The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati reports that 29 percent of the regional adult population still smokes.
If you smoke, you may be looking for a reason to quit. Here are all the reasons why you should stop.
Smoking hurts your body
“Most people who smoke tend to get an illness as a result of it,” says Sergio Mezcua, MD, internal medicine physician with The Christ Hospital Physicians. “Cigarette smoke affects almost every system of the body, which reduces a person’s quality of life and impacts the lives of those around them.”
- Respiratory – Carcinogens and chemicals released in cigarette smoke deteriorate cells that help remove foreign matter out of the lining of the lungs, making smokers more susceptible to viruses, bacterial infections and allergies. In addition to lung disease and lung cancer, tar particles from smoke clog lung tissue, triggering chronic bronchitis, emphysema, asthma attacks and shortness of breath.
- Cardiovascular – Smoking creates a lack of oxygen in the blood that can lead to high blood pressure, blood clots, poor circulation and rapid heartbeat, all of which more than double a person’s risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Digestive – When smoke enters your lungs, particles can be swallowed and travel through your digestive tract. These toxins irritate the lining of the tract and increase the risk of oral, stomach and colon cancers; tooth decay; gum disease; gallstones; ulcers and Crohn’s disease flare-ups.
- Nervous – Oxidants in smoke damage nerves, which can cause cataracts, macular degeneration, and loss of sense of smell and feeling in the fingertips and toes. If you’re worried about your appearance, smoking reduces blood flow to your skin, causing wrinkles and skin discoloration.
- Reproductive –Infertility, erectile dysfunction and pregnancy complications, such as low birthrate, stillbirth or miscarriage, are all risks of smoking. Women who smoke may also undergo premature menopause.
Secondhand smoke is dangerous
“Secondhand smoke can cause a lot of the same diseases as smoking,” says Dr. Mezcua.
Those close to a smoker, such as a spouse or child, are more prone to:
- Ear, head and neck infections
- Chronic respiratory diseases
- Lung cancer and lung disease
- Chronic bronchitis
Smokers need more health screenings
“These health risks increase the longer and more often someone smokes,” says Dr. Mezcua. This is why healthcare screenings become more vital for smokers.
“Since smoking increases all types of cancers, it is much more important that smokers follow routine screenings for cervical, breast and colon cancer,” says Dr. Mezcua.
Male smokers over the age of 60 are also advised to have a more complete “triple-A screening” to check for aneurysms in the aorta or abdomen.
Talk to your doctor about the right screenings for you.