According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 480,000 people die due to cigarette smoking each year in the United States, which means that nearly 1 in 5 deaths is caused by smoking. Smoking is one of the worst habits you can pick up as it leads to a number of diseases and has a negative effect on nearly every organ in the human body. If you have already picked up the smoking habit, it can be extremely difficult to quit. However, once you realize all the ill effects smoking has on your health, you may be convinced to take measures to quit as soon as possible.
The Effects of Smoking on Your Health
With over 600 ingredients, cigarettes have many of the same detrimental ingredients as cigars and hookahs and can generate more than 7,000 chemicals as they as smoked. These chemicals can be very poisonous and many of them are linked to cancer. Though you may not feel these long-term effects until it’s much too late, there are also plenty of immediate negative effects of smoking.
Immediate Effects of Smoking
- Bad breath – Anyone who has been around a smoker knows they have chronically bad breath. Not only does smoking cause bad breath, but it can also affect the way food tastes which can hamper appetite. Longer term oral implications include tooth yellowing and tooth loss and gum damage.
- Cost – A pack a day habit costs an average of $3,600 a year. If you smoke more than that, the cost continues to go up. As a deterrent against smoking, prices are regularly hiked on tobacco products.
- Effect on those near you – While secondhand smoke damage is a longer-term effect on those you smoke around, immediate effects can be allergies, congestions, and a generally unpleasant environment. You may find that friends and family members make excuses not to be around you the more you smoke.
Long Term Effects of Smoking
- Cancer – Those who smoked have an increased risk of lung cancer. 90 percent of lung cancer cases are attributed to smoking. In addition to lung cancer, smokers are also at an increased risk of cancer of the lips, mouth, kidney, bladder, liver, stomach, cervix, breast, and throat.
- Heart disease – Stroke and heart disease are both heavily affected by smoking. In fact, those who smoke are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack than their non-smoking counterparts. Why? Smoke damages the arteries and can cause them to constrict. It can also cause cholesterol to build up and block vessels, which can then lead to a cardiovascular incident.
- Aging – Those who smoke tend to look much older than those of the same age who have never smoked. Smoking damages the skin, hair, and teeth and can cause loss of collagen and elastin. Smoking also has tar and nicotine, both of which can damage the skin and cause it to take on a yellow tint. Smoking also dries the skin, which is a major cause of premature aging.
- Loss of sight – Many people don’t realize that your chances of going blind are doubled when you smoke. The tissues of the eyes are incredibly delicate and sensitive to the poisonous ingredients in cigarette smoke. This can lead to cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. Even if you don’t completely lose your sight, you could experience a steady decline in your vision.
- Breathing problems – For those lucky enough not to develop lung cancer due to smoking, other breathing problems almost always occur. Smoking can significantly worsen asthma and permanently damage your airway. It can also exacerbate allergies and could also lead to emphysema.
- Bone strength – Those who smoke are more likely to develop brittle bones or bone loss and can more easily develop osteoporosis. The chemicals in cigarettes affect how the bones are constructed and can also negatively affect hormonal balance—another key component in strong and healthy bones.
- Early menopause – The effect on hormones can trigger early menopause in female smokers. Early menopause is not only life-altering, but it can also trigger diseases such as breast cancer.
- Impotence – Even sexual health is affected by smoking. For men who are regular smokers, the chances of impotence dramatically increase due to the narrowing of the blood vessels that lead to an erection. Men between the ages of 40 and 79 who smoke are also more likely to experience erectile dysfunction, which is chronic impotence. This can have severe consequences on self-esteem and relationships of the smoker.
Secondhand Smoke and Its Dangers
If the above is not enough to scare you into quitting smoking, think of the others in your life. Secondhand smoke affects all those who are around you on a regular basis and can be especially harmful to children. Some studies link secondhand smoke to SIDS or crib death, while others attribute many cases of asthma or childhood allergies to parents who smoke around their young children. In the most severe cases, secondhand smoke can lead to lung cancer and death in those who are exposed to it on a regular basis.
Smoking has a severe impact on the person with the habit as well as those who are close to him or her. Though more laws are being enacted to prevent smoking in public places, smoking is still a huge health concern and millions of people continue to be addicted to the drug.
Quit Smoking Now
Do you have a smoking habit? Have you tried everything you can think of to quit and to no avail? The nicotine in smoking is quite addictive, and once you have developed the habit, it can be very tough to stop. That’s why you should not go at it alone. By visiting us, EZCare Clinic, a walk-in clinic in San Francisco, you can consult with a medical professional who can advise you on the best ways to stop smoking. He or she may recommend nicotine patches, hypnotism, behavioral therapy, or other methods to help you finally break the habit once and for all. If you are a smoker, do yourself and your loved one a favor and find a way to stop today. Call us today to find out how we can help.