Did you know smoking is the Number 1 cause of preventable diseases and untimely deaths in US? In fact, smoking-related diseases claim more than 480,000 deaths every year – a number significant enough to prompt you to quit smoking right away!

No matter how you smoke it, the use of tobacco – particularly cigarette – is harmful to health. Cigarette smoke contains a mix of more than 7,000 chemicals which harm nearly every organ of your body and are directly responsible for various chronic health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, lung disorders, and even cancer. In fact, cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 90% of lung cancers and more than 80% percent of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPDs).

Since men smoke at higher rates when compared to women, they are at greater risk for chronic health conditions that smoking leads to. Below is the list of health conditions that are caused due to smoking.

Smoking Leads to Cardiovascular Diseases

Men who smoke, both active and passive smokers, are at a greater risk for developing coronary heart diseases – a leading cause of death in men in the United States. Smoking damages blood vessels, causes their narrowing and thickening, and leads to blockage and clot formation. This can make your heart beat faster, alleviate your blood pressure, and even cause stroke.

Smoking Causes Lower Respiratory Diseases

Smoking affects your lungs. It damages your airways and air sacs (alveoli) found in your lungs causing lung diseases, including COPD, emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Smokers are 12-13 times more likely to die from COPD than nonsmokers. Smoking also worsens asthma and is the leading cause of nearly all lung cancers in men – smokers are up to 20 times more likely to develop lung cancer than nonsmokers.

Smokers are More Prone to Cancer

While smoking is linked to nearly all types of lung cancers, it actively contributes to other forms of cancer as well. These include:

  • Mouth cancer
  • Laryngeal cancer
  • Throat cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Acute myeloid leukemia

In fact, smoking cigarettes nearly doubles a person’s risk of developing stomach cancer and skin cancer.

Smoking Increases the Risk of Impotence and Infertility

Want better sex? Stop smoking immediately! That’s because smoking has a direct, negative effect on the sexual wellbeing of men at every level. Smoking decreases sperm concentration, their motility, morphology, and DNA, leading to male infertility and impotency. Men who smoke are at a greater risk of erectile dysfunction and other sexual complications.

Smoking Causes Diabetes Mellitus

Smoking is a leading cause of type 2 diabetes in men. Active smokers are 30%-40% at a higher risk of developing diabetes than non-smokers.

Smoking Damages the Skin

All smokers suffer premature ageing, delayed wound healing, and increased infection. Cigarette smoking affects your skin’s ability to renew itself effectively, accelerating the process of ageing. Smoking causes oxidative stress, which leads to insufficient supply of oxygen to the skin cells and causes tissue ischaemia and blood vessel occlusion.

In fact, cells exposed to tobacco smoke produce higher amounts of the enzyme responsible for the breaking down skin, leading to premature ageing.

Smoking Leads to Hair Loss

Scientists speculate that cigarette smoke can accelerate hair loss and premature graying in men. The association is largely attributed to toxins found in cigarette smoke that harm hair follicles and damage hormones.

Smoking Threatens your Eyesight

Smoking has also been proved to cause age-related macular degeneration, which leads to poor eyesight and the risk of cataracts as you age.

Smoking Causes Gum Diseases

Men who smoke are more prone to cavities, tooth infections and periodontis – a severe gum infection that damages the bone that supports the teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults.

Quit Smoking to Stay Healthy and Age Actively

The best way to protect a man’s health is to encourage him to quit smoking. Smoking cessation can not only help him stay active and healthy, it helps protect his family from the ill effects caused due to passive smoking.

The beneficial effects of smoking cessation can be seen almost immediately:

  • 20 minutes after your last cigarette, your heart rate drops
  • 8 hours after quitting smoking, carbon monoxide levels in your blood drop to normal
  • 24 hours after quitting, your chances of having a heart attack reduces
  • 2 days after smoking cessation, you can taste and smell things better
  • 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting, you have better blood circulation in your body
  • 1-9 months after quitting, your cough, fatigue, sinus congestion, and breathlessness decrease. Your lungs start functioning better, reducing your risk of lung infection
  • 1 year after quitting, you reduce your risk for heart disease by half
  • 2-4 years after smoking cessation, the risk of stroke becomes equals that of a nonsmoker
  • 10 years after smoking cessation, your risk of developing lung cancer is nearly same as that of someone who has never smoked

This Men’s Health Month, take a powerful decision and quit smoking for your well-being and the good health of your family. Here are few steps you can follow to quit smoking:

  • Pick a date to quit smoking
  • Stop smoking immediately; not even a single smoke is permissible
  • Let your family and friends know about your smoking cessation plans; they can encourage you to stick to your plan
  • Steer away from factors that prompt you to smoke
  • Remove all traces of nicotine products from your home, car and work place
  • Whenever you feel the urge to smoke, indulge in activities that can help you calm your mind and ease your temptation – exercise, meditation, hot bath, gardening, and reading, all can help
  • Eat healthy and exercise your way to successfully complete your smoking cessation journey
  • Get in touch with a Primary Health Care Provider who can help you quit as well as ease your withdrawal symptoms through therapy and medication

Remember, quitting smoking is not easy, but it is well worth every effort. So, kick the habit and take a step forward to a healthier, happier life.

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