Guest post: One of my pet hates – Smoking

One of my pet hates – Smoking Let’s just get it out there – I hate smoking. With a passion, it is dangerous, smells disgusting and I just don’t understand why people spend so much money to do it.

Recently there has been a lot of press coverage around electronic cigarettes. With growing numbers of people choosing to use these battery-powered devices in the UK, I decided to find out a bit more about them.

Invented in 2003 by Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik, he was inspired to design the electronic cigarette after his father, also a heavy smoker died from lung cancer. Hon wanted an alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes and soon began exporting his devices overseas from Beijing. So how do they work?

They are battery powered, and work by heating a water-based e-liquid inside the device, which turns into a vapour that can be then inhaled. Sounds very sci-fi to me but I have noticed a few people recently using them when we have been out and about. As much as I absolutely hate smoking, I do understand that for many it is an addiction, as well as a ritual they enjoy. If there was a healthier alternative available to smokers I guess it can only be a positive thing. Electronic cigarettes don’t contain tobacco and according to my research you can also buy nicotine free e-liquid.

The NHS smoke free campaign highlights some of the many reasons to quit smoking:

  • Smokers lose an average of 16 years of their life 
  • 90% of lung cancer cases are caused by smoking 
  • Cigarette smoke contains nicotine and carbon monoxide which increase blood pressure and reduce the blood’s ability to carry oxygen 
  •  Smoke 20 a day and you will spend almost £48,000 over the next 20 years 
  • Smoking 15 a day adds up to around £35 a week 
  • 73% of children worry that their mum or dad will die from smoking If you smoke – your children are twice as likely to smoke when they are older 
  • Children exposed to a smoky atmosphere are more likely to suffer from breathing problems, allergies, chest infections and have more time off school 

For me as a parent the most shocking facts are not about how much money it costs to feed a smoking habit but the health repercussions for you and your family. Smoking releases second hand smoke which is full of dangerous chemicals including arsenic and cyanide. Second hand smoke is hard to avoid if someone near you is smoking – over 80% is invisible and odourless. Children exposed to it are at risk of asthma attacks, bronchitis and pneumonia.

E-cigarettes claim to be a healthier alternative to tobacco cigarettes and supposedly don’t have any associated second hand smoking risks. They also claim to be odourless a plus for smokers no doubt – no more horrible tell-tale stale tobacco smell following them around all day.

With new regulations coming into effect in 2016 which will regulate electronic cigarettes as medicine they could offer smokers an alternative that would benefit their family and those around them, in my eyes that can only be a positive thing.