10 Real Reasons to Stop Smoking
1. You Stink!
You don’t just smell like cigarettes while you’re smoking, you reek of them all day long. The scent of stale cigarettes saturates your hair and clothes and follows you wherever you go, including your vehicle, your work and your home. Smoking also gives you terrible breath, and there’s no mint in the world that can get rid of the smell of a pack-a-day habit.
2. You Have 10 Times More Wrinkles
You can always pick a regular smoker out of a crowd, not just by the stench but by his or her skin quality as well. Smokers have 10 times more wrinkles than non-smokers. They also have pale, ashen skin and yellowing teeth, fingers and fingernails. In fact, a study published by the British Medical Journal found that smokers with prominent wrinkles are five times more likely to suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases like emphysema and bronchitis than non-smokers.
3. Your Lungs are Full of Phlegm and Tar
Smoking causes sticky, black tar to build up in your lungs, reducing the exchange of oxygen, carbon dioxide and nutrients between its tissues and the bloodstream. This negatively affects your entire body, but you’ll especially feel it in the lungs. Smokers have more of a difficult time breathing and are more likely to develop painful chronic coughing due to the increase in phlegm production. The good news is that if you stop smoking, your lungs can clear some of the tar and heal significantly. According to the National Cancer Institute, your body begins the healing process just 12 hours after your last cigarette. Improved lung function and circulation can take up to three months.
4. Smoking Can Cause Depression
Feeling moody lately? Outlook on life a bit pessimistic? Smoking has been shown to be a major cause of depression, so don’t just blame the rain if you’re feeling blue. A study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry followed more than 1,000 smokers and non-smokers over the span of five years and found that the smoker group was twice as likely as the non-smoker group to suffer from major depression.
Some smokers actually turn to cigarettes to ease depression, but this only contributes to the problem. Kick the habit and you’ll have the chance to rediscover a sense of control over your life that may help lift depression.
5. It’s Expensive
If the fact that smoking is burning a big hole in your health and happiness doesn’t move you, maybe the fact that it’s burning a big hole in your pocket will. Depending on where you live, a single pack of cigarettes can cost up to $6, and if you smoke a pack a day, that’s almost $2,200 a year!
Just to drive the point home, let’s say you start smoking at age 18 and live to age 68 (since you’ll most likely die young from smoking). Over the course of those 50 years, you will have spent almost $110,000 on cigarettes alone. And that doesn’t include the extra gum and breath mints, in addition to higher dry-cleaning bills for getting the smell of stale smoke out of your clothes.
6. You’re Becoming Infertile
It has long been known that male smokers generally have a low sperm count, but recent studies also show that genetic mutations of sperm from male smokers may also be to blame for infertility. Male smokers are also at a higher risk for erectile dysfunction. Female smokers may also have a harder time getting pregnant.
7. You’re in for a Difficult Pregnancy
If you do actually become pregnant, you’re in for a rough ride. Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to experience ectopic pregnancies, which occur when the fertilized egg begins to develop in the slender fallopian tube instead of the uterus. Ectopic pregnancies can be fatal for both mom and baby. Other risks to the baby’s health include lower birth weight and birth defects. Women who smoke during pregnancy are also more likely to deliver prematurely or miscarry.
8. You’re a Bad Influence
Kids imitate their parents. So if you smoke in front of your kids, they’re likely to copy you. One study presented at the American Heart Association’s annual meeting showed that 50% of kids whose parents were smokers thought smoking was “cool.” Fifty-five percent of kids of smokers planned on smoking in the future. Children brought up by smokers have also been found to be generally less active and develop poor nutrition skills. If you want to positively shape the futures of your children and the other children around you, quit smoking and be a healthy role model.
9. Second-Hand Smoke Kills
Not only is smoking a bad influence on those around you, it’s killing them too. You can’t contain cigarette smoke, which means that innocent people breathe in your second-hand smoke. Children and adults who are exposed to second-hand smoke are at a higher risk of developing lung cancer and heart disease, as well as other respiratory problems including shortness of breath, coughing and increased production of phlegm. Children exposed to second-hand smoke are particularly at risk for developing asthma.
10. Smokers Die Young
Smoking is the #1 leading cause of preventable disease and death in America. And it’s not a pleasant way to go. Smokers risk developing cancer of the mouth, throat and lungs, as well as asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Smokers are also more prone to high blood pressure, high LDL (bad) cholesterol, stroke, and heart disease. In fact, a smoker’s risk of dying from sudden cardiac death (heart attack) is anywhere from 2-4 times greater than non-smokers.
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