Smoking has countless side effects, ranging from the impact on your health or the health of those around you, to the cost of each pack and even the damage it can do to your home. It blows my mind that smoking is still so widespread. While the popularity is on the decline, it is still estimated that 35% of men and 22% of women still smoke worldwide.
Some frightening smoking facts:
- Tobacco smoke contains over 4000 chemicals including more than 40 cancer causing agents and 200 known poisons.
- Nicotine is considered to be comparable to heroine in terms of addiction.
- The nicotine in a burning cigarette is released in a gas form that is easily absorbed through the lungs and into the blood stream. Nicotine alters the chemistry in the brain within seconds of inhalation, which causes a temporary euphoric sensation. Nicotine is similar to other street drugs in that over time, it takes more and more to feel the sensation of euphoria.
- The carbon monoxide found in cigarettes impairs the ability of blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body – including vital organs like the brain and heart.
- Smokers are in a constant state of oxygen deprivation because of the high amounts of carbon monoxide in their blood (4 to 15 times more than nonsmokers).
- The average cigarette has more than 600 times the concentration that is considered safe in industrial plants, where carbon monoxide poisoning is a constant danger.
A Sobering Experiment:
If the all of the facts about the chemicals introduced to your body through smoke haven’t convinced you of the danger of smoking, try this:
Step 1. Take a puff on a lit cigarette without actually inhaling the smoke into your lungs. Just hold it in your mouth.
Step 2. Take a white handkerchief or tissue and hold it up to your mouth.
Step 3. Exhale the smoke through the handkerchief and you will be able to see the tar that is deposited into your lungs with every breath of smoke. Just imagine the cumulative effect after smoking a pack a day for years.
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Nicotine has historically been one of the toughest addictions to break, but here are six reasons why quitting is worth the battle:
- Statistics show that people who smoke spend 27% more time in hospitals and nearly 2 times the amount of time in intensive care units as compared to nonsmokers.
- Smokers are at twice the risk of dying before age sixty-five as nonsmokers.
- The risk of lung cancer increases dramatically – by 50% to 100% for some people – with every cigarette that a person smokes per day.
- The filter on the tips of cigarettes cuts the risk of lung cancer by up to 20%, but still does not eliminate the danger involved.
- Each cigarette costs the smoker 5 to 25 minutes of life.
- The risk of heart disease increases 50% with every pack of cigarettes a person smokes per day.
Effects of Second Hand Smoke
- Research conducted over the past two decades has shown that non-smokers suffer many of the same diseases of active smokers when they breathe secondhand smoke.
- When children are exposed to secondhand smoke, they are more likely to experience an increased risk of getting sick. The most common illnesses linked to second hand smoke exposure during childhood are asthma, colds, bronchitis, pneumonia and other lung diseases, sinus infection and middle ear infections.
- When a pregnant woman is exposed to secondhand smoke, the nicotine that spreads throughout her bloodstream is passed on to her unborn baby.
- Women who smoke or are exposed to secondhand smoke during pregnancy have a higher rate of miscarriages and stillbirths, low birth weight babies, have babies with decreased lung function and have babies with a greater risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- Non-smoking women who live with a smoker have a 91% greater risk of heart disease. They also have twice the risk of dying from lung cancer.