Reasons to Stop Smoking
Tobacco is dangerous to your health no matter how you smoke it. Replacing your cigarette with a cigar, pipe, or hookah does not reduce your health risks. Substances that tobacco contains harm, not just the lungs but practically every part of the body.
Harmful effects of smoking tobacco are:
- Lung disease called COPD, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Smoking damages your heart and your blood circulation leading to heart attacks, stroke and peripheral vascular disease (damaged blood vessels).
- Cigarette smoking causes most cases of lung cancer.
In fact, it can cause cancer almost anywhere in your body such as oral cavity, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, colon, kidney, liver, bladder, blood cancers and many more.
- In men, smoking can cause impotence. It can also reduce the fertility of both men and women.
Smoking also affects the health of people who are around someone who smokes. This is called “secondhand smoke”, or “passive smoking”. Secondhand smoke carries the same risk to a nonsmoker as someone who does smoke.
If you smoke when you’re pregnant, there is an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth, a low birth weight baby and stillbirth.
The good news is that quitting smoking can reverse many harmful effects.
- The risk for heart attack drops sharply after quitting for one year.
- If you quit smoking, your risks for cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder drop by half within 5 years.
- Your risk for stroke reduces to about that of a nonsmoker after quitting for 2 to 5 years.
- Ten years after you quit smoking, your risk for lung cancer drops by half.
So, if you smoke, stub out the last cigarette and start the process of smoking cessation. Talk to your health care provider about a plan to help you quit smoking. There are a variety of nonprescription and prescription medications that can help you quit.
I can assure you that smoking cessation will be the most important step you can take to living a longer and healthier life.
The information is intended to provide general education for patients and their families. The information provided does not constitute medical or healthcare advice for any individual and is not a substitute for medical and other professional advice and service.
Dr. Mahesh Ochaney is a solo practitioner who has been practicing Internal Medicine since 1991. Dr. Ochaney’s compassionate primary care has been recognized several times over the years, including being named a 2018 Top Doctor by Baltimore Magazine and receiving a State of Maryland Governor’s Citation.