The Dangers of Tobacco Use
According to the World Health Organization, tobacco is the only legal drug that kills many of its users when it is used exactly as intended by its manufacturers. If it is killing its users, what is it doing to the planet?
Here are several facts from the World Health Organization about how tobacco use negatively affects the planet:
- 600,000,000 – Six Hundred Million Trees are chopped down to make cigarettes
- 84,000,000 – Eighty-Four Million Tons of CO2 Emissions are released into the air
- 22,000,000,000 – Twenty – Two billion Liters of water are used to make cigarettes
These numbers suggest that while tobacco kills over 8 million people every year, it is also destroying our environment at the same time and this destruction further harms human health.
While quitting tobacco might be the goal for many, it does not have to be all or nothing. There are benefits to human health and the planet when we reduce our use of tobacco products. If you are going to reduce your use of tobacco products you must understand what you are doing, why you are doing it, and how you can go about making a change.
Three Tips to Reduce Your Tobacco Use
Tip 1 – You must understand WHAT you do with tobacco and the habits, behaviors, and addiction that have developed if you are going to be able to create a strategy to reduce use. Here are some questions to help you assess your reliance on tobacco.
- Do you use tobacco products more than 15 times a day?
- Do you use tobacco products within 30 minutes of getting out of bed each day?
- Do you find it difficult to go more than four hours without using a tobacco product?
Tip 2 – You must understand WHY and WHEN you are using tobacco to successfully reduce your use. People use tobacco for a variety of reasons and understanding your patterns is key to reducing your use. Here are three questions to help you assess why and when you use tobacco each day.
- Consider the times of the day and your tobacco use. Does your use surround mealtimes, work schedules and demands, while your relaxing watching TV or playing a video game? How does it fit with other habits and routines you have?
- Consider people and your tobacco use. Do you use primarily with others that use; when it is offered, when meeting with family or friends whether they use or not.
- Consider places and your tobacco use. Do you use at home, work, in your car/truck, in someone else’s car/truck or outdoors.
Tip 3 – Realize that tobacco use it more than a habit when it has become an addiction. Becoming mindful about WHAT you are doing and WHY are great first steps to reducing your use but you need some GO -TO strategies to help you put things into practice. Here are several things you can put into action TODAY to help you begin to reduce your use of tobacco products:
- Identify alternative behaviors to using tobacco – maybe that is chewing gum or a coffee stir stick or singing with the radio but have something to do instead when you choose to not use.
- Smoke only part of a cigarette or use less snuff as a mindful way of reducing your use.
- Make a mindful decision to delay the use of a tobacco product by minutes or hours to reflect on your reasons regarding your WHAT and WHY of use.
- Recognize the lifestyle changes that will need to come with eliminating use of tobacco products – your interaction with people, how you do your job, and how you cope with stress. Begin making slight changes in each of these areas to reduce your use.