Smoking causes damage to nearly every organ in the body & is directly responsible for a number of diseases.
Annually, more than 480,000 people die in the United States (U.S.) due to tobacco-related diseases. That is around 1 in 5 of all deaths in the United States. every year. It is estimated that 1 in 2 smokers will die from a disease regarding smoking.
Smoking causes more deaths in the U.S. each year than the following combined:
- alcohol use
- firearm-related incidents
- illegal drug use
- motor vehicle incidents
Smoking shortens the life of a male by about twelve years & the life of a female by around 11 years.
2 poisons in tobacco that affect peoples’ health are:
- Carbon monoxide is found in car exhaust fumes & is fatal in large doses. It replaces oxygen in the blood & starves organs of oxygen & stops them being able to function properly.
- Tar is a sticky, brown substance that coats the lungs & affects breathing. Smoking affects many different areas of the body. Below, we cover all part of the body in turn:
Smoking can increase the likelihood of having a stroke by two to four times. Strokes can cause brain damage & death. One way that stroke can cause brain injury is through a brain aneurysm, which occurs when the wall of the blood vessel weakens & creates a bulge. This bulge can then burst & lead to a serious condition called a subarachnoid hemorrhage.
Smoking can make bones weak & brittle, which is particularly dangerous for women, who are more prone to osteoporosis & broken bones.
The immune system protects the body against infection & disease. Smoking compromises this & can lead to autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis & Croon’s disease.
Smoking can cause a variety of lung problems. Perhaps the most obvious part of our body affected by smoking is the lungs. In fact, smoking can impact the lungs in a number of many different ways. Primarily, smoking damages the airways & air sacs (known as alveoli) in the lungs.
Often, the lung disease caused by smoking can take years to become noticeable, this means it is often not diagnosed until it is quite advanced. There are many lung & respiratory problems caused by smoking; below are 3 of the most common in the American population:
COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease): This is a long-term disease that worsens over time. It causes chest tightness, wheezing, & shortness of breath. It is the 3rd one leading cause of death in the U.S. There is no cure.
Chronic bronchitis: This occurs when the airways produce too much mucus, leading to the cough. The airways then become inflamed, & the cough is long-lasting. In time, scar tissue & mucus can completely block the airways & cause infection. There is no cure, but quitting the smoking can reduce symptoms.
Emphysema: This is a type of COPD that reduces the number of sacs in the lungs & breaks down the walls in between. Even when any person resting, this destroys the ability to breathe. In the old ages, patients often can only breathe using an oxygen mask.
Other diseases caused by smoking include tuberculosis, pneumonia & asthma.
Smoking can cause bad breath & stained teeth, as well as tooth loss, gum disease, & damage to the sense of taste.
Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen that can reach the skin, which speeds up the aging process of the skin & can make it dull & gray. Smoking prematurely ages the skin by 10 to 20 years & makes facial wrinkling, particularly around the mouth & eyes, 3 times more likely.
Smoking causes around 30% of all cancer deaths in the U.S. In the case of the lung cancer, around 80% of all deaths are caused by smoking. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men & women; it is extremely difficult to treat.
Tobacco smoke has around 7,000 chemicals in it, & around 70 of those are directly linked to causing cancer. As well as the lungs, smoking is also a big risk factor for these types of cancer, among others:
- larynx (voice box)
- pharynx (throat)
- esophagus (swallowing tube)
Cigars, pipe-smoking, chewing tobacco, menthol cigarettes, & other forms of tobacco all cause cancer & other health problems. There is no safe way to use tobacco.
The benefits of Quitting
Quitting smoking reduces health risks. The chances of having a stroke reduce to half of that of a non-smoker in 2 years, & the same as a non-smoker in 5 years. Risks for cancers of the mouth, esophagus, throat, & bladder drop by half within 5 years. The risk of lung cancer drops by half after 10 years.
Risk of heart attack is reduced by half, after a year of quitting smoking. It is the same as someone who has never smoked after 15 years. Overall, once someone stops smoking, their health will improve & their body will begin to recover.