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- Health & Cosmetic Effects
Taste & Smell: Smoking impairs your sense of smell and diminishes your ability to taste.1
Skin: According to Lowell Dale, M.D. at MayoClinic.com, "The nicotine in cigarettes causes
narrowing of the blood vessels in the outermost layers of your skin. This impairs blood flow to your skin. With
less blood flow, your skin doesn't get as much oxygen and important nutrients, such as Vitamin A. Many of the
more than 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke also damage collagen and elastin, which are fibers that give your
skin its strength and elasticity. As a result, skin begins to sag and wrinkle prematurely because of
Teeth: According to The Truth About Smoking (2009), smoking stains teeth because nicotine and other chemicals in cigarette smoke stick to teeth eroding the enamel overtime and causing discoloration ranging from yellow to brown and gray. The authors go on to state, "Smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to develop tooth decay, chronic gum disease, and lose teeth. Oral wounds also take longer to heal in smokers."3
Physical Fitness: A Report of the U.S. Surgeon General (1994) states, "Even among young people trained as endurance runners, smoking appears to compromise physical fitness in levels of both performance and endurance. Cigarette smoking reduces the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood and increases both heart rate and basal metabolic rate — changes that counter the benefits of physical activity..."4
Phlegm and Cough: According to 2010 Surgeon General Report How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: What It Means To You, "Tiny, brush-like cilia line your airways. They sweep out mucus and dirt so your lungs stay clear. Over time, smoking damages and destroys these brushes. You get 'smokers' cough' because your body makes more mucus and the cilia can no longer clear your lungs. Other damage is happening too."5
Disease and Infection: According to an article in the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine (2005), "Smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to develop colds, influenza, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and varicella pneumonitis, which tend to be more severe."6
Quitting smoking makes a difference: Within 20 minutes after your last cigarette, your body begins a series of changes that continue for years. A Report by the Surgeon General (2010) says, "Within 5 years of quitting, your chance of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder is cut in half. If nobody smoked, 1 of every 3 cancer deaths in the U.S. would not happen."5
1 American Academy of Otolarynology – Head and Neck Surgery. Smell and taste: What causes loss of smell
and taste? American Academy of Otolarynology – Head and Neck Surgery web site. Available
http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/smellTaste.cfm Accessed Dec. 19, 2011.
2 Dale L. Smoking: Does it cause wrinkles? MayoClinic.com. Oct. 21, 2011. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/smoking/AN00644. Accessed on Dec. 19, 2011.
3 McCay W, Dingwell H. The Truth About Smoking (2nd Ed.). New York: Facts on File; 2009.
4 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Preventing Tobacco Use Among Young People: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, national Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office of Smoking and Health; 1994. Reprinted with corrections, July 1994. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/sgr/1994/index.htm
5 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A report of the Surgeon General: How tobacco smoke causes disease: What it means to you. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health; 2010. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/sgr/2010/consumer_booklet/pdfs/consumer.pdf
6 Murin S, Smith Bilello. Respiratory tract infections: Another reason not to smoke. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. October 2005; 72 (10): 916-920. Available at: http://ccjm.org/content/72/10/916.full.pdf |