Many years ago smoking was everywhere. No matter where you went people were allowed to smoke and manufacturers had no restrictions on their advertising and marketing campaigns. Nowadays there are stricter marketing regulations and there are fewer places in public where people are allowed to smoke.
Unfortunately, those who start smoking find it difficult to quit once they started. After a while, their bodies can experience many negative effects that can harm them. These harmful effects of smoking can be long-term if the person continues to smoke. However, the effects can be short-term if the person makes the decision to quit smoking.
Why Is Smoking Bad for You? *
According to Nemours, smoking is highly addictive and it could be very difficult for smokers to quit. However, there are many reasons why smoking is bad for you. Some of those reasons include:
- Development of heart disease
- Risk of stroke
- Development of emphysema
- Development of various cancers
- Chronic bronchitis and pneumonia
- Deep wrinkles in the skin
- Yellowing of the teeth
- Low bone density
- Fertility problems
- Bad breath and bad-smelling clothes and hair
- Reduced physical performance
- Slower healing time when injured
- Increased risk of other illnesses
Smoking Risks *
Most people are aware of the risks of developing lung cancer when they smoke. However, there are many more risks associated with continuous smoking. According to the American Heart Association those risks may include the following cancers:
- Throat and Mouth
- Kidneys and ureter
- Colon and rectum
- Oropharynx (parts of throat, soft palate, tonsils and tongue)
- Trachea, bronchus and lung
Facts about Smoking *
According to the American Heart Association, smoking is the most preventable cause of death in the country. Close to one-third of all deaths come from coronary heart disease that is attributed to smoking. This includes those who are exposed to secondhand smoke. Other facts about smoking include:
- 90 percent of lung cancer is linked to smoking
- Approximately 20 percent of men and 16 percent of women smoke
- The largest group of smokers are between the ages of 21 and 34
- Approximately 54 percent of children in America (ages 3-11) are exposed to secondhand smoke.
- Millions of people successfully quit every year
- On average, those who smoke die 10 years earlier than non-smokers
Why Is Tobacco Bad for You? *
Cigarettes contain more than 5,000 chemical components in them, many of which are harmful to your health. Cigarettes contain everything from arsenic to tar and formaldehyde to nicotine. The combination of nicotine and carbon monoxide can be very dangerous.
Nicotine is dangerous because it is a highly addictive substance. There are many reasons as to why smoking is bad for you and can cause long-term health issues. Nicotine has been linked to increasing blood pressure, heart rate and narrowing of the arteries. It has also been known to harden the arterial walls. This can lead to a heart attack.
According to the Office of Women’s Health, here are some of the ways tobacco can affect the body:
- Nicotine is addictive and affects the brain very quickly
- Can make you feel nervous and anxious
- Can cause headaches and dizziness
- Tobacco ruins taste buds
- Tobacco can cause gums to bleed
- Causes the heart to work harder when participating in physical activities
- Makes it difficult to breath
- Causes a lot of coughing
- Increases asthma attacks
- Damages skin
- Causes muscles to hurt
What Can Smoking Do to You? *
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking can cause everything from heart issues to breathing difficulties and lower energy levels to death. Smoking cigarettes can rapidly age the body by causing medical conditions a person may not have if they were a nonsmoker. In fact, it has been known to increase the risk of the following health concerns:
- Coronary heart disease by 2-4 times
- Stroke by 2-4 times
- Lung cancer in men by 25 times
- Lung cancer in women by 25.7 times
Because of the health concerns associated with smoking, it can also cause an increase in absenteeism from work. This is because of the illnesses associated with a person’s smoking habit. In the end, it also causes an increase in health care costs for that individual.
Reducing the Risks *
After learning more about the risks and experiencing many of them, millions of people have made the decision to quit smoking. Once someone is able to answer the question “What can cigarettes do to you?” first hand from experience, the decision to quit smoking is much easier. In fact, quitting smoking is the number one way to reduce the risks associated with smoking cigarettes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the risk for a heart attack drops sharply within one year of quitting. Then within two to five years, the risk of a stroke goes down too. From there, all of the others risks, such as cancer and premature death, also start to fall.
Things to Do to Quit Smoking *
Stopping smoking will greatly improve a person’s health. However, it is the decision to quit that the smoker must make on his or her own. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer a few steps every smoker wanting to quit should take on their official “quit day.” These steps are:
Step 1: Let everyone in the family know about the decision. Share your excitement about your decision to quit and ask for their help and support. With their support, you are more likely to go through with quitting and stay smoke-free long-term. Make sure you are specific with what you want from them and offer suggestions on how they can help you.
Step 2: Develop a plan for how you intend to quit. This includes picking your quitting day and sticking to it. Prepare for how you plan to wean yourself off of cigarettes. Are you going to quit cold turkey? Or are you going to reduce the amount of cigarettes you smoke each day until you are smoke-free.
Step 3: Make a list of activities you can do to keep yourself busy. These activities must keep you away from other smokers and triggers that may cause you to want to have a cigarette. Some activities may include:
- Going for a walk
- Getting out of the house
- Go to a movie
- Plan a game night with non-smoking friends
- Drink a lot of water
Step 4: Avoid smoking triggers. These triggers can be places, things, activities, people and situations that make you want to smoke. The urge to smoke during these situations is common, mostly because these are activities where you would smoke during.
Step 5: Stay positive about your smoke-free journey. Your decision to quit smoking should be a positive one. In the end you will have a happier and healthier life. So if you feel like you failed because you smoked a cigarette, do not let that get you down. Stay positive and make it the only slip up you made.
There are many dangers to being a smoker. Many of which are health related. However, these health risks can develop into other concerns that may affect a person’s day-to-day lifestyle. Because there are so many risks, both health and personal, many smokers are making the decision to stop smoking and improve their lives, especially after they learn the answer to the question: “Why is smoking bad for you?”