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Should the FDA Prohibit Filtered Cigarettes?

In an intriguing story on the history of cigarettes — including how doctors once told us it was OK to light up because smoking was “good” for you — CNN Health reports that a new study shows that filtered cigarettes are worse for you than unfiltered. This is directly contrary to the old thinking that filters make cigarettes safer.

It seems like we’re singing the same refrain over and over, but filtered or not, cigarettes are just plain not good for you. Smoking damages your body and causes a slow and steady decline in a process similar to rotting. In addition to causing heart disease and cancer, it can damage your bones, eyes, teeth, fertility and brain. There’s no question that it contributes to lung cancer.

As an alternative, e-cigarettes are not a healthy choice, as they still not only deliver a dose of nicotine, but often contain harmful chemicals in the flavors.

With the lecture out of the way, what can you do to help yourself quit? Begin by deciding to stop now, as the benefits of quitting start within the first 20 minutes, at which point your heart rate and blood pressure drop. Within the first eight hours, your nicotine levels fall by more than 93 percent and within 12 hours your blood oxygen level will return to normal.

Within 20 years of quitting, your body will be "as good as new" in that your risks of chronic diseases will be the same as that of a non-smoker. To get started, the "secret" to quitting smoking is to get healthy first, which will make quitting much easier. Exercising is part and parcel of this plan, as research shows people who engage in regular strength training double their success rate at quitting smoking compared to those who don't exercise.

Then, find an emotional outlet such as meditation or relaxation strategies such as the Emotional Freedom Techniques to quell your desire to smoke. Once you are able to predict your urge and preplan healthy alternatives, you’ll be on your way to breaking the addiction.
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