We know it’s hard, but many marvellous things are in store for your body once you kick the butt!
Mark Twain once famously said of smoking, “Quitting is easy. I’ve done it a thousand times.” But what he failed to add were the almost unbelievable physiological changes that your body goes through, almost immediately, once you stop smoking. Of course, if he had, he wouldn’t have sounded as funny. Twenty minutes after your last puff, your blood pressure and pulse return to normal. Eight hours later, the oxygen levels in your blood return to normal, and the very next day, your lungs start to clear the tar that’s been built up. After a year of not smoking, the risk of heart attack is halved.
According to a recent study published in medical journal Lancet, smoking among Indians is more widespread than you’d think. An average Indian woman takes up smoking at 17.5 years, while the average Indian man starts at 18.8 years. Smoking is eight times more prevalent among Indian men than women, but women puff more cigarettes a day (seven) than men (six). According to the president of Public Health Foundation of India Dr K Srinath Reddy, “Women and girls are the new target of tobacco companies.”
If you’re a smoker, the nicotine has already rewired your body’s chemical composition, which is what makes quitting so tough. But these statistics are alarming, and with growing evidence that cigarettes cause cancer, potential quitters have every reason to follow through with their resolution. Whether you go cold turkey like Ranbir Kapoor recently did, or you take the help of nicotine patches (don’t bother with electric cigarettes, a recent study found that the smoke they emit is harmful, too), the health benefits of quitting are many.
Let’s begin with money. An average pack costs Rs 110, and if you smoke a pack a day, that comes to Rs 3,300 a month, or Rs 39,600 a year. That’s how much you’d save if you quit. If you smoke two packs a day, you’d save nearly Rs 80,000. That’s a holiday trip to Goa, or Thailand right there.
Stopping smoking will also:
– Boost your brainpower – Ex-smokers have better reasoning skills and memory than current ones.
– Help you look younger – Smoking prematurely ages skin by up to 20 years and makes you four times more likely to go gray.
– Increase your fertility – A study found women smokers reduced their chance of conceiving by a third.
– Improve your smile – The habit is linked to gum disease teeth stains and bad breath.
– Protect your vision – It doubles your risk of age-related macular degeneration.
– Make your kids happy – 98 per cent of children with a smoking parent wishes that they’d quit.
“If you catch me smoking, kill me, burn me, call me fake,” Kapoor told a journalist recently. “I took a bet with my mother that if Barfi! became a hit, I would quit. I play football and because of smoking, my stamina has gone down. My friends tell me that smoking also lowers your mojo.”
Kapoor is partly correct – his mojo, we’re well aware, is alive and kicking – but there are other advantages to kicking the butt.