In our modern world, smoking cigarettes is included on the list of prohibited activities in different laws. In the UK, the Smokefree legislation has become part of the Health Act of 2006, mandating that smoking is not allowed by law in all virtually enclosed and substantially enclosed work and public places. In addition to this, the Smokefree Legislation of The Children and Families Act 2014 states that all private vehicles should also be smoke-free when carrying children under the age of 18.
With all these laws and many more around the globe, we are lucky to be living in an era where the health threats posed by secondhand smoking are recognised, and we aim for a healthy population. But have you ever wondered how the craze for cigarette smoking has started? Let’s have a trip to memory lane and find out.
According to history, it was the Native Americans who started using tobacco in 6,000 BC. They use it for religious ceremonies and for some medicinal practices such as dressing wounds and reducing pain. During the 15th century, it is believed that Christopher Columbus received this gift from the Native Americans, and he took it home to Europe, where the cultivation started to spread. Tobacco was believed to have magical healing properties. From then on, cigarette smoking became a widespread practice.
Health Problems Associated with Smoking
With medicinal advancements in our time, we are now aware that smoking isn’t what they thought it was during the early times. Now, smoking is proven, thanks to science, to be the causative factor of many health problems. Here are some diseases caused by smoking that are supported by scientific evidence:
- Cancer: According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), this disease characterized by abnormal cell growth that invades other tissues of the body can be caused by tobacco use. The diverse carcinogens contents in tobacco smoke can damage the cell’s DNA, weakening the body’s immune system. Cancer caused by smoking can occur in different parts of the body, including the esophagus, mouth, throat, trachea, and many more. Still, it is also proven that the number one risk factor of lung cancer is cigarette smoking, with the prevalence being 9 out of 10 cases.
- Heart disease: According to research, tobacco use is linked to smoking-induced cardiovascular disease (CVD), with the statistics revealing that more than 1 in 10 deaths worldwide due to CVD in 2000 are related to smoking. Aside from its ability to permanently damage the heart and blood vessels in the body, cigarette smoke is also the culprit to the blood chemistry change, which can cause the build-up of cholesterol, calcium, fat and other materials in the arteries.
- Stroke: A stroke is a medical emergency that can cause brain damage and other complications. This happens when the blood supply to a part of the brain is interrupted, preventing oxygen and nutrients from getting into the tissues, which can cause brain cell death. One common risk factor for developing a stroke is smoking. According to research, the nicotine content of tobacco contributes to hypertension, and the carbon monoxide contents decrease the amount of oxygen in your blood which increases your risk of a stroke.
- Lung diseases: Aside from lung cancer, tuberculosis, which commonly affects the lungs, is one of the many lung diseases that smoking can cause. Furthermore, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other respiratory problems such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis are also major lung diseases caused by smoking. Smoking affects the lungs by damaging the airways and air sacs which harms the lung tissues, altering their ability to function properly.
- Diabetes: Cigarette smoking affects the metabolic health and glucose homeostasis of the body; hence it is strongly linked to the development of diabetes. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), people who smoke are at greater risk of having type 2 diabetes. This is because diabetes can cause blood sugar levels to increase beyond normal as the insulin becomes less effective at lowering blood sugar levels.
How to Quit Smoking
With all the health problems tobacco or cigarette smoking can cause your body, quitting is always a good idea. Not only will you start living a healthier life, but you can also save your family from secondhand smoke, which can also inflict the same diseases. Quitting is not an overnight success. It takes time, dedication, and determination to fully commit and be able to turn your back on it or else you will be ending up with those who failed to turn their lives around and went back to tobacco use due to withdrawal symptoms.
Here are some ways on how you can start your journey in getting your hands off the unhealthy cigarettes:
- Use nicotine patch: As an alternative, people wanting to quit smoking may use nicotine patches that can be obtained with or without a prescription. This kind of patch comes in different types and strengths that can last for 16-hours or 24-hours. To find out what kind you should use depends on your cigarette consumption per day. You must start using a higher strength daily for several weeks before gradually switching down your dosage over the course of weeks. You must discuss the use of your nicotine patches with your doctor if you experience any side effects, including palpitation, skin irritation, dizziness, sleep problems, headache, and nausea.
- Use CBD: CBD is the second most prevalent compound derived from hemp plants which are non-psychoactive and non-intoxicating, making many people lean to it for its therapeutic benefits such as pain relief, inflammation, sleep problems, and anxiety. According to preliminary research, CBD has anti-addiction properties, which can help break a habit just like smoking. Furthermore, whether it is CBD gummies, vapes, capsules or tinctures, CBD is also suggested to be an alternative to cigarette smoking as it can help manage sleep problems, depression, anxiety, stress, and other symptoms that appear after quitting smoking https://alphagreen.io/collections/cbd-gummies.html.
- Use prescription medicine: There are FDA-approved medicines that are designed to help those who want to smoke. While there are many options, there are two that are commonly prescribed: Varenicline and Bupropion. Also called Chantix, Varenicline is a prescription drug that works by interfering with nicotine receptors which helps lessen the nicotine withdrawal and the pleasure that can be obtained from smoking. Bupropion, which goes by brand names Zyban, Wellbutrin, or Aplenzin, is a prescription antidepressant that aids in reducing cravings and also the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.