Saturday, March 10, 2012

Reason to quit

If you’re struggling to quit smoking, take a look at your kids and consider their health and wellbeing
We all know that smoking kills, but there’s a lot you probably don’t know about what smoking does to children.
First of all, smoking while pregnant presents huge risks to both the mother and the unborn baby.
There’s an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy, placental complications such as placenta previa, placental abruption, stillbirth, miscarriage and severe bleeding.
Smoking slows down fetal growth, nearly doubles a woman’s risk of having a baby with low birth weight, increases the risk of premature birth, birth defects such as cleft lip or cleft palate.
Even after your baby is born, there is an increased risk of SIDS, learning disabilities, asthma, ear infections, tonsillitis, respiratory illnesses and behavioural problems.
Nursing mothers who smoke pass harmful chemicals through their breastmilk to their babies and on rare occasions cause diarrhea and vomiting.
Children are especially vulnerable to the effects of secondhand smoke which in itself contains more than 4000 chemicals.
Since children are still physically developing, they have higher breathing rates than adults and have little control over their indoor environments.
Children exposed to high levels of secondhand smoke run the greatest risk of experiencing damaging health effects.
Exposure to secondhand smoke decreases lung efficiency and impairs lung function, increases the severity of asthma, aggravates sinusitis, rhinitis, cystic fibrosis and chronic respiratory problems. 
Even more shocking is the research that found nicotine in the blood system and urine of children whose parents smoke.
As well as the physical health effects smoking can have on children, there are also enormous psychological effects at work.

Parental smoking influences their children’s attitudes towards smoking at a surprisingly early age.
Children of parents who smoke are twice as likely to take up smoking as they develop a positive attitude toward smoking, they assume that smoking is an acceptable way to handle stress and boredom, and are more tolerant of unpleasant effects of cigarette smoke such as odours and stained teeth.
Research has found that these attitudes towards smoking develop in the brain as early as four years of age, and that they may never change.
However, if a child sees their parent stop smoking and is taught the dangers of smoking, the child will be less likely to smoke as they grow older.
So it is clear that parents who smoke have plenty of reasons to quit, but the really hard part is figuring out how to fight the addiction and get your life back.
My husband is the perfect example of a smoker who has tried several times in the past 20 years to quit, and I believe that he has finally done it in 2012.
In the past he has tried patches, cold turkey, gum, lozenges and by just “cutting back”.
But this time he went to his doctor and was prescribed Champix. 
Not everyone succeeds in quitting, so my husband’s success is not only due to the medication which switches off the cravings, but also going in with a positive attitude and a strong willingness to quit.
With Champix he also receives online support that helps to keep him motivated.
In his own words, this is his story:
“Now that I am no longer smoking, I can’t believe how much time I lost away from my family because I was smoking.
When I smoked I lost important time time with my family as I’d be in the backyard or I’d walk out in the middle of dinner parties/weddings, etc, which used to drive my wife crazy. It became very hard for her to answer our daughter whenever she asked: “Where’s Daddy?”
Not smoking has saved me money; I don’t have to look at the amount of tobacco I have left to make sure I have enough to get me through to the next day; I don’t have to wash my hands, change my shirt or “try” to clean my breath every time I come back into the house; I don’t have to stand out in the cold in winter to have a cigarette; my ute doesn’t stink like it used to; and I can be a better role model for my children. 
Another positive is that I actually feel more relaxed than when I was a smoker, and I am handling stress a lot better – this surprised me a lot as before I would use smoking as an excuse to cope with stress.
When I was a smoker, if I had to sit in a meeting, I would always be thinking about having a cigarette, but not any longer.
Quitting smoking hasn’t damaged my social life in any way, in fact, I am now encouraging my workmates to quit too.
I have grown much closer to my wife and kids, my sex life is better and I sleep a lot better. 
I am physically fit but I used to get out of breath walking up a flight of stairs – now it is a breeze.
Some people I know who have used Champix went back to smoking because they didn’t really want to quit. It’s important that you have reasons to quit, and that you really want it.
When you use Champix you eventually come to a T junction: you either go back to smoking, or you continue on the path to quitting.
It was a significant moment when I thought ‘enough is enough’ and threw my leftover tobacco in the bin.
I have quit for 54 days now and I really can’t stand the smell of cigarette smoke any more.
I have often heard people say “I’m dying for a cigarette!” – well, go ahead, light your next one up and see if you really enjoy it!
I am proud to have finally quit and encourage every smoker to give it their best shot.”


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