Smoking and Physically Challenged: Helping a Community to Be Smoke-Free
Individuals living with physical challenges are statistically more susceptible to smoking than individuals who are not. We must come together and support these brave souls in overcoming their challenge of quitting smoking.
Approximately 17% of all deaths each year is attributable to smoking. Unfortunately, every one of these deaths were avoidable. Smoking is the nation’s leading cause of preventable deaths. Approximately 17% of American’s without disabilities smoke, and those with a disability who smoke is considerably higher. Today, more than 25% of those living with a disability smoke cigarettes. This not only increases the mortality rate among those with a disability, but it also increases their risk of contracting new illnesses, diseases, and new disabilities to live with.
Smoking and the Physically Challenged
As many already know, smoking is one of the most dangerous and life-threatening activities on the planet. According to the CDC, smoking harms virtually every organ in the human body. It leads to heart disease, COPD/emphysema, respiratory disease, macular degeneration, numerous cancers, bone disease, hearing loss, and more. Smoking causes over eight million individuals to live with at least one form of illness or more.
Smoking affects those living with physical disabilities more so than those without preexisting physical challenges. The reason for this may not be so cut and dried. One thing that is for certain, however, is that stress levels may be higher in individuals who are just learning to live with a disability. In light of this, millions of individuals living with a physical disability were not born with the challenge. It was caused by anything from war, car accidents, a crime, etc. These individuals are at a higher risk of smoking as they experience higher levels of stress and anxiety in the beginning.
As time goes on, many realize that their disability is manageable and they regain every bit the life they had before. However, smoking by this time has become habitual. It is one of the most addictive substances on the planet. According to the CDC, cigarettes are as addictive as heroin or cocaine, and can be just as hard to quit. However, with support, it is possible.
It is imperative that we come together for those living with physical challenges and help them fight for their freedom from cigarettes. Those without the use of their legs are not imprisoned – it is the addiction to smoking that imprisons. We must come together to help those with challenges overcome their biggest challenge of all – quitting smoking. Education and support by family members, friends, and loved ones is the most crucial aspect of support. How smoking began is not important. What is important is how – and when – it ends. It must end now in order to ensure life and longevity. It must end now to ensure additional medical issues are not brought on, or that a worsening of existing medical issues are not exacerbated.
Together we can make a difference in the lives of so many brave and indomitable individuals. Utilizing smoking cessation aids are a fantastic way to assist in overcoming nicotine cravings, as well. There are nicotine gums and patches – many of which are considered safe and effective and can be purchased over the counter. Let’s take the first step so we can come together and get involved. Smoking does not have to affect so many, and we ask that you help us end it here.