And people say it’s bad to be a
quitter!?! Look at all the great things that happen as soon as you quit
The Effects of Smoking on the Body..
Tobacco smoke is enormously harmful
to your health. There’s no safe way to smoke. Replacing your cigarette with a
cigar, pipe, or hookah won’t help you avoid the health risks associated with
Cigarettes contain about 600
ingredients. When they burn, they generate more than 7,000 chemicals, according
to the American Lung Association. Many of those chemicals are poisonous and at
least 69 of them can cause cancer. Many of the same ingredients are found in
cigars and in tobacco used in pipes and hookahs. According to the National Cancer Institute, cigars have a higher level of carcinogens, toxins, and tar
When using a hookah pipe, you’re
likely to inhale more smoke than you would from a cigarette. Hookah smoke has
many toxic compounds and exposes you to more carbon monoxide than cigarettes
do. Hookahs also produce more secondhand smoke.
In the United States, the mortality
rate for smokers is three times that of people who never smoked, according to
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s one of the leading causes
of preventable death.
Central Nervous System..
One of the ingredients in tobacco is
a mood-altering drug called nicotine. Nicotine reaches your brain in mere
seconds. It’s a central nervous system stimulant, so it makes you feel more
energized for a little while. As that effect subsides, you feel tired and crave
more. Nicotine is habit forming.
Smoking increases risk of macular
degeneration, cataracts, and poor eyesight. It can also weaken your sense of
taste and sense of smell, so food may become less enjoyable.
Your body has a stress hormone called
corticosterone, which lowers the effects of nicotine. If you’re under a lot of
stress, you’ll need more nicotine to get the same effect.
Physical withdrawal from smoking can
impair your cognitive functioning and make you feel anxious, irritated, and
depressed. Withdrawal can also cause headaches and sleep problems.
When you inhale smoke, you’re taking
in substances that can damage your lungs. Over time, your lungs lose their
ability to filter harmful chemicals. Coughing can’t clear out the toxins
sufficiently, so these toxins get trapped in the lungs. Smokers have a higher
risk of respiratory infections, colds, and flu.
In a condition called emphysema, the
air sacs in your lungs are destroyed. In chronic bronchitis, the lining of the
tubes of the lungs becomes inflamed. Over time, smokers are at increased risk
of developing these forms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Long-term smokers are also at increased risk of lung cancer.
Withdrawal from tobacco products can
cause temporary congestion and respiratory pain as your lungs begin to clear
Children whose parents smoke are more
prone to coughing, wheezing, and asthma attacks than children whose parents
don’t. They also tend to have more ear infections. Children of smokers have
higher rates of pneumonia and bronchitis.
Smoking damages your entire
cardiovascular system. When nicotine hits your body, it gives your blood sugar
a boost. After a short time, you’re left feeling tired and craving more.
Nicotine causes blood vessels to tighten, which restricts the flow of blood (peripheral
artery disease). Smoking lowers good cholesterol levels and raises blood
pressure, which can result in stretching of the arteries and a buildup of bad
cholesterol (atherosclerosis). Smoking raises the risk of forming blood clots.
Blood clots and weakened blood
vessels in the brain increase a smoker’s risk of stroke. Smokers who have heart
bypass surgery are at increased risk of recurrent coronary heart disease. In
the long term, smokers are at greater risk of blood cancer (leukemia).
There’s a risk to nonsmokers, too.
Breathing secondhand smoke has an immediate effect on the cardiovascular
system. Exposure to secondhand smoke increases your risk of stroke, heart
attack, and coronary heart disease.
Skin, Hair, and Nails (Integumentary
Some of the more obvious signs of
smoking involve the skin. The substances in tobacco smoke actually change the
structure of your skin. Smoking causes skin discoloration, wrinkles, and
premature aging. Your fingernails and the skin on your fingers may have yellow
staining from holding cigarettes. Smokers usually develop yellow or brown
stains on their teeth. Hair holds on to the smell of tobacco long after you put
your cigarette out. It even clings to nonsmokers.
Smokers are at great risk of
developing oral problems. Tobacco use can cause gum inflammation (gingivitis)
or infection (periodontitis). These problems can lead to tooth decay, tooth
loss, and bad breath.
Smoking also increases risk of cancer
of the mouth, throat, larynx, and esophagus. Smokers have higher rates of
kidney cancer and pancreatic cancer. Even cigar smokers who don’t inhale are at
increased risk of mouth cancer.
Smoking also has an effect on
insulin, making it more likely that you’ll develop insulin resistance. That puts
you at increased risk of type 2 diabetes. When it comes to diabetes, smokers
tend to develop complications at a faster rate than nonsmokers.
Smoking also depresses appetite, so
you may not be getting all the nutrients your body needs. Withdrawal from
tobacco products can cause nausea.
Sexuality and Reproductive System..
Restricted blood flow can affect a
man’s ability to get an erection. Both men and women who smoke may have
difficulty achieving orgasm and are at higher risk of infertility. Women who smoke
may experience menopause at an earlier age than nonsmoking women. Smoking
increases a woman’s risk of cervical cancer.
Smokers experience more complications
of pregnancy, including miscarriage, problems with the placenta, and premature
Pregnant mothers who are exposed to
secondhand smoke are also more likely to have a baby with low birth weight.
Babies born to mothers who smoke while pregnant are at greater risk of low
birth weight, birth defects, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Newborns
who breathe secondhand smoke suffer more ear infections and asthma attacks.