Are there actually different types of smokers? Surely, if you smoke tobacco then you are a smoker and whatever ‘type’ of smoker you are, the fact remains the same, smoking is VERY bad for your health!
Once we begin to look more closely at the form a smoker's nicotine addiction takes, we can start to see different trends and an emerging picture suggests that there are many factors that must be considered if we are to classify smokers into a particular group. The factors can include the traits of an individual, are you, for example, a very self disciplined person or do you lack will power? Do you have a very addictive personality? Are you a stressed person or a chilled out person?
If you are able to establish which group you fall into and why it may be easier to understand why you smoke and so leave you better placed to start on the journey of quitting the habit.
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Dangers of smoking tobacco
If knowing what type of smoker you are is going to help you to quit smoking then it is probably sensible to remind yourself of the reasons why smoking is so bad for you. It is also important to remember that when you smoke, not only do you put your own health in danger but you do the same thing to the health of people around you; this includes any person who comes into contact with your second hand smoke and is known as passive smoking.
- Cancer - seven out of ten cases of lung cancer can be directly attributed to smoking tobacco. In addition, smoking causes cancer in many other parts of the body including:
- Larynx (voice box)
- Oesophagus (the tube which connects the mouth with the stomach
- Damage to the heart and vascular system - tobacco causes serious damage to both the heart and blood vessels. This will increase the risk of a person developing:
- Coronary heart disease is a condition where the blood vessels which supply the heart become damaged
- Heart attack or coronary thrombosis is defined as the formation of a blood clot inside a blood vessel of the heart. This then restricts blood flow to the heart which can cause damage to the heart tissue
- Stroke, which is a medical condition in which poor blood flow to the brain causes the death of cells
- Peripheral vascular disease is a blood circulation disorder that causes the blood vessels which supply the peripheral circulation (in other words, vessels that do not supply the hearts and brain) to become narrow or blocked which is caused by atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries
- Cerebrovascular disease involved the cells which supply the brain becoming damaged
- Damage to the lungs - damage that occurs in the lungs can result in a number of different issues which include:
- COPD or congestive, obstructive, pulmonary disease which is any condition which causes impaired lung function; this includes emphysema and bronchitis
- Aggravation of respiratory conditions such as asthma
- Reduced fertility levels - women who smoke do not conceive as efficiently as non-smokers. Infertility rates in both male and female smokers are approximately twice that found in non-smokers. The risk for fertility problems is proportional to the number of cigarettes smoked daily
- Increased health risks during pregnancy - a woman who smokes whilst pregnant risks the health of the unborn child as well as her own. There is an increased risk of complications during pregnancy which includes:
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Birth defects Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- Other health risks associated with smoking - there are several other health risks that are increased by smoking and they include:
- Oral health can be detrimentally affected which can lead to gum disease and tooth loss
- Osteoporosis is more common in smokers
- Increased risk of developing cataracts
- Increased risk of developing type two diabetes mellitus
- Smoking is a cause of rheumatoid arthritis
- General risks to health include increased levels of inflammation and reduced effectiveness of the immune system
Types of smoker
There are different types of smokers and it may be that you will feel as though you fit into one of the categories:
- Social smoker - these are people who smoke but only in certain, social situations such as at parties, in bars, at night and at the weekend; this is the tobacco equivalent of the social drinker. Despite the fact that you may occasionally get carried away and smoke a whole packet over a weekend, you do not consider yourself to be a smoker. It is still important to give up smoking as I am sure you realise from the last section of this article. You may not be addicted to nicotine but you are addicted to the habit of smoking and it is easier than you may realise to become addicted to nicotine. Social smokers are likely to become daily smokers.
- The committed smoker - you are the smoker that has never bothered to even try and give up; you just don’t care about the damage you are doing to your health and care even less what other people might think. You love smoking and have absolutely no intention of quitting.
- The sneaky smoker - it may be that you cannot give up or won’t give up but either way, you are ashamed of being a smoker. As a result, you have sneaky cigarettes when your friends or family are not around. Whilst the sneaky smoker tends to only grab one from time to time it is important to realise than even an occasional cigarette is bad for you; smoking as few as one or two cigarettes can detrimentally affect artery function for as long as a week
- The ‘borrower’ smoker - it has been said of this type of smoker that they only smoke the brand ‘OP’s (other peoples!). Borrowers will tend to claim that they are not really smokers and for this reason, they do not buy anyk. This is a psychological ruse to convince themselves that they cannot be real smokers since they have never owned any! In actual fact, as they ‘borrow’ cigarettes from everyone in the place, they are probably smoking as many cigarettes as any hardened smoker in the room and so it is still as necessary to stop ‘borrowing’ immediately!
- The ‘quitter’ smoker - these smokers are continually lying to themselves and saying that every cigarette will be their last and so ‘quitting’ is the actual habit. You are one of those people who find it difficult to quit and it may take a number of attempts to quit. It is important to persevere because you will do it eventually!
- The ‘rebel’ smoker - this sort of smoker smokes because it is bad for them and bad for people around them - they do not care. They like the fact that it is unhealthy and against the rules. It is likely that this type of smoker has started the habit in their teens when they were feeling rebellious. The rebel smoker needs to realise that the law of averages dictates that if you continue to do it long enough, smoking will catch you up in the end; smoking is just like playing Russian roulette - keep pulling the trigger and eventually, the gun will go off.
- The ‘skinny’ smoker - believe it or not, there are still men and women out there that smoke because they do not want to put weight on. They either believe that smoking prevents weight gain or they are worried about how much weight they will gain when they quit. The actual fact of the matter is that the average weight gain after quitting the habit is between four and ten pounds and ex-smokers generally return to their original weight
- The ‘stressed’ smoker - approximately half of all smokers say that they ‘light up’ in order to relieve stress. These occasions are situations like having a deadline at work that they need to meet, a job interview, problems in a relationship, a death or illness in the family…...the list is endless! The ‘nicotine’ hit will reduce the stress but what you may not realise is that it actually is the cause of the stress originally. As an addict, when nicotine levels in your body begin to fall, the addiction will increase your stress levels as it is craving nicotine. There are much better options to help alleviate stress and these include meditation techniques, yoga and good old physical exercise
- The vapers - this group of smokers is probably the most delusional who believe that vaping is the safe alternative. Whilst it is generally accepted that vaping is safer than tobacco as a way of obtaining nicotine, it is not without its risks and the full picture of how it affects the body is not yet known
I believe that we can conclude that people have different approaches to how they smoke, why they smoke and some truly believe that they are not smokers at all! At the end of the day, whether you smoke one cigarette a day or a hundred, you are still exposing yourself to the danger of tobacco and all the risks associated with it and because of that it is vital that you stop - IMMEDIATELY!