The Consequences Of Smoking: Some Little Known Side Effects You Haven't Considered

There are literally countless health reasons to quit smoking. Simply put, smoking affects every aspect of a person's health.

In the twenty-first century, practically no one can claim that they are unaware that smoking is bad for your health. These days, even the tobacco companies that once vehemently denied the negative impact smoking has on public health admit that smoking creates an addiction that is hard to defeat and endangers the lives and quality of living of those who smoke.

When people consider the dangers of smoking, lung cancer is what first comes to mind. What people do not tend to consider is the broader range of problems that smoking causes. Of the almost half a million deaths per year in the United States that are linked to cigarette smoking, the majority are caused by smoke-related coronary and cardiovascular diseases.

That is not to say that the only concern of smokers should be the health of their heart and veins. The plethora of other problems complicate the already life or death situation of a failing lungs and a diseased heart. Beyond lung cancer and heart disease, cancers of the mouth, esophagus, breasts, cervix, stomach, pancreas and kidneys are not only exacerbated, but often brought on in full by the carcinogens in cigarette smoke. The U.S. Surgeon General reported in 2004 that smoking can cause disease in every organ of the body.

Research shows that smoking weakens the immune system causing smokers to take more days off sick. Research also directly ties smoking to the onset of asthma in adulthood, the development of asthma in children of parents who smoke in the home, the slower healing of wounds sustained by smokers, the worsening of blood clots, emphysema, bronchitis, and even cataracts and infertility. Smoking also causes fatigue which affects ones ability to exercise. All of these horrible afflictions can be spread to non-smokers who are subjected to constant second-hand smoke, including children and pets.

More than just health consequences, smoking has psycho-social side effects that hinder one's quality of life. The urge to smoke requires smokers to lose time finding an acceptable place to smoke during work hours or public places, and the approximate five minutes to smoke a cigarette. With the increasing stigma society places on smoking, being a smoker can cause feelings of shame, especially when in group settings where the smoker allows his desire to smoke outweigh the desire not to inconvenience others.

Further, smoking decreases the ability to smell and taste, taking pleasure out of things like fresh air and delicious foods. Ironically, as it takes away their senses of smell, it causes the homes and clothing of smokers to smell badly. Smokers themselves cannot smell the scent on themselves and in their homes, but their friends and neighbors can, just as they can smell it on their breath.

Perhaps worst of all is the cosmetic ruin that smoking can cause. People who smoke age prematurely, with fine lines and wrinkles coming on sooner. Also, smoking stains teeth and discolors the tongue, making an otherwise perfect smile dingy, and a pleasant kiss like kissing an ashtray.

These are just a few of the literally countless reasons to quit smoking. Breaking the addiction to cigarettes is not an easy task, but the only way to succeed is by trying--and trying again and again if you fail. The longer you go without smoking, the easier it is to stay quit. Your health will begin to recover, slowly but surely, after a few days. The added bonus to feeling better is that you will look better, to yourself and others.

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