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The health benefits of quitting smoking: how does it really affect you?




Man using e-cigaretteEveryone knows that smoking is detrimental to health in a number of ways, but you might not be aware that there are so many. Quitting is not easy – if it were everyone would do it – but thanks to self-help groups and online forums, and products such as patches and vaping products, it is possible. Here are six parts of your life that can be damaged by tobacco and the effects that it leaves. 

Ex-smokers feel the effects of giving up cigarettes within weeks. While there are some very famous sportspeople who have continued smoking even at their peaks, there are countless numbers more who haven’t. If they had, the resulting improved blood circulation and boost to the immune system could have pushed them to even greater heights.

The lungs are also one of the most vulnerable parts of the body to cancer for smokers. Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in the US for both men and women, and cigarettes contribute to 90% and 80% of cases respectively. In Britain, Cancer Research UK statistics suggest that 89% of lung cancer cases are preventable. 

Smoking has been linked to a huge number of deleterious effects on the human body, including fatty build-ups in arteries, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which affects both the heart and lungs. Coronary heart disease is another possible health issue.

Many studies have also confirmed that tobacco temporarily increases blood pressure shortly after smoking, although the long term effects of this are unclear.

Psychologically, the achievement of giving up is a boost to one’s self-esteem – and you’ll no doubt be showered with compliments from relieved friends and family. Despite smoking being regarded as a boon to relaxation, the benefits of increased money, satisfaction and social responsibility will all counterbalance this.

Physiologically, the effects are well known. Recent research has found that the cortex, the part of the brain where processes such as memory, language, and perception occur, actually thins more quickly in smokers as ageing occurs. According to WebMD, the effects can be found even 25 years after someone quits - making cessation products like Phoenix e-cig starter kits somewhat of a "no-brainer" (pardon the pun!) - to begin overcoming the psychological dependance. 

The amount of cash that stays in your pocket depends on the brand and your frequency of lighting up. But according to Ash Scotland, taking into account not just the cost of cigarettes themselves but also lower life insurance costs could save someone a massive £135,000 if they quit now and lived for 45 years.

Put simply: non-smokers find it easier to get pregnant. Ignoring all the other factors listed above that would affect the act itself, smoking can damage both the man’s sperm and the lining of the woman’s womb. 

Even if the woman does manage to fall pregnant the effect of smoking on a foetus can be devastating. The passage of carbon monoxide into the unborn child’s system heightens the risk of premature birth, miscarriage and stillbirth; increases the chance of birth defects; increases the chance of the baby being born with low birth rate; and heightens the chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. 

The visible effect of smoking on the teeth is clear – they become yellow or even black. 
A smoker’s taste buds will reduce in effectiveness or even die through prolonged tobacco, but giving up will have a noticeable effect within just a few days.

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