Smoking seriously damages almost every organ in your body. In fact, some of these harmful and negative effects are immediate.
Nicotine is a real hard drug, it is just as addictive as cocaine or heroin and because it changes your brain it is hard to beat. By smoking, your brain develops extra nicotine receptors to process the large doses of nicotine. These extra nicotine receptors therefore increasingly demand more nicotine and when you stop smoking it results in withdrawal symptoms that can make you feel irritable and even anxious.
Smoking also decreases oxygen supply to your cochlea, a snail-shaped organ in the inner ear. Due to the lack of oxygen, this can lead to permanent damage in the ear and mild to moderate hearing loss.
Smoking also has a negative effect on your eyes, threatening your eyesight. Your eyes are a natural version of night vision goggles, but nicotine limits the production of a chemical needed for night vision. But this can cause vision problems not only at night, as smoking also increases the risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration, both of which can lead to blindness.
Smoking also causes oral health problems. Smokers are more likely to develop mouth sores, gum sores and other gum disease, not to mention possible mouth and throat cancer. In addition, you are more likely to have caries and you will lose teeth sooner.
Smoking is also responsible for drying out your skin and losing its elasticity. This leads to premature wrinkles, stretch marks and a duller complexion, causing your face to age prematurely.
Smoking also leads to increased blood pressure, which puts more strain on your heart. Because your heart has to work harder, it will weaken faster, making it less able to pump blood to other parts of your body. Smoking also contributes to a lack of oxygen, which forces the heart to work even harder and in turn leads to an increased risk of heart disease, including heart attacks.
Smoking also increases your resting heart rate because of the extra work it has to do to keep your body running. For example, your heart rate can rise to dangerous levels with physical activity and increase the risk of death.
Smoking makes your blood thick and sticky, causing your blood vessels to narrow and your heart having more trouble pumping it through your body. Sticky blood is also more likely to have blood clots that block blood flow to your heart, brain, and legs. Thick and sticky blood also damages the delicate lining of your arteries, increasing the risk of stroke or heart attack.
Smoking also increases the unhealthy fats and cholesterol that circulate in your blood and leads to unhealthy fat deposits on the walls of your blood vessels. This narrows your arteries and blocks normal blood flow which can cause a heart attack or stroke. When the blood vessels in your legs become blocked, this can even lead to amputation of your toes or feet.
Smoking is also usually responsible for that tightness in your chest, shortness of breath and wheezing. When you smoke, your lungs experience persistent inflammation in the small airways and tissues of your lungs. Scar tissue is built up, which makes breathing difficult.
Smoking also destroys the alveoli and since they do not grow back, you destroy part of your lungs that way. When enough alveoli are destroyed, the disease develops emphysema which causes severe shortness of breath and can result in death.
Your airways are lined with cilia that sweep away mucus and dirt so your lungs stay clean. Smoking paralyzes and even kills these cilia, increasing your risk of colds and respiratory infections.
Your body is made up of cells that contain genetic material or DNA that acts as a blueprint. When you smoke, you damage your DNA and this blueprint and your cells can grow out of control and lead to cancerous tumors. However, your body tries to repair the damage smoking does to your DNA, but eventually this repair system wears out and can lead to cancer. One third of all cancer deaths are caused by smoking.
Need more reasons to understand why smoking is bad for you?
You can do more on a bigger stomach. In general, smokers have a larger stomach and less muscle than non-smokers. As a smoker, you are also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and smoking makes it more difficult to control. Diabetes should not be underestimated. It is a serious disease that can lead to heart disease, kidney failure, blindness and even amputations.
Smoking also lowers estrogen levels in women, causing dry skin, thinning hair and memory problems. Women who smoke have more difficulties conceiving and having a healthy baby. In addition, smoking leads to an early menopause, which increases the risk of certain diseases.
Hopefully you now have enough reasons to decide to quit smoking today.