We all know that cigarette smoke is bad for us, but most of us probably only have a basic knowledge and don't fully grasp some of the incredible facts about the health hazards of smoking cigarettes! As for my family, most of my immediate relatives smoke. Luckily, I've never picked up the habit for which I'm very thankful. If you or your loved ones smoke, keep reading! Here are 9 facts about the health hazards of smoking cigarettes that are astonishing!
Cancer is one of the major health hazards of smoking cigarettes.When we think of cigarette smoke, often what's associated is lung cancer. This is absolutely true! An overwhelming majority of cases of lung cancer (80-90% of women and men) are caused by cigarette smoke! It's also the most lethal form of cancer. Aside from lung cancer, cigarette smoke causes other respiratory cancers, such as cancer of the larynx, esophagus, mouth, and pharynx. And other smoking-related cancers include bladder, stomach, pancreas, kidney and cervical cancer in women.
2 Decreased Lung Capacity and Reduced Circulation
Problems and diseases associated with cigarette smoke decrease our lung capacity and therefore our ability to exercise properly. Cigarette smoke blocks our airways by restricting blood vessels. This causes an array of health problems, such as bronchitis, emphysema, and chronic airway obstruction.
Our bodies have two types of cholesterol: LDL and HDL. HDL is good cholesterol and we want these numbers to be high. Cigarette smoke lowers our good cholesterol while increasing our bad cholesterol, LDL. Too much LDL cholesterol is responsible for blocked arteries and heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
4 Higher Blood Pressure
The nicotine contained in cigarettes is responsible for constricted blood vessels and increased blood pressure. This, in turn, increases your chance of heart disease and actually doubles your chances of having a heart attack! Heart disease is the number one killer of women on the U.S. - why add the risk of cigarette smoke to those odds?
5 Premature Aging
The thousands of chemicals in cigarettes deplete your skin's collagen and elastin, which are two building blocks of toned, healthy and hydrated skin. Cigarette smoke cuts off your skin's oxygen and nutrients, giving it an aged, saggy and wrinkled appearance. And this happens on your whole body as well, not just your face. Cigarette smoke also increases your skin's susceptibility of acquiring sun spots.
Pregnancy and cigarette smoke do not mix. I've witnessed several women smoking while carrying her baby - it's quite astonishing to me actually! Pregnant women who smoke are risking premature birth of their baby and even death.
7 Second Hand Smoke
If the facts affecting the smoker aren't enough to draw you away from the habit, perhaps the risk associate with others will. Second hand smoke is just as dangerous, if not more so, than personally smoking. Children exposed to second hand smoke on a regular basis are also at a greater risk of health problems such as asthma, increased ear infections, colds and pneumonia.
8 Many Dangerous Chemicals
There are thousands of chemicals in cigarettes, 50 of them are known carcinogens. Carcinogens are cancer-causing agents. Some of these chemicals include cadmium, a chemical used in batteries, and benzene, which is found in gasoline. That's pretty mind boggling, that cigarettes contain the same ingredients found in batteries and gasoline!
9 Highly Addictive
The nicotine in cigarettes is just as addictive as drugs like heroine or cocaine. Nicotine releases chemicals in the brain, creating pleasurable feelings that quickly fade. The smoker needs to smoke more to get the same feelings, thus becoming an addict. It's incredibly challenging for some people to drop the habit, but the good news is that it can be done with strong will power, medical support and love and encouragement from loved ones!
Besides the health hazards of smoking cigarettes, it negatively affects those around you who don't smoke. You can't take long car rides or have conversations without needing a smoke break. It's also difficult to find areas where other people aren't affected by second hand smoke. All around, it's a habit that I wished never came into existence. Illnesses related to cigarette smoke literally causes close to 500,000 deaths per year! Don't you think that number should be drastically reduced? I know I do! Perhaps some of you ladies have an encouraging story to uplift fellow readers? Or maybe some added facts or advice? I would love to hear them!
Sources: Livestrong.com, CDC.com, webmd.com, mayoclinic.com and drugabuse.gov