Unhealthy-Habits... Do you have any?

Smoking Tops the List

Unhealthy-Habits? Who? Me ...? There are not too many of us who haven’t at some stage of our lives had some unhealthy or bad habits of some description.

Probably the most common and one that can severely impact on our health is, of course, smoking. I am not going to delve, at this stage, into other unhealthy-habits that should be avoided - perhaps that will come later.

Are you a smoker? Would you prefer not to be? If you have been trying to quit smoking without success, or thinking "it's OK, it won't affect me", then, just perhaps, reading on, may help you.

Many people who start smoking think that they will be able to stop whenever they want - but, it’s not that easy - it is an unhealthy-habit and one that takes will-power to break.

Quit Smoking

Click on the image to tell us your story or leave a comment that could help someone else.

Did you know ...

This is why we say smoking is an unhealthy-habit:

  • One in two recreational users will become addicted.
  • Smoking is more addictive than heroin, cocaine or alcohol.
  • Up to 90% of smokers begin smoking before the age of 19.
  • Young people are twice as likely to smoke if they have parents who smoke.
  • Symptoms of addiction (having strong urges to smoke, feeling anxious or irritable, feeling depressed or trying unsuccessfully not to smoke) can appear within only days after becoming an ‘occasional’ smoker.
  • Almost 50% of all urban litter is tobacco-related.

"If you would like to quit smoking, keep a diary for one week recording the time and place of each cigarette smoked in one column and another column with the triggers (habits, anxieties, social drinking, etc.). At the end of the week, note patterns and brainstorm ways to avoid triggers. "

What is in cigarette smoke? .. Why should you be concerned? .. Why is it such an Unhealthy-Habit?

Tobacco smoke is a complex mixture of more than 4000 chemicals in the form of gases, particles or both. When you inhale cigarette smoke, dozens of harmful substances enter your lungs and spread through your body. They can reach your brain, heart and other organs within 10 seconds of the first puff:... (Do you think that's enough to qualify smoking as an unhealthy-habit....??)

These harmful chemicals include:

  • Nicotine - an addictive drug and a toxin that narrows your veins and arteries. Nicotine raises your blood pressure and damages your heart by forcing it to pump faster and work harder. It slows your blood flow, reducing oxygen to your feet and hands. It also affects your appetite.
  • Carbon Monoxide - a gas that robs your heart of the oxygen it needs as fuel to pump blood around your body. Over time, your airways swell up and let less air into your lungs.
  • Tar - clogs your lungs and contains many dangerous chemicals that can either cause cancer or act with other chemicals to stimulate cancer growth.
  • Phenols - hazardous chemicals that paralyse and eventually kill the hair-like cells that normally sweep clean the sensitive lining of your airways.
  • Fine Particles - can irritate your throat and lungs, cause ‘smoker’s cough’, make you produce more mucus and damage lung tissue.

How smoking harms your health

Cancer - smoking is widely recognised as causing lung cancer, but it also increases the risk of cancer of the lips, tongue, mouth, nose, oesophagus, pharynx, larynx, pancreas, cervix, vulva, penis and anus. There are also associations between smoking and cancers of the stomach, kidney, liver and blood.

(That should be enough to make anyone stop smoking immediately! but there is more)

Diabetes - smoking worsens some of the health complications caused by type 1, or insulin-dependent diabetes. Smoking raises the blood sugar level, making it harder to control the high blood sugar levels caused by diabetes.

Blood Circulation - because your blood carries less oxygen and more plaque, you are more likely to suffer dangerous blood clots and strokes, back pain and blockages of the tiny blood vessels in the eyes, ears and other organs. This can lead to poor circulation in your hands, feet and limbs, which can cause severe pain, especially when exercising, and can result in gangrene and amputation.

Infections - bacteria and viruses can more easily enter and take hold in your body because smoking damages the lining of your throat and lungs and weakens your immune system.

Breathing Problems - in the long term, you are more likely to have some degree of emphysema, a disease that causes progressive shortness of breath, as smoking cuts the amount of oxygen able to be carried from the air into your blood. As a smoker you will be more prone to asthma attacks because smoking narrows your airways.

Aging - you will look prematurely aged, as wrinkles appear around your eyes and mouth sooner and deeper than in a non-smoker. A woman who smokes tends to reach menopause one or two years earlier than a non-smoker or an ex-smoker because smoking reduces the amount of oestrogen in her body. She is more likely to develop osteoporosis - the weakening of the bones that accompanies aging.

Hearing - you may lose your hearing earlier than a non-smoker, and are more susceptible to hearing loss due to ear infections and loud noise. This is due to decreased blood flow to the inner ear resulting from plaque build up on the blood vessel walls.

Eye Problems - Cigarette smoking is the single most preventable risk factor of macular degeneration and will double your risk of contracting this disease.

If you are tempted to smoke, or already do smoke, here are a few strategies for you next time you feel like lighting up. I do feel, though, that ‘the decision’ is the most important thing. If you don’t make ‘the decision’ to quit, you will never be able to do it. On the other hand, if you do make ‘the decision’, you’ll do it even though it won’t be easy. Once you’ve made the decision, if you feel the urge to ‘light up’ -

  1. stop yourself, have a drink of water, breathe deeply and find something else to do;
  2. do try to eat healthy food and get some extra exercise;
  3. recognise that social pressures may impact on your choice to not smoke;
  4. get help and support from family and friends;
  5. quitting smoking is a challenge - it will help you believe in yourself;
  6. beat this challenge and you’ll be ready to take on other challenges;
  7. find new ways to deal with stress and difficult emotions;
  8. be proud of saying "No thanks".

I hope this will help you to ‘make that decision’ to give up that unhealthy-habit of smoking and to experience the benefits of quitting.

"To be successful with transforming unhealthy habits into healthy habits, take persistent, consistent small steps to reach your goals."

Copyright 2007 Hilton Johnson Productions, Inc.

Don't wait any longer, put some affirmations in place now and start the process of quitting.

Say to yourself - "I feel so fit and healthy, and am enjoying life to the full now that I have quit smoking" - and say it often. "I feel so fit and healthy, and am enjoying life to the full now that I have given up this unhealthy-habit of smoking"... "I feel so fit and healthy,....

It won't take long for you to notice an improvement in your overall health, your sense of taste and smell will improve in as little as one week, your skin will improve, you will be doing your small bit to help the environment and - you’ll have lots more money to spend or save...

and ... Don't underestimate that GREAT feeling of accomplishment you'll experience when you successfully rid yourself of that unhealthy-habit.

Don't be caught in this unhealthy-habit. Quitting smoking cigarettes is admittedly difficult, but it is far from impossible. In fact, everyday 3 million Americans are successfully breaking the habit, and you absolutely have no reason not to be one of them.

If you’re still completely lost on looking for ways to quit smoking, here is a tip that would definitely put you off smoking for at least a couple of days. Take a jar and put some water in it, just enough for it to be at least a half inch above the bottom. Then put inside the contents of one nasty ashtray and keep the jar. Next time you feel like smoking, take a whiff of your anti-smoking jar and you’re sure to be disgusted enough never to light one again.

"Making positive lifestyle changes can add years to your life. One study of Harvard alumni found that those who stopped smoking lowered their mortality rate by 41%."

"Those who began a moderately vigorous exercise program lowered their mortality rate by 23%."

Copyright 2007 Hilton Johnson Productions, Inc.

Clicking unhealthy-habits. will take you to more detail about the 'Benefits of Quitting' this unhealthy-habit.

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