Most of you, when feeling down, nervous, anxious and even stressed, easily switch to smoking a cigarette, thinking that’s the only way to relax. Right? You’re not alone if you believe that smoking can relieve stress. There are many people who believe it. But sorry to break it to you, it’s a myth which people like to believe because it suits them!
In fact, there are many myths around smoking.
All of us are aware of the side effects of smoking. Even the cigarette pack screams loud that smoking is injurious to health. Still, we aren’t able to quit it. Some people get warned that quitting smoking immediately may lead to weight gain. There are more such myths people tend to believe.
But Dr Vineeta Goel, Director and Head of Department at Radiation Oncology, Fortis Hospital Shalimar Bagh (Cancer Expert), says smoking is the biggest avoidable risk a person can take. And yet, millions of people choose to take the risk every single day of their lives because of the false beliefs that smokers have about cigarettes that force them to continue smoking against their judgment.
However, if you want to say goodbye to cigarettes, it’s the time you face the reality.
Here are some myths and facts about smoking:
Myth 1: Filters make cigarettes safer
Fact: There are no studies to prove that filter cigarettes are indeed safer. But it is a myth people believe that filters make cigarettes safer than smoking non-filtered cigarettes. The fact is filters do not protect any individual from the chemicals present in cigarettes. In fact, Dr Goel says “They are designed to make smoke particles smaller, which makes nicotine easier to absorb.” And this increases the addiction.”
Myth 2: You’ll put on weight if you quit
Fact: Are you one of those who don’t want to quit smoking because it helps to burn calories, helping you lose weight? Well, the active component, the nicotine present in cigarettes helps boost energy consumption and reduce appetite, it is the same reason why you gain weight after quitting it. When you quit smoking your appetite is no longer suppressed and you may eat more which can lead to weight. However, weight gain is not the necessarily outcome of quitting smoking.
Myth 3: Smoking helps to relieve stress
Fact: Do you also smoke to handle your stress? If yes, it’s not going to help you out. But did you know that smoking doesn’t decrease stress, instead it can increase stress and tension? Yes, that’s true. According to Dr Goel, nicotine creates an immediate sense of relaxation. So people smoke in the belief that it reduces stress and anxiety. But this effect is not going to last forever, it’s temporary. In fact, this will increase your addiction to cigarette smoking.”
Myth 4: Occasional smoking won’t hurt you
Fact: You are wrong if you believe that occasional cigarette smoking is fairly harmless. Each time you smoke a cigarette, it can hurt your heart, lungs, and the cells throughout your body. Keep in mind that there is no safe form of tobacco and there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke.
Myths 5: Electronic cigarettes are safer
Fact: There’s no safe form of tobacco. Not even e-cigarettes, also known as vaping. Just like cigarettes, e-cigarettes also contain nicotine and other toxic chemicals in the form of liquid and this is a harmful and addictive drug that can affect your health in many ways. “It can put an individual at a greater risk of developing lung cancer,” says Dr Goel
Myth 6: Main risk to pregnant women who smoke is premature delivery
Fact: This is a known fact that smoking makes it harder for a woman to conceive and a woman is at higher risk of never becoming pregnant. Along with that not just premature delivery but smoking can also increase the risk of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, low birth weight, and cleft lip/palate.
Myths 7: Smoking relieves boredom
Fact: We have already busted a myth that smoking does not help you reduce your stress, instead it can actually increase your anxiety and tension. So trying smoking for your boredom relief may instantly relieve it but using cigarettes every time to get rid of that feeling may make you addicted to it.
Myth 8: Smokeless tobacco is healthier than cigarettes
Fact: “This is absolutely incorrect because smokeless tobacco is still tobacco, which provides nicotine along with other substances that are known to cause cancer,” says Dr Goel. While one is not inhaling it into the lungs, it is still being absorbed through the lining of the mouth and circulating through the bloodstream to all parts of the body.
Myth 9: My smoking (second-hand smoke) doesn’t affect anyone around me
Fact: Second hand smoking (SHS) also known as passive or involuntary smoking is equally risky. SHS can also increase your risk of lung cancer, heart attack or stroke, and other serious illnesses. So if you don’t want to quit it for yourself, quit it for your family or friends.