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Diabetes is one of the most common diseases in the Caribbean, along with Prostate Cancer which is regular in most black men. While diabetes and most cancers are often inherited by family genes, the effects of Tobacco are not. Tobacco has many bad health effects, particularly for people with diabetes. Some think that because they’ve been smoking some many years, stopping smoking now will not help them – for the damage is already done. What they fail to realize that no matter how long you’ve smoked, your health will improve after you quit.

Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances known- that’s the drug in tobacco. Besides having a physical addiction, Nicotine has a psychological hook on smokers. I can manifest to this, because I too was a cigarette smoker. Cigarettes players such a psychological role on your mind, that there are times when your whole body is aching for that hit of nicotine and without you feel sick – talk about irony. I have this friend who was so psychologically affected by nicotine that she made sure that for every cigarette she had there was enough match to light each one. So kicking the habit is hard, but worth the work.

Smoking Hurts Really Yours Health
The best known effect of smoking is that it causes cancer. But what most people are not aware of, is that smoking can also aggravate many problems that people with diabetes already face, such as heart and blood vessel disease:

  • Smoking cuts the amount of oxygen reaching tissues. The decrease in oxygen can lead to a heart attack, stroke, miscarriage, or stillbirth.
  • Smoking increases your cholesterol levels and the levels of some other fats in your blood, raising your risk of a heart attack.
  • Smoking damages and constricts the blood vessels. This damage can worsen foot ulcers and lead to blood vessel disease and leg and foot infections.
  • Smokers with diabetes are more likely to get nerve damage and kidney disease.
  • Smokers get colds and respiratory infections easier.
  • Smoking increases your risk for limited joint mobility.
  • Smoking can cause cancer of the mouth, throat, lung, and bladder.
  • People with diabetes who smoke are three times as likely to die of cardiovascular disease as are other people with diabetes.
  • Smoking increases your blood pressure.
  • Smoking raises your blood sugar level, making it harder to control your diabetes.
  • Smoking can cause impotence.

Why Quitting Smoking Is So Hard

There are two reasons why quitting smoking is so hard. First, nicotine is highly addictive, and someone who quits smoking goes through what is called the withdrawal symptoms. For examples being irritable, sweating, having headaches, diarrhea, or constipation, as well as feeling restless, tired, or dizzy. Withdrawal tends to be worst on the second day after quitting, after time it lessens.

Second, many people become psychologically tied to smoking. It is part of their daily ritual. It helps them wake up in the morning, comforts them when they are upset, and rewards them for a job well done. Smoking also has pleasurable physical effects. It relaxes people and perks them up.

How to Prepare to Quit Smoking

Believe or not, but the first step to quitting is to study your own smoking habits. What events or activities make you light up? How often do you smoke?

Once you have an idea of when and why you smoke, you can look for replacements for smoking. For example, smoking may relax you. If so, learn and practice another way to relax, such as deep breathing and relaxation exercises. If smoking gives you energy, try standing and stretching or taking a walk whenever you start to feel the urge to smoke.

In my case, I knew exactly when my urge for smoking was the most intense, soon after I had a meal or even snack. I had to light up, and it got to the point where that my body would reject the food I just ate if I didn’t smoke a cigarette. 😥

Before you quit, it’s also a good idea to plan rewards for sticking to you goal. For example, you might go to your favorite restaurant for dinner to reward yourself for each week you don’t smoke. The whole idea is to setting short–term goals on how you’re going to stop smoking during that period, and when you accomplish that goal reward yourself. In my case I use to put the money that I would use to buy cigarette into a jar and use it to buy books or CDs or clothes.

Also, set up a support group — family or friends who will give you support. Former smokers understand what you’re going through and may be especially supportive. The more people you tell you are quitting, the more your pride will help you resist lighting up.

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2 Comments »

Comment by Larry
2007-09-18 16:03:00

Hi Chris,

I’m one day 8 of quitting. Not pleasant. My long term reward is returning to Dominica and enjoying the hiking I love – smoke free!

2007-09-18 16:11:29

Larry… Thats a great reward 😛 Keep up the good work – Smoke free ❗

 
 
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