There was a time when the majority of the world’s population smoked cigarettes. To illustrate, in 1968, 68 percent of Americans smoked. Today, that number has gone down significantly to 29 percent. The harsh consequences were unknown and it was touted as a stress reliever, an upper, and a way to curb food cravings. Not to mention, the Marlboro Man ads and Hollywood made it look downright cool. Consequently, many smokers started as teens as a result. However, in addition to nicotine (which is what causes addiction), there are thousands of other chemicals and additives placed in one cigarette. Today, we know all of the detrimental issues that are caused by smoking from cancer to various diseases and that pervasive scent that takes several washings to eliminate. Moreover, to have a healthy life, you want to ensure you are free from preventable diseases. It is a major cause of premature deaths, and I cannot emphasize that enough. However, it doesn’t just take a lifetime of smoking — there are also short term effects of smoking. Read on to discover more.
Native Americans had used tobacco for medicinal purposes, as well as for smoking. When the Americas were discovered by Europeans, this practice was learned. So, in the 1500’s, they started shipping tobacco throughout the world. That is when the habit started to gain in popularity. Not to mention, as early as the 1900’s, medicinal practitioners started to question whether or not there was a link between smoking and lung cancer.
Unfortunately, they did not have the technology back then to substantiate their claims. Nonetheless, by the 1960’s, they were able to prove these theories. In 1965, Congress implemented the mandate to include a Surgeon General’s warning on every package of cigarettes. In addition, there has been a strong educational push, since then, about the dangers of smoking.
Immediately, smoking can cause stains to your teeth and skin. Just as wine and coffee can stain your teeth, so can smoking. You start to develop a yellow or brown tinge that will not go away overnight. It makes it very obvious that you smoke. In addition, your breath, skin, hair and clothing start to have an unpleasant, smoky smell. Most people are appalled by the way smokers smell.
Your lungs obviously need oxygen. When you smoke, it displaces your lung’s oxygen levels, which makes it more difficult to breathe. It also makes you run out of breath more quickly, so exercising gets more challenging. If you do not exercise on a regular basis, you lose out on the long term health effects and your muscles could atrophy. Not to mention, your energy levels can decrease, especially as you age, which can affect your work and life as a whole.
The chemicals produced from smoking affect your airways and lung tissue. As a result, you might be more prone to infections and viruses. Those are not fun. You might get more frequent colds and coughs. If that wasn’t enough, it can induce asthma attacks. Then, it could lead to emphysema and bronchitis. Also, sudden infant death syndrome can occur if mother’s smoke.
According to the New Zealand Drug Foundation and the World Health Organization, an increased heart rate is just one short-term cardiovascular effect of smoking. In fact, some experts find there is a 12 percent increase variation. If you already have high blood pressure, just wait until you read this, nicotine decreases the size of your blood vessels. So, your blood pressure gets higher. And, it impairs circulation to your tissues. None of these things are good for anyone.
A Less Impactful Brain
In the November 2012 issue of “The American Journal on Addictions,” it was reported that young adult smokers experienced lowered cognitive functioning abilities with regard to spatial memory, executive planning, spatial memory and sustained attention. Inhaled, nicotine also directly affects the central nervous system. Your brain, and how well it works, can be one of your greatest assets. Why would you want to do anything that impedes its wide array of valuable functions? To improve your quality of life, you should quit smoking and make it last forever.
Anxiety and Depression
There is the myth that smoking actually relieves anxiety. This myth is dangerous because it has led to people lighting up, as a result. The truth is that studies by the National Cancer Institute have shown that smoking actually increases anxiety and even depression. So, you think you are helping those symptoms, but you are actually only making them worse.
Birth Defects for Women
Even as a short-term smoker, your unborn child does get affected. Although the full effect of smoking on a fetus is still unknown, your child can still suffer heart defects, a club foot, cleft palate and more. For the sake of your baby, it would behoove you to take part in an addiction recovery system.
How smoking affects your financial health is astronomical. First of all, the taxes alone should be enough to avert your desire to ever pick up the potentially fatal habit. In addition, it costs the U.S. economy around 96 billion annually in healthcare costs. It also causes a $97 billion loss in work productivity. Are those numbers big enough for you?
Reproduction in Men and Women
For many people, having a family is a dream come true. However, that dream can be unexpectedly halted if you smoke. For starters, it can affect a man’s ability to impregnate a woman. Secondly, women can experience problems with ovulation. Not to mention, it can hamper your potential for partners because people do not like the stains on your teeth or the way you smell.
For obvious reasons, smoking should not be on your list of things to try. Even if you want to do it for a short time period because you think it will relieve stress or help you lose weight, you should think twice. The negative effects highly outweigh any of the benefits you might falsely perceive. Also, once you start, you might never be able to quit. So instead, pick up healthy habits such as exercise and positive socialization. You should have no desire to take up this nasty habit now that you know the short term effects of smoking. That is why it is crucial to learn all the ways you can achieve your resolutions.