Smoking kills, practically everyone is aware of this fact but any smoker will tell you that with every stick, it gets increasingly difficult to quit. The smoking prevalence for Nigeria given by the World Health Organization was 10.49 percent for male and 0.9 percent for female by 2009 but with millions picking up this killer habit daily, these figures are on the rise. Now, you may think 10.49 percent shouldn’t be regarded as a lot but that counts for at least 16.7 million Nigerians.
Toxicology research carried out shows that smoking kills you by the minute. Chemicals which cause a wide range of cancers form rapidly after smoking.
The researchers looked at the level of chemicals linked with cancer, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), in 12 patients after smoking.
A PAH was added to the subject's cigarettes, which was then modified by the body and turned into another chemical which damages DNA and has been linked with cancer.
The research shows this process only took between 15 and 30 minutes to take place.
Smoking just doesn’t cause cancer in the long run; it also could lead to heart disease, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), stroke, asthma, Premature Low Birth-Weight Babies, Diabetes and frankly, the list goes on.
WHY DO PEOPLE SMOKE?
Most people pick up smoking during their younger years or while in universities and have struggled to quit several times because smoking is super addictive. At such a young age, you don't really think about the health risks of smoking and you certainly do not realise how addictive smoking can be. As a teenager you probably think that you can try smoking a few times and then take it or leave it.
Nicotine being an addictive substance doesn’t take long to begin manifesting that trait with smokers capable of experiencing withdrawal symptoms within a short time after first use.
There are a handful of reasons why people find themselves smoking, here are a few:
Peer pressure: Many children decide to smoke because their friends do. Most of these children continue to smoke because they grew up around people who do (parents or siblings) and do not see the big deal, after all they aren’t alone.
As far as children go, some children pick up smoking to rebel against authorities while others do to look mature and cool.
Stress and personal problems: Adults pick up smoking for entirely different reasons mostly because of stress caused by economic reasons and more personal problems. They may be homeless or living with parents, unemployed or underpaid, dealing with relationship problems or bad marriages. When one is confronted with these sorts of problems, a stress relief will not be far away and smoking does offer a temporary escape from these problems.
There are some people who smoke because they just love to; some say it gives them pleasure.
HEALTHIER ALTERNATIVES TO SMOKING
Sugarfree Gum: Many smokers see cigarettes as pacifiers that satisfy their lips’ need to be engaged. Scientists have found that it's not just the nicotine in cigarettes that gets people hooked - it's the oral fixation; i.e. the sensation of having something in the mouth as well.
Sugarfree gum is a perfect alternative for such people as it satisfies the lips’ need to be engaged and keeps the acidity levels in the mouth balanced and is good for your teeth and gums, unlike cigarettes.
Dark Chocolates: The nicotine in cigarettes releases dopamine, a compound that causes the feeling of joy, pleasure and satisfaction in the body. Eating dark chocolates increases the dopamine levels in the brain just like cigarettes do and is a delicious substitute to smoking but shouldn’t be overdone.
Yoga: If you follow our monthly editorials, then this wouldn’t come as a surprise to you. You cannot talk about healthy ways to counter addictions without mentioning yoga.
If the main precursor of your smoking is stress and personal issues that need some form of channelling, then Yoga is your best bet and it even burns calories and will help you get in shape.
Find out all about Yoga in Nigeria in our March Editorial http://thengmag.com/Editorial/March2016#page/10