I don’t want to bang on about what harm smoking can do to your body, because you are well aware of that already, I’m sure. The threats of the health hazards are so ‘old hat’ now that no-one even takes any notice anymore. Just one question from me though…in these days of health and fitness, why bother with your five portions of fruit and veggies, and going down the gym three times a week, if you’re not going to give up the ciggies?
Whilst all the messages of smoking causing ill-health are pretty much ignored nowadays, due mainly to overkill I think, I have included in this article a few of the lesser known problems that are caused by smoking:
Cigarettes contain more than 4000 chemical compounds of which at least 400 are toxic substances, how can you knowingly suck that into your face?? When you inhale, a cigarette burns at 700 degrees C at the tip and around 60 degrees C in the core. This heat breaks down the tobacco to produce various toxins. As a cigarette burns, the residues are concentrated towards the butt, so you get the full dose of toxins as you finish your cigarette.
These are the worst of the products:
1) Tar, a carcinogen (substance that causes cancer)
2) nicotine is the addictive substance and raises cholesterol
3) carbon monoxide lowers the oxygen in your body
Smoking causes differing levels of damage depending on:
1) How many cigarettes you smoke
2) Whether the cigarette has a filter or not
3) How the tobacco has been prepared
It has been shown that life expectancy can be improved by as much as seven or eight years if you do not smoke, but not only that, recent research has shown that if you continue smoking from a young age, people are dying of smoking related illnesses at much younger ages.
It is a staggering fact that if you add together all the deaths of people under the age of 70, who died from traffic accidents, AIDS, breast cancer and drug addiction, there are still more who die from smoking related illnesses.
I did promise not to preach, but I’m going to take a liberty here anyway (because it’s my article!). The longer you have smoked, the more cigarettes in a day that you smoke and the more deeply you inhale, the more you will increase the likelihood of you developing lung cancer. When you do stop smoking, it can take as much as 15 years to get back to the risk level that a non smoker has.
Oral cancers (cancers of the mouth) are four times more common in smokers than non smokers, a fact that many smokers are unaware of. A disease called Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is also affected very badly by smoking, which is responsible for 80 percent of cases.
It’s estimated that 94 per cent of 20-a-day smokers have some emphysema when the lungs are examined after death, while more than 90 per cent of non-smokers have little or none. COPD typically starts between the ages of 35 and 45 when lung function starts to decline anyway.
In smokers, the rate of decline in lung function can be three times the usual rate. As lung function declines, breathlessness begins. As the condition progresses, severe breathing problems can require hospital care. The final stage is death from slow and progressive breathlessness, a truly dreadful way to go.
Nicotine itself is known to cause narrowing of the arteries all over the body, but there is one particular problem that affects you guys out there. Men in their 30s and 40s, who smoke, are much more likely to have erectile dysfunction…now you’re listening aren’t you?! Erection cannot happen if the arteries that lead to the penis are not functioning properly, as the blood flow would be reduced, so stopping your performance before it even gets started.
I can’t stress this enough, but this a serious problem for you guys out there, not only for the obvious reason (as I’m sure you are with me there…). If you are a smoker and begin to have problems achieving or maintaining an erection you should go and see your doctor. A problem with the blood vessels in the penis could also mean that damage has been done to vessels in other parts of the body too.
The ‘side-stream’ smoke that comes off a cigarette between puffs carries a higher risk than directly inhaled smoke, so you’re not doing your non-smoking partners, kids, friends, etc., any good either…feeling guilty yet…?
Kids that grow up in a home with smoking parents are far more likely to have asthma and asthmatic bronchitis. The risk of having generalised allergies is much higher too. Younger babies and toddlers can have chest infections and even cot death.
It has been proven that the risk of lung cancer is increased amongst people who smoke ‘passively’ but as yet there is no proof of whether the risk of heart disease is also increased. You can be sure though, that you can look forward to a much healthier old age if you can stop smoking.
Please do yourself and all those who love you (actually those who don’t but have to be near you when you are polluting the air as well) a huge favour. There are 100’s of stop smoking programmes out there to help you, so quit smoking NOW!