Breaking the weed habit on No Tobacco Day

Photo: istockphoto.com/Karim Hesham
"Quitting smoking is easy. I've done it a thousand times." Mark Twain According to the World Health Organization (WHO) tobacco is the second major cause of death in the world. It is well known that half the people who smoke regularly today – about 650 million people – will eventually be killed by tobacco. In celebration of the May 31st No Tobacco Day, where people around the world try and butt out, here are some facts about tobacco and helpful tips to quit smoking. Tobacco is a killer
  • It's one of the few only consumer product that kills when you follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • On average, smokers die on 14 years earlier than non-smokers.
  • Half of all smokers will die from either lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease or stroke.
  • Globally, 650 million people smoke.
  • Five million people a year die from tobacco related illnesses, that's one in ten adults worldwide.
  • Tobacco is the second major cause of death in the world.
  • The WHO predicts that by 2020, 10 million people will have been killed by tobacco related diseases. At that rate it will soon be the number one cause of death in the world surpassing HIV, tuberculosis, motor vehicle accidents, suicide and homicide combined.
  • A lit cigarette is a toxic waste dump on fire, giving off acetone (paint stripper), ammonia (toilet cleaner), cyanide (rat killer), DDT (insecticide) and carbon monoxide (car exhaust fumes).
  • There is a direct link between poverty and smoking.
  • Smoking changes your appearance, leading to premature wrinkling, bad breath, stained teeth, gum disease and yellow fingernails.
  • Nicotine affects many parts of the body, including your brain, kidneys, bladder, hormonal system, lungs, liver, reproductive organs, heart and blood vessels.
  • Learn more about second hand smoke by reading Toss out the tobacco in our family section. Ready to quit? Quitting smoking is tough but worth the effort to break the social, physical and emotional ties to tobacco. Many ex-smokers have found that having a support system of family and friends was crucial in their battle to quit. Stop-Smoking Program are specially designed to help smokers recognize their triggers and cope with problems that come up. The American Cancer Society () runs a telephone support Quitline that connects smokers to counsellors trained who can help. The Canadian Cancer Society with funding from Health Canada also runs Quit Lines throughout the provinces. Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) in the form of the nicotine patch, gums, sprays, inhalers or lozenges can help relieve some of these physical symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. But, you should consult your doctor before using any NRT. Hypnosis and Acupuncture are also popular alternative methods. Some people find success with vitamin supplements. You should approach any of the herbal remedies being flogged on the internet with caution. There are as many ways to quit as there are cigarette brands so Quit Smoking Stop has created an extensive online library to help smokers kick the habit. Whichever method you choose, you should try and follow the four crucial guidelines laid out by the ACS and the CCS:
  • Making the decision to quit
  • Setting a quit date and choosing a quit plan
  • Dealing with withdrawal
  • Staying quit (maintenance)
  • Be patient with yourself. The success rate for quitting the first-time around is often low, between five to 16 percent of smokers manage to stay off tobacco for longer than six months. Keep at it and you will kick the habit. Liam McCann is a freelance writer who has done his dance with the devil weed.