Why not smoke

Ten reasons why not smoking would be nice

World No Tobacco Day

World No Tobacco Day appeals to the common sense of smokers. Ten reasons that might help you quit

Karin Pollack, Bernadette Redl
  • To look better: Every smoker knows anyway that cigarettes are not healthy. Nicotine and tar may not make you sick in the short term, but in the long term they damage pretty much all organ systems. Who wants to get cancer, COPD, heart attacks or strokes in old age? If you want to quit, you should know yourself. Important questions: Can I do it by willpower alone? Do I need professional guidance? Should I take medication? The most successful method, according to Manfred Neuberger from the Med-Uni Vienna, is the end point method. You set a day to quit and throw away all smoking utensils. Benefits: You soon look better (skin, teeth), puff less when climbing stairs, and the senses of taste and smell come back. A tip for the ambitious: see willpower as a muscle that should be trained daily.

  • Have more money: Smokers who smoked a pack of cigarettes for 5.20 euros per day save 1,898 euros a year and 5,694 euros in three years. Every smoker can calculate his or her individual profit on blitzrechner.de/rauchen.

  • Relapse as a motivation: Relapses are part of quitting. The first three weeks in particular are difficult. Aside from physically withdrawing from nicotine, changing one's behavior ("I always smoked in this situation") is the greatest challenge. The advantage: Breaking your own routines makes you flexible. Those who manage it for six months have a good chance of remaining non-smokers. Relapses after 18 months are very rare. The comforting news: the more relapses you have already experienced, the higher the chances of finally becoming a non-smoker.

  • To save the joints from destruction: Seven cigarettes a day more than double the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. According to this, smokers suffer from rheumatism more often than other people, and joint destruction also progresses more rapidly in them. Women are particularly affected. The risk increases after a few years and lasts up to 15 years after quitting smoking. Researchers suspect that smoking causes immune system malfunctions.

  • You don't have to see the gruesome chick packers They arouse disgust and cause a guilty conscience: the shock images on the cigarette packs. And yet they have an effect, especially with young people, as a recent study by a German health research institute shows: The warning labels trigger negative emotions to a considerable extent, with young people who have never smoked react more emotionally than young people who smoke. The determining feelings among the respondents are fear, disgust and sadness.

  • For the sake of the children: Smoke eats its way into fabrics and walls and therefore also into the skin and organs of children. When parents become non-smokers, children benefit twice: in the short term, because children of smokers are much more likely to have otitis media, and in the long term, because inhaling smoke can lead to asthma, cancer, metabolic disorders and diseases of the immune system, even in adulthood. Often parents calm down by saying that they only smoke outside on the balcony. But: "Studies show that the substances that are released when smoking can be found on hands, clothing and then also in house dust. After all, children crawl on the floor," says Leipzig pediatrician Freerk Prenzel and knows that the breakdown products are evidence of smoke constituents in the urine of children. Smoking in cars is particularly harmful to children. It doesn't matter whether the air conditioning is running or the window is open.

  • Try something new once: Take hypnosis, for example. The success rates with this form of non-smoking therapy are between 40 and 60 percent. Four sessions are usually sufficient. How people react to hypnosis is completely different.

  • Because "alternatives" are just as harmful: Leaving it the same is better than switching. Especially since the stiffened arteries only regain elasticity if you stop smoking completely, says the physician Manfred Neuberger. E-cigarettes do not burn tobacco, but rather vaporize a liquid that mostly contains nicotine. There are contradicting statements from researchers about the long-term effects. However, recent US studies suggest that regular consumption leads to similar disorders as tobacco smoke. Neuberger: "The daily use of e-cigarettes doubles the risk of a heart attack, tobacco cigarettes triple the risk, and the alternating use of tobacco and e-cigarettes quintuple it."

  • If the cancer is already there: Quitting smoking is also beneficial when you are sick. This is shown by a current study by the Med-Uni Vienna with prostate cancer patients. Smokers diagnosed with prostate cancer have a significantly lower risk of relapse if they quit smoking soon after, the result. Patients who continue to smoke, on the other hand, have a significantly higher risk of relapse, the development of new metastases and increased cancer-specific mortality. 15 to 20 percent of men in the western world will be affected by prostate cancer at some point in their life, and 2.6 percent will die from it.

  • Appreciating outside pressure: In the enlightened western world, people like to go through life independently. Self-destruction included. Policies have been shown to help keep smoking cool. This has been achieved in the USA: Anyone who lights a cigarette there gets curious looks and feels ostracized like a junkie. Paradoxical solution for our latitudes: as a smoker, welcome the ban on smoking in the car (applies from June 1st) or support the ban on smoking in pubs in a referendum. (Karin Pollack, Bernadette Redl, May 31, 2018)

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