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WELCOME TO HEALTH PROMOTION DIVISION MINISTRY OF HEALTH(KKM) / IPOH HOSPITAL QUIT CLINIC WEBSITE

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Why is smoking bad for my health? The answer is simple. Cigarette smoke contains over 4000 chemicals, and more than 50 of these chemicals cause cancer. These chemicals also cause cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, tooth loss and gum disease, gastrointestinal problems and several other preventable health problems. The chances that a smoker will die prematurely from smoking is 50%. Smokers also shorten their life by an average of 22 years. Smokers also compromise their health if they are taking prescription drugs while smoking. The effects of drugs may be altered or rendered ineffective by smoking. For instance, women who smoke while on the birth control pill have a risk of a heart attack that is ten times higher than those who don't smoke. Why is it very difficult to quit smoking? There are five reasons why it is very hard to quit smoking. Nicotine dependence - Nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs in the world today. Research shows that nicotine is more addictive than heroine or cocaine. When one smokes, nicotine goes to the brain very quickly (within six seconds) and initially gives a feeling of alertness and increased performance on some tasks. Eventually, the smoker will need more and more cigarettes to feel the same effects. However, smokers have failed to remember the toxic signs of smoking such as dizziness and nausea, which they experienced when they took their first cigarettes. Soon, their bodies try to cope with this poisoning by developing physical tolerance. Withdrawal effects - When a person has not had a cigarette for a few hours, the effects of withdrawal begin. These effects include anxiety, difficulty concentrating, irritability and restlessness. The desire for the drug effects or "high" of smoking as well as the discomfort level of withdrawal make it difficult to stop smoking. Psychological dependence - Cigarettes become a crutch that smokers use to deal with stress and anxiety. The more a person uses smoking to deal with such conditions, the less other ways of coping are used. Soon, cigarettes will replace the less harmful behaviors of coping with stress, and will lead to an increase in smoking and dependency on cigarettes. Habit - Because it is done many times a day, smoking soon becomes a habit. A pack-a-day smokers will lift cigarettes to their mouths and inhale 102,000 times a year. Smoking is linked to other habit to other behaviors such as drinking coffee, work breaks, and social situations. The incorporation of smoking into many other activities makes it difficult to quit smoking. Pleasure - After the body has learned to block out the toxic signs of cigarettes, a smoker will believe that they get a great deal of pleasure from smoking. They believe they enjoy the taste, smell and feel of cigarettes, turning smoking into a very personal and relaxing occasion. What if a person smokes only a small number of cigarettes or doesn't inhale? Don't you need to smoke for a long time before you have problems? Each and every cigarette will cause harm to the body. When the chemicals from cigarettes touch the lips, they start to attack all living tissues. The attack continues wherever the smoke goes: to the mouth, tongue, throat, esophagus, lungs, and stomach. By products of cigarettes will also reach the bladder, pancreas and kidneys. This explains why even light smokers will show signs of damage from smoking. Also, since smoking tends to increase over time, the risks to health and life increase as well. Although a smoker may not attempt to inhale the cigarette smoke, they still breathe the tobacco smoke fro the burning cigarette. Will it be better to smoke "light" cigarettes instead? Most smokers get just as much nicotine, carbon monoxide and tar from "light" cigarettes as they do regular ones. People smoking "light" cigarettes unintentionally block the tiny air holes placed around the cigarette filter with their fingers and lips. They also tend to take more puffs and inhale more deeply when using light cigarettes. Are "light", "ultra mild" or "smokeless" cigarettes safer than other cigarettes? Although there are cigarettes that are advertised as "light" or "ultra mild", these nonetheless contain similar amounts of harmful chemicals as other cigarettes. For instance, "smokeless" cigarettes are made of lettuce or a mixture of tobacco and cloves. These "smokeless" cigarettes claim to be safer, however the tar in these types of cigarettes is three times greater than in regular cigarettes. Thus, the truth is that there are NO safe cigarettes. Is the damage caused by smoking permanent? No. For those who have stopped smoking before the onset of irreversible heart and circulatory disease, the body begins to repair itself. Smokers who have had a heart attack will also benefit from quitting smoking for this will certainly help prevent a recurrence. Although a smoker's risk of lung cancer continues to rise, quitting smoking will definitely level off and decrease this risk. Does smoking harm other people? Second-hand smoke harms everyone. Children and other adults who are exposed to second-hand smoke are very much at risk to the harmful effects of smoking. How does smoking affect pregnant women and the baby? The risks to both the baby and mother are significant. These risks include: Spontaneous abortion (at double the rate of non-smokers). Miscarriage. Premature delivery. Giving birth to a weak or unhealthy baby. Low birth weight. This makes delivery harder because the baby will not be as strong. Increased chance of the child having intellectual problems. Increased chance of the child being hyperactive. Increased chance of the child having attention deficit disorder. The risks don't stop after the birth of a baby. Parents who continue to smoke put a baby at increased risk for serious physical and developmental problems. top Will a smoker gain weight after quitting smoking? After quitting smoking, you may tend to eat more than you used to. Your body's absorption of food is improved as well, so you will gain more nourishment. Weight gain would usually be only minimal, and this can be easily lost. Most people gain only 3 to 10 pounds when they quit smoking. A healthy diet and increased physical activity will ensure that the body will return to its normal weight quickly. What is the best way to quit smoking? There are many different ways that smokers choose to quit. Some people quit cold turkey, through sheer determination and will power. Others would need quit smoking products, classes, therapy, etc. The best way to quit would be to find the way that would work for YOU. More often than not, people try to quit, slip and start smoking again, then try to quit again. They learn what works and what doesn't work for them in quitting and eventually they work their way to a successful quit. Why is smoking bad for my health? The answer is simple. Cigarette smoke contains over 4000 chemicals, and more than 50 of these chemicals cause cancer. These chemicals also cause cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, tooth loss and gum disease, gastrointestinal problems and several other preventable health problems. The chances that a smoker will die prematurely from smoking is 50%. Smokers also shorten their life by an average of 22 years. Smokers also compromise their health if they are taking prescription drugs while smoking. The effects of drugs may be altered or rendered ineffective by smoking. For instance, women who smoke while on the birth control pill have a risk of a heart attack that is ten times higher than those who don't smoke. Why is it very difficult to quit smoking? There are five reasons why it is very hard to quit smoking. Nicotine dependence - Nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs in the world today. Research shows that nicotine is more addictive than heroine or cocaine. When one smokes, nicotine goes to the brain very quickly (within six seconds) and initially gives a feeling of alertness and increased performance on some tasks. Eventually, the smoker will need more and more cigarettes to feel the same effects. However, smokers have failed to remember the toxic signs of smoking such as dizziness and nausea, which they experienced when they took their first cigarettes. Soon, their bodies try to cope with this poisoning by developing physical tolerance. Withdrawal effects - When a person has not had a cigarette for a few hours, the effects of withdrawal begin. These effects include anxiety, difficulty concentrating, irritability and restlessness. The desire for the drug effects or "high" of smoking as well as the discomfort level of withdrawal make it difficult to stop smoking. Psychological dependence - Cigarettes become a crutch that smokers use to deal with stress and anxiety. The more a person uses smoking to deal with such conditions, the less other ways of coping are used. Soon, cigarettes will replace the less harmful behaviors of coping with stress, and will lead to an increase in smoking and dependency on cigarettes. Habit - Because it is done many times a day, smoking soon becomes a habit. A pack-a-day smokers will lift cigarettes to their mouths and inhale 102,000 times a year. Smoking is linked to other habit to other behaviors such as drinking coffee, work breaks, and social situations. The incorporation of smoking into many other activities makes it difficult to quit smoking. Pleasure - After the body has learned to block out the toxic signs of cigarettes, a smoker will believe that they get a great deal of pleasure from smoking. They believe they enjoy the taste, smell and feel of cigarettes, turning smoking into a very personal and relaxing occasion. top What if a person smokes only a small number of cigarettes or doesn't inhale? Don't you need to smoke for a long time before you have problems? Each and every cigarette will cause harm to the body. When the chemicals from cigarettes touch the lips, they start to attack all living tissues. The attack continues wherever the smoke goes: to the mouth, tongue, throat, esophagus, lungs, and stomach. By products of cigarettes will also reach the bladder, pancreas and kidneys. This explains why even light smokers will show signs of damage from smoking. Also, since smoking tends to increase over time, the risks to health and life increase as well. Although a smoker may not attempt to inhale the cigarette smoke, they still breathe the tobacco smoke fro the burning cigarette. Will it be better to smoke "light" cigarettes instead? Most smokers get just as much nicotine, carbon monoxide and tar from "light" cigarettes as they do regular ones. People smoking "light" cigarettes unintentionally block the tiny air holes placed around the cigarette filter with their fingers and lips. They also tend to take more puffs and inhale more deeply when using light cigarettes. top Are "light", "ultra mild" or "smokeless" cigarettes safer than other cigarettes? Although there are cigarettes that are advertised as "light" or "ultra mild", these nonetheless contain similar amounts of harmful chemicals as other cigarettes. For instance, "smokeless" cigarettes are made of lettuce or a mixture of tobacco and cloves. These "smokeless" cigarettes claim to be safer, however the tar in these types of cigarettes is three times greater than in regular cigarettes. Thus, the truth is that there are NO safe cigarettes. Is the damage caused by smoking permanent? No. For those who have stopped smoking before the onset of irreversible heart and circulatory disease, the body begins to repair itself. Smokers who have had a heart attack will also benefit from quitting smoking for this will certainly help prevent a recurrence. Although a smoker's risk of lung cancer continues to rise, quitting smoking will definitely level off and decrease this risk. Does smoking harm other people? Second-hand smoke harms everyone. Children and other adults who are exposed to second-hand smoke are very much at risk to the harmful effects of smoking. How does smoking affect pregnant women and the baby? The risks to both the baby and mother are significant. These risks include: Spontaneous abortion (at double the rate of non-smokers). Miscarriage. Premature delivery. Giving birth to a weak or unhealthy baby. Low birth weight. This makes delivery harder because the baby will not be as strong. Increased chance of the child having intellectual problems. Increased chance of the child being hyperactive. Increased chance of the child having attention deficit disorder. The risks don't stop after the birth of a baby. Parents who continue to smoke put a baby at increased risk for serious physical and developmental problems. Will a smoker gain weight after quitting smoking? After quitting smoking, you may tend to eat more than you used to. Your body's absorption of food is improved as well, so you will gain more nourishment. Weight gain would usually be only minimal, and this can be easily lost. Most people gain only 3 to 10 pounds when they quit smoking. A healthy diet and increased physical activity will ensure that the body will return to its normal weight quickly. What is the best way to quit smoking? There are many different ways that smokers choose to quit. Some people quit cold turkey, through sheer determination and will power. Others would need quit smoking products, classes, therapy, etc. The best way to quit would be to find the way that would work for YOU. More often than not, people try to quit, slip and start smoking again, then try to quit again. They learn what works and what doesn't work for them in quitting and eventually they work their way to a successful quit. top If you have another smoking-related question and answer that you'd like to add to our FAQ, simply simply fill in the form below. We will add relevant information to this article. You can also send in any questions, comments or inquiries.