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The Man Manual - men's health made easy (in print)
Nicotine, the addictive drug in tobacco, provides instant but very short-lived stimulation to the nervous system, reducing tiredness and improving concentration.
When you're nervous, smoking also gives you something to do with your hands and the deep breathing involved is relaxing. For over a century most popular and youth cultures have regarded smoking as cool. As a result it helps some people feel part of those cultures, and therefore better about themselves.
Unfortunately, smoking does a lot of damage too.
You probably know these already, but it boils down to this: one in two smokers will be killed by their habit. This is because smoking causes:
No part of the body is unaffected. Two thousand arms and legs are amputated every year in the UK as a direct result of smoking.
Tobacco is a poison. The tar which causes so much of the damage contains arsenic, cyanide, formaldehyde and benzene (yum yum). Tobacco smoke also contains the killer compound carbon monoxide, which reduces oxygen in the blood and thus the body's performance.
Stopping smoking immediately cuts your risk of all the above, especially if you give up before you are thirty. Stopping smoking will almost certainly increase the length of your life and you will definitely:
If you aren't ready to give up yet, leave as long a stub as possible and try setting short-term targets for yourself which limit your smoking — only smoking on the hour, for example.
Your determination. Ultimately, you will only succeed if you are really ready to quit. However, all the following may help maintain your resolve:
Anything that stops you smoking — within reason and in the short term, anyway. Practise the Five Ds:
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Date of last review 03/04/14
Date of next review 03/04/17
It’s tough for men to ask for help but if you don’t ask when you need it, things generally only get worse. So we’re asking.
In the UK, one man in five dies before the age of 65. If we had health policies and services that better reflected the needs of the whole population, it might not be like that. But it is. Policies and services and indeed men have been like this for a long time and they don’t change overnight just because we want them to.
It’s true that the UK’s men don’t have it bad compared to some other groups. We’re not asking you to ‘feel sorry’ for men or put them first. We’re talking here about something more complicated, something that falls outside the traditional charity fund-raising model of ‘doing something for those less fortunate than ourselves’. That model raises money but it seldom changes much. We’re talking about changing the way we look at the world. There is nothing inevitable about premature male death. Services accessible to all, a population better informed. These would benefit everyone - rich and poor, young and old, male and female - and that’s what we’re campaigning for.
We’re not asking you to look at images of pity, we’re just asking you to look around at the society you live in, at the men you know and at the families with sons, fathers and grandads missing.
Here’s our fund-raising page - please chip in if you can.