This year, National Non-Smoking week will be held January 20-26, 2013. The theme is “Live, Work, Play… even better Smoke Free.” There are several reasons to make 2013 the year you kick the habit. Everyone has heard the usual clinical health reasons why you should quit smoking. Here are 35 reasons you may not have considered:
1. You won’t have to pay more and more and more and more each year. Yup, taxes will almost certainly continue to go up. Government is leaning harder on smokers for revenue, but even some tobacco-growing states are beginning to milk the coffin-nail cash cow. Lawmakers’ reasoning: There is evidence that price increases cause smokers to reduce consumption. And the medical costs of smoking are astronomical–a huge burden.
2. You’ll inhale fewer germs. New research suggests cigarettes are crawling with germs, which can be inhaled along with the smoke. It’s not clear if the germs can make you sick, but the yuck factor is undeniable.
3. You’ll sleep better. Smokers are four times as likely to report feeling unrested after a night’s sleep, a Johns Hopkins study found; it seems going through nicotine withdrawal each night can contribute to sleep disturbances.
4. Quitting is a plausible excuse to play computer games. A 2008 survey commissioned by online game maker RealNetworks suggests that playing games online can help distract people from smoking.
5. Non-smokers have stronger bones than smokers. Women smokers have been found to lose 2.3% to 3.3% of bone mineral density for every 10 pack-years of tobacco use. The effects are even worse in postmenopausal women.
6. You won’t have to look at those horrible antismoking messages on cigarette packs. American messages are mild by comparison, but you have to think they will follow Canada, the UK, Australia, Jordan, Romania, and Uruguay by starting to put big pictures of rotting teeth, mouth cancer, and post-mortem tumors right on the box. When that happens, you’ll be looking at a charming, very uncool image every time you light up.
7. That ringing in your ears will be sweet music, not just…ringing in your ears. Smokers have a nearly 70% greater likelihood of developing hearing loss than non-smokers.
8. You may be less likely to get psoriasis. Studies have shown that daily smoking is linked to the risk of developing psoriasis. The higher the number of cigarettes over 20 smoked per day, the greater that risk.
9. Your chance of having cold hands and feet will go down… When you quit smoking, your circulation gets better right away.
10. …which means you can reduce your risk of frostbite. Smoking restricts circulation, which is particularly bad for the fingers and toes of those desperate people who step outside to puff in wintry climates.
11. You may be able to cut back on your dosage of certain medications. Smoking affects the liver enzymes that process certain drugs, so smokers sometimes need to take higher doses to get the same effect.
12. You’ll be less likely to burn down your house. One study found that people who live in smoking households were up to 6.6 times more likely to experience a fire injury than those in non-smoking households. According to another study, cigarettes were the cause of 55% of all house fires involving a fatality. Overall, cigarettes are the leading cause of death from residential fires. On April 9, 2008, a 3-year-old boy burned down his family’s house after playing with a cigarette lighter. The boy, a report said, would now attend a fire safety course.
13. You’ll cut your risk of Crohn’s disease. Smokers are four times more likely as those who never smoked to develop this chronic–sometimes debilitating–disease, which can be painful, causes frequent diarrhea, and can require intestinal surgery.
14. Save money–lots of it–and purchase more important luxuries, like gas. Calculate how much you’ll save. (This is what kept my husband smoke free when HE quit)
15. You’ll be less likely to die of a brain tumor. The brain is a common site for lung cancer to spread. In fact, according to the American College of Radiology, radiation therapy may sometimes be used on the brain even when no cancer has been detected in “this vital site.”
16. You’ll brighten up your choppers. Nobody likes tobacco stains, and the average professional teeth-cleaning procedure costs somewhere between $ 500 and $ 1000.
17. You’ll be less wrinkly. After 10 years, smoking can speed up your skin’s aging process by narrowing your skin’s blood vessels and damaging the tissues that give the skin its strength and elasticity.
18. Cut the risk of acid reflux. If you’ve smoked for 20 years, you’re 70% more likely than a non-smoker to have acid reflux.
19. Enjoy your food more. Smoking diminishes the taste of food and the pleasure of eating.
20. Preserve your sense of smell. About twice as many smokers as non-smokers have a reduced sense of smell.
21. Eat less. (Despite muting the taste buds, smoking brings food cravings of its own.) Smoking is associated with greater calorie intake, particularly from food high in saturated fat and cholesterol. And you thought you’d eat more without smoking, didn’t you.
22. Reduce the need for premature hairpieces. Men who smoke are twice as likely to become bald as men who don’t smoke.
23. Protect Fido and Fluffy. A number of studies show that second-hand smoke at home may be associated with oral cancer and lymphoma in cats, lung and nasal cancer in dogs, and lung cancer in birds.
24. Save water, cut your carbon footprint. According to GreenYour.com, washing machines suck up 21.7 percent of household water usage. Stinky clothes need more washing. Ergo, you’ll save water and reduce your electricity bill.
25. Save trees, cut your carbon footprint. A Belgian University study from the 1990s cited deforestation (to make way for tobacco farming) and wood burning (to cure the tobacco) as negative factors in the ecology of developing countries.
26. Spend less time in the dentist’s chair. According to the American Dental Association, smoking puts you at greater risk for all kinds of dental problems, including oral cancer and gum disease. It also takes longer for your dentist to clean all the stains off your teeth at your checkups. Wouldn’t you rather be doing, well, anything other than sitting in a dentist’s chair?
27. Be nagged less. We now live in a society where haranguing a smoker is almost a civic duty, and certainly an act of love if said smoker is a relative or dear friend. Like most smokers, Kevin Ambrose, 52, gets ribbed about quitting: “My wife wants me to quit, my kids want me to quit, my cardiologist wants me to quit, my father wants me to quit,” he says.
28. Stop that nagging cough too. Those most at risk for bronchitis are smokers or people who live with smokers.
29. You won’t be pumping out carcinogens like a Soviet-era steel plant. According to the 2006 Surgeon General’s Report, there are more than 50 carcinogens in second-hand smoke.
30. Your wounds will heal better. Several studies have found that smokers do not heal as well after surgeries such as face lifts, tooth extractions, and periodontal procedures.
31. Experience menopause as scheduled, not before. Smoking may advance the arrival of menopause in women by several years.
32. Enjoy chocolate more. In a study, women who smoked were less sensitive to sweet flavors than women who never smoked. Is there any better reason than this?
33. Your mouth will be better off. Smoking compromises saliva flow and function. Saliva is important for cleaning the lining of the teeth and mouth and protecting teeth from decay.
34. Preserve your eyesight. Exposure to cigarette smoke doubles your risk of developing macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness.
35. Hold on to your marbles longer. A 2007 Dutch study of 7,000 people published in the journal Neurology concluded that current smoking increases the risk of dementia. Past smoking doesn’t. At the time, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation quoted a researcher as saying that “increasingly as we age, [smoking] is a major threat to the health of your brain.”
Still not convinced? Well how about this… every cigarette you smoke takes 11 minutes off your life span. With everyone talking about the golden years and retirement being the best time of their lives, do you REALLY want to shorten this time? Make 2013 the year you choose health!