Blah, blah, blah – you've heard it all. How smoking is going to drive you into an early grave, how smokers are blamed for polluting social gatherings. In fact, they've been accused of just about everything except the 9/11 attack and child slavery in the Middle East.
But what non-smokers do not understand is how pleasant and calming a cigarette can be. After all, nicotine is one of the most addictive substances around. Stopping smoking is as difficult as ending a long-standing friendship or going on an extremely low-fat and no sugar diet – when you're addicted to your twice daily chocolate.
And let's face it, long-term threats to your health seem far away and not too threatening. If someone told you that if you touched that next cigarette you would drop down dead instantly, no one would go near it.
But if you know you need to stop, and need some incentive, stick the following facts somewhere central where you can see them whenever the urge overtakes you to reach for that packet of cigarettes.
The following are scary, but true, facts:
- Smoking affects unborn children – women who smoke heavily have smaller babies than non-smokers.
- If a woman smokes more than 15 cigarettes a day, she is likely to hit menopause more than two years earlier than her non-smoking counterparts.
- Smoking affects bone density, so women who smoke heavily are at high risk for osteoporosis.
- Stopping smoking when menopause starts, reduces the chances of a hip fracture by up to 40 percent.
- Smoking heavily before or after a meal can increase wind and bloating and inhibit digestive function.
- Cigarette smoking is one of the factors associated with premature death or rapid ageing.
- Cigarette smoking is the most easily identifiable factor in cancer – and not just lung cancer. It is also associated with cancer of the mouth, throat, oesophagus, the pancreas, the bladder etc. It is thought that one third of all cancers are linked to smoking.
- Female infertility is also linked to smoking. Daughters of women who smoked during pregnancy have fewer eggs, have more difficulty conceiving and may reach menopause earlier.
- Smokers are 25 percent more likely to have a miscarriage than non-smokers.
- Smoking has a broad-spectrum anti-nutrient effect and accelerates the loss of nutrients.
- Smoking in the vicinity of toddlers and babies increases their chances of suffering from asthma.
(Factual source: Every Woman's Health Guide by Maryons Stewart and Dr Alan Stewart)