Why smoking can kill you - Slideshow
Statutory warnings on cigarette packs shouldn't be taken lightly.
Smoking does kill you, slowly and over several years.
Research studies link the harmful effects of smoking to cancer, especially of the lung, heart disease, and respiratory diseases like emphysema which slowly rot the lungs.
Parents who smoke expose their children to risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), respiratory diseases like asthma, and long-term behavioral and mental difficulties.
What are you inhaling?
Ever wondered what a cigarette contains?
Your regular ciggie plays host to over 4000 chemicals, some of which are life-threatening in their toxicity.
Cigarettes are a cocktail of poisonous gases, in other words, the 'tar' in the smoke.
The chemicals found in tar include benzene, arsenic, phenol, carbon monoxide, cadmium, cyanide, lead, methanol, naphthalene, nitrogen oxide, nicotine and acetone (also found in nail paint removers).
Short-term effects of smoking
As soon as they start puffing, smokers experience shortness of breath, excessive phlegm formation, coughing, wheezing etc.
Smoking continuously through the days also results in yellowing of teeth and tooth decay and the constant presence of smoke-filled, bad breath.
It also causes heartburn, stomach ulcers and dental problems like gum bleeding, mouth ulcers and (in women) the early onset of facial wrinkles.
But cigarettes kill slowly
But cigarettes kill slowly and the long-term dangers of smoking are deadly.
Nicotine raises blood pressure and makes blood clot easily. Carbon monoxide from tobacco smoke deoxygenates blood and encourages plaque formation on artery walls.
Blocked blood vessels result in gangrene (and subsequent amputations), low fitness, slow down in blood flow to skin, hands and feet and hikes risk of stroke and heart attack.
The "silent killer" from tobacco smoke is COPD - Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
Most smokers do not realize that they are suffering from lung complications until is too late.
COPD includes a host of debilitating diseases like chronic and asthmatic bronchitis and emphysema.
In addition, smoking also dangerously impacts the eyes, bones (increasing risk of osteoporosis), skin, stomach, accelerates macular degeneration and hampers reproductive ability.
Dangers of smoking in Women
Smoking is particularly dangerous for women since they have lesser lung capacity than their male counterparts, thus increasing their risk of respiratory complications.
Women smokers also put themselves at higher risk of osteoporosis, cancers such as of the cervix and vulva, and heart disease.
Smoking is also known to be responsible for irregular menstruation, infertility and early onset of menopause.
Smoking kills from the womb
Women smokers also put their children at increased risk of health complication, right from birth through life.
Chemicals from cigarettes reach the fetus through the blood stream.
Risks of smoking during pregnancy involve preterm delivery, low birth weight, miscarriage, and neonatal death.
Smoking kills from the womb
Nicotine levels in such newborns are often similar to those in adults.
Long-term effects in children include attention deficit disorders, other learning and behavioral disorders, disruptive behavior, and cot deaths (SIDS).
In women who smoke while taking oral contraceptives, the risk of stroke, heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases increases a whopping ten fold!
Remember, smoking kills not only your health and well-being, but also that of others, including your children.
Don't take the cross-bones lightly.
Stub out that cigarette. Start to live healthy.
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