Tobacco and smoking health risks have reportedly caused 7 million deaths worldwide, and of these deaths, approximately 1 million of them occur due to exposure to secondhand smoke.
Tobacco is extremely dangerous as it not only affects your lungs, but also has adverse effects on the rest of your body. In the spirit of pursuing better health and kicking habits that are bad for us, let us take a look at some of the health hazards of tobacco consumption:
Tobacco harms your respiratory system
Let us begin with one of the most commonly known hazards of tobacco consumption—damage to the respiratory system. Here are some of the common respiratory diseases and conditions that develop due to tobacco:
- Emphysema: smoking destroys the air sacs in your lungs. This leads to lower amounts of oxygen entering your bloodstream.
- Chronic bronchitis: smoking can lead to inflammation of the lungs’ breathing tubes. This inflammation can be permanent and can lead to a series of breathing problems.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: This refers to a group of different lung diseases that are progressive in nature.
- Lung cancer: tobacco puts you at an increased risk for developing lung cancer, which can be fatal. In fact, lung cancer is one of the most well-known diseases associated with smoking.
Tobacco harms your cardiovascular system
The nicotine present in cigarettes tightens blood vessels, which leads to restricted blood flow. As you continue to smoke, the blood vessels narrow down, which eventually leads to peripheral artery disease.
Furthermore, the narrowing of the blood vessels also leads to high blood pressure, and an increased risk of developing blood clots. This can lead to a stroke. It also puts you at greater risk of developing heart diseases that give rise to heart attacks. It is vital to note that secondhand smoke is equally responsible for the onset of deadly illnesses caused by smoking.
Tobacco harms your hair, nails, and skin
Smoking regularly ruins the texture of your skin, causing you to age prematurely. It also puts you at a greater risk for developing skin cancer. It also causes hair fall, hair thinning, and balding. It also makes your nails weaker and makes it more likely for you to develop fungal nail infections.
Tobacco harms your digestive system
Tobacco harms different parts of your digestive system greatly. Smoking or chewing tobacco can lead to cancers developing in your mouth, larynx, throat, and oesophagus. Smokers are also at a higher risk for developing pancreatic cancer.
Tobacco also has a negative impact on the way your insulin works in your body. Smokers are more likely to develop some insulin resistance, which puts them at a very high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Tobacco harms your reproductive system
Nicotine affects the amount of blood flow that reaches your genitals. For men, this means that their sexual performance is lowered by a large margin.
It has negative effects on women as well. The decreased blood flow leads to lower sexual pleasure as it also decreases the amount of lubrication your body produces. It also decreases your ability to orgasm. Furthermore, tobacco affects the sex hormones in your body as well.
It can lead to lesser sexual desire in men and women. There are also a few studies conducted on the smoking health risks related to fertility, and they show that smoking does affect fertility to an extent.
How to stop smoking?
If you are a smoker, whether you smoke 3-5 cigarettes a day or an entire pack, it is quite difficult to get yourself to stop smoking; but not impossible.
You must remember that your dependence on cigarettes can be eliminated if you deal with your mental dependency first. Tobacco affects your central nervous system by making you feel a little energized and relaxed the minute you smoke.
However, once that feeling goes away, your mind responds with a greater need to get the same effect. This is what makes tobacco harmful as it leads to habit-forming. If you are thinking of giving up smoking, here are some ways you can adopt:
- Push through your withdrawal: some of the common withdrawal symptoms of smoking are irritability, anxiety, and depression. These symptoms will make you feel as though the only cure for them is to light up your cigarette. However, if you just push through them, you will find the process of quitting smoking becoming easier and easier as the days go on.
- Chew gum: Chewing gum is an effective way to deal with the restlessness that comes when you stop smoking. Some people chew nicotine-infused gums, however, it is better to stick with regular flavours like mint! Also, avoid gums containing sugar—a highly inflammatory compound.
Ask for help: make sure you have someone to talk to while you are going through your withdrawal symptoms. Isolation, or lack of someone encouraging you to quit on days when quitting sounds like the worst idea can help you strengthen your resolve!