We all knowv that smoking increases the risk of certain types of cancer for you and those around you. Sixty-nine of the 250 harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke can cause cancer, according to the The Cancer Institute. But did you know that those little puffs also wreak havoc on your hair, skin, heart, eyes, nails and even your weight? Okay, if you actually need more reasons to quit smoking, here are 11 facts that will make you toss your pack of cigarettes in the trash.
1. Lowered senses
Did you know smokers don't taste the full flavor of their foods or the aromas around them? Once they stop smoking, many smokers note an increased vibrancy in flavor when they eat and the ability to detect subtle smells that once went unnoticed.
2. Heart problems
Smoking has been linked to several heart conditions, including stroke, heart disease and aortic aneurysm. Thankfully, your heart rate can return to normal once you stop smoking. Blood pressure will also decrease when you kick the habit.
3. Breathing conditions
In addition to asthma, smokers are more likely to get chronic obstruction pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic bronchitis and emphysema. A few weeks after you smoke your last cigarette, you'll notice less phlegm production, less wheezing, less coughing and the ability to take deeper breaths.
4. Eye issues
Smokers are at an increased risk of developing cataracts in the eyes. The medical condition, which can lead to blindness, is doubled for people who smoke 20 or more cigarettes each day, according to a New York Times report. Smoking also causes ugly under-eye bags and skin discoloration.
5. Unhealthy hair and nails
Both your hair and nails take on a dull, lifeless appearance the more you smoke. If your nails are brittle and yellowing, or your hair tends to break easily, it's time to quit smoking. After a few weeks, your hair and nails will rejuvenate themselves and take on a healthy glow. Plus, that lingering ashtray odor trapped in your tresses will go away.
6. Premature wrinkling
Your skin also hates smoking. Expect premature wrinkling if you light up regularly. Chemicals in tobacco smoke break down collagen and elastin in the skin, leaving your skin sagging and wrinkly. Nicotine also causes blood vessels to constrict, so less oxygen and nutrients nourish the skin, according to Everyday Health. This can give your complexion an unnatural gray-tone.
7. Oral health problems
Although your friends won't tell you, smokers have bad breath. No amount of breath mints or mouthwash can remove that lingering tell-tale odor that lingers around a smoker. The nasty habit also turns your teeth yellow or light brown, causes gingivitis and discolors your gums over time.
8. Weight problems
Do you fear gaining weight if you stop smoking? Then add an exercise routine to your stop-smoking plans. Remember, smoking is a social activity. You are probably ingesting more calories while sitting around and smoking. Do you grab for a beer, munch on bowls of nuts at the bar or need a snack after finishing your last drag? If you stop smoking, you'll be more aware of the mindless snacking.
9. The bad friend
Your non-smoking friends know how dangerous secondhand smoke is to their health. Don't be a bad friend and trap them in a car or a small room with your bad habit. Once you stop smoking, you'll be a part of the main group again, and you will not have to step outside--and away from the fun--to feed your addiction.
10. It's expensive
A few dollars here and there can add up. If you're buying several packs of cigarettes each day, grab a calculator and do the math. You could easily be spending hundreds of dollars a month on something that you burn up and toss in the garbage. Think about what else that money could pay for: payments on a new car, a monthly weekend getaway, a college fund for the kids or even a gym membership.
11. Your family
Nobody wants to see a family member intentionally increase her risk of cancer, make her appearance unhealthy and potentially harm everyone around her. If you're on the edge of calling a doctor for help, grabbing a nicotine patch at the pharmacy or calling a therapist to help you stop smoking, just do it. Do it for you--and your family.
Are you ready to finally stop smoking? Give an Atlanta physician a call today to learn more about treatment options that fit into your lifestyle and budget. Nicotine is an addiction. You don't have to travel this road alone.
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