The reason I wanted to write this blog is because there are so many people in Italy that smoke. It seems that in order to be in style, you must also smoke. It seems to be the "moda". I don't believe that people really understand the effects of it and may just be uneducated about the serious ramifications of smoking and how to quit. One of my friends here (I won't say who...) has been struggling to help her family take care of her father who recently had surgery for throat cancer. He has been a smoker his entire life and his cancer is directly linked to his history of smoking. This was a real wake up call for her and she has said that she now wants to quit smoking herself. Unfortunately, it takes something like this for people to realize how aweful it is! This has been on my mind a lot lately due to her situation, and also the fact that every time I open a window in our apartment, smoke wafts in from the neighbors. In the past few weeks they have been like chimneys and have smoked constantly. I wish I could open a window and get some FRESH air!!
According to cancer.org, 20.6% of the American population smokes (about 1 in 5). By smoking, men lose more than 13 years on their life, and women lose over 14 years of their life. I think the statistics are higher in Italy- probably closer to 30-35% of people smoke (but I've been unable to find reliable statistics).
"As serious as cancer is, it accounts for less than half of the deaths related to smoking each year. Smoking is a major cause of heart disease, aneurysms, bronchitis, emphysema, and stroke.
Using tobacco can damage a woman's reproductive health and hurt babies. Tobacco use is linked with reduced fertility and a higher risk of miscarriage, early delivery (premature birth), and stillbirth. It is also a cause of low birth-weight in infants. It has been linked to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), too"(www.cancer.org).
For all of my friends and family that smoke- please reconsider! It may seem like something that won't affect you until later in life and may not affect you at all. This my be true, but the statistics are not on your side. There are also immediate side effects to smoking as well. Like the loss of lung capacity- have you ever seen someone run a marathon while smoking? "Adult women who smoke start losing lung function in early adulthood"(www.cancer.org). Phlem- I notice that people who smoke have a "smokers cough" because of the phlem in their lungs/throat, and this is not healthy! "Smoking damages the airways and small air sacs in the lungs. This can cause chronic coughing, wheezing, trouble breathing, and long-term lung disease. More than 75% of deaths due to chronic bronchitis and emphysema -- together these are known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) -- are caused by smoking"(www.cancer.org). Not to mention if you smoke, your breath smells BAD! This along with the long term effects are just too scary for me to not request that you quit smoking.
Quitting- It may be the best thing you ever do!
There are many resources out there to help you quit! "Quitting can help reduce the risk of many of the health effects listed above. The risk of heart disease is greatly reduced just 1 to 2 years after quitting. The risk of stroke returns to normal 10 to 15 years after quitting. Many women are afraid to quit for fear of gaining weight. Some women who quit smoking do add a few pounds, mostly in the first year. Figures vary, but women gain an average of around 10 pounds after quitting. This amount of weight gain can usually be controlled through diet and exercise. And the health benefits of quitting are much greater than any problems posed by a small weight gain"(www.cancer.org).
Some immediate benefits of quiting include stained teeth becomming whiter, your sense of smell goes back to normal, food tastes better, smelly clothes and hair go away, yellow fingers/finger nails go away, your breath smells better and everyday activities will not leave you out of breath.
Please consider this and seek out help if you want to quit. Talk to your doctor, or read up online for more information. This is a great page that helps guide you on your way to quitting: Cancer.org guide to quitting smoking. Of course, there are many other resources out there, but this can at least be a start.