Smoking now viewed as a drag

Smokers who quit can notice immediate changes.
Smokers who quit can notice immediate changes.

A LOT has changed in the past 50 years, including cultural attitudes towards smoking.

Yesterday marked 50 years since the release of the Smoking and Health report by the Royal College of Physicians (UK), which was endorsed by Australia's largest specialist medical college, The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) upon its release in 1962.

Despite changes to the way cigarettes are packaged, the cost and where you can and cannot smoke, the detrimental health effects remain.

Dr Ashley Nattrass of the Caneland Medical Centre said we were now more educated about what happened to your body when you were a smoker.

"Certain areas are affected, which are pretty much all way from your mouth down," Dr Nattrass said.

"You can get cancer of the mouth, cancer of the tongue, cancer to the floor of the mouth, the larynx and voice box.

"The smoke goes down the air ways and can cause chronic diseases like emphysema and cancer of the lung," Dr Nattrass said.

Smoking can also affect a person's skin and cause it to lose elasticity, which makes people look older, he said.

"Smoking can also lead to bladder cancer, believe it or not, and you're at an increased risk of heart disease.

"It certainly has a large number of effects on the body."

Smokers who quit can notice immediate changes, such as the return of their senses of taste and smell.

"In 20 minutes, your blood pressure and heart rate drop," he said.

"In 12 hours, blood carbon monoxide returns to a normal level.

"In 72 hours, your lung capacity starts to increase.

"In four weeks coughing and breathlessness reduces.

"In 12 weeks, the hairs in your lungs can improve lung cleaning.

"In a year, your chances of dying from heart disease is half that of a smoker.

"After five years, your risk of mouth, throat and oesophagus cancer is half that of a smoker.

"In 10 years your risk of lung cancer is half that of a smoker and in 15 the risk of heart disease is that of a non-smoker.

"I don't believe plain packaging has made a major difference, but I think it does have some benefits - I think a new smoker is not attracted to the box at all."

Topics:  smoking

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