Answering some important questions about the habit of smoking
I am asked many questions about smoking and the harmful health risks, some of which have been answered here by GP Dr Michael Apple:
I smoke fewer than five a day. What’s the harm in that?
Almost a third of smokers smoke fewer than 10 a day and often don’t see the point of giving up. But most of the heart disease risk comes within the first few cigarettes of the day.
Next time you light up, feel your pulse. It will start rising within a minute. That’s extra work for your heart, which gets less blood supply because of nicotine. Your blood tends to clot more with each cigarette, and the amount of oxygen it can carry goes down. Instead of oxygen the blood cells carry carbon monoxide. All of these are risk factors for heart disease.
“I have a lot of my clients stating that they are ‘just’ social smokers and ‘only’ smoke in the evening or when out with friends. But as Dr Apple said any amounts of cigarettes are harmful.”
Many studies have shown that the risks increase the more you smoke, but all risks start with just one cigarette.
I get indigestion. Could it be because I smoke?
Yes. Smoking reduces the ability of the walls of the stomach to repair themselves. Therefore it increases the chances of acid indigestion and duodenal ulcer. If you stop smoking, food may become a lot more enjoyable. You’ll taste it better and it’s less likely to give you indigestion. Some people find that their irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) improves when they quit.
What is it about diabetes and heart disease that makes smoking so dangerous?
In these conditions, the blood flow to your heart, legs, kidneys, eyes and brain is already affected, which increases the risk of strokes and heart attacks. Other risks are slow-healing ulcers and diseased legs and toes that might require amputation. When you smoke, you double or treble those risks.
Heavy smokers with diabetes have roughly double the chance of death from heart disease or stroke compared with non-smoking diabetics. People smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day have a 50% higher chance, while ex-smokers have a 10-30% increased chance, even 10 years after quitting
I find it so hard to stop smoking. Am I weak?
No. Having trouble stopping smoking doesn’t make you weak; it makes you human. Cigarettes are so addictive that 70% of smokers say they would like to quit, yet they still smoke. Most ex-smokers try to stop a few times before they manage to quit for good.
” It is not the chemicals in cigarettes that you are ‘addicted’ to but the ritual and emotional connection to smoking. Stopping Smoking is difficult to change with willpower as it has become an automatic response to the triggers in your life. The habit is run by your subconscious and runs automatically, a lot of times without you consciously making the decision. This is why it is difficult to stop without the help of hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy works on the subconscious level that is driving your smoking habit”.
Why is second-hand smoke such a health hazard?
Non-smokers who breathe in second-hand smoke (smoke from other people’s cigarettes) inhale more than 4,000 chemicals, at least 50 of which are known to cause cancer. For non-smokers, breathing other people’s smoke means an increased risk of lung cancer, heart disease and stroke.
For children, second-hand smoke means twice the risk of chest illnesses, including pneumonia, croup (swollen airways in the lungs) and bronchitis, plus more ear infections, wheezing andasthma. They also have three times the risk of getting lung cancer in later life compared with children who live with non-smokers.
Can’t I just cut down rather than give up?
You can try but it probably won’t work. Smoking is addictive, which is why some people find it so hard to stop completely. When you cut down you tend to take more and deeper puffs on each cigarette to get your nicotine hit. It’s only by stopping completely that you can beat the addiction.
“I have found that you need to switch off the program for good with hypnotherapy and stop it from being run by the subconscious. Some clients find it so effortless to stop they believe they can just have one and then stop again. This unfortunately just reminds the subconscious of the program to smoke and you will just return to the habit again”.
I’m worried I’ll put on weight when I stop.
Cigarettes do affect your appetite and your metabolism, and they dull your taste buds, so people often gain a few pounds when they give up. You can prevent that by doing more exercise and staying away from high calorie foods. But if you do gain a little weight, don’t worry: you can lose it again once you’ve quit the cigarettes.
“If this is a concern for you we can address this in your stop smoking session and ensure that this isn’t something that prevents you from being a non smoker”.