How Tobacco Can Harm You

tobacco

Do you know that in the US alone, Tobacco accounts for about 1 in 5 deaths each year? It remains the leading preventable cause of death. Little wonder Tobacco companies warn that smokers are liable to die young as on average, smokers die 10 years earlier than non-smokers. 

For people who smoke Tobacco, cancer is not the only thing they risk. It has been proven to also cause a number of other diseases while damaging nearly every organ in the body. 

How Tobacco Increases Risk Of Cancer

About 80% of lung cancers, as well as about 80% of all lung cancer deaths, are due to smoking. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women.

The lung is not the only organ open to an attack due to smoking. Tobacco use also puts other organs such as the mouth, pharynx(throat), larynx(voice box), kidney, liver, cervix, stomach, and colon at risk of cancer. Contrary to popular opinion, there is no safe form of tobacco smoke.

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What Tobacco Does To Your Lungs

Smoking damages the airways and small air sacs in your lungs. This damage starts soon after someone starts smoking, and lung function continues to worsen as long as the person smokes. Still, it may take years for the problem to become noticeable enough for lung disease to be diagnosed.

Smoke damage in the lungs can lead to serious long-term lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Smoking can also increase the risk of lung infections such as pneumonia and tuberculosis, and it can worsen some existing lung diseases, such as asthma.

In COPD, damage to the small airways in the lungs makes it hard for the lungs to get oxygen to the rest of the body.

Smoking is by far the most common cause of COPD. The risk goes up the more you smoke and the longer you smoke.

Some of the early signs and symptoms of COPD can include noises in the chest (such as wheezing, rattling, or whistling), shortness of breath when active, and coughing up mucus (phlegm). Over time, COPD can make it hard to breathe at rest as well, sometimes even when a person is getting oxygen through a mask or nasal tube.

COPD tends to get worse over time, especially if a person continues to smoke. There is no cure for COPD, although some medicines might help with symptoms.

Chronic bronchitis

Chronic bronchitis is a common problem in people who smoke for a long time. In this disease, the airways make too much mucus, forcing the person to try to cough it out. The airways become inflamed (swollen), and the cough becomes chronic (long-lasting). The symptoms can get better at times, but the cough keeps coming back. Over time, the airways can get blocked by scar tissue and mucus, which can lead to bad lung infections (pneumonia).

There’s no cure for chronic bronchitis, but quitting smoking can help keep symptoms under control and help keep the damage from getting worse.

How Tobacco Damages Your Reproductive System

Tobacco use can damage a woman’s reproductive health. For example, women who smoke are more likely to have trouble getting pregnant.

Smoking while pregnant can also lead to health problems that can affect both mother and baby. Women who smoke while pregnant have a higher risk of:

  • Problems with the placenta, which is the organ that connects the mother to the fetus. The placenta might be in the wrong spot (placenta previa), or it might separate from the uterus too early (placental abruption). These problems might lead to serious bleeding, early delivery (premature birth), or other problems with the delivery, some of which might require an emergency cesarean section (C-section).

 

  • Premature births and low birth-weight babies.

 

  • Miscarriages and stillbirths.

 

  • Having a child with a cleft lip, cleft palate, and possibly other birth defects.

 

Babies of mothers who smoke during and after pregnancy are also more likely to die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Men can also suffer reproductive deterioration as a result of Tobacco use. It can damage blood vessels anywhere in the body. Blood flow in the penis is a key part of male erections. Men who smoke have a higher risk of erectile dysfunction. This risk increases the more they smoke and the longer they smoke.

Smoking can also affect sperm, which can reduce fertility and increase the risk for miscarriages and birth defects.

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