Health Risks Associated With Smoking

By Lindsay M Fox

Doctors are firmly of the opinion that smoking is a very dangerous
habit. As a matter of fact, health experts believe that this habit is
far more dangerous than another social vice, namely drinking alcohol.
One statistic should help illustrate this fact: almost 20 percent of
all adult deaths in the United States are attributed to smoking.

Certain other facts should also be brought to the
attention of smokers:

Smokers have a shorter life expectancy by almost 10
years when compared to non-smokers

Smokers are 10 times as likely to develop lung cancer as
non-smokers

Smokers are three times as likely to be diagnosed with heart disease
as non-smokers

Smoking affects the body in many ways. However, its
maximum impact is on the lungs, heart and arteries.

1. Cigarette smoke has the ability to narrow the arteries
very much. This can lead to high blood pressure as well
as peripheral vascular disease.

The latter condition can also result in gangrene unless it is treated.
Hardened and narrowed arteries also restrict blood supply to the brain
and this can result in a fatal stroke.

2. Cigarette smoking causes a whole lot of problems of the
lung. Most people know that it causes lung cancer (which
has a very low survival rate of 1 in 10). However, it also
results in many lung ailments such as bronchitis and
emphysema.

The air sacs of the lungs get coated with tar
and this can damage them for life, making it very difficult
for the person to breathe. Further, the person has very
low stamina because of the body's inability to get
sufficient oxygen.

3. Smokers are at higher risk for cancers of the bladder,
kidney, cervix, uterus, stomach, esophagus, mouth and
pharynx.

4. Smoking has a very dangerous effect on women. For
starters, it can result in infertility. Also, it can also
cause a woman to suffer a miscarriage or even a pre-
term delivery. Women who smoke are more likely to
have stillborn babies than non-smoking women.

Further more, their babies have greater incidence of low birth weight
and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Menopausal smokers tend to
have very low bone density and this also results in many bone
fractures when they fall.

A smoker needs to always remember that the negative
effects of inhaling smoke on a regular basis tend to be
cumulative. However, a person can reduce his or her risk
for many of these diseases by quitting smoking as early
as possible.
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