30 August 2006

Are you stressed out?

Stress is generally known for its bad effects. A highly stressed person often suffers from a feeling of fatigue, sleeplessness and in severe conditions it leads to nervous breakdown also. Constant headaches, poor sleep, failure of performance are common symptoms of a highly stressed out person. Often people look for temporary reliefs like alcohol, smoking or even drugs.

Even many years after quitting you will still be tempted to smoke again, because you once knew how 'good' it felt like to smoke. You do not have physical addiction to cigarettes anymore but since the behavioral habit was once there, you may feel the need to smoke in certain circumstances. You must recognize this and start taking proper actions to combat this trick of the mind.

Those, who think that 'smoking tobacco release stress', should know that this is not true. In fact, smoking is just a satisfaction of the nicotine addiction. When you light up you just improve your chances to get high blood pressure, heart disease, throat cancer, lung cancer, emphysema, heart attack and other types of cancer. Find an alternative to release your stress. The best way to avoid stress is by doing exercises and relaxing.

Also you should know that stress, a condition that generally leads to tension, restlessness, and mood swings, has good effects too. Stress, at times, acts as a stimulant and silent motivator, which ultimately increases the performance level of an individual. A stressed person always tries to perform well, ending up achieving the unachievable. It acts as a force that pushes a person to try things beyond their limits.

When a person is stressed out there is a surge of adrenaline in his body, hormones are released which make the mind and body more alert and this improves the performance. If experienced constantly stress can lead to fatigue, but if stress comes in a small quantity, it is beneficial. In other words, when there is a balanced amount of stress, performance is maximum.

28 August 2006

Keep Children From Secondhand Smoke

Tobacco smoke is not only harmful to those who are actually smoking, but also to nonsmokers who breathe the same air. Exposure to secondhand smoke is especially dangerous for young children. Bodies of infants and children are still developing, so they are especially vulnerable to the poisons in secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke has been found to contain more than 50 carcinogens and at least 250 chemicals that are known to be toxic or carcinogenic.

Try to reduce your child's exposure to secondhand smoke whenever possible. While smoking at home and in cars with children presents the most exposure, secondhand smoke in any environment is posing a health risk. If you are a smoking parent, never smoke near your child or in the house. Also ask visitors, friends and family members not to smoke near your children. Be sure to ask passengers riding with you and your kids not to smoke in the car. Any tobacco exposure is bad, so it is better for parents themselves to quit smoking and it is better for their children if they quit smoking.

Smoke exposure causes significant damage and lasting consequences in newborns. Do not smoke or breathe secondhand smoke while you are pregnant. Do not let your children breathe secondhand smoke after they are born. Secondhand smoke's effects on children are not minor, temporary or reversible. Parents need to understand that effects will not go away. If children do not grow healthy lungs when they are supposed to, they will likely never recover. The process is not forgiving and the children are not going to be able to make up this loss later in life.

17 August 2006

Increased heart attack risks

People exposed to cigarette smoke for as little as an hour a day increase their risk of a heart attack by almost a quarter. Those exposed to three hours of passive smoke daily were found to increase their risk by more than 60 percent. Heart attacks were three times as common in smokers than in people who had never smoked.

Chewing tobacco doubled the chances of having a heart attack, as did smoking eight to 10 cigarettes a day. Tobacco use of any kind, including smoking cigarettes, chewing tobacco, inhaling secondhand smoke and puffing on "bubble" pipes, is seriously bad news for your heart health, because ALL forms of tobacco exposure increase heart attack risks.

Public health efforts to prevent people from starting the habit and promote quitting in current smokers will have a large impact in the prevention of heart attacks worldwide. The good news for smokers is that much of the added risk of a heart attack recedes after quitting - a great reason to kick the tobacco habit for good.

Is not as much choice?

The tobacco companies have promoted the idea that smoking is a matter of personal choice. There really is not as much choice as they have suggested to their customers. Nicotine addiction is as hard to break as heroin or cocaine addiction. By telling smokers that smoking is a personal choice, the tobacco industry has helped to keep its customers in denial about the true extent of their addiction. If smoking is a choice, then what is the rush to quit? The tobacco companies have used this spin to help keep millions of customers buying their deadly products.

Admitting that you are smoking more out of addiction than choice will help motivate you to go on to the next steps - taking control of yourself and becoming a nonsmoker. This admission will further serve you by helping you stay smoke free later. In the months and years after you quit, when temptations to smoke occasionally overpower you - and they will - remind yourself, "I have an addiction and I'm powerless over tobacco." Saying this to yourself in overwhelmed moments of desire will help give you the strength to say no to "just one" cigarette. If you can make it for just five minutes without giving in, the urge to smoke be controllable or disappear. In this way, you will be able to stay smoke free for life.

If you have tried to quit smoking and failed before, take comfort in the fact that most smokers fail several times before quitting successfully. Your past failures are not a lesson that you are unable to quit. Instead, view them as part of the normal journey toward becoming a nonsmoker.

16 August 2006

To get the rest of the world to stop smoking

If Michael Bloomberg is to be remembered as the mayor who helped New York City kick its cigarette habit by clearing the smoke from bars and restaurants and sticking ever higher taxes on tobacco, he would still not be satisfied. His real ambition, he now reveals, is to get the rest of the world to stop smoking as well. A former smoker who gave up 30 years ago, Mr. Bloomberg has announced plans to donate US$125 million of his personal fortune to anti-tobacco causes worldwide.

"There are roughly 5 million people who are killed by tobacco in this world each year, and, unless we take urgent action this century, a billion people will die from smoking," the Mayor declared. "We know how to save millions of lives, and shame on us if we don't do it." Mr. Bloomberg took a political risk after being beginning his first term in 2002 by ejecting cigarettes from nearly all public places in New York City. Just four years later, the bans seem barely controversial and have been replicated in many other cities and countries. Officials estimate that there are 200,000 fewer smokers in the city now and that smoking among teenagers is down about 36 per cent.

15 August 2006

Quitting smoking depression

Quitting smoking, even simply deciding to quit is not easy. It takes the average smoker two to four attempts at quitting to successfully kick the habit, and the process usually is not a pleasant one. Withdrawal symptoms can include headaches, sweating, intestinal pain, respiratory pain and congestion (as a result of the lungs clearing themselves out), irritability, mood swings, insomnia and depression. The good news is that there are millions of happy, healthy ex-smokers as living proof that those symptoms will eventually pass.

Depression is a physical problem, as well as a psychological one, and sometimes positive thinking might not be enough. Possibly, you could involve yourself in some activities you enjoy. Possibilities include going to the gym, volunteer work, joining a club that interests you, going on long walks, or whacking a few buckets of balls at the local driving range. Getting outside as much as possible helps also. It can be helpful to keep your schedule busy, but it can also help to enjoy time with people you like and feel comfortable with.

You may also want to consider that the sadness you are feeling is not just a withdrawal symptom, but a pre-existing condition. Some smokers use nicotine to self-medicate depression, either knowingly or, more often, unconsciously, and quitting can bring those old symptoms back to the surface. It is a challenge to beat smoking. Do it and you will be thanking yourself!

14 August 2006

Any dose of nicotine is wrong

Nicotine patches and gum are one of the most popular methods to quit smoking but the success rate was very poor, with only about 10 per cent actually giving up. This is because people are always using patches that were either too strong - giving them bad side effects like nausea, insomnia and vomiting - or too weak, leaving them with withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

Moreover, either way if you get the wrong dose of nicotine for your habit you are very likely to go back to smoking. In the same time, some manufacturers of nicotine replacement products promote their products as effective tools to help people manage cravings in areas where they cannot smoke, such as airplanes and restaurants. This would end up in people getting addicted to nicotine replacement products in addition to continuing their smoking habits.

11 August 2006

Weight gain is a reason

The negative impact of smoking on our health is well documented. Yet, some of us still won't quit. There are a lot of people who smoke out there who, among other reasons, are afraid to try to quit smoking cigarettes for the fear of what they think is unavoidable weight gain. A weight gain of 5 to 10 pounds because of smoking cessation is common.

Tobacco contains nicotine and nicotine acts in a number of ways in the body, including elevating metabolism. When you quit and the nicotine begins to leave your body, you may see a marginal amount of short term weight gain, but usually it will be no more than 3 to 5 pounds, mostly due to water retention. The major reason why so many people will gain a significant amount of weight however, has more to do with replacing the smoking habit with excessive eating habits.

Did you gained more than 10 pounds? Look at what you are doing and combat that gain by:

- Keep aware of what you eat, when you eat, and how much you eat.
- Drink water. Metabolism slows when the body is dehydrated, so make sure to do your part in keeping it elevated.
- Exercise daily. Start slow and gradually increase your activity.

Stopping smoking is an extraordinarily important act and getting used to it will take time. Smoking is the cause of more than 400,000 deaths every year in the United States. It would take a weight gain of over 100 pounds to equal the health risks of smoking cigarettes. Smoking causes your heart rate to increase and you have twice the likeliness to suffer a heart attack than a nonsmoker. Men are 22 times more likely to develop lung cancer than nonsmokers are, and women are 12 times more likely.

With a little effort on your part to keep your eating habits in check and incorporate some exercise into your daily routine, weight gain can and will be at least kept down to a minimum when you quit smoking. You will be in better health, feel better, and have a more positive outlook on life when you make the decision to put those cigarettes down for once and for all.

10 August 2006

Sex and the City

If your teens watch "Sex and the City" - the sex is not the only thing you have to worry about. Virtually every teen girl said the show influenced this deadly habit. "Whenever I think of how to smoke, it's the way Sarah Jessica Parker exhales, and I'm like obsessed," one 10th-grader said. "I love her, and the way she exhales is very memorable. She kind of ... elongates her neck and exhales into the air."

Some of the girls said they smoke because they think it makes them look sophisticated, while others say it helps them deal with stress. Some are afraid to stop because they think they will gain weight. "It just goes with everything, you know, your perfectly polished hands," said an 11th-grader who smokes. On the other hand, some of the girls said there is peer pressure to stay away from smoking. One of the things all the girls - smokers and nonsmokers alike - agreed on was that they do not want to be preached to by adults about the issue.

"It's better for it to come from other kids," said a ninth-grader who does not smoke. "You don't want stupid videos about like peer pressure and stuff. You just need something that's not fake."

08 August 2006

Parents who smoke - give up smoking altogether

Babies absorb dangerous chemicals from parents who smoke, even if they take care to light up outside. Up to 90 per cent of the nicotine from cigarette smoke can stick to walls, clothes, hair and skin. The chemicals from this 'third hand smoke' can be swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin of non-smokers, putting babies at particular risk.

The youngsters absorbed the harmful chemicals simply from touching furniture in a smoker's house, or hugging their mothers after they had a cigarette. The risks of second-hand smoke are already known. Babies and children exposed to a smoky atmosphere are twice as likely to have asthma attacks and chest infections, and more likely to need hospital care in their first year of life. They are also at higher risk of cot death.

A nicotine byproduct called cotinine was found in the babies' urine and hair shafts even when their parents took care to smoke outside the house. This was seven times higher than levels found in babies with non-smoking parents. Parents of babies and young children should cut down, if not give up smoking altogether.

03 August 2006

Smoke and drink and up goes the risk!

Oral cancer is a malignant growth that affects any part of the oral cavity, including the lips, upper or lower jaw, tongue, gums, cheeks, and throat. The first symptoms are usually a red or white patch or a lump anywhere in the mouth that lasts for more than a month, or a sore that bleeds easily or does not heal. Symptoms such as difficulty in chewing, swallowing or moving the tongue and jaw come later.

The leading causes of mouth cancer are cigarette, cigar, or pipe smoking and the use of smokeless tobacco in any form, such as plug, leaf, and snuff, and heavy alcohol consumption. The most popular practice with adolescent and young adult males is that of "dipping snuff' where a moist tobacco powder, is placed between the cheek and gum and the nicotine and other carcinogens are then absorbed directly through the skin. The combination of smoking and drinking are a particularly lethal duo. Cigarette smoke contains carcinogens that cause mutations and changes in cells that generate the cancer formation, and like lung cancer, oral cancer usually develops in older people.

While most people are aware that smoking is a major factor in mouth cancer not everyone appreciates that heavy drinking is also a risk factor. Oral cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the world and at least 30,000 new cases of oral and oral pharyngeal cancers are diagnosed each year and are more common in men over age 40.

02 August 2006

Allen Carr - helped millions quit smoking

He has helped millions quit smoking, but now - 23 years after he kicked a 100-a-day habit - Allen Carr has been diagnosed with lung cancer. The 73-year-old anti-smoking guru, who is married with 4 children and 11 grandchildren, found out he had the disease during an unrelated routine medical check. The multi-millionaire was determined to remain optimistic. Mr. Carr said that he remains in high spirits and sees this latest stage in his remarkable life as an opportunity to make his method even more recognized. His method encourages smokers to identify the reasons why they depend on cigarettes and eliminate them.

As well as writing Allen Carr's Easy Way to Stop Smoking, which has been published in 45 countries, the give-it-up guru has established Easyway clinics in over 30 countries. His business partner, John Dicey, said at the weekend that Carr had "spent many years in smoke-filled rooms delivering his method to smokers; it is part of the clinic process that people actually smoke while there. He is not drawing any conclusions, but Allen feels that if that did contribute, it is a price worth paying, as we estimate he has cured around 10m smokers."

Carr was a very heavy smoker, for a long time, but it is not possible to tell if Allen's cancer is linked to his previous 100-cigarette-a-day addiction. He is certain that had he not quit, he would have been dead 20 years ago. Mr. Carr said, "Since I stopped smoking more than 23 years ago, I have been the happiest man in the world - I still feel the same way."

Smokers should not be fooled into thinking that they can smoke for years and then, by stopping, remove all risk of smoking-related disease. There will always be some residual risk. In the same time it is true that not all smoking-related damage is irreversible. The risk of coronary heart disease drops by 50% in the first year after quitting smoking. Skin health improves surprisingly fast.

It is extraordinary how resilient the body is, it can put up with this insult day after day, year after year, and it forgives you - until about the age of 35. After that, lung capacity and lung health decline anyway, so if they are already damaged, the decline is simply faster. It is much more urgent than smokers realize. All warn, however, that none of this counts as a reason not to stop smoking, and to do it as soon as possible. No matter how long you have smoked, it is always worth quitting.

01 August 2006

Deadly addictive power

There are many health risks in smoking tobacco; it strikes the cardiovascular system, resulting to heart attack, respiratory tract diseases, and even cancer. In spite of these health risks, majority of smokers just find it so difficult to quit, foremost, because all of smokers become addicted to the nicotine contained in tobacco products.

Once people get hooked, smoking becomes a big part of their lives. For those who have been smoking for quite a while already, they may not realize it, but they form some emotional attachment to cigarettes. They find the cigarette calming and comforting during stressful times. Cigarette smoking somehow becomes an extension of their social life, particularly when they are emotionally at the highest or lowest. Smoking is a stubborn habit because it is closely tied to the acts in the course of people's everyday lives.

Nicotine has a deadly addictive power. From lungs, through inhalation, nicotine is absorbed into the bloodstream just as the oxygen people breathe. It travels with the blood to the brain and makes the smoker feel a euphoric sensation. Smokers find it difficult to quit because they come to be dependent on this good feeling. And in wanting to experience this repeatedly, this leads to addiction.

Regardless of the understanding that smoking habit is killing, addiction to the nicotine incite smoker to light up a cigarette, and, after some time, another one. A person who attempts to quit may experience withdrawal symptoms. Depression, headache, dizziness, cough, fatigue, insomnia and whatever smoker's brain can contrive to the smoker's body and mood to force smoker to light up new cigarette. Smokers find themselves reaching for a cigarette and lighting it up automatically without even thinking about it.

Quitting smoking begins with smoker's intention to stop. Smoker must have the will power to overcome the craving for smoke. Family and friends support are proved to be very helpful. Smokers must understand that to quit smoking may take more than one attempt. It is hard to quit smoking, but with will power and a strategy, quit smoking is not out of the question.