Health Risks of Smoking
Warning! Reading This Page Will Frighten You!
It's hard to believe that the health risks of smoking aren't enough to frighten people into quitting instantly. Somehow smokers manage to avoid the harsh facts.
I've been a smoker, and lived with one too so I'm writing this from experience, not as a a goody-goody who's never even had a drag.
I just carried on happily puffing away, inflicting 2nd hand smoke, dirty ash trays etc. on everyone around me, seemingly unaware of how offensive it was, let alone appreciating the health risks of smoking.
I'm not going to suggest ways to quit, or give advice about nicotine patches, gum, hypnosis or medication - the following list of the health risks of smoking should speak for itself.
Why Smoking is Bad For You
- You are inhaling carbon monoxide! Cigarette smoke contains between 1 and 3 percent carbon monoxide. This reduces the amount of available oxygen in the body, muscle action and brain function are affected.
- Smokers are at greater risk of heart attack and stroke especially if they also have they have hypertension or high cholesterol. There are often no signs of high blood pressure!
- It causes gum disease and slows down any healing process. The pockets between your teeth and gums get deeper, allowing in bacteria that destroys tissue and bone. The gums may shrink away from the teeth, your teeth may become loose, painful and even fall out.
A cigarette generates around 4,000 chemicals, including 43 known cancer causing compounds and 400 other toxins including cyanide, DDT - a banned insecticide, lead, carbon monoxide, arsenic, and of course nicotine - 10 TIMES MORE TOXIC THAN DDT!
- Wrinkles - why would we do anything that actually causes wrinkles? Nicotine in cigarettes causes narrowing of the blood vessels in the outermost layers of your skin. This impairs blood flow to your skin. Less blood flow reduces the oxygen and important nutrients going to your skin and as a result, it begins to sag and wrinkle prematurely because of smoking.
- Almost 90% of lung cancer cases in the US are associated with cigarette smoking.
- Non smokers exposed to secondhand smoke are 20-30% more at risk of developing lung cancer. Secondhand smoke also increases the risk of heart disease.
- Toxins in cigarette smoke upset the balance of hormones (like estrogen) that bones need to stay strong. Your liver produces more estrogen-destroying enzymes, which also leads to bone loss. Smoking makes this even worse in the menopausal years adding to the bone loss that's already occurring. Smoking is one of the important osteoporosis risk factors.
- Smoking is considered to be antisocial, banned from public places in many countries - Do you want to be an outcast? standing outside a restaurant puffing frantically is very unattractive!
- Cardiovascular disease is the main cause of death due to smoking.
- Over the years the arteries become narrowed by cholesterol and fat deposits, they can become blocked or rigid too. Smoking speeds up the process so blood clots are between two and four times more likely to form.
Most smokers are in denial and will only acknowledge the health risks of smoking when their own health is finally affected. The good news is that it's never too late to stop smoking - your body will begin to benefit in a matter of hours.
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