7 Health Hazards from Smoking You Never Knew About (Cancer is Only One of Them)
It’s not like nicotine addicts are not aware of the health hazards from smoking. Each time, you light up, the thought does cross your mind that the habit could be killing you. But the fact also remains that nicotine addiction is so potent and the withdrawal symptoms so severe that it is almost impossible to quit. Like the experts at Blackout Vapors inform you, various Nicotine Replacement Therapy options can help you kick the habit. For instance, you can try switching to vaping with e-liquids, nicotine patches, tobacco dipping (click here to know more), or chewing nicotine-laced gum among others.
However, it is important to remember that these solutions are only to be used to give up the habit. Unless you kick the butt for good, you run the risk of developing severe health complications down the road. And, if you thought the worst of the health hazards from smoking is cancer of the throat, mouth, and lungs, think again! Because, there are a whole list of medical issues you need to be wary of. Read ahead and understand what they are.
#1 – You’ll Look Older than You Actually Are
Smoking can create havoc on your skin and hair so you develop wrinkles and graying skin well before time. That’s because when you light up, the blood vessels constrict leading to slower circulation in the skin. Without the nutrients and oxygen renewing your cells, the skin starts to look tired and haggard with a pale, sallow coloring. The loss of blood supply also causes premature graying and hair loss. And yes! You do raise your chances of developing squamous cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer just as this feature on Fox News reports.
#2 – You’ll Shave Years of Your Life
Scientists are increasingly conceding that one of the key health hazards from smoking is lowered longevity. Even if the nicotine doesn’t cause cancer and other diseases, each time you finish a pack of cigarettes, you’ll lose three and a half hours from your life. Add up a year’s worth of smoking a pack a day and you give up 55 days from your life. Results of research published on Medical News Today show that a non-smoker is likely to live at least 10 to 12 years longer than a smoker.
#3 – You Could Develop Reproductive Disorders
Both men and women risk reproductive health hazards from smoking. In women, puffing away on cigarettes raises their chances of having an ectopic pregnancy where the fertilized egg implants in the fallopian tubes instead of the uterus. While the baby will definitely not survive, the mother’s life is in serious jeopardy if the tubes rupture because of the size of the growing embryo. In men, smoking constricts blood supply making it impossible to get a decent erection. And, that’s not all! Regular smoking can lead to damage to your genetic makeup. Further, like the American Lung Association reveals, if you were to conceive a child, you’ll transfer the defects to the baby who could have cleft lip syndrome at birth along with various other illnesses as she grows up.
#4 – You Could Weaken Your Musculoskeletal System
Harry Lando, PhD, is a professor in the division of epidemiology and community health at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. He reports to Everyday Health, “Evidence is that people who smoke have a higher risk of fracture.” That’s because smoking affects your bone structure leading to osteoporosis and brittle bones. Further, since nicotine weakens blood circulation, you also diminish the body’s capability to renew and rejuvenate the tissues. As a result, you have a higher probability of injuries. And, when you do get injured, healing takes longer than in non-smokers.
#5 – You Could Develop Diabetes
When you inhale cigarette smoke, several chemicals enter your bloodstream that cause damage to the body cells. As a result, the cells respond by getting inflamed. Further, the chemicals in smoke combine with oxygen in the body and result in oxidative stress. A combination of inflammation and oxidative stress typically leads to various medical issues and one of them is Type 2 Diabetes, a disease that affects adults. Yet another of the health hazards from smoking is that it raises levels of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is a hormone that increases blood sugar and studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have clearly shown the high levels of cortisol are associated with diabetes.
#6 – You Could Lose Your Vision
Regular smoking can trigger various visual defects. You could develop conditions like cataracts, glaucoma, and dry eye syndrome. Nicotine addicts may also get diseases like Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) at a younger age. At the onset, you’ll notice symptoms like difficulty in reading and focusing on fine printed fonts. AMD can be dry or wet but both conditions can compromise your vision quickly. Another of the health hazards from smoking is diabetic retinopathy. While you could develop weakened eyesight from smoking alone, the combination with smoking-related diabetes can be a serious complication.
#7 – You’ll Get Sick More Frequently
As explained earlier, smoking results in inflammation and oxidative stress in the body. While these conditions can cause several medical issues, know that they can also weaken your immunity to pathogens entering the body. For this reason, smokers are more likely to contract common illnesses that non-smokers can easily fight off. So, if you smoke, be prepared to come down with the flu, fevers, common colds, coughs, and sore throats more often.
Science is only starting to discover the entire gamut of the health hazards from smoking. But, you can be sure that the risks include more than ill effects on your body. Know that nicotine addiction also affects your psychological and social life aside from your relationship with loved ones. A good move is to quit smoking before the adverse effects start to manifest. Consult your medical practitioner and choose an effective nicotine replacement program that can help you kick the addiction for good.