How smoking affects your health (by Simon)
Many e-cigarette users decide to make the switch from smoking either because of direct health issues or the worry of health problems in the future. For me personally, I was diagnosed with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) over a decade ago. It's a bit of a 'catch all' term that is used to describe many different types of lung disease including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and some types of asthma. My lungs are badly damaged from 30 years of smoking, my lung capacity and functionality is essentially that of a very old man. I get breathless walking up hills especially. I am in no doubt that smoking has caused this, and I am in no doubt that switching to vaping has improved my health.
The actual long-term damage to my lungs is pretty much irreversible in all probability, but I feel safe in stating that since I've been using e-cigarettes for the last 3 years, it hasn't got any worse and many of my other symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and reoccurring chest infections have all but disappeared completely. This is one of the reasons I'm so passionate about vaping and e-cigarette use, it's why I care. My “smoker's cough”, or to put it in a less polite and more truthful way, “hacking up phlegm for 10 minutes every morning” was the first thing to go, it stopped completely after just a few weeks of switching to vaping. Waking up and feeling good (instead of my usual terrible self) was something I was not used to and that alone transformed my daily life.
Part of me feels it's a little pointless writing about how smoking effects people's health. It's almost impossible to find someone who hasn't had a family member or friend die from a smoking related illness. But I think for a lot of us it doesn't really hit home until you experience it personally and until the doctor says “I'm sorry you have lung cancer” or “I'm sorry you have heart disease” or in my case “Simon, if you don't stop smoking you probably won't be able to walk to the shop and back by the time you are 50”. And of course at that point it's too late.
Trying to frighten smokers doesn't seem to work. We see the images on cigarette packets, the advertisements on TV, we've been told so many times but we continue to ignore all warnings and we continue to smoke.
It's a foolish trap to fall into thinking that the “preachy nanny-state government” or “the preachy ex-smoker” isn't going to tell you what to do. You enjoy smoking and you will continue to smoke no matter what, it's your right. We all have to die of something, we are all going to die sometime, my granny is 90 and smoked all her life and she's fit as a fiddle... I've heard it all before and often, much to my own shame, from my own mouth.
If you want to argue for your right to damage your own body and increase your chances of serious diseases and health complications by smoking then you have every right to do that. If you want to argue that it's your right to give tobacco companies your money rather than go on nice holidays or have a nice car then then be my guest, that is completely your choice. But you cannot ignore the facts at the same time.
- Smoking causes 84% of deaths from lung cancer and 83% of deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
- More than 93% of throat cancers are caused by smoking.
- Smokers have an increased chance of getting stomach cancer or ulcers.
- If you regularly smoke 10 cigarettes a day, you are one and a half times more likely to develop kidney cancer compared with a non-smoker.
- Smoking doubles your risk of having a heart attack, and if you smoke you have twice the risk of dying from coronary heart disease than lifetime non-smokers.
- In women smoking also increases your risk of cervical cancer.
- Smoking damages your heart and your blood circulation, increasing the risk of conditions such as coronary heart disease, heart attack, stroke, peripheral vascular disease.
(Facts quoted from www.nhs.uk/smokefree please go there for more information and further reading)
But I don't think I really need to go on do I? We know the risks we are taking with our health as smokers.
When you are a smoker it's really hard to look outside and imagine yourself being a non-smoker. I was the same for years, decades in fact. I'd almost got to the point where I was resigned to the fact that I was going to die a smoker and that it would probably finish me off sooner rather than later. Looking back, it's hard understand why I thought that way. I have two children and for a while I wasn't sure if I was going to spend their 18th birthdays in hospital on antibiotics and a nebuliser or even get to see their 18th birthdays at all! Why I would continue to do something that was having such a negative effect on my health and my life seems like utter madness to me now, but for some reason I was almost accepting of it.
If you ask me how smoking has affected my health, I would tell you that I cannot say with any certainty at all that I would be here typing this now if I had continued smoking... and that will always be more frightening to me than any warning on a cigarette packet.
Simon - My Vape Box