Your future self to you: Thank you for not smoking!
"Smoking is bad" is universal knowledge. Cigarettes have nicotine, and the brain has 'nicotinic' receptors, which is why it is so easy to get addicted to cigarettes.
There's also an allure in the "dangerous" habit: smokers, likely to have self-destructive tendencies, choose to do so in full awareness that it is harming them.
But there are several pros to doing the unimaginable: quitting.
The (non-health) benefits of non-smoking
Bodily changes after quitting: from hours later, to years later
The changes that go on in the body after quitting is immediate: within hours, the heart rate starts stabilizing, carbon monoxide levels decrease, and oxygen levels increase.
Within days, nerve endings re-grow (allowing us to smell and taste better) and exercising becomes easier. The body starts healing.
The obvious benefits of non-smoking
The benefits of not smoking are many: more energy, easier breathing, improved senses and appearance, better fertility and more.
You will save (a lot of) money: according to ET Wealth, a 30-year-old, smoking five cigarettes a day, would spend Rs. 1cr on the habit by the time he's 60!
You will also protect your friends and family by not exposing them to second-hand smoke.
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Not smoking also gives you higher IQ
A 2010 study among 20,000 Israeli military recruits found that smoking and IQ levels are inversely proportional: the more you smoke, the lower your IQ. Average IQ ranged from 90 in those who smoked more than a packet daily, to 101 in non-smokers.
Did you know non-smoking will also bring benefits in insurance?
Drawbacks to smoking extend to insurance. Companies charge smokers and non-smokers differently for premium: the difference in India can go to 20%, or more.
Companies also mandate long abstinence periods to classify someone as "non-smoker". Aegon Life and Bajaj Allianz need five-year abstinence periods; it is lower for PNB MetLife.
You also can't use alternatives, like nicotine patch or e-cigarettes, to remain a "non-smoker".
Other non-health benefits of not smoking
Here are some comparatively-trivial-although-matters-much-in-daily-life benefits: you will enjoy not smelling like smoke, it will be easier to find a romantic partner, you can spend less time looking for smoking areas when out with friends, and you can finally stop procrastinating on your plans to quit.
Smoking is a costly habit, not just for the individual
Though cigarettes are a lucrative source of revenue, the costs often exceed the gains. In 2011, Indians aged 35-69 spent Rs. 104,500cr on diseases associated with tobacco; the figure was six times higher than what the government collected as taxes from all tobacco products combined.
During 1995-2015, taxes on cigarettes went up 1,606%, but companies manipulated norms with much ease to keep up demand.
Change your perception. Don't quit, but become a non-smoker
Quitting is hard, which is why former SoundCloud vice-president David Noel recommends becoming a non-smoker instead.
"It wasn't about changing a habit, it was about changing who I am." Instead of focusing on quitting his habit, he listed how he wants to be identified, and "smoker" wasn't one of the terms.
In a week, he had gone from 30 cigarettes a day, to zero.
Smoking will remain a problem for non-smokers till complete eradication
Even if you don't smoke, tobacco will remain a problem for the world. The smoke in the air and in enclosed spaces affects everyone around.
According to WHO, about 700mn children breathe tobacco smoke. Second-hand smoke is known to cause various respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
However, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
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