When you see a TV commercial for a brand of cigarette, you would see successful, professional men and gorgeous women enjoying their life to the hilt. They’re good-looking, hip and glamorous. Or at least, that’s what the advertisers would like to project smokers on screen.
But the truth of the matter remains. Cigarette smoking is absolutely damaging to the human body. There is nothing hip and glamorous with deep facial wrinkles. Smoking accelerates the normal aging process of your skin. These skin changes may be irreversible and may occur even after only ten years of smoking. Cigarette smoking causes the narrowing of blood vessels in the outermost layers of your skin. When blood flow to your skin is impaired, it depletes oxygen and important skin nutrients, such as vitamin A. It also damages collagen and elastin, special fibers that give your skin its strength and elasticity, resulting in sagging skin and premature wrinkles.
The nicotine substance in cigarettes does not only make your teeth yellow through the years, but it is a poison that produces physical and mood-altering effects in your brain that may cause nicotine dependence or addiction, and may lead to a host of heart and lung ailments.
Cigarette smoking has toxic effects on most systems and tissues in the body that it contributes to the thinning of bones, also known as osteoporosis, which can lead to a stooped posture and broken bones. Studies reveal that women who smoke tend to menopause at a younger age than non-smokers.
Some people are not keen to give up cigarette smoking due to a variety of reasons, one of which is the notion that quitting may lead to weight gain. However, planning a healthy diet and increasing your activity level will help keep off the unwanted pounds. Though some people indeed gain no more than ten pounds after quitting smoking, there are medications to help assist in delaying or suppressing the weight gain.
While there are fewer women who smoke than men, women share a much larger burden of smoking-related diseases. Cigarette smoking can affect a woman’s chances of getting pregnant as it is a major cause of infertility. There is a high risk of miscarriage and complications during pregnancy.
Some people believe that it won’t hurt to smoke one stick a day, especially the “light” brands. Unfortunately, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these so-called “light” cigarettes have the same ingredients as regular cigarettes, including lead, ammonia, benzene, DDT, butane gas, carbon monoxide, arsenic, and polonium 210.
And it doesn’t matter how many sticks you puff in a day. Every cigarette you smoke takes minutes off your life and keeps you in a nicotine-addicted state. In a matter of eight seconds, nicotine reaches the brain after someone inhales tobacco smoke. It can also enter the bloodstream through the mucous membranes that line the mouth when tobacco is chewed as most elderly people do. In the case of snuff users, the potentially poisonous substance passes through the nose. Moreover, even non-smokers can also get hurt as it can enter even through the skin. Think about the people around you who are suffering from asthma, heart disease, and allergies who will be harmed by second hand smoke.
Nicotine affects the entire body. It acts directly on the heart to change heart rate and blood pressure, as well as on the nerves that control respiration to change breathing patterns. In high concentrations, nicotine is deadly, as one drop of purified nicotine on the tongue can kill a person. It’s so lethal that it has been used as a pesticide for centuries.
The number of reasons why people should quit smoking more than outweighs the number of excuses for quitting cigarette smoking. Yet, it isn’t easy to quit. But unless one starts with determination, nothing can be accomplished.