Smoking is extremely hazardous for your health. The key addictive ingredient of cigarette is nicotine. Other harmful substances present in the cigarettes are ammonia, hydrogen, formaldehyde, arsenic and cyanide. These enter in your body every time you smoke along with other 4000 chemicals. But have you thought about long term effects of cigarette smoking? How do they affect your body and health? Here is what to expect if you continue smoking.
Long Term Effects of Smoking
1. Cardiovascular Diseases
Smoking badly affects our blood vessels and heart, causing coronary heart disease. Blood vessels can also become thicker and narrower due to smoking. It then increases the heart rate and blood pressure; thereby forming clots in the blood. If the blood flow is blocked by the clot or rupturing of a blood vessel, stroke can take place. The blockage can also reduce the blood flow towards our skin and legs.
2. Respiratory Disease
Smoking leaves hazardous effects on our lungs and can also damage the tiny passageways for gaseous exchange in lungs. The diseases of respiratory system as a result of long term effects of cigarette smoking include:
- COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), a disease which involves chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Death rate of smokers from COPD is 12-13 times greater than nonsmokers.
- Lung cancer
- Asthma attacks can be triggered and make them worse.
Your body may undergo cancer if you smoke a lot. It could be anywhere in body, including:
- Rectum and colon
- Ureter and kidney
- Trachea, lung and bronchus
4. Sexual and Reproductive Problems
Long term effects of smoking are also on the reproductive system of women. Menopause starts early in women who smoke. Conception becomes difficult and those who get pregnant might experience impaired development of fetus, leading to lower psychological performance, problems in behavior and learning when the baby is born. Other reproductive risks of smoking in women include:
- Early delivery
- Stillbirth (baby dies before being born)
- Low birth weight
- SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Orofacial clefts in baby
Impotency could be an effect of smoking in men as smoking damages arteries and decrease blood flow. The production of the sperm is also influenced by smoking.
5. Other Effects
Other long term effects of smoking include:
- People who smoke are at greater risk of bone damage than those who don't.
- Teeth and gums' health get affected and you may lose your teeth.
- Your cataract risk and the risk of having macular degeneration may get increased.
- Smoking can cause type 2 diabetes and even make it worsened. There's 30 to 40% greater risk of having diabetes for active smokers than those who don't smoke.
- Rheumatoid arthritis can be caused by smoking.
Effects of Smoking on Children and Teens
Children and teens get affected the most by the bad habit of smoking. Problems in kids that can be caused by smoking include:
- Spells of cough
- Difficulty in breathing
- Headaches every now and then
- Abnormal production of mucus
- Illness in respiratory system
- Symptoms of cold and flu
- Poor overall health and fitness
- Poor maintenance of lung function and increased risk of COPD
Consumption of tobacco is often relevant to alcohol and drug addiction in teens. It has been found that teen smokers are more involved in fights, suicide attempts, mental issues and weapon carrying than non-smokers.
Effects of Passive Smoking on Children
Small kids and babies are pretty helpless about passive smoking. Kids exposed to passive smoking are at greater risk of having infections in chest, ongoing cough as well as worsening symptoms of asthma and meningitis. The risk of cot death also increases with other risks, including ear infection.
Your children may not be protected even if you smoke in another room or open the windows to let the smoke go out. The odorless and invisible smoke usually lingers in air for 2-3 hours afterwards.
It's Time to Quit
It's much better to quit than having long term effects of smoking for a lifetime. Some tips that will help you to quit smoking are here:
- Get some motivation and pick a reason to quit. It could be your family or your health.
- To get rid of this addiction, go with a plan. Keep some support with you and discuss with your doctor for counseling. The methods doctor usually suggest to quit smoking include medication, nicotine replacement therapy or a behavioral therapy.
- Involve your friends and family in your quitting plan for further encouragement.
- Stay away from alcohol when you're quitting smoking.
- Drop the remaining cigarettes and ash tray in trash.
- Eat lots of veggies and fruits, and be active.
- You may not be able to quit at the first time but don't stop. Try harder the next time.