Think to yourself for a minute. Why is smoking legal? We all know how harmful it is. Not only does it affect the smokers’ health negatively, but it is equally dangerous for somebody to inhale secondhand smoke. Additionally, smoking greatly affects the population and causes a financial burden to society.
Tobacco use is the major cause of preventable and premature death and disease worldwide, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC reports that 46 million Americans age 18 years and older smoke cigarettes and that 443,000 smoking-related deaths occur annually in the U.S. Some people argue that death happens all the time, for various reasons. However, the problem is not with the deaths itself; the problem is that those 443,000 lives lost could have been prevented.
The affects smoking has on the body are serious. It can harm nearly every organ in the body including the heart, skin, bones, brain, lungs, mouth and throat, reproduction and fertility. Let’s begin with the heart. The chemicals in tobacco smoke harm blood cells and damage the function of the heart. This damage increases the risk for stroke, aneurysms, atherosclerosis and many more life-threatening diseases. Breathing tobacco smoke can change your blood chemistry and damage your blood vessels. Your heart rate and blood pressure go up and your blood vessels thicken and narrow. Smoking also causes bone loss. It increases your risk for osteoporosis, a condition in which bones weaken and become more likely to fracture. Significant bone loss has been found in older women and men who smoke. Every cigarette you smoke damages your breathing and scars your lungs. It causes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (a disease that gets worse over time and causes wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and other symptoms), emphysema (a condition in which the walls between the air sacs in your lungs lose their ability to stretch and shrink back. Lung tissue is destroyed, making it difficult or impossible to breathe), asthma, tuberculosis, and pneumonia.
Not only does smoking damage your health, it damages your looks too. Don’t you hate bags under your eyes? Smokers are four times as likely as nonsmokers to report feeling tired after a night’s sleep, according to Johns Hopkins study. Why? It’s possible that nightly nicotine withdrawal could be causing you to toss and turn, and unfortunately a lack of sleep causes undereye bags. Smoking causes premature aging and wrinkles. Experts agree that smoking accelerates aging, so that smokers look 1.4 years older than nonsmokers, on average. Additionally, the nicotine in cigarettes can badly stain your teeth, fingers and nails.