Diseases Caused by Smoking

Everyone knows there are numerous diseases caused by smoking. Smoking and tobacco use in general is extremely harmful to your health in a variety of ways and is often a result of these diseases caused by smoking. Being aware of what damages can be done by smoking is an important deterrent of smoking.

According to smoking statistics, smoking-related deaths account for an estimated 443,000 deaths each year, which ultimately are responsible for about a fifth of the deaths reported each year. These numbers indicate that smoking is the number one cause of the most preventable deaths that occur each year. This is clear because so many illnesses that can result from smoking. Smoking is known to cause various types of cancer, heart disease, respiratory disease and other health risks. 

Diseases caused by smoking:

There are many diseases that can be caused both directly and indirectly from smoking. Some smokers only smoke for a short time before they begin to see the effects of smoking while others can smoke for years and never see many problems. However, the majority of smokers generally see at least the short term effects of smoking as well as increased risks for other health problems.

Smoking can cause the following types of cancer:

  • Lung cancer
  • Throat cancer (cancer of the pharynx)
  • Cancer of the mouth (oral cavity)
  • Kidney cancer
  • Cancer of the esophagus
  • Cancer of the cervix
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Acute myeloid leukemia
  • Stomach cancer
  • Cancer of the uterus
  • Cancer of the larynx (voice box)

Smoking can also cause respiratory diseases such as lung cancer as well as other lung diseases like emphysema, bronchitis as well as cause damage to the airways and the alveoli of the lungs through chronic airway obstruction. Smoking also causes cardiovascular disease and provides increased risks for many of these diseases like coronary hear disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States. Cigarette smoking also causes reduced circulation because the blood vessels (arteries) become narrowed. This puts smokers at an even higher risk of developing peripheral vascular disease. An example of this would be obstruction of the larger arteries in a person's arms and legs. This can cause a whole new mess of problems from pain to tissue loss and even gangrene. Smoking also causes abdominal aortic aneurysm. This is when there is swelling or weakening of the main artery of the body (the aorta) where it runs through the abdomen.  

All of these problems can cause severe pain, prolonged sickness, thousands of dollars in medical bills to treat as well as a likely and eventual death. There are also types of diseases that can be caused by smoking that aren't necessarily life threatening, but are just as harmful and expensive to treat including diabetes. Smoking increases the risk of diabetes, according to research produced by the Cleveland clinic. There are also increased likelihood in complications from diabetes like eye disease, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and vascular disease. Blindness is another risk that smokers must watch out for since those who smoke develop an increased risk of getting macular degeneration. This is the primary cause in blindness in older people. Smokers, compared to non smokers, are four times as likely to develop this degeneration of the eye sight.

Smokers don't have to have smoked for years to get these diseases either. Many smokers who only did so for a year or a few years develop these problems later on. Second hand smoke is also detrimental to people who have never picked up a cigarette in their life. 

Other health effects due to smoking:

  • Infertility
  • Preterm delivery
  • Stillbirth
  • Low birth weight
  • Increase likelihood in early childhood effects
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Lower bone density
  • Increase risk of broken bones and hip fracture in women
  • Slower healing and recovery
  • Hair, nail damage
  • Bad breath
  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease

Clearly there are many negative side effects to using tobacco and to smoking. While the number of teens smoking and adults smoking is going down more and more each year, there is still a surprising amount of people throughout the United States that continue or start smoking each year. Researchers are unsure why people continue to start smoking and most is attributed with younger teens becoming the next generation of adult smokers because they don't understand the full implications of their behavior, or underestimate the power of the addictive properties of smoking. Parents need to continue to educate their children about the dangers of smoking, so the overall numbers will continue going down each year.

Source: cdc.gov, livestrong.com

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