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Harms of Cigarette Smoking and Health Benefits of Quitting

Harms of Cigarette Smoking and Health Benefits of Quitting
in Internal Medicine

Apr 19, 2022

Cigarette smoking is harmful in many ways. Cigarette smoke contains hundreds of harmful chemicals including cyanide carbon monoxide and ammonia. These chemicals can cause multi organ effects and can cause a plethora of diseases. Cancer, heart disease, hypertension, renal failure are some of the prime diseases that are caused due to smoking.

Harm of Smoking on Health

How smoking harms your body?

  • Smoking is the leading cause of cancer. The leading types of cancers are – carcinoma of the lungs, food pipe, mouth, tongue, throat, stomach, colon, rectum, liver kidney ,pancreas, uterus, and also blood cancer.
  • Smoking causes heart diseases such as angina and heart attack. Heart attack is more frequent and more severe in smokers.
  • Smoking affects the lung tissue by causing COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) due to slow destruction of the lung.
  • Smoking is also sighted to caused Diabetes (High Blood Sugar ), Osteoporosis (weakening of the bones). Hence joint diseases are common in smokers.
  • Smoking lead to high risk of infection like pneumonia  and tuberculosis, because smoking  reduces  other immunity of the body to fight the infections.
  • Smoking affects the fertility of the women. It increases the chances of ectopic pregnancy, preeclampsia and premature deliveries. Smoking women are said to suffer from high risks of miscarriages.
  • Women who smoke also face the increased possibility of having a premature delivery, low birth weight babies and congenital defects such as cleft lips. Their babies can also face sudden death syndrome.

Benefits of Quitting Smoking:

  • Smoking is the leading cause of death and a number of diseases. It is also responsible for causing a number of preventable deaths universally.
  • Smokers can substantially reduce their risk of disease including cancer by quitting the smoking habit. One can quit smoking at any stage and age.
  • Even after 20 minutes of quitting, the benefits begin. The heart rate begins to drop back to normal after about two hours and the blood pressure trends towards normalization.
  • In as few as 12 hours after quitting smoking, the carbon monoxide in the body decreases, helping in turn by increasing the amount of oxygen in the body.
  • The risk of heart disease begins to reduce in 24 hrs after quitting and after about 48 hours there is improvement in smell and taste sensations. So, one starts appreciating finer things is life.
  • Though there may be some withdrawal symptoms, strong will power and medical support can help tide over the phase.
  • After one month one experiences less coughing and shortness of breath.
  • In about 5 Years time decreased risk of brain stroke is appreciable.
  • In about 10 years the risk of lung cancer will drop. In 15 years risk of heart disease is same as a nonsmoker.
  • Long term benefits of quitting smoking are significant and can increase life expectancy.


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