As an adult who smokes, you can find yourself with:
- Wrinkles around your eyes and mouth – long-term smokers’ skin can be prematurely aged by up to 20 years
- Skin that has been dried out by tobacco smoke and starved of oxygen and nutrients, as smoking restricts your blood vessels and reduces the flow of blood to your skin
- Tobacco-stained fingers
- Yellowish-brown teeth, gum disease and bad breath
People who smoke are two to three times more prone to heart attacks than non-smokers, and much more likely to suffer from strokes, blood clots and angina – and die from heart disease.
Tobacco smoking is responsible for nearly all cases of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. That includes diseases like emphysema and chronic bronchitis, which leave sufferers breathless and unable to do many activities.
90% of primary lung cancers are caused by smoking. Your lungs are damaged not just by the number of cigarettes you smoke, but by the number of years you’ve been smoking. So the sooner you stop, the better.
As a person who smokes, you increase your risk of cancers of the mouth, bladder, kidneys, pancreas, stomach, liver, and colon, as well as the risk of developing leukemia.
If you smoke, your risk of developing Type 2 (adult onset) diabetes is two to three times higher than if you don’t. And if you do develop it, smoking also significantly increases your risk of complications and death.
If you are pregnant continuing to smoke can also put your baby’s health at risk. Many of the chemicals in cigarette smoke could be harmful to your baby. One of these chemicals is carbon monoxide, which can reduce the amount of oxygen reaching your baby. Oxygen is vital for a baby’s growth and babies who don’t get enough are at risk of being born smaller and weaker.
Fortunately, when smoking stops you will begin to feel health benefit. Many of the side effects of smoking begin to reverse and some can be completely eliminated over time.
The staining on your teeth and fingers will stop and your breath, hair, clothes and home will all smell better.
Food will taste better. Smells will be more intense. You’ll have more energy and you’ll breathe more easily.
After five years your risk of having a heart attack falls to about half that of a smoker.
After 10 years your risk of lung cancer falls to around half that of a smoker and your risk of a heart attack falls to about the same as someone who has never smoked
If you are pregnant, stopping smoking will immediately be better for your baby. The carbon monoxide and other chemicals harmful to your baby will start clearing from your body very quickly once you quit.