Early death and reduced health.....still smoking?

COMMENT: University has to prove it offers value for money

Have your say

It is almost a week since the nation marked No Smoking Day when many of you will have vowed to quit for good.

How many of you have kept your good intentions?

Last Wednesday’s day of action was a great way of increasing awareness about what smoking will do to your health, body and wallet.

However, I understand that too much information can make it difficult to take everything in.

So today I thought I would emphasise what No Smoking Day was all about by breaking down all the information for you to highlight the real benefits of stopping smoking.

1. Better breathing: Did you know that your lung capacity improves by up to 10 per cent within the first nine months of quitting?

It may not be as noticeable when you are younger but later on in life it could be the difference between a healthy individual and wheezing when you walk up the stairs!

2. Healthier teeth and gums: Smoking can stain teeth and leave deposits in the gums. Stopping will help freshen breath. It can also reduce the risk of premature tooth loss.

3. Healthier looking skin: Smokers are prone to wrinkles as the nutrient quality of the skin is lower than that of non-smokers.

Stopping smoking can soon delay the skin ageing process and allow more oxygen and nutrients to reach the skin hence improving the quality of the skin.

4. Less stress: I can imagine many smokers would like to contest this statement, however it is scientifically proven that the nicotine withdrawal symptoms between cigarettes is often what causes a smoker to be stressed. The satiety and pleasant feeling a smoker gets after a cigarette is only a temporary feeling. Also, on quitting, the circulation of oxygen around the body improves.

5. A prolonged life: Stop smoking when you are 30 and you can add 10 years to your life. Stop when you are 60 and you can add three years to your life. Fifty per cent of long-term smokers die early from smoking related diseases such as lung cancer, throat cancer, bronchitis and heart disease.

6. Improved physical fitness: At the end of the first 12 weeks after quitting, your circulation will improve. This makes you less tired, reduces the occurrence of headaches and boosts the immune system as well.

7. Improvement in libido and conception rates: Quit and your blood flow will improve and this can also improve sensitivity. Non-smokers are less likely to have a miscarriage and more likely to heave a healthy baby. Quitting also improves the lining of the womb and makes sperm more potent, increasing the changes of successful conception.

8. Improved senses: Get rid of the toxic chemicals and your sense of smell and taste will improve.

9. Consider the following quitting time line:

After stopping smoking for...

20 minutes: blood pressure and pulse return to normal.

24 hours: lungs start to clear.

Two days: the body is nicotine-free and senses improve.

Three days: breathing improves and energy increases.

Twelve weeks: circulation improves.

Three – nine months: coughing and wheezing reduces.

One year: heart attack risk is half that of a smoker.

Ten years: lung cancer risk is half that of a smoker.

10. Remember passive smoking kills.

Second-hand smoke makes children twice at risk of chest illnesses, ear infections, wheezing and asthma.

They also have three times the risk of getting lung cancer in later life – compared with children who live with non-smokers.

Visit your local pharmacy to get help to quit.