If you or a loved one is considering quitting smoking, there is no better time than now! Yes, we are in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, and yes, you may be dealing with more anxiety and restlessness than usual. But instead of increasing your unhealthy coping habits, why not use your extra time to support your own or a loved one’s transition to a healthier, smoke-free lifestyle?
Why You Should Quit Smoking
We are sure you have heard all of the reasons to quit smoking, from long lists of medical warnings to anecdotes from friends and family. The ten reasons we’ve collected below will probably sound familiar, but they deserve to be reconsidered. Quitting smoking will improve your health, both physically and mentally, and instigate positive changes in your own or a loved one’s quality of life.
- Improve your sense of smell and taste. Imagine a world where you could not fully enjoy your favorite dinner or delicious sweet treat. Food is usually at the top of most people’s priority list when it comes to basic human comforts. Unfortunately, smoking weakens the sense of smell, which thus weakens the ability to taste. This happens when our olfactory nerves become poisoned by the toxic fumes of cigarette smoke, dulling our senses. Quitting smoking can reestablish the health of your taste buds, repair olfactory nerves, and improve the eating experience.
- Combat Erectile Dysfunction (ED). Having erectile dysfunction (ED) is more common than you think. About eighteen million men suffer from ED, and the numbers are increasing. Many doctors stress the negative effects smoking may have on the fertility and mobility of semen, the tenacity of erections, and overall kidney and urethra health. Experts also report that one of the main causes of ED in younger men who smoke is due to poor capillary health and blood supply to the male genitalia. Read more about ED and ways to combat symptoms while quitting smoking.
- Increase oral health. With new research emerging, we now are more aware than ever of the importance of our oral health. Even brushing and flossing daily, using potent mouthwash rinses, and routinely visiting the dentist is not enough to prevent the detrimental effects smoking can have on the mouth. From increased risks of certain cancers to the loss of teeth and diseased gums, smoking can have a painful and costly outcome.
- Improve your social life. Let’s face it: no one really enjoys being in a room with someone who smells of cigarette smoke. Most businesses and restaurants are fully non-smoking, requiring those who smoke to stay outside. Quitting smoking allows you to enjoy the freedom and confidence of moving about your daily life without impediment or feelings of self-consciousness. Without the constraints of smoking, you can be more present for the moments that matter most. From concerts and sports games to family activities and board meetings, a smoke-free lifestyle will ensure you do not miss out on essential events.
- Save money. Depending where you live, a pack of cigarettes can cost anywhere from three to upwards of ten dollars per pack–costs that can add up quickly! Many find their greatest motivation to quit smoking comes from the direct financial gain. By using applications such as ‘Quit Tracker,’ those in recovery can track their progress, days committed to sobriety, and the amount of money saved by quitting this unhealthy habit. Try putting the money saved in a jar for a rainy day activity, like going to the movies or a fancy dinner, or put it in a savings account to accumulate for a larger purchase in the future.
- Boost your immune system. According to the CDC, smoking increases the risk for illness, especially respiratory infections. It also increases the chance of developing autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease–and makes the treatment for these disorders less effective. In this time of COVID-19, a virus that creates respiratory complications, if you quit smoking, you can rebuild your immunity and protect yourself against infection.
- Have nicer nails and teeth. Cigarettes are filled with carcinogens that affect not only our internal organs, but also the more noticeable parts of our bodies. The nail beds of regular smokers often become discolored by smoke and toxins, turning them yellow and making nails brittle. Teeth often can discolor quickly, becoming stained with yellow and brown marks from the burning chemicals in the cigarette itself. Most smokers are able to re-whiten their smile and see considerable improvements in their nail bed coloration fairly soon after quitting.
- Improve heart health. Cardiovascular health has always been one of the top reasons to quit smoking, and for a very good reason. Research confirms the detrimental effects smoking can have on the health of our blood vessels, capillaries, and functionality of our vital organs. The myriad of toxins found in cigarettes and the plumes of smoke produced by smoking are toxic to the blood, depleting red blood cell counts, increasing chances for cardiovascular diseases, and the risk for high blood pressure. Smoking can multiply your risk for heart attacks, strokes, and a variety of cancers.
- Reduce risk for lung cancer. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths, with numbers hovering around 1.7 million per year, and it is steadily increasing: smoking cigarettes is associated with 80-90% of those deaths! With over seven thousand chemicals in each cigarette, it is no surprise that the fragile respiratory system endures most of the damage. These toxins can lead to cancers throughout the body and cause a slew of other health complications. The good news: after quitting smoking, most healthy adults see improvements in their lung health over time, especially when incorporating a healthy lifestyle and following professional guidance.
- Look and feel younger. Regular smokers commonly experience premature wrinkles, thinning skin, and a pasty complexion. The toxins in the fumes of cigarettes are absorbed by the skin, especially on the face and hands, causing the skin to be dry and depleted. Over time, and after consistent toxin exposure, some may even experience thin, brittle hair; discolored skin; and dark circles beneath the eyes. Each of these unwanted effects are easily reversible through lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise, and reducing toxin exposure. Many who have recently quit smoking report increases in vitality and a general sense of health.
We Support You
Making a huge lifestyle change, such as quitting smoking, can seem like an uphill battle. With the right support systems in place and a positive outlook on the addiction recovery process, these bad habits can be put to rest.
Great Oaks is here to support you and your loved ones through the addiction recovery process. Please do not hesitate to contact us at any time.