Why should you give up smoking?
Posted on 7 April 2016
There are many reasons why people claim that they can’t (or won’t) give up smoking. They say it relaxes them; it gives their restless hands something to do; it even replaces food sometimes when they’d rather not risk gaining a kilo…
But, says Dr Tony Biebuyck, a pulmonologist at Mediclinic Panorama in Cape Town, ‘You absolutely have to! The risks and diseases associated with smoking far outweigh any perceived benefits. Yes, smoking does suppress your appetite, but moderate exercise with kilojoule-intake restriction is far better for you than smoking.’ The other misconception, he says, is that smoking relaxes you. ‘The nicotine in cigarettes is a stimulant, not a relaxant – so you’ll end up feeling more agitated, not less.’
• Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in men and women worldwide. People who don’t smoke can also develop lung cancer, but smoking accounts for most preventable lung cancers.
• Lung cancer used to be more prevalent among men. Today, as more women have started smoking, the number of women developing lung cancer has increased.
• Cancer in one of your lungs can lead to subsequent cancer of the adrenal gland, bone, brain, liver and the other lung.
There is encouraging news, though: from the time you stop smoking, your risk of developing lung cancer falls quite quickly.
How can I get help to give up?
There are several sources of help. First, says Dr Biebuyck, you have to want to give up – whether because you’re aware of the enormous health risks or you find the habit to be increasingly unpleasant. Programmes and tips are available from:
The Cancer Association of South African
Allen Carr Easyway