The newest generation of young people knows all about the health risks of smoking. They learn about it in schools, from their parents, and in the media. Many don’t even realize that only a few decades ago, cigarettes didn’t come with health warnings on the packages. Cigarette ads used to be targeted towards children with laughing cartoon characters indulging in their smoking habit.
As a result of such messages when they were children, many of today’s seniors are long-time smokers. Unfortunately, the many decades of long smoking habits lead to many health issues, making it essential that they quit. Here are some of the health risks involved smoking and more than enough reasons to quit.
Those who smoke are at a much higher risk for many types of cancer, due to the toxic chemicals inside of a cigarette. It’s 25 times more likely for somebody who smokes to die of lung cancer. You also put the people you love at risk of lung cancer with secondhand smoke. When you quit smoking, you lower the risk of developing bladder, bowel, cervix, colon, esophagus, kidney, larynx, mouth, pancreas, and throat cancer.
As you get older, your risk of a stroke increases. Strokes are due to a lack of blood flow in the brain. Smokers have a much higher risk of a stroke, which can lead to larger health problems like loss of speech, blindness, and partial or full paralysis. The more you smoke, the more of a risk you’re taking of getting a stroke and having irreparable damage.
Heart and Circulation Issues
Your heart depends on oxygen to do many of its essential actions, but it can’t effectively do its job when a lack of oxygen is available. The more you smoke, the less oxygen your lungs can handle, which directly affects the amount of oxygen that gets to your heart. This leads to your heart beating faster in an attempt to make up for the lack of oxygen. The cigarette smoke can also block the walls of your blood vessels and arteries, leading to a higher risk of heart attack.
Other Health Issues
Until you quit smoking, your body will be more at risk for oral and lung problems, erectile dysfunction, trouble sleeping, and cataracts, among many other serious risks. Those who smoke also age quicker, developing wrinkled and aged skin.
Smokers often find themselves with chronic cough. Coughing is a nuisance in so many ways. Not only are you coughing up phlegm and feeling constant discomfort, it can also affect your everyday activities. With a chronic cough, it’s uncomfortable to sit in a movie theater for two hours or go out to lunch with a friend.
Nicotine does a lot to dull your senses. When you’re a smoker, food tastes different– much blander than for non-smokers. Your sense of smell is also affected. The sooner you stop smoking, the quicker you’ll get all of your facilities back and in working order.
Many smokers find that they also feel constant fatigue. Once you stop smoking, you’ll find yourself with more energy than ever before. You’ll finally feel alert enough to do the things that smoking has kept you from.
It’s never too late to stop smoking, even if you’ve been feeding your habit for over thirty years. There are tons of resources around for you to use so you can quit that unhealthy addiction.
Virginia Cunningham is a freelance writer in Southern California. She is passionate about health, and works with Northwest to ensure that senior citizens are as healthy as possible