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10 Myths and facts about smoking

Smoking is bad for you and we all know that, in the old days, people could buy cigarettes and smoke pretty much anywhere — even in hospitals! Ads for cigarettes were all over the place. Today we’re more aware about how bad smoking is for our health. Smoking is restricted or banned in almost all public places and cigarette companies are no longer allowed to advertise on TV, radio, and in many magazines.

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Almost everyone knows that smoking causes cancer, emphysema, and heart disease; that it can shorten your life by 10 years or more; and that the habit can cost a smoker thousands of rands a year. So how come people are still lighting up? The answer, in a word, is addiction.

Most adults who started smoking in their teens never expected to become addicted. That’s why people say it’s just so much easier to not start smoking at all.

Many continue to puff away because they buy into certain persistent myths about tobacco use. So here are those myths, and facts about smoking.

Myths

Smoking only affects the smoker – Smoking is not your business only unless you make very sure that you only smoke well away from other people, smoking certainly isn’t just your own business. Inhaling even just small amounts of second-hand smoke can significantly increase non-smokers’ risk of developing heart disease or lung cancer. A recent study suggested that even when you’re driving with all the car windows open, kids in the back seat will still be exposed to dangerous levels of second-hand smoke. Furthermore, when a pregnant woman inhales second-hand smoke, her foetus can be harmed.

Smoking is sexy – When celebrities smoke on camera; it reinforces the notion that smoking is sexy, attractive, or masculine. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, men who smoke are at a significantly higher risk of developing erectile dysfunction. Add to that bad breath, stained teeth and an ever-present cough, and the reality of smoking starts seeming everything but sexy.

Smoking helps you de-stress – Cigarettes contain among other things, nicotine, and a stimulant, which actually speeds up heart rate.

Light cigarettes are a lower risk – Studies indicate that smokers who switch to lights inhale smoke deeper, effectively nullifying the ‘benefits’ of lights.

Cutting back is good enough – Every single cigarette is a source of bodily damage, so quitting completely is the only way to go.

Leading an otherwise healthy life makes it okay to go on smoking – studies have proved that healthy eating and other healthy habits do not reduce the risks associated with smoking.

You’ll just die a bit sooner – It is well established that on average smokers cannot expect to live as long as non-smokers. But this is only half the story. Apart from dying sooner, smokers are also at risk of having the last years of their lives made highly uncomfortable by heart disease, lung cancer, emphysema and vision loss. So, apart from smoking-related heart attacks, the idea that smokers will simply drop dead a few years sooner than non-smokers is certainly misleading. The sad truth is that most smokers are likely to spend a good few years suffering with persistent coughs, shortness of breath, poor vision and a host of other unpleasant symptoms.

Facts
Smoking causes a number of diseases, including cancer, heart disease, bronchitis, chronic asthma and gangrene.

Smoking is an addiction that does not help you lose weight, and it can actually contribute to the formation of cellulite.

Smoking can cause destruction of the alveoli in the lungs, leading to a decrease in the oxygen supply and an increase in blood pressure.

It reduces stamina, causes shortness of breath and can contribute to a chronic ‘smoker’s cough’.

Smoking reduces immunity, promotes premature wrinkles and aging and stains the fingers and teeth.

From reading those facts and myths do you still find it interesting to smoke? Hope you don’t, if you had already started get in the processes of quitting even if you’ve tried quitting and failed, that doesn’t mean you should give up. Learning about the habit could help put some basic doubts to rest, and educating the masses about the risks caused by smoking is very much, the need of the hour.

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