Smoking has been a contentious practice over the last couple of decades. To try and help make informed decisions about smoking here is some information to help you.
Nicotine is the addictive chemical in cigarettes which acts on the brain by releasing adrenaline and dopamine. Researchers at Harvard are researching the effects/ benefits of nicotine by itself with links to treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and ADHD.
HOWEVER, smoking cigarettes does not just contain nicotine. Cigarette smoke contains roughly 7000 other chemicals with over 70 of these known to cause cancer. By smoking these chemicals nearly every organ in the human body can be affected.
• Lungs: reduced function, chronic inflammation, increased infections and scaring.
• Circulatory system: raised blood pressure, cold skin temp, decrease oxygen, increase risk of clots, reduced blood flow to the extremities, increased risk of stroke and heart attack.
• Immune system: increased risk of infections (particularly in the lungs), longer lasting illnesses.
• Muscles: reduced recovery from injury, reduced bone density, greater fatigue
• Sexual Organs: low sperm count, impotence (due to the effect on the circulatory system), reduce fertility, menstrual cycle irregularities, early menopause, even greater risk of stroke and heart attack when combine with oral contraceptive pill.
• Body: stomach and intestine irritation, ulcers, poor smell and taste, increased the appearance of aging, gum disease.
Quitting smoking is a difficult task with people reporting even up to 30 years later after quitting still getting cravings to smoke. Its not only a task of removing the bodies addiction to nicotine but also changing behaviors.
There are many options people have to help them quit. A good place to start is either with your doctor, pharmacist and Quitline (13 78 48) .