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Nothing To Lose - Everything To Gain

Apr 19, 2008
Travelling through New Zealand, I was quite shocked at the up-front advertising campaigns they employ. A marketing drive relating to a fast food shop had splashed a sign across the back of a bus that said 'Fish and chips - go together like sand and butt cracks'. Wild camping is discouraged through the use of signs that state 'If you camp here, you will die'. No hesitation there then.

The UK has begun to take on some of the force of this type of brutal advertising, much to the consternation of some do-gooders. Cigarette packets are now accompanied by the warning 'Smoking kills', in a bid to enlighten the people that didn't already know and get them to stop smoking.

The 4,000 chemicals and 400 poisons in cigarettes mean they are easy to become addicted to. This is no accident. Manufacturers want us to become addicted so they can continuously sell more products. This theory that people smoke because they want to is a mis-conception. After trying it a few times, they will be addicted and pleas from their loved ones to stop smoking will fall on deaf ears.

But let's take a blunt view of the pitfalls. Every year in the UK, 114,000 people will die from smoking related diseases. If you don't stop smoking, you are likely to die a slow, painful death. Think it won't happen to you? Half of all life time smokers will not see old age. Many of them will be subjected to limb amputation because of the effects of restricted blood flow and reduced oxygen levels to the extremities.

Children raised in a family of smokers are more susceptible to pneumonia, bronchitis and asthma. 11,000 people will die every year in the UK from the effects of passive smoking and this may be worth considering before lighting up around your children. It should give you the biggest incentive to stop smoking.

And the effects on others begins early if you don't stop smoking. When trying for a family, men are likely to notice a reduction in fertility with more cases of impotence and low sperm counts among smokers. For women, it is much more difficult to get pregnant if you smoke and can lead to premature births, still births and with your baby being at greater risk of cot death.

On the other hand, think of all the benefits you can enjoy if you stop smoking. Within 20 minutes your blood pressure and pulse return to normal. Eight hours and the nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in your blood have halved and within 24 hours, carbon monoxide is completely eradicated from your system.

When you stop smoking your senses of taste and smell return, your breathing becomes easier and circulation improves quickly. Five years after quitting your risk of a heart attack is reduced by fifty per cent and within ten years the risk is the same as someone who never smoked.

The enormous sense of achievement that is gained when you stop smoking makes you realise that you can accomplish anything you want. It is a difficult addiction to overcome and there are many aids to help you but essentially you will need willpower by the shed load and once you have overcome this, nothing need stand in your way of whatever you want to do.

Your fitness levels will go through the roof at a drastic pace. Breathing will be easier, you will become stronger with more stamina, exercise will be easier making it another thing you don't need to give up on.

Money will be saved by the bucket load and your appearance will be more attractive than you ever dreamed. You will lose the grey dullness that your skin takes on when you smoke and the nicotine stains on your fingers and teeth will eventually fade.

So, what are you waiting for? Stop smoking and start reaping the benefits now.
About the Author
Health expert Catherine Harvey looks at the reasons to stop smoking and the health benefits to those that do.
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