Every cigarette you smoke is harmful. Smoking is the biggest cause of preventable death in the UK, killing around 80,000 people a year. One in two smokers will die from smoking-related diseases. If you could see the damage, you would stop.

The brain

If you smoke, you are more likely to have a stroke than non-smokers. In fact, smoking increases your risk of stroke by at least 50 percent, leading to brain damage and death. Moreover, smoking doubles the risk of death from stroke. Smoking increases the risk of stroke, and one way to do that is by increasing the risk of brain aneurysms. This is a bulge of blood vessels caused by a weak wall. This can lead to a very serious condition called subarachnoid hemorrhage, a type of stroke that can lead to extensive brain damage and death. The good news is that within two years of quitting, your risk of stroke will be half that of a smoker and the same as a non-smoker within five years.

Heart

Smoking damages your heart and blood circulation and increases the risk of coronary heart disease, heart disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease (damaged blood vessels) and cerebrovascular disease (damaged arteries that supply blood to the brain). Both carbon monoxide and nicotine in the smoke makes the heart work faster, creating stress. They also increase the risk of blood clots. Other chemicals in cigarette smoke can damage the lining of the coronary arteries, leading to hardening of the arteries. In fact, smoking doubles your risk of heart disease, and if you smoke, your risk of dying from coronary heart disease is twice that of non-smokers.

The skin

Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen entering the skin. This means that if you smoke, your skin will age faster and look grey and dull. Toxins in the body also cause cellulite. Smoking ages your skin by 10 to 20 years, and makes you three times more likely to develop facial wrinkles, especially around your eyes and mouth. Smoking can even make you look sallow and hollow, making you look haggard. The good news is that once you stop smoking, you will prevent the further deterioration of your skin caused by smoking. The good news is that a year without smoking can halve your risk. After 15 years, your risk is similar to that of someone who has never smoked.

Sources

https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/effects_cig_smoking/index.htm

Image: Cigarette! by kabeto jamaica on 2013-09-26 16:06:38

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CC BY-SA 4.0 Effects of smoking on the body by Siqi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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