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10 Extra Reasons to Quit Smoking

By healthwriter

It's hard to dispute the fact that smoking is damaging to your health. Cigarette smoke contains 7000 chemicals, with 250 detrimental to your wellbeing. Smoking causes more early deaths in the US than any other factor, with close to 500,000 premature deaths annually attributed to tobacco use. Although it's well-known that smoking greatly increases your risk of heart disease, lung cancer and respiratory problems, such as emphysema, a tobacco habit can harm your health in numerous other ways. Certainly, smoking has the potential to damage any of your organ systems. Here are 10 additional reasons to quit your habit.

Numerous cancers

Besides lung cancer, cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, colon, kidney, bladder, cervix and breast, as well as leukemia, are more common among smokers. This higher incidence of cancer is no surprise as 69 chemicals in tobacco smoke are known to cause cancer.

Fragile bones

Young smokers fail to achieve their optimal bone mass, while the rate of bone loss among older smokers is greater. Both factors predispose you to osteoporosis, where you are more likely to suffer a fractured wrist, hip or spine. Chemicals in smoke directly damage the cells that produce new bone, as well as increasing levels of the stress hormone cortisol that triggers bone loss, while reducing levels of estrogen that protects bone mass.

Serious infections

As smoking suppresses your immune system, minor infections last longer and you are at greater risk of more serious infections such as pneumonia, bronchitis and TB. Tobacco smoke can weaken your immune function by damaging the antibodies that fight infections.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Smoking is a significant risk factor for developing rheumatoid arthritis, which causes painful inflammation of your joints. Tobacco use also worsens rheumatoid arthritis and reduces the likelihood that medication can successfully treat your condition. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition and the link with smoking is likely due to the negative impact the chemicals in smoke have on your immune system.


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Diabetes

altSmokers are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Your risk of diabetic complications and premature death is also higher if you smoke. Tobacco may increase your risk of this form of diabetes by making your body less sensitive to the effects of insulin so that your blood sugar levels remain high.

Infertility

If you are struggling to conceive and you smoke, tobacco use may explain your difficulties. It takes longer for you to get pregnant as a smoker and you are around twice as likely to suffer from infertility. The chemicals in smoke can damage your reproductive system and your eggs, interfere with ovulation and trigger an early menopause.

Complications in pregnancy

Even if you successfully conceive, pregnancy as a smoker is risky. You are far more likely to suffer an ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage and premature labor, with babies born to smoker at increased risk of a low birth weight and cleft lip and palate. Infants exposed to smoke during pregnancy are also more likely to suffer from SIDS.

Erectile dysfunction

Smoking can make it harder to achieve an erection, as tobacco chemicals damage your blood vessels and reduce blood flow to the penis.

Anxiety

Although you may think that cigarettes help you relax, the opposite is true, as smoking increases anxiety levels. Nicotine initially gives a sense of ease, but this feeling is soon replaced by withdrawal symptoms, which are similar to those of anxiety.

Poor eye health

Smoking puts your vision at risk as you are more susceptible to cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Tobacco use can damage your eyesight by reducing levels of protective antioxidants and reducing oxygen supply to your eyes, while triggering deposits within your retina.

As smoking is bad news for your health all-round, quitting your habit is your best bet. Giving up smoking is far from easy, but with the support of your healthcare team, you can beat your habit and preserve your health.

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