A-Z of Health Q – Quit Smoking
I hold my hands up, I could not think of a single Q related health condition that would fit the A-Z of Health so I used it as an opportunity to highlight what could be the biggest health improvement anyone can make and that is to Quit Smoking!
I know that everyone who smokes knows the risks (it’s hard not to) and that they are nasty things but just to reiterate here’s some facts from the NHS: –
- Smoking is one of the biggest causes of death and illness in the UK
- Smoking increases your risk of developing more than 50 serious health conditions.
- Smoking causes cancer (7 out of 10 cases of lung cancer and is linked to many other cancers including mouth, throat, voice box, oesophagus, bladder, bowel, cervix, kidney, liver, stomach, pancreas)
Not only that
If you’re a smoker, stopping smoking is the single most important step you can take to protect the health of your heart – Smokers are almost twice as likely to have a heart attack compared with people who have never smoked.British Heart Foundation
Smoking can lead to chronic lung conditions such as COPD and will worsen any existing lung conditions such as asthma.
Smoking impacts on fertility for both men and women and can cause impotence in men due to restricted blood supply
Passive smoking is almost as dangerous (don’t forget pets inhale second hand smoke too) again from the NHS:
- Babies and children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of second-hand smoke.
- A child who’s exposed to passive smoke is at increased risk of developing chest infections, meningitis, a persistent cough and, if they have asthma their symptoms will get worse.
- They’re also at increased risk of cot death and an ear infection called glue ear.
- Second-hand smoke is a lethal cocktail of more than 4,000 irritants, toxins and cancer-causing substances.
- Most second-hand smoke is invisible and odourless, so no matter how careful you think you’re being, people around you still breathe in the harmful poisons.
Second hand smoke lingers on your person, your hair, your clothes, your possessions you may not smell it or notice it but others definitely do.
How does nutrition feature? Well there are multiple negative health associations with smoking, none of which good nutrition (not even the best diet) can combat.
As a smoker you will have an increased need for antioxidants as smoking produces free radical damage. Your nutrient intake would need to be considerably higher to give the body a chance at fighting back at something which debilitates natural resources and opens the body up to a host of health problems. This will not undo any damage though you will be fighting a constant battle unless you stop smoking.
As a smoker any nutrients you do manage to eat may be depleted by the harmful cocktail of chemicals you are inhaling – in this way we describe smoking as an anti-nutrient as it robs your body. You will be likely to be deficient in many key nutrients including those responsible for protecting against the damage your smoking causes, in this sense smoking is bad for nutrition in two key ways;
- It causes the damage in the first place
- It prevents the body from protecting against the damage (anti-nutrient)
I cannot help you to stop smoking you need to seek professional help to do so. I can only raise awareness of the damage smoking causes even if you have a healthy diet and exercise your body cannot cope with smoking and children, in particular cannot cope with passive smoking.
I can help you to boost your immunity once you have stopped smoking and to build up your immune system to repair the damage caused by smoking.
About the author of this blog
Louise Mercieca is a multi award-winning author on children’s nutrition with her book ‘How Food Shapes Your Child’ winning the Parenting award in Janey Lee Grace’s Platinum awards. Louise is the host of Early Years TV Food Channel – a channel dedicated to children’s health and nutrition. https://www.louisemercieca.co.uk/early-years-tv-food-channel
Louise has also won a SBS or Small Business Sunday award from Theo Paphitis and was recently crowned as Queen of Child Nutrition in the #Queenof Twitter awards.
Louise has worked as a Nutritional Therapist for 8 years supporting hundreds of clients and does take on a limited number of personal coaching clients each month – contact Louise to discuss this. Louise has also created an accessible and affordable webinar schedule covering many topics discussed in this A-Z post series.