It may sound like common sense, but here are all the reasons you should quit smoking
Besides the fact that it's strongly linked to lung cancer, there are plenty of reasons to quit smoking. On No Smoking Day, here's a look at the reasons why you should stop smoking.
Smoking is one of those habits that you know is terrible for you. It's also one of those things that you may have gotten addicted to before you knew any better. "If you're like a lot of smokers, you might feel like it's nearly impossible to quit, despite knowing all the reasons why you shouldn't do it," says Dr Anubhav Gupta, a general physician based in Delhi. He points out that smoking damages almost every organ in the body, and kills more than 7 million people each year, according to the World Health Organization. So if those statistics alone aren't reasons enough for you to quit — we're here to help out.
Whether it's your New Year's resolution, or you're trying to make a change to live a healthier lifestyle — for yourself and your family — you're doing yourself a huge favour by ditching the nicotine, in more ways than you can imagine. To mark No Smoking Day — celebrated every year on March 11 — here's a look at the reasons you should make 2020 the year you finally kick that unhealthy habit for good.
You reduce your risk of prematurely dying
More than one in 10 deaths globally was caused due to smoking in 2015, and over 50 per cent of them took place in just four countries, one of which was India, according to a Global Burden of Disease study published in the medical journal, The Lancet, in 2018. "When you quit smoking, you won't subject yourself to the pain and suffering of cancer and other deadly diseases — and thus subjecting your loved ones to the emotional torment of watching you suffer," says Dr Gupta. This should be encouragement enough to dump your packs of cigs. It even says on the package that cigarettes kill.
You won't get these painful diseases/health effects
Dr Gupta says smoking causes a slew of health problems, but there are some seriously major ones to watch out for. By quitting smoking, you might avoid all these:
Coronary heart disease
Type 2 diabetes
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
You'll save tons of money
This one's pretty self-explanatory. Your wallet — and your lungs — will thank you. A study at the Centre for Public Policy Research, Kochi, published in the journal Tobacco Control, found that bidi-smokers and their families spend about Rs 16,870 crore every year on diagnostic tests, drugs, doctors’ and hospital fees and transportation. An Economic Times report also noted that "A 30-year-old, who smokes five cigarettes, a day would lose more than Rs 1 crore by the time he retires at 60." You read that correctly. Instead of smoking, you could raise a family, or travel the world with that money. Don't want kids or a world tour? Think of what else you could do with all the money you save.
You'll smell better
"Cigarette smoke permeates everything, including your skin, hair, breath, clothes, furniture, and possessions. And even if you can't smell it yourself, other people can," says Dr Varshali Bhattacharya, a dermatologist at Pearl Skin Clinic, Kolkata. Smelling like an ashtray isn't exactly attractive, nor is it pleasant for anyone near you. Ditching the habit will help you smell much fresher, cleaner, and healthier, says Dr Bhattacharya.
You'll have better hair
"Smoking can cause your strands to turn brittle and dull-looking. This is because smoking constricts your blood vessels, restricting oxygen flow into the scalp. Smoking can also cause premature thinning of the hair — even balding in some cases," says Dr Bhattacharya. A 2007 study published in the US-based Archives of Dermatology proved that smokers, especially ones who smoke more frequently, were more likely to experience balding and thinning of the hair. "This is most likely attributed to the fact that smoking damages the hair follicle, and interferes with circulation and hormone production in the scalp," says Dr Bhattacharya. Moreover, a report in the British Medical Journal proved a link between puffing up and premature greying. According to Dr Bhattacharya, this is because the toxins in cigarettes can not only cause damage to hormones but to hair follicles as well.
You'll look younger
Forget anti-ageing creams and serums — not much can help you when you smoke. Continue on the cigarette-paved path and you'll be left with dry skin and deep wrinkles, warns Dr Bhattacharya. "Quit now, and it's like you've discovered the fountain of youth," she says.
You'll have a better sense of smell and taste
Stop and smell the roses — and taste your favourite foods more intensely. "Smoking destroys your sense of smell, and thus your taste. But the good news is that quitting can quickly reverse these effects," says Dr Gupta. Enjoy food more, restore your sense of smell (and thus your bodily awareness), and breathe easier by quitting.
You won't harm your loved ones
Do you smoke at home and live with non-smokers? Secondhand smoke kills, too. It's one thing to willfully subject yourself to the side-effects of smoking, but quite another to inflict that kind of harm on others, says Dr Gupta. 40% of Indian adults are exposed to second-hand tobacco smoke at home, showed a 2015 assessment by the World Health Organization. "Think of that for a second: four in 10 people, who have made healthy choices, and haven't touched a cigarette, still die because of the choices of others," says Dr Gupta.
You'll get luckier in your love life
Looking for love? It's time to kick the habit. A 2014 survey by US-based Match.com and Pfizer indicated that single smokers may want to consider breaking up with their cigarettes as they look for that special someone. It showed that men who smoke are 61 per cent more likely to be rejected on dating apps than non-smokers and that 89 per cent of people surveyed prefer non-smokers.