A few weeks ago, March 18th to be precise, was No Smoking Day. We here at the office celebrated with the traditional breaking of cigarettes and the breathing of fresh air.
We also took advantage of the occasion to goad some of us who have not yet quit, (yes, there are some people here who still smoke), to finally commit to stop.
And, of course, they have our full support. Research has shown that workplace smoking cessation programs are an excellent resource to help people stop smoking.
Some of them have opted to go cold turkey. While others have gone the NRT route. Others still are using vapes from Vapingdaily.
But before everyone undertook their quit journeys, we threw around some of the best reasons to quit smoking in 2020. These are the reasons we came up with:
10. The environment
The ways cigarettes hurt the environment is something not always mentioned when talking about reasons to quit smoking. But it should be.
The negative environmental impact that cigarettes have on the environment was something recently brought to light by a damning WHO report. The report pointed out all the ways, from the growing of tobacco to cigarette waste to cigarette litter, that cigarettes cause ecological havoc.
Some quick facts:
- Cigarette production resulted in 45,000,000 tonnes of waste since 1995
- 6,000,000 tonnes of nicotine waste
- 4,000,000 tonnes of chemical waste
You can read the full report here. And it’s only just the tip of the iceberg. You should grasp the extent to which cigarettes and smoking harm the planet, and people. When you do, you’ll have no trouble finding the motivation to quit.
9. No More Playing with Fire (literally)
Cigarettes burn. It is, in fact, the burning of tobacco that causes the release of so many hazardous chemicals. The damage caused by combustible cigarettes is one reason that so many people have turned to vapes, since the best vapes only heat nicotine, thereby releasing fewer harmful elements.
Cigarettes burn other things too. The fact that cigarettes are responsible for 8-10% of all house fires in the United States over the past decade (that’s almost 90,000 fires a year) is yet another gob-smacking nugget of despair gleaned from the WHO report.
So, on top of all the other ways cigarettes can kill you, they can also burn your house down. It’s not only residential property that suffers. Forest fires are usually (well, 90% of the time) started by humans. Even though cigarettes are not always the culprit, they still cause a lot of damage.
The Fort Collins wildfire that raged across parts of Colorado in 2017 was caused by a lit cigarette butt. In 1999, a single lit cigarette butt tossed from a moving truck in the south of France started the infamous Mont Blanc tunnel fire that killed 39 people.
8. Be a Quitter and Pick Up Your Litter
Quick question: Do you know what the most littered object in the world is? Hint: it’s not plastic bags, or cups, or bottle caps or paper receipts. It’s cigarette butts.
I hear you thinking (because I’m in your mind right now) “but how can cigarette butts be the most littered object in the world, when they are so small and tiny?” Well, I’m about to incept the answer into your brain like Leonardo DiCaprio did in Inception.
There are about 1.1 billion smokers in the world. These 1.1 billion smokers smoked over 5.8 trillion (trillion with a T) cigarettes in one year. Imagine if, instead of cigarettes, these billions of people threw away, I don’t know, banana peels or used diapers (ewwww).
You would notice the build-up of used diapers and banana peels on city streets, parks, beaches if there were 5.8 trillion of them thrown out every year.
And that’s the situation with cigarette butts. But, not only are there a lot of them, but cigarette butts are also:
- Non-biodegradable, meaning they can take almost fifteen years to degrade
- They contain poisonous and dangerous chemicals that seep out into the environment, especially in bodies of water, where they produce substances known as “leachates,” which kill half of all the marine life that comes in contact with it.
7. Waste of Money
The last three points should be enough for most people with a conscience to stop smoking. But, now, we’re getting around to the reasons smoking is bad for you and only you. You like money, don’t you?
So why waste it on a habit that costs you a heart and lungs? And also, a lot of money. You can use this handy cigarette calculator to estimate your savings if you quit. A lot of statewide smoking cessation programs offer free incentives like over-the-phone counseling, free or subsidized samples of NRT medication.
But one study found that in places where cigarettes are most expensive (New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island) a lifetime of smoking can result in a million-dollar or more bill. Even in places like the Midwest and Southern states where cigarettes are cheaper than other states, a lifetime of smoking still results in costs numbering into millions of dollars.
If you live in a state that does not offer free quit smoking help, you could always try to wean yourself off of cigarettes with an e-cigarette. A lot of the long-term effects of vaping remains unknown, and the ideal would be to consume no nicotine at all.
But if you want to replicate that smoking-feeling, the best vapes out there are not only cheaper and most cost-effective, they are also much less dangerous than smoking cigarettes.
6. Something to be Proud Of
“Bucket list” is a term that recently entered pop culture. Bucket lists are lists of all the things you want to do before you die. A smoker’s bucket list might, conceivably, have “quitting smoking” as No. 1 on that list.
But don’t beat yourself up if you think “quitting smoking” isn’t as laudable or as amazing a goal as climbing Mount Everest or skydiving. Quitting smoking can be your Mount Everest.
Think about what you’re up against: nicotine is one of the most addictive substances on the planet. 85% of people who try to quit tobacco cold turkey relapse within the first year. Stopping is no small feat.
So, instead of regaling your friends with pictures from Mount Everest, tell them, with pride and your chest inflated, “I quit smoking.” It’ll blow them away, guaranteed.
5. Did We Mention the Environment?
Just like the first and second rule of Fight Club is not talking about Fight Club, the importance and breadth of cigarettes environmental impact is worth mentioning, for the fourth time. It is astounding, however, how much damage even growing tobacco causes.
The majority of tobacco is cultivated in developing countries, like China, Brazil, and India. Tobacco, like all crops, needs land. And when there isn’t enough land, trees and other plant life start dying. Clearing land for tobacco crops is a significant cause of wide-scale deforestation around the world.
Not only that, but growing tobacco also requires more use of insecticides and pesticides than other plants since tobacco has no natural defenses against other plants of pests. So even growing tobacco is bad for a lot of people.
4. Your Lovelife
It’s almost become a stereotype: lighting up a cigarette after a satisfying session of love-making. But the reality is that cigarettes and smoking might cut short, or even preempt, your plans for getting down.
Smoking constricts your blood vessels. And constricted blood vessels are a major contributing factor to erectile dysfunction. If you are reading this, and thinking, “thank God, I don’t have a penis,” sorry: women are just as affected by the adverse effects of smoking on the libido as men.
3. Your Life
Cigarettes are so wholly and overwhelmingly destructive; it makes sense that stopping significantly improves your chances of living longer. The evidence is everywhere. Your heart and lungs become less overworked than when you smoked.
In the first twenty minutes of not lighting up, your heart rate returns to normal. The longer you don’t smoke, more benefits will accrue. Your respiration improves. Your senses of taste and smell become alive and vibrant again.
The long-term effects are even more favorable. Smokers who quit before the age of 40 can expect a 90% chance of avoiding most, if not all, smoking-related diseases.
2. Your Health
Horses are such beautiful creatures, which makes it all the more sad and tragic that we have to beat this dead horse yet again. Not, literally, of course. Smoking is bad for you. It says so right on the pack!
Some quick numbers:
- 4,000 different chemicals (carbon monoxide, tar, arsenic) in tobacco smoke
- 250 of those chemicals are poisonous
- 50 of them are known carcinogens
Need we say more? Yes, we do. The number one reason to quit smoking in 2020 is:
1. Saving Lives
This list has gone beyond just the personal, regarding good reasons to quit smoking. If all the negative effects of smoking and cigarettes on the environment, tobacco farmers, and your health, we’ve looked at on this list isn’t convincing enough, you should think about only one thing: the life that you’ll save, which is not yours.
Smoking kills nearly six million people a year. The most disturbing figure of all however, is the number of people who die each year because of secondhand smoke: 600,000. 600,000! And these are people who never smoked.
The cigarette companies may be responsible for your death, but who’s responsible for all those people dying? People who don’t even smoke? Tobacco control campaigns usually try to shame the smoker for what they do to themselves. But maybe they should also focus on the people smoking kills, by accident.
About the author: Phyllis Baker is the health blogger specializing in quitting smoking and addiction treatment. Her expertise also includes self-development and lifestyle.