Kicking the tobacco habit is among the best things that you can do for you and your body. Smoking leads to many preventable diseases. You may find it soothing, but the inhalation of toxic smoke stresses your body. If you break free of the habit now, you improve not only the quality of your life, but also add years to it.

The idea of quitting can be a tall order for a life-long smoker. Cigarettes contain nicotine, a highly addictive chemical. Once you are hooked, the brain needs nicotine to produce that calm feeling that you have when you smoke. Habitual smokers have a dependency on nicotine. Quitting can be difficult when withdrawal symptoms occur (such as headaches, irritability, etc.). If you have ever tried to quit, you know how tough it is, but it is worth it.

As a smoker, what you gain in pleasure is lost in health benefits. You are inhaling a number of toxic chemicals, and your body cannot get the oxygen it needs. Smoking damages your lungs and greatly increases your odds of getting emphysema, chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, cancer and other potentially fatal diseases.

Smokeless tobacco (e.g., snuff and chewing tobacco) is just as harmful. The Centers for Disease Control found 28 chemicals that cause cancer in chewing tobacco, which can significantly increase the chances of getting oral cancer. All forms of smokeless tobacco contain nicotine and carbon monoxide. The American Dental Association lists tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss as additional inherent risks.

Our bodies are not built to handle excessive amounts of internal smoke. The American Heart Association states that smoking causes the blood vessels to constrict, making the heart work overtime in its attempts to pump blood to the rest of the body. Also, breathing in that much carbon monoxide denies your vital organs the oxygen they need to function. The strain that smoking puts on your heart raises your blood pressure. It can also cause your blood to clot. Smokers are twice as likely to have a heart attack or a stroke.

In general, respiratory problems make it difficult to be physically active for long periods of time, which can limit your on-the-job performance. Further, due to the common presence of toxic chemicals, work in construction can compound the danger for Laborers. For example, if exposed to asbestos fibers, smokers are 55 times more likely than non-smokers to get lung cancer.

If you smoke, the best time to quit is now. You will improve your health and the health of those around you. The LHSFNA has numerous publications to help you kick the habit. Order materials online. For more reasons to quit, read Are You a Laborer Who Smokes?

[Jennifer E. Jones]