If you smoke, you’ve almost certainly heard friends and family nagging you to stop.
Even as you reach for a cigarette you know that smoking makes heart disease, stroke, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other killers more likely.
Knowing about long-term risks though may not be enough to nudge you to quit, especially if you’re young. It can be hard to feel truly frightened by illnesses that may strike decades later.
So, if you carry on smoking, what could be the effects on your body?
Smoking is harmful because there are many ingredients in tobacco smoke that can harm your body.
The main health risks from smoking are lung cancer, heart disease and stroke. Smoking causes almost 90% of deaths from lung cancer, around 80% of deaths from COPD, and around 17% of deaths from heart disease.However, smoking also affects other parts of the body too.
One study on smoking found that, on average, men who smoked throughout their lives died 10 years younger than those who had never smoked.
What Are the Side Effects of Smoking Cigarettes?
Smoking harms your body and may cause permanent damage to your health. If you’re still not convinced about its dangers, take a look at some of smoking’s side effects.
Smokers tend to have smelly clothes and hair, bad breath, and yellow or brown teeth stains. Your physical appearance can also suffer as smoking can lead to premature wrinkles, gum and tooth loss, and sudden weight change. Stomach ulcers and weakened immune system are also possible smoking side affects you might experience.
For young people, there is a high probability that they will continue smoking into adulthood. As a result, it will impair their lung function and growth. Teens who smoke are also 22 times more likely to use cocaine.
According to a new Australian study, female smokers may experience worse menstrual cramps than those who don’t. It is likely to happen as the amount of oxygen that travels to the uterus decreases when you smoke. Researchers say that women who started to smoke at the tender age of 13 have a 59 percent risk of having painful menstruation, while those who started to smoke at age 14 or 15 have 50 percent risk of experiencing it.
Many people don’t begin to feel the severe side effects of smoking until years later. Once you begin to feel the symptoms, you know damage has already been done. Some damaging side effects of smoking cigarettes include:
•Cardiovascular health problems. Smoking poses a great danger to your heart and blood vessels. It damages the structure of your heart and the way your blood vessels work. Smoking increases your risk of having a heart disease by two to four times, as it causes the blood vessels in your heart to thicken and grow thinner. It makes your heart beat faster, your blood pressure rise, and causes your blood to clot. When a clot blocks the blood flow to your heart, it cannot get enough oxygen, which damages a part of your heart’s muscle or even kills it.
People who smoke have a higher risk of atherosclerosis, a disease where the plaque liquids build in the arteries. As time progresses, it will cause your arteries to harden and narrow, which will limit the flow of the oxygen-filled blood to other parts of your body.
Smoking may also lead to coronary heart disease (CHD) once the plaque liquids build up in the coronary arteries. It can lead to chest pain, heart attack, heart failure, arrhythmias, or death.
Another side effect of smoking cigarettes is Peripheral Arterial Disease (P.A.D.), which happens when plaque liquids build up to the blood vessels that deliver blood to the head, organs, and limbs. Smokers who have diabetes and take birth control pills are at greater risk of having serious ailments to the heart and blood vessels.
•Increased risk of stroke. Smokers have a two to four times increased risk of having a stroke than non-smokers. It happens when a clot blocks the blood from your brain or when an artery around or in your brain explodes.
•Respiratory problems. Our lungs are equipped with a layer of internal mucus that serves as a protective shield for foreign materials that we inhale, by wiping off these contaminants with small hairs called cilia. But with smokers, cilia cannot function properly as these tiny hairs work rather slowly. As a result, you cannot cough, sneeze, or swallow to get these toxins out of your body.
Smoking can trigger or make an asthma attack worse. It may also cause Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. In emphysema, the air sacs in your lungs eventually lose their elasticity and start to worsen. Chronic bronchitis happens when there is a swelling in the linings of your lungs and it constrains your breathing.
•Pregnancy complications. Pregnant women who smoke have a higher risk of preterm (early) delivery, miscarriage, or stillbirth. They may encounter Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), ectopic pregnancy, and orofacial clefts for the newborns. Women also have a great tendency of having weaker bones after menopause.
Reproductive health function. Men who smoke may encounter erectile dysfunction, poor sperm quality, and sperm defects. For women, smoking may cause reduced fertility.
•Cancer. Cigarettes contain over 7,000 chemicals, some of which can cause cancer. These include formaldehyde, benzene, polonium 210, and vinyl chloride. Even worse, smoking can cause various kinds of cancers anywhere in your body, not just in your lungs.