Many smokers are under the impression that they cannot scuba dive because of the health risks.
While it is true that smoking cigarettes can pose some risks while diving, it is not an insurmountable obstacle.
There are many ways to mitigate the risks and enjoy your time diving, even if you are a smoker.
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Smoking and diving
Smoking is bad for your health, both in the short-term and the long-term.
In the short-term, smoking can increase your heart rate and blood pressure.
This puts smokers at a greater risk of having a heart attack while diving.
In the long-term, smoking increases your risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
This condition can make it difficult to breathe, which is obviously a problem when you’re trying to breathe underwater.
Smoking risks underwater
Smoking cigarettes can reduce your lung capacity by as much as 20%, which can be a problem when you need all the air you can get while diving.
In addition, smokers are more susceptible to ear and sinus infections, which can also cause problems while diving.
Finally, smokers are at an increased risk for hypothermia, since nicotine constricts blood vessels and reduces circulation.
Preparation can make scuba easier
The risks that smokers face can be mitigated with proper preparation.
First and foremost, quitting smoking is the best way to reduce your risks while diving.
However, if you are not able to quit, there are other measures you can take.
If possible, try to refrain from smoking for at least two hours before diving.
This will give your lungs time to recover some of their lost capacity.
In addition, make sure to drink plenty of water before diving, since dehydration can exacerbate the effects of nicotine on your body.
If you’re a smoker who would like to start scuba diving, the best thing you can do is quit smoking.
Quitting smoking has immediate benefits for your cardiovascular system, and within a few years, your lung function can return to normal.
There are many resources available to help you quit smoking, including nicotine replacement products like gum and patches, prescription medications, and counseling.
Talk to your doctor about which quit smoking method is right for you.