If you say “I’ll give up one day”, here’s the day to do it
National Youth Tobacco Free Day is on Friday 27 March and you don’t have to be young or a smoker to take part.
Smoking is no longer considered cool, rebellious or attractive. For starters, cigarettes give you bad breath, stained teeth and smelly hair, so non-smokers are not just healthier, they are more attractive to the opposite sex.
If you are a smoker, Tobacco Free Day is an occasion to see if you can spend the whole day free of tobacco. Many smokers believe they can stop when they want to, so you can plan for this date to and see if that’s the case.
Often people find it extremely hard to quit smoking because of their nicotine addiction and withdrawal symptoms. Hours after a cigarette, the nicotine level in a smoker’s body begins to decrease, making them crave another cigarette. This next cigarette ‘tops up’ the amount of nicotine in their body.
Immediate effects on the body from just one cigarette include decreased oxygen levels in the lungs, increased heart rate, pulse rate and blood pressure and decreased blood flow to the hands and feet.
Tobacco smoke contains over 4000 chemicals, many of them causing cancer. When someone smokes they breathe in tar, metals hydrogen cyanide, pesticides and radioactive compounds.
Carbon monoxide is one of the lethal substances that can be found in cigarettes and so smokers have toxic levels of carbon monoxide in their blood. Fortunately, when you give up smoking, the carbon monoxide level in your blood begins to drop in only eight hours. As your carbon monoxide falls, the amount of oxygen in your blood increases to optimal levels.
Within a couple of hours after you stop smoking, your heart rate and blood pressure will almost immediately decrease to normal or healthy levels. Plus, your circulation considerably improves, and you will likely feel a warming sensation in your hands & feet.
If you discover that you can’t go the day without a cigarette, you might want to think of other ways to quit tobacco, such as nicotine replacement therapy involving patches or gum.
If you’re a mature aged smoker, you might want to try going the day without tobacco for the sake of younger people around you.
Smoke escapes from the burning end of a cigarette as well as from the smoker’s mouth when they breathe out. When you are around someone who is smoking, you are breathing in their smoke too. This is known as passive smoking and it can cause sore, watery eyes and respiratory problems such as pneumonia and bronchitis.
Peer group pressure has always been associated with making smoking acceptable, so if you are a non-smoker, Tobacco Free Day is a great opportunity to do something to help your friends and relatives give up smoking.
OxyGen is an Australian website dedicated to informing young people about tobacco and its use in Australia.
The website is animated and features many informative fact sheets to help with assignments, links, e-cards, latest news items and cool interactive games.
The website is also a portal for educators to access a large range of tobacco education resources and support materials that aim to reduce the prevalence of youth smoking. Links and contact details of state organisations are listed as further sources of information.
The OxyGen website is a joint initiative of the WA Smarter than Smoking Project, Quit SA and Quit Victoria and is at www.OxyGen.org.au .