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Smoking is on the decline, but some people are still lighting up. Why? The answer is addiction.

When your parents were young, people could buy cigarettes and smoke pretty much anywhere – even in hospitals! Ads for cigarettes were all over the place. Today people are more aware about how bad smoking is for your health. Smoking is now restricted or banned in almost all public places and cigarette companies are no longer allowed to advertise on TV, radio, and in many magazines.

Almost everyone knows that smoking causes cancer, emphysema, and heart disease that can shorten your life by 10 years or more and smoking is a habit that can needlessly cost a smoker thousands of dollars a year.

Smoking is a hard habit to break because tobacco contains nicotine, which is highly addictive. Like heroin or other addictive drugs, the body and mind quickly become so used to the nicotine in cigarettes that a person needs to have it just to feel normal.

Cigarettes contain more than 4000 chemical compounds and at least 400 toxic substances. Cigarettes burn at 700 C at the tip and around 60 C in the core. This heat breaks down the tobacco to produce various toxins, which are then concentrated towards the butt.

The toxins that are most damaging are:

Tar, a carcinogen (substance that causes cancer)

Nicotine is addictive and increases cholesterol levels in your body

Carbon monoxide reduces oxygen in the body

Components of the gas and particulates cause many diseases including chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD).

The damage caused by smoking is influenced by:

The number of cigarettes smoked

Whether the cigarette has a filter

How the tobacco has been prepared

The tobacco in many brands of cigarettes is sprayed with embalming fluid (formaldehyde), which turns the harmful substances in the tobacco into a “free base” making them far more addictive and harmful. There are a lot of chemicals at play and it is extremely hazardous to your health. Smoking dried embalming fluid may lead to extra intoxication and addiction, and that is why manufacturers add this substance to the. Embalming fluid is a strong carcinogen and can lead to cancers of the lungs, nose, throat and mouth, and is strong enough that even smelling open formaldehyde can lead to headaches and nausea. Smoking formaldehyde will also damage the tissues of the lungs and throat, and with chronic use will lead to decreased lung function, emphysema and bronchitis like conditions.

Research has shown that smoking reduces life expectancy. On average, each cigarette shortens a smoker’s life by around 11 minutes.

Many who die as a result of smoking are comparatively young smokers. The number of people under the age of 70 who die from smoking-related diseases exceeds the total deaths caused by breast cancer, AIDS, traffic accidents and drug addiction.

Cardiovascular disease is the main cause of death due to smoking. Hardening of the arteries is a process that develops over years, when cholesterol and other fats deposit in the arteries, leaving them narrow, blocked or rigid. When the arteries narrow (atherosclerosis), blood clots are likely to form.

Smoking bombards the cells with oxygen radicals that accelerate the hardening and narrowing process in your arteries.

Cardiovascular disease can take many forms depending on which blood vessels are involved. This condition starts earlier and blood clots are two to four times more likely in people who smoke.

Blood clots in the heart and brain are the most common causes of sudden death.

Coronary thrombosis: a blood clot in the arteries supplying the heart, which can lead to a heart attack. (Smoking causes around 30 per cent.)

Cerebral thrombosis: the vessels to the brain can become blocked, which can lead to collapse, stroke and paralysis. Damage to the brain’s blood supply is also an important cause of dementia.

If the kidney arteries are affected, the result may be high blood pressure or kidney failure.

Blockage to the vascular supply to the legs may lead to gangrene and amputation.

Smokers tend to develop coronary thrombosis 10 years earlier than non-smokers, and make up 9 out of 10 heart bypass patients.

Smokers are more likely to get cancer than non-smokers. This is particularly true of lung cancer, throat cancer and mouth cancer, which hardly ever affect non-smokers.

Ninety percent of lung cancer cases are due to smoking. If no one smoked, lung cancer would be a rare  – only 0.5 per cent who has never smoked a cigarette develops lung cancer.

One in ten moderate smokers and almost one in five heavy smokers (more than 15 cigarettes a day) will die of lung cancer.

The more cigarettes you smoke in a day, and the longer you’ve smoked, the higher your risk of lung cancer. Similarly, the earlier in life you started smoking and the deeper you inhale, increases the risk.

For ex-smokers, it takes approximately 15 years before the risk of lung cancer drops to the same as that of a non-smoker. Non-smokers and ex-smokers can look forward to a healthier old age than smokers.

If you smoke, the risk of contracting mouth cancer is four times higher than for a non-smoker. Cancer can start in many areas of the mouth, with the most common being on or underneath the , or on the lips.

Other types of cancer that are more common in smokers are:

Bladder cancer

Cancer of the esophagus

Cancer of the kidneys

Cancer of the pancreas

Cervical cancer

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a collective term for a group of conditions that block airflow and make breathing more difficult. (Chronic means long term, not severe.) Examples are:

Emphysema  – breathlessness caused by damage to the air sacs (alveoli)

Chronic bronchitis  – coughing with a lot of mucus that continues for at least three months.

Smoking is the most common cause of COPD and is responsible for 80 per cent of cases.

It’s estimated that 94% of “20-a-day” smokers have some emphysema when the lungs are examined after death, while more than 90 per cent of non-smokers have little or none.

COPD typically starts between the ages of 35 and 45 when lung function starts to decline anyway.

Lung damage from COPD is normally permanent, but some people have completely reversed COPD and Black Lung with proper breathing exercises and good nutrition. (See Breathing Exercises)

In smokers, the rate of decline in lung function can be three times the usual rate. As lung function declines, breathlessness begins. Giving up smoking at any stage reduces the rate of decline in lung capacity.

As the condition progresses, severe breathing problems can require hospital care. The final stage is death from slow and progressive breathlessness.

Did you know that a single cigarette can reduce the blood supply to your skin for over an hour? Smoking also makes it harder for gum tissue to repair itself and may lead to gum disease.

Smoking raises blood pressure, which can cause hypertension (high blood pressure)  – a risk factor for heart attacks and stroke.

Couples who smoke are more likely to have fertility problems than couples who are non-smokers.

Smoking worsens asthma and counteracts asthma medication by worsening the inflammation of the airways that the medicine tries to ease. (See Allergies / Asthma)

The blood vessels in the eye are sensitive and can be easily damaged by smoke, causing a bloodshot appearance and itchiness. Heavy smokers are twice as likely to get macular degeneration, resulting in the gradual loss of eyesight and smokers run an increased risk of cataracts.

Smokers take 25 per cent more days in sick leave than non-smokers.

Smoking stains your teeth and gums and increases your risk of periodontal disease, which causes swollen gums, bad breath and teeth to fall out.

Smoking causes an acid taste in the mouth and contributes to the development of ulcers.

Smoking also affects your looks: smokers have paler skin and more wrinkles. This is because smoking reduces the blood supply to the skin and lowers levels of B vitamins and vitamin A.

Smoking increases the risk of erectile dysfunction (ED) in men over 30 by about 50%. Erection can’t occur unless blood can flow freely into the penis, so these blood vessels have to be in good condition. Smoking can damage the blood vessels and cause them to degenerate. Nicotine narrows the arteries that lead to the penis, reducing blood flow and the pressure of blood in the penis. This narrowing effect increases over time, so if you haven’t got problems now, things could change later.

Erection problems in smokers may be an early warning signal that cigarettes are already damaging other areas of the body, such as the blood vessels that supply the heart.

There are many health-related reasons to give up cigarettes  – not just for smokers, but to protect those around you. Babies born to mothers who smoke during pregnancy are twice as likely to be born prematurely and with a low birth weight.

The “second-hand” smoke that comes from cigarettes carries a higher risk than directly inhaled smoke. Children who grow up in a home where one or both of their parents smoke have twice the risk of getting asthma and asthmatic bronchitis. They also have a higher risk of developing allergies. Infants under two years old are also more prone to severe respiratory infections and cot death.

As well as reducing your risk of getting a smoking-related illness, there are other benefits to quitting smoking.

General health improves  – tiredness and headaches can be linked to smoking

Your sense of taste and smell improve

Your heart will be less strained and work more efficiently

Stopping smoking is the single biggest thing you can do to improve your health, but it’s a difficult task. Smokers who are trying to kick their habit may be disappointed to find there’s no single quit method that guarantees success.

Smoking is a powerful addiction, and each year people use thousands of methods, from prescription drugs to hypnotherapy, to help them quit. Although weaning the body off of nicotine through the use of patches and gum has become increasingly popular, a number of home remedies favor immediate cessation and then a cleansing of the body. One recipe calls for mixing a teaspoon of cream of tartar into a glass of orange juice once a day. The orange juice helps the body fight the withdrawal, while the cream of tartar starts the nicotine detoxification process.

ShopFreeMart PureGold can help remove nicotine residues from the body along with providing minerals that reduce craving. Smoking depletes several vitamins from the body. Taking a good B-Complex vitamin and vitamin A can reduce the desire to smoke. Eating a handful of “raw” nuts (with the exception of peanuts) whenever you feel the craving to smoke can also prove helpful.

Prayers to Stop Smoking:

You want to be careful not to say something negative like, “I no longer desire to smoke.” The result will be an increased desire to smoke.

First, very clearly visualize refusing a cigarette when offered, or not buying cigarettes when you go to the store – see this with your mind’s eye as if you no longer desire to smoke.

Every time you get the desire to smoke, immediately count backwards starting at 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and then make a decision to say no to your desire. This is actually quite magical because it creates in interrupt to your habit and if you do this repeatedly, you will find your resolve and power to quit smoking grow strong rather quickly.

Use this same interrupt to stop procrastination of any type and you will be more successful at taking charge of all areas of your life. Use it to interrupt the temptation to say things you shouldn’t say. This will improve your relationships. Use it to interrupt your tempation to lay in bed after your wake up. Count backwards from 5 and then stand up ready for action.

Focus on the feelings of joy, happiness and thankfulness in your abdomen that you can imagine having when you ask, how would I feel if I were now cigarette free and no longer desired to smoke?

Bring the picture from your head and the feelings from your abdomen together in your heart.

Speaking from the center in your heart, say the words you have chosen, clearly and audibly, three or seven times. (I am now thankful and happy to be cigaretted free.) Maintain your feelings and the picture of receiving your desire throughout the prayer.

End the prayer with “so be it” or “amen” and let the prayer go. You no longer need to think about it throughout the day. Nothing more is required at this point. It is helpful however to focus on the feelings of joy, happiness and thankfulness throughout the day. (See Prayer)

Some people gain weight when they stop smoking. One reason is that food often tastes and smells better. Another reason is because nicotine raises the rate at which your body burns calories, so you burn fewer calories when you stop smoking. However, smoking is a serious health risk, and quitting is more important than possible weight gain. Tobacco quickly burns up many minerals and B vitamins and vitamin A in the body. The amino acids and vitamin B-12 found in ShopFreeMart Vitalize may help reduce the desire for tobacco and Sugar-D may increase metabolism and reduce the craving for food, thereby preventing weight gain. Eating raw nuts, with the exception of peanuts, may also help reduce the desire to smoke and the craving for food.

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