People begin smoking for many reasons (stress, social status, and peer pressure), but the main reason they continue is addiction to nicotine. Smoking is, in fact, so addictive that some people consider giving up cigarettes to be more difficult than quitting an addictive illicit drug. People also continue to smoke for psychological reasons. For some, smoking seems to give the hands something to do. Others say it provides comfort.
Cigarette smoke, however, contains more than 4,000 chemicals and, when inhaled, they merge into a tar-like substance that sticks to the tissues inside the mouth, throat, lungs, and stomach. The chemicals not only damage the tissues they contact directly, but they also harm the entire body by reducing the amount of oxygen carrying blood that reaches the organs.
Smoking affects nearly every organ in the body—heart, brain, stomach, bladder, kidneys, and the skin. People who smoke even have worse back pain conditions.
Why quit smoking?
Smoking affects not only your health. Second-hand smoke can cause damage to those around you—even family and friends who choose not to smoke. If you quit smoking:
- You’ll live longer, and you and your family will live healthier, better quality lives.
- You won’t be winded when walking up a flight of stairs.
- You’ll be able to exercise and keep your heart healthier.
- You will reduce the risk of developing dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
- You’ll have less heartburn.
- For men, smoking increases the chances of impotence, so your love life will improve, as well.
- You’ll also be giving yourself money each month to spend on something other than cigarettes.
- You will have less spine pain and better response to spine pain treatment.