We all know smoking is bad for you. Your friends and family have been after you for years to stop smoking. You have told them in no uncertain terms that you are aware of the risks of smoking, and you accept those risks. But do you really know the problems smoking causes?There are a number of reasons to quit smoking but some are less obvious, but no less substantial. Here are twelve well-known and not so well-known reasons to stop smoking.
The biggest of all reasons to quit smoking is cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) the majority of lung cancer cases are directly due to smoking, a fact most people know. What you may not know are the other types of cancer not normally associated with smoking, but are caused by it nonetheless. Colon cancer, leukemia, pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer and many other types of cancer are all linked to smoking.
One of the crueler diseases that can happen to a human being is emphysema. Emphysema does its damage by destroying the tiny air sacs in the lungs called alveoli. Over time emphysema will eat away these air sacs and harden the lungs. The resulting devastation this awful disease brings is a slow decent into death, suffocating and finding it harder every day to gasp in a little bit of air, until the end. It is not only the person with emphysema who suffers, family often have to take care of the patient at home. It is a daunting prospect to watch a parent slowly die, getting a little worse every day. If you want to avoid subjecting your loved ones to that level of agony, then quitting smoking is the best way to stop it.
Suffering from chronic bronchitis is miserable. This disease is an inflammation of the airways in the lungs caused by repeatedly breathing in a harmful pollutant in the air. According to the Mayo Clinic the number one cause of chronic bronchitis is smoking. It causes a cough that last most days of the month, for three months, wheezing, shortness of breath, and pain in the chest, abdomen and sides due to repeated coughing. If you are an active person or have a job that requires you to be active, this disease will change your lifestyle because there is no cure.
You may have already known about smoking and emphysema, but did you know about smoking and COPD? Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a combination of emphysema and chronic bronchitis, more devastating than either own their own. Symptoms like coughing up mucus every day from a cough that will never go away, or tightness in the chest so strong it’s difficult to breath, make it difficult to deal with. Doctors may tell you that it can be managed, but the truth of the matter is there is no cure for COPD; it will result in a long goodbye that your family will have to endure.
A stroke is caused by poor blood flow to the brain which results in the death of brain cells. The two major types of strokes are linked to smoking. The first type, ischemic, is caused by lack of blood flow to the brain caused by a blockage; the second is hemorrhagic which is bleeding in the brain when a blood vessel bursts or leaks. Smaller strokes known as Transient ischemic attack (TIA) also known as “mini-strokes” are also linked to smoking. According to Web MD the risk of stroke is increased by two and a half times from smoking. Strokes can cause major damage to the brain and leave victims unable to speak or have slurred speech due to paralysis on one side of the body. A stroke can also have an impact on cognitive function making it impossible for the sufferer to take care of their every day needs.
Heart disease is a nasty condition where the blood vessels to the heart are narrowed from a buildup inside them of a substance called plaque. When a buildup becomes too great several conditions can occur. Angina, heart attacks, difficulty breathing may all be caused by heart disease. According to Web MD one out of every deaths from heart disease is caused by smoking. If it does not kill you right away, then you may suffer from symptoms that demand a lifestyle change. Smokers are two to four times more likely to develop heart disease. Women who are on birth control are even more likely to get heart disease than the general smoker. Heart disease can cause a punishing heart attack that, like a stroke, can severely impar the victims cognitive function. With such high instances of smokers developing heart disease, it should be ample reason to quit smoking right away.
Smoking is a terrible idea if you are a pregnant woman. When you smoke while pregnant, so does your baby. That mix of tar, nicotine and other harmful chemicals found in cigarettes goes straight into the fetus’s bloodstream. Once the chemicals have invaded the baby’s bloodstream, then important things like oxygen and nutrients get muscled out. Without the proper nutrition in their bodies, fetuses can be at risk for premature birth, low birth weight, birth defects and even miscarriage. The risks don’t stop after the baby is born, they are at an increased risk for asthma, colic and childhood obesity. Even more frightening is that your newborn will be a higher risk for sudden infant death syndrome. It is an unusual form of cruelty to subject a baby to cigarette smoke while pregnant.
Smoking can cause multiple skin problems over time. Premature aging of the skin is directly linked to smoking. A popular way to illustrate the fact that a smoker’s skin ages faster is to place two adult twins, one a long-time smoker and the other a non-smoker, side by side. The difference between the two twins becomes evident very quickly. The smoker may have loose skin under his or her eyes, blotchy age spots and sagging skin, while the non-smoker usually has none of these signs of aging. The age spots smokers are likely to develop are not confined to the face but can develop on the hands as well. The premature aging is even worse if you are a smoker and spend a lot of time in the sun, sunscreen is not enough to slow down the aging in these circumstances. Sagging skin on arms and sagging breasts are linked to skin damage from smoking and is enough to give even the most non-vain person pause. Tiny horizontal lines are likely to develop around the top and bottom of a smoker’s lips, and depending of the frequency of smoking, can occur at the corners of the mouth as well. If you are interested in looking your best, then quitting cigarettes is an easy choice.
We have all seen heavy smokers who shock us when their smile reveals a set of crusted yellowing teeth; but there is much more dental damage brought on by smoking. According to the CDC you are twice at risk for gum disease if you are a smoker, the more you smoke the greater the risk and the longer you smoke increases your risk even more. Going to the dentist for gum disease may be ineffective and the treatments can be expensive, time consuming and painful. Better to quit smoking than subject yourself to such an unpleasant experience.
There are a number of issues that men experience from smoking, but there are some specific male related problems. Men who smoke are more likely to experience baldness. According to Web MD studies in Taiwan draw a clear line between Asian men and baldness. Erectile Disfunction is a risk factor for men who smoke because the chemicals contained in cigarettes have an effect on the blood vessels in the penis. Some studies show that quitting smoking will result not only cause the erectile disfunction to stop, put will lead to firmer and faster erections. Smoking also causes inflammation in the testicles which leads to a lower sperm count and less of a chance to fertilize the female egg.
Not only are women who smoke at a higher risk than men to develop heart disease, there are other issues specific to women as well. While some men develop breast cancer, it is a greater risk for women and an exponentially greater risk for women who smoke. Getting a mastectomy is a very real and very emotionally jarring experience for women who get breast cancer, smoking makes it all the more likely. Older women who smoke are at a higher risk to break a bone than those who have never smoked. Smoking has also been linked to irregular menstrual cycles and early onset of menopause. If you are a woman, there is a greater urgency to stop smoking.
Quitting smoking results in better respiration, better blood flow, and more energy. It is no wonder that once you have quit smoking you will feel better. The results of quitting smoking can be felt right away and improve with time. With all the risks, and the fact that your quality of life will improve, why keep smoking?