Puffing cigarettes can certainly shorten your life, but it can also hurt your health in many other irreversible ways. Though living longer should be motivation enough to kick the habit, we hope the following health risks will convince you to commit to quit.
Lung cancer accounts for 26 percent of cancer deaths among women reports the Lung Cancer Alliance. Just 50 years ago, lung cancer accounted for only three percent. Though smoking is not the only cause of lung cancer, it can greatly increase your risk of developing this deadly disease. According to the American Lung Association, smoking is directly responsible for 87 percent of reported lung cancer cases.
In the book The HPV Vaccine Controversy, author Dr Shobha S Krishnan warns that smoking can make existing HPV infections persist in the body and even cause HPV-related diseases because smoking weakens the immune system.
Dr Edward Paul, one of the world's leading authorities on macular degeneration, says smoking increases a patient's risk of developing age-related macular degeneration – a leading cause of blindness in Americans 65 years old and older – by a whopping 350 percent.
Smoking increases your risk of developing heart disease and stroke - among other diseases – and the more cigarettes you smoke, the higher your risk. Even reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke per day can help protect your heart. A study in Nicotine & Tobacco Research reports that fewer cigarettes can decrease "bad" cholesterol, increase "good" cholesterol, and improve the blood's ability to transport oxygen – meaning you will feel less winded during exertion. Kicking the habit for good delivers even more heart-health benefits.
A study in BMC Public Health earlier this year indicates that current smokers are significantly more likely to lose their teeth than former smokers or nonsmokers aged 20 to 38 years old. That's too young to be losing teeth! Additionally, the nicotine in cigarettes stain teeth, meaning the teeth you don't lose will stay a dingy shade of yellow.
Don't you have family and friends you enjoy spending time with? What about your kids – don't you want to see them grow up, get married and have kids of their own? Quitting smoking will lengthen your life – as well as improve its quality – and the healthy results of kicking the habit are realized rather quickly. A May 2008 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that 61 percent of the full benefit of quitting in regard to coronary heart disease mortality and 42 percent of the full benefit of quitting in regard to cerebrovascular deaths was realized within the first five years.
Having trouble conceiving? In the article Smoking adds a decade to your fertility age, experts say smoking could be hurting your chances. However, lead researcher Dr Bea Lintsen, from Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, says: "The positive news from our results is that they suggest that couples – in particular, women with unexplained subfertility – may be able to improve the success of IVF treatment by quitting smoking."
According to Kori Ellis, author of 8 Healthy skincare tips, studies show that the skin of cigarette smokers ages more than twice as fast as that of non-smokers. Smoking dehydrates your skin and depletes it of essential nutrients. She suggests that you detoxify your skin by quitting smoking and/or limiting your exposure to second hand smoke and other pollutants.
Believe it or not, smoking can contribute to digestive diseases. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases warns that smoking can effect all parts of the digestive system, contributing to such common disorders as heartburn and peptic ulcers as well as increasing the risk of Crohn's disease, and possibly gallstones, which form when liquid stored in the gallbladder hardens into pieces of stone-like material. Smoking can even damage your liver.
Even though packs of smokes say smoking is hazardous to your health, your kids are going to look to you for guidance. If you smoke, chances are great they will, too. If you don't, you improve the chances they won't, either. If you quit, you are showing them that smoking is a poor choice for long-term health and, as importantly, you are showing them that you care enough about them as well as yourself to live to see them grow up and have kids of their own.