The Harmful Effects of Smoking

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The Harmful Effects of Smoking

Are you a smoker? Are you concerned about your health and life expectancy? If you answered ‘yes’ to these questions, read on to find out more about the harmful effects of smoking. It may just save your life!

Smoking affects our bodies both short term and long term. That first cigarette of the day takes only seconds to begin affecting your body.

You may feel better after taking that first puff and smoking does have a brief beneficial effect on brain functions, but it doesn’t take long before brain activity slows down.

The nicotine taken up through your lungs starts the formation of cholesterol and fatty deposits in your blood vessels, making your heart work harder to pump blood. The smoke you inhale affects your resistive system, making you more vulnerable to airborne viruses.

In the long term, smokers are more likely to develop digestive disorders as well as high blood pressure and heart disease. Although it may seem hard to believe for a teenager, smoking has a harmful effect on your skin, causing it to age prematurely. Smoking has also been linked to reproductive and vision disorders.

But it’s not too late to quit.

The benefits of quitting can begin within as little as 20 minutes! Yes, after just 20 minutes your blood pressure and pulse rate will be well on the way to returning to normal levels. Within eight hours, the nicotine level in your body will be reduced by over 90%.

And the benefits continue if you hang in there. Although your stress level will peak just one to two days after quitting, the cigarette cravings will start to reduce and on average will be down to two each day and will last only three minutes. Keep your watch handy! Keep it up for a year and your risk of heart attack or stroke has reduced to half. Ten years on and the risk of lung cancer is between 30% to 50% of that, had you continued smoking.

So, how do we get on that path to successfully quitting? The most important rule is: Never take another puff. One cigarette can start you off again on the smoking habit. So it’s all or nothing! But don’t set yourself an unmeasurable target. Take it one step at a time, even if you only measure success in hours at first. You may promise to stop smoking forever, but how will you know when you’ve reached your target? Better to celebrate an hour, a day or a week smoke-free.

And remember, if the health effects don’t scare you, consider your finances. Smoking damages not only your health, but it severely affects your wallet too.

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