Archive for March 27th, 2014

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People smoke for many different reasons. Smoking is very addictive because tobacco contains a powerful drug called nicotine. Smokers have also been influenced by the clever marketing tactics of tobacco companies for many years.

Nicotine as a drug

Cigarettes are deliberately designed to give you a fast nicotine hit. It takes just 10 seconds for the drug to reach your brain from inhaled cigarette smoke. Nicotine causes addiction in much the same way as heroin or cocaine. It is just as addictive as these ‘harder’ drugs.

Nicotine is a stimulant that increases your heart rate and affects many different parts of your brain and body. Smokers get a high because nicotine triggers the release of dopamine in the brain – a chemical linked to feelings of pleasure.

This also means that smokers start to make a mental link between the act of smoking and feeling good. Because of this, smokers can also become addicted to abstract things like the taste of cigarettes or the feeling of smoking, as well as the nicotine itself.


Withdrawal symptoms

Addiction explains why giving up smoking can cause nicotine withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms include cravings, irritability, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, restlessness and disturbed sleep.

As your body adjusts to the lack of nicotine, these symptoms will start to disappear and most will go away within a month. Withdrawal symptoms can be difficult to cope but the benefits to your health are well worth it.

Nicotine as a poison

Nicotine is a neurotoxin (a poison that kills nerve cells) found in tobacco plants. It acts as a defence mechanism to stop them from being eaten by animals.

However, in cigarettes, the level of nicotine is too low to cause poisoning. And the nicotine in nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is a safe way to come off the nicotine in cigarettes. Using NRT can double your chances of successfully quitting.

Tobacco advertising and promotion

Half of smokers die from smoking-related diseases. The tobacco industry needs new customers to replace the 114,000 people who are killed by smoking in the UK each year. Cigarette manufacturers make sure that:

  • they know exactly why people smoke
  • they cleverly market products to attract new customers.

In the past cigarette manufacturers have deliberately targeted children and young people. The industry spends a great deal of money on making cigarettes seem glamorous, appealing, fashionable and attractive. Most smokers started when they were young and image conscious. Young smokers often find it difficult to give up in later life.

Cigarette advertising is now banned in the UK. So the industry is developing new and subtle tactics to avoid prosecution.

Stress and relaxation

Many people claim that smoking helps them to cope with stress. But in fact, nicotine is a stimulant and won’t help you to relax. Smokers probably think a cigarette makes them feel better because when they aren’t smoking they suffer from nicotine withdrawal.

Other personal reasons for smoking

People have many other personal reasons for smoking. Smokers may:

  • use smoking as a support for when things go wrong
  • enjoy smoking with others as a shared activity
  • use smoking to start conversations and meet new people
  • smoke to make themselves look more confident and in control
  • think that cigarettes help them to keep their weight down
  • have a cigarette when they’re feeling bored or lonely
  • smoke when they need a break or a moment to themselves.

Knowing why you smoke is one of the first steps towards giving up.

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How I quit smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day


For some 28 years, I had been hooked to smoking like a furnace, and smelled like one too. Back then, in university, it was real cool to smoke. Almost everyone did, and those who didn’t were ‘not in’.

I started with a stick, smoked after dinner on my parents’ 2nd floor balcony, where the wind could blow the smoke away. Inhaling hurt my head, the smoke hurt my nose and throat. But I continued to smoke and increased frequency. In 5 years, when I started to work, I was smoking a pack of Marlboro reds a day. For a year or so during & after my first pregnancy, I did stop smoking “for the sake of my daughter”. I continued to smoke for the next 23 years, and built up to 2 packs a day, having short clean periods when I had colds. I’d try to extend these “dry”spells, but I always ended taking up the habit again.

In a way, I was outwardly proud of my smoking, as if it was a life achievement. Yet deep inside, I wanted to kick it off my system. I was starting to weaken. My dad hated my smell as I tended to him on his death bed. The scent stuck to all my clothes. Some of my officemates would stick pictures of blackened lungs on the corkboard beside my desk, or in my drawer. And my daughters were getting paranoid they’d get cancer in their teens from inhaling second hand smoke. I know I tried my best to quit, but my will just seemed to be totally uncooperative. I’d go ‘clean’ for a few weeks, only to start again. Those episodes started to become a boring series of failed attempts.


Accepting the problem and asking for help

Strange things do happen. About 20 years since I lit that first stick of cigarette in my parents’ home, I started to seriously look for ways to stop smoking. I started to dance again, and eventually teach dance, hoping the necessity to keep fit would inspire me to keep off the smokes. Yet, I always reverted back to a habit that I was starting to really detest.

Then in 1998, I surfed the net, looking for other people who had kicked the habit, to learn how they did it, and if I could perhaps copy their experience. I left several pages open at a time, and clicked on a vaguely familiar name – Eckankar. I knew I’d seen it before, and it felt as if I had known it for ages. I was intrigued by words that seemed to rise from the screen, engrossing words that seemed to mirror beliefs I didn’t realize I had till then. I stuck on the point that God sends messages to each one of us through the Holy Spirit in the form of words that we read, or conversations with others, or some other form. I felt a peculiar lightness and knowingness as I read and openly accepted Eckankar’s basic philosophy, so much so that I felt the urge to resume my research on spirituality which I had started almost a decade earlier. Eventually, I requested Eckankar for a free intro book.

I continued to check out another site, and as I stretched out for a break, I realized that I had not smoked a cigarette for more than an hour. My last one, I estimated, was right before I clicked on the Eckankar website. Right there and then, I resolved to quit smoking (again, for the nth time)., This time however, I consciously called on my God to help me do it. I practically verbalized my plea: Please dear God, I really want to quit this terrible bad habit, which I’ve been trying to for so many years. Maybe with your help, I can finally do it. No, I believe that with your help I can finally do it. Surely I haven’t been able to stop smoking on my own. But I know you can actually help me. Please God, help me quit smoking now. Thank you for your help in advance. I repeated my plea in various words over the next minutes. And for the first time, I knew I’d be able to finally quit smoking.


The Turning Point


As I telepathically talked with God, I cleaned out my ashtray of cigarette butts into the waste basket. Knowing I had to put in my share of the work as I asked for God’s help, I threw in the ashtray too. I hesitated a second before I took the rest of the unlit cigarettes, broke and mashed each one and threw them in with the ashes and crumpled packs. Next I went through my drawers to collect all my lighters, matches, and rest of the remaining 6 packs of cigarettes. I opened each one, still talking with God, asking for support and strength, promising that I will try to do my part, broke each cigarette, and threw them in with the rest. I now ended. with a basket full of mashed unlit cigarettes. Temptation was starting to set in. I got the urge to reach into the basket for a fairly intact stick. I stood up, took the basket, walked down the 4 flights of stairs from my loft to the ground floor of our condominium building, and emptied my basket into the huge trash bin.

I gave the basket a last hard knock to make sure every single cigarette was in the bin. Then I heaved a big sigh, and could feel myself patting myself on the back. “Great girl, you did it.” But soon as took the first step up the stairs, I felt remorse, and questioned myself why I did such a stupid thing. Then this other part of me started shooing the remorse away. I talked to God in my mind again, as I struggled up the stairs. When I reached the door, I knew for sure that I had passed my first test. I wondered though how many more tests I’d have to hurdle.


Thanks for the reminders

The next day, I told my husband about my action the night before, hoping he and my daughters would help me in case I am tested to light a stick. i also informed my friends about my decision. I soon noticed that smokers now refrain from smoking in my presence, or at least stood up and walked to the far end of the table, not that I ever asked them to do so. Who really knows why they acted/reacted the way they did. It just seemed as if I had a “no smoking” sign on my forehead.

Turned out that I did not have any more major smoking tests/temptations, or perhaps I did not see the tests as hard ones. I continue to hang on the fact that I had asked my God for help as I admitted my limitation and surrendered the outcome of my efforts to Him. In return I just had to live up to my own promise.

Finally Free


In the 10 years since I admitted my inability to quit my cigarette addiction, I remember having been tested no less than 4 times, all in my dreams, in various occasions when a friend or a acquaintance would offer me a cigarette. The first test came some months after I actually quit. I took the proffered stick, put it in my mouth, lit a match but did not light the cigarette. I had remembered my promise to God just in time. On the second test, about a year later, I stuck the cigarette in my mouth, but never lit it. The third test came on the fourth year, and the final one was on the 7th or so year. In both dreams, I sat among smokers, not a bit tempted nor bothered.

Today, our home is totally smoke-free. My husband quit 5 years ago. I feel my lungs have opened and cleared up. I have joined and enjoy singing with our alumnae chorale singing and dancing for charity. My husband has taken to biking regularly. Our noses are much more sensitive now to a variety of wonderful scents and odors. I am aware that my clothes smell much better now, and surely I do too.



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MHC was approached by a freelance journalist, Angela Sarpong, to write an article pertaining to Maternal Health. Ms. Sarpong works for local and international blogs and websites writing on various issues. She came across our website and was moved to write an article for us. So here it is, some helpful and handy tips to help you reduce risks during your pregnancy:


Health during pregnancy is one of the world’s biggest issues at the time. Although thank the Lord most of pregnancies finish normally, there are still an important number of child and mother deaths in Ghana, and so part of the solution is to provide more information to the mothers. Here are some tips on how to keep you and your future baby healthy during pregnancy:

Medical care – It is extremely important you attend all your visits. Indeed, proper prenatal medical care is basic to avoid risks and…

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We know that it can be difficult to quit smoking. But we also know that you want to give your baby the best possible start in life.

Quitting smoking is the most important thing you can do to improve your baby’s health, growth and development. But there are many old wives’ tales about smoking during pregnancy that actually stop mums-to-be from quitting. So we want to share the facts that you need to know.

No matter what stage you’re at in your pregnancy, it’s never too late to stop smoking. The NHS offers specialist support for pregnant women who are trying to quit, so once you’ve read this page the best thing you can do is get in touch with us – we’re here to help you, your partner and your baby.

Promo smoking and pregnancy

Know the risks

It’s difficult to imagine when you can’t see your baby, but smoking when you’re pregnant is like blowing smoke in your baby’s face. When you smoke a cigarette, the poisons from the cigarette smoke are passed on to your baby.

Not only is this very distressing for your baby, but the exposure to these poisons can last up to 15 minutes at a time. It’s like putting your baby in a smoke-filled room for 15 minutes.

This happens for each and every cigarette you smoke, so cutting down on your smoking rather than quitting completely will still have a harmful effect on your baby’s wellbeing.

How smoking affects your baby in the womb

The lungs

When you smoke you breathe in more than 4,000 chemicals from the cigarette. The smoke goes from your lungs into your bloodstream. That blood flows to your placenta and umbilical cord, right into your baby’s tiny body. This causes your baby to struggle for oxygen.

The heart

One of the chemicals found in cigarettes is carbon monoxide, a dangerous chemical that gets into your bloodstream.

This restricts the supply of oxygen that’s essential for your baby’s healthy growth and development. This causes your baby’s tiny heart to pump even harder.

How smoking affects your newborn baby

Your baby’s tiny body is completely dependent on yours, so if you smoke throughout your pregnancy, your baby will go through nicotine withdrawal once it is born. This can make your baby stressed and irritable and it may be difficult to stop them crying.

Smoking while you are pregnant also increases the risk of your baby dying from cot death by at least 25%.

How smoking affects your children

Second-hand smoke is very dangerous for anyone exposed to it, but it is particularly dangerous for children babysmokin

Children exposed to second-hand smoke are at risk of ear infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma attacks and meningitis. Last year in the UK, 300,000 GP visits and 9,500 hospital admissions were caused by children breathing in other people’s cigarette smoke.



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 want one so bad I begin to itch

But the more I have the more I get a stitch,

When I have one I feel satisfied

But the more I have the more I might die,

The one after tea is definitely the best

But the more I have,the more pains in my chest,

I used to run,I used to be fit

I need to cut down or definitely quit,

From freshness to blackness I can’t understand

My body was good,but now it is bad

All of them kill,no matter the brand,

You can kick it,yes you can,

Put it out before you choke

Trust me mate, please don’t smoke

By Christopher Wolvet

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