Smoking: How Does It Affect Our Physical And Mental Health

Smoking: How Does It Affect Our Physical And Mental Health

Smoking can be addictive because of the component "nicotine" present in tobacco. Tobacco could be chewed, sniffed, and smoked. Nicotine induces adrenaline secretion by directly stimulating adrenal glands, thus increasing the flow of dopamine. Nicotine could overdose as well. Smokers can now use e-cigarettes which deliver vapor directly to the lungs with tobacco combined with other flavors and chemicals.  

 

Once a smoker wakes up, he's taken over by nicotine cravings, making them irritable and restless, and sometimes experiences the "smoker's cough" until they smoke a cigarette. Then one leads to the chain of cigarettes throughout the day. Workers might be compelled to not smoke for long periods but that would reflect a bad mood and concentration difficulties as a result of nicotine withdrawal.

 

Cigarette smoking leads to one in five preventable deaths. Both men and women indulge in smoking, and it affects their physical and mental health profoundly. It also costs health benefits. Smoking for a long time leads to breathing difficulties such as asthma or wheezing, and excessive coughing due to emphysema or chronic bronchitis, and it eventually leads to lung cancer. It causes cardiovascular disorders, constriction in blood vessels, and blood clots in major parts of the body leading to paralysis and stroke. It also causes the development of tumors in several parts of the body, such as bladder, leukemia, cervical cancer, colorectal cancer, food path, stomach, pancreas, kidney, ureter, liver, larynx, oropharynx, trachea, bronchus, and lung. Other problems include erectile dysfunction in men, menstrual irregularities, and pregnancy complications in women. Both men and women might become infertile. Bone health is impaired, causing rheumatoid arthritis and loss of teeth. They are also at the risk of cataracts and leaving the condition of diabetes mellitus difficult to manage. Smokers tend to be immunocompromised. Adolescents involved in smoking might lose their focus on studies and careers. They may be aggressive and poorly respond to parents and teachers. Adults who smoke tend to be absent from work more often and they find it difficult to concentrate on tasks. Their interpersonal relationships are affected as well. Passive smoking also causes asthma, and lung disorders such as excessive coughing, increased phlegm secretion, bronchitis, and pneumonia. Children might also be affected by ear infections.

 

It is believed that people smoke because they are stressed and want to relax. But, smoking stresses the body and mind and increases the risk of anxiety. Nicotine addiction and withdrawal make one irritable and cause fluctuations in mood. Mood disorders are highly possible, especially since the risk of depression is higher. Research also highlights some cases of schizophrenia where smoking is one of the leading causes. Anti-psychotics in combination with smoking tend to leave the medications ineffective and require higher doses to manage the condition.

How to not indulge in smoking?

  • Create a routine that involves healthy alternatives to the time of pleasure that one gets from smoking 

    • Sip a cup of coffee and enjoy the smell of the fresh brew

    • Spend time with family, friends, and colleagues instead of taking smoke breaks

    • Indulge in hobbies that distract your mind from smoking

    • Surround yourself with the smell of essential oils, or listen to music to calm your mind

    • Exercise or do a physical activity to get the adrenaline pumping

  • Be mindful of the number of cigarettes you smoke every day and reduce it slowly if not completely

  • Educate yourself on the downsides to smoking

  • Consult an expert to deal with nicotine addiction and withdrawal

  • Join support groups to manage the relapse of the condition

  • Celebrate your small victories and be the one who pushes yourself

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Psychologs Magazine

India's First Psychology Magazine 

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