I Quit Club – Everybody Loves A Quitter

There are a couple of things that I’m glad I didn’t do growing up. Of those that I’m most glad I didn’t do, never having picked up smoking is one of the tops on my list. I have my dad to thank for that. Before his retirement, he worked in a tobacco cigarette company pretty much all his life. He was surrounded by smokers constantly and one of the perks for working in such a company was of course, free smokes. It puzzled me then as to why he didn’t pick up smoking. It was so easy for him to start puffing. Smokes were everywhere! I asked and he basically told me plainly that working in a tobacco cigarette company and being in the manufacturing department, he knows how harmful cigarettes are to a human body. He didn’t make a big deal out of the whole smoking topic and didn’t lecture me about not picking up the habit etc. His words stuck however, and echoed in my mind strongly whilst I was growing up… If my dad didn’t pick up the habit despite being surrounded by free smokes all the time, it must be really really bad! That’s how I pretty much ‘survived’ through my teenage and growing up years, avoiding temptations to sneak a puff ‘just to try’ when my friends around were all doing so.

Now that I’m all grown and where peer pressure and such don’t have the slightest bit of effect on me no more, boy can I say that thank goodness, my dad was such a strong example. Do you know how ugly you can get from smoking?! (I’m sure you all know already how vain I can get, with the beauty, fashion posts and all.) Take a look at this article:
15 Ways Smoking Ruin Your Looks
1. Bags under your eyes

Don’t you hate it when you can’t get a good night’s sleep—and it shows on your face?

If you smoke, you’re four times as likely as nonsmokers to report feeling unrested after a night’s sleep, according to Johns Hopkins study.

Why the lack of shut-eye? It’s possible that nightly nicotine withdrawal could be causing you to toss and turn. And unfortunately, poor sleep doesn’t equal pretty.

2. Psoriasis

To be fair, psoriasis is an autoimmune-related skin condition that can show up even if you never touch a cigarette. 

However, if you do smoke, your risk for the scaly skin condition goes up—a lot. According to a 2007 study, if you puff a pack a day for 10 years or less, psoriasis risk goes up 20%; 11–20 

years and your risk is 60% higher; and for those who pass the two-decade mark, the psoriasis risk more than doubles. (Even secondhand smoke during pregnancy or childhood is linked to a higher risk.)

3. Icky Teeth

Wouldn’t you love to have a set of dazzling white, Hollywood-like choppers? If you smoke, you can kiss that dream good-bye. 

It’s the nicotine in cigarettes that can stain teeth. So in addition to the escalating costs of buying and smoking your cigs, add in the cost of tooth whitening. A professional procedure to clean your teeth costs an average of $500 to $1,000.

4. Premature aging and wrinkles

We can all appreciate a wizened visage—on our favorite nonagenarian that is. Wrinkles look anything but wise when they show up on a relatively young person who smokes. 

And show up they will. Experts agree that smoking accelerates aging, so that smokers look 1.4 years older than nonsmokers, on average. Why the wrinkly face? Smoking hampers the 

blood supply that keeps skin tissue looking supple and healthy.

5. Yellow fingers

The nicotine in cigarette smoke can not only make your teeth (and the walls of your home) brown, but it’s also notorious for staining fingers and nails as well. 

If you search the Internet, you can find a number of home remedies, including lemon juice, bleach solutions, and scrubbing with steel wool. Ouch. Wouldn’t it be easier—and less painful—to just quit?

6. Thinner Hair

As if the wrinkly skin wasn’t enough, smoking hurts your hair too. Experts think the toxic chemicals in smoke can damage the DNA in hair follicles and generate cell-damaging free radicals as well.

The end result? Smokers have thinner hair that tends to go gray sooner than nonsmokers. That is, if they have any hair at all.

Men who smoke are about twice as likely to lose their hair as nonsmokers, after taking into account factors that increase the risk of baldness, such as aging and genetics, according to a 2007 study in Taiwan.

7. Scarring

Nicotine causes vasoconstriction, a narrowing of the blood vessels that can limit oxygen-rich blood flow to the tiny vessels in the face or other parts of the body.

This means your wounds will take longer to heal and you’ll have scars that are bigger and redder than you would in a nonsmoking parallel universe.

8. Tooth loss

Smoking puts you at greater risk for all kinds of dental problems, including oral cancer and gum disease.

In fact, according to a 2005 U.K. study in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, smokers are up to six times more likely than nonsmokers to develop gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss.

Wouldn’t you rather be doing, well, anything other than sitting in a dentist’s chair?

9. Natural glow is gone

Ever notice how smokers’ skin sometimes seems off? You’re not alone. A 1985 study came up with the term Smoker’s Face to describe certain facial characteristics, such as wrinkles, gauntness, and a gray appearance of the skin, caused by smoking. 

Cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide, which displaces the oxygen in your skin, and nicotine, which reduces blood flow, leaving skin dry and discolored. Cigarette smoking also depletes many nutrients, including vitamin C, which helps protect and repair skin damage.

10. Slow wound healing

Several studies have found that smokers do not heal as well after surgeries such as face-lifts, tooth extractions, and periodontal procedures. 

So once cigarettes wrinkle up your face, you’ll have a harder time correcting the damage with cosmetic surgery than people who’ve never smoked. (And your surgeon might not even perform the procedure until you agree to kick the habit.)

11. Warts

For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, smokers are more susceptible to infection with human papillomavirus, a large family of viruses that can cause warts—including genital warts.

While genital warts are caused by sexually transmitted types of HPV, smoking is also a risk factor. Even taking the number of sex partners into account, women who smoke are nearly four times as likely to have genital warts as nonsmokers, according to one study.

12. Skin cancer

Smoking is a leading cause of cancer, including lung, throat, mouth, and esophageal cancer, so it should be no surprise that cigarettes can also increase your risk of skin cancer.

In fact, according to a 2001 study, smokers are three times as likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common type of skin cancer, than nonsmokers.

13. Stretch marks

The nicotine found in cigarettes damages the fibers and connective tissue in your skin, causing it to lose elasticity and strength.

Stretch marks, red skin striations that can gradually fade to a silvery hue, form when you gain weight rapidly. Anyone can get stretch marks with rapid weight gain (such as in pregnancy), but cigarettes can be a contributing factor.

14. Flabby Tummy

Cigarettes can be an appetite suppressant, and often smokers have a lower body weight than nonsmokers. However, a 2009 study in the Netherlands found that smokers had more visceral fat than nonsmokers. 

This deep fat pads internal organs and can accumulate in your midsection, ultimately increasing the risk of other diseases, such as diabetes.

15. Cataracts

More than half of Americans will have developed some degree of cataracts by age 80. Cigarette smoking can increase the risk of cataracts by putting oxidative stress on the lens of the eye. 

In fact, continued smoking can add up to a 22% increased risk of cataract extraction, according to one study. And it’s not too late to quit—the amount of cigarettes smoked was a more important risk factor than how long someone smoked.

Article credit: Health Magazine 

Eww! Anyway, the point of this entry is not to tell you to quit smoking. I want to scare you enough so you will quit… kidding. Everybody knows how bad smoking is and we know it’s impossible to tell or force someone to quit, unless they decide to do so themselves. Even when one has decided to quit the habit, it usually is a long and arduous journey, with many going back to it after a couple of months. I’ve seen quite a couple of my friends go back to it after having seemingly quit for a while. 

It is important for smokers who want to kick the habit to have a lot of support from friends, loved ones and everyone around them. Even more so, it’ll be great if they can get support from someone who has kicked the habit themself. 

Having said all that, the Singapore’s Health Promotion Board has a wonderful movement, ‘I Quit’ that does just that. I Quit is a movement that celebrates the stories of ex-smokers and inspire smokers to embark on a smoker-free journey. Their Facebook page, ‘I Quit Club’ is a social support network where smokers, ex-smokers and other like-minded individuals can come together to motivate, encourage and support each other to remain smoke-free. In addition, I Quit Consultants will be answering queries from anyone who is trying or contemplating and to impart handy tips and knowledge on how to kick-start a smoke-free journey. I Quit has created an organic, thriving peer-to-peer social media platform for smokers who are trying to kick the habit. 
Already, the I Quit Club Facebook page has 20,000plus likes! Going on to the page, I found many personal stories of ex-smokers who have quit, reasons why they have decided to quit and also those who are on their quitting journey. It’s so nice to see everyone being really encouraging on the page! 

Do head over to their facebook page HERE to check it out (don’t forget to like it!), and spread the word of this wonderful movement. If you are a smoker or know someone who is trying to quit, this page will definitely be helpful. If you were a smoker before, why not share your story and help others quit too! 🙂