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All about quit smoking & stop smoking health effects of smoking constituents of tobacco smoke smoking and lung cancer smoking and cardiovascular disease smoking and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease other cancers caused by smoking women's health and smoking harm to human body by smoking passive smoking (second hand smoking) health hazards of passive smoking avoiding passive smoking smoking addiction reasons to quit smoking stop smoking cigar smoking and health smoking cessation medications body weight and smoking cessation health benefits of quitting smoking

Harm to human body by smoking – danger of smoking

When cigarette smoke is inhaled, thousands of chemicals get into your bloodstream and travel throughout your body. These chemicals cause damages to different parts of the body.

Eyes: Chemicals in tobacco cause damage to the macula (the most sensitive part of the retina, the back of the eye).

Tiny blood vessels can burst through the macula, leading to irreversible damage. According to the recent research, there is a strong association between smoking and a number of common eye diseases, including Graves' ophthalmopathy, age- related macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataract. Smoking causes morphological and functional changes to the lens and retina due to its atherosclerotic and thrombotic effects on the ocular capillaries. Also, it enhances the generation of free radicals and decreases the levels of antioxidants in the blood circulation, aqueous homour and ocular tissue. Eventually, continuous smoking may perpetuate further damage and lead to permanent blindness.

Mouth, throat and oesophagus: Smoking is a risk factor for all cancers associated with the larynx, oral cavity and oesophagus. Over 90% of the patients with oral cancer (includes cancers of the lip, tongue, mouth and throat) are smoker, and the risk for these cancers increases with the number of cigarettes smoked. Heavy smokers have laryngeal cancer mortality risks 20 to 30 times greater than non-smokers. The combined effect of tobacco and alcoholic drink imposes a much higher risk of oral and pharyngeal cancers by 35-fold.

Heart and circulation: Two immediate effects of smoking on heart and circulation are (1) an increase in your heartbeat rate, (2) a sharp rise in blood pressure. These responses are caused by nicotine which acts on the nervous system, causing the heart rate to rise and blood vessels to constrict. This narrowing of the blood vessels causes the blood pressure rise and strain is put on the heart. The carbon monoxide in cigarettes depletes the oxygen carrying capacity of a smoker's blood. This means that the heart has to pump harder to get enough oxygen to the rest of the body.
Smoking can also affect the blood in the long term: increase in the blood cholesterol and fibrinogen levels. Both these factors mean blood will clot more easily and this will increase the risk of having a heart attack, caused by a blood clot forming in the heart. The heart and circulation attacks caused by smoking include : Coronary heart disease (CHD), Aneurysm, Peripheral vascular disease (PVD), stroke etc.

Lungs: The tar content of cigarette smoke damages the cells in the airways of the lung, making the cilia unable to sweep away the harmful substances. Eventually this damage can produce cells that grow in an uncontrolled way leading to cancer of the lung or larynx. Moreover, harmful substances from the smoke are detected by the protective cells of the body and these cells move to the lung and try to defend it, but are destroyed by the cigarette smoke. The dead cells release substances that damage the structure of the lung, which leads to chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Tobacco accounts for more than 80% of the lung cancer cases. The observed relationship between tobacco smoking and the incidence of lung cancers appears to depend on factors such as: i) the daily dose of tobacco; ii) the duration of regular smoking and iii) the form in which tobacco is smoked (cigarettes, cigars, pipes).

Brain: Cigarette smoking has been linked to the buildup of fatty substances in the carotid artery, the main neck artery supplying blood to the brain. Blockage of this artery may cut off the blood supply to the brain cells, which results in stroke (cerebral thrombosis). Also, nicotine raises blood pressure; carbon monoxide reduces the amount of oxygen your blood can carry to the brain; and cigarette smoke makes the blood thicker and more likely to clot. Smokers are more likely to develop stroke than non-smokers, with the overall relative risk of stroke in smokers being about 1.5times that of non-smokers.

Digestive system: Smoking has been shown to have harmful effects on all parts of the digestive system, contributing to such common disorders as heartburn and peptic ulcers. It also increases the risk of Crohn's disease and possibly gallstones.
Risk of stomach cancer caused by smoking increases with duration of smoking and the number of cigarettes smoked.

Liver and pancreas: Nearly 50% of the bladder and kidney cancer in men are caused by smoking, with lower contribution for women. Cigarette smoke can interact with chemical (especially aromatic amines) in the work place to produce bladder and kidney cancer. Also, approximately 30% of all deaths from pancreatic cancer are attributable to cigarette smoking.

Skin and hair: Just 10 minutes of cigarette smoking decreases the body's and skin's oxygen supply for almost an hour. Smoking robs the skin of collagen which keeps the skin elastic. Smokers get more and deeper wrinkles all over their faces because nicotine constricts the tiny capillaries that nourish the skin. Smokers in their 40s often have as many facial wrinkles as non-smokers in their 60s. Smoking interferes with the healing process, it takes longer to heal and there is more scarring. Smokers are also prone to premature thinning and graying of the hair. Men who smoke are twice as likely to become bald as are men who do not smoke, and premature graying is 3 to 6 times more common in smokers.

Bone and muscle: Smoking delays the healing of fractures, and in some smokers bone healing is indefinitely delayed. Nicotine restricts blood flow to all tissue, especially in the newly forming tissues that are involved in the bone repair. Moreover, tobacco smoke chemicals are poisons that also inhibit the development of new tissue cells. The tissue of smokers does not get an adequate blood supply to promote healing, thus smokers are at a much higher risk of developing osteoporosis. Male smokers are also affected because smoking negatively affects the production of bone cells. Women with a smoking history have significantly lower bone density and are much more likely to suffer fractures. Furthermore, their earlier menopause add to the risk of osteoporosis. Studies show that women who use tobacco have a 50% higher risk of osteoporosis than nonsmokers. Smokers also have poorer muscle strength, agility and balance.

More information on quitting smoking

How to quit smoking? - Many smokers know they need to quid smoking to avoid health risk. Smoking cessation is of the most importance for people who is suffering from unpleasant smoking symptoms.
What health effects are associated with smoking? - The main health risks in tobacco smoking pertain to diseases of the respiratory tract and also to diseases of the cardiovascular system, in particular smoking being a major risk factor for a myocardial infarction (heart attack).
What're the constituents of tobacco smoke? - Tobacco smoke is a complex mixture of several thousand chemical compounds. These include particulates (tar) of sticky solids, gases such as carbon monoxide, and volatiles. Most importantly, the smoke contains nicotine ĘC the addictive drug.
Smoking and lung cancer - Lung cancer is directly related to smoking. Over 40 carcinogens have been identified in cigarette smoke. The risk of developing lung cancer is directly related to the number of cigarettes smoked.
Smoking and cardiovascular disease - There are a number of cardiovascular diseases that can be related to smoking. They include heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. Smoking aggravates and accelerates of the development of atherosclerotic lesions in the arterial walls.
Smoking and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) - Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease in which the lung is damaged, making it hard to breathe. Prolonged tobacco use causes lung inflammation and variable degrees of air sack (alveoli) destruction.
Other cancers caused by or associated with smoking - Cigarette smoking is a major cause of cancers of the oral cavity, oesophagus and larynx. Smoking is a cause of bladder cancer. Cigarette smoking is at least a contributory and may be a causal factor in the development of pancreatic cancer.
Women's health and smoking - Women smokers suffer all the consequences of smoking that men do such as increased of risk various cancers (lung, mouth, larynx, pharynx, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, kidney, and bladder) and respiratory diseases.
Harm to human body by smoking - Chemicals in tobacco cause damage to the macula (the most sensitive part of the retina, the back of the eye). Smoking is a risk factor for all cancers associated with the larynx, oral cavity and oesophagus.
What is passive smoking? - "Passive smoking" or "secondhand smoke" - also known as "environmental tobacco smoke" (ETS) or "involuntary smoking" - occurs when the ambient smoke from one person's cigarette is inhaled by other people.
Health hazards of passive smoking - Some of the immediate effects of passive smoking include eye irritation, headache, cough, sore throat, dizziness and nausea. Adults with asthma can experience a significant decline in lung function when exposed, while new cases of asthma may be induced in children whose parents smoke.
How to avoid passive smoking? - Let your visitors know your home is a smoke-free zone, request them to smoke outside. Ask your visitors to put off the cigarette before entering your room. Ask to be seated in non-smoking areas as far from smokers as possible when dining out.
What is a smoking addiction? - A smoking addiction means a person has formed an uncontrollable dependence on cigarettes to the point where stopping smoking would cause severe emotional, mental, or physical reactions.
Why quit smoking? - Smoking increases the risk of respiratory diseases such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Smokers have twice the risk of dying of heart attacks, as do non-smokers.
How to stop smoking? - Quitting smoking is a lot like losing weight; it takes a strong commitment over a long period of time. Withdrawal from nicotine has two parts - the physical and the psychological.
Cigar smoking and health - A cigar is defined, for tax purposes, as "any roll of tobacco wrapped in leaf tobacco or in any substance containing tobacco," while a cigarette is "any roll of tobacco wrapped in paper or any substance not containing tobacco.
What smoking cessation medications are available? - Nicotine for NRT is available by prescription as an inhaler or nasal spray (Nicotrol Inhaler and Nicotrol NS).
Changes in body weight and smoking cessation - Smokers weigh, on average, around 3 kg less than non-smokers, although heavy smokers are more likely to be moderately or severely overweight. For many people, the fear of gaining weight prevents them from quitting smoking.
Health benefits of quitting smoking - Smoking cessation has major and immediate health benefits for men and women of all ages. The health benefits of smoking cessation far exceed any risks from the average 2.3 kg (5 pound) weight gain or any adverse psychological effects that may follow quitting.
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005