What Are The Risks Associated With the Smoking Habit?
Tobacco is the main ingredient of a cigarette, but close to 40 other carcinogenic chemicals are used while manufacturing cigarettes.
The health risks you face while smoking cigarettes have a lot to do with the cancer producing effects of these chemicals. Tobacco induces nicotine into your blood, which gets you addicted to cigarettes. Nicotine is a harmful toxic agent in the body.
What are the common risks of smoking cigarettes:
- Increased occurences of throat pain.
- Deteriorating lung health caused by carcinogenic chemicals which get deposited on air sac linings.
- Erectile dysfunctions are common in men who smoke. Permanent impotence is a possibility.
- Trembling and unstable nerves induces lack of concentration.
- Stuttering while speaking and slurred speech, due to over-stimulation of nerves.
- Muscle fatigue, lack of stamina and tiredness due to lack of oxygen in the cells.
- Frequent colds and running nose due to excessive mucus irritation.
- Sinus get clogged and smokers are prone to sinusitis attacks.
- Sense of smell becomes dull.
- Sleep is uneven and restless, common to get up feeling drugged in the morning.
- Lowered glucose levels in the body, due to lack of digestion and appetite.
- Permanent bad breath due to nicotine deposists on the teeth and gums.
- Increased blood pressure and 80% chance of acquiring hypertension.
- Increased risk of diabetes due to pancreatic problems.
Risks of casual smoking becoming an addiction
Let’s define habit first. Habit is a routinely performed activity which gets ingrained into our neural network and helps us perform this activity without any conscious intervention.
Habits are performed unconsciously. Let’s say you are in the habit of getting up 10 am in the morning on daily basis. If your new job requires you to get up at 8 am then it would get difficult for a couple or days or maybe a week but eventually you will relax into the new habit of getting up at 8 am.
Is it uncomfortable? Not really, just takes getting used to. Is it difficult to break the habit of getting up at 10 am? No, it just took a couple of days. All habits are similar. They are an unconscious mind pattern and once we are required to change it we become conscious of it.
Cigarette smoking has the same risks as any narcotic addiction
Once we are conscious of a habit it does not take long to replace it with a new habit. Some people are in the habit of working out every morning but if they were to end up in a hectic project which did not allow them to work out for a few weeks it would not bother them.
So habits are harmless in that they feel natural when they are around and we get used to it once they are not. So is smoking also a habit? Not at all, if you go by the above definition and properties of habit then it absolutely does not fit into the slot of a habit. Habits can be broken easily but quit smoking seems like a Herculean task.
Habits can be lived without for a few weeks if required but a smoker would find it self threatening to stay away from smoking for a couple week at a stretch. So obviously smoking is not a habit, then why are smokers hooked to? Because it’s an addiction, a nicotine craving and a smoker follows the patterns of a regular addict.
Ignoring the risks of smoking addiction
There is nothing routine about smoking. A smoker lights up a cigarette to fulfill a craving for nicotine and this can happen at all times. The smoker might smoke once every 10 minutes for sometime and then once every 5 minutes and at times without any break.
It’s not a habit, it’s an addiction and that’s why it seems so difficult to break it. If you try breaking your addiction the way you break habits, it just won’t work. A smoker might understand his tendency to smoke every too often without even being consciously aware of lighting up when he understand what addiction means.
Your mind has gotten so wired to this chemical called nicotine that it has acquired a separate neural network which makes you behave in a certain way to keep feeding the addiction either consciously or unconsciously.