May 25, 2024

When Chase Harvey, senior communication studies major, started pursuing a healthy lifestyle a year ago, he did not realize how much of a toll smoking had taken on his body.

“I started getting in good shape, working out and changing my diet,” Harvey said. “It seemed pointless to change my entire daily lifestyle without going all of the wait and quitting smoking.”

For six years, Harvey was a part of the 19 percent of smoking Americans who state that the culture and social atmosphere was the hardest part of quitting.

“Changing that bad habit while you are around others who are still (smoking) makes it really difficult to quit,” Harvey said.

Stephen Thomas, graduate EL-MSN student, explains that stress is the primary reason for a smoking addiction; the second reason is the social culture. But Thomas reaffirms that there are other ways to get rid of stress.

Despite the hazards of smoking, many nicotine addicts refuse to acknowledge the effects.

“People are the most knowledgeable with their own health, but they will only stop if they want to stop,” Thomas said.

Freshman criminal justice major and smoker, Regina Gosney, explains that she lives her life more in the moment, and never dwells on the health implications of smoking.

“I don’t think (my smoking) is bad enough to cause me to need to quit,” Gosney said.

She began smoking in the 10th grade primarily for the social aspect.

Gosney explains that although several people have talked with her about quitting, she never gave it much thought.

Thomas started smoking because of the social aspect and said the major health implications of smoking were unknown to him until after he quit.

“I had no idea about the effects of cigarettes when I was a smoker,” Thomas said. “But now that I am in the master of science in nursing program, I have learned that people who smoke have an increase in the risk of hypertension, problems with their heart and kidneys, as well as, an increase in the risk of having a stroke.”

The health effects of smoking have become an increasingly more prominent element in American society. The health effects of the chemicals found in cigarettes have caused many to quit cold turkey and alter their lifestyle.

“Getting cancer was something that played a factor into me quitting,” Harvey said. “When I started working out I really noticed how bad a toll it was taking on my body. Smoking makes you tired throughout the day.”

Recent studies show that 90 percent of lung cancer patients developed the deadly cancer because of smoking.

Medical News Today reports that smokers may also run the risk of developing different forms of cancer: bladder, kidney, mouth, esophagus, stomach, throat and bowel cancer.

Once a smoker decides to quit, the residual effects of smoking will always stay with him or her but some effects will become less noticeable with time and dedication, Harvey said.

“After a while, you can get healthy … you can make up for most of it, but it has definitely taken a toll on my life,” Harvey said.

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