Associate Professor Dr Amer Siddiq Amer Nordin Consultant Psychiatrist and Smoking Cessation Specialist, UM Medical Centre, UM Specialist Centre & University Malaya Centre of Addiction Sciences
Dr Rashidi Mohamed Family Medicine Specialist, Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz, UKM Medical Centre
Quitting smoking may not come easy to many smokers. Perhaps you are a smoker who have tried to quit many times but failed, or you may be a smoker who is thinking of quitting but is not sure of how to start? Or do you have a loved one who smokes, and you wish you can help him or her quit the habit?
Two experts on smoking cessation have come together to share information and tips to help you kick the habit. Yes, it can be done, and with some help from the right people and smoking cessation aids, it may be easier than you imagine. So, let’s do something amazing, let’s be amazing – let’s quit smoking for good!
Do you know what is inside a cigarette? Aside from the addictive nicotine, a cigarette contains about 7000 harmful ingredients that can be hazardous to your life, 69 of which are cancer-causing substances. Life is precious; you can only live once. So, if you smoke, quitting is the first step to living life to the fullest!
Reason to quit #1: You will look good
Smoking can age an individual prematurely. It can also stain teeth and nails, and causes teeth and gum problems. You will notice the difference, however, if you choose to quit. For better, of course; you will notice your skin clearing up, becoming brighter and more hydrated when you quit.
Reason to quit #2: You will smell good
When you quit smoking, you will no longer have the smell of stale tobacco hanging around you, even your sense of smell will improve. Any cough, wheezing and breathing problem caused by smoking will also show improvement 3-9 months after you quit smoking.
Reason to quit #3: You will have better health
When you smoke, you are exposing yourself to the risk of developing associated respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and even cancer. Smoking still remains a leading public health problem and a major risk factor for the occurrences of these non-communicable diseases. But if you do happen to quit, your risk of developing such diseases will be reduced. Your heart health, blood circulation, sense of smell and taste will also improve; and your body will truly thank you for that.
Reason to quit #4: You can save for rainy days
Given the rising cost of living, you can certainly save a lot if you choose to quit. In fact, the money you spent to satisfy your smoke cravings can be put to good use. You can choose to spend it on groceries, household items, new clothing, sport equipment and even splurge on a decent holiday.
Reason to quit #5: Your loved ones will adore you
Your own health risk aside, you are also affecting other people’s health when you smoke in front of them. Think of your loved ones. You wouldn’t want them to suffer the same health consequences. Children whose parents are smokers are more likely to pick up the smoking habit later on. Quit smoking for the sake of your own health, your loved ones, your children and the surrounding non-smokers.
Do you know?
- The common age of smoking is between 25 and 44 years old.
- The majority of current tobacco smokers are males (43.9%) with women smokers comprising about 1% or less. However, Dr Rashidi points out that the number of women who smoke is increasing.
- Some people believe that smoking helps them to lose weight. Considering the other costs to health that come with smoking, is this the best way to shed the extra kilos? Experts certainly do not think so!
- Others believe that smoking makes them more creative. However, frequent smoking can lead to addiction, and smokers could become more preoccupied with getting their next ‘fix’. This can actually hamper creativity!