If you’ve been smoking for some time now, you may think, “I’ve already done damage. So, why stop?” You may also reason that life is short, so you might as well enjoy it. After all, aren’t there worse things that can kill you?
Well, yes… and no. Lectures from medical professionals aside, here’s why you should really consider quitting smoking if you haven’t yet.
End The Gender-Specific Consequences
The genders share many dangers of smoking, but some differences also exist. Men are more likely than women to smoke regularly. Men also tend to inhale deeply, but women find nicotine harder to quit than men. Interestingly, women suffer from withdrawal the most intensely in the final two weeks after their menstrual cycle.
Male smokers primarily suffer from decreased sexual fertility and potency, while women experience a heightened risk of heart disease, reproductive challenges, bone fractures, cervical cancer and early menopause.
Lungs have no regenerative tissue, so they don’t respond well to smoking. While your lungs may not recover, the rest of your organs and vitals can. Your blood pressure and heart rate drop within one hour of not smoking. Your blood stream’s carbon monoxide levels return to normal within one day of abstaining. Within months of quitting, your heart attack risk decreases. So, whether you stop at 40 or 70, you’re adding more days, months, and maybe even a few years to your life.
Here’s a look at what happens throughout the years once you remove your cigarette habit from your life:
- One Year: Risk of coronary heart disease halved.
- Two to Five years: Cancer risk of bladder, mouth, throat and esophagus cut in half; stroke risk reduced to a non-smoker’s.
- Ten Years: 50 percent as likely to die from lung cancer, pancreatic and kidney cancer risk drops.
- 15 Years: Coronary heart disease risk lowers to the same as a non-smoker’s risk.
Improve Your Oral Health
Your overall health is linked to your oral health, and what’s the first thing you do with a cigarette? You put it to your lips and light it. Then, you inhale the damage straight into your mouth.
Compared to non-smokers, your chances of losing teeth doubles when you smoke, and you experience higher rates of toothaches and tooth sensitivity. Many smokers don’t even visit the dentist for years at a time. Watch out for reduced senses of taste and smell, slow healing in your mouth, gum disease, tooth loss, bad breath, stained teeth, and oral cancer, too.
Save Your Memories
A life well-lived means making memories, but what’s the point if you don’t remember anything? Studies reveal that smokers have a higher risk of developing all dementia types and a 79 percent increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Cigarettes and their smoke contain over 7000 chemicals, including toxic ones such as arsenic, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, vinyl chloride, hydrogen cyanide, and heavy metals.
The risk of Alzheimer’s increases due to rising levels of oxidative stress and the potential formulation of cerebrovascular disease, which can cause cognitive impairment. Current smokers’ risk rises with every cigarette, and current smokers have a higher risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s than former smokers.
Keep Your Loved Ones Healthy
As of the early nineties, millennial children will remember how their families discouraged loved ones from smoking to protect against secondhand smoke.
Since 1964, the Surgeon General’s Report indicates 2.5 million nonsmokers died from inhaling secondhand smoke. Over 1,000 infants die every year due to mothers smoking during pregnancy. Secondhand smoke also causes ear infections, respiratory infections, asthma attacks, and sudden infant death syndrome.
Old cigarette ads used to market the habit as a healthy one, but now people know better. Awareness doesn’t make quitting any less difficult, though. Believe in yourself, and know you can do it. Live longer, save your memories, and improve your overall health and that of your loved ones. Your health can improve anytime just from quitting; saying you already have done the damage is no longer a valid excuse.