Smoking: Health Risks, Ways to Quit

Over the past twenty years, anti smoking education has become a priority of governments, educational institutions, health professionals and parents. While people were initially reluctant to blame cigarettes for cancers, heart disease, emphysema and countless other maladies, in today’s day and age hardly anyone argues that smoking is anything but horrible for your physical health and well being.

While smoking was once considered sexy, sophisticated and ideal for weight loss, it is now often regarded as smelly, reckless and downright trashy. If you are a smoker who is considering quitting (or if you have been thinking about starting this habit) read through this helpful information below for some useful facts and strategies to quit.

Health risks
Chances are, you probably know about at least some of the tragic health risks of cigarette smoking. Here is a brief list of the risks inherent in smoking.

  • Erectile dysfunction – Smoking reduces blood flow to the genitals.
  • Heart disease – It is the number one leading cause of heart disease.
  • Cancers – Lung, mouth and throat cancer are caused by smoking, as are many other cancers.
  • Emphysema – Smoking causes damage to the small airways in the lungs.
  • Strokes – One of the leading causes of fatal and paralysing strokes.
  • Peripheral Vascular Disease – Damage of your blood vessels, including those that supply your brain.


Who starts smoking? Why?

Commonly, people start smoking in their teens, often citing peer pressure, ‘coolness,’ and stresses in their family and school life as a catalyst for their habit. Since the 1940s, girls in the UK have been more likely to start smoking, as cigarettes are often touted as a great way to stay slim.


The good news? It seems that fewer and fewer teenagers are starting this habit. Over the past twenty years the percentages of kids who had started smoking between the ages of 11 and 15 had dropped from 11% to 3% – a massive decrease that is really something to celebrate. That said, girls are still slightly more likely than boys to foster an addiction to tobacco and so there is definitely room for improvement.

Ways to Stop Smoking

It seems like everyone (and their nan) has an opinion about the best way for a person to quit smoking! Here are just a few of the most popular.

  • Cold Turkey – This method is undoubtedly the most difficult and requires a ton of self-control. Smokers set a date and then simply white knuckle through their withdrawal period. This method might not be safe for everyone, as it can cause severe withdrawal side effects – consult your doctor.
  • Medications – Myriad prescription medications (mostly SSRIs) are on the market that are said to assist those who want to quit smoking, including Zyban. These all require a doctor’s prescription, and may not be appropriate for everyone.
  • Electronic Cigarettes – E-cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular, and can help even the most seasoned long-term smoker to quit by replacing their cancer causing smoke with a flavoured nicotine vapour. Some companies do starter kits that can kick start your journey to giving up smoking for good such as the SMOKO e-cigarette starter packs that can be purchased online and delivered straight to your door.
  • The Nicotine Patch – The nicotine patch is a slow release product that you adhere to your skin and can ideally help you to avoid the most uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. These can have dangers if used improperly – consult your doctor or pharmacist.
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