Here’s some good news: the rate of smoking in the United States has declined from 14% in 2005 to a whopping 20.9%, partly thanks to aggressive campaigns against the harmful habit.
However, the prevalence of smoking remains high in certain groups, and men are part of the list. The same trend appears in many states, including Washington.
Whether it’s because of machismo or stress relief, the reason doesn’t matter. One needs to cease it because of its dangerous impact on health:
1. Smoking Affects the Offspring
When it comes to smoking, the effects can also reach children. In a 2018 research by Lund University, the team found out that the sperm count of males whose fathers also smoked was 50% lower than those with non-smoking dads.
The significantly lower count was present regardless of whether the mother also smoked or has been exposed to nicotine at the time of the pregnancy.
The researchers believed that this has something to do with smoking’s effect on the DNA. The chemicals found in a cigarette can cause mutations in sperm cells.
Since the male’s gametes or sex cells undergo more cellular division than those of females, the impact of the mutation is more significant.
Further, smoking fathers-to-be could harm the baby, according to the European Society of Cardiology. It can result in congenital defects of the baby.
2. Smoking Increases the Risk of Stroke for the Young Ones
Although age is a major risk factor for stroke, for men younger than 50, it could be smoking. This is according to the research by the American Heart Association.
When they studied men who practiced the habit and those who didn’t, they learned that those who were fond of lighting up a cigarette increased their risk of stroke by as much as 88%.
When a person smokes, they are actually inhaling carbon monoxide, which severely limits the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain. It also increases blood pressure and heartbeat, which are risk factors for stroke.
Meanwhile, a 2021 study in eLife revealed that factors such as smoking can increase biological aging. In other words, it ages the body more quickly, so the risk of developing severe conditions happens early.
How Men Can Take Care of Their Lungs
Definitely, the primary goal of smoking males is to stop the habit. Both the federal and local governments have plenty of programs and campaigns to support those who wish to quit.
But not everyone can benefit or are capable of quitting cold turkey. They can better take care of their lungs and overall health while easing out on the habit with the following tips:
1. Keep the surroundings clean.
Male homeowners need to call on professionals like window-cleaning companies to keep their property spotlessly clean. The lungs of a smoker may be more reactive to particulate matter such as dust, dirt, and pet dander. They are prone not only to allergic reactions but also to infections.
2. Reduce the number of sticks a day.
In the AHA study above, men who smoke fewer than 11 cigarettes daily had a 46% risk of developing a stroke. In other words, it cuts the odds by almost half of the percentage points just by smoking less.
3. Opt for a nicotine patch to reduce withdrawal symptoms.
For many smokers, the withdrawal symptoms may be more severe they are better off lighting a stick than going through them. This is where a nicotine patch is helpful.
This patch, which may also be gum, still contains nicotine, but it delivers the substance in a more controlled dose. It is enough to help someone feel fewer withdrawal symptoms. This way, they feel more motivated to kick the habit.
However, nicotine can still be addictive. Thus, a smoker may need to change the strength of their nicotine patches over time. They should go from high to low gradually until their body becomes used to not having this chemical.
4. Consider cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
For others, smoking cessation is more difficult because of psychological barriers. For example, they may feel less confident in succeeding, or they have a deep-seated trauma that may be the root cause of the habit.
CBT may be beneficial as it helps restructure the thought processes of smokers. It challenges their beliefs and helps the individual discover and build new learning behaviors. In a 2008 research, extended CBT may even help these people maintain abstinence in the long-term.
Quitting smoking is tough because of the way it changes the brain, but these tips show one doesn’t have to stop it right away. It can be a gradual process, supported by professionals.