For many people, smoking is not a big deal. It’s a way of life. It’s what you do when you’re having coffee, driving to work, or taking a break from the computer. For millions of men and women, smoking cigarettes is woven into the fabric of their life and there’s no putting that to an end.
At the same time, there are millions of Americans who are aware of the dangers of smoking, and although they may still be doing it, they are working their way towards quitting. Those who are attempting to quit may already be aware that there are many significant risks to smoking. For instance, smoking can harm nearly every organ in the body. And a nicotine addiction can even eventually lead to death. In fact, in the United States, 480,000 people die prematurely each year due to smoking cigarettes or being exposed to cigarette smoke. But that’s not all. Even while someone is enjoying their life, he or she may be putting their health at serious risk if they choose to continue to smoke.
A nicotine addiction can cause cancer of the:
- Bone Marrow
Smoking Can Affect
- Autoimmune system – The immune system is the body’s method of protecting itself. Yet, smoking compromises the immune system and makes smokers vulnerable to respiratory infections. Smoking is also a significant contributing factor in several autoimmune diseases, such as Chron’s disease.
- Heart – Smoking can impair the functioning of your heart. The damage can put people at risk for heart-related chest pain, damage to the arteries, and even heart attack.
- Blood – Smoking can also harm blood cells and contribute to aneurysms, a condition in which there are bulging blood vessels that can burst, stroke, which is when there is a sudden death of brain cells because of blood clots or bleeding; and more.
- Vision – Studies have been able to link smoking to an increased risk of optic nerve damage, cataract, and macular degeneration. All of these are conditions that can lead to blindness.
- Bones – Research shows there is a relationship between tobacco use and decreased bone density. In addition to many other factors, smoking can increase one’s risk for osteoporosis.
- Lungs – Smoking affects the health of the lungs more than any other organ. Smoking can cause emphysema, pneumonia, asthma, tuberculosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, otherwise known as COPD.
- Reproductive system – Smoking can affect both men and women’s fertility. It can create erectile dysfunction, pre-term births, and stillbirths.
Because of the many health risks that come with a nicotine addiction, there are a variety of national programs designed to help Americans quit smoking. One of them will provide free nicotine patches for a period of time. You can use patches to slowly wean off nicotine until you’re free of the drug entirely. Furthermore, there are many support groups, information lines, and websites all designed to help someone quit smoking if they choose.