romero