The effects of smoking

The effects of smoking

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The effects of smoking can have a serious impact on your health. Even short exposure to smoking is harmful, but long term exposure puts you at risk of developing certain medical conditions and can shorten your life expectancy.

Short term exposure to smoking can cause:

  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Eye and throat irritation
  • Headaches
  • Breathing problems
  • Dizziness and nausea
  • Aggravation of asthma
  • Irregular heartbeat

Long term exposure to smoking:

  • Smoking raises blood pressure, which can cause hypertension (high blood pressure). This is a risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.
  • Couples who smoke are more likely to have fertility problems.
  • Smoking worsens asthma and counteracts asthma medication by worsening the inflammation of the airways that the medication tries to ease.
  • The blood vessels in the eye are sensitive and can be easily damaged by smoke.
  • Heavy smokers are twice as likely to get macular degeneration, resulting in the gradual loss of eyesight.
  • Smokers run an increased risk of cataracts
  • Smoking stains your teeth and gums.
  • Smoking increases your risk of periodontal disease, which causes swollen gums, bad breath and teeth to fall out.
  • Smoking causes an acid taste in your mouth and contributes to the development of ulcers.
  • Smoking can also affect your looks. Your skin will be paler and you may have more wrinkles. This is because smoking reduces the blood supply to the skin and lowers levels of vitamin A.

Stopping smoking at any age increases your life expectancy. Even if some damage has been done, you can still benefit from quitting.

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