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Smoke Signals

Smokers have a greater risk of dying young, or of having medical problems, with smoking-related diseases killing one in 10 adults globally, or 4.9 million people per year. It is predicted that by 2020, smoking will claim 10 million lives per year since every cigarette smoked cuts at least five minutes of a smoker’s life. This one needs a plug.

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By Kiki Tan

The Marlboro Man, with his Stetson hat and cowboy boots, gave a face to millions of cigarette smokers worldwide as he exuded virility and masculinity, traits stereotypically associated with smoking.

The advertisement remains, but its stars are long gone. Wayne McLaren, the Marlboro Man in the promotional photographs first published in 1976, died of lung cancer on July 22, 1992. The other Marlboro Man in the advertisement, David McLean, suffered severe emphysema and died of lung malignancy in 1995.

So, what is the truth about smoking?

DESTRUCTION BY SMOKE

“Smoking is extremely addictive, and the cigarette is the vehicle that initiates and sustains the addiction,” warns Dr. Daniel Tan, president of Tobacco-Free Philippines (TFP).

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III acknowledges that smoking kills, saying that three Filipinos die every hour from tobacco use. “There is absolutely nothing beneficial about it,” he says. “It is harmful (physically) because it causes wrinkles, baldness, darkened lips and gums, and yellow teeth and nails, making you look old and ugly. It is harmful to others, who will not only be turned off by your bad breath, but may receive so much exposure from secondhand smoke that they will inevitably die from lung cancer or heart disease. And it is harmful to one’s manhood as it causes erectile dysfunction and impotence.”

Unless smokers immediately stop their habit, they can end up being among the projected 10 million people who will die by 2020, Duque warns. Of this figure, 70% are expected to come from developing countries.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that a third of the world’s male adult population smokes. Among teenagers aged 13 to 15, one out of five is a smoker. In the Philippines, 60% of male adults and 11% of female adults smoke.

SMOKE SCRUTINY
Unless smokers immediately stop their habit, they can end up being among the projected 10 million people who will die by 2020. Of this figure, 70% are expected to come from developing countries.

Curiously, while the smoking rate in developed countries has declined through the years, it continues to rise in developing nations, the WHO states. The Philippines alone ranks first in sales for Philip Morris International’s Asian region market. The country is also the 15th biggest consumer of cigarettes in the world and the largest consumer among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“The WHO is saying that 80% of today’s smokers live in developing countries, with tobacco consumption rising by 3.4% per year,” says Dr. Dante Morales, former president of the Philippine Heart Association and the Philippine College of Physicians.

One probable reason for the disparity is that developed countries have adopted the United Nations Framework Convention on Tobacco Control that aims to reduce tobacco-related diseases and deaths worldwide. Developing countries have not. Thus, measures such as bans on direct and indirect tobacco advertising, increases in tobacco taxes and prices, and the inclusion of large, clear, graphic health messages in tobacco packaging are already applied in developed countries, but largely ignored in developing nations.

COST OF SMOKING

WHO studies also show that in low-income countries, smokers spend 10% to 17% of total household expenditures on tobacco, significantly reducing the money that is supposed to be used for essential items, such as food, healthcare and education.

But the cost of smoking involves a great deal more than money.

Smokers have a greater risk of dying young, or of having medical problems, with smoking-related diseases killing one in 10 adults globally, or 4.9 million people per year. It is predicted that by 2020, smoking will claim 10 million lives per year since every cigarette smoked cuts at least five minutes of a smoker’s life.

These risks are reflected on the premium payments of smokers who pay more for health care and prescription medicines because of increased medical problems. Smoking leads to or aggravates lung cancer, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, osteoporosis, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism and diabetes.

Dental care also costs more for smokers since smoking can damage gums and teeth. Regular use of tobacco leaves yellow stains on the teeth that require special cleaning.

Studies show that smokers tend to earn less than non-smokers because of reduced productivity. These studies state that smokers earn 4% to 11% less than their counterparts due to higher absenteeism and earlier retirement because of ill health.

Smokers, of course, also compromise the health of non-smokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke.

BEATING THE HABIT

Fortunately, the government has not been entirely oblivious to the perils of smoking. Since 1995, the Department of Health (DOH) has been working with health advocates to push effective tobacco control legislation with positive results. In 2003, Republic Act No. 9211, the Tobacco Regulation Act, was enacted to regulate the sale and use of tobacco nationwide.

It is, however, the private sector that continues to take the initiative to curb smoking.

TFP’s Tan notes that in the Philippines where nicotine rehabilitation centers are rare, cold turkey is “the only way to successfully quit smoking since there is currently no available intervention that will help patients overcome the withdrawal symptoms that come with smoking cessation.”

Pharmaceutical companies have, however, produced “smoking cessation aids” such as Pfizer Consumer Healthcare’s Nicorette, a gum that helps smokers quit the habit successfully through nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). Basically, the gum changes the way a smoker gets a nicotine fix, which long-time smokers are dependent on, by providing them with nicotine without the tar, carbon monoxide and 5,000 other toxic gases that come from cigarette smoking. Once the gum is chewed, nicotine is released into the saliva that is then absorbed through the lining of the mouth.

Nicotine patches are another form of NRT, but the nicotine transfer is done through the skin (transdermal).

“Those who have successfully quit smoking know that quitting can be a huge challenge,” says Dr. Randy Cañal, Pfizer ASEAN area manager, Regulatory Affairs/Medical Research and Development. “With these products, smokers can hopefully take better control of their cigarette craving and eventually stop smoking.”

According to the American Cancer Society, as early as 20 minutes after quitting smoking, a smoker’s blood pressure, pulse rate, heart rate, blood circulation and body temperature of the hands and feet return to normal. Eight hours after quitting, cigarette breath disappears as the carbon monoxide blood level drops. Within 24 hours, chances of heart attacks decrease. In 48 hours, nerve endings in the nose and the mouth start growing again, thereby enhancing the smell and taste senses as mucus from the lungs begins to clear. From three weeks to three months after quitting, the lung function increases to as much as 30%. A year after quitting, excess risk of coronary heart diseases is cut in half. And 10 years after quitting, the death rate of smokers from lung cancer is almost equivalent to that of non-smokers.

Despite all the information about the hazards of smoking, DOH’s Duque says the decision to quit the habit remains a personal one. “Anti-smokers can only do so much to help smokers quit since it is the smokers themselves who decide what to do with their habit,” he points out. “But if one is to choose between living a long and healthy life and dying young because of smoking, the choice should be a no-brainer.”

Believing that everyone's perspective is important, Zest Magazine has opted to provide an avenue for these perspectives to be known. care to hear the publication's contributing writers; or better yet, do some contributing yourself by contacting info@zestmag.com.

Health

Tips for walking 20,000 steps a day

To walk 20,000 steps a day you’ll need to cover a total of 10 miles. This may seem like a lot, but it’s actually not as difficult as it sounds.

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Photo by Sincerely Media from Unsplash.com

To walk 20,000 steps a day you’ll need to cover a total of 10 miles. This may seem like a lot, but it’s actually not as difficult as it sounds. Here are a few tips to help you reach your goal:

Invest in a Good Pair of Shoes

The first step to walking 20,000 steps a day is to make sure you have the right equipment. Investing in a good pair of walking shoes will help to prevent blisters and injuries, and make the walk more comfortable overall.

Make Walking Part of Your Daily Routine

To reach your 10-mile goal every day, make walking a part of your daily routine. This might mean taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator, or parking farther away from where you’re going so that you have to walk more. You can also try waking up a few minutes earlier each morning to fit in a walk before you start your day.

Join a Walking Group

If you’re having trouble finding time to fit in 10 miles each day, consider joining a walking group or taking part in a local 5k race. This will help keep you motivated and provide social support along the way.

Start Small

Don’t try to walk 20,000 steps all at once. Start with a smaller goal, such as 5,000 steps per day, and gradually increase your mileage as you become more fit. This will help you avoid injury and burnout.

Stay Hydrated

Make sure to stay hydrated while walking by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. This will help you feel more energized and prevent dehydration-related issues, such as muscle cramps or fatigue.

The Bottom Line – BetterMe Can Help You Walk More, Every Day

If you’re looking to improve your overall health, walking 20,000 steps a day can help. This simple form of exercise offers a host of health benefits, from improved sleep and digestion to reduced stress and anxiety. To reach your goal, use the BetterMe Blog as a guide and stay committed every day. With enough dedication, you can achieve your fitness goals and transform your body for the better.

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Health

How can the self-employed tackle burnout? Expert shares top tips

Self-employed people such as business owners or freelancers may be more susceptible to burnout due to long working hours and the weight of responsibility that they carry.

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Photo by Nubelson Fernandes from Unsplash.com

With workers returning to the office in their greatest numbers since the pandemic, the number of people suffering from burnout or stress-related illnesses is also on the rise.

Self-employed people such as business owners or freelancers may be more susceptible to burnout due to long working hours and the weight of responsibility that they carry. 

For many work and life have become intertwined, fortunately, Private Rehab Clinic Delamere has shared tips on how you can tackle burnout when self-employed and the common signs.  

How you can tackle burnout

1. Set Goals and Priorities

Having a mountain of work, with no plan in place to move forward can sometimes feel overwhelming. It can help to take a step back to assess which of your tasks need prioritising, and which ones will help you to achieve your goals.  

2. Speak to Your Colleagues or Clients

Being honest with the people that you are working with or for, about your mental health can often make things a lot a lot easier. You may be surprised at how understanding other people are of your situation.

By being open with others, you will have a better understanding of what to expect from each other, meaning that you will have a stronger professional relationship going forward.

3. Ask for Help

Never be afraid to ask for help if you feel that your stress is becoming too much to handle and you start to show signs of burnout. Getting external advice through counselling or therapy can give you a new perspective on a situation to guide you through any problems.

If you do not feel comfortable with counselling, then simply reaching out to friends and family can be enough to help you talk through your problems.

4. Schedule Time-Off

Sometimes when work life is becoming too stressful, all you need to do is take a short break from it all. Returning to work after a much-needed break can give a person a more positive mindset.

Those who are self-employed are often in charge of their own schedule and can over look the need to take holidays. In fact, some surveys have shown that nearly one in ten business owners go up to five years without taking a holiday.

5. Consider Changing Things

If your line of work is causing you constant stress and it feels that there truly is no way out, then it may be worth considering if you are genuinely following the right career path for you.

It may be the case that you do not need to change your career path altogether, but that your daily work routine simply needs to be altered. Consider making small changes such as your place of work. If you are stuck in an office or at home all day, you may benefit from finding a co-working space or coffee shop to work in.

Sometimes changes can be as simple as investing in new equipment or simply taking more regular breaks from your working day. By implementing these small changes you are less likely to burnout from stress.

6. Put Self-Care First

Work-life can be demanding, especially for any self-employed people who are under pressure to meet deadlines for various clients. However, when we demand too much of ourselves, it can be damaging to our physical and mental health.

Remind yourself that you come first. Maintaining a healthy sleeping and eating pattern, while keeping up a rewarding social life and strong relationships is more important to your mental well-being than anything you do while on the clock. 

Spotting the signs of burnout

1. Feeling Tired All The Time

If you are waking up feeling exhausted and find that you are still feeling drained even after you have been awake for a few hours and a cup of coffee in your system, then this may be a sign that you have burnout.

2. Lack of Motivation

During burnout, a person may find themselves completely withdrawn from their workplace or work tasks. Simply going through the motions while at work without any kind of motivation – or taking no joy whatsoever from your accomplishments at work – could indicate that you are experiencing burnout.

3. Recurring Health Problems

A person suffering from burnout may experience frequent and recurring headaches and muscle pains, as well as feelings of indigestion and stomach aches.

4. Feeling Irritable

Finding yourself easily irritated or frustrated, even by small things, and then snapping out at others is a possible sign that you are carrying too much stress from work.

6. Self-Deprecating Feelings

When someone is suffering from burnout it can have serious effects on their mental health. A person can have a heightened sense of self-doubt, feel like a failure and even experience impostor syndrome.

A person with burnout may also experience increased feelings of isolation and detachment from their colleagues, friends and family.

7. Increased Procrastination

When burnout occurs a person may find themselves avoiding their responsibilities, regardless of how small those responsibilities may be. Instead, a person will fill their time with procrastination and indulging in comforting distractions.

8. Coping Mechanisms

During burnout, a person may be more likely to turn to other comforts and coping mechanisms such as comfort eating junk food or even consuming alcohol and/or drugs. Engaging in any habit excessively to cope with stress may be a sign of burnout.

9. Change in Sleeping and Eating Habits

Stress can mess with our natural cycle and someone who is experiencing unnaturally high levels of stress may find that their sleeping habits are altered as they end up staying up late and sleeping in.

A person may also find themselves skipping or avoiding regular meal times, having a loss of appetite at some points in the day, or craving comforting junk food at others.

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Fitness

6 Exercise safety tips

Now, as social restrictions ease, you may find yourself stepping up your workouts, whether you’re training for an event or working to improve your game in a recreational league.

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In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans are more aware of their health and wellness. Now, as social restrictions ease, you may find yourself stepping up your workouts, whether you’re training for an event or working to improve your game in a recreational league.

Sprains, strains and injuries can happen to even the most seasoned athletes. When you’re testing your limits, even a minor injury can alter your performance. Consider products and supports like these from the CURAD Performance Series product line, available at Walmart and Amazon, to help you get back in the game quickly and safely.

Find more resources to support your fitness journey at CURAD.com.

Keep Dirt and Germs Away

The more active you are, the harder it can be to find a bandage that stays with you all day or all game long.

Spray Away Sore Spots

Controlling mild pain can help keep you at the top of your game, and a topical analgesic works fast to heal common pain brought on by fitness and exercise, such as pain in knees, feet, shoulders and backs.

Put Pain in the Past

When recovery becomes the name of the game and pain relief is needed after daily workouts or bodily injuries. Cold packs work to heal bruises, reduce swelling and relieve headaches and general pain points while microwavable heat packs provide satisfying heat therapy to address sore and stiff joints, muscle cramps and tension.

Reduce Impact of Knee Strain

Weak, injured or arthritic knees can come from many sources, including tendonitis and a wide range of conditions that result in strain or overuse. An adjustable band can provide support for on-field sports and during workouts or everyday activities.

Manage Pain and Relieve Pressure

If you participate in endurance and strength exercises or certain sports, you may ask a lot of your joints. Kinesiology tape can be configured a multitude of ways to help reduce pain and improve blood circulation, as well as relieve tension and pressure.

Control Back Strain

When your back is strained, your body and performance can suffer. A mild or moderate sprain can benefit from strong support and compression.

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