We all know smoking is bad for us. But do you know exactly why? Well, here are 10 reasons smoking can not only cause a host of ailments but can also kill you.
Reason #1: Is known to cause cancer
We all have heard about the fact that cigarette smoking causes cancer. But if you thought that cigarette smoking only led to lung cancer you are quite mistaken. Smoking leads to cancer of the nose, mouth, larynx (voice box), trachea, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, kidneys, bladder, cervix, bone marrow and blood. Wondering how it happens? Well, when you smoke, the entire process – right from when you light up your cigarette to when you exhale – leads to several drastic and disastrous effects in the body. Out of the 41,000 chemicals in cigarettes, a large percentage are known to be carcinogenic (cancer causing). These chemicals combined with the heat of the smoke leads to mutations in your cells causing them to multiply in an uncontrolled manner, leading to cancer.
Reason #2: Leads to formation of wrinkles and premature ageing
We try a number of ways to fight the signs of ageing, right from creams to diets to even surgical treatments, but did you know that if you quit smoking you can actually cut down the appearance of fine lines and other signs of ageing by half? Yes, smoking leads to the appearance of fine lines(especially around the eyes and lips), age spots, puffy eyes, dull, dry and lifeless skin. How it happens is that the chemicals present in cigarettes cause the fine capillaries under your skin to contract and constricts the blood flow to your skin. This lack of blood and fresh oxygen causes your skin to look dull and lifeless. So much so that the habit leads to permanent damage to connective fibers like elastin and collagen – leading to the formation of permanent lines and wrinkles. Want to know more about how smoking affects your beauty?
Reason #3: Weakens your heart, putting you twice at risk of suffering from a heart attack and stroke
According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), a smoker is two to four times likelier to suffer from coronary artery disease and stroke than a non-smoker. Moreover, people who smoke have a 25 times greater risk of suffering from lung cancer. Here’s how; the chemicals present in cigarette smoke affects the entire composition of your blood; making it thicker and more prone to formation of blood clots. Apart from that it also causes the constriction of your blood vessels, increases your blood pressure (since it makes your heart beat faster), and leads to the formation of plaque – increasing your chances of suffering from cardiovascular and heart disease.
Reason #4: Ruins your lungs lowering your stamina and lung capacity
Cigarettes have a large number of chemicals which leave a considerable amounts of residue in your lungs, airways and your entire body in general. All this residue ends up clogging your lungs leading to breathing problems and lowered lung function. This lack of fresh oxygen and blood to various parts of your body causes fatigue and breathlessness. Research has shown that smoking can lead to COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), emphysema, chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, lung infections, asthma and increases one’s risk of suffering from TB (tuberculosis).
Reason #5: Can cause premature ejaculation and lowers libido
A condition commonly associated with older men, premature ejaculation is quite commonly seen in younger men who smoke. That is because the habit leads to a lack of blood flow, lowered sensation in the penis, heart disease and lack of stamina. All these factors put together lead to the lack of proper function of the male reproductive system, causing premature ejaculation. Apart from that, research conducted at the University of Arizona found that smoking directly impacts a man’s sexual desire, stamina and overall interest in sex. And that’s not all, another study conducted at the University of Kentucky found that men who smoked had an overall lesser desire to engage in sexual activity when compared to non-smokers – as early as when they were in their late 20s and early 30s.
Reason #6: Is a leading cause for erectile dysfunction
If you have been finding it difficult to maintain an erection of late, it’s probable your cigarettes are to blame. According to a paper published by the NHS on the link between smoking and erectile dysfunction; smoking leads to the constriction of blood vessels that directly leads to the inability to maintaining an erection (since smoking lowers the amount of blood that flows to the penis). The chemicals present in cigarettes also alter the way the blood vessels around your penis expand and can lead to the formation of blocks in the arteries lowering the amount of blood that rushes to the penis when aroused. Moreover, nicotine is known to affect the blood vessels supplying the penis directly, making it difficult for you to have and maintain an erection.
Reasons # 7: Makes your bones brittle
A large number of studies have found that smoking leads to loss in bone density by increasing the amount of calcium leeched from the bones. This loss in bone density leads to early onset of osteroporosis (especially in women since smoking affects the amount of oestrogen produced), joint pain and even loss of teeth due to excessive loss of bone density in the jaws. This factor also puts you at risk of suffering from frequent fractures and slower healing of injuries.
Reason # 8: Stains your teeth
Cigarettes contain tar, a chemical that coats your teeth lending them a yellowish tinge. This tar is difficult to clean with brushing and usually forms permanent stains on a smoker’s teeth. Apart from that the habit also kills the good bacteria in your mouth, increases the amount of saliva secreted and causes a higher amount of tartar formation on your teeth.
Reason # 9: Causes bad breath
This not only relates to the commonly known ‘smoker’s breath’, but in some cases may lead to severe and persistent bad breath. Apart from killing off the good bacteria in your mouth, smoking is also known to cause problems with digestion, throat infections and build up of chemicals within the oral cavity (an unhealthy throat and stomach are one of the key reasons for bad breath, apart from poor oral hygiene). Not only does smoking cause conditions like oral thrush but also leads to a condition called ‘smoker’s palate’ (where the roof of the mouth is covered with cigarette residue, leading to formation of small red spots on the palate) which is one of the main reasons for bad breath.
Reason # 10: Can make you go blind
Thought smoking only affects your lungs? Well, here is an eye opener for you (pun intended); smoking also affects your vision. According to the CDC smoking increases one’s risk of suffering from cataracts, age related macular degeneration and optic nerve damage and can actually make you go blind.