There is no safe or healthy way of smoking. Smoking causes harm to almost all parts of the body in various ways. Cigarettes, cigars and hookahs all have high amounts of nicotine which makes smoking addictive. The carcinogens, toxins, tar and numerous other harmful substances release around 69 cancer causing chemicals. If one smoke can cause that much harm, then we can only imagine how our bodies would react to smoking on a regular basis. Here are 15 ways smoking affects your body.
Smoking increases your chance of having a stroke by about 50%. This means that smoking can cause severe brain damage, and even death. Additionally, smoking causes psychological distress also. Nicotine is addictive, which is why it is hard to quit smoking. The brain gets so used to the chemical that it develops nicotine receptors to deal with high amounts nicotine. Therefore, quitting may result in withdrawal symptoms, which may affect your mood and cause cravings.
Nicotine can cause vision impairment, especially at night. This is because it restricts development of the chemicals that are necessary for a clear vision. Furthermore, cataracts and macular degeneration from smoking can harm the lens and retina, all leading up to blindness.
Smokers increase their chances of hearing disabilities. The cochlea in the ear is an organ which receives sound vibrations and sends nerve impulses in response. Smoking tampers with the supply of oxygen to the cochlea, thereby leading to partial loss in hearing.
Smoking takes its toll on your skin. The most obvious effect is how quickly your skin ages. This is because smoking leads to dull and dry skin, whereby it doesn’t remain supple. Stretch marks, wrinkles and fine lines start to appear much earlier than they should. Furthermore, your complexion becomes dull and loses its glow.
Some common features that most smokers share are stained teeth, bad breath and dark gums from tobacco overuse. Additionally, smokers are more prone to ulcers, mouth sores, cavities, brittle teeth and various gum diseases. Moreover, smoking can cause oral cancer.
Another distinct feature in chain smokers is that over time, their voice may become disturbingly deep and husky. This is because along with oral cancer, smoking can cause cancer of the lip, throat voice box and oesophagus. However, you can remain cancer free in the neck and throat if you stop smoking and continue to do so for about 20 years.
Smoking can cause excessive complications once the smoke enters your blood. Blood becomes thick and sticky, increasing chances of clotting. Because of this, it is more difficult for oxygen rich blood to travel through the arteries, and can cause strokes or heart attacks. Furthermore, your blood pressure and heart rate tends to increase due to toxins travelling along arteries that become narrower due to smoking.
Blood circulation and heart go side by side, and smoking damages both. There is an increased risk of coronary heart diseases, peripheral vascular disease and heart attack. Furthermore, as carbon monoxide and nicotine raises blood pressure, you may feel stress on your heart. This causes the heart to weaken over time since it does not receive adequate oxygen supplies. Additionally, smoking can damage your coronary arteries, making them narrower and more difficult for blood to travel through.
Many of us have come across pictures of blackened lungs in our science books at school. Needless to say, the pictures how exactly what a smoker’s lungs look like after continuous smoking. The airways and lung tissues become inflated, causing tightness of chest or loss of breath. When this inflammation continues, scar tissue starts to build up, and breathing becomes harder. Secondly, the alveoli through which oxygen reaches the lungs get destroyed permanently. This can lead to emphysema, which can result in death due to shortness of breath. Lastly, the cilia that keep airways to the lungs clean can be paralyzed or killed. This leads to various lung infections and a chronic cough.
Stomach and Weight Gain
Smokers tend to have bigger, saggier bellies with less muscle volume. Furthermore, smoking increases cholesterol due to unhealthy fat accumulation. This fat buildup causes blockage in blood flow through the arteries, which can lead to amputations in the feet or toes. Smoking also increases chances of developing type 2 diabetes, which can lead to heart and kidney failure.
Smoking greatly affects fertility and potency. The estrogen levels in women can drop, leading to complications in conceiving and early menopause. Smoking while pregnant may even cause miscarriages, premature or stillborn babies and various other health issues. In men, smoking can cause impotence since the blood vessels that supply blood to the penis can be damaged. It can also lower sperm count in men. Furthermore, smoking can increase risks of cervical cancer.
Cigarette smoke contains high levels of toxins, tar, carbon monoxide and other carcinogens. These harmful chemicals effect your immunity and capability to fight infections. In other words, a smoker is more likely to get sick and for longer periods of time. If your immune system continues to get weak, it may be difficult to fight various autoimmune diseases. Furthermore, it is one of the main reasons why the body lacks in its ability to fight off cancer.
Along with the immune system, your body also loses its ability to heal wounds effectively if you are a smoker. This is because nicotine tightens the blood vessels responsible for supplying oxygen as well as essential nutrients and minerals to the body. Therefore, low nutrient levels cause wounds to heal slowly. This increases the risk of infection, causing the tissue of the blood stream to die.
Smoking causes excessive muscle deterioration. This is due to the fact that less oxygen and blood is able to reach the muscles. Not only is it harder to build muscle, but the existing muscle tires more easily. Therefore, smokers often experience muscle cramps and joint aches and pains.
Weak and brittle bones are a common cause of smoking. Smoking can cause osteoporosis since cigarette smoke tampers with natural bone health. Due to this, it is harder for the body to form new healthy bone tissue, causing thinning of bone density. Furthermore, existing bone tissue becomes weaker causing bones to become brittle. Therefore, smokers are at risk of undergoing fractures and sprains.
All in all, there is no good that can come from smoking, no matter what the experience may feel like at first. Smoking can thus, literally consume you from the inside out.