If you smoke, you know it is difficult to quit. One of the chemicals inhaled when you smoke, nicotine, is highly addictive and this is what makes it so hard to stop. Understanding why smoking is bad for your health may help you to find the motivation to quit.
Smoking damages your heart and cardiovascular system and is a strong risk factor for various cancers
Smoking damages your heart and cardiovascular system and is a strong risk factor for various cancers. Your heart is one of the most important organs in your body. It pumps oxygen and nutrients in the blood to the rest of your body. Smokers are almost twice as likely to have a heart attack compared to non-smokers. Smoking damages the lining of your arteries, eventually causing them to narrow. This raises your risk of heart attacks and stroke.
Your lungs can be permanently damaged by smoking
Your lungs are probably the most severely affected part of your body when you smoke. You become more susceptible to coughs, colds, wheezing and asthma. Smoking can also cause conditions such as pneumonia, emphysema and lung cancer. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a condition which greatly affects quality of life, by causing breathing difficulties.
Smoking makes you look older
It’s a known fact that smoking causes wrinkles. This is because many of the chemicals in tobacco smoke cause the breakdown of collagen and elastin, which give skin its strength and elasticity. Additionally, smokers use certain muscles around the mouth that non-smokers don’t use, leading to deep lines around the lips.
Fertility is decreased by cigarette smoke
Smoking can affect both men and women’s ability to conceive. Men who smoke risk damaging their sperm resulting in reduced fertility, while women risk damaging their ovaries. Early menopause has also been linked to smoking due to a premature reduction in eggs.
People around you feel the effects of secondhand smoke
It’s not just you that breathes in the toxic smoke from cigarettes, but those who are near you when you are smoking as well. Passive smoking causes a significant number of cardiovascular-related deaths and even more cases of asthma every year. Your actions may be affecting your children, friends, colleagues and loved ones’ health as they are breathing in the mainstream smoke that you exhale as well as the side-stream smoke that wafts from the cigarette.
Quitting smoking can be very challenging, especially if you are not prepared. Be sure to read our post on 5 Strategies to Help You Stop Smoking to work on how to stop smoking and quit for good.