You probably know about the relationship between smoking and lung cancer, but did you know smoking is also linked to heart disease, stroke, and other chronic lung diseases? Smoking can also increase your risk for cancer of the bladder, throat, and mouth, kidneys, cervix, and pancreas. Thinking about quitting?
Smokers aren’t the only ones affected by tobacco smoke. Secondhand smoke is a serious health hazard for nonsmokers, especially children. Nonsmokers who have high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol have an even greater risk of developing heart diseases when they’re exposed to secondhand smoke. Studies show that the risk of developing heart disease is about 25-30 percent higher among people exposed to environmental tobacco smoke at home or work.
There are more than 5,000 chemical components found in cigarette smoke and hundreds of them are harmful to human health, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Carbon monoxide is a harmful gas you inhale when you smoke. Once in your lungs, it’s transferred to your bloodstream. Carbon monoxide decreases the amount of oxygen that is carried in the red blood cells. It also increases the amount of cholesterol that is deposited into the inner lining of the arteries which, over time, can cause the arteries to harden. This leads to heart disease, artery disease and possibly a heart attack.
Nicotine is a dangerous and highly addictive chemical. It can cause an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, the flow of blood to the heart and a narrowing of the arteries (vessels that carry blood). Nicotine may also contribute to the hardening of the arterial walls, which in turn, may lead to a heart attack. This chemical can stay in your body for six to eight hours depending on how often you smoke.
These are just a few of the dangerous chemicals found in cigarettes; there are many more. But you do not have to spend the rest of your life giving in to your addiction! Thousands of people kick the habit every year, and you can be one of them. It may not be easy, but you can do it!
Courtesy: American Heart Association