10 reasons to quit smoking, beyond the big health threat.

If are a smoker, you must have already been urged to stop smoking by family and friends. You most likely know that smoking causes heart disease, stroke, cancer, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and other killer
diseases. You might even know that smoking is the No. 1 cause of preventable death worldwide.

But knowing these facts may not have made you quit. When you are young, it is hard to imagine the pain of life-threatening diseases that shall strike decades later.

Moreover, quitting is hard. As many as 80% of smokers say they would like to stop. And it takes the average smoker five to 10 attempts before quitting successfully.

For some smokers, it's the small things that motivate them to stop. Things like the smell it leaves on you and your clothes, the way people react when they find out you're a smoker, the stain on your fingers and teeth -- everyday irritants that can add up to a tipping point to kick the habit.

Here are 10 common daily side effects of smoking that can create the motivation to quit

1. The smell of smoke

Cigarette smell on a person is not pleasant – many don’t react favorably. You may ruin your chances in an interview, meeting or social situation. Smokers are conscious of the foul smell in their mouths, clothes and hair – and this also leads to low self-esteem.

2. Dulling of sense of smell and taste

Smoking dulls your smell of smell and taste. Smokers can't appreciate the taste of many foods as well as they did before starting smoking. Actually, but it's the loss of the sense of smell that reduces the ability to taste. Breathing in the fumes of tobacco smoke is toxic to the senses.

Some smokers don’t even realize that their sense of taste is affected, since the decline is gradual. However, quitting brings back the senses of taste and smell swiftly. The pleasure of eating can be restored dramatically in a short time after the person stops smoking.

3. Premature ageing

One of the main causes of premature ageing of the face is smoking. Leathery skin and deep wrinkles are more likely in case of smokers. According to dermatologists, smoking causes biochemical changes in the body that speeds up the ageing process. For instance, smoking reduces oxygen supply to living skin tissue caused due to constriction of blood vessels caused by smoking. Also, the burning tar in cigarettes causes stains on the hands and skin on face – a common sign of smokers.

4. Social pressures

Smokers are increasing feeling marginalized. Offices, malls, airports and even streets forbid smoking. Smokers have to leave their companions and seek smoking zones, which are increasingly getting scarce. Almost all public places are now smoke-free zones. Smokers get impacted socially and emotionally when they have to leave a gathering or place to smoke. It weakens their self-image and social standing.

5. Impact on relationships

It’s difficult to find and keep a relationship if you are a smoker. People don’t want to date or marry someone who smells like a dirty ashtray. Some people may find mates who are themselves smokers. Then it becomes difficult for any one of the partners to quit, as there are too many relapse triggers around to be able to successfully quit.

6. Impotence

Smoking dramatically increases your chances of impotence. It also affects blood vessel dilation and may lead to erectile dysfunction. This can be a powerful deterrent for young men to start smoking, or quit if they are already smoking.

7. Increased infections

It’s a fact that smokers are more susceptible to falling ill – they get frequent colds – because they get frequent viral and bacterial infections. Our respiratory tracts have tiny hairs called cilia that are designed to protect us. Cilia are constantly waving and capture bacteria and viruses that get into the trachea and push them up so that we cough them out, or swallow them so that they get destroyed by our stomach acids.

The toxic smoke of cigarettes paralyses the cilia, thereby destroying our protection. That’s the reason smokers fall sick so often.

8. You're a danger to others

Did you know there are more than 4,500 chemicals in a single puff of tobacco smoke – out of which are over 40 are known carcinogens. It is estimated that second-hand smoke causes 50,000 deaths every year!

It takes very little second-hand smoke to trigger a heart attack or stroke in someone who is predisposed to that condition. The ingredients in smoke cause platelets, the material in our blood that helps it clot, become sticky. This increases the risk of heart attacks. There have been a number of studies to show that when a community goes smoke-free the proportion of heart attacks seen at the hospitals goes down by 20% or 30%.

9. Impact on physical activity

Smokers experience a diminished ability over time to comfortably do things as simple as climbing a set of stairs or enjoying sports activities they once easily took part in such as volleyball or jogging. 

Even young athletes in otherwise top physical condition don't perform as well if they smoke because, over time, smoking causes the lungs and heart to work harder, thereby putting extra strain on them.

10. Smoking costs money – lots of it

It's a fact you can’t ignore - smoking is downright expensive. The price of a pack of cigarettes varies depending on the brand. Let’s look at one of the most popular Indian brands - Gold Flake – it costs Rs. 246 for 20 sticks. That’s a lot of money. Add to that the fact that an average smoker gets 18% less productive and has increased health-related treatment costs. Taken year on year, it adds up to a huge cost.

Get help to quit

Smoking is a chronic disease, like any other addiction. Though it may be tough to quit, it has been successfully done by many persons.

You can take professional help – it increases your chances of success.

It’s time to stop smoking. And start living!