How to quit smoking successfully is a challenge that millions of smokers face every day. Most people know that smoking causes lung cancer and increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, heart attack and stroke. But the health consequences of smoking are far worse than most people realize. Smoking damages nearly every organ in the body.
In addition, smokers risk dying young, cutting their lives short by an average of 13-14 years. Plus, the last years of their lives are often spent suffering from debilitating illnesses caused by years of smoking.
While the health consequences should provide plenty of incentive to quit smoking, here are 10 more reasons to kick the habit that you might want to consider:
- “Ooh, Ooh, That Smell.” The stench of cigarette smoke not only gives smokers bad breath, but it permeates everything from their hair, clothes, car, house, etc., and non-smokers are especially turned off by the smell. Many smokers are self-conscious and embarrassed by the odor.
- Diminished Sense of Taste & Smell. Years of inhaling the hot, toxic fumes of cigarette smoke takes a toll on the senses, dulling the sense of smell and taste in particular. Often, smokers are unable to enjoy eating foods like they did before they started smoking. The good news is that quitting can restore the ability to smell and taste.
- Premature Aging. Smoking is one of the leading causes of premature aging. People who smoke show early signs of age on their faces in the form of wrinkles from squinting when smoke gets in their eyes and around their lips from puffing on cigarettes. Smoking constricts the blood vessels so blood doesn’t circulate oxygen to the organs properly, including the skin. Another sure sign of a smoker is the unsightly tar stains on their fingers from holding cigarettes.
- Unpopularity in Social Settings. Due to more and more non-smoking laws in recent years and the growing unpopularity of smoking in public, smokers have been moved to the outer fringes in social settings. They now must remove themselves from restaurants and public places if they want to smoke, often feeling like second class citizens.
- Dating Competition. When it comes to dating, the competition to find a quality mate can be fierce. Most non-smokers prefer not to date a smoker. After all, who wants to kiss someone that smells like a filthy ashtray?
- Problems with Sexual Performance. Smokers have a much higher risk of impotence due to constricted blood vessels that interfere with the ability to get an erection.
- Increased Susceptibility to Illnesses. Smokers are more susceptible to the flu, colds, and viral and bacterial infections than non-smokers. One reason is that the poisonous cigarette smoke paralyzes the cilia in the windpipe, destroying its ability to stop harmful particles and bacteria from getting into the lungs and the bloodstream where they can cause illness. The good news is that within a month of quitting, the cilia start to repair and function again.
- Subjecting others to Toxic Second-Hand Smoke. Smokers subject others to the dangers of second-hand smoke, which is a real threat since it causes an estimated 50,000 deaths per year. It’s not surprising since a puff of smoke contains 4,500 chemicals with more than 40 of them known carcinogens.
- Diminished Physical Performance. Over time, many smokers experience diminished physical performance, often finding it difficult to do simple things like climbing a flight of stairs or participating in sports like jogging or swimming. Even young athletes in good shape are unable to perform as well if they smoke because smoking causes the lungs and heart to work harder, especially during strenuous physical activity.
- The high Cost. A pack of cigarettes costs about $5, and in some states $10 per pack. If you’re a pack-a-day smoker, this quickly adds up to $1,825 per year or as much as $3,650 per year. However, the real cost of smoking is far reaching and encompasses much more than the cost of cigarettes. An average smoker takes three extra sick days from his job per year, is 8% less productive on the job, and has $1,600 in additional medical care costs per year than non-smokers.The annual economic cost of smoking in America is estimated to be over $200 billion. But the ultimate cost is damage to the smoker’s health and the probability of a life cut short. The message is clear: don’t smoke and if you do, quit now.
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