Smoking harms almost every part of the body, including the skin, eyes, circulatory system, respiratory system, and even the reproductive system. Smoking also causes an increased risk of many different diseases, including cancer and diabetes.
Each year in the United States, almost 500,000 people die from tobacco use-related illnesses. In fact, smoking cigarettes kills more Americans than car accidents, alcohol, guns, illegal drugs, and HIV combined.
Here are seven ways that smoking impacts your health. By switching to a tobacco alternative, you can get the nicotine you need without the tobacco.
1. Lung Damage
When a cigarette is inhaled, nicotine and dozens of other chemicals are introduced into the respiratory system. Smokers are at a 25 times higher risk of developing lung cancer than non-smokers.
Aside from an increased risk of lung damage that may lead to lung cancer, smoking also increases the risk of chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). In all cases of COPD, 9 out of 10 are linked to smoking.
Smoking also damages the airways, which contributes to the infamous smoker’s cough.
2. Damage to Cardiovascular System
While there are many factors that increase the risk of heart disease, smoking is one of the top lifestyle habits that contribute to the disease. Those who smoke, as well as those who are exposed to secondhand smoke, are at an increased risk of heart disease and heart attacks.
Tobacco smoke also lowers good cholesterol (HDL) levels in the body, while increasing bad cholesterol (LDL). Tobacco smoke has also been linked to increased triglycerides and total cholesterol in the blood.
Nicotine causes blood vessels to tighten, which restricts blood flow throughout the body. This increases the risk of stroke, heart attack, and high blood pressure.
3. Damaged Immune System
Smokers are more likely to have more respiratory tract infections when compared to people who don’t smoke. This is not only because smoking damages the lungs, but it also impacts the immune system’s ability to fight off infections.
This means that smokers will experience more severe and longer-lasting illnesses. Smoking has also been linked to lower levels of antioxidants in the blood, including vitamin C.
Smoking also increases inflammation throughout the body.
4. Vision Problems
While your vision may not be impacted immediately, smoking has shown to have negative effects on the eyes. Long-term smokers are likely to experience future vision problems, including cataracts, macular degeneration, and glaucoma.
Smoking also increases the risk of damage to the optic nerve. This is the nerve that connects the eye to the brain. Excessive damage to the optic nerve can cause blindness.
In the short-term, smokers are likely to experience dry eyes, which makes the eyes red and scratchy.
5. Fertility & Reproductive System Issues
Smoking damages both the male and female reproductive systems. For men, smoking increases the risk of erectile dysfunction. Smoking also negatively impacts the quality of sperm, which reduces fertility.
For women, smoking can make it much more difficult to get pregnant. This is often attributed to tobacco and the many other chemicals that are found in cigarettes. These chemicals impact hormone levels, which then impact fertility. Women also experienced an increased risk of developing cervical cancer.
Smoking also has profound impacts on pregnant women as well as the developing fetus. Common complications include:
Increased risk of preterm delivery
Increased risk of ectopic pregnancy
Reduced birth weight
Damage to the baby’s brain, lungs, and central nervous system
Increased risk of congenital abnormalities, such as cleft palate and cleft lip
Increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome
6. Impacted Digestive System
Smoking suppresses the appetite because it decreases your sense of taste. This makes eating a lot less enjoyable because you can’t taste the food that you’re putting into your mouth.
Smoking has been linked to many different cancers, including cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and larynx. There’s also an increased risk of pancreatic cancer.
Smokers are also more likely to develop insulin resistance, because of how smoking impacts insulin. Insulin resistance increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, along with the many complications associated with the disease.
7. Damaged Hair, Skin, & Nails
Smoking impacts the hair, skin, and nails in many ways. Smokers are at an increased risk of hair loss, balding, and early graying. This is due to the high nicotine content found in cigarettes.
Smoking also visibly impacts the skin. Tobacco smoke changes the structure of the skin, which can lead to dry skin and premature aging. This is because nicotine reduces blood flow, which impacts the skin’s ability to get the nutrition it needs.
People who smoke are also at an increased risk of developing skin cancer.
Routine handling of tobacco products stains the fingers and fingernails a yellow color. Aside from staining, smokers face a higher risk of fungal nail infections.
It’s an understatement to say that smoking has a profound impact on the body. While it’s not easy to quit smoking, doing so can greatly improve your overall health now and long into the future. Quitting smoking is the key to living a happier, longer life.
Three tobacco companies have been ordered to pay C$15.5 billion ($12 billion) in damages in Canada.
It the largest award for damages in Canada’s history.
The plaintiffs were Quebec smokers who said the companies failed to warn them of health risks associated with smoking.
Imperial Tobacco Canada, Rothmans Benson & Hedges and JTI-MacDonald vowed to appeal against the decision.
The class-action lawsuits were filed in 1998, but only recently went to trial in the courts.
The companies argued that Canadians have had a “high awareness” of smoking health risks since the 1950s.
The director of Quebec Council on Tobacco and Health, an anti-smoking lobby group, Mario Bujold, said it had been “a long process” but it was a “big victory for the victims and against the tobacco companies”.
JTI-Macdonald said in a statement: “That awareness has been reinforced by the health warnings printed on every legal cigarette package for more than 40 years.”
However, the plaintiffs argued that the companies did not properly warn their customers and failed in their general duty “not to cause injury to another person”, according to the Quebec Superior Court decision.
They represent nearly one million smokers who were unable to quit or who suffer from throat or lung cancer, or emphysema.
Explaining his ruling, Judge Brian Riordan said: “The companies earned billions of dollars at the expense of the lungs, the throats and the general well-being of their customers.
“If the companies are allowed to walk away unscathed now, what would be the message to other industries that today or tomorrow find themselves in a similar moral conflict?”
According to multiple reports Julia Robert’s mother, Betty Lou Bredemus, has died from lung cancer at the age of 80.
Betty Lou Bredemus died in Los Angeles on Thursday, February 19.
Photo Getty Images
She was the mother of four children – Eric Roberts, 58; Julia, 47; Lisa Gillan, 49, and Nancy Motes, who died last year at age 37. She was also the grandmother of actress Emma Roberts, Eric’s daughter, along with Julia’s children – twins Phinnaeus and Hazel, both 10, and Henry, 7.
Betty Lou Bredemus had once run an acting school in Smyrna, Georgia.
Julia Roberts was in Los Angles filming The Secret in Their Eyes when he mother passed.
It’s My Party singer Lesley Gore has died from lung cancer aged 68.
Lesley Gore’s partner of 33 years, Lois Sasson, confirmed the singer-songwriter had died at a New York City hospital. .
The singer was only 1-year-old when she topped the US charts with It’s My Party.
Lesley Gore’s hits include feminist anthem You Don’t Own Me and the Oscar-nominated Out Here On My Own from 1980 film Fame.
“She was a wonderful human being – caring, giving, a great feminist, great woman, great human being, great humanitarian,” Lois Sasson told the Associated Press.
Lesley Gore was discovered by Quincy Jones as a teenager and signed to Mercury Records, before going on to record tracks including Judy’s Turn to Cry, She’s A Fool, Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows, That’s the Way Boys Are and Maybe I Know.
In 2005, she released comeback album Ever Since, her first album in 30 years and in an interview that year said that unlike Hollywood, the music industry has “always been a man’s world.”
However, Lesley Gore credited Quincy Jones as a “great mentor” saying that he was “a very sensitive man and a beautiful human being.”
Lesley Gore was born in Brooklyn and raised in New Jersey and had graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with a degree in English/American literature.
A new study has suggested that most types of cancer can be put down to bad luck rather than risk factors such as smoking.
The US research team was trying to explain why some tissues were millions of times more vulnerable to cancer than others.
The results, in the journal Science, showed two thirds of the cancer types analyzed were caused just by chance mutations rather than lifestyle.
However some of the most common and deadly cancers are still heavily influenced by lifestyle.
In the US, 6.9% of people develop lung cancer, 0.6% brain cancer and 0.00072% get tumors in their laryngeal cartilage at some point in their lifetime.
Toxins from cigarette smoke could explain why lung cancer is more common.
However, the digestive system is exposed to more environmental toxins than the brain, yet brain tumors are three times as common as those in the small intestine.
The team at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health believe the way tissues regenerate is the answer.
Old tired cells in the body are constantly being replaced with new ones made by dividing stem cells.
But with each division comes the risk of a dangerous mutation that moves the stem cell one step closer to being cancerous.
The pace of turnover varies throughout the body with rapid turnover in the lining of the gut and a slower pace in the brain.
The researchers compared how often stem cells divided in 31 tissues in the body over a lifetime with the odds of a cancer in those tissues.
They concluded that two thirds of cancer types were “due to bad luck” from dividing stem cells picking up mutations that could not be prevented.
These cancer types included Glioblastoma (brain cancers), small intestine cancers and pancreatic cancers.
Cristian Tomasetti, an assistant professor of oncology and one of the researchers, said a focus on prevention would not prevent such cancers.
“If two thirds of cancer incidence across tissues is explained by random DNA mutations that occur when stem cells divide, then changing our lifestyle and habits will be a huge help in preventing certain cancers, but this may not be as effective for a variety of others.
“We should focus more resources on finding ways to detect such cancers at early, curable stages.”
The remaining third of cancer types, which are affected by lifestyle factors, viruses or a heightened family risk, include some of the most common:
Basal cell carcinoma – a type of skin cancer made more common by too much UV exposure
Lung cancer – strongly linked to smoking
Colon cancer – increased by poor diet and family risk genes
Two common types of cancer – breast and prostate – were not analyzed as the researchers could not find a consistent rate of stem cell division in those tissues.
Reg Presley, frontman of 60s British rock band The Troggs, has died from lung cancer at the age of 71.
Reg Presley died at his home in Hampshire surrounded by his family, his daughter Karen said.
The Troggs had a number of hit songs, including Wild Thing and Love Is All Around, which was covered in the 1990s with huge success by Wet Wet Wet.
Reg Presley had announced his retirement from music a year ago after being taken ill during a concert in Germany and being diagnosed with lung cancer.
In January 2012, in a letter to fans posted on his band’s website, Reg Presley had said: “As you all know I was taken ill whilst doing a gig in Germany in December. During my stay in hospital tests showed that in fact I have lung cancer.
“I am receiving chemotherapy treatment and at the moment not feeling too bad.
“However I’ve had to call time on The Troggs and retire. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the cards and calls and for your love, loyalty and support over the years.”
Reg Presley, frontman of 60s British rock band The Troggs, has died from lung cancer at the age of 71
Reg Presley was born in Andover, Hampshire, and founded The Troggs in the early 1960s.
The band’s other hits included With A Girl Like You and I Can’t Control Myself.
The 1967 hit Love Is All Around became a hit song again 27 years later when a cover version by Scottish band Wet Wet Wet remained at number one in the UK for 15 weeks.
The success of the Wet Wet Wet version, which featured on the soundtrack of the hit film Four Weddings and a Funeral, allowed Reg Presley to pursue his interest in crop circles and UFOs.
Reg Presley published a book, Wild Things They Don’t Tell Us, about the paranormal in 2002.