Almost everyone knows the negative health impact of smoking. We see it everywhere –from advertisements on the television to roadside posters to the warning message on the cigarette packages -we all are quite familiar with the “toxicity” of smoking. Despite this, a large number of people, especially the older generation, don’t see the point in quitting because they have been smoking for so long. However, it is never too late to kick the habit and improve your health and quality of life. This article explores some of the lesser-known yet compelling and surprising reasons why anyone should stop smoking for good!
The Hazards of Smoking
Deciding to quit smoking is easier said than done. It takes time, determination and motivation for it to be truly successful. It is also because of this that most people fail when it comes to quitting smoking, despite knowing all the health risks. The hardest part happens early on. But with some understanding about what is ahead and all the benefits it brings, you will be pleasantly surprised that kicking the habit is doable and a finite task. Besides, learning about the various health risks of smoking can make it easier for you to stay motivated and also give you reasons to stick to your commitment for good.
Here are 10 reasons that might help you to kick the bad habit once and for all:
1. Smoking speeds up Mental Health deterioration
According to a study conducted on 9,200 men and women over 60 years of age (journal Neurology), it was demonstrated that mental deterioration is 5 times faster in smokers than in non-smokers. This is because smoking causes artery damage, clotting and an increased risk of stroke, which ultimately leads to mental decline. Prolonged consumption of cigarettes also pose a threat to the brain and speeds up the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
2. Smoking raises the risk of Vision Loss
Studies have shown that smokers are four times more likely to become blind due to age-related macular degeneration than those who never smoked. Read more on How Smoking Affects Your Vision And Your Eye Health.
3. Smoking increase the risk of Autoimmune Diseases like Lupus
Systemic lupus erythematosus, or simply lupus, is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes pain, inflammation and tissue damage throughout the body. A study done by Harvard researches shows that there was a higher chance of developing lupus among current smokers when compared to former smokers.
4. Smoking raises the risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis
According to the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism, it was shown that the chances of developing Rheumatoid Arthritis are sixteen times higher among smokers whose genes are particularly vulnerable to rheumatoid arthritis than non-smokers with the same genetic profile.
5. Smoking heightens the chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Upon studying 745 SIDS cases with 2,400 live babies, European researchers have concluded that apart from babies sleeping on their stomachs or sides, SIDS cases were particularly risky for babies sharing a bed with parents, that too if they are in the habit of smoking. The study also found that maternal smoking alone was associated with a doubling in SIDS risk.
6. Smoking increases the risk of Colic in babies
Several studies have shown that babies who are exposed to tobacco smoke have a higher risk of developing infantile colic, with symptoms that include irritability, inconsolable crying, red face, clenched fists, drawn-up legs, and screaming.
7. Smoking increases the risk of Impotence
Smoking is one of the many factors that cause Erectile dysfunction or impotence in men. A Chinese study conducted on nearly 5000 men showed that men who smoked more than one pack of cigarettes a day were 60% more likely to suffer ED when compared to non-smoker men.
8. Excessive Smoking may lead to Heartburn
As per the study issued in the journal Gut, it was suggested that digestive issues like Acid Reflux or Heartburn are more likely to be developed (70% more) by people who have been smoking for more than 20 years.
9. Smoking makes you Snore
According to a study of more than 15,000 men and women, which was published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, it was demonstrated that smoking increases the risk of snoring. The study also suggested that even non-smokers were more likely to snore if they live with a smoker.
10. Smoking damages your Lungs
This is one of the most well-known health risk of smoking and is a major healthcare issue worldwide. Cigarette smoke damages the airways and air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs, which ultimately damages the lungs leading to lung disease and cancer. It also includes Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis –accompanied by symptoms such as chest pain, persistent cough, wheezing, shortness of breath, neck swelling, and more. Studies have suggested that people who smoke excessively are 13 times more likely to die from COPD than those who do not smoke.
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If these 10 reasons aren’t enough to motivate you to quit smoking, there's more.
- Smoking is linked to colon cancers.
- Smoking is also linked to thyroid disease.
- Smoking can cause difficulty in conceiving.
- Smoking can increase heart disease risk by 2 to 4 times.
- Smoking can increase the risk of depression in young people.
- Smoking during pregnancy can endanger the unborn child.
The Benefits Of Quitting
Now that you know the negative effects of smoking on health, it is also important you know what lies ahead when you finally decided to quit the habit. While it won’t be easy, deciding to quit smoking is perhaps the best decision you can make for your health.
Here are some of the benefits of quitting smoking that makes it worth all the efforts and time:
- It lets you breathe better and easier.
- It leads to whiter teeth.
- It improves your smell and taste.
- You get more energy.
- You feel less stressed.
- It improves performance in bed.
- It improves fertility.
- Skin becomes younger and healthier
- It makes you live longer.
- When you stop smoking, you also protect your loved ones.
The Bottom Line
You gift yourself and your loved ones the “Gift of Life, Health and Self-Esteem” the moment you decide to quit the habit of smoking. But It is important to know that the journey will be challenging with lots of ups and downs. The key is to have the desire and motivation strong enough to keep you committed to reaching your goal and not relapse on the way. And always remember. Recovery is a gradual process –and that is exactly what you will be going through. So have patience and make each day count. That is all you can do, and guess what? It is enough.