(Photo: Joel Saget, AFP)

    Ten reasons to give up smoking

    8 October 2014

    Earlier this year a research study revealed that people were more likely to quit smoking when confronted with the reasons why they should give up rather than being told how they should do it. With that in mind, here are some convincing grounds for stubbing out those cigarettes for good:

    1. Cigarettes contain poisons. Each one contains at least 4,500 chemicals, including arsenic, cyanide, formaldehyde and polonium 210, which caused the painful and lingering death of ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko. Do you really fancy inhaling that lot?
    2. Cancer sticks really do cause cancer. A fifth of all cancer cases can be attributed to smoking. These include not just lung cancer but tumours of the mouth, lip, throat, bladder, kidney, pancreas, stomach, colon, breast, liver.
    3. Smoking might make you blind. According to the Macular Society, smokers are up to four times more likely than non-smokers to develop age-related macular degeneration, the biggest cause of blindness in the developed world. Smokers who are genetically predisposed to the disease are eight times more likely to develop it. Another good reason to see sense and quit.
    4. The risks to your health subside as soon as you give up. You will halve your risk of a smoking-related heart attack in one year and your risk of dying from lung cancer in ten.
    5. Quitting improves your mental health. An analysis of 26 studies suggested that people who stopped smoking saw greater improvements in depression, anxiety and stress than people who carried on puffing away.
    6. Fags could make you impotent. A number of studies have put out the same message: smokers are more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction. The more you smoke, the more likely it is you’ll have problems.
    7. Smoking harms your children. Lighting up during pregnancy increases the risk of birth defects, miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, lung problems and sudden infant death syndrome. Exposure to tobacco smoke in infancy might be a factor in colic.
    8. Cigarettes speed up the onset of Alzheimer’s. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, smokers are twice as likely as non-smokers to develop the most common form of dementia.
    9. Your teeth could fall out. Fag breath is bad enough, but did you know that smoking is also one of the biggest risk factors for developing gum disease?
    10. Smokers don’t enjoy coffee so much. OK, this is not life-threatening, but what’s the point of having a fag with that café au lait when French research has shown that smokers don’t fully appreciate the full bitter flavour compared with people who don’t smoke?