Thousands of chemical compounds are generated by cigarette smoke and many of them are poisons. Carbon monoxide is released during smoking, reducing the amount of oxygen to the brain and other organs such as the lungs and heart. Nicotine is not only addictive, but also acts as a cancer promoter, making it easier for cancer cells of all types to spread throughout the body. Tar, which is formed when organic compounds are burned, is the leading cancer-causing chemical found in tobacco smoke.
What’s the dangers of smoking?
- 10 x risk of lung cancer
- Cancers of: mouth, throat, pancreas, kidney, bladder, uterus, breast, prostate and colon
- 2 x risk of heart disease
- Chronic bronchitis
- Peptic ulcer
- Kidney disease
- Slows wound healing
- Facial Wrinkling
- Premature Ageing
Start by making smoking inconvenient. Stop carrying cigarettes and lighters with you. Avoid the habitual smoking memory triggers, people and places. Implement some healthier habit in replacement of smoking e.g. chewing gum, drinking herbal tea etc. Participate in more exercise to experience the relaxing endorphin high that exercise brings. On the emotional side, smoking becomes a reinforced habit because it is used as a means to avoid addressing stressful situations and thus self-introspection into the emotional triggers is very helpful. When you anticipate these stressful situations recurring at work or home and reach for the cigarettes then this is where the combination of willpower, positive thinking and new healthy habits are essential. When you have achieved a manageable routine then fix a date to give up entirely.
What happens after you quit smoking?
Within 24 hours after you have your last cigarette, your body will begin to heal itself. The levels of carbon monoxide and nicotine in your system will decline rapidly, and your heart and lungs will begin to repair the damage caused by cigarette smoke. Within a few days, you will probably begin to notice some remarkable changes in your body. Your sense of smell and taste may improve. You will breathe easier, and your smoker cough will disappear. You will be free from the mess, smell, inconvenience, expense and dependence of cigarette smoking.
Managing smoking withdrawal
As your body begins to repair itself, instead of feeling better right away, you may feel worse for a while. These withdrawal pangs are really symptoms of the recovery process. Immediately after quitting, many ex-smokers experience symptoms of recovery such as temporary weight gain caused by fluid retention, irregular heart rhythms and dry, sore gums or tongue. These and other physical and emotional symptoms are the result of your body clearing itself of nicotine, a powerful addictive chemical. Most nicotine is gone from the body after several days.
It is important to understand that the unpleasant after-effects of quitting are only temporary and signal the beginning of a healthier life. Each day after you have quit you have added healthy productive days to your life and greatly improved your chances to live longer. You will have significantly reduced your risk of death from heart disease, stroke, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and several kinds of cancer – not just lung cancer. Additionally you have conquered a most challenging addiction and given a healthy example for your acquaintances who still smoke to follow!
Herbs to Assist Smoking Detoxification and Prevent Lung Damage
Andrographis paniculata and Curcuma longa (curcumin) are 2 of the most well researched antioxidant and anti-cancer herbs to protect your lungs from oxidative damage and support your ability to detoxify nicotine and the myriad of toxic chemicals that have accumulated in body tissues. Please follow the links below to see some of the recent studies in this regard.
Hempedu Bumi (Andrographis) nicotine toxicity / smoking protection studies:
- Oxidative stress in the brain of nicotine-induced toxicity: protective role of Andrographis paniculata Nees and vitamin E.
- Andrographolide Protects against Cigarette Smoke-Induced Lung Inflammation through Activation of Heme Oxygenase-1.
- Andrographolide protects against cigarette smoke-induced oxidative lung injury via augmentation of Nrf2 activity.
- In vitro nicotine induced superoxide mediated DNA fragmentation in lymphocytes: protective role of Andrographis paniculata Nees.
Curcuma longa / Curcumin nicotine toxicity / smoking protection studies:
- Resveratrol and curcumin synergistically induces apoptosis in cigarette smoke condensate transformed breast epithelial cells through a p21(Waf1/Cip1) mediated inhibition of Hh-Gli signaling.
- Inhibition of tobacco smoke-induced bladder MAPK activation and epithelial-mesenchymal transition in mice by curcumin
- Curcumin Suppresses MAPK Pathways to Reverse Tobacco Smoke-induced Gastric Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition in Mice.
- Free and nanoencapsulated curcumin prevents cigarette smoke-induced cognitive impairment and redox imbalance.
- Curcumin protects against cigarette smoke-induced cognitive impairment and increased acetylcholinesterase activity in rats.
- Effects of curcumin on the activities of the enzymes that hydrolyse adenine nucleotides in platelets from cigarette smoke-exposed rats.
- The effect of curcumin in the ectonucleotidases and acetylcholinesterase activities in synaptosomes from the cerebral cortex of cigarette smoke-exposed rats.
- Curcumin Inhibits Carcinogen and Nicotine-Induced Mammalian Target of Rapamycin Pathway Activation in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma
- Comparative effects of curcumin and its synthetic analogue on tissue lipid peroxidation and antioxidant status during nicotine-induced toxicity