It’s been more than 50 years since the first surgeon general’s report warning of the dangers of smoking. The warnings are even more severe now. To state it clearly, smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. There are many reasons to quit. According to the CDC, nearly half of all living adults who ever smoked have stopped. That’s the good news. The bad news: more than 400,000 Americans die prematurely each year due to tobacco use. Let’s review the dangers of smoking and why the choice to quit smoking is a matter of life and death.
Dangers of Smoking
Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body and is a major contributing cause to deaths from heart attacks and strokes. Smoking is also the major direct cause of deaths related to lung cancer in the country. Beyond lung cancer, smoking can cause or significantly contribute to cancers of the bladder, cervix, colon, esophagus, kidneys, liver, pancreas, stomach and trachea. Eight out of ten cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are the direct result of smoking.
Dangers of Cigarette Use
The reasons to quit smoking don’t stop there. The risks of cigarette smoking also include increased health risks related to diabetes, contribute to erectile dysfunction in male smokers and are a significant contributor to complications during pregnancy, including an increased risk of miscarriage. Even after birth, children have a higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Smoking can cause or contribute to high blood pressure, blood clots, rheumatoid arthritis, and peripheral artery disease. Dangers of smoking are usually not evident immediately after a person starts smoking, except perhaps for a cough, which only worsens over time. Of course, if a person decides to quit, it won’t be easy, thanks to one of the ingredients found in cigarettes, namely nicotine. Nicotine is highly addictive and smokers experience withdrawal if they try to stop.
Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, go by a series of names including vapes, vape pens, e-pipes, and e-hookah. According to the American Lung Association, there is growing evidence about the health risks of e-cigarettes on the lungs.
Unlike traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes are loaded with a vaporizable liquid. This fluid is made up of a number of chemicals, which are heated until they vaporize. This process converts the fluid into other chemicals, including formaldehyde, which is known to cause cancer.
Stop Smoking, Reclaim Your Health
The sooner you quit smoking, the more you decrease your chances of getting the aforementioned diseases. Just hours after quitting, your body begins to have a positive response. Within months, your lung function increases, and your circulation improves. At UrgentMED, we know that it’s not easy to stop smoking. Our professional staff of doctors are available to counsel you about the harmful effects of smoking and can advise you regarding the tools available to assist you. We have 17 convenient walk-in urgent care clinics throughout southern California. Call us at the location closest to you today.