Every year on May 31st, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes World No Tobacco Day. Since smoking is one of the gravest threats to health worldwide, the goal of the World No Tobacco Day is to encourage people to stop smoking for at least 24 hours.
Every year WHO highlights a different theme related to smoking; this year the focus is on stopping the illegal tobacco trade. Illegal tobacco traffic seriously undermines efforts to stop smoking through legal means (like higher prices and taxes.). The illegal trade in cigarettes is particularly worrisome given the fact that it specifically targets the poor and the young.
In the long run, the best way to stop illegal tobacco trade in its tracks is to eliminate demand for cigarettes in the first place! But even though the health hazards are well-known by smokers and non-smokers alike, everyone knows how hard it is to quit.
So in honor of World No Tobacco Day, here are a few surprising, unexpected reasons you might not have thought of for you (or someone you know) to kick the tobacco habit for good.
- Your Gut Will Thank You: When smoking, you wreak havoc on your digestive system and gut health. Smoking is considered to be a contributory factor in all kinds of diseases like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis and affects every aspect of digestion.
- Beauty – Inside and Out: Everyone knows that smoking causes premature aging of the skin. Adding injury to insult, cigarettes also make people look pale and tired; this is because a single cigarette robs the skin’s blood supply for up to an hour.Inside the body, tobacco smoke blackens the lungs and nicotine makes the blood thick and discolored (due to lack of oxygen.) You might not be able to see those effects, but your beautiful organs including your kidneys and liver get uglier with every cigarette you smoke.
- Hairy Tongue: Tooth staining isn’t the only side effect of tobacco use. It also causes a disgusting phenomenon called Hairy Tongue which is when the back of the tongue becomes discolored and ‘hairy’ due to bacterial overgrowth.Once embedded in your mouth, Hairy Tongue then traps food debris, bacteria and promotes yeast growth. The prolific bacteria attack your gums and teeth, which leads to periodontal disease, tooth decay and even tooth loss.And the only cure for Hairy Tongue is to stop smoking; brushing or scraping your tongue won’t help.
There are other reasons to stop smoking that go beyond your own health and welfare.
Respect for Others: Besides air pollution and the health ramifications of second-hand smoke, tobacco use has a negative effect on non-users. Even after extinguishing a cigarette or finishing up a “chew”, the smell lingers. Smoke sticks to hair, clothes and hands and both kinds of tobacco smell awful on the breath.
Caring for the Planet: Discarded cigarette butts not only poison the environment, they are a leading cause of destructive fires, destroying forests, animal habitats, homes and innocent people.
Setting a Good Example: Probably the best reason to decide to quit is the example it sets for your kids. Children watch parents for behavioral cues. The child of a smoker – even a secret smoker – is twice as likely to start smoking by the time they reach their teenage years. Which means they’re starting to shorten their lives before they even get started.
Bottom line? Using tobacco has lots of downside and no real upside. But perhaps the best way to achieve the goals of No Tobacco Day is to start with small actions right in our own backyards with friends and family.
If you smoke, why not take this day to at least stop for 24 hours? Consider reaching out to local resources in your city or state. Many organizations offer free nicotine cessation programs as well as ongoing support.
And if you know someone who needs help, there’s no need to lecture. Just gently reach to let them know you’ll be there for them when they’re ready to give it up.
Last but not least, stopping smoking could very well be the first big step to living a genuinely healthy life with good eating habits as well. In that vein, we are excited to share with you today’s recipe for Refreshing Watermelon Gazpacho brought to us from the Natural Gourmet Institute. Unlike cigarette smoking, this yummy concoction will refresh and cleanse from the inside out, making you feel great.