It’s No Smoking Day this week (on the 14th), an annual campaign intended to help people who want to quit smoking.
According to the NHS, smoking is the biggest cause of preventable deaths in the country, causing more than 80,000 deaths every year. One in two smokers will die from a smoking-related disease, and for most of the others their health will suffer in some way.
So if you’re a smoker, or you know someone who is, here are some reasons why quitting smoking is one of the best things anyone can do for their health.
- Skin. Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen that gets to your skin, making your skin age much more quickly as well as leaving it looking dull and yellow-grey. Toxins from smoking also cause cellulite.
- Bones. Smokers often have weak and brittle bones.
- Lungs. Increased coughs, wheezing, colds and asthma are just the beginning of the deterioration. Smoking also leads to fatal lung diseases, such as pneumonia, emphysema and lung cancer. In fact, smoking causes 84 per cent of deaths from lung cancer and 83 per cent of deaths from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
- Blood circulation. When you smoke, the poisons from the tar in the cigarette enters the bloodstream. These poisons make blood thicker and escalate chances of clot formation, increase blood pressure and heart rate, and narrow arteries. In fact, smoking doubles the risk of having a heart attack and increases risk of having a stroke by at least 50 per cent.
- Heart. As well as heart attack and stroke, smoking increases the risk of coronary heart disease, having damaged blood vessels and damaged arteries that supply blood to your brain. It’s as bad as it sounds.
- Stomach. Smoking means more chance of getting stomach cancer or ulcers. It also gives more chance of acid reflux, which is very uncomfortable – but also can lead to throat cancer. As well, it means a bigger chance of developing kidney cancer.
- Secondhand smoke is dangerous for anyone exposed to it, but children are particularly vulnerable as they have less developed lungs, airways and immune systems. Each time a child breathes secondhand smoke, they take in thousands of chemicals that put them at risk of such as bronchitis and pneumonia – and even meningitis and cancer. For babies, it increases the risk of cot death.
Added to this list is that smoking means bad breath, yellowed teeth, gum problems and it lowers fertility… it makes you ponder why anyone ever smokes in the first place.
The good news is that if you quit smoking, health improves and the body starts to recover from the first day. So quit!
If you, or anyone you know, needs help, see your GP and/or visit: https://quitnow.smokefree.nhs.