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 Smoking, Drinking & Addiction

Risks of Smoking and Benefits of Quitting
Dr Kumaresh Krishnamoorthy

Cost benefits
Smoking is an expensive habit. Multiply how much money you spend on tobacco every day by 365 (days per year). Now multiply that by the number of years you have been smoking, and the resultant amount will probably astound you.

Now multiply the cost per year by 10 (for the upcoming 10 years), and ask yourself what you would rather do with that much money. And this doesn’t include other possible expenses, such as the healthcare expense due to tobacco-related conditions.

Social acceptance
Smoking is less socially acceptable now than it was in the past. Some employers even prefer to hire nonsmokers. The reason for this strategy is that employers are unwilling to take on smokers who are more liable to fall ill, raising the employers’ need for expensive temporary replacement workers.

As regards the public at large, more and more communities are restricting smoking in public places, including restaurants.

Health of others
Smoking not only harms your health but the health of those around you. Studies have shown that secondhand smoke causes thousands of deaths each year from lung cancer and heart disease in healthy nonsmokers.

Smoking by mothers is linked to a higher risk of their babies developing asthma in childhood, especially if the mother smokes while pregnant. It is also associated with sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and low-birth weight infants. Babies and children raised in a household where there is smoking are more prone to ear infections, colds and other respiratory problems compared to children from non-smoking families. Moreover, secondhand smoke is also known to cause eye irritation, headaches, nausea and dizziness.

Setting an Example
If you have children, you probably want to set a good example for them. When asked, nearly all smokers say they don't want their children to smoke, but children whose parents smoke are more likely to start smoking themselves. You can become a good role model for your children by quitting now.

Improved health benefits from the time of quitting smoking

20 minutes - Blood pressure and pulse return to normal
8 hours - Chances of a heart attack start to fall
24 hours - The lungs start to clear out mucus and debris
48 hours - Nicotine is no longer found in the body. Sense of taste and smell improve
72 hours - Breathing becomes easier. Energy levels increase
2-12 weeks - Circulation improves throughout the body
3-9 months - Coughing, shortness of breath and wheezing improve.
5 years - Risk of having a heart attack falls to about half of that of a smoker.
10 years - Risk of lung cancer falls to around half of that of a smoker.
Dr Kumaresh Krishnamoorthy is Senior Consultant in ENT - Neurotology and Head & Neck Oncosurgery

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