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Why nurses smoke



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Nurses…of all people…unfortunately trend trend toward being unhealthy.

In my original post Top 5 Reasons (Excuses) Why Nurses Are ‘Unhealthy’, here are the top 5 reasons I hear from other nurses as to why they aren’t more healthy:

  • I don’t have the time/ I have no place to go
  • Smoking helps me relax / I can quit if I wanted to
  • I’m too tired
  • My back (or insert your favorite body part) hurts too much
  • I’m not dieting – I hate dieting

We’ve visited reason #1, so now let’s tackle reason #2:

Smoking helps me relax / I can quit if I wanted to.

Anyone who is a health care worker should know better than this. You know exactly what smoking does to your lungs on an anatomical/physiological level?! Let’s talk about oxygen exchange? How about having that ‘feeling’ of someone always standing on your chest? Ever been short of breath? How does that cold air feel on your lungs? You participate in a habit that basically shortens the life span of some pretty important organs. What’s more important to you?

You know what smoking does to your circulation? How warm are your hands and feet? How severe is your decreased circulation? Tissue recovery and healing are severely impeded by any amount of smoking – why do you think you are asked this question if you’re having surgery?

You know what nicotine does to you? Addiction is tough. No matter how you approach it. I’m not here to point fingers about this battle. Once you become a slave to the addicting effects of nicotine there is really nothing nice to say. It begins to take over many parts of your life. As a nurse we are all about the ‘control’ factor. Who’s really in control?

While it may ‘feel’ like it relaxes you, you also know that it does just the opposite? This is a no brainer. It only relaxes you because this particular habit has become your ‘crutch’. I have never smoked a cigarette in my life, but I’m told by many reformed smokers that this so-called feeling of relief and relaxation is horribly short in nature. The only way to sustain that ‘good’ feeling is to light up another. Once again – who is in control here?

I’m probably being extremely biased and a tad bit obtuse since I have never been a slave to this animal. While I have never actually taken a ‘drag’ I have lived with it my entire life. My immediate and extended family as well as most of my friends have all been ‘chain’ smokers my whole life. Some worse than others.

And I must tell you being a victim of second-hand smoke as well as watching many loved one’s die at the hand of this monster has given me a unique perspective. I won’t make excuses nor will I regret any of my strongly opinionated thoughts on smoking. The evidence and the reality of this situation supports my concerns.

Smoking and all the wonderful side effects it causes to the body begs the question as to why you would ‘want’ to smoke at all? ‘if you wanted to’ sums up this whole excuse. Why would you ‘want’ to smoke knowing what you know, and doing what you do?

Best of luck.

I look forward to your thoughts.

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