Most of us, at some point in time, have enjoyed a cigarette or two without thought for our health. Perhaps you are someone who still enjoys smoking.
Maybe you are getting annoyed by the increasing amount of anti tobacco legislation being introduced. You may see this legislation as anti freedom or a breach of your human rights.
This anger could just be a means of hiding the fact that you are not prepared to admit that you are actually addicted to that little white stick?
People refer to nicotine addiction when they talk about the difficulties involved when you are trying to quit.
Nicotine has been proven to be as addictive as heroin or cocaine - it makes you wonder why it is still legal! Nicotine invades every cell in your body from your brain to your blood vessels. It is found in breast milk and crosses freely across the placenta during pregnancy. The pregnant lady does not need to smoke herself for this to happen. Just being in a room used by smokers is sufficient.
Nicotine is extremely addictive - the more you smoke, the higher your tolerance level to this drug becomes. This means that you need to smoke more in order to derive the same pleasure from smoking. Doctors believe that nicotine inhaled via cigarette smoke reaches the brain quicker than intravenous drugs. This chemical interferes with the flow of information between your brain cells, acting in a similar way to some antidepressants. This accounts for some smokers becoming depressed when they quit as their brain craves this side effect of smoking. If you were on actual anti-depressants and suddenly quit, you would have similar side effects.
But nicotine is only one of the 4000 plus chemicals your cigarette contains. Over 10% of these chemicals are known to cause cancer.
It is hard to believe that tobacco companies are legally allowed to produce a product that contains so many carcinogenic compounds. But these chemicals don't just increase your risk of cancer although 90% of lung cancers are caused by smoking. Smokers are three times more likely to die prematurely than their non smoking companions. They are more likely to become infertile and if they smoke whilst pregnant, or around their pregnant wife, the pregnancy has a higher chance of ending in miscarriage, stillbirth or low weight baby.
Smokers also suffer from some of the most rehabilitating and distressing illness known to man including but not limited to emphysema (leading to a slow very painful death), stroke, heart attack and bronchitis. My grandfather died of emphysema and to this day my abiding memory is him trying to get outside, oxygen tank in tow for one more cigarette. How he didn't blow both of us up is beyond me. Not even the risk to his 12 year old granddaughter (who was obviously adorable!) was enough to stop him needing that smoke.