Smokers have almost triple the risk of developing cardiovascular disease as non smokers. In South Africa 44,000 people die every year from smoking related illnesses.
Smoking causes damage to your entire circulatory system which increases your risk of hardened arteries and blood clots which can lead to heart attacks and stroke. Smoking also damages your lungs, making it more difficult to exercise.
Smoking is a major cause of a wide variety of cancers including lung cancer, cancer of the mouth and throat, stomach cancer and pancreatic cancer.
Smoking and women
Women who smoke are particularly at risk, especially if they take oral birth control pills. Women who smoke have a greater risk of developing cervical cancer and osteoporosis (a condition that causes the bones to become brittle). Smoking has also been linked to infertility, painful periods and premature menopause. And women who smoke while they are pregnant are more likely to miscarry or have a premature and/or low birth weight baby.
10 good reasons to stop smoking
1. Your health will improve as soon as you stop smoking.
2. Your body will begin to heal itself from the moment you quit.
3. No more smelly clothes, hair and breath.
4. You will save money.
5. You will be able to smell and taste your food better.
6. You will have more energy.
7. You won’t have to sneak around looking for places where you can smoke.
8. Your skin will improve and you won’t develop wrinkles due to premature ageing.
9. Your teeth will be whiter.
10. No more cleaning smelly ashtrays.
Need help to quit?
Smoking is addictive and it is difficult to stop once you are hooked. There are organisations that understand and can help you to take this important first step and, more importantly, maintain your commitment.
National Quit Line
Tel: 011- 720 3145
National Council Against Smoking
Tel: 011- 725 1514
Fax: 011- 720 6177
Tel: 021- 788 9120
Tel national 086 110 0079
They provide a 7 week quit smoking programme. Meetings are attended once per week.
Nicorette Kick Butt Programme
Tel: 0860 410032
They also have a resident medical expert who you can contact at 021- 710 4000.
They have a support programme which provides people with advice and day by day information on how to quit. They have an email/SMS support programme which provides daily support for the first 4 weeks of the programme and at key intervals thereafter.
They have a “day at a time” diary that informs you of your key quitting milestones and the benefits you should be experiencing along the way
Allen Carr Easyway Clinics
Tel: 0861 100 200
Clinics available in Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria, Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth
Email: email@example.com or visit their website
Learn more about smoking
Smoking is one of the major causes of heart disease, and smokers are almost three times as likely to have a heart attack as people who have never smoked.
How does smoking affect the heart?
Smoking damages your heart in several ways:
Smoking damages the lining of your arteries, leading to a build up of fatty material (atheroma) and a reduced space for blood to pass through.
The carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke reduces the amount of oxygen that the blood can carry to your heart and body.
The nicotine in cigarettes stimulates your body to produce adrenaline, which makes your heart beat faster and raises blood pressure, and results in your heart having to work harder.
Your blood is more likely to clot.
All of these things increase the risk of developing coronary heart disease and having a heart attack or a stroke.
How can I kick the habit?
Stopping smoking is difficult if you are addicted but following these tips wil help;
• Commit to a date to give up and stick to it. (Today is a good date!)
• Throw away everything that reminds you of smoking (cigarettes, ashtrays and lighters).
• Make use of nicotine replacement products to keep the cravings at bay.
• Keep yourself busy with a hobby that requires using your hands
• Avoid situations where you would normally smoke. Do not visit the smoking area of bars or your workplace.
• Let your family and friends know that you have stopped smoking and ask them to support you.
• Take the money that you would normally spend on cigarettes and put it in a jar. Treat yourself at the end of each successful month.