8 Health Dangers of Smoking
- 1. Smoking Harms Your Heart and Blood VesselsCompared to nonsmokers, those who smoke are 2 to 4 times more likely to develop coronary artery disease—heart disease—the leading cause of death in the United States. Smokers also have double the risk of stroke, and they’re more likely to develop peripheral artery disease. The good news? After a year of not smoking, you’ll reduce your risk of heart disease by 50%.
- 2. Smoking Damages Your LungsSmoking is the leading cause of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), a lung disease that includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Compared with nonsmokers, smokers are up to 13 times more likely to die from COPD. But after just a few weeks of not smoking, your lung function will begin to improve.
- 3. Smoking Causes CancerLung cancer isn’t the only cancer linked to cigarettes. Smoking also increases the risk of other cancers, including cancer of the bladder, blood, cervix, colon and rectum, esophagus, kidneys, liver, pancreas, stomach, and trachea. It’s associated with one in every three cancer deaths in the United States. Fortunately, 10 years after quitting smoking, your risk of dying from lung cancer is only half that of someone who kept smoking.
- 4. Smoking Can Threaten Your Unborn BabySmoking increases the risk of preterm delivery and low birth weight, which can both cause serious health problems for your baby. It’s linked to sudden infant death syndrome and birth defects, such as cleft lip or palate. Smoking can also make it harder to get pregnant. It affects a man’s sperm and increases a woman’s risk for ectopic pregnancy—when a fertilized egg starts growing outside the uterus.
- 5. Smoking Can Bring on DiabetesThe risk of developing type 2 diabetes is 30 to 40% higher for smokers than nonsmokers. And the more cigarettes you smoke, the higher your risk. Smokers with type 2 diabetes also typically find the disease harder to control. By kicking the habit, you can gain better control of your blood sugar levels and improve your health right away.
- 6. Smoking Can Weaken Your BonesSmoking can increase your risk of osteoporosis, a condition in which bones become fragile and prone to fractures. The longer you smoke, the greater your risk of bone fractures as you age. Smokers also tend to have a harder time healing after a bone fracture and experience more complications while they heal. Saying goodbye to smoking at any age can reduce your risk of having brittle bones.
- 7. Smoking Can Steal Your SightSmoking is as bad for your eyes as it is for the rest of your body. It increases the risk of optic nerve damage and cataracts—clouding of the eye’s lens. It also increases the risk of age-related macular degeneration—damage to the macula, a part of the eye responsible for sharp vision. All of these conditions can lead to blindness.
- 8. Smoking Can Spoil Your SmileNicotine and tar, two ingredients in cigarettes, can cause yellow and brown stains to appear on your teeth. Cigarettes also give you bad breath and dull your sense of taste and smell. What’s worse, smoking can lead to gum disease, mouth cancer, tooth loss, and difficulty healing after procedures to fix missing teeth or other dental problems.
8 Health Dangers of Smoking