The Side Effects Associated with Smoking

Smoking cessation is imperative in order to reverse associated ill health effects. The ability to reverse ill health effects is dependent on quite a few factors. For instance, before your smoking cessation period began, how many cigarettes per day did you smoke and approximately how many days (years) did you smoke? In addition, one must also be cognizant of his physiological susceptibility, genetics, the presence of other diseases and nutrition.

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Smoking cessation brings about health benefits at any age. However, there may be a threshold, a point of no return aspect to smoking cigarettes that everyone should be aware of, including teenage smokers (for more info go to Smoking Statistics). Just because you have decided to smoke for 20 years, then figured all health benefit would return once smoking cessation set in, doesn't mean your health will return. The more you do smoke cigarettes, the greater the danger that irreversible effects have already set in such as tobacco-related cancers, myocardial infarction, cerebrovascular disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also known as COPD).

Finally, cease smoking if you want to avoid premature facial wrinkling. Smoking cigarettes causes vasoconstriction of the facial capillaries which means simply that oxygen flow to the face is decreased. How can you tell is you have been vasoconstricted? Look for deep crow's feet as well as gray, pale and wrinkled skin on your cheeks. These health effects may become manifest only after 5 years of smoking cigarettes and are mostly irreversible.

Smoking Cessation Reverses Physical Harm

You can cause much physical harm to your body without a sustained Smoking cessation program. In fact, there is a threshold where physical harm is more likely to occur even if you decide to cease smoking. If you do not cease smoking or engage in a smoking cessation program, your respiratory system, circulatory, genito-urinary, digestive, musculoskeletal and reproductive systems will suffer and possibly, ultimately fail.

Smoking cessation improves your respiratory system. Namely, if you do not stop smoking cigarettes, a one pack-a-day smoker smears the equivalent of one cup of tar over his or her respiratory tract. The irritation and damage done can cause bad breath, wheezing, coughing, sputum production, bronchitis and pneumonia. These health effects can be reduced but not entirely eliminated through smoking cessation.

Smoking is the main risk factor for developing COPD, a condition manifest in chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Emphysema is characterized by a permanent structural damage to the lung tissue. The amount of damage to the lungs is directly proportionate to the number of cigarettes smoked. Smoking during childhood and adolescence increases the risk that you will develop COPD but also lowers the age at which you might experience its onset.

Smoking Cessation Reduces Lung Cancer Risk

Smoking cessation reduces lung cancer risk by 30% - 50% 10 years after quitting. The risk that you will develop lung cancer decreases with further years of abstinence. The risk of lung cancer is always a possibility though when compared to someone that has never smoked. For example, approximately 50% of all lung cancers are diagnosed in ex-smokers. The point is that there exists a several decade lag between smoking initiation and the occurrence of lung cancer.

Smoking cessation reduces the risk of premature coronary heart disease (CHD). Sudden death, unfortunately, is a major sign and is 4x more likely to occur in young male cigarette smokers than in non-smokers. Women that smoke cigarettes and use oral contraceptives also face a 10-fold increased risk of developing CHD. Smoking cessation more than halves the risk of developing CHD one year after cessation.

Smoking cessation also affects the amount of fatty deposits in the carotid artery. Artherosclerosis, which is the progression and accumulation of fatty deposits, is dependent on total pack-years of tobacco exposure rather than on a person’s current smoking status. In sum, artherosclerosis is cumulative and irreversible at least after some degree of baseline exposure.

Smoking Cessation Reduces Risk Of Stroke

Smoking cessation reduces the chance of stroke. Cerebrovascular accident, or stroke, is a risk to ex-smokers 5-15 years after smoking cessation. It was reported by CDC that even small strokes or "silent strokes" and even dementia can occur in anyone that has ever smoked.

Smoking cessation also reduces the risk of blood vessel impairment. Smoking cigarettes causes poor leg circulation by narrowing the blood vessels that feed them. Smoking cessation reduces but does not eliminate this risk. Once blood vessel impairment becomes symptomatic, oftentimes surgery is the only recourse.

Smoking cessation reduces chances that you may develop macular degeneration which is an irreversible form if blindness. The risk appeared significant even in those that had ceased smoking for 15 or more years. Cataracts are also a risk factor with smoking cigarettes. Smokers can experience a 40% higher rate of cataract development. The critical point to take away is that you need to stop smoking now before all of the almost guaranteed side effects of years of smoking come to catch up to you.