Smoking is an extremely dangerous and damaging addiction. We’re sure you know quite a bit about this but it seems worthwhile to emphasise some of the facts:
Heart attacks (2-3 times more likely in smokers vs. non-smokers)
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT, clots in the legs)
Erectile dysfunction (impotence)
Cancers – lung cancer, laryngeal (voice box) cancer, pharyngeal (throat), cancer, nasopharyngeal (nose and throat) cancer, oesophageal (food pipe) cancer, stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, liver cancer, cervical cancer, kidney cancer and bladder cancer
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (emphysema)
Smoking contributes to:
Osteoporosis (bone thinning that leads to fractures)
High blood pressure
Lung infections – bronchitis, pneumonia
Gum disease (causing loss of teeth)
So what happens if I quit?
This is really the big question. It’s all very well knowing that smoking is bad for you, but can the damage be reversed? The good news is that much of it can. Here’s some of what happens when you quit the habit:
Within 20 minutes after quitting, blood pressure and heart rate decrease
Within 12 hours, carbon monoxide levels in the blood decrease to normal
Within 48 hours, nerve endings and sense of smell and taste both start recovering
Within 3 months, circulation and lung function improve
Within 9 months, there are decreases in cough and shortness of breath
Within 1 year, the risk of coronary heart disease is cut in half
Within 5 years, the risk of stroke falls to the same as a non-smoker, and the risks of many cancers (mouth, throat, oesophagus, bladder, cervix) decrease significantly
Within 10 years, the risk of dying from lung cancer is cut in half, and the risks of larynx and pancreas cancers decrease
Within 15 years, the risk of coronary heart disease drops to the level of a non-smoker
When you smoke you are continually damaging your health. As SOON as you stop, the damage stops. It is quite literally about quitting while you’re ahead!
Colin was a medical practitioner (GP) from 1988 to 2000. Since then he has worked in the wellness field, designing, developing and delivering various products and services. Out of clinical practice for many years now he no longer practices medicine formally but retains a keen interest in helping people become more-well versions of themselves. He acts as a wellness coach and not as a medical practitioner today.
Colin's approach and philosophy is based on empowerment: the notion that people only need a little help to make choices they usually already want to anyway - it's about respect and support rather than instruction or correction.
Colin lives at the Vaal Dam with his wife Cathy. He spends time walking mountains, cycling, motorbike riding, kayaking, sailing and always looking for better & better balance.