Health Risks Associated With Smoking

By Lindsay M Fox

Doctors are firmly of the opinion that smoking is a very dangerous

habit. As a matter of fact, health experts believe that this habit is

far more dangerous than another social vice, namely drinking alcohol.

One statistic should help illustrate this fact: almost 20 percent of

all adult deaths in the United States are attributed to smoking.

Certain other facts should also be brought to the

attention of smokers:

Smokers have a shorter life expectancy by almost 10

years when compared to non-smokers

Smokers are 10 times as likely to develop lung cancer as


Smokers are three times as likely to be diagnosed with heart disease

as non-smokers

Smoking affects the body in many ways. However, its

maximum impact is on the lungs, heart and arteries.

1. Cigarette smoke has the ability to narrow the arteries

very much. This can lead to high blood pressure as well

as peripheral vascular disease.

The latter condition can also result in gangrene unless it is treated.

Hardened and narrowed arteries also restrict blood supply to the brain

and this can result in a fatal stroke.

2. Cigarette smoking causes a whole lot of problems of the

lung. Most people know that it causes lung cancer (which

has a very low survival rate of 1 in 10). However, it also

results in many lung ailments such as bronchitis and


The air sacs of the lungs get coated with tar

and this can damage them for life, making it very difficult

for the person to breathe. Further, the person has very

low stamina because of the body's inability to get

sufficient oxygen.

3. Smokers are at higher risk for cancers of the bladder,

kidney, cervix, uterus, stomach, esophagus, mouth and


4. Smoking has a very dangerous effect on women. For

starters, it can result in infertility. Also, it can also

cause a woman to suffer a miscarriage or even a pre-

term delivery. Women who smoke are more likely to

have stillborn babies than non-smoking women.

Further more, their babies have greater incidence of low birth weight

and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Menopausal smokers tend to

have very low bone density and this also results in many bone

fractures when they fall.

A smoker needs to always remember that the negative

effects of inhaling smoke on a regular basis tend to be

cumulative. However, a person can reduce his or her risk

for many of these diseases by quitting smoking as early

as possible.