Harmful Effects of Smoking
Do you smoke or know someone who does? If you visit this website frequently you’re probably not a smoker, but over 21% of adult Americans smoke and over 22% of high school students smoke. So there’s a pretty good chance there is a smoker in your life. Most of us know that the harmful effects of smoking include increase risk of cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, and emphysema.
But, there are more harmful effects of smoking. The 4,000+ chemical compounds inhaled while smoking a cigarette cause many known health risks and most likely some that remain unknown. Many of these chemicals are carcinogens. What are these harmful effects of smoking?
Let’s start with the head and work our way down the body and look at the toll smoking exacts on the body.
Smoking makes hair smell bad and can affect its color. It changes brain chemistry increasing the risk of addiction. It increases the risk of strokes and increases the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Age related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in adults over age 60. Smoking decreases the sense of smell and taste. It leads to premature facial wrinkling.
Smoking stains the teeth and increase risk of plaque, gum disease, and loosening of teeth. Smoking increases the risk of lip, mouth, throat, and laryngeal cancer. It also increases the incidence of sore throats.
Smoking increases the risk of heart disease and circulation. It increases the risk of colds and flus (as it weakens the immune system), asthma, emphysema, and lung cancer.
Smoking raises the risk of several gastrointestinal cancers including esophageal, liver, colon, pancreatic and stomach cancer. It also increases the risk of renal or kidney cancer.
It also increases the risk of gastric ulcers.
Smoking decreases sperm counts and contributes to erectile dysfunction. In women it increases the risk of painful menstrual periods, leads to early menopause, increases risk of infertility, and increases the risk of cervical cancer.
Smoking increases the risk of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis affects 55% of people over age 50 with 80% of the cases occurring in women. Don’t increase those odds by smoking.
There’s a whole lot of downside to smoking, certainly enough to outweigh any perceived benefit. Still want to light up?