Up in smoke
The risks that smoking carries in the short term tend not to receive much coverage.
By contrast, the impact that smoking can have in the longer term has been covered extensively.
This imbalance can be deceptive. It can give smokers a feeling of complacency. It is almost as if they feel that they have a grace period, in which smoking won’t cause much harm.
We are not here to preach. We do, however, want to point out some of the harmful by-products that smoking can have on a day to day basis. Some of which, you may not have considered.
What happens when you smoke?
It is easy to list the chronic conditions that smoking is believed to cause. And despite the warnings on the packet – it somehow doesn’t seem to act as a reliable deterrent.
At an individual level, it is difficult to reconcile the day to day habit with cancer, emphysema or heart disease that you may get some years down the line.
But smoking has an immediate negative impact in many different ways. It causes the heart rate to increase and blood pressure to go up. Also, it decreases blood flow to extremities such as fingers and toes.
In addition, after a brief period of stimulation, it decreases the activity of the brain and nervous system.
Of course, if smoking had no upside, it would have never have caught on. But these upsides are a smokescreen (if you’ll pardon the pun). You will experience short-lived feelings of enhanced relaxation. You may even get a brief moment of euphoria. Smoking may even elevate concentration in the short-term.
But all of those potential upsides are very fleeting, and sadly, create the craving that keeps the habit going.
Short term smoking risks – reduced recovery from injury
The nicotine that is inhaled when smoking is detrimental in many different ways. It has the rather alarming effect of narrowing the blood vessels throughout the body. This is known as vasoconstriction.
The knock-on effect of this is that the body’s tissues become deprived of essential oxygen and nutrients. This can negatively impact your health in numerous ways.
But what is often overlooked, is that it slows down the healing process. And as such can make it a lot harder to recover from injury.
A new look at quitting smoking
As we alluded to earlier, much of the emphasis on quitting smoking relates to the long-term effects. This is limited in value.
It pays to consider the day to day impact smoking has on you too. You need to keep in mind that your sense of smell and taste is severely compromised. That your breathing becomes more limited. And that your circulation, digestion and healing ability all become diminished.
A final thought
Hopefully, at some point, you will make the decision to quit. And there are, let’s face it, a multitude of avenues you can go down to support your efforts.
However, to be successful in your efforts, understanding the nature of habits is incredibly helpful. To this end, there is a great book written by Charles Duhigg. It is called ‘the Power of Habit‘. It gives brilliant insights into how you can change the habit cycle.