When you lit your first cigarette, you knew it will harm your body but you went ahead and smoked it anyway. Quit smoking campaigns never bothered you much. If we asked you how many cigarettes have you smoked since that day, you’d probably say “I wasn’t keeping count!”. But you can see that your body keeps count as each cigarette has left several indelible scars.
Here’s how almost every part of your body can be severely damaged by what appears to be an enjoyable and harmless habit to you:
Your Brain: Nicotine Addiction, which causes increased craving for nicotine and makes you anxious and irritable when you are not smoking.
Your Ears: Mild to moderate hearing loss due to reduced oxygen supply to the cochlea.
Your Eyes: Impaired night vision and blindness. Nicotine restricts production of a chemical that facilitates night vision and increases the risk of developing macular degeneration and cataract, which can lead to blindness.
Your Mouth: Dental cavities, mouth ulcers, gum diseases, oral cancer, etc. Smoking can play havoc with your teeth and gums.
Your Face: Wrinkles and dull skin tone. Smoking causes your skin to lose elasticity and become dry and stretched. This makes your face look much older than you are.
Your Heart: Hypertension, heart attack, stroke. Smoking increases blood pressure and reduces oxygen supply to the heart. It also results in making your blood sticky and thick causing severe damage to blood vessels over the years. Smoking increases unhealthy fats and cholesterol in the blood, which can build up and block the arteries causing a heart attack or stroke.
Your Lungs: Permanent scarring occurs as smoking causes inflammation in the airways and lung tissue. Smoking destroys the alveoli (air sacs) and as these air sacs do not have the ability to regenerate, in time it will lead to emphysema, which causes severe shortness of breath that could lead to death. Smoking also kills the cilia in your lungs, which are thin strands of hair lining the airways that help keep the lungs clean by brushing out dirt and mucus. If the cilia are destroyed, you open yourself up to various respiratory infections.
Your DNA: Each puff of smoke that you take damages your DNA. Damaged DNA means the various cells that make up your body run the risk of abnormal growth leading to cancerous tumours especially in the lungs.
Your Stomach: Smoking causes increase in belly fat and a higher risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, which can lead to renal failure, cardiac diseases, blindness, and amputations.
Your Sexual Organs: Smoking is one of the main causes of erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. It can also damage the genetic material in your sperm causing genetic defects in your offspring or infertility.
Your Immune System: Your white blood cell count will be at a dangerous high, which shows your body is valiantly trying to fight the inflammation caused by smoking. This high WBC count can further increase risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease. As smoking results in constricting blood vessels, wound healing takes much longer due to the decreased supply of nutrients. With time, the body loses its ability to fight and becomes more susceptible to auto-immune diseases like multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis.
Your Muscles: Smoking reduces the flow of blood and oxygen to your muscles, which over time leads to tiredness in the muscles and stunted muscle growth.
Your Bones: Smoking causes thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone density. It also retards new growth of bone tissue. This results in an increased risk of fractures and a slowed down bone healing process.
And the list goes on!. Do you plan to quit smoking now? Ayurveda can help you. A few changes that you make in your diet and lifestyle will help you to curb the urge to light a cigarette.
Ayurvedic drugs to help you quit smoking
- Refrain from acidic food like coffee, tea, alcohol, pasta and bread.
- Whenever you have the urge to smoke, sip herbal tea mixed with cinnamon and sweet flag.
- Chewing liquorice root is a best alternative to cigarette. The taste and smell of this root will satisfy your cravings for a cigarette.
- Use aromatic essential oils of lavender, tea tree, lemon grass or orange in the room and car to avoid the urge.
- Take 1 tsp of triphala churna every night to help recover the digestive system and immunity from the effects of smoking.
- Taking chyavanaprash daily before going to bed will rejuvenate your lung and help it recover from the effects of smoking.
- Socialize more with non smokers.
- Start a hobby and divert your attention to it.
- Start practicing breathing exercises like pranayama and yoga. Anulom-vilom, sheetali and sitkari pranayama are helpful. Shavasana calms the mind.
It’s never too late to quit smoking. If you stop now, your body will have more time to repair itself. You will almost instantly see how your health improves the moment you quit. Your breathing will be easier and you will be more active. In time, you can nurture all your damaged body parts back to good health. But, this is possible only if you quit smoking now. Don’t smoke away your health!