One smoker on four shortens his life by 20 years and dies before the age of 65. Despite these disturbing results, smokers often downplay the dangers of cigarette addiction. Despite many warnings and anti-smoking campaigns, many people find it difficult to break free from the trap of addiction. They smoke cigarettes because they have become physically and mentally addicted to doses of nicotine. What are the risks of long-term habitual smoking? Apart from the fact that you lose a lot of money on cigarette packages, your skin is aging faster, bad breath and unpleasant clothing smells, there are a number of health complications, eg risk of lung cancer, ischemic heart disease, hypertension, stroke or atherosclerosis. What are the effects of smoking?
Safe and effective helpers to quit smoking
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. The impact of smoking on health
The cigarette is not just nicotine. In cigarette smoke and the cigarette itself there are a lot of poisonous chemicals, including carcinogens. Cigarettes contain, among others, tar, carbon monoxide, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, vinyl chloride, acetone, cadmium or phenol. Smoking addiction contributes to the development of various diseases. Three basic groups of disorders related to nicotinism are: neoplastic diseases, lung failure and coronary heart disease. The list of diseases caused by smoking, however, is much longer.
What threatens a habitual smoker? Among the health problems associated with nicotine addiction, the following are mentioned:
1) tumors, e.g. lung cancer, cancer of the esophagus and larynx, lip cancer, tongue cancer, oral cancer, pancreatic cancer, kidney cancer. Nicotine and other substances in cigarette smoke destroy the balance in the gastric mucosa and significantly increase the risk of chronic ulceration. According to various studies, the risk of stomach cancer rises from 50 to 100%. A greater increase was noted in women smoking cigarettes, it is also dependent on the length and intensity of smoking. It is only 10 years after quitting smoking that a significant reduction in cancer risk is noted. Smoking can cause bladder cancer, it is responsible for half bladder cancer in men and one third for women. The risk of developing this type of cancer is two to three times higher for smokers.
2) diseases of the heart and blood vessels, e.g. hypertension, heart disorder, coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, aortic aneurysm, myocardial infarction, stroke;
3) respiratory diseases, e.g. asthma, tuberculosis, influenza, chronic bronchitis;
4) diseases of the digestive system, e.g. gastric and duodenal ulcers, intestinal hernia. Cigarette smoke can cause tumors of the large intestine. The risk is proportional to the number of cigarettes smoked and the number of years of smoking.
5) According to research, people who smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day are three times more likely to suffer from colorectal cancer and five times more on cancers of the rectum. Osteoporosis and menopause disrupting the hormonal balance of women, smoking can accelerate the onset of menopause up to 5 years. Smoking also reduces bone density, which is characteristic of osteoporosis, and can cause serious fractures of the hip bones.
6) dental diseases, e.g. periodontosis, gingivitis, caries, unpleasant smell from the mouth;
7) eye diseases – cigarette smoke is a frequent cause of eye irritation, conjunctivitis, problems with excessive tearing, etc. Other effects of smoking are also the appearance of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. In smokers over 20 years there is a high risk of developing macular degeneration. It is a disease that affects people over 50, depriving them of central vision. This prevents reading, driving a car or watching TV.
8) respiratory system diseases – depending on the amount of cigarettes smoked, smokers are two to six times more likely to develop various types of oral cancer. The most common are tumors of the tongue, gums and palate. Other effects of smoking include yellowing of the teeth, change of voice (smoke attacks the vocal cords), gum disease. Passive smoking can also increase the risk of dental caries in children, which is caused by the increase in the amount of bacteria.
9) diseases of the endocrine system – cigarette smoking disturbs the functioning of the thyroid gland. Smokers are more likely to have hyperthyroidism and associated Graves’ disease as well as hypothyroidism. Even if there are no visible symptoms, smoking often negatively affects the thyroid gland. According to the World Health Organization, 30% of pancreatic cancers are caused by smoking. Carcinogens contained in tobacco smoke enter the pancreas through the blood or bile secreted by the liver. Pancreatic cancer belongs to the cancer with the highest percentage of mortality. Less than 5% of patients live longer than 5 years after the disease is detected.
10) perinatal disease – smoking during pregnancy causes numerous risks. The risk of ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage and premature delivery is rapidly increasing. It should be remembered that prematurity is the main cause of infant mortality, neurological and developmental problems. Women who smoke actively or passively during pregnancy more often than other women give birth to immunocompromised children who weigh on average 150 grams less than other newborns. The effects of smoking during pregnancy are also more common for children with asthma.
11) reproductive system diseases – smoking increases the risk of cervical and ovarian cancers. Ovarian cancer is the most deadly gynecological cancer. Smoking cigarettes increases the risk of sexual impotence. Affecting the circulatory, nervous and hormonal systems, nicotine doubles the risk of erection problems. The more long-term and intense the smoking is, the more it affects the sexual health of the smoker. Tobacco smoke also negatively affects sperm quality, reducing the amount and quality of sperm contained therein. Quitting smoking usually involves improving sexual health.
12) skin diseases – similar to UV rays, smoking accelerates the aging process of the skin, especially of the face. Cigarette smoke activates the MMP-1 gene, which is responsible for skin changes: loss of elasticity, wrinkles, visible pores, unhealthy looking complexion.
In women who start smoking before the age of 18 and smoke 20 cigarettes a day, the risk of infertility increases. Smoking pregnant women must take into account complications, for example in the form of sudden death syndrome of the newborn, birth of a child with low birth weight, fetal hypoxia or miscarriage. Smoking has a negative effect on the movement system and the process of bone formation. Smokers are more likely to suffer from rheumatism and osteoporosis and degenerative spinal injuries. Nicotine promotes greater production of gastric acid, and thus – gastric ulcer disease. Nicotine also destabilizes the functioning of the endocrine system, e.g. thyroid. The effects of nicotinism can be multiplied and multiplied, for example impotence, cataracts, macular degeneration, pneumonia or bronchial asthma.
2. Effects of passive smoking
Not only active smoking is dangerous. Specialists warn that passive smoking can be equally threatening. Passively inhaled tobacco smoke contains 35 times more carbon dioxide and 4 times more nicotine than smoke reaching the lungs of active smokers. What do parents expose their parents to when smoking cigarettes? They not only shape the habit of smoking in young people, but also increase the likelihood of children developing lung cancer, ischemic heart disease or chronic otitis media. Cigarette smoke contains many allergens, hence irritation of the nasal mucous membrane, burning and tearing eyes, cough, asthma, allergies and recurrent respiratory infections. What other consequences brings nicotine to smokers? It accelerates the aging of the skin. The skin becomes gray, inflexible, wrinkles, acne, psoriasis appear, so-called “Tobacco face”.
Nicotinism delays wound healing. It results in discolorations on the teeth, yellow nails, bad breath. The risk of platelet aggregation increases and arterial vessels shrink. Cigarettes change the metabolism of some drugs. Regardless of the type of tobacco – cigarette, pipe, cigar – smoking carries a great danger. Nicotine slowly destroys man. This is one of the most popular poisons in the 21st century. It is a pity that people reaching for the first time after a cigarette postpone the prospect of the possibility of developing tobacco-related disease. They fall into a trap of addiction, from which it is difficult to break out later. Maybe knowing how much they could save on cigarettes, without smoking, will become a motive to fight the nicotine addiction?