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Old 04-11-2016, 01:41 AM   #1
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Default A Killer Called Cigarettes

A Killer Called Cigarettes

By Philip S Chua M.D.

Do cigarettes really kill?

With all the overwhelming scientific evidences the medical community now has on the deleterious health effects of tobacco (more specifically cigarettes) on various organs of the human body, there is no question
whatsoever that cigarettes maim and kill.

It may take years, but eventually the smokers (both active and passive) suffer the adverse health consequences of cigarettes and the nicotine in them from the very first puff.

Without realizing it, or perhaps not wanting to admit it, smokers are killing themselves, committing suicide, slowly.

How does nicotine work?

Just like many "central acting" drugs, nicotine works on the brain and the "nerve" system.

When one smokes a cigarette, nicotine is absorbed rapidly through the buccal mucosa (lining of the mouth) into the blood circulation, faster than heroin given intravenously in the arm. And when the smoker inhales
the smokes, nicotine is drawn into the lungs and into the blood circulation also.

This nicotine-filled blood is pumped by the heart to the brain and all over the body. It takes only seven seconds for the nicotine to reach the brain, and this sudden burst of nicotine gives an instant "high." If
the smoker is a pregnant woman, the nicotine also gets to the fetus through the connecting arteries.

How does nicotine provide "relaxation"?

Nicotine acts in a dual role. In the early part of the day, it acts like an "upper," speeding up many body reactions like a stimulant.

Late in the day, it acts like a "downer" and seems to act like a sedative and help people relax. How nicotine affects the body depends on the amount of nicotine, time elapsed from the last cigarette, stress level, the personality of the smoker, and even the time of the day.

What are the effects of nicotine?

In large amount, nicotine, like other addictive drugs (heroin and cocaine), is a poison. Nicotine has been used to kill insects. Nicotine causes tachycardia (fast heart beat), which causes tachypnea (fast
breathing), resulting in increased oxygen consumption of the body.

Nicotine also causes spasm in the arteries, narrowing its caliber and thus slowing the flow of blood. It also causes an increase in the blood pressure as the arteries constrict to smaller caliber.

Nicotine also thickens the blood, resulting in the tendency of the smoker's body to form blood clots.
It also increases the speed of hardening of the arteries, making the cholesterol (fats) adhere to the walls of the arteries at a faster rate. This can cause heart attacks, stroke or blockage of arteries in the carotid (neck) arteries, renal (kidney) arteries or leg arteries.

Tobacco also causes many forms of cancers: lungs, throat, breast, stomach, kidney, liver, pancreas, urinary bladder, uterus, etc.

Why should smokers quit?

As we stated earlier, cigarette smoking kills. This has been scientifically proven beyond any doubt, time and again.

One out of four smokers dies prematurely because of smoking. One person dies every minute (at least five persons have died since you started reading this article the past five minutes) of heart attack, a cigarette-related illness, not to mention those from the various cancers. In the past, it was "cool" to smoke, but today, it is considered a dirty habit, a deadly habit.

The trend now to have a smoke-free society, smoke-free public places, like airports, airlines, libraries, restaurants, etc. The air pollution from cigarette smokes also causes illnesses among non-smokers exposed
to secondhand smokes.

What other illnesses can cigarette smoking cause?

Emphysema of the lungs, stroke, cancer of the lungs, cancer of the urinary bladder, cancer of the breasts and other female organs, cancer of the throat and the mouth, are a few of them.

These should be enough to scare us all.

Among pregnant women who smoke, their fetuses are also adversely affected, making the children more prone to respiratory diseases, bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, etc. Smoking is not only an act of "suicide" but also an act that could cause harm to family members and other people, not to mention the expenses for this dangerous habit and its effect on our home, to the public, and to our environment.

What are the helpful hints and strategy to quit smoking?

First and foremost is making a firm decision to quit. Your mind must be convinced that smoking can bring you premature death, not to mention the illnesses, pain, suffering (physical, emotional and financial), and other hardships you and your family will go through. Once you are convinced and resolved, plan a strategy:

1. Pick a good time to quit. Do not try to quit when you are under a lot of stress from certain incidents or situation in your life, or during the holidays. Quitting "cold turkey" has been found to be more
effective by many who have successfully quit the habit, than doing it "gradually."

2. Understand and accept that when you start to quit, you might feel strange, anxious, sleepy or excited, lightheaded, irritable, nervous, or nauseated, have abdominal cramps, improved appetite, develop headaches and, of course, you will have a craving for tobacco. You have to understand and accept these temporary side-effects of quitting.

3. Start an exercise regimen like walking so many miles a day, or around your block, or in a gym, or do ballroom dancing regularly. Exercise is a big boost to the feeling of well-being as it increases the secretion of adrenalin and endomorphins circulating in our blood stream.
Exercise also improves our spirit and emotional stability.

4. Get plenty of sleep, have a balanced diet and drink a lot of water. Instead of a cigarette in your mouth, chew gum or suck on candies, as a temporary substitute.

5. Talk to your friends and family members telling them your decision to quit, and ask for their patience and understanding while you go through the process of quitting from this addiction, when you are irritable,

6. If you do not succeed, try quitting again, and again until you succeed. Many quitters have been successful after two or three attempts. The stronger the personality and the more disciplined the person is the
easier he/she can quit. So, do not give up. Keep on trying.

7. If there are two or more of you (husband and wife, couples who are friends, or two or more friends), quitting as a group has been found to be easier and more successful. You could even have meetings to hear
about the progress of your "group project."

8. Talk to your physicians about Zyban (bupropion hydrocholoride) pills to aid you quit smoking.

Quit the habit, be healthier, and discover the new person in you.

Philip S. Chua, M.D., is Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus in Northwest Indiana, where he had practiced cardiovascular and thoracic surgery since 1972,
after his Fellowship at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston Texas under the world-renowned heart transplant surgeon, Denton A. Cooley, M.D.

He is currently the Chairman of Cardiovascular Surgery at the Cebu Cardiovascular Center at Cebu Doctors' Hospital in Cebu City, Philippines, where he shuttles to every other month from Munster, Indiana, to perform cardiac surgery with his heart surgery team. His email address is



Please include link back to Antesian Road To Enlightenment in forwarded material

There are days, even after 17 years, that I still think a cigarette would be a good solution. Yet the truth is, I would die quicker picking up a cigarette than I would a drink or a drug of another kind. I was talking with a friend tonight, we both have allergies and she smokes and I don't. She still has asthma attacks. When I quit smoking, I found out that I was allergic to all kinds of smoke, even bonfires and fireplaces. Neither of us can be near most scented candles, but for me, it is the smoke from the candle when I blow it out. I have to open a window.

I used the 12 Steps of NA to quit smoking and lost 3 lbs. I wanted to be a clean, clear channel. I didn't want to quit. I had to pray for the willingness to be willing to quit.

Love always,


I share because I care.

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