It is common knowledge that smoking cigarettes can cause terminal lung cancer, but lung cancer is actually only one of a huge number of fatal illnesses that is caused by smoking.
Every time you smoke a cigarette, you inhale more than four thousand toxic chemicals, ranging from naphthalene (which damages red blood cells) to cadmium (which is a common ingredient in batteries and paints). Almost every part of your body is endangered by regular smoking, and studies show that over 50% of all smokers will die as a direct result of their habit.
Read on to discover nine significant and powerful reasons why you and your loved ones should stop smoking.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (sometimes called COPD) is the name for the condition that develops when a patient concurrently suffers from emphysema and bronchitis. When you have COPD, your lungs have such a severely restricted flow of air that you constantly struggle to breathe. Research shows that around 90% of all cases of COPD are directly caused by smoking cigarettes, and few people who develop the condition ever recover.
Your liver is responsible for processing and removing toxins in your body, and this includes the toxins that you inhale when you smoke a cigarette. Studies on smokers show that smoking greatly reduces your liver’s ability to effectively process and excrete toxins, and that smokers with liver disease usually need very high doses of medication if they are to survive. Severe liver disease can eventually lead to liver failure and death.
Each time you smoke a cigarette, your heart rate rises by approximately 30%. You may think that you are safe from heart problems if you only smoke occasionally, but surprising studies on social smoking have revealed that even people who smoke very rarely are much more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. Habitual smokers are ten times as likely to develop blocked arteries, twice as likely to suffer from at least one heart attack, and twice as likely to have a debilitating stroke.
A wide range of cancers
The majority of lung cancers are caused by smoking, and (compared to non-smokers) smokers are a shocking fifteen times more likely to develop lung cancer. However, it is not just your lungs that are damaged by smoking cigarettes. There is a strong connection between cigarette smoking and cancers of the stomach, throat, blood, liver, kidneys, pancreas and bladder. A huge number of the chemicals found in cigarettes are proven carcinogens, damaging your DNA and changing important genes in ways that promote the development of malignant tumors.
Pneumonia involves inflamed tissue in your respiratory system that leads to the sacs in your lungs filling up with dangerous levels of fluid. When you have pneumonia, you will struggle to breathe and suffer from a persistent, painful cough. A large number of pneumonia patients require hospitalization, and the mortality rate is significant. Due to the damage that smokers inflict on their lungs, smoking makes you much more likely to develop pneumonia and much more likely to die from the disease.
When you have Crohn’s Disease, your intestinal lining becomes painfully swollen and you suffer from severe bouts of diarrhea. Research on patients with Crohn’s has shown that showers are much more likely to develop the disease and also much more likely to develop the more serious symptoms of Crohn’s. Smokers with Crohn’s disease more often need to undergo surgery, and more often require a strict regime of medication in order to function in everyday life. Any surgery carries with it a risk of death, and some complications of Crohn’s can also be fatal (such as a perforated bowel). Scientists are still investigating the relationship between smoking and Crohn’s disease, but one hypothesis is that smoking lowers the defensive capabilities of your intestines and reduces blood flow to your digestive system.
Smokers are also much more likely to develop peptic ulcers, which are painful sores that develop on your stomach lining. In addition, smokers with peptic ulcers have longer recovery rates (and in some cases do not recover at all). It is suspected that the increased likelihood of stomach ulcers results from the fact that smoking increases your risk of being infected by a particular bacterium that causes stomach ulcers. Interestingly, this bacterium also makes you more likely to develop stomach cancer.
Asthma narrows and inflames your airways, causing a tight chest, uncomfortable wheezing, and a reduced ability to exercise. Smokers are more likely to suffer from asthma, and more likely to put their children in danger as well. If you smoke while you are pregnant or shortly after your baby is born, you will substantially increase your child’s likelihood of developing asthma. While many cases of chronic asthma are treatable, some more severe cases lead to death during childhood.
Type 2 diabetes
Smokers are over 43% more likely to develop a case of type 2 diabetes, causing frequent urination, persistent hunger and constant thirst. More significantly, the average life expectancy of people with type 2 diabetes is around a decade less than that of people who do not have the disease. This increased risk of death is linked to the fact that people with type 2 diabetes are more likely to suffer a fatal heart attack or stroke.
Even if you are lucky enough not to develop one of the above illnesses, being a smoker will at the very least cause some persistent and irritating respiratory problems. Almost all people who regularly smoke cigarettes have bad breath, thick phlegm in their throat, a chronic cough, and reduced tolerance of exercise.