(NaturalNews) Many smokers are determined to stop smoking come January each year. Some find this New Year's resolution much harder than they thought and usually give up after a few days. There is no question that smoking is highly addictive and a very difficult habit to break. Many smokers have tried to quit at one time or another, fail and continue the habit despite being aware of the health risks. Knowing exactly what chemicals are used in cigarettes besides tobacco may provide an incentive to stop.
Chemicals Contained in Cigarettes
Every time you inhale on a cigarette, you inhale extremely harmful chemicals. These chemicals are known carcinogens, meaning they cause cancer and include, among many others:
Arsenic - used in rat poison, Methane - a component of rocket fuel, Hydrogen cyanide - the poison used in gas chambers, Butane - a hydrocarbon used as fuel, one of the key ingredients in gasoline, Ammonia - found in floor cleaner, Cadmium - a metallic chemical element used in alloys which is highly toxic, Propylene Glycol - used as antifreeze and as a solvent in brake fluid, Formaldehyde - used to preserve body tissue.
Are roll-your-own cigarettes made with untreated tobacco any better for you? Not necessarily. Studies show that pipe smokers have drastically increased rates of mouth and tongue cancer. Treated or untreated, tobacco contains high levels of tar which is the main cause of lung cancer.
Is Damage From Smoking Reversible?
According to the South African Heart and Stroke Foundation, within 5 - 15 years the risk of heart disease in a person who has quit smoking is the same as a non-smoker.
The ex- smoker's body recovers and heals itself amazingly quickly. Consider these statistics:
Within 8 hours of quitting, blood oxygen and carbon monoxide levels normalize. Within 24 hours the risk of a heart attack or stroke starts to decrease. Soon after quitting, after about 2 days, the nerve endings and the sense of taste and smell start to recover. Within 72 hours lung capacity improves and coughing decreases. Within a few days blood clotting improves and exercise becomes easier. Within 1 to 3 months blood circulation and sperm count in men improves. After a couple of months there is a vast improvement in energy levels and general feeling of well-being. Within 5 years, the risk of developing lung cancer is halved.
Added to this is the curbing of the risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke. In women, the risk of early menopause, the risk of a premature birth or stillborn child if pregnant or the risk of osteoporosis can hugely be reduced by quitting.
Many smokers testify that quitting smoking is very difficult. According to some ex-smokers, committing to stopping is the first step and then following through by joining a support group is what contributes to a better success rate.
Fleur Hupston is a professional freelance writer. She is passionate about natural, healthy living and is currently studying to be a naturopath. She divides her time between writing for Natural News and various other sites, home schooling her children and studying part time.