Smoking Myths and Facts

Smoking can cut about 14 years off of the life span of both men and women. According to NIH, if you quit smoking at age 35 you will live about five to ten years longer and decrease the risk of developing cancer and heart disease.  

 

Smoking stains your teeth, causes facial wrinkles, depletes energy, burns holes in clothes, causes bad breath and a general bad aroma. Men who smoke and have high blood pressure are more likely to become impotent than non-smokers.

 

If you substitute eating for the oral gratification that smoking gives you, you will gain weight. If you eat healthy and exercise you will not gain weight. Education and counseling can establish a program for you that may help you lose 5 to 10 pounds and increase your stamina, lung capacity and stabilize your weight.  

Smoking can cause and is strongly correlated with emphysema, bronchitis, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancer of the mouth, larynx and esophagus. The American Lung Association says smoking plays a role in cancer of the pancreas, kidney, bladder, and in women, cancer of the cervix.

The nicotine taken in from smoking affects the entire body. It acts directly on the heart to change the rate and blood pressure. It acts on nerves that control respiration.  Nicotine molecules are shaped like the neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Its receptors are involved in muscle movements, breathing, heart rate, learning and memory. It also releases other neurotransmitters and hormones that affect mood and appetite such as dopamine and serotonin that produce feelings of pleasure and reward. Nicotine is as addictive as heroin or cocaine, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

 

Smoking is never a safe thing to do. Every cigarette contains 1 to 2 milligrams of nicotine and it reaches your brain in 8 to 10 seconds. There are many other damaging chemicals taken in with each inhale of a cigarette. Cigarette smoke contains 4,000 chemicals and poisons, 50 of which cause cancer. Each time you inhale you take in nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide, cyanide, arsenic, formaldehyde, ammonia and benzene, just to name a few.

NIDA says that those who start smoking before age 21 have hardest time quitting and that less than 1 in 10 who try to quit succeed.  

Smokers who use these types of cigarettes tend to smoke more trying to get the nicotine fix. The National Cancer Institute says that you tend to inhale deeper and thereby take in more of the damaging substances like tar and carbon monoxide that replaces the oxygen in your blood.

The dangers of second hand smoke are well documented. Second hand smoke according to the National Cancer Institute makes nonsmokers more susceptible to asthma attacks, ear infections. and other respiratory problems.  Second hand smoke kills an estimated 35,000 to 65,000 nonsmokers each year.  Up to 62,000 will die from heart disease and 3,000 will die from lung cancer.

Cigar smokers have higher death rates from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and are 4 to 10 times more likely to die from cancers of the throat, mouth, lips, larynx and esophagus than nonsmokers. People who chew tobacco are more likely to develop oral cancers which affect the tongue, lips, cheeks and gums.